Tuesday, November 28, 2017

All I Have to Do is Dream...


"She had a dream last night. In her distress she turned and I was there and then she knew she'd be okay.

We use dreams to connect with you. We find our way into your unconscious mind to remind you that we're always there. I know it's hard to believe right now, but someday you will find that nothing of the world was really worth being so upset about. One day you will wake up in Paradise just like she woke up from her dream today. You will see that it was all just a silly ride!

Hang in there. It will fly by in the blink an eye. Don't simply endure it; find a way to enjoy it. I'll see you in your dreams... and on the other side when the time is right for you to return to me."




The Jack McAfghan Books are Available on Amazon Worldwide

Dreams are awesome, aren't they?  Sometimes they are just a mixed up bunch of "debris" that we are sorting out (we often decide whether to store things in our short term or long term memory when we are dreaming -- so dreams can help us sort through the things that aren't necessary and also help us to process the things that are.) 

Dreaming is like going to another plane -- where your soul joins the souls of others to accomplish what you need to accomplish with them.  Benito and I used to share our dreams and so often we would find that we had had the very same dreams with each other in them.  It was weird -- but it opened my mind and could not be denied.


Life is the school, love is the lesson. Dreams are our teachers too. 
 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

May We Never be Too Old to be Amazed

  Click Here to see more on Mars and Venus over Switzerland!

Is It Another Senior Moment Or Is It Alzheimers?

Using Our Brains

By Kate McGahan LMSW

How often we are reminded that schools teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but not the lessons of the pure applications of life. They don’t teach us how to love, only that we love. They don’t teach us how to remember, just that we remember.

As we age, everything we have ever been creates an evolving identity of who we are, complete with our memories of the past, our place in the present and our hopes for the future. When we lose our connection to our past due to significant memory loss, we lose sight of everything we are. Our memory is essential to our growth as a person, as a family member and as a productive member of society.

“Uh oh,” we think “am I losing my mind? Is it Alzheimer’s?” when we forget a name or maybe a face. We prematurely experience what is called a “senior moment” or we become the butt of an old age joke. We remove the cold morning coffee from the microwave, forgotten in our mad rush to locate our keys. Where do we draw the line between mere forgetfulness and the problems that are the result of Alzheimer’s and other such disorders?

Every passing second of our lives we are receiving and transmitting information. The satisfied look of our golf partner, the disapproval of our boss, the ray of sunshine streaming through the window or a bird on the wing...the blare of the muffler that needs replacing, the roar of the alarm clock or the sweet sound of a symphony...the smell of your father’s aftershave or the feel of silk pajamas against your skin. Every sight, sound, smell, touch and taste is recorded in our phenomenal record-keeping center called the brain.




Every single experience has the potential of causing a physical neurological change in our brain. To this we owe the great success of music, art and aromatherapy to name a few. Every single message received by our senses goes through an intricate system of procedures. When we learn something or experience something, that “something” enters into a process that will file it according to what we will need it for. In other words, every experience will enter the brain, which will then decide if it should go to the short term memory, the long term memory, some storage area in between (a “recycle bin” of sorts, to be retrieved if necessary) or if it will be expelled as nonessential information.

It is our natural state to sort and file. A healthy brain does this flawlessly. Problems related to memory loss are not a natural state that comes with aging. It is said that we have 90 or so billion neurons and that with age they decrease in number. Neurons are naturally depleted with age by possibly a billion or so... hardly enough to affect our lifestyle.

What gets in the way? No matter what our age, we are affected by stress and anxiety, lack of sleep, malnutrition, overwork, hormonal changes and more. Exposure to influences such as drugs, alcohol, electromagnetic fields, medical illness and traumatic events can dramatically affect our memory storage and retrieval system.

Other than avoiding exposure to such things, what do we do to keep our memories on track?

1) The old standbys of eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise and trying to decrease stress is a good start.

2) Take some time to discover the growing industry of memory “wellness”. Hundreds of books, websites, school programs and courses are designed to help people to learn ways to adapt, compensate for and prevent forgetfulness. An array of alternative medicine remedies such as ginko biloba, vitamin E, lecithin and vitamin B12 are being professed as playing a part in winning the memory loss game.

3) Everything you experience, to a greater or lesser degree, creates a physical change in the brain. If you have had a negative experience in the past, don’t hang onto it -- because it will continue to affect you in negative ways.

4) Be sure you are doing the work you love and that you surround yourself with people who are supportive and nurturing rather than those who are critical or judgmental. You will absorb whatever others have to offer you – positive or negative.





5) Surround yourself with an aesthetically pleasing environment. Colors, sounds, textures, light can all have an impact on your sense of well being.

6) “Use it!” Don’t just play the memory games and take memory classes. It’s the things that you learn that you incorporate into your “being” that have the most profound affect on your memory. It’s looking at life in a whole new way, or looking at yourself with a new attitude. It’s having that internal light bulb go on that say’s ‘Wow, I never thought of it that way before.’ It’s the things that encourage you to take off the old shoe in exchange for new ways of doing and perceiving. It’s living in the moment. The positive experiences that stretch your creativity, your passions and your feelings will create an atmosphere in your brain conducive to optimal memory and cognitive health.

In a June 13, 2000 TIME magazine article, George Johnson writes in regard to memory loss: “(Research has shown that) canaries create a new batch of neurons every time they learn a song, then slough them off when it’s time to change tunes.” Don’t be afraid to change your tune once in awhile; it may be just what you need.

7) Don’t worry about your forgetfulness unless it begins to impact your patterns of routine, your behavior or your overall functioning. Not being able to find your keys is one thing. Not being able to find your car, well, that may not be quite so bad either. Not being able to find your way home is another story.


8) If you feel that memory loss is impacting your life or the life of someone you care about, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. Many people procrastinate because they “don’t want to know” that they have a cognitive disorder. The fact is there are 100 or more reversible conditions that could cause memory loss. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can realistically get back on track.

In the meantime, you can join the rest of us who question ourselves from time to time. Just don’t let it prevent you from allowing your brain to grow from the experience of living life fully.

...And if you can say “Wow, I never knew that” somewhere during the course of this article, my goal today has been accomplished.






Just Say Yes

I hope we can create some more memories soon.


Love, 
Sarah

from the upcoming book "It's All About You"  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Some Things Are Just Meant to Be

“Some souls come together just for a little while to teach each other something. It can be confusing because you can think you love someone at first sight and you assume that they are a soul mate. You think it’s supposed to last forever. You share the same dreams because when your mind is asleep, your souls travel to the same place so that you can be together. You think of them and they call within moments, because they are thinking of you too. 
The truth is that some soul mates stay just long enough to teach you what you need to learn. It can get a little complicated when you have the expectation that you’re supposed to live Happily Ever After with this person when they were designed to stay with you for just a little while. Our Master designs it this way so you can make the most of the relationship when you have it. We thought all soul mates were meant to be forever, when some soul mates are just meant to be” 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

An Open Book, But I Don't Tell All.....

Lo, praise for the epic scenes ne'er told
So many from the days of old.
When time was young and youth was new
And love was pure and true.

Many sagas I could write
Of those who tried to win my heart
Or me theirs.
Through hoops and fields of memory run
The words that speak Of Life and Love

Kept inside, a silent prayer,
That one will come and remain there,
Through tests of time and storm and strife
The reason others went astray...
The one who is my Love for life.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Do You Think Too Much Too?

"Too much analysis 
may not bring you the answers you seek, 
for an intellectual route of inquiry 
could prove to be a dead end now. 
Nevertheless, your mind is so active that 
an endless string of words could tempt you 
to trust them. 
Don't try to shut down the mental flow, 
for that won't work. 
Just recognize that 
the real language of 
meaning is in your heart 
and not in your head."  

~Author Unknown

Please Darling! Stop THINKING so much! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Very Fact You Thought of Me is Evidence that I Am There



Chasing my memories of you!
Or are they chasing me?
It seems that you are everywhere!

...Yet you're so far away.

Please don't forget me.
You don't have the reminders that I do:
Our house, the corner coffeeshop,
The park and symphony hall;

How is it you seem to be there!
Everywhere I go,
Everywhere I am.

I guess
You maybe aren't so far away
After all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Is Grief Taking a Toll on Your Marriage?


I will never forget one of our Heart to Heart Support Group members was struggling terribly for a long time after the loss of her Heart and Soul dog.  Her life had become one great drama, filled with great rage and relentless sadness. One day she shared that she had said to her husband, crying: "I just want my dog back." Her husband looked at her straight in the eye and replied,"I just want my wife back." This is the kind of strain grief can put on a marriage.  

Some of you are struggling in your marriages and relationships because of the grief that is weighing heavily between you. It hangs heavy like a wall that seems insurmountable. Your wife may not be able to focus on what is important to you. She seems scatterbrained because she doesn't know where to put all of her feelings that come from her grief. Hubby may not know how to process his wife's -- or even his own -- emotions over the loss of a beloved pet. Men and women tend to process emotions very differently and the emotions of grief run deep.


Remember there are typically five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. For many, these stages can be extreme. A husband may have discomfort in not knowing what to do for or say to his wife. Perhaps he is struggling too and he doesn't know how to talk about his own grief so he distances himself instead. She feels the distance and it perpetuates her anger or depression. 

If this kind of behavior between you is taking place but is not typical, it is likely related to the loss at hand. By the way, for the husbands, most guys love Jack's book because he's a guy too and he writes it in such a way that they can process it quite easily. Jack will walk any reader through the stages of grief and out the other side. So if nothing else works, put our book in his hand! Most women gravitate to Jack because he's a guy that sets everything right. Jack puts everyone on the same page. Read it together. Read it to your kids. Leave it on your parent's coffee table. Do whatever you need to do to get on common ground. 

Please tune into this short video (below) which discusses the difference between Men's Brains and Women's Brains by Mark Gungor. It's been around awhile but is quite funny and right on the mark. Most men and most women deal with grief very differently and if you are in a marriage or relationship that is currently strained, it's important to keep this in mind.  


I also wish to add that I have addressed 'husbands' and 'wives' in this post and it seems all very traditional, but this applies to all relationships and partnerships between generations, men and women, same sex partners, siblings, parents and children of all ages. Everyone has a different way of handing stress so please keep your mind open, seek counseling if you need a little extra support --- and keep love at the forefront of everything you do.  

Here's the video. I think there will be something in it that would make most people laugh, and laughter is still the best medicine of all.  


Find Jack's Books highly-rated on Amazon Worldwide



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hindsight


We learn a lot from those who love us
Learn a lot from those who don't.
There's only so much you can do
With those who can't or those who won't.

Eventually you come to see
That you can do and care for them
And love them 'till the cows come home
But it won't change things either way.
So if you find you're worrisome 

Take on step back and try to see
If you deserve to wait and wait
For hell to freeze
Then celebrate
Your foresight before it's too late
To have something
To call your own
Before the cows come home.



Excerpted from the book "One Heart's Journey"  




Sunday, October 15, 2017

Deuce



When love is played

As part of a game

It means nothing.

When love is love

It means Everything.

The Ebb and Flow of Love


“Love is like the sea. The waves of life, they ebb and flow; they come and go. Time sweeps us away from each other. Love always brings us back.” ― Kate McGahan

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Are All Your Books About Dead Dogs?"

Our first book in the Jack McAfghan series was "Jack McAfghan: Reflections on Life with my Master".  Jack quickly developed a following by helping people to work through their grief, walking them through it each step of the way. As a canine "grief counselor," Jack connected readers with their own loved ones and brought those loved ones back for healing. 


After that book was published in June 2015 I just kept writing and writing and writing.  

Last month, a family member called to congratulate me on the then-upcoming publication of "The Lizard from Rainbow Bridge."  She had no idea what this book was about. She then asked me: "Are all your books about dead dogs?"  

Well, no. This second one is about a lizard actually. A dead one. A dead one who lives on in another dimension. Ok? 

My next book, yes, it's about a "dead dog" too. Jack is back again. In the style of his first books, he helps the reader through their grief by teaching and supporting... and sharing the wonderful story of his journey to Rainbow Bridge and back again. "Return from Rainbow Bridge" is a book, also narrated by Jack McAfghan, that speaks of why we die, how we die, how we can return to life and how the end of this life is not the end of life at all. We hope to release it by the end of this year. 

What's next after that? Well, I guess it's about a "dead dog" too. It's a book about the progression of death in all things.  It's a small booklet that guides a stressed reader through the dying process. After 30 years working with Death and Dying I have witnessed the same things happen over and over again. There is a somewhat predictable course when one prepares to die of natural causes. This little book will prepare the reader to recognize the stages of the journey and to best prepare for the inevitable. It is told by---- Jack, the canine grief counselor. Jack just seems to have a better way with words than I do.   

....And the next book after that comes along as a matter of course. Over the past year or so, as Jack worked his way into the hearts of his readers, they wrote him fan mail and many letters seeking support, comfort and advice. "Letters from Rainbow Bridge" brings his answers to their questions about death, dying, decision-making, emotional issues and confusion that are a part of grief. He teaches the reader how to find the best help and how best to help others who are going through loss.

That said, there is another book. I was almost finished with it before the fateful week that changed my life. In July 2014 I took Jack in for surgery on a Monday, taking that week off to be near him and to finish the book. But it didn't unfold that way. Jack  passed that Friday and my father passed the next day... I short sold my home the following month. Caught up in grief and loss, I was paralyzed for six months. Then Jack brought me back to life. He came back into my life and rocked my world. He gave my words back to me and brought my intuition into the light of day.  I never planned to write all these other books. He inspired all of them. 

"It's All About You" will be finished after "Letters" ...and there are many many more books forthcoming. This journey is definitely not about a 'dead dog'. It is about Letting Go of everything we ever thought Love was.  Everything we ever thought Life was. Everything we thought Death was. 

Sometimes you have to reach a certain age, a certain stage in life to find out what makes you happy.  I am currently looking for new housing and a simpler life, financially and otherwise, because All I Want To Do Is Write.  I will sacrifice everything and do whatever it takes to make this happen. 

See you in my next book!  

Friday, July 28, 2017

Love in the Public Eye


 How many take love for granted? It starts out sweet
And then disappears. 
Imagine the fun they had putting this sculpture into place. 
 A few days later, people still notice and appreciate it. 
 A few weeks later people start using it as a landmark. "
Turn right at L-O-V-E, go down three blocks 
and turn left on I-Could-Care-Less Street!" 
 A few months later they walk by in its shadow, 
hardly noticing. 
 Such is the way with love that is not nourished or nurtured. 
 But look! 
Years later it still stands tall and strong! 
Of course it does. 
It is more stable and powerful 
than all the inattention in the world. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Everything We Need to Know We Learn from Nature


Living in the great Southwest in Sedona, I am blessed to be surrounded by nature. A mild change of seasons allows things to evolve and grow and live and die and return again. A wave of color in predictable patterns comes and goes from season to season. Nature teaches us how to live by the way nature lives. What's the lesson of this cactus flower in the grey grassy red rocks? 

Life is too short to hide yourself away. Don't hold back. You never know how important you are in the landscape of your life. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Predator Dream




I saw you there.
You and your true colors.
I had fallen in the street
And dropped all of my pencils
And hurt myself
And my pride.

There you were,
Laughing at me
As you crossed
To the other side

In dreams
Fear can devastate.
In dreams
Courage can shine

For once in my life
As I stepped upon the curb
I could look you square in the eye
And call you a jackass.


from the book "One Heart's Journey"



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