Articles

Helping you navigate through the second half of life with clarity, vision and purpose

Good Health: Head to Toe

© 2013 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

I have had a recent brush with cancer.  At a scheduled appointment, my dermatologist scanned my body and declared: “Everything is fine but that thing on the bottom of your foot has to go.”  It was a small, dark brown freckle. It seemed completely harmless.  I had never paid attention to it. It was not painful or irritating.  Just a freckle.  How long was it there?  I have no idea.

I was quickly referred to the Skin Care Clinic where a specialist froze the bottom of my foot and cut out the small mole.  I thought that was the end of it.  Two weeks later the same doctor phoned me and said:  “The results came back from the lab and the mole that was removed was melanoma.”  He did add that the lab report found it was very shallow and very low risk (they are much more concerned if the tumour is deeper into the skin and has more aggressive features); however, in this circumstance the practice is to remove further tissue from the surrounding area.

Several weeks later I had a second surgery to remove a circle of tissue on the bottom of my foot and a square of skin from my thigh was grafted onto the bottom of my foot to cover the surgery site.  Then I had a period of three to four weeks recovering at home.  I had excellent care from doctors and nurses, as well as follow-up.

This experience was a total jolt out of the blue.  During these years of the aging journey, I expect some of the health concerns others are facing:  aching joints, problems with eyesight, feet needing support, aging skin, declining flexibility.  But to have a melanoma on the bottom of my foot was a shock.  Also, I discovered this is not uncommon. My surgeon told me:  “You are the third person I have treated this week with the same thing.”

I avoided looking online and reading people’s horror stories with melanoma. Instead, I used healing visualizations, support from wonderful friends, as well as my own self-talk.  I kept saying and feeling that my body was cancer-free.  I found this was extremely helpful. Your thoughts are very powerful and help to create the resonance that you want.

The lab result came back from the second surgery:  no malignant cells were found.

Sometimes you might not be paying attention to all of your skin. Your skin is your largest organ, weighing about 6 to 8 lbs. and covers about two square meters. Your skin performs many important functions and can regenerate and repair itself under most conditions.  It is important to pay attention to your skin and to treat it with care.

Have a good Health Support Team:

It’s important to have a number of specialists whom you trust and who give excellent service to you. In the past I sometimes stayed with doctors who were mediocre and have decided I deserve excellent care. I now have health practitioners I trust and feel really good about.

You might have some of these on your Health Support Team:

  • doctor
  • dentist
  • podiatrist
  • optometrist
  • physiotherapist
  • massage therapist
  • chiropractor
  • dermatologist (yes!)
  • holistic health practitioner

As well, you might have a personal fitness trainer, a yoga instructor, a meditation teacher, a healer, or a therapist.  A lot of women go to an esthetician for facials and pedicures. These are not only cosmetic: they are wonderful for your taking care of your skin and your overall well-being.

Look at your current state of health and ask yourself if you have all the supports you need for optimal health and wellness.

Most people I talk to have not gone to a dermatologist and are very puzzled by my experience.  “A dermatologist?”, they ask. Now that I am talking about this, I hope some of my readers might be encouraged to get a check-up with a dermatologist.  Most likely everything is fine, but it is definitely worth knowing what is happening with your skin.  You also need to avoid tanning beds and to use sunscreen that protects both UVA and UVB rays from the sun.

If you are like me, you probably love the sun. When I found out I had melanoma, my head was swirling with questions like:  Is the sun my friend?  Am I paying a price for lying on the beach? Will I have to stay indoors?  One of the doctors told me that the tumour was not necessarily caused by sun-tanning and it could be genetically linked, although there is no history of skin cancer in my family. I will be followed up at the Cancer Agency for two years, which is a good thing.

It is important to take care of your total health: head to toe.  As you age, there are many things to be paying attention to and getting care for.  One of these is your precious skin.

Warm wishes,

Brenda

2013: Opening Doors of Possibility

© 2013 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author



“Sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
                                                                                        -Lewis Carroll

Welcome 2013!  Let’s embrace our new year.

The new year signals change:  fresh opportunities, new goals and a vision of what is possible. In the beginning of the year, you may sense you have the motivation to make some changes or to try something new. No matter what has happened in the past, you can make new choices now. You have the chance to start fresh as you experience doors opening before you. Picture doors of opportunity in front of you. See them opening. As you see a door opening, step through the doorway with enthusiasm and purpose.

We often live with limited views of ourselves and what is possible. This can feel like a dark screen over the lens of our life.  If this were removed, we would see endless possibilities. I think about astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in outer space, who is currently orbiting Earth many times each day. The photos of our planet are stunning and when I look at them, I feel inspired and moved. Chris not only stepped out of the box, he flew up into space and is staying there for months. You can see his photos online by clicking on this link or google Chris Hadfield.

In our essence, we are made of energy. We are radiating these qualities each moment: either expansion or contraction. It is up to us how we direct our thoughts and our energy. When we put restrictions on ourselves and the possibilities of our life, we don’t see what can manifest.

Consciously direct your self-talk

Our thoughts and feelings continually create the reality that is our life.  Notice how you are talking to yourself today.  Are you saying: “I can’t do that. I’m not smart enough.  It will never happen.”  Or are you saying: “I see that possibility in my life.  I’m going for it.” Thinking positively is a way to open yourself to new possibilities.

You may feel some of these obstacles:

* being afraid of making mistakes

* lacking energy or support

* worrying about the steps to get there

* leaving your comfort zone

Let this be the year you dare to dream

Start to picture what you want. Identify things you want in your life now.  Is it better health and wellness?  Is it closer relationships?  Is it simplifying your life and letting go of what no longer serves you? Is it traveling? Contributing to your community?

Picture a door in front of you.  It is opening and on the other side are immense possibilities. Make a concrete plan that you will share with another person. Sharing will help you solidify your direction.

Suggestions if you are feeling a little stuck:

* Get out of your routine and do something new

* Drive a new route or go to a new place

* Spend  time in nature, among trees or close to water

* Get the support you need.  Free 20 minute phone consultation with me by calling 604-435-9400.

Notice when you feel happy, content or when you shift to feeling expansive. Write about this in your journal or share with someone close to you.

 “I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.”

                                                       -Whoopi Goldberg

May 2013 be a year when you step out of limitation and embrace new possibilities.

Warm wishes

Brenda

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To assist you in finding and opening the doors of Possibility in your life, please enjoy a guided audio meditation “Opening Doors of Possibility ” by clicking on this text.

Welcome to Autumn: Set Your Intentions

© 2012 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.”
– Anonymous

 

It is now the beginning of Autumn, and we are entering the last quarter of our 2012!  Autumn heralds in a new season. Summer is winding down, and Autumn is welcoming us to a new phase of the year.

 

Nature is signaling a time for change. Nights are growing cooler and the blooms on the flowers are beginning to fade.  When I am out on my bicycle, I notice the leaves on the trees are turning yellows and browns. Many leaves are now falling onto the path where I ride, permeating the air with their aroma. The sun is rising later and setting earlier. Geese are flying overhead.  Summer’s door is now closing and Autumn’s opens wide, ushering in the new season.  This is a time of transition in the year.

September has always represented new beginnings in life:  Kids are back in school. University students have begun their new year.  Many people are signing up for workshops and courses or embarking on something new and creative. There is a sense of starting new things in the Autumn. We are moving from the more impromptu days of Summer, into a more structured routine that Autumn brings for most of us.

Take a little time to reflect on the year so far.

* What has this year brought you? What are you learning? What do you feel good about? Is there something you want to let go of?

*Ask yourself: What does the new season hold in store for me? What do I need? What do I want to create?

Get focused.

*Intention is the starting point. Intention is the driving force that fulfills our needs and desires; whether for health, adventure, new learning, work satisfaction or loving relationships.

Everything in this world is an expression of the power of intention.  That power lies in each one of us.

*Choose two or three goals to focus on. Your goals create a focus for your intentions. You might find it best to pick things that bring you fulfillment. Write your goals down so you can refer to them.

What new opportunities or learning do you want?

Joining a group of like-minded souls:

  • join an exercise program
  • sign up for a meet-up group
  • reconnect with friends
Learning something new:
  • take a workshop or class
  • self-directed study
  • read some new books
How do you want to be feeling?  peaceful? confident? organized?Know that when you say “I intend this to happen” you invite the means to bring it about. Trust your instincts and let your inner guidance lead the way.As you write your goals and set your intentions, believe and visualize they are achieved. Picture the end results and be willing to receive what you want. Ask yourself:
  • What will my life be looking like and feeling like?
  • Which helpful habit am I willing to practice to support my efforts?

Find your center and don’t let go of your intentions until they feel firmly anchored inside yourself. Visualize each day and hold your intentions close in your heart.

See your life path unfolding over the next few months in ways that are fulfilling and rewarding to you.

Allow the new energy of Autumn to carry you forward.

What Anchors You in Life?

© 2012 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

Park Bench - Anchor Article

Are you spending much of your daily life running from one thing to the next? Do you feel scattered and disconnected? You may feel something is lacking and yearn to feel more grounded.

How do we get this grounded feeling in our daily life?

Anchors are those things that make us feel grounded and settled.  They can help us feel at home and connected with our inner self.  Anchors are the people, places or things that give us feelings such as:

“Ah, I’m settled.” “I’m home.” “I feel peaceful.” “This feeds my soul.”

Notice what things anchor you in your life. What feeds your soul?  Some possibilities:

  • people:  close friends, mentors, someone who inspires you, someone who has made a difference in your life, someone who believes in you
  • places:  nature, parks, beaches, trees, gardens, your home
  • things:  photos, memorabilia, collections
  • experiences: meditating, being near water, riding a bike, listening to your favorite music, writing, painting, chanting

A number of years ago I found myself drawn to park benches. When I sat on park benches, I would easily fall into contemplating an issue, or reflecting on an experience. It was very comforting.  I found myself feeling very calm, and as I contemplated an issue, an answer flowed through. The park bench became an anchor for me. Then I decided to sit on park benches regularly. I discovered a special one by the river not far from where I live. It has an inscription to a loved one; “You Are My Sunshine.” Many times, I have sat on that bench and have felt the love that was shared.

I have a friend who is an avid writer. She writes each day, both journaling and writing books. She tells me that writing is her anchor and everywhere she goes, she carries a notebook and pen with her.

You may find your daily life so full of your to-do list and many tasks, that you neglect or forget what anchors you. Make it a practice to have some things that anchor you and consciously bring them into your daily life. This is a very individual thing and you may need to feel guided to which things are your particular anchors.

When you do this, you may feel calm, centered and comforted.

Practice:  sit and contemplate what things, people or places are anchors for you.

  • make a list
  • make a commitment to consciously bring these anchors into your life. That is, go to that special place, bring out those photos, call that special someone or sit near water. Whatever it is that makes you feel grounded.
  • notice the feelings your anchors bring to you.

As you consciously invite anchors in your life, notice the strong feelings of comfort and assurance they bring.

Warm wishes,

Brenda

Find Your Inner Compass

© 2012 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

Are you feeling scattered?  Do you spend much of your time reacting to what life brings you?

A family friend was giving some advice to my daughter, who is in her early 20’s.  “You need a good compass in life,” he said to her. “When you find your compass, you find clear direction, something pointing you to where you want to go.”  In fact, all of us need a compass guiding us. Those of us in midlife and second half of life often find we seek a new sense of direction and purpose.

In our fast-paced world, we need to find ways to balance our workloads and responsibilities as well as focus on what we truly want. Many people live in a continual rush, reacting to what is in front of them, but rarely taking time to sit back and take stock of where life is headed. People who have clear direction, goals and intentions report they feel much more satisfied, and “on track” in life.  They also tend to feel greater well-being and have a sense of purpose.

If you don’t feel you’re in the driver’s seat, you can feel frustrated, exhausted and burned out.

Sit back and ask yourself:

*do I have a clear direction in my life?
*what direction am I being called in?
*what are my top priorities?  How do I focus on them?

A number of years ago I found myself reading books and articles about midlife transitions. Then I would find myself asking people “What are you noticing about being 50?” “What is 60 like for you?” I listened to speakers like James Hollis speaking about finding meaning in the second half of life and Christiane Northrup speaking about the wisdom of menopause.  My mind would light up with inspiration and ideas about this new stage of life, its challenges and promises.  Then I created my own workshops for women going through midlife transitions.  Through all of this I followed my own inner compass. I felt guided by it.

This week, take some time to reflect on where your life is going. To what extent are you satisfied with the pace and direction your life is headed? Notice what changes you would like to bring about.

The compass you seek is inside you.  To find that compass and direction, you need to invest a little time and energy into yourself. We all have an inner guidance system that we tend to hear   when we are quiet and open to its voice. Make your life direction a top priority. When you do this, you may find that you have greater clarity and focus.

Imagine you have an internal compass inside you that knows what is best and what is true for you.  Take a few moments to listen to it now. Notice its voice and guidance.  Picture yourself following it. Notice how you feel as you follow your own inner compass. Your compass can direct you exactly where you want to go.

*what do you see in your life as you follow its direction?
*what will you be saying?  What will others be saying?
*how will you be feeling?

Set your intention on the direction you want to go.  Allow your compass to guide you.

Use this as a practice and it will support you.

Warm wishes,
Brenda