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Friday, April 18, 2014

Dear Caller-A letter from a Video Interpreter

Dear Caller, 

I have known you since you first turned on your first video phone. I remember how excited you were to make a call to your mom using your hands, how baffled you were at the simplicity of filling your own prescriptions through the press of a button. I remember, with more joy, the first time you made a mobile call. It was awkward for us both as you tried to figure out the best position for your phone hand. Signing one handed never felt so strange, I am sure. I have to admit, I was polite the first time and didn't want to embarrass you, I saw more of your nose hairs than your hands. We figured it out though, didn't we? And now you make calls from the grocery store, mall, park, doctor's office, and sometimes to test my cardiac health you make VP calls from your moving vehicle. Nothing says equal access quite like mobile VP, in my opinion.

Caller, I remember when you got your pet. They were so sweet and cute. We called every single one of your family members to tell them all about it. You were so excited and held your pet up for every VI to see, with pride. I remember all the calls we made to the groomer and the vet. I remember thinking of you and your pet when I would see someone walking their dog or petting their cat in my everyday life. One of the hardest days of my job was the day I had to call and tell you your pet had died. I am so sorry that you received that news. I am so sorry that I am the one  who had to deliver it. But, at the same time, I am so glad you didn't have to hear it alone, and I am so very thankful that you let me in to even the most intimate and trying moments in your life. 

I remember the first time I saw the inside of your office instead of your home. Placing highly technical conference calls for you has always been a pleasure of mine. Many people in the interpreting community would argue that Video Interpreters don't see the same level of challenges as a community interpreter does, I beg to differ. Thank you for filling me in on all of the technical terms you would be using. Working together, as a team, really made the call so much more efficient for both of us. By the end I felt accomplished and proud that you had kept up with your peers because of our teamwork. Another perfect example of equal access and how VRS really helps you achieve that. 

Caller, I know that there are times when I am less than stellar. As a human I can't possibly be on my A-game all the time. I know you don't know that my husband just lost his job or that my relative just passed away. I know that it is not your fault that the previous five callers were irritated as well. I know that we all have good days and bad days and I am just grateful that you give me second chances and understand that I am here to provide the very best service I possibly can for you. You make my day, honestly. I love this job and I could not ask for anything more than to provide you excellent quality customer service for all of your calls. 

I could go on for days. I spend 36 hours of my week in a cubicle interpreting phone calls for you and other callers. Some are super happy calls, some are super sad. Some calls are the best experiences of my life and others are just another call. Some callers like to thank me for my work, and others prefer to just hang up. Every call is important. Every caller is important. I work for you. Thank you so much for helping me every day to be a better interpreter and, more importantly, a better person. 

With so much thanks and love, 
Manda-your VI 


This letter is to no one and everyone. I felt an urge today to write a thank you note to my callers because I get to be a part of their lives on even the most intimate of moments. I feel so blessed and grateful every day to have the opportunity I have to provide a service to the deaf and Hard of Hearing community. I am also so grateful that I was shown the path so early on. Being an interpreter is really so valuable to me.

Also, I am grateful to ZVRS for being the best employer I have ever had. To some people it may just be a job, but to me it is a family. I care so much about my colleagues and my consumers, both hearing and deaf.

Thanks for reading.

Much love,
Manda

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All In Challenge: A Word on Self Efficacy

All in challenge is going strong. It is day 10 and we are starting to really feel great. I personally am starting to feel that dreaded fog lifting while I am at work, making me ever-more capable of doing my job! So... Let's talk Self Efficacy shall we?!

Self Efficacy is defined by wikipedia as: The extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks or reach goals. 

This term was brought up during the All in Challenge meeting at our gym on Monday. Our awesome coach Chris had 4 points he shared (from It Starts with Food and from his extensive experience in self-motivation work). These points are characteristics are someone who has self efficacy.

  1. Looks at a challenge as difficult but can be overcome
  2. Interested in activities that interact well with their goals 
  3. Makes a solid commitment
  4. Recuperates quickly from setbacks and stumbles. 
If someone asked me if I displayed qualities of self efficacy I might be unsure in my response, at first. But then, after looking over this list and thinking of what I have accomplished in my life, I can tell you that I do.

Over the years I have struggled, as we all do, with being HUMAN. Sticking to my physical health goals is not something that comes naturally to me. I have had to work really hard at it to get as far as I have. As I've mentioned, many times, my addiction and eating disorders have made it really challenging to maintain a healthy balance for very long.

After a meeting a few months ago with my other coach and friend Annie, I came to realize that a lot of my setbacks are inspired by the fear of the unknown. I've never consistently had a great relationship with food, or my appearance. As soon as I got close to a really healthy place; started feeling peace within myself, I suddenly became overwhelmed with pressure. I feared that people might expect different things from me that I wouldn't be able to provide. I feared that I will lose all that I had worked so hard for, and then feel the rush of shame that comes with it. I feared that people would view me as a role model or put me on a pedestal, where I didn't feel I fit because I am not perfect. All of those things and more are the reason I have fought so hard with my battle toward better physical health.

The point that Annie made, a point that Stefani Ruper makes in her book Sexy by Nature, is that I CAN DO IT. I am strong enough to do it, by far, and other people don't matter on MY journey (as long as I am not hurting them). That I have done so much for myself in both this and other fascets of my life is PROOF that I can work through the fears that have plagued me. I left an abusive relationship when I had NO idea what was on the other side. I have taken many leaps without a net in sight, trusting my gut. I am willing and capable of doing those incredible things because deep down inside I KNOW I AM WORTH IT!

So let's review:

1. Looks at challenges as being difficult but can be overcome:

I take on challenges every day because I feel life is worth living by my standards. I don't let challenges drag me down, I let them fuel my fire.

2. Interested in activities that interact well with their goal:

I surround myself with people who help me to be healthy EVERY SINGLE DAY. Some of them are able to be in my life in a local sense, others, thanks to the amazing technology we have, support me and surround me with their love from a distance. I immerse myself in books and videos, knowledge is power. I continue to go to a gym where I am loved and respected for who I am inside and out.

3. Makes a solid commitment:

I'm often described as persistent and resilient. Like I said, my physical health journey hasn't come easily to me and with culture and society to fight against it can be difficult. It is important to know, I will never give up, ever.

4. Recuperates quickly from setbacks and stumbles:

Chris said that this takes time, resilience, and practice, but it does get better. When he was talking about this point my face felt hot with shame as I thought he was speaking directly to me about my own stumbles and setbacks. But then, suddenly like a breath of fresh air, he said something that relieved that stress and lead to a bit of an epiphany:

The first time might be tough, it might take 2 years to bounce back. Then the next time it might take 6 months. But if you keep going it will take 2 months and then only 2 weeks, soon only 2 hrs and 2 minutes and then finally you will realize that there aren't any more set backs mentally, emotionally or physically because you've bested them. 

This, mixed with the messages from Sexy By Nature I realized that the 4th point of self efficacy is NOT  about shame at all... it is about LOVE!!!! If you love yourself through the tough moments, they will be shorter and shorter, they will be further spaced. Until, one day, there is never a time when you're beating yourself up and turning a cookie into a 3 month binge. SELF LOVE IS EVERYTHING!

On that note. If you have made it this far, and you haven't read her post about this yet, check out Stefani's post on why LOVE IS THE NEW SKINNY

Anyway, Self love is sexy, y'all! It's not vain or crass or conceited, It is healthy and CONTAGIOUS!  And, with all of this, I have learned that self love and self efficacy are one in the same. 

WITH SO MUCH LOVE, 
Manda

Thursday, April 3, 2014

All in Challenge: The Dreams

So the Challenge started on Tuesday. Since then I have been hit with a (TMI) UTI, outbreak of my Autoimmune Disorder and a cold... that happened in one day. I am not sure which weakened my immunities first but it is obvious that something was up with my body, and this was its way of telling me. I am going to go with that it really just wants me to be healthy again... and we'll go from there.

First off I want to give you an idea of how things are going. In order to do that I will mention where I have been. Many of you know that I have had an on-again off-again relationship with the paleo lifestyle. It isn't for a lack of will, desire, or knowledge... it really comes from my emotional dependence on food. I have been very clear about my addiction to food and the satisfaction that it seemingly brings me, but learning more and more every year about how incredibly important it is to bring my mind and heart back to the basics. My body wants the foods it wants out of necessity, unfortunately it was introduced to the wrong version of satiation. Now, I am showing it how incredibly strong and satiated it can be under the correct food systems. Not processed over sugared foods.

Anyway, this isn't about what I am giving up. I don't like focusing on the negative... this is about what I am gaining. I reiterate that I am doing this to prove to myself how well I can do. I am doing this to heal my body and spirit and mind. I am doing this to reward my body and mind for all the hard work it has done for me. I am doing this to regain strength over my own decisions. There are so many reasons I am choosing to do this. To lose weight, is not one of them. To inspire confidence in myself and others, definitely is.

So now that I am eating clean the only thing that haunts me are my dreams. Partially because I worry about being DQ'd from the challenge, that would be really disappointing. But mostly because I would be really devastated if I gave up on myself again. When I first quit eating Ice Cream (because of my addiction) I would have breakdowns and horrifying dreams of just eating gobs of it. Every Ice Cream commercial had the power to knock me to my knees. To this day (2.5 years later almost to the day) if I am having a bad day and drive by an ice cream shoppe I struggle with my desire to abstain.

Since starting the challenge I have not had cravings, but there have been dreams. Usually it is Ben disappointing me by giving up and I feel like I must follow with him (he wouldn't do this, of course, but my dreams know my weaknesses.) In one he ate Doritos and soda and was saying how if no one knew the wiser it didn't matter. It all lead up to me having pop and ice cream in my dream last night. Granted, I am sick, so it might just be my body because I am ill. But really, the dreams are real. If you have them too, you are validated by this. But don't worry you are making the right decisions for your body and mind.

Thanks for reading,
Much love
Manda

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All In Challenge--Earlybird Special

This is the first of hopefully several posts about the CPMFitness All In Challenge. It is an understatement to say that CPM is "More than a Gym" it is a home, it is a family, it is a place to be held accountable... The beat goes on. 

This is our SECOND challenge with CPM... Our previous results were incredible... Ben took Third, I took Second... We were both very proud and on top of the world. It is hard to believe it was 5 months ago already, nearly. We have had our own personal trials and tribulations since then, but really that is unimportant at this time, we are focusing on the future...

This challenge is slightly different. The parameters of the previous Challenge was essentially a Primal challenge, in that we were encouraged to do as much as we could Paleo wise, but 80/20 was acceptable. Really people could eat what they chose but had the requirement to document it. This time it will be an ALL IN challenge... documentation is required (although more detailed) but the real difference is that this will be the Whole 30 only.(I will get into more about the differences between the two more in the blog)  So here we are... Titled by Mr. CPM himself, Chris Mello, "The All in Challenge Earlybird Special" 

To do the ALL IN CHALLENGE we must approach it as something different instead of a conversion from SAD (Standard American Diet) to "Paleo". It is a way to show WE CAN do the healthiest thing for our bodies, even when it is difficult. Without having to do a detox (ie. the lemon juice, maple, cayenne detox) or take meds/pills, we will be detoxifying through healthy eating, lifestyle and decision making.

This is different from the previous challenge for so many reasons. The first is the last challenge a participant could choose to eat whatever they wanted as long as it was documented. This time is much different because a participant can choose to eat whatever they want, but that would also mean forfeiting their participation in the challenge.

Another difference is the duration. Previous challenges were 45 days long. This one is different, because it is only 30 days long. The idea of 30 days seems so simply doable. Anyone can do anything for 30 days, even if it is more strict.

For me, personally, this challenge is different because last time I was determined to just FINISH. Not only did I finish the challenge but, as I mentioned above, I WON! This time I know I can do it, I have already done it. I am pushing myself harder but it's because I need/want to be back to where I was.

Finally, I am approaching my health in a new way this time. Differently than I have ever experienced, and something you have never witnessed. I've often struggled with where to get my self-worth, and how to value myself. I have felt ashamed when I see results and start to feel confident in my own skin... Sometimes I got my self-value from partners, sometimes family or friends, other times it was strangers. I have had a huge change in my personal life. Since the previous challenge (namely in December) I learned that god loves me. Not only that but it doesn't matter what else is going on in my life, my value can come only from God. Also, with that, is god's unending love for me.

Now this may come as a surprise to some, but I don't mind, anymore. I was once afraid of what people would think, when I realized this is what I believed and how I wanted to live my life... Now I know it really doesn't matter. I love you all regardless of your beliefs, and I assume you feel the same way about me. Thank you for that. I also realized that sometimes other people's opinions (or the way I perceive them) can be more of a hindrance on my growth than anything. It is better for me to just let go of my fears and let them be handled by someone far mightier than I.

I was having some hesitations about this challenge, mainly that I would work really hard and regardless of my results I would not be "allowed" to win again. This is not the case... I know that if I earn a spot on the leader board again, it will be because I worked hard and made significant progress. that is really what I want to see, and show. Regardless, though, of if I win or not, I will be a winner. Going all in on something like the Whole 30 is life changing. I haven't given Paleo my all since I discovered it in 2010... I say it is about time to re-experience the love I have always had for it.

I am reading 3 books presently to help me along the way. The first is by a dear friend of mine, Stefani Ruper called "Sexy by Nature" (you really should get yourself a copy). The second is of course "It Starts with Food" by the Whole 9's Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. And the third is the "Made to Crave Devotional" by Lysa Terkeurst which has been really game changing for me. I feel that with the knowledge packed in these three books, the determination I have to succeed, and the care, love and support of my gym family at CPMFitness. This challenge will be a great experience, and a great kick start to propel me even closer to the future I deserve. Full of health, happiness, confidence, and grace.

I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity to explore what I CAN do and how I can continue to grow in my relationships with myself, food and God.

Thanks for your love and support, I treasure all of you deeply.

Manda

Monday, October 21, 2013

'Manda's Musings: I Live For Love (A Poem)

I live in a world without boundaries. Anyone can communicate at the drop of a hat. There's no name or face to what we say, so we say what we want when we want to even when its intended to hurt another person. Due to anonymity we aren't held accountable for who we impact. 

I live in a country without respect for others. A place where our neighbors  cannot be our friend because of the color of their skin, for their shape or much worse their beliefs which differ from our own. In a country where promises mean nothing and we owe debts to everyone around us but are  unable to pay.

I live in a state stuck in the past. Never changing never growing always doing the same thing we've always done.

I live in a city that falls asleep at 6 p.m. Because that's the way it's always been so that's the way it always will be there's no reason we should change.

I live in a neighborhood full of houses that all look the same. The same families, the same car, the same dog, and children, the same houses.

I live in a house that is not unique, that does not represent who I am or where I have been.

But maybe...

I live in a house of my own which is more than most people can say. I have a roof, and I have food and I have walls keeping me safe.

I live in a neighborhood where people still wave and ask how your day was.  They'll give you a hug if they find out it was bad. Where they know the names of your children and watch out for them as if they were their own.

I live in a city that closes at 6 p.m. but continues to leave a fire in the hearth for a visitor who might come knocking, and is always welcome.

I live in a state that is stuck in the past but has a higher success rate than most other states and a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the country. Although we are a bit behind and shell shocked with change, we are trying our best to catch up.

I live in a country that tries to fight for freedom and to do what's best. With so many wonderful, wonderful people hopefully one day soon we can bring an end to hate.

I live in a world without boundaries. This means that we can help more people than we ever could before. It means we can lend a hand to anyone across the globe without batting an eye or traveling even a mile. We could help each other, we can love each other; and that's what this is about, love.

Any negative can be a positive. Hidden beneath our complaints and unhappiness lies gratitude and peace.

I am committed to gratitude. I am committed to ending the hate. I send out love to everyone I know, and everyone I don't know. I want to spread peace and love and happiness everywhere I go, regardless of race, or color, or religion, or belief, or country, or gender, or sex. None of those things matter, you're human I love you.

Love is the most powerful tool we have. If we can just love one another, we can make it through anything.

Manda 10/20/13

Monday, November 19, 2012

'Manda's Musings- Real Life Twilight--My experience in an abusive relationship

**Quick note. I am taking a break from my "Positive Energy" Blog Experience--not because it was too much for me or anything, but because I planned it so inefficiently over NaNoWriMo and baby, writing 50k words is no small feat**

*Secondary quick note--This is in no way intended as a cry out for help or a pity fest--Merely to explain a situation-and to serve as a warning that this CAN and DOES happen to ANYONE* 

Now, those things being said, let's get on with this. 


I am not a TWIHARD... but I did enjoy the books (as bad as her actual writing abilities are Stephenie Meyer is excellent at character development and cliff hangers... which make for a very addictive read), and I really loved the last movie... and have seen all the movies. When I first started the books, I was with John. It was not hard for me to make distinct correlations between my relationship with him and Bella's relationship with Edward. I thought, though, that was just the typical behaviors of a book--trying to make the characters relateable.

Enter: Ben. Someone with a good head on his shoulders, who has never even been witness to abuse in a relationship. I realized, quickly, when with him (although it took repeated experiences) that what I had been through was not normal. 

I suffered PTSD from the relationship I had with John for over a year. I worked VERY hard with a counselor and many other people and services to make it through to the brighter side.

As you know the last Twilight movie was released this last week... and with that dug up old articles and reminders of the unhealthy behaviors exhibited therein. Here is one article I read... beyond just what it said about the movie, I realized even more what it said about my past:

According to the National Domestic Violence hotline, these are some signs that you may be in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.

Does your partner:
* Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

Check.
I was being threatened multiple times per day. Even something just as simple as staying late for school resulted in rage I feared on a daily basis.

* Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?

"Stay away from the werewolves. I love you."

Yes. I was not often allowed to speak with my family. I was not allowed to say "I love you" to anyone else. The list is very long. 
* Make all of the decisions?
Check.
Definitely. Convinced me I was unable to balance a checkbook and then lead us down a road of negative bills and credit which cost me personally over 20 thousand dollars to get out of (and I'm still working through it) 

Not to mention--He ordered EVERY meal for me... I remember the week after I left him the VERY FIRST meal I ordered I cried... I couldn't believe how freeing it was to be able to choose for myself again.  

* Act like the abuse is no big deal, it's your fault, or even deny doing it?
"If I wasn't so attracted to you, I wouldn't have to break up with you."
I wish you weren't my soul mate sometimes, Then I could just leave you and be with someone who was less painful to be around.  Also: I just can't stand to be apart from you... your friends should understand that.

* Threaten to commit suicide?

"I just can't live without you. In fact, I'll run to Italy and try suicide by vampire if anything happens to you."
5 times, to be exact.
* Threaten to kill you?
On their first date.
This one is a bit harsh-he only ever threatened to LEAVE or HURT me, never to kill me... Threatened to kill people I cared about. 
These are some more signs of an abusive relationship.
Has your partner...

* Tried to isolate you from family or friends.
Bella doesn't have time for anyone else!
Touched on this earlier... I was not allowed to spend time with any of my friends, alone, for any extraordinary period of time. 
* Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
Check.
In the time that I was with him: Broke my phone (Hated that I was texting and threw it across a room), Punched walls, pillows and doors, as well as shattered the windshield of our car with his fist... 
* Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
Does tossing her through a glass table count?

Pushed-Often... Several times. Almost punched me twice. 
* Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
"We're breaking up. And I'm leaving you in the forest."
He did not do this--but there was one time I THOUGHT he was going to ... 
* Scared you by driving recklessly.
Check.
*nod* yup

* Forced you to leave your home.

She had to run away with him to flee from the other vampires in the first movie, and she had to drop everything and run to Italy in the second.
um... I don't remember this happening either... Well... there was that one time I drove ALL THE WAY TO Arkansas alone in the middle of January to go get him... my mom about killed me... 
* Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Check. Even in the hospital, nothing is a big deal.
Nope...
* Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Well, they are Mormon... (I know, I know, cheap shot.) **PS I don't appreciate this comment about the Cullens (assuming that is what she means) being Mormon... that's just offensive on so many levels...
YUP... If the house wasn't clean... it was my fault.
* Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Check, wolf-boy.
This got so bad that even if I went out for lunch with a female friend I was a lesbian and cheating with them... It was painful trying to abide by the "love no one but me" standard... its no wonder I fight for my right to love anyone and everyone now... 

According to the NDVH, "If you answered ‘yes' to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship." This list is fifteen.


So there you have it... My relationship with John in a very boxy nutshell... 

I will try, forever probably, to be sure to talk about this with everyone I know. Not because I think it is something to be proud of or because I want sympathy, but because knowledge IS POWER. No woman or man should have to be in a relationship like this one, and popular culture like the Twilight Saga are exactly what continues to perpetuate this. 

Like I said-I am just as guilty as anyone else-I support the brand of Twilight by reading the books and watching the movies. But, I think by recognizing how real the abuse and manipulation are in the series, the more freedom we will have from situations like this one. 


I am hopeful for a brighter future. In my 20s I have been in an abusive relationship, cut ties with almost all friends and family, realized I was being abused, left that relationship, reestablished my connections, and started a healthy mature relationship with a different amazing man. By the way, I am only 25... a lot can change if we want it to. 

If you can relate to ANYTHING in that list in your current relationship (or a friendship, or an employment, or with a family member), I plea for you to SEEK HELP!!! Even if it is just sending me an email and working through it that way, or finding a counselor, or speaking to someone from your church or community. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! NEVER accept someone telling you that you are!


SO MUCH LOVE! <3 <3 <3 <3

Manda (My email is amleisten06@gmail.com)

PS HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Spend it with the ones you love! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Positive Energy Week 1: Awaken Intuition and Rejuvenate Yourself

The first week of this 10 week program! If you are like "What the heck? what program?" then take a look at my  previous post about my current project I am working on.

This week is about awakening my intuition and getting ready to take on all the amazing things this book has to offer. I have broken this prescription down into 5 parts, and I am going to be honest... this post (and others to come) are going to be long!... this book has a TON to offer and my experiences with it have been amazing already so I am eager to get them all out. Each chapter has writings, exercises, and an interview so I will be touching on all of those things throughout. :)

The 5 parts of this post are:

1. Intuition and Empathy
2. Pacing
3. The Now
4. Now Suckers
5. Quincy Jones Interview

So let's get started!

1. Intuition and Empathy: 

By awakening your intuition you can access your full energy. (Pg. 19)

Intuition is a truth detector. When you deviate even a nanofraction from your inner voice, your energy will wane, whether a subtle seepage or radical bottoming out. (Pg 21)

For me intuition has never even been a question. I think I was raised in a way that my parents trusted and used their intuition on a regular basis and encouraged my brother and myself to use ours as well. I have mentioned a million and one times in this blog alone that I trust my intuition more than any other resource. Not to say that I discredit other resources or science but in my experience the most reliable of all is my own intuition.

In the positive energy program you'll get in the habit of intuitively tracking your energy response.

Intuition also involves picking up vibes. People and situations can give off welcoming positive energy that invigorates, or oppressive negative energy that repels.  (Pg 22)

First exercise: Body Scanning (at home) 

This exercise encourages readers to get with a partner and take turns laying down and reading each others energy fields through the palms of their hands. I used to do this for fun as a kid with my brother whenever he would ask me for a back rub or to scratch his back. I find it so interesting the vibes people give off and their energy forces.

Second Exercise: Body Scanning (in the world) 

This just takes it up a notch and challenges readers to recognize energy fields in other people without having to be intimately close to them.

Not many people know this about me but since I was very young I have been able to see auras. I have never been embarrassed by it I just learned at a young age that it is not typically acceptable in our culture to talk about so I just kinda keep it to myself. It was so nice, when reading this book, to realize how real my feelings and experiences are. Validation really feels incredible. Like I said I am not ashamed of the abilities I have had, and been able to tune into... I am just grateful to know that I am not weird for it. Also, I am glad to know that ANYONE can do this, meaning I am not just some special evolved human being ... we all are!

The energetic quality of all our connections matter. (Pg 27)

Every moment we spend in this life is effected by the energy of others around us including "non living" things. We must keep that in mind, absorbing only the good energies. :)

To take charge of your energetic health, you must know if you're an intuitive empath... Like it or not, empaths process all stress in their bodies, are more prone to take in a personal or global trauma's energetic residue. Vulnerable to negativity; whether minuscule or horrendous, many empaths have chronically low energy, a common complaint that baffles traditional physicians. The symptoms of intuitive overload include depression, psychosomatic complaints, and overeating.Negative energy arises from people,... places, and situations. (Pg 28)

On Page 29 there is a quiz to see if these symptoms might be some you are feeling... ask yourself:

Am I an intuitive empath?:

Have I been labeled as overly sensitive? (yes!)
If a friend is distraught or in physical pain do I start feeling it too? (Yes)
Am I drained in crowds, going out of my way to avoid them? (Yes)
Do I get anxious in packed elevators, airplanes, or subways? (yes)
Am I hypersensitive to noise, scents or excessive talking? (YES!)
When I see gruesome newscasts, does my energy plummet? (yes)
Do I get burned out by groups, require lots of time alone to revive? (Yes)

... Maybe you are an intuitive empath too? I know I am... This is blatantly obvious. I have said for years that my senses are more sensitive than most... and when they are cut off I feel lost. My 6th sense included...

Discovering you are an empath can be a revelation. Putting a name to a very real intuitive experience legitimizes your perceptions. (Pg 29)

AMEN! I feel so much better knowing these things. Honestly I knew I was an intuitive empath already, and all of the questions were not surprising to me. However, what did relieve me of some feelings of anxiety and or confusion were the symptoms I might have due to being an intuitive empath. I really feel so relieved to know that working on my energy can help with these things.

Third Exercise: Center yourself and build positive energy

Basically-now you know--what are you gonna do with it? Learning how to channel positive energy through peaceful meditation.

Being firmly grounded protects you from getting flattened by negativity. (Pg 31)

Not everyone has empathy overload... Define your instinctual style of interacting with the world so you can honor it. (Pg 31)

This part baffles me... I always have empathy overload... but I am glad to hear not everyone does :)


2. Pacing 


I want to mention that as far as this portion of the chapter went... It was obvious when I was going back through it that I was (un)intentionally avoiding it... There was hardly anything highlighted, no notes, nothing. Apparently I struggle with pacing and am in certain denial of it. I will tell you, though, before we get in deeper, that this portion of the chapter helped awaken some things in me I didn't quite know even existed. :) Thanks Judith! :)  

As an energy psychiatrist, I teach [my patients] about pacing: a basic rhythm I train [them] to sense intuitively. (Pg 32)

We rush for many reasons: to dull emotional pain. To flee from anxiety, depression, or feeling we're not enough. To respond to unrealistic expectations of what we can accomplish in a finite period. (Pg 34)

Dr Orloff offers a list of intuitions that will tell you if you are rushing:

Your energy feels scattered
You have little or no awareness of your body
You experience subliminal or overt sense of panic
Your ability to listen is impaired, as is your memory for details.

Well shit... That pretty much describes how I have been feeling to a T as of late especially. With the wedding and everything I have felt incapable of catching up to myself.

Judith also mentions that rushing can be addicting, which I can certainly relate to. I grew up in a world that was spinning by me rapidly, and I took that as a cue on how to behave myself in my life. A common phrase in my family is "We work better under a deadline" and other variations of this same phrase. Obviously this is not entirely our faults. The world around us is moving so quickly that to seem "normal" we must overwork ourselves and keep up. -- Dr Orloff taught me that this is common and can definitely be helped... want help with your rushing... read ahead.

First Dr Orloff asked me to check myself by sensing with my intuition if I am in sync with my pace:

(Pg 35)

When you're in sync: 

Emotional Balance
Physical Stamina
Patience
Excitement
Passion

When you're out of sync: 

Ongoing Fatigue
Emotional numbness
Irritability
Mood swings
Psychosomatic symptoms (IBS, headaches, acid reflux etc)
Decreased libido
Sexual Shutdown


After reading those lists I actually can say yes to about half of each list which means to me that although I am not always rushing currently I am, or I am trying to rush through or past something. I am not 100% certain what that is but, it could generally be life. I have been known to just want this certain time period to get over so I can get to living a part that I look forward to more (This will be visited in the section about living in the Now).

Exercise: Intuit Your Pacing (Pg 36-38)

This is a 2 part exercise.

First readers are asked to take time to tune in. This is something I don't do as regularly as I should and I know that... but when asked to, I have done it and it has proven a great tool to have. This is where you find if you are rushing or moving too slowly through life. I have been known to do both.

Second, to find solutions that might work. There are a few she offers: Realign with an in-sync rhythm, if you're a rusher, If you're on a deadline, If your pace is too slow.

The key to success is to ease into your new right pace. As some of my overzealous patients discovered, making giant leaps too quickly can sabotage this program. 

Please no grand gestures. Just start moving in the right direction. This sends a positive message to your life force. Don't worry if you slip into old habits, we all do. Every minute you've succeeded renews vitality and awe. (Pg 39)

This all leads nicely into:

3. The Now

In the Now you're moving, grooving through the eternal present, physically and emotionally alive. Out of the Now you're cardboard, numb, distracted, imprisoned in your head; the intoxicating fragrance of a rose garden on a summer's night doesn't even register--a sorry state I urge you to rail against.  (pg 40)

Until very recently I had never really experienced the Now. At least not since I was very small. I can't pinpoint the time when I quit believing in living for the present. I had a lot invested in the future and I chose to spend most of my time there. I am a daydreamer by nature. It has always been very hard for me to remain grounded--although I have, for some reason, the ability to split my consciousness and remain present for important things, like learning, while continually daydreaming. I am forever grateful that I barely missed the cusp of the "ADD/ADHD" era where I would have had pills possibly shoved down my throat to dampen this part of who I am (My opinion--not Judith's--this does not reflect her opinion in anyway, as far as I know).

Now, back to the Now... Let's keep reading shall we?

Exercise: Tune in to the Now (Pg 40-43)

Observe masters of the moment:
To viscerally grasp the power of the Now, observe those who're in it. ... Babies, especially, have totally focused energy when they zero in on you. Locking into their gaze will align your energy. ... Similarly, observe creative people for whom the moment is everything. ... Also recognize that during emergencies, you naturally, instantly revert to the Now.

Follow your breath: 
Many westerners, however, are clueless that the breath is sacred until illness takes it away. ... So you won't miss a moment of this miracle, I recommend conscious breathing. It'll ground you in the body and still your thoughts. 

Check your pulse: 
An instant antidote for being out-of-the-Now is to feel your pulse. ... With each beat, intuitively visualize your life force as a golden (for me it's purple) energy rushing through you, a splendid sensation. 

Adopt a mantra: 
A mantra is a sacred word or phrase that can cue you to return to the Now. ... Whatever mantra appeals, it's a grounding incantation

 I chose to take clips from the book for this exercise because I find it so incredibly important and useful. I know so many people who struggle with staying in the Now. A lot of this is because of "enemies of the Now" or what I choose to call "Now Suckers" (merely because it sounds really funny)... Which will be covered in the very next portion.

What I love about this prescription is that Dr. Orloff offers so many options for the variety of people that exist. I think she, of all people, knows that not everyone fits into the same hole... and that is something I really cherish. As a person who has strove to continue to be myself regardless of pressures around me, I really respect and admire a person who has made such a life of herself as Dr Orloff has, by truly being true to herself and her intuition. She is an inspiration to me, for me to remain true to myself, regardless of outside forces.

**Laughter only happens in the Now, anchors you in a flash.** 

I highlighted this line because, damn it, I LOVE to laugh!! As I mentioned earlier I always struggle for staying in the Now... Since meeting my husband, Ben, that struggle has dampened quite a lot. Part of it is due to my necklace, which I may touch on later. Truly, though, I believe it is because I have my NOW right here with me all the time and it is worth living for. And we laugh... we laugh hard and so darn much. I love laughing, so does Ben, we make it through so much with laughter. I am entirely and eternally grateful for this. 

4. Now Suckers!!! (Teehee)

Twenty-first century America presents us with two unique maladies that obscure the Now: workaholism and technodispair... (Pg 43)

Here we go... this is really digging deep, folks. Be ready to admit/accept that you are voiding yourself of the now which is crucial to your energetic balance... Here we go. 
 
Workaholism is the Puritan ethic gone haywire, an addiction to doing more, going nonstop until you drop. 

This is what I was talking about earlier, living in a world that encourages overdoing it... trying to take on more and more every day to prove ourselves? To feel alive? at what price? 

We're socially reinforced to go faster, do more. In fact, we're bludgeoning our subtle energy reserves, inviting dis-ease. ... Suddenly everyone is multi-tasking and proud of it. (Pg 44)

Doesn't it start to make you question why you push so much? It did me. I sat down after reading this and thought to myself "Why do I do it? what makes it so worth it? Am I getting anywhere any further or faster than I would if I weren't putting myself in such dis-ease, such discomfort? Maybe I should slow my roll? 

Most of us are starving for quality time. our full attention is a gift we must give ourselves and each other. ... This prescription offers a multi-pronged approach to workaholism that uses both psychological and intuitive strategies. For maximum benefit, combine them.  (Pg 44) 

Exercise 1: Stop Pushing and Break the Workaholism Cycle: (Pg 45-47)
(Here is where I literally had to stop lying to myself and take a chill pill... *Sigh* Self-admitted workaholic)

The causes are: (I asterisked the ones that apply to me)
A need to control*
Loneliness (Formerly)
Self-worth tied to your accomplishments*
Ambition*
Masochism
Financial pressures*
Greed (this was a tough one to admit*
an "inner slave driver"*
Family conditioning* (I had workaholic parents)
An escape from emotions: loneliness, anxiety, depression (Formerly)
An unsatisfying marriage
No role models for showing Self-compassion.

An intuitive deathbed perspective: 
Dr Orloff suggests we imagine we are on our death beds and figure what we will wish we had done more of? Work? Do we wish we had more money? Do we wish we had experienced more adventure, more love? More excitement? More time with friends? family? Colleagues? Work? What is it, with your final moments of life, will you be wishing for more of?
 
RIGHT? Did that hit you? it totally hit me... I assume that we each have our own "OMG" moments
 and I respect that... but man o man... this was one of mine.

One [origin of anxiety] is a Now-numbing energy affliction I call technodispair. The clincher is that you experience the mild to intense nervousness, depression, or fatigue after bouts with the complexities of technology. Relief from technodispair comes from limiting contact with machines, or by learning to cope more productively with them. The upside to technology: it makes life easier. The downside: mishaps can grate on your mental health... First, negative emotions, which contaminate your serenity and energy field, can be offset by externals. (The whole, stub your toe--everything is downhill from there idea) ... Secondly, machines give off electromagnetic fields that can jangle or zap energy. (WHOA! Jump back! What?! The energy field of my computer interacts with my energy field and they may impact each other?! ... does this mean what I think it means? ... keep reading...) (Pg 48-49)

Exercise 2: Stop Letting Technology Sap Your Energy (Pg 49-51)

Don't worry, my friends, there is a way to keep this from ruining your zen, your hold on the Now... and here we are at the prescription that may help you to do that! :) 

Avoid information overload:
Take technology fasts... Purposely restrict the volume of incoming information...

This is a tough one for me because I hate taking a break from everything and everyone. I must admit, however, this book has helped me realize that it isn't everything, and everyone... it will (mostly) all be here when I return, and what is most important is my health and energy. When my phone was smashed (yeah) I had 3 days without it. They were 3 of the most meaningful days I have had in a long time. There was a lot of peace, and self reflection. A lack of reliance on time... it was really liberating. I like to think my *need* for technology has lessened since then, even if only a bit. 

Don't catastrophize technology snafus:
Technology fiascoes incite negative energy by ripping off patience and peace of mind. To not succumb, be prepared. ... practice self-compassion and center in the Now. ... Sometimes a feeling of being out-of-control or helpless may escalate...  For Now, the point is to counteract this setback by tapping into your positive emotional energy.

I am actually quite good at this one. I tend to laugh through mix ups. I am more attached to sentimental things than electronic things. Probably partially because I know all information is either recoverable or not the end of the world. Everything on the Internet that I have came from somewhere else... and at the very least it is still in my mind. One of a kind items such as a gift from my grandmother who as passed on, or a memento from my wedding that is very unique and personal, are much harder for me to disconnect from. 

Counteract the energy drain of machines:
As you sit inches from the screen, your energy field will be encroached on by it, which may compromise your emotional and physical well-being.  Fluctuations in your mood or energy level could be machine related. ... To minimize drain, flush toxic vibes from your system as you would a virus so they won't energetically congeal. Drink lots of water, inhale fresh air etc...

This is fascinating to me. Not the fact that electronics can be draining or have an impact on our energy, that seemed obvious to me... but the fact that we can counteract that through normal detox. Something I had never thought to try. I wonder if this is why I feel more thirsty when I am working at a computer than when I am not... I know several interpreters who avoid the field of VRS due to energy drain... this might help them :) 

Recognize the effect of your emotional energy on machines: 
I'm utterly convinced, far-out as it may sound, that they register our vibes just as we intuitively register theirs. ... Your emotional energy, especially anger and frustration, may also disrupt appliances and technology. If so, pinpointing the link lets you contain potential mayhem. ... Machines react to your energy field; you can't pull a fast one on them. They'll remain kaput until you've resolved your agitation.

HAHA this makes me giggle a bit. I have always teased my mother about this one, and have heard of other people having similar experiences. I know people who can control the energy of light bulbs... they either last longer, or burn out faster, around them. My mom and my thing is batteries. My mom drains batteries... SO FAST. She goes through a watch battery once every 6 months (the more stressed she is the faster this happens)... I, however, can make batteries last FOREVER. I have an electric toothbrush, so does she (the same one), she told me she was getting rid of it because she went through 3 sets of batteries in like 6 months on it, not worth it to her. For me, a set of batteries will last close to a year at almost full strength. I have always thought it was kinda silly, and now it is something I value about myself. I have always been the person who "brightens" or "Energizes" the room I walk into, I take that with great responsibility, because that means that equally if my mood is down I can bring a room down with me just as quickly.

5. Quincy Jones Interview

This interview was very insightful. I am not sure I will ever get used to seeing intuition being used as a tool in everyday life. It is not that I have ever been, nor had to be, ashamed of my intuition. I feel very confident in it as a matter of fact. However, I think it is amazing how many people are impacted by intuitive thinking. I am naturally drawn to analytical (nerdy) people and many of them need science, need proof, and are frustrated by my "go with your gut" responses to life. Especially because my gut has yet to lead me astray. I think it is almost frustrating for those people to live, I feel they might live a life with a lack of happiness, because they refuse their intuition on a daily basis. Something to ponder. 

Quincy Jones is a musician and a producer among other things. He as worked with anyone and everyone you can probably think of and admire and uses his intuition every step of the way. He strongly advocates this, as well as not backing down. When you know something is right, don't stop... fight for it. That is something I can relate to, and live by as well. Thank you, Mr Jones, for your interview in this book. It truly means so much to me to see people like you, and Dr Orloff, in positions you are in, using your intuition and not hiding it, but sharing it and helping others to use theirs as well.  


This is about the end of this chapter... (I know it's been a long post but if you've made it this far hopefully you have enjoyed it and learned something about yourself, and at the very least, about me)

In her final words on the chapter Dr Orloff says:

... be fierce about your inner listening. From that center point, feel your life's rhythm. Synchronize with it and watch your positive energy grow.  ... Intuition isn't a luxury; it's mandatory for a joyous life. Risk trusting it. I guarantee: your energy will flourish.

Treat Yourself: The only "must" is that it feel right deep down in your cells, a sure sign you're in sync with your life's rhythm. 



If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about this I am totally up for it. Drop me a comment, an inbox on FB, or an email amleisten06@gmail.com. Thank you so much for reading. Please take care of yourself, your energy, your soul... Love all day long, it is worth it. And Laugh as hard as you can! :)

Love you so much,
Manda