Posts Tagged ‘health’


A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

How to recognize a stroke


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In the past couple of months, my writing, or my attempted ramblings have been placed on the back burner. This in itself is obvious, to say the least. They say that to become a talented wordsmith, one must write everyday. If that was the case, I should have a best seller on the market by now. I do write everyday, but what I write does not make for good reading. Topics such as treatment needs, progress notes and sticky notes to remind me of what I need to present each day leaves much to be desired in the literary world. What lessons were discussed and whose behavior needed a few extra adjectives is not only tedious but mind-numbing to boot. The only talent here is to be obvious to those in group and to know 6 different ways to write the same subject matter so it does not look like copy and paste crap.


After spending half a day inserting this stuff into reports and spending the other half of the day conducting sessions, it becomes a blur. Yes, it sounds like I am a soon to be burnout, but this whining is just that…whining. The bottom line is that I, like many of those who work with youth, is that the one thing, the one motivational drive that keeps us writing those repetitive reports is that we have an opportunity, though a slight one, of making a difference between a youth falling through the cracks of life or taking something they heard us say and using it to make a positive change. One that might keep them from becoming junkies, alcoholics, convicts, abusers or victims. Just one thing they remember that turns something around in their young lives and gives them the hope, inspiration or motivation to find success.


Many of the youth I work with come from environments that most people could not imagine. Abuse in all forms, violence in all forms, abandonment, rape, parents who give their children the same poisons of chemical substances that they themselves are addicted to, gang mentality and criminal thinking are the only things many of these youth know of life. These are “normal” ways of life for them and they have nothing to compare them with. The second challenge is the youth themselves. At their age, with hormones running wild and brain matter that will not mature for another 10 years, it is difficult to get them motivated to make any changes in their thinking or living patterns. They are invincible, all the bad stuff happens to other people and they think they know all the answers to life. Their substance abuse only hurts them, no one else, and they have difficulty connecting the dots between their choices and their consequences.


In many other jobs that show such minimal successes, or successes that are rarely observed, one would probably walk away in frustration. But not here with this work. Hope can outweigh resignation. For now, these young men are caught in the system due only to bad choices, bad role models and bad environments. Some are eager to make the changes needed to succeed in their journey while others are not yet ready, and some never will be. But coming to know them personally, they are good people, once innocent, now learning the lessons of life the hard way.


Yesterday was one of those days that the stars themselves became aligned, the world was a better place to be and hope fired on all 8 cylinders. Words forged of iron were spoken on our last day by all those who had participated in this group and the dreams of success echoed in between those words. The final act of these young men, one that offered respect and received a blessing, was a prayer song shared by a young Lakota warrior. His prayer song seemed to awaken the spirit in those present and the drum beat made the heart stronger. It was a good ending, it was a good day and it is a good new beginning.




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Over the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to sit a talk with many young people. We talk about things that most people discuss in conversation and in time, through building a level of trust, talk of deeper things. Usually, I just listen as they dig deeper into their psyche and reveal those feelings that have caused them to abuse drugs, to self hurt themselves and to believe that they are alone. In these past years, I have heard many stories. Stories of abandonment, of violent abuse, of poverty and a sense of complete hopelessness when looking towards their future. Many are caught in a vacuum and some do not have the strength or the skills to find an escape. Where I earn my paycheck now has been and will continue to be my greatest challenge. Most of what I have done in the past years does not work here. Here, I am not only a teacher, I am also the student. Here, we all learn and some of those lessons can hurt.

Life on some of the Indian reservations is difficult at best, lethal at worst. The high rate of drug abuse and addiction is just a prelude to the highest rate of teen suicide in the nation. And chemical abuse is only a band-aid to what lays deeper. When someone reads about these conditions, they see only words written on paper, or in this case, a computer monitor. It is only when you sit next to them and not only hear their words, but see the effects those words have upon their spirit, to see the tears and to hear the voices, soft and low, does one become in tune with what is happening in their young lives.  

What is the answer? There is no single answer. Only when the people come together for the community will the healing begin. There has to be a vision. One of peace, forgiveness and of spirit. Only then will the changes needed begin to blossom. And it will take strong leaders and it will also take strong spirits. The teens I see every week, many have this spirit, this warrior’s spirit and need only guidance to find the path they will walk and to recognize the battles they will need to fight. If they are anything like their ancestors, which were some of the greatest warriors that inhabited mother earth, they will succeed.  



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It is amazing the power of words. Words can bring you up to the highest level of joy or they can take you to the lowest valley of depression. This is especially true with children. Over the past 15 years of working with youth, I have seen many instances where a youth will take words that they had spoken to them and use those words to validate all the negativity they have experienced. I have also seen youth take words and watch the sparkle of spirit and self-esteem reignite in their eyes.

The power of words to hurt can be damaging and is especially true with younger children. For me, the words of “If you ain’t working, then you ain’t a man” still hold a powerful grip on my view of life and self-esteem. For my dad, the words he carried around his entire life was “God hates you.” He passed away in fear just from those 3 words he had spoken to him in anger when he was a child.

I have heard numerous children tell me that no one cares, or that they are losers or that they will never amount to anything. To a child, these comments must have altered their world entirely. At the moment those words were spoken to them, the transformation from child like innocence to a world where their self-esteem and their joy has been replaced with self-doubt and sadness must be unfathomable. And where do they hear these words? From those they trust and love and those who are suppose to provide security and nurturing, and being said by these people, those words must be the truth.

Tell a child they are useless enough times and they stop feeling. Some will be so effected by these words that they will cut themselves knowing that the pain of a wound is softer than the pain they hold onto inside. Some tell me that cutting is the only way they can feel anything. That the pain makes them feel human. Others will follow a path of self-destruction and make the ultimate choice of suicide. And some will carry the scars of those words on their spirit, stifling the gifts and talents they were given at birth. Drug and alcohol abuse, existing in relationships centering on violent abuse, gang affiliations or just living a life cycling these words daily and wondering why.

Why do people cut? There are as many reasons as there are cutters, but there are some common reasons such as:

  • To let out emotions

  • To feel alive, and know that they are not dead

  • To make the feelings of numbness go away

  • To feel in control

  • They feel they deserve to be punished

Be careful with your words. They are the most powerful tool you own, either as a weapon for defeat or as an instrument for growth.

Sweet Child

Maryanne Pale; Poetic Inspirations and more

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We see what we only want to see, that is human nature.

From our personal experiences with life, we mutate our common visual perspective until what we observe is comfortable, mundane and safe for us to  inhabit our daily existence.  We have become the unseeing and the unhearing and in doing so, have become the unknowing.  Those wonders of our innocence have faded into vague memories, brushing our consciousness every so often but as time passes, the vividness fades and the impressions become more fleeting.

But what would happen, if for just once, we removed these risk-free, rose-colored bifocals and threw away those unheeding needless earmuffs?

We would begin to remember.

First, we would observe that there is much more beauty and majesty in this world than we ever realized and will wonder why we had been so blind.

Secondly, we could discover that the world sings its own song and wonder why we have been so deaf.

And lastly, with practice, we could develop the artist’s eye and the composer’s ear. We would celebrate the natural order for what it consists of; deep, vibrant colors merging into subtle shades of shadow, we would see a rich, textured filled landscape where light bounces from earth to sky to water and reverberates into observable energy.  We would feel this vitality grow within our spirit. We would walk slowly among nature’s immense palette, painting the world to make it our own and we could sit in silence, hearing only the sounds that nature gifts to those who actually listen, composing to resplendency.  We would learn and we would grow and in the end, this is all we can ask for.  There is no more needed.

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. John Lubbock


Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes – every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man. 

Photographs and Creativity from the High Plains.

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She sat in silence, her head bowed low, her long, black hair cascading onto the table. The room became silent. Very silent.

I miss him. My dad.” She said, barely audible, her voice cracking. “I hate him for leaving me but I want to get to know him also. I don’t know why, but I do. I accidentally ran into him while shopping and I went to him, hoping he would smile and hug me. But he didn’t. He just said “Hi” and kept on walking. He didn’t even turn to look at me.”

How did you handle that?” I asked.

Oh, it didn’t bother me. I just turned numb and thought “What the hell.” Later on I did cry.”

Later on, she did more than just cry. If you do not know what a “cutter” is, I will tell you. A cutter is someone who casts out, temporarily at least, the emotional pain by exchanging it for physical pain. I have seen too many scarred arms and legs to know this is not uncommon and this self hurt method terrifies me. Most of this pain, or at least with those youth I talk with, is caused by mothers or fathers who have placed a higher importance on their own issues, rather than those of their children. Those parents who ignore the needs of security, of love and connectedness that these kids so desperately crave and deserve.

Alcohol and drug use runs rampant here. With domestic and sexual abuse a close second. For many of these youth, these events becomes the cyclic reality that is carried over, generation to generation.

My dad left when I was born and I have never seen him.” Another young lady shared with me.

My mom still talks about him and she told me he is dying of cancer. I would really like to see him before he dies.” She is beginning to get that watery, thousand yard stare. I am wondering where she will take this.

All us kids have different fathers but I live with grandma. She protects me and I can talk to her. But she is 91 and when she dies, my world will change. She can’t protect me anymore. ” She looks at me, wondering where I will take that.

Never tell anyone that you love them, unless you really mean it.” She continues, the tears beginning to cloud her vision.

She, a cutter also. Where does one go when the pain becomes so overwhelming? And how does one get to where these kids realize that there is an outlet where they can speak and let flow all that shit they keep bottled up, waiting to explode onto a razor?

Another youth, a young man, sits uneasily, fidgeting in his seat, listening to his peers talk about their pain. This one is quiet. As he sits, hearing those appalling stories, I observe that this pain he is holding onto is slowly coming to the surface. Quietly rising within, approaching and surfacing within his eyes. His face has flushed to a pasty scarlet, his eyes blurred, but he does not speak…. yet. In time, once the trust has been laid out before him, he may open himself up and his pain will flow like those of his peers. I do hope so.

I am learning that to have someone listen to their words is very important to them.

Healing the Hurt Within: Understand Self-injury and Self-harm, and Heal the Emotional Wounds

(I reposted as during a clean up….I hit the wrong button and this disappeared)…technology challenged????…damned straight.

From the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation….Support a great company

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I met a young woman a number of years ago who had made some wrong choices in her path of life. Not unlike most of us. Our choices determines which direction we will travel and how our lives are formed. I remember this young lady well. They say that when one works in a group setting, it is not fair to have favorites. Unfortunately, we are all human and no matter how professional ones tries to be, the human side is usually stronger. Since that time, I have watched this young lady make good choices. She is in school and she has a beautiful family. Her spirit is strong, her path determined and her dreams are being realized. And I am proud of her. 

For many of these young people, they do not know nor do they understand that there is a purpose of life for them. When faced with cyclic episodes of trauma, when trust has been destroyed and when the choice has been made easy by the numbing effect of drugs and alcohol, their path is not visible. 

My mother is a drunk and a drug addict. My dad is in recovery but we have grown distant. I remember when I was about 7, my mother left me to take care of my younger brothers and sisters when she disappeared on the weekends. We had very little food to eat and we were hungry most of the time.” She spoke as she stared through the dirty glass window to places known only to her. 

As I grew, I became part of the problem. The drugs and alcohol were easy to find and the violence and emptiness became normal to us. I have lost family and friends to drugs and alcohol. So many young people wanting something they do not know how to find. It is sad.” 

This one also found her strength and created a world where she is successful. 

There is always hope if these young people can be shown that they, each one of them, owns unique gifts and that they are important. Not only to themselves and to the whole.



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