December 22, 2009

Celebrating MCS Improvements Part 5: Healing Faster and Faster!



My improvements are happening very fast now.

Every week I seem to have things I can tolerate (or am reacting less to) that I could not just one week before. It's so exciting!

I have now had a number of weeks in a row where I have gone in public with no mask for hours at a time each week - often twice a week - and each time my reactions are less and less!

Last week I went for a medical appointment/exam in a regular clinic that took over 90 minutes total (including wait time) with no mask, then shopping for over 2-3 hours afterwards.
I did take a blanket for over the exam table and asked for a disposable paper robe instead of laundered one.  I was bothered most by the flourescent lights - far more than by chemicals.
My reactions while out were mild and I recovered as fast as it took me to shower after getting home.

I recently went ot Walmart without a mask (something I thought would never happen).
It was not a pleasant experience but far better than it would have been in the past.  I have been to Zellers (for non-Canadians that is like a small version of Walmart - not quite as stinky but still awful) many times maskless now and am fine.  Haven't yet done harware stores.

Yesterday I was in various grocery stores for 2 hours, then in a MALL, amidst the holiday shopping craziness, for about an hour and a half, all with no mask.
I came home, showered, ate and was well enough to go out to a cafe that was having free tarot readings!

With these outings I get slight sore throat and slight brain fog and sometiems some fatigue but it all passes so fast and is SO mild compared to how it used to be. I used to have more symptoms than those and far worse. A few years ago an outing maskless even a fraction of that length would have had me sick for weeks or more. And each time I did one would have taken longer to recover.

My favourite thing is being able to smile at people :-)
:-)

December 12, 2009

Touch For Health Experience

Today I had my first session with a healer who just completed level 1 Touch For Health. I have the opportunity to be a volunteer client for a number of sessions.

I have never done Touch For Health (T4H for short) before though I do some Eden Energy Medicine on my own that has a number of similarities.  I hadn't known what to expect.

It ended up being a very positive experience!

The focus today was my body being in harmony with the food I eat.  It's too soon to say what effect T4H has had  on that issue but by the end of the session I was feeling really good.
Positive, energised and strong!

The session was done in my home and shortly after it, I was listening to music and suddenly was filled with energy and just had to get up and dance.  I was feeling so good that I started laughing!
A few minutes into the song, I realised that I was dancing normally (and vigorously) even though I have had a hurt foot that's had me limping for days.  I tested out the foot and discovered there was no pain left!  It had been hurting at the start of the T4H session but less than 90 minutes later, the pain was totally gone!  Very exciting and I'm happy to be able to dance again.

I danced with much more energy than usual and am still feeling energised and happy almost an hour later.

If any readers have tried T4H I would love to hear your experiences.

~

In other news, I am working on getting an interview up on the blog with the inspiring performance artist Julie Laffin (who just happens to also have MCS) and have been working on some holiday season crafts including making a fabric 'xmas' tree that will hang on the wall.
Hope to have posts on those things soon!

I hope you are all keeping as warm and cozy as possible.
:-)

November 16, 2009

Constitutional Homeopathy Update

For the past 10.5 months I've been trying constitutional homeopathy for MCS and overall health.

So far there are some really dramatic results - for the good.
There have been some old symptoms brought up and as I keep taking the remedy, I move through them and feel that my body is finally healing those issues - instead of just shoving them under the carpet and adding more symptoms as happened most of my life!

Constitutional homeopathy is highly specific and it is my belief that results depend on having a homeopath who is skilled and conscientious.
What I like best about this approach is that, "Constitutional prescribing is also aimed at eventual cure of the patient, not just suppression or relief of immediate symptoms."

I was lucky enough to get in as a client of a 4th year homeopathy student at a very low price and have stayed on with her since she has graduated.

There have been some great physical improvements (improved MCS all round is the best one) and a number of very profound emotional and spiritual differences.
My very mind set about some things has changed in ways I would have thought impossible.

One thing that has had a profound impact on me has been a shift in what time I feel like getting up in the morning.   It used to feel torturous to get up any time before 9am (often any time before 10am).  Now I wake up every day at around 5am, naturally, open the curtains so my body can sense that natural shift of light when dawn hits and go back to sleep until about 7am.  And wake up, almost always before my alarm, feeling pretty alert and rested.  At 7am!
7:00 a.m.
normal to many people, totally strange for me!


I used to never feel rested no matter how much I slept.  I'd be dragging myself out of bed out of guilt or knowing how much worse insomnia would be the next night if I slept in further.

I used to need at least 9 hours of sleep to feel halfway human and now I can get anywhere between 7 and 8.5 hours and feel fine - often good!



I am going to have an appointment with the homeopath to try and figure out a remedy to take acutely when migraines happen.

I've got my fingers crossed!
:-)

November 5, 2009

Got Brain? Fun & Free Games to Improve Cognitive Function!



Do you ever avoid doing something that you know would be good for you because it's not enjoyable?




 
I know I do!  ☺


I'd like to share 2 sites that have fun games to improve brain function/health.
Both of these sites have many games that can be played for free.

Best of all, they are FUN!


At Fit Brains, there are more than 20 scientifically designed brain games designed to target all five major cognitive areas of brain function and keep your brain "healthy and sharp".  Almost all of them can be played for no cost. ☺  Although Fit Brains always asks if you'd like to sign up for a free account, it's entirely optional and when the little window pops up, you can select the 'Play Without Tracking' button to play the games without signing up. A free account allows you to track your progress, have brain games adapt to you and challenge your friends.


At Lumosity, although they also have more than 20 games, only the 'featured games' shown at the top can be played without signing up for a free account.  A window may pop up asking you to sign up for an account but if you hit the X in the upper right corner of the pop up window, you can then play the game without signing up.  Once again there are games you can play without signing up or paying.  A free account allows you to save your scores and compare scores with others.
Lumosity games are organised by what brain function they help hone.


For those interested in reading more about how our awesome brains can change and heal, there is literature on those 2 sites above and there is an excellent blog called Brain Leaders and Learners.

Have fun!
p.s. in my opinion, having fun is an absolutely necessary ingredient for healing!


Do you know of any other free resources for building or improving brain function?

If so, please share them in the comments section!

I'd also love to hear if you have a favourite brain game from either of those sites.

Thanks!

October 19, 2009

Inspiring People with MCS - Kimberly Shaw

Kimberly is an author, educator, filmmaker and natural health consultant who was diagnosed with MCS in 1995.  I first heard about Kimberly a while back when someone was discussing her MCS Documentary.
I encourage you to visit her site and let her know if you're interested in being interviews just in case she is in your area filming!

She also blogs at Adventurous Canary and Serendipity.
I've been really enjoying her Serendipity blog and finding it very inspiring!
I love reading about her going on journeys and my spirits are lifted by how often she finds people very accomodating about her food and chemical sensitivities.

What I love most about the blog is her gorgeous photos - often of nature.

.

Community Site - Planet Thrive

I'm sorry it has taken me SO long to share this resource.
I'm finding writing a real challenge lately so I'll keep this brief :-)

Julie Genser has a really neat community/social site called Planet Thrive that has such a wealth of things do to and read that I won't list them all here but encourage you to sign up (it's FREE) and check them out yourself!

From their home page: "A hip, rockin' community for those who are ready to kick convention to the curb and reclaim responsibility for their health."

Planet Thrive's mission statement reads, "to connect, inform, and support people globally who are struggling to reverse the damaging health effects of an increasingly toxic world"
You can read more here.
.

September 27, 2009

Healing Humour: A Great Poem About Fudge

Those of you with food sensitivities may appreciate this great poem by Amestress on her blog Life: The Final Attempt (not really).

It's called I Remember Fudge: a eulogy and to me it felt like she was using humour to express some painful feelings about loss.

I am green with envy over her writing skills!
Amestress is using dance to track her recovery from MCS and posts videos (sometimes with fun songs that crack me up :).

I personally have found humour to be a great coping skill and sometimes a healing tool. On down days, I access the healing properties of laughter by watching funny videos online or reading funny stories/books. Studies show that laughter can improve immune system health, increase oxygen to the brain, reduce pain and stress and much more.


Thanks Amestress both for permission to link and for inspiring me!

September 13, 2009

Celebrating MCS Improvements Part 4: Going Maskless

It seems like a very long time since I have posted on the blog! I've been living in clean air in the woods for the summer and it's been so healing... but more about that another time :-)

I came across this old draft of a post I began writing back in January. It was so neat to read it again today and realise how much things have changed since then and I wanted to share.

*Note* There are many different kinds of 'masks' that people with MCS use. When I refer to a 'mask' I am talking about a small 'respirator' I wear that has a layer of activated carbon in it which can adsorb a certain amount of VOCs and chemicals. It is not tolerated by all due to the synthetic materials it is made from.
This is not one of the large respirators that have canister filters - they filter much more and are excellent for MCS from what I hear IF one can get them outgassed enough so a
s to not react to the respirator itself.



Here is the January 2009 post:

I now have a few select places I can go without a mask - something I thought would be forever impossible. Just yesterday I was out without mask and realised that it no longer felt terrifying like it did when I first began doing so (maybe a year ago).

I know my body and intuition well enough now to trust them. If I have the feeling that today is a mask day, then I wear my mask(s). If not, I try to trust that feeling too although it's a bit harder (scarier).
There are some places that I expect will be quite a while before I go unmasked. Grocery stores (the dreaded detergent aisle that contaminates the entire store), malls (have gone unmasked once), department stores, hardware stores, anywhere that has air 'freshener'.

Fast forward 9 months to September 2009:

I was so excited to read that old post because it is inspiring to
realise just how FAST I am improving! it may feel like I am crawling along while I'm doing it, but things like this give me perspective. Only 9 months ago, I though it would be possibly years before I could go somewhere stinky like a mall or big grocery store.
I can now go to those 'dreaded' huge grocery stores, malls and department stores with no mask. (though I do not go down the aisles that have detergent, perfume, air f
resheners - that would just be stupid ☺)

There are days when I can tell it would not be a good idea so I go masked but generally, I can now go those places unmasked with no lasting effects. I get a so
re throat or nose - depending on whether I breathe through my mouth or nose - and I get varying degrees of brain fog still. Other than that, my reactions are almost none and my recovery time is almost immediate upon getting into clean air again.
Even one year ago, I would have a chemical 'hangover' for at least the following day if not longer. And that's if I went wearing a mask.

I can't imagine how bad it would have been without the mask. I know the recovery time was much longer if my mask was older and less effective at filtering out VOCs.

I waited a long time to post about this and here is why: people with MCS sometimes take risks like this when they are getting better and end up having it set them back.


I knew that some readers may be concerned I was taking a foolish risk. It's hard to communicate to anyone else what my relationship with my intuition is like and the decision to go places maskless could seem ridiculous and totally unsafe. I wanted to wait to post until a good deal of time had passed and I could say, with confidence, the following:




I am still improving while taking these calculated risks. I am not setback, I am not in a holding pattern. I am still getting better and better... and it's wonderful! ☺☻☺




I want to add a very important caution here.
Please, please do not try something like this based on my personal experience.
This is a big risk to take and should only be taken if you and your health care professional confer about it.
I only made the decision to do this after I had been steadily improving for quite some time. I began very tentatively with a lot of time in between exposures at first to assess how my body was reacting. I also listen very closely to my body and, if it is having a harder day, I either wear the mask or just stay at home.
I feel it is very important to move forward in ways like this only when it is
realisticly wise to do so - not just because we want to be able to. It is possible for people with MCS to be vulnerable to denial - to wanting our freedom so much that we take unwise risks.

May 9, 2009

Celebrating MCS Improvements Part 3


Along with all of it's many gifts, Spring has brought me many opportunities to notice ways in which my health is improving and moving forward!

With MCS, one can react to any source of VOC (Volatile Organic Compond) - even a 'natural' source such as flowers, mold, fresh cut grass, wood etc.


All of the things on this list caused very bad reactions only 2 years ago - bad enough that I had to avoid all of them. Last year I was much better than the year before but still quite restrictive however... this year is dramatically better than last year and I feel no restrictions at all to these four things listed below! This is absolutely wonderful and feels like such a gift and blessing. I'm outside for hours each day and it's so good for my soul.

Gardening: rarely, if ever, do I react to mold from soil now. I garden every day! I used to have to wear a mask and gloves. I garden maskless now but do sometimes wear gloves if my eczema is acting up.


Fresh cut grass in the neighbourhood smells fresh and lovely to me! This blows my mind since only a few years ago, the terpenes and other VOCs released from fresh cut grass felt like poison to me and I had run and close the windows if I heard anyone mowing their lawn. As long as the grass smell was in the air (often days) I had to keep the windows closed and stay inside or only go out wearing a mask.
*note* there is an interesting PDF file paper here that shares results of research done on VOCs emitted from grass - it gives the actual VOCs and amounts after specific time periods (includes formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and more! ack!).
If PDF form is a problem, you can view it in text form here (hope that link worked!)


Fragrant flowers blooming in the neighbourhood such as Lilac, Hyacinth, apple etc are enjoyable instead of making me nauseous and terribly sick (and necessitating the same frantic run for indoors and battening of the hatches as cut grass used to). What a joy to be able to appreciate a pretty, natural smell instead of feeling it's the enemy. I still don't bring fragrant flowers into the house but can envision a day when that will be possible!

Raking leaves: mild to no reaction to leaf mold (I used to get 'stoned', exhausted and incoherent).



As a wonderful added bonus, my reactions to the following chemicals have also dramatically improved. I suspect it's been happening gradually over the winter and spring is giving me the chance to notice it since I'm outside more and wanting to open windows.
When I say 'reaction' I'm also including recovery time improving.
It takes more of a substance to cause a reaction, even then the reaction is much milder than in the past and my recovery time is much shorter. Yay!!!

  • dryer exhaust
  • lawnmower fumes
  • BBQ fumes
  • car exhaust
  • cigarette smoke
  • tar (including new roof smell - a neighbour just got a new roof)
  • wood smoke
  • perfume, cologne and body spray
  • laundry products on people's clothing, scented products on their hair and skin (I've actually been able to meet some of my neighbours after living here for a few years!)

I get so much hope and inspiration when I catalogue these improvements!
If any readers have noticed improvements, I love hearing about them - please share them in the comments section if you'd like to.

If this post was of interest to you, you might also like:

Moving Forward... Noticing The Positive Part 1

and

Celebrating Improvements - Noticing The Positive Part 2



April 27, 2009

Planet Thrive Interviews Derval Dunford (woman who recovered from MCS)


Hello!

I feel like I haven't written in a very long time and this post will be short.
Spring has sprung here in southern Ontario and I'm outside puttering in the yard and gardens whenever possible.
I've been battling frequent migraines and find they can be triggered or worsened by the computer screen so I haven't been online much.

Today I want to share a link with you to a great interview done by Julie Genser and Julie Laffin at Planet Thrive (a very neat site - check it out!!).

I mentioned Derval Dunford back in March and was so excited to see the interview done with her on Planet Thrive.
When I started this blog, one of the things I wanted to do was interview people who have improved with MCS. So far, I simply haven't had the energy to and I am really happy that someone else is doing it!
Thank you Julie and Julie! :-)
Some day I'd love to see you interview Sweigh Emily Spilkin, Debra Lynn Dadd, Raymond Francis, Annie Hopper, Julia Tuchman and others. It can be so inpsiring to hear of others healing and improvements.

Okay, here is the link to the interview:

Healing trauma and chemical sensitivities an interview with Derval Dunford, creator of the meditation CD Sui

After hearing the sample track from the Sui CD (and loving it), I decided finally to order it. When I get it, I'll let you know how I liked it.
If you haven't listened to the sample track yet, I encourage you to do so.
You can listen to it here (click the link just above CD TRACK DETAILS).

I hope you are all having a great spring with as much clean air as possible and things that bring you joys - great or small.

March 16, 2009

After Recovering From MCS, Irish Woman Puts Out Meditation CD

I'd like to share an inspiring story with you today.

Derval Dunford, an Irish beautician, was mostly housebound and unable to work due to MCS.

As part of her healing journey, she developed a meditation practice for herself that she feels played a big role in her recovery.
She has now returned to working part time as a beautician as well as running meditation classes and putting out a double CD of guided, relaxation and unguided meditation!

The CD is available here and you can listen to a sample track here (click the link just above CD TRACK DETAILS).
I have listened to the sample track and encourage you to check it out! I really enjoyed it. By the end, I felt relaxed and peaceful (something rare in my mind filled constantly with jumbled thoughts).

Here are some press articles you can read about Derval if you like.

Independent.ie

Mayo Advertiser

Sunday Business Post

You can also view my favourite article - the one in the Irish Mirror - at the Sui.ie site by scrolling down to the very bottom of this page and clicking the link mentioned in the final sentence. In this article, she says, "...I know that detoxing my mind played a big role in my recovery."

I had asked Derval how much she has recovered from MCS and she shared, "I feel I have recovered from MCS but I still steer clear of chemicals as much as possible & certainly wouldn't stay in an enclosed space for any period of time with a strong chemical smell. I use all natural products where possible. Having said that, I can go about my daily life as everyone else does, travelling on trains, planes and socialising Thank God!"


Thank you Derval for the inspiration and permission to post your words here!!!

*UPDATE*
1.  there is a great interview of Derval on Planet Thrive (to read click here).
2.  I ended up buying the CD and I love it (I have no financial interest)

March 13, 2009

Sharing Inspiration

Since my 'retreat', I haven't felt much like writing.

I've noticed that I'm very possessive of my energy - selecting carefully what I spend it on.
So I think that, for a while, I'll focus on sharing things here that are inspiring me in some way.

I'd like to share a video with you that recently made a huge impact on me.
It's a fascinating, passionate 18-minute talk given by Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist.

Many years ago she had a stroke and her description of the experience was amazing and, interestingly, spiritual! At the end of the talk I felt moved, inspired, full of joyful tears and so lucky to be a human in such a miraculous body! I hope you'll check out the video.

It took her 8 years to relearn how to walk, think and talk and she sees the entire experience as a positive thing! She is a strong advocate for the possibilities of recovering from strokes - or even being stronger than before they happened.
Her stroke stimulated the right/creative side of her brain and she now sings (advocating for people to donate their brains postmortem for research) and makes stained glass brains in addition to being a scientist!

My apologies to readers who are on dial up speed who have a hard time with videos. You could check out her book or website. Although I haven't read it yet, I've heard her book is incredibly inspiring.

You can view the video here. It's on the TED site which is inspiring all by itself! There are a plethora of inspiring, interesting talks given by people in fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED for short).

**Note**
There is a real brain present for short time during the video - heads up for anyone who gets super grossed out by stuff like that :)

February 17, 2009

Retreat - Listening To My Body's Wisdom

Retreat.
My body, spirit and intuition are telling me it is long past time for one. And the playful part of me jumped on the thought as soon as I had it and blurted out, "It even has the word TREAT in it!!"

I am a naturally very introverted person and often get drained, overwhelmed or overstimulated by interaction with other people - even when it's positive! I also get exhausted just being in a place where other people are talking, bustling, being etc.

My life may look like a retreat already but it doesn't feel that way. Even emails feel draining and overwhelming. Phone calls or in person visits are much worse.


I've felt many times
that getting MCS was my body's wise way of getting me to retreat from a world that was simply unhealthy for me. Not in the sense of toxins but in the sense of draining or overwhelming me energetically.
I've been so focused on the ways in which I am isolated due to MCS that I haven't taken note of the ways in which I'm not isolated such as emails, support groups, reading blogs, phone calls etc.
Aside from when I get migraines and the few camping trips I've been on, I've never take a break from the computer for more than a day in years!

Furthermore, I've been fighting against my own inner wisdom each time I focus on the goal of 'healing' as defined by 'being able to be out in the human world again'!

My body doesn't
want to be 'out in the world' again!!!
It's worked very hard to get me to retreat, take a break, honour my introvertedness!

I trust that there is some wisdom in this. Some positive reason.

So I've decided to honou
r my body's wisdom by trying a real retreat for a week. I'm not going to answer the phone, read or write emails, blog entries or comments(or possibly even go on the computer at all).
I'm going to do some EFT around guilt about this. Our society seems to view introversion as a defect - the very word 'antisocial' has a negative connotation. I've internalised those negative judgements in some ways and want to clear them!

I'm going to stop fighting my isolation for a week and see it as a gift - something to enjoy. (some people pay big bucks to go on retreats!) I'm going to relish it and spend the time doing whatever the heck I want.

Who knows what sort of healing my b
ody will do if I give it the retreat it's been trying to get ever since MCS began all those years ago!

I won't be replying to emails or comments, but please know I'm fine - just on a retreat :-)

I am reminded of the dreams of turtles I had on a few different nights a couple of weeks ago. They felt powerful and important but I didn't know what the message was.
Now I think of turtle wisdom, for me, as including being at peace with where I am, not feeling the need to rush away from it, being comfortable with the pace at which I am moving and, of course, having the option of retreating within when it feels right.

February 12, 2009

Technique to Tap the Healing Power of Love (plus video)

♥ ♥ ♥ Love can be an incredibly healing force - whether it is romantic love, the love of human or animal friendship, the love between parents and children or the love we feel for anything we are passionate about (hobbies, healthy food, nature). ♥ ♥ ♥

I believe that when we are in a place of love we attract more love.


One of the techniques I have been using to shift my energy and help healing is to notice my thoughts when I am not feeling well. If I'm not thinking of something I feel love about, I consciously choose to think of something that I love. At first there was very little I could think of that I loved that didn't instantly remind me of one of my many limitations due to MCS, migraines or food sensitivities. I call that a 'negative hook' because although the thought starts off positively, it hooks me into feeling sad or sorry for myself.
So I settled on gardening. I was able to think about that without too many negative 'hooks' and it brought me great joy to think of.


Thinking of gardening can help me get into a 'love place'.
What can help you feel love, joy, happiness, passion or contentment?
Is it something that you do? Something you think?


If you like making lists, I encourage you to make lists of things you love, then go through the list and circle or underline the things that
don't have any negative 'hooks' to them (example: I love lasagna but can't eat it - the can't part makes a negative hook that can snag me back into feeling bad if I think about lasagna - even though I love it).
When you've taken note of the ones that don't have negative 'hooks' to them, write them on a new piece of paper all by themselves so that you have a list of things that you can do or think about that cultivate a feeling of love, joy, happiness, passion etc (I feel that all of those enjoyable emotions have love in them).

Do not worry if your list only has one thing on it!
That's enough to work with! If all of your positives have a negative hook, find the one that has the least intense hook.

You can carry this list with you or post copies in each room you spend time in. Any time you are feeling less than good, you can look at the list and either do something on it or at least think about one of the things. Even with snow outside, I can still get into a love feeling by fantasizing about gardens I might make in the future.



Another excellent thing you can do is to use that list of the ones that have negative hooks and do a bit (or a lot) of EFT on those every day. Once you have dissolved the negative hook aspects of those things you love, you can use them to tap into the healing power of love.

It sounds a bit simplistic, I know, yet I have been pleasantly surprised at the results and I believe you may also be if you try it.
The more love and 'good' feelings we can cultivate in ourselves, the better we will feel.
The better we feel, the more energy will be freed up in our bodies.
The more energy our bodies have, the more they can use it to heal!

And for those of you who believe in the 'Law Of Attraction', this technique is excellent.

What we think about effects our feelings...
what we feel effects our 'vibration'
we attract things of a similar 'vibration'.

Therefore changing our thoughts can have powerful results.

Many thanks go to Jerry and Esther Hicks for their The Law Of Attraction book that introduced me to this simple and practical way of viewing the 'Law Of Attraction'.

I'd like to leave you with a short, easy tap-along video from Brad Yates on Becoming A Love Magnet!
As an introduction, you may want to read my post Why EFT (and what is it anyhow?) .
Please tap at your own risk :-)



Thanks again for your wonderful videos Brad! They definitely increase the love in this world.

You can also view this video directly on Youtube here.

February 8, 2009

Celebrating MCS Improvements Part 2


Just over a month ago, I wrote Moving Forward... Noticing The Positive. That post was a sharing of part of how my healing had progressed over the last few years and included a few lists of things that I was able to do or be exposed to without reactions, or with greatly lessened reactions compared to in the past.

I want to keep noticing the positive and celebrating the improvements!

To anyone reading, I would really love if you shared any improvements you have noticed - no matter the size. Sharing them can serve as inspiration for others on this healing journey and as validation for our own healing.

I believe that we attract more of whatever we are focusing on and this has proven to be true in my own life. So I believe that focusing on the positive, on improvements no matter how large or small, is a crucial part of my healing journey.

So without further ado:

This week I noticed that I had bills laid out all over the kitchen counter for a few days. I remembered that only a few short years ago, I could not be in the same room as a new piece of mail or any newly printed paper! Yet here I was, spending time in this room with about 8 bills laid out - all smelling of inks and chlorine-processed paper. And I was fine. Yay!

I read a book recently from the library that smelled quite scented and also of cigarette smoke. I noticed the smell but did not react.

Perhaps best of all, I am now able to use a set of years-old markers to colour with! When I tried these markers last winter, I reacted immediately. Now I can spend over an hour colouring! I was also fine with a highlighter that I couldn't use as recently as October. It's exciting how fast improvements have been happening for me this past year.

The result is wonderful, vibrant colour that I can adorn my walls with like the ones shown in this post.


I recently had to replace my old inkjet printer and decided on a laser one (since it's in a room I don't use I am not worried about the ozone). The result has been wonderful and totally unexpected - I don't react to the ink at ALL! In laser printers, the ink is basically bits of plastic dust fused to the paper. None of it rubs off on my hands whereas with inkjet printers, my hands reacted if they touched the ink - even after much time.
*note* I wouldn't choose a laser unless I had a room to put it in that I don't spend time in.

I've been wanting to have a set of pieces on the wall to represent the chakras so I'm colouring with that theme in mind. So far I have the root and solar plexus chakras done (and for fun I have done a turtle because I recently had 2 dreams with turtles in them).

Many thanks go to http://www.mandalarbre.com for their amazing, inspiring colourable mandalas. They are all designed by Marc Bove and are copyrighted.
They have galleries there where you can see various coloured-in mandalas. It's wonderful seeing all of those vibrant colours! Media options may be watercolour paints, pencil crayons, markers, coloured pens or anything you tolerate.


February 5, 2009

Short Version of Magnificent Video!

As an introduction, you may want to read my post Why EFT (and what is it anyhow?) .

 

A few days ago, I posted a wonderful, powerful and FUN tap-along video by Brad Yates.

If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to check it out - you can view it embedded here on my blog or click on this link to see it directly on Youtube.

Brad has now made another 'magnificent' video that is only 2 minutes and 23 seconds long so if you're ever short on time but would like to have the boost of celebrating how awesome you truly are, you may want to check this video out and keep a link to it so you can do it often!
Now at that length, there's no reason not to try it out ;-)

(bonus for those who have difficulty with the word God - the shorter version does not have that word in it)

I have embedded it below but you can also view it directly on Youtube here.

Happy tapping!





Thank you again Brad for a wonderful video.

February 3, 2009

You Are Magnificent! (AWEsome EFT video)

 
As an introduction, you may want to read my post Why EFT (and what is it anyhow?) .





 I just finished watching Brad Yates most recent free EFT video on Youtube and it was AWESOME!!!
I have embedded it at the bottom of this post and I hope you'll try it out.

***Note***
You do not need tapping experience to use this video! Just tap on the spots you see Brad tapping and say the words he says.

I haven't even made my breakfast yet (bad me ;-) but I wanted to share this with you right away!

Any of you who have read the famous excerpt from Marianne Williamson's book Return To Love may recognise a similar theme (and even some similar, powerful phrases) in this excellent tap-along video. The excerpt is often entitled "Our Deepest Fear" and has been incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela many times.
It's a powerful piece of writing and worth checking out if you're not familiar with it.

Both the video and that piece of writing do use the 'God' word and in the past, that would have gotten in the way for me, but in the last number of years I've gotten used to 'translating' the word 'God' when I hear it.
It used to mean something religious to me (and since I'm patently not religious, it clashed energetically) but now, to me, it means something more spiritual and energetic. I think of the amazing Universe that we live in, the miraculous bodies we may take for granted each day and I think of 'God' as connected to all of that.

In this tap-along video, Brad does use the word 'God' and at the beginning he invites us to think of or say aloud whatever word feels right to us. It could be Life Force, Spirit, Universe, Higher Self, Goddess or any word at all that works for you.

For those who are atheist, I invite you to not let this tiny, 3-letter 'God' word stop you from benefiting from this video!
'Life Force' can refer entirely to the amazing force in our bodies that created us and sustains us and might be a more comfortable phrase for you (if any atheists reading this have other phrases or terms that work for them in this sort of context, I'd love it if you shared! ☺)


I cannot say enough how excellent and, well, 'kicka$$' (as my younger brother would say) I found this video! For me, it triggered all sorts of giggles and gleeful laughter though for some, including myself at times, it may bring tears.

*if you find tapping physically difficult due to fatigue or injury, I have found that benefit can still be had from simply holding my fingers in place over each tapping point while saying the words.*
As always, tap at your own risk

Now I'd better go and eat breakfast.

Happy tapping!





Thank you Brad for another wonderful video!!!
I'm still giggling now and then!



If you'd like to watch the video directly on Youtube, you can do so here.

January 25, 2009

Thoughts on Pain vs. Suffering

I realised recently that if I wait until blog posts feel 'finished', I won't post very often. So I think I'll start sharing my meandering thoughts, recognising that they may not always come across coherently and that I may later disagree with myself :-)

-

As I was lying in bed recently, in the dark with a migraine, I was thinking a bit about the difference between pain and suffering.

Usually I think of them as the same thing but...

in theory,
pain and suffering
are two separate things.

How to experience pain
without suffering?

I really want that skill!

I bet a big part of it is
to
not want.

If I want to be pain free,
then any time I feel pain
I will probably
experience 'suffering'.

So, then,
is 'suffering' the experience of wanting something other than what is?

If so, most people in our culture suffer a LOT.
There are degrees of suffering. Some are more uncomfortable than others.

All this is interesting to think about but doesn't help too much in the midst of intense pain or adversity.

I realise this has been written about extensively in many circles - Buddhist ones being at the top of the list. I just never really thought about it in the same, intense way that I did the other day.

I was lying there knowing there was no escape from the pain and feeling so desperate for anything that could bring me relief.
Into my mind popped the idea that the experience of the pain would not be nearly so bad if I wasn't suffering so much.

I don't have any solutions for this, nor many ideas on how to stop wanting other than what is.
I guess one could do EFT or, if it works for them, or read up on methods of detachment such as those used in Buddhist practice. Some people find meditation or prayer help though neither have worked well for me so far.

I think of people I know who have chronic illnesses (or terminal ones) and it occurs to me that the ones who seem happy don't seem to suffer much - even when they are in pain.
I think this may be a piece of the puzzle of how to live vibrantly with illness or disability.

There are people out there who have intense pain - physical or emotional - and some of them still seem happy and alive.

What is the difference between them and those of us who are terribly unhappy or get totally bogged down by the negative in our lives?

Maybe some of them are naturally cheerful, optimistic people.

I believe it's possible for those of us who aren't naturally like that to shift our attitudes.
I have been a pretty negative person most of my life... at least about things that happen to me. I'm pretty good at being positive for others'.

I don't believe that 'positive thinking' is a magic pill but I do believe that it can really effect our quality of life. Which in turn can effect our energy levels, which in turn can effect the resources our bodies have available to heal with. I feel like everything is connected.


I think I'll write more on attitude and how I've been trying to shift mine... but I'll save it for another day. :-)

For now, I'll leave you with a link to an article about healing by Raymond Francis, a chemist who had severe MCS. I really appreciate how he expresses that thought can greatly effect us on many levels and if we want to change how we feel, we are well-served by starting with changing what we think.

He says this and much more very succinctly and I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did!
I particularly like how he says that it's not necessary to understand exactly how this works - it's just necessary to do it.

The positive thought that he suggests using is not actually one that feel right for me personally but I have heard it has worked for many people.

There are a number of articles available to read for free on his website here.

Enjoy!

January 24, 2009

You Can Now Subscribe By Email


As you may have noticed, I don't write all that frequently and I understand that readers might like to get the posts as emails instead of having to return to the site to check if there are new posts.


I am quite a newbie when it comes to blogging and I only just figured out how to let people subscribe by email.

If you'd like to receive new blog posts in your email inbox, please feel free to sign up!

In the upper right hand corner of the blog, you will see a little box where you can enter your email address.

Once you have done so, click on the Subscribe button and follow the (easy, fast) directions.

Your email address is safe with me - I will never share it with anyone nor will I send spam of any kind. Ever. :-)

If anything I write about is something that I have a financial interest in, I will let you know (though to be honest I can't see me ever doing this - I don't have financial interest in much of anything LOL).


January 22, 2009

Apologies to Internet Explorer users

I am very new to editing templates and forgot to check if my scroll bars worked in IE.
Apparently they had glitches and may have interfered with your reading.
I'd like to apologise for that! I have removed them.

:-)

January 17, 2009

Dealing With Differences of Opinion

Most people who don’t have MCS have a pretty strong difference of opinion with me on how toxic every day scented, chemical-laden products really are. We usually disagree about the safety scented products, particle board furniture, laminate or carpet as flooring choices, vinyl used in baby cribs/training pants, whether or not to use pesticides on lawns, gardens and pets and oh so many more topics.
I used to engage in conversations about these topics with people. I felt it was important for me to share my knowledge with them, to enlighten them about the toxins they were unwittingly exposing themselves, their children and their pets to. Occasionally I met someone interested in learning but more often I met strong resistance.


In time I stopped sharing about these topics unless they expressed interest. I just found it too draining. It felt like fighting an uphill battle and I decided it was standing in the way of my healing in a number of ways – most strongly because it exhausted me – taking energy that was much needed for healing!

However, even though I rarely get into those discussions now, I still frequently end up having imaginary conversations with people. I may see an advertisement about a product I think of as toxic and think of how many well-intentioned people use it who are in the dark about how toxic it may be. I find myself mentally rehearsing what I might say if I wanted to share with them about this.

Even these mental discussions (often arguments) are draining my energy.

So I was very excited to find this tap-along video that addresses the topic of differences of opinion. I feel it addresses some of the core feelings about differences of opinion that may be interfering with personal peace. Therefore it may help across the board – not just for a specific difference of opinion.

When I tap with pre-made videos, I try to listen to my intuition. Sometimes I feel an urge to use different words or to add in extra words. I try to listen to my inner wisdom about this. Sometimes I’ll be able to fit the words in while watching and sometimes I’ll pause the video to give myself time to pay attention to that inner voice, that inner knowing, feeling.

*I want to acknowledge that some people get inspired and energised through activism. I have a great appreciation for the time and energy they put towards raising awareness. If any of you are reading this, thank you! I am grateful for all that you do for those of us who cannot.*

If you are someone who enjoys activism, I feel this video could be very beneficial for you too. I believe that when we are more at peace about differences of opinion, we can communicate more clearly. Confidence and calm may be able to replace frustration and urgency – making us much more effective communicators. People are more likely to take our words seriously when we are coming from a calm place – unruffled by their differences of opinion

Happy tapping!

As an introduction, you may want to read my post Why EFT (and what is it anyhow?) .










Brad Yates is an experienced EFT practitioner who is known for his light-hearted, sometimes humorous style. Thank you Brad for permission to embed this video!! :-)

You can see more of Brad's free Youtube videos here.

January 12, 2009

Inviting Neuroplasticity Part 1

I used to be able to write and speak easily and eloquently.
It was effortless and actually really enjoyable. So was thinking.

No longer. Now those are challenging and frustrating - writing the most (ironic that I recently I chose to begin a blog).
At times, I feel that that ease of cognitive function is one of the things I miss the most from my life before MCS.

My cognitive symptoms/challenges (I don't like the words 'dysfunction' or 'limitations' even if they are true) are by far the worst during or after an exposure but there is a certain level of difficulty I experience all of the time. I have not had a neurological assessment, SPECT scan or MRI and I have no idea if I have 'brain damage'. I don't really care to know. I know my brain works differently than it used to as far as cognition is concerned. Maybe certain neural 'pathways' or areas are damaged or blocked.

I used to think, write, speak and communicate at a certain 'level' and now I do all of those things at a far lower level... yet still high enough that I am painfully aware of all that I have lost. I don't feel I'm expressing this well. It is a deep grief and a daily frustration - especially when I have all sorts of ideas and viewpoints that I would love to be sharing in this blog.

For inspiration and hope, I look to stroke patients and patients with various types of brain injury. Among them are people who have relearned far beyond what anyone predicted they could.
Our brains are miraculous, amazing things.
Neuroplasticity - the ability of the brain to 'rewire' itself after damage (or more scientifically: the process by which neurons create new connections among themselves) - is itself a wonderful, exciting thing. It is now known that activity in the brain that is associated with a specific action or function can actually move to a different area in the brain!
I imagine a horde of happy little neurons coming to the place that they normally 'cross the river' only to find the bridge is missing. Instead of giving up, they decide to actually build a new bridge! A bit cheesy but inspiring.


The mind-body connection is not well understood yet but many health care professionals accept that it does exist and can greatly effect the outcome of injuries, illness and disease.

With this in mind, I have decided to try regularly talking to my brain(when I remember). Yes, this may sound 'crazy' but I figure I have nothing to lose (unless I talk to it in public :)!

I am going to invite my brain to heal, let it know that I love it, that I honour and cherish it and marvel at how amazing it is! I'll tell it that I'm so glad it exists, and that I trust it to find new ways to communicate. I'll let it know what I want - to communicate easily and well - and tell it that I will be open to whatever ways it can provide.

My old, 'normal' ways of thinking, writing and speaking simply aren't working well for me anymore. When I try to use them, I get totally jumbled up, confused and frustrated.
It is doing me no good to keep holding onto those old ways. So I will try to let them go to make space for new ones.

To Do List: Send love and encouragement to my brain

Photo Credit:
Casey Hodge

January 11, 2009

Why EFT (and what is it anyhow?)

From time to time, I will be posting links related to EFT on this blog.
I may also post EFT 'scripts' that I feel may be beneficial.

I have found EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to be a helpful item in my 'toolbox'.
Before I get to the "Why?", you may be wondering...

What is EFT anyhow?

EFT is a method for lessening the intensity of uncomfortable emotions, thoughts or physical sensations. It is done by tapping on various points of the body (said to correspond to certain points on the acupuncture energy 'meridians') while saying certain phrases either out loud or in one's mind.
Once one knows that tapping 'points' on the body, one can create their own words or use free scripts like these.

EFT can look pretty weird and is easy to be skeptical of.
I heard of it many years ago but didn't actually try it until about 3 years ago. I was stubborn, and pretty closed-minded about something 'weird' that I didn't understand. I hope you won't let the same thing stop you from trying it that I did!

The way I see it now (and the viewpoint that finally allowed me to try it) is that there is nothing to lose by trying it aside from a tiny bit of time and effort.
There are many sites on the internet that give directions on how to do it for free. There's no need to feel silly trying something 'weird' in front of anyone because one can do it alone, in the comfort of one's home , once again for free. There are even EFT videos online (of varying quality) where one can 'tap along' with a practitioner... for what price tag?? You guessed it: FREE.

Feel free to download a free manual and/or sign up for a free newsletter at eftuniverse.com.
There's also a wealth of information and tap-along audios at tappingqanda.com and a huge number of excellent free 'tap long' videos by Brad Yates on Youtube here: EFTWizard videos
Thank you to reader Katie for mentioning that one can use the Touch And Breathe (TAB for short) method if tapping hurts. Here's a link to directions for it: Touch And Breathe Method

Okay, so back to the "Why?"

Why EFT?


Although there are many attractive qualities to EFT, a few stuck out for me as someone with MCS:
  • I can do it myself (no need to involve a scented practitioner or their toxic office)
  • I can do it for free (very important when unemployed!)
  • It's non-toxic - providing a way to lessen emotional or physical suffering without synthetic drugs (eg. chemicals)
  • If I decide I want to work with a practitioner, many of them offer EFT over the phone or internet chat (still avoiding exposures inherent in an office visit). Some work by email.

For hardcore skeptics, I say this: I don't fully understand why EFT actually works, I simply know that for myself and many others, it has worked for many things. That is enough for me. I have decided that as long as a method doesn't harm me and appears to work, then I don't really care how. I put my energy to other things :-)

EFT can have a learning curve for some people. Not everyone has success/results right away but some people do have immediate relief - especially for emotional pain.
If it does not work at first, it can be due to incorrect tapping points, wording that doesn't work well for you or, possibly, due to being underhydrated. Drinking water is very important.

*A word of caution*
If you are trying EFT for the first time, please go gently. Don't pick one of your more painful issues to start out with. Save those for when you have a lot of EFT work under your belt (or work on them with an EFT practitioner).
EFT can bring up some strong emotions if we tap on deep stuff so, until one is more practiced, I'd suggest starting very small.
If, at any time, I feel intense emotions, I keep tapping and breathing - even if I'm crying and can't speak. The emotions usually pass while I am doing that.

January 4, 2009

Celebrating MCS Improvements Part 1


How do I know I am healing?

I noticed tiny things at first...

  • a few extra moments before a reaction set in
  • a reaction less severe than I was used to
  • a faster recovery after exposure

Then my body seemed to reach a point where the healing took on a life of it's own. A momentum had picked up and I seemed to move forward steadily.


  • I could use the blender, vacuum, toaster without wearing a mask - as long as I did it quickly and left the room afterward.
  • I was able to read select books again if they were not too old, new or scented.
  • terpenes from grass didn't bother me much anymore (in small doses)
  • I could touch paper whitened with chlorine without an instant skin reaction.
  • I could walk in a pine forest without getting instantly 'stoned' from the terpenes
  • I could eat small amounts of foods that had 'flavour' as an ingredient (many chemicals in flavour are similar to ones in fragrance due to how our sense of taste is connected to sense of smell)
  • I could be around leaf mold, coffee, potted plants and more with much less reaction
All of the above are things that only a few years ago caused such severe reactions that I went to great lengths to avoid them.

Now I can read most books - even new, old or somewhat scented. I can even read books from the
library (notorious for having picked up fragrances/smoke from people's houses).

I vacuum, use the blender, toaster and more
without even thinking about it. I don't have to hold my breath, leave the room or worry about how long I vacuum for!

I go to a few restaurants, garden with no mask, have a few potted plants in my house, cut my own lawn (electric mower)... I can even have certain cut flowers from my garden inside my house. It used to be only totally scentless flowers I could tolerate but now I can even have higher VOC flowers inside.

Small exposures to dryer exhaust, wood smoke and cigarette smoke from neighbours while I am in my yard cause little or no reaction. This is such an awesome thing because I can actually use my nose as a warning system and still have time to go inside before an actual reaction happens. Before, even a few seconds was too much/too late.

When did all of this happen? I don't exactly know.
The dramatic changes happened sometime in the last year I think - the lesser ones in the year before that. Most of my healing happened so gradually and softly that I only notice things in hindsight.

I know how good it makes me feel now to notice so I've been trying to do it often.
If I had noticed more as I went along, I think I might have healed even faster due to the mind-body connection.

As I move forward, my 'normal' keeps shifting. I keep having a new normal.

It's exciting to think of how far I have come and know that one day, the way I am now will be far in the past and will seem incredibly limited!