Jun 30

Does time heal?

HEART MENDER

What can I do to take away the pain?
What can I say that will comfort the maimed?
Life gets so complex that it is difficult to see,
What is the heart of the matter crying to be free.
“Time heals all wounds”,
But what do we do,
When the clock stopped ticking,
And the hands no longer move?
With a broken heart, a bleeding soul,
Is it too late to make a new goal?
Oh heart mender,
Together can we go,
To the core of our being,
All the while seeing,
The bitter sweet challenges of life?
The child within, playful and bright,
Will come forth filled with awesome delight.
Then, and only then,
The heart, mind and soul,
Are ‘set free’ and
Completely whole.

Brenda D. Ballantine M. A.

Jun 29

What defines happiness?

Happiness? What is that? How many times have I heard clients respond with that statement when I ask them what makes them happy? For many even the word itself is void of meaning. I have known happiness and I have know sorrow. When I look back at those times of unhappiness, I can see there were moments I contributed to my own pain by making poor choices. As I take time to reflect I understand how I even sabotaged myself, resulting in the loss of my happiness. When this occurs in life, it does to all, it is important to admit we made a mistake. Once we recognize and address the issue, we can move quickly to correct that which we see. I have decided not to trade my happiness and joy for any temporary desire, instant gratification, or lust of the flesh. Being true to one self is another step to being truly happy.

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.”
Zig Ziglar

Jun 28

How is your sleep?

I realize that staying up late is a great way to get tired! Yes, I said it. What causes people to be tempted to stay up late sitting at their computer? Do they not know the importance of sleep? Do they not know how the lack of sleep is detrimental to their ability to think clearly? How many people are truly aware of the fact that the lack of sleep can cut five years off their life? We desperately need to re-evaluate our sleeping habits so we can take care of our physical and mental health. In addition, lack of sleep can cause people to gain weight! That all said, I will begin this night to change my habit and make this short. Hopefully I will begin to write earlier in the day. I look forward to hearing your view about the issues of sleep. What is the average number of hours people treat themselves to rest each night? In the future, I will be writing about the challenges of insomnia, and the solutions that can be helpful to deal with it.

Jun 27

Beware of identity thieves

Who am I speaking to? That is a question I may ask the secretary when preparing to see a client. As a mental health professional I have counseled many who were suffering emotionally for a variety of reasons. With or without a mental health diagnosis, we all suffer from what is called a mixture of good and evil tensions, therefore creating stress emotionally and physically. In spite of that, we are all born with an amazing potential to fulfill our highest destiny and purpose. How is it that we lose sight of that awesome and inherit capacity to come in to being? Why would we give up our joy and passion for life or simply bury our gifts? Is there any truth to what some call “spiritual identity theft”? As bazaar as that sounds I question how that could be. In the financial world when talking about identity theft we may think of one getting into our bank accounts, stealing our identification/social security numbers, taking our private information for their gain. With access to our credit cards they can illegally make purchases while we get the bills. Now companies sell insurance to help protect us from those continually on the prowl. What about the spiritual identity theft? What does that look like? Here is one example; when a thief tries to convince someone to believe they do not have any purpose, gifts, talents, potential, or even a clear destiny. If they agree with the adversary they will lose their hope, become discouraged and not move forward.They were robbed. By seeing the truth and then embracing it, they can push back negative forces that attempt to steal their spiritual identity. We are all created with many gifts and talents that we need to share with one another. There is no ‘one’ person who has them all, that is why we need each other. Understanding there are different forms of identity theft; one form addresses financial circumstances that will be traced back to a banking institution. When addressing spiritual identity theft, this is hidden in the realm of the heart. The area we acknowledge as the place where the “knowing” occurs, the gut feeling, that special place we should cherish. When we hear someone say, “She has been so heavy on my heart lately, I hope she is OK”, we understand the meaning. We know that was not a literal statement but a figurative one. Somehow we just ‘know’ although we can’t see the ‘heart’ with our eyes or touch with our hands. I am taught to “Guard my heart, for out of it flow the issues of life.” Guard my heart? How would I go about doing that? Is there a class I take, who teaches us how? Lack of knowledge, as well as lack of experience may hinder our ability to guard our heart. How is it we don’t think it is strange that banks have guards, some even traveling in armored trucks while transferring money, yet it sounds strange or unusual to say we need to guard our hearts? If we knew there was a thief present, and everything we worked hard for all our lives could be taken away, would we guard that which we view as valuable? Is not our heart more valuable and therefore should be guarded even more? I want to clarify, guarding our heart is not the same as having walls up and keeping people out due to fear or wounds. Shall we let the thief enter our abode and steal our spiritual identity? With the reality of this Proverb, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” How does he thinketh in his heart? Are we being genuine, authentic and fulfilling our highest destiny/ purpose in our thought life, or are we being robbed? Although we all know we cannot change history, we can begin guarding our hearts and enjoying our lives to the fullest from this point forward.

Jun 26

Public opinion vs. your own

Have you noticed how many people don’t do the things they want to do? Why? Because they are afraid of what others might think or say about them? They may also do things they don’t want to do for the same reasons. At times the opinion of others may become more important than our own desires, or even real needs. This can apply to public opinion or even closer to home with family members. Thoreau said, “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared to our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that is what determines, or rather, indicates, his fate.” If one’s faith in self is strong, the opinion of others is not as powerful or influential. It is said, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. When we are authentic, and genuine, we will not be swayed by another opinion if it is not in keeping with our own convictions. How did we come to the place where we have to be politically correct to the point we are afraid to speak up, to have an original opinion of our own without concern about the public opinion.
“Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God. Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” Mark Twain
“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after you own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Emmerson
Other opinions of you, your opinions of others, all may contribute to negative thinking while adding guilt, fear and resentment. Whenever we are disapproving of another we need to examine if the disapproval is stemming from our opinions. If we could only view our personal opinions as exactly that, just opinions, not truth, we may see it is not worth getting frustrated over. It is important to enjoy the differences between others. It is good to appreciate the idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, peculiarities, and uniqueness of those all around us. With the ability to do so, it will also help each of us to bask in our own awesome individuality.

Jun 25

Are you hoarding yourself?

I have been doing research on the topic of hoarding as I prepare to conduct future “sensitivity trainings” for governmental agencies involved with the Hoarding Task Force, as well as law enforcement and the judicial system. In doing so I have interviewed a number of professionals from mental health, fire services, adult protective services, social workers, public defenders, child protective services and others. They all have interesting perspectives and are focused to do their job to “protect the community”, while assuring people are safe and abiding by the health and safety codes. While compiling notes for a new book, I began writing the definitions of hoarding according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual DSM-5 that is used to define mental health disorders. These are very serious issues. As a mental health professional, I understand the criteria that defines the mental health disorder we term as ‘hoarder’. There are many who have seen television programs revealing peoples lives with scenes of chaos and disorganization, with an over abundance of things in every area of their home. Therefore the term hoarder may bring up a negative image. Now for a paradigm shift. If someone were to say to you, ‘Express yourself”. Let your actions speak for you. Don’t hoard what you are! What would they mean? Actually it is a great thing to say to someone. We all have gifts within that can be shared with others and perhaps even make a great contribution to society. Are you hoarding yourself?

Jun 23

How to solve a problem?

Have you ever noticed as we successfully solve one problem, another arises that is more complex? It appears with each new difficulty more issues come forth with even greater challenges. It is true, to solve any problematic situation one has to know a solution in order to find the right answer. Yet I question the motive of those who diligently taught us to believe that we have to know all the answers to be smart or successful. Who gave us the impression that the person who knows the most is smarter, better or even stronger? That belief system is not correct, it is perpetuated in the educational field and the job market. We have been programmed to believe we have to be able to “figure everything out” or we are not intelligent.
While being trained in my doctorate program as a Clinical Psychologist, I was required to purchase psychological testing kits. We were taught how to administer a variety of tests including the IQ test. Have you ever wondered what is your IQ, or heard someone say, “I wonder what is my IQ”? There are mathematical numbers assigned to measure children’s, as well as adult’s, levels of intelligence. Here is a different perspective describing intelligence. True intelligence is having an ability to sense, intuit, feel, and recognize patterns, develop relationships, connections, understand associations to events, people and circumstances. When there is disconnect between exercising our true intelligence and our subconscious, we will have cognitive dissonance. Without understanding the underlying emotions and what they are, we will experience physical and emotional stress. Working as a Heart Mender, I begin addressing issues, getting to the heart of the matter and bringing thoughts to the surface. Once they are revealed and faulty belief systems recognized, we can begin to re-frame negative thoughts and start untangling the core beliefs that are part of the problem. Using stress reduction techniques, while shedding light on the subject, substantially releases inner turmoil. Circumstances may not change at the time, yet understanding one more key to the problem will contribute and assist in the healing process.

Jun 22

What is your perspective?

How is it that we can view things so differently in a world of sameness? I am continually reminded that what I may perceive as a particular reality, another will perceive differently. Here is an illustration; I will use art for my example. Being an artist since I was a young woman, I have a tremendous love and appreciation for all the arts. It is a wonderful gift that there are those, young and old, both male and female, who dare to be bold, creative and willing to share their work for all to see. While going to a gallery or art show, I view a painting with a sense of admiration for all the intricate and/or delicate work. I marvel at the brush strokes and the beauty of the magnificent color combinations. I purposely take time to see all the fine details. I love to see how artists portray their unique talents in many ways, some being very abstract. Another potential customer may come in and stand beside me, view the exact picture, pause one moment and then quickly move to the next piece. At the end of the day, we will both leave the gallery having a new experience. What determines if it was a good or bad experience? There are many different perspectives that we are continually drawing upon to help us process all incoming stimuli, then make a decision. Every participant left with various thoughts concerning their experience. Each color, shape, form, and visual image specifically and purposefully placed. These dynamics are used with intention, to reveal in each art piece different feelings and emotions, with hopes to communicate their message to the eye of the beholder. We all have eyes to see and ears to hear. How clearly do we see? How well do we hear? These factors are included in the process of drawing a conclusion. One reason I love to be creative and do art is for this very reason. I see a true mysterious and beautiful experience take place when we observe art. I wonder, “How is it that each piece will tell its own story, yet each shall be heard differently by every listener”? What is your perspective?                                                                         BallantinesHeartMender.com

Jun 22

What is your perspective?

How is it that we can view things so differently in a world of sameness? I am continually reminded that what I may perceive as a particular reality another will perceive differently. Here is an illustration; I will use art for my example. Being an artist since I was a young woman, I have a tremendous love and appreciation for all the arts. It is a wonderful gift that there are those, young and old, male and female, who dare to be bold, creative and willing to share their work for all to see. Going to a gallery or art show, I will view a painting with a sense of admiration for all the intricate and/or delicate work. I marvel at the brush strokes and the beauty of the magnificent color combinations. I purposely take time to see all the fine details. I love to see how the artist portrays their unique talents in so many ways, with some being very abstract. Another potential customer may come in and stand beside me, view the exact picture, pause one moment and then quickly move to the next piece hanging around the corner. At the end of the day, we will both leave the gallery having a new experience. What determines if it was a good or bad experience? There are many different perspectives that we are continually drawing upon to help us process all incoming stimuli. Each participant of the event left with various thoughts concerning their experience. Each color, shape, form, visual image, are specifically and purposefully placed. These dynamics are used to reveal in an art piece different feelings and emotions that communicates a message to the eye of the beholder. Knowing we all have eyes to see, and ears to hear, the question is how clearly do we see? How well do we hear? These factors are also included in the determining factors. The true mystery is while looking at art, how is it that each piece will tell its own story, yet shall be heard differently by every listener? What is your perspective?

Jun 21

Innermost thoughts

Have you ever questioned how we can communicate thoughts from the innermost parts of our being? When awake while others are sleeping, in the stillness of night, I often ponder the complexities of life. What does it all mean? Can anyone ever really know the answer to that question? Many times when I do not know, I will calm my soul with the assurance that ‘time’ will tell. While becoming increasingly mindful of the present, staying serene and being focused in the moment, I see the concept of time from a different perspective. There seems to be a sense of peace that occurs when one successfully stays present and aware of each moment. In the quietness of the night hours, even early morn, I find an unusual stimulating energy that releases my creativity. How do I explain or communicate to another that which I am experiencing at that moment? It is my conclusion that there are times to share thoughts or experiences with someone we love and trust. And yet there are special times to bask alone and revel in gratitude.