Monday, April 18, 2016

At least twice a year my Nana would ask me to move her refrigerator so she could clean behind it. You would think there were dead animals back there, or at least stuff growing out of the coils based on her urgency. "Donna doll, please...would you mind?" Of course I never minded, but I knew before I moved it there would be nothing more than a few dust balls. I loved her dedication to cleanliness, but it made me wonder, 'Am I a slob for not caring what is behind mine?"
Funny thing is, when it comes to finding what's hiding behind my decisions, actions and thoughts, I run with a duster and vacuum hoping to find all the dirt, dust and cobwebs that are hiding under my psyche. Nana on the other hand, never even discussed her past. She never had a need or reason to go "back there." And she didn't seem to suffer because of it. Happy with very little, her entire life consisted of two daughters, 21 grand and great grandchildren, a tiny, one-room apartment filled with animal statues and plants, and Friday afternoon bingo. So simplistic about life that getting cards on the holidays and her birthday made her thankful for the entire year. She was a woman who could spend two hours at a discount store, come home with one statue of a bird, and then spend three days re-arranging her entire apartment just so that one little creature would fit in perfectly. Such joy in so little!
'Was my Nana happy?' I have often asked myself that question. My answer now, after years of learning from her simplistic way of life: The idea of happiness is like a mirage...whatever you want is what you will see, and what you see, you can imagine makes you happy. Is being a little obsessive about knowing what is behind something, albeit an appliance or a mindset, a good thing? Nana would say, "If it makes you happy Donna dear, do it!"

Millennials Show Us What ‘Old’ Looks Like, and I show them what 'Old' really looks like.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We complain an awful lot as a nation about healthcare costs and whether medicine should be socialized or not. Since I'm entrenched in the health/wellness/prevention industries as a coach, I have some opinion on how things got so bad. I thought I would do a little research to show why I don't complain; I get busy and get to work...

From 2000 to 2012, our nation paid out about $133 billion on its smoker's and their illnesses. (As an FYI, Canadians paid $2.8 billion. That shocked me!) All related preventable costs break down to this: For every $7 or $8 a smoker spends on his/her pack of cigarettes, we each pay about $35 for their health related costs, so essentially their habit is our problem. We rank highest in the world, by the way. Here are some other eyeopeners:

Type 2 Diabetes, another preventable disease, has skyrocketed...up 700 percent in the last 50 years. Having a cure (change the diet and start exercising) hasn't stopped us from racking up over $200 billion in healthcare, loss of productivity and disability costs. That is estimated at about $700 a year to each and every one of us.

If you don't think that is eye opening enough, check this out from www.statinusage.com about high cholesterol: By 2030, about 40% of our nation is expected to have some form of CVD. Direct medical costs expected to triple from $273 billion currently to $818. Indirect costs due to lost productivity should increase approximately 60%, rising from $172 billion to $276 billion. This combination comes to more than One Trillion Dollars! The website says that if we could cut those numbers down, it would be like giving every American household a $9,700 check every year.

This is only a sampling of a few preventable diseases, as I haven't even touched on drugs, alcohol, addiction, accidents, and so many of the diseases associated with what we put into our bodies. Did you know that the number one cause of cancer according to the American Cancer Society is no longer cigarettes? It is food.

So if we want to be fair about how things got so bad...if we really want to create change, we need to ask ourselves how much our own lifestyle practices are contributing to our ongoing complaints, our stress, not to mention our unhappy bodies. As far as offering healthcare for free...it might be cheaper to offer prevention and wellness for free, because if the old adage is right, a thousand in prevention will be worth a billion in cure.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bandaids Don't Heal Wounds

Im finding one of the biggest emotionally-charged divisions between the political parties is the word "disadvantaged." One side seems to talk consistently about environment and believes that lack of monetary resources will preclude someone from ever becoming successful. The other side stands firm in their belief that nothing can get in the way of our potential except ourselves, and money won't permanently solve anything. When I hear opinions from people on both sides, I am floored at the dichotomy, because both are true! As a coach, I take into account all the circumstances surrounding each client. Let's face it, the more hurdles someone has to jump over, the more daunted and exhausted they are. I refuse, though to discount the human spirit that resides within every single one of them. I'm not of the belief that just because a person is not succeeding, it doesn't mean they don't have potential; just because someone was raised with few resources, it doesn't mean they can't rise above; just because a young person is not exhibiting innate talent or abilities, it doesn't mean they don't have any.

Speaking to anyone, whether they are a self-professed conservative or a liberal, if they are holding firm in one believe system and unwilling to see another side, it is like trying to argue about the exact hue of blue the sky is with someone who is color blind; they see it only one way, their way and there is no real discussion. As a person who looks at the sky and sees the rainbow, I want to heal the issues, not fight about them! If we truly want to help our kids prosper, we have to assume that where and how they grow up will play a HUGE role in how they view the world and themselves, which has a great bearing on how they choose to live their adult life. We should, however, NEVER discount the human spirit and assume money will solve all their issues. Bandaids don't heal wounds. They just protect the wound so it can have the opportunity to heal itself.

What is true disadvantage anyway? Let's all agree that sexual abuse and incest, learning disabilities, birth defects, lack of mental and physical capabilities, no mother or father, illness, disease, addiction, dueling and divorcing parents, confusion over sexual orientation...issues that are not exclusive to one race, gender, economic status or neighborhood...these are real disadvantages! And yet we have all seen children and adults who were able to rise above. What is the secret ingredient to their success over hardship? What about being raised without the nurturing needed for the mind and human persona? Is there something worse for a child than feeling unwanted and unloved, told they are unworthy or useless and downright bad or perhaps never taught any moral or ethical code whatsoever? Do these issues have exclusivity?

Ask any successful person who was raised in what is deemed true poverty or has less than four limbs, we don't need money to be successful. We need love, values, positive belief systems, nurturing of the spirit and lessons in accountability and humanity. We need role models we can look up to, coaching and coaxing, sometimes a kick in the butt, sometimes a helping hand. We have learned from others what works! Bottom line, as a nation, we need to offer resources to house and feed bodies and educate minds, but if we can't agree on what children really need to prosper, they will never grow into their unlimited, unmitigated and un-wavering Personal Power. They will just grow into adults who may never realize just how much they can prosper on their own. Imagine growing up believing you need someone else to take care of you...that is disadvantage of the worst kind.

Luckily, we can start to create change without having to wait for a politician (democrat or republican) to win a presidential race. We are already in a race of the human kind! We start by being accountable for what we are bringing to the table in our own lives, then our families, then our communities and work outward from there. We can't doubt for one minute that we can help each child rise, but first, we have to stop judging one another's political stance. We need to come together and work together, because this eagle always has and always will need both its wings to fly. <3

Friday, March 11, 2016

We have got to Grow UPP!

The government doesn't make people overeat. They don't make people cheat on their taxes, litter in the street or run through stop signs. They don't make a woman cheat on her husband or a man beat his wife. They don't cause birth defects nor are government leaders responsible for women becoming pregnant when they are not ready for it. The government didn't create our disease or our divorce, force our kids to do drugs or fail their first semester in college. They didn't allow the drunk driver to kill that woman and her baby or give your friend terminal brain cancer. The government was not the entity that caused millions of people to say disparaging words to one another, to text while driving or instigate road rage.

The banks and wall street did their share to hurt our economy, as well as every big business who takes and steals and robs, but every single person who takes and steals and robs, even if it is an item they forgot to pay for at the grocery store, should also be included. If we want to play the blame game, then we have to play fair. We have to include each and every one of us, along with each and every infraction we create against ourselves, our loved ones, our community, our job, and our country. I know, I know, but the senator that took the bribe should be put in jail, but then so should your neighbor that is not claiming some of his salary so he can collect government subsidies. And those big companies that only pay minimum wage...for sure they need to re-evaluate how they care for their employees, but those employees who only give half effort in their work day, call in sick, come in late or steal goods also need to take more responsibility for their job. And if you think a CEO of a public company shouldn't make a million a year, then you also have to be upset about the executive director of the not-for-profit you donated to who is doing just as well.

If for one day, each and every person could stop playing the blame game and start thinking about what s(he) contributes to our country's woes...everything from littering, polluting our environment, running the car or faucet for no good reason or running a stop sign to overeating and smoking (talk about the high cost of insurance!), to lying and cheating on their taxes, driving while texting or slightly buzzed, abusing their rights as a parent in a divorce scenario...I can write for an hour and take up ten feet of newsfeed on Facebook describing what we do to make life harder in these here Un-United States, but everyone would still need to admit to doing their share before it would make sense. Who is game for that? The best thing I ever did in my life was to realize I needed to Grow UPP (Ultimate Personal Power) and take responsibility for EVERYTHING I bring to the table. I still recognize what participation other entities have, so I work to help create change by writing new programs or instigating new laws that protect us, but it is not about what "they" are doing wrong in as much as it is about what we can do together to make things right. I learned a long time ago that blaming alienates, whereas finding solutions ingratiates.

Ultimately, taking responsibility for our participation in all the situations we find ourselves in is what frees us of the victim mentality, makes us realize our potential, and helps us understand how we co-create and manifest. Doing so opened my eyes to the process of positive manipulation...a process we can use to get over ourselves and our human weaknesses so we can tap into our spiritual strength. Why is taking responsibility so powerful? Because when we take responsibility, we take control, and when we take control, we can finally create change! I don't play the blame game because it is a waste of time and a cop out. It is non-productive and it creates discomfort and dis-ease in my mind, my body and my life. Why would I want to believe that other people have all that control over me, my future or my rights as a human? Nah...powerless is unattractive; not my style; not what I taught my kids; and not what I want for my country and the people in it. No matter what our lot in life, we can start the UPP process. We are not victims; we are victors. We are not turkeys; we are Eagles, and we need to start acting like we each have the potential to do better...that we have the personal power to rise above. I promise, once we start UPP Rising, we will never feel helpless, weak or vulnerable again. <3

Monday, June 8, 2015

Part VI: The Common Denominators of Addiction and how to eradicate them. There is more than hope!
We (body, mind and soul) were made to restore and heal from just about anything. There is no reason to believe our bodies and minds can’t completely eradicate addiction. Up until this point though, we have only used a tiny portion of the tools our body and nature supplied for us. When I started my coaching practice over 20 years ago, it was after discovering my perfect storm, which I believe was brought on by a childhood trauma. My symptoms included ADD, memory loss, fluid retention, severe mood swings, gastro problems, acne, "auditory imperception" (a hearing disability), sensitivity to noise, sugar addiction, negative thought patterns and much more. I went to many medical doctors and various practitioners to try and “fix” all the physical ailments, but after many tests, we had no diagnosis. At the same time, I heard about a bio-chemical nutritionist who worked with amino acids and food to get people back on tract hormonally. I also suffered with emotional distress my entire life, so I decided to go to a psychologist who discovered I had PTSD from the childhood and adult trauma I experienced. I thank God for that diagnoses because I thought I was going crazy. When I set out to find these doctors, it was out of necessity and frustration. I was at a point where I would have done anything to get rid of the symptoms that no one in the past was ever able to help me with. Turns out, no “one” could. I needed at least three.

Although all these practitioners never even met, they were unknowingly working together to help me. I was taking their findings, test results, and diagnoses and putting together the pieces of the Donna Martini puzzle. And trust me...I was not initially aware that I was embarking on a “new age” odyssey of holistic healing. No, I will admit to being dumb as a stump, but necessity dictated. As a newly divorced mom, I needed to be strong and whole for my kids. I needed to provide for them. Bottom line, our survival depended on me being "fixed." That was my prayer, and this is how God decided to help me. He gave me a gift far beyond spontaneous healing. He gave me knowledge I could take with me to help myself and eventually to help many others. And so where the story ended was also the beginning of what I call a FISHing expedition: A Fully Integrated Synergistic Healing of the body and mind. If it took many factors to create my perfect storm, it made sense to believe I needed to heal out of many factors in order to calm it.

That was over 20 years ago and since I made such strides, others came to me for help for their undiagnosed issues. I was happy to lead them to my doctors and my findings. Without effort, a coaching practice emerged, and since what I was finding out was not something you could learn in school, I decided not to get any type of degree. Instead I documented everything the doctors and I were doing with each person and came up with some consistent findings in all the addiction cases: Imbalances in organs and glands (most significant being the adrenals and thyroid), deficiencies or excess of hormones (most important being cortisol, estrogen and testosterone), bio-chemicals and neurotransmitters (of course there was always a dopamine issue), amino acids, vitamins, minerals (most specifically aspartic acid and glutamine, but all essential and non essential nutrients). These physical imbalances perpetuated addictive tendencies and kept people trapped in their mental and emotional trauma. So trauma started the imbalance in the body and the body wanted resolution. That is what self medicating is all about!

Some practitioners use psychotropic drugs to try and balance the mind and body, but it is like a game of “try and seek.” The rhetoric goes something like, “If this one (pill) doesn’t work, we can try another.” I have a problem with this. Unless someone is so bad off only a drug will keep them from harm (I have seen this a few times in my practice), why aren’t we investigating the entire body as a whole BEFORE we attempt to put another substance that may imbalance something else? Why aren’t we going for complete restoration instead of bandaids? A fully integrated system (body/mind/soul) needs a fully integrated approach. The mind can’t function properly without a clean body. The body can’t function properly without clean, powerful fuel and a clear head. Nothing can happen without the will and we can’t get and keep the will without a fortified body! A vicious cycle! And let’s all think about this: We are taking drugs so we can change the body. Why would we try that before we try to get rid of what changed the body in the first place?

I hear and read about treatment centers that take a holistic approach (YEAH!), but the majority are still using and replicating traditional methods that are only working on a portion of the population (and I am sure that is why so many insurance companies don’t want to pay for them.) In addition, we need to upgrade our beliefs on what addiction really is. With AA being established in 1935, way before we understood anything about our bio-chemistry and genetic predisposition, shouldn’t we be open to a more full-spectrum approach to healing that incorporates the body as well as the mind and spirit? If AA is working on the spirit and expecting the body to come around, that might be why it isn't working on every person.

As far as I am concerned, if a program like AA or any treatment outlets are only working for a percentage (be it large or small) of addicted people, we shouldn’t be blaming the addicted people who can't hold onto sobriety for not being able to stay sober. We should be addressing the programs. Should we be blaming someone for not having the will to attend or stick with a program when the number one symptom of the condition we are trying to treat is not having the will to stick to a program?!? Put this way, doesn’t our approach sound a bit inane?

Like everything else, nothing is one size fits all. Since we only know a tiny percent of what we should know about the human body and mind, we can’t take anything for granted...not the cause, the effect or the method we use to bring people out of it. But again, not to blame any person or agency. I am not blaming, judging or faulting. And I will note that every practitioner I meet is fully entrenched and dedicated to helping people. What most were not considering (or taught) is that we need to bring EVERYONE from every facet together and be open to all discussion...willing to work together to heal each person and the epidemic as a whole. I send people to AA for spiritual direction, so that is proof that I believe in the 12 steps, but expect me to be "in your face" if you tell me AA is the only way. It was and is “the” way for many, but it was not “the” way for most or we would have no addiction issue. My point being, if there is an epidemic in a macro system, we have to address the macro as if there were many, many micros, and each micro is in and of itself a macro! With the millions of people we treat, we have 1,000 times that in variables for each person's body. How can we think we can heal everyone with one methodology?

Next, Part VII...The 12 Steps and a few strides: How we can address the body and mind as we lift the soul.
Part V of Addiction: How do we begin to calm the Perfect Storm?
I always say, we can’t have a clear head without a clean body, so let’s start with asking, “Are we clean?” By understanding that we are all working at a deficit (meaning, we live surrounded by sabotaging factors our bodies were not made to handle), we can begin to unravel the not so mysterious answer to addiction. Do I have to list them all from exposure to radiation, electronic and microwave emissions to inhaled and ingested plastics, chemicals and nutrient deprived foodstuff? Suffice it to say, we are not living wholesome. As adults we can manipulate our bodies out of some of these influences, but thousands of negative influences in a day, week, month then years...? And what of a child’s body...while it is in the process of growth, are we kidding ourselves about how compromised they are? To make it even harder on our physical selves, we aren’t being fortified daily with nature’s offerings, exercise and truly wholesome, nutrient rich, chemical-free fuel. So we have much working against us and not much working for us. Where would our minds go from there?

And then there is the biggest trigger...one that is evident in 100% of the people I have worked with and (proven to be) well over 90% of those treated by professionals; namely a traumatic episode. Experts will agree that trauma altered the mind, but many have yet to link the fact that it imbalanced the body enough to sabotage it (which makes it the key to healing the person). In children (and adults) the trauma can trigger addiction to a substance or to a behavior like anorexia, cutting and picking the skin or hair. While at a conference on anorexia, I listened to this testimony from counselors. I was excited to hear their discovery (I already knew this from the countless people I was coaching), because I thought they were going to talk about new methods of treatment. When they finished speaking and there was no mention of the physical effects the trauma might have caused; namely, cortisol imbalance, I asked them why. I also asked, “What is being done about it?” The answer I got was, “We are looking into it.” This is not what I was expecting! I will keep asking questions, though, to all involved in addiction treatment...those with the wherewithal and doctorate, “Why aren’t 100% of the addiction population being tested and treated for cortisol imbalance? Why do we think we can mentally talk someone out of physical addiction?”

Whether it was a big trauma like sexual or physical abuse, exposure to death and despair, a life changing event like divorce, or what I call a “Little T” (not to diminish any trauma!), like a car accident, loss of a pet, bullying at school, etc., it all plays out in a similar way in the body. Stress and trauma produce a cortisol pump, putting the body in a cycle that never ends until we attempt to re-balance it. We know now that some bodies are already at risk (genetically predisposed) to addiction before a trauma is introduced, and then there are many people who go through severe trauma and don’t become addicted...or do they? Beyond drugs and alcohol, pot, cocaine and heroin, there is love and sexual addiction, computer games, food and gambling to name a few. Some don’t consider overactivity of something seemingly good for you to be addiction, but in my practice I see addiction to exercise, sports, religion, even Facebook! Some have a constant need to seek out metaphysical practices, like going to psychics, and one of the biggest issues...a need to constantly reiterate events from the past. (I call that being a re-call-a-holic.) Negative thoughts about past events can keep re-instigating trauma in the body and fuel the fire of addiction.
Depending on all ancillary factors like how we were taught to deal with life’s episodes, how well we are supported, how our minds perceive it, and the healthy or unhealthy state our body is in...our perfect storm gets created, and in order to calm it, we have to recreate ourselves, mind AND body, or the storm just keeps going, creating more and destruction as it passes through.

Next Part VI: The Common Denominators of Addiction and how to eradicate them. There is more than hope!