Add on to “Social Media and Saving the Planet”

I promised to give you some links on my original post, so here they are! They will plant a tree for every dollar you donate. A $20 donation will fund a pound of ocean trash and get you a bracelet or t-shirt. Protecting endanged species- wolves, orcas, polar bears and more. Protecting our food supplies and waterways.

If anyone wishes to add others to this list, please feel free. There are many more.

Is it Really Anxiety?

Growing up, I knew there was something wrong with me, but I didn’t know what. Only that I was tense and unhappy most of the time.

My mother had died when I was 2. My father remarried, but my stepmother showed me no affection. There were 9 of us children by the time I was 12. To many this might seem like a dream come true, but for me it was extremely painful.

To protect myself I spent as much time alone in my room with my hobbies or outside as I was allowed. I was deemed unsociable, selfish because I rarely joined in and was often teased unmercifully by the other children. Through all of this, my father was there for me. He was loving and kind, supporting and encouraging me emotionally and in the activities I was involved in.

I didn’t do as well as was expected of me in school. My full brother and sister were both high school valedictorians. And though I had girlfriends, I never dated.

My first college experience wasn’t any better. My father had died the summer before I started classes. I went from living in the country near a town of only 1500 people to a college campus of over 15.000 students from all over the world. After 3 semesters at Washington State University I had a nervous breakdown and hitchhiked 90 miles to my sister’s in Spokane.

In my 30’s I was diagnosed with depsession and anxiety. When my youngest entered school, I enrolled in Spokane Community College. This time I was armed with meds for both conditions. The program I had chosen would hopefully lead me to the career I wanted to pursue. I graduated with an Associates degree and a GPA of 3.8. I still wonder if it was my commitment, the medications, or merely the power of suggestion that got me through those two years, where before, just the thought of entering a classroom full of strangers put me in a mental and emotional stranglehold.

I have developed several mechanisms to avoid being overwhelmed by too much sensory input such as noise, people, and possessions. The first is minimalism- keeping my home, obligations, and activities simple and uncluttered. This is a rather simplified version of what is involved. There are many options for more in-depth articles on minimalism on the web and in the bloggiing community.

Another is avoiding situations that cause anxiety for me such as many public places and events. I do my shopping in the early hours or later at night. Even small groups of people such as a knitting circle, product party or group therapy are very uncomfortable for me. This is social anxiety. I have undergone counseling for this with no results. Honestly, I enjoy my own company and have no desire to be “cured” of this perceived character flaw.

Mindfulness meditation calms the body and mind and allows the subconscious to receive solutions to the questions and problems we seek to understand. This could manifest itself in the form of a person we might meet, an article or blog post we read, or a book we are led to.

I recently came across a a book titled “Highly Intuitive People” which was recommended by Amazon Kindle based on my previous reading choices. The author also talked about “sensitives”, which I immediately identified with. This was the explanation I had been waiting for most of my life.

If you, too are a sensitive, it is something you were born with and will need to learn to live with. You can embrace it or merely tolerate it, but you cannot change it. Either way, you must treat yourself with kindness and forgiveness. This means you no longer judge or condemn yourself for being “flawed.”

The book also suggests ways to deal with this part of your nature and make it work for you. The journey is yours to pursue. May you enjoy it with all your heart!

More Words Please!

I’m in love with books. And the words that make up the stories, facts and inspiration within.

Big words, small words, each has a meaning.

Each has the power to evoke a memory or feeling.

Increasing my vocabulary has always been a game to me. I challenge myself each day to find at least one new word in the articles, novels, inspirational, motivational, or fact based books and yes, blogs I consume.

I love crossword puzzles. They help keep my brain sharp, exercise memory skills and teach me new WORDS!

Today’s new word is: Sumismatics, the study of change.

And I love to write. With words. Words that hopefully work some magic for the reader.

I want them to see vivid, colorful images, smell wonderful smells that bring warm memories to mind, even bring a tear to the eye, or a smile to the lips.

My curiosity is insatiable. At times I am unable to shut my brain down to sleep. That’s one of the times when meditation comes to my aid. I focus on my breathe until my mind is quiet. I practice compassion for myself instead of judgment and soon I am asleep.

Usually with a cat wrapped around my head or tucked behind my knees and all is right with my world.

Our Cookie Cutter Society

On the drive into Twin Falls yesterday, my mind was at rest, simply taking in all the images that passed my window.

As I live 5 miles away in Kimberly, the first few miles we passed were lush with crops- corn, potatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa and newly harvested wheat and oat fields. Between the fielids were homes, some with horses in corrals and RVs in the driveways.

Soon the view changed. As we entered the outskirts of TF, businesses began to pop up. Farm equipment and truck sales lots were prominate here with related shops interspersed between them.

We passed the Chobani plant, the largest yoghurt producer in the world.

Soon the view changed to a mix of independent businesses among neat, landscaped neighborhoods and schools. One of the first things I noticed about Twin Falls was the amount and variety of planted trees.

Then came the dedicated commercial area, packed with big box stores, chain gas stations and fast food places, car sales and cell phone stores.

As I awaited my appointment at the modern St Luke’s Magic Valley Hospital and Medical Center, all of these images and impressions began to form a conclusion in my mind.

While Twin Falls was unique in many ways; the area was truly blessed by it’s agricultural economy with abundance and a 3% unemployment rate, it is just like every other American city in many ways. I have noticed there are 3 ways that are the most prominent.

The first is that 98% of every new or fairly new vehicle on the road is painted one of 5 colors, red, white, blue, black, or gray, with a few gold ones thrown in. This is due to the fact that this is all most new car dealers carry, and to the economic abundance of the area.

The second is the sheer volume of fast food franchises, and the third and most disturbing is the rarity of seeing someone who isn’t staring at or talking into a cell phone.

“…mindfulness, is actually a practice rather than merely a good idea or a clever clinical technique.

It is thousands of years old. It’s essence, being about attention and awareness, is universal.”

Jon Sabot Zinn , in the introduction to “Mindfulness, finding peace in a frantic world” by Mark Williams and Danny Perman.

I have told others “I never get bored” most of my life, when in actuality what I do is divert my attention to one or more of my many interests. This may be responding to emails, reading on Kindle or a printed book, watching a movie or TV show while knitting, checking my to-do list items off or creating new ones, etc.

On the outside, it may appear that I’ve conquered my lifelong anxiety, but nothing could be further from the truth. When I took an honest inventory of my thoughts and behavior, I was stunned to discover how many of these were rooted in anxiety.

In the first chapter of “Mindfulness”, these is an exerpt on performing a “one minute meditation”. Surely I could quiet my thoughts that long.

Mindfulness, I realize, must be practiced on a regular basis. You must desire the peace and clarity it brings. But once you experience it, you won’t be satisfied with anything less.

The War

I have spent the past 18 months in a situation that has been a source of constant frustration for me. As a result, my reactions and behavior on occasion have been expressed in anger and negativity.

I came to this facility for rehab when my reduced mobility due to a badly damaged arthritic knee made independent living too difficult. I needed to increase my strength before I could undergo surgery but it was 4 months before physical therapy was finally started.

Getting around was difficult even with a walker and anxiety kept me from eating in the dining room or participating in group activities, so that time was spent almost entirely in bed. I grew weaker and increasingly depressed. My roommate during that time was 94. She spent her days in the dining room and her nights asleep. Her only communication was to curse at the aids if she was awakened during the night.

I read every mystery, thriller and action/adventure novel in the small library. I watched TV when programs and movies come on that engaged me, which wasn’t often. I enjoyed conversing with the people who attended me. But despite all my efforts, my depression  remained.

It was 5 more months before I had my knee replaced. Another round of PT  began. Normally I would have been able to resume my independent life after 3 months,  but my right shoulder had become increasingly more painful and less useful. I had been favoring it for some time and getting by with cortisone injections, but it was clear that I would no longer be able to put off a having a replacement. I went through 2 more roommates in the 5 months following my knee surgery. The first wasn’t  much more compatible with me than the last, and spent little time in our room.

Finally I was  assigned a room where I could claim the bed by the window. No longer was I tucked away behind drawn blinds and privacy curtains. My depression disappeared. I began to write and to enjoy my crafts once more. The facility is located on the outskirts of a small town here in southern Idaho. I am able to look out my window as the seasons change at the surrounding farmland. There is a line of low hills in the distance. I am thankful for all these things even though the only opportunity I have to get outside is to go to appointments.

Within a few days of this move I got my third roommate, Pearl, who was exactly what I needed. Though she only stayed a month, she was the first real bright spot in my life here. We became close friends and still text each other often.

The upcoming surgery would mark my fifth joint replacement in 15 years. Both hips had to be revised during that time as well. I had both hips replaced and the right one revised in 2005 alone. I had accepted early on that I needed help during my recovery times though it wasn’t easy. I had been diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Disease. In other words, my body bad betrayed me.

Despite all my efforts to stay centered in the present, I resented the fact that I was no longer able to work. Being confined indoors for long periods is difficult for an outdoor person and having to give up most of the activities I  enjoyed was even harder. Indeed, it was humbling.

My current roommate, Deb, is closer to my age. With many shared experiences in common, we immediately struck up a friendship. She has a quick wit and a positive attitude that even my lingering bouts of negativity can’t diminish. But she has cancer and was given only a few months to live. She is confined to a wheelchair. On bad days she mostly sleeps. When she’s up, her pain is evident and she shows little interest in anything. Still she doesn’t complain. I feel helpless to comfort or assist her. But I try to insure she has help when she needs it. We look forward to the good days.

When I think about her indomitable spirit, I am ashamed of my resentfulness. I am thankful for my life, my overall good health and an active mind. I believe everything happens for a reason. Every person, event and experience is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to become a better human being. We are free to choose what we do with it. I believe this with all my heart. But still I am frustrated. Still I react with impatience. I miss the companionship and comfort of my cat and being able to go out into Nature. These things nurture and heal me. Neither the meditation nor all the positive reading I do can replace them. I want the freedom and increased options work on my laptop gives me versus having to do everything on my phone.

I read a post yesterday on journaling for healing. I was unable to find the site again or I would share it with you. I realized that though I had journaled about the facts of my experience with my disability over the years, I had never written about the  feelings that were a part of it. I had buried them all this time and was continuing to do so.

I was reluctant to let go. I wanted my resentment. It was a wall that kept people from getting too close. An excuse to show anger. A reason to fight against the rules. Deep inside I felt damaged, unacceptable.

This is something I need to do but I don’t know if I can. I want to be whole again, emotionally and physically, but I’ll settle for being the best human being I can be.

Social Media and Saving the Planet

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese Proverb

I said my goodbyes on Facebook today. I hung in there a long time, enjoying posts of family and friends and beautiful photography from pages like Distinctly Montana and Nine Pipes Museum. My daughter, a web designer, graphic artist and photographer, opted out quite awhile agoago from her personal page. Posts from 0her travel blog, still appear occasionally. She felt that nobody was listening or responding to her posts. That is exactly how I feel. In the last few months, since I started this blog, I began sharing posts about wildlife and protected lands in danger as well as the climate change crisis. I am not merely disappointed but enraged that so many Americans and corporations are denying the imminent problems our country and our planet are facing. I have read some articles encouraging writers to use social media to promote their blogs. I have also read several post by bloggers who have removed themselves from social media. I feel that most of these are time-wasting distractions that require an investment of not only our time, but our mental and emotional energy as well. When you choose not to speak up, you give up your freedom. Find a cause. Take a stand. Use your voice for good. I will follow with some websites you can access to learn more and get involved. If you’re reading this unfinished post please check back. I need to make some formatting corrections. Thanks for your patience.

Got a Dollar? This Climate Action is a No-Brainer!

Any way you choose to help will make a difference.

The Happiness Nerd

Here’s proof: The Happiness Nerd is a good human 🙂 And for a buck you can be, too!

Hello my dear happiness nerds, welcome (back)!

This just in and I had to spread the love: An awesome group of youtubers have joined forces to make it easy for you to do something about climate change. I know so many people, who want to help, but just don’t know where to start. Researching the best options online can be daunting—believe me, I’ve been doing it for weeks and there’s still no end in sight. But I’ve found out a couple of things. For example, planting trees, especially diverse local species in tropical climates, is one of the most effective (and beautiful!) measures to heal Mother Earth (see sources here,here, and here), who has fed us, clothed us, and gave us shelter for all these millenia.

And this is exactly what…

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What’s in a Poem?

This post began as a comment on a poem written by Roxy St Clair called “The Writing Way.” Http://

I admire writers who can create poetry in what I call freeform verse.

As for me, I am constrained by the elements of meter and rhyme and am often left unsatisfied with the finished product.

But this is who I am and all I can do is follow my heart. I have written poetry most of my life, but “Oh Willow” is the first one I’ve published. Self-publishing is not the same as having your writing accepted by a periodical or a volume of poetry and verse.

Publishing to my own blog hardly counts as here I am my own worst(and best) critic.I have submitted my poetry to several periodicals over the years and each attempt was summarily rejected.I don’t believe it was a matter of quality as much as it was a poor match or bad timing. Of course I am understandably biased on that subject.

Unfortunately, these pieces were lost or I would surely have kept trying.

Poetry is the singing voice of the heart. Let your heart sing.

Thank you, My friends!

Today my blog reached 100 likes! My first milestone. I started “A Walk in the Clouds” three months ago knowing I just had to put my thoughts on paper. I had no idea how it would be received or even if I could create a community. Secretly I hoped it would, but that wouldn’t have stopped the words from flowing or crushed my desire to be better.

And thank you for your posts and comments that encouraged me and fueled the fire.

I have uploaded more of my photos to be available on the customizer and learned how to use the edit feature better. This morning I updated 2 of my recent posts with feature photos that had both a personal connection and conveyed the message of my words.

I hope my readers will visit “Oh Willow: A Poem” and “Who is This Chris Columbus Anyway?” and let me know what you think.

Who is this Chris Columbus Anyway?

And why do we honor him with a holiday every year? He never even visited North America, for God’s sake!

What he did do was land in the Bahamas and proceed to inflict atrocities upon and initiate genocide against the indigenous peoples who lived there.

There has been an ever expanding movement in The USA and Canada to change today’s holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day. North Dakota was the first state to ratify this. To date, a total of 10 states and 100 cities have followed.

I, for one, think that it’s about time! This is nothing against the Italian people. There were explorers from other nations who perpetrated the same violent, hateful actions that Columbus was guilty of.

As I an part Chippewa, this issue is of particular importance to me. But you don’t have to be Native American to be a supporter. There is much information on the internet where you can get more facts. has an excellent article on the subject.

So enjoy your holiday, whether you get a day off work or not, and think about the ancient civilizations that came before us and the history and culture that deserves our respect

Oh Willow:a poem

Please read “Sovereign”, a poem written by Roxy St. Clair at http://Roxy St.

I once knew a tree that moved me like this Oh willow, Oh willow, you gave me your gifts.

So stoic, so sad, yet joyful your call. We rejoice in your presence, shed tears when you fall.

Our shelter, companion, our home and our berth, you cleanse the air and feed the earth.

You open your arms, embracing us all. Take comfort, my brothers… The willow stands tall