Are You Busy?

The holidays are a super busy time, right?  How are you feeling about this holiday season…Busy?  Frantic…like there’s never enough time?  Stressed about money, when/how you’re going to get it all done, making sure those you hold dear are happy?  If any of this resonates with you, not just during the holidays, but at any time…you are busy.  Busy avoiding yourself, busy trying to people please, busy denying yourself the love, joy & abundance you deserve… Busy letting ego tell you, you are not worthy of your time.  Time is an illusion, Einstein told us that.  Like everything else in the Universe, time is energy.  Always fluid, always flowing, each moment filled with infinite possibilities…How are you spending it? Where are you focusing your energy?
If you say you don’t have time , you’re too busy to do the things that make your heart happy, make you feel good then you are not making yourself a priority and
you are avoiding healing fears centered around worthiness.

This shift (self-worth)has been huge for me.  I’ll be honest, putting myself at the top of my priority list has been challenging.  I have never made myself a priority, as an Empath giving comes naturally, wanting to make people happy is a priority and man, was I a people pleaser, everyone, and everything, was a priority.  I was always busy…with work, kids, friends, family, and significant others, never really taking time for myself, thinking that was selfish. I would feel guilty when I did things for myself, believing my happiness came externally.   In this country, busy has somehow become synonymous with success…from my perspective, that is complete & utter bullshit.  FUCK THAT NOISE!! We, especially those of us with dominant feminine energy, have been programmed to believe we must give & give to everyone & everything around us. To put ourselves last on the priority list. In this process, we lose ourselves, we lose our joy, our power. We must be protective of our energy (even more so for Empaths).  If you are “busy” in every aspect of life except in putting yourself first, you are wasting your precious, fucking time.
One day I finally sat down and looked at these questions…Where is your time(energy) going? Which aspects of your life are taking the most of your time? How does that make you feel? I realized that all of this time I was giving was going to everyone but me and it didn’t really make me feel so great. In fact, I felt empty.  I began to unlearn what I had been taught.  I let the shift happen.  I began implementing daily practices that were all about putting myself first (gratitude, being present, chakra work), finally understanding that the ONLY person I can make happy, is ME.  I can’t choose happiness for anyone else, but what I can do in choosing it for myself is radiate that energy to those around me.  Ask yourself these questions, answer them honestly, if your answer doesn’t light up your heart chakra, then you are wasting your time, your energy. The choice is yours.

As humans, we are conditioned to not be present.  We focus on the memories of the past and expectations of the future.  Both take away the only time that matters…now.  We only have the present this moment to do what makes our hearts happy.  BE PRESENT.
Your time is valuable, if you are giving it to others & not yourself you are letting ego tell you that you are not worth your time. Think about it…all this time you give, do you feel you are receiving it back? Do others give you their time freely? If the answer is yes, awesome! If not, think about to whom & where your time is going. Release what no longer serves you. Take that fucking time back and give it to your damn self. Use it to do whatever it is that makes your heart happy, that shows yourself you are worth it! Let me tell you something…you are worth it! You are full of love, light & unlimited potential.  You are the creator of your reality, your time…how do YOU want to spend it?

Peace, Love and Light Beautiful Souls

AK

Busy Being Happy with my Damn Self

P.S.  Chakra work is no joke…once you begin opening them, there is no going back.  Big changes in self awareness will occur and it’s AMAZING.  If you’d like any guidance/have any questions, feel free to comment, or e-mail me at ohmmygoddess@gmail.com.  I will being posting more about Chakras soon.

Want Better Relationships? Start With Yourself!

SelfI know. It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Don’t we all have that friend or family member (or maybe it’s you) who is always there, giving selflessly of her time and talents? I mean, everyone loves that woman, so don’t you want to be that woman, or just like her? Don’t you imagine that she has a ton of friends who love her right back and will drop everything to help her right back if necessary?  (I suppose this person could be a man, but yeah, not so often.) Often times, though, this friend is drained and not feeling great about her friends not reciprocating. She might just think that’s how things work, that friends just take advantage, and you either deal with it or have no friends. Does she think she doesn’t deserve friends who love her right back? Damn, I hope not.

Rlationships function best when there’s give and take. In most relationships I’ve witnessed, there’s an imbalance there. There’s generally one person who is the giver; the caretaker; the one who has it all handled. If the balance is pretty close, and both partners give almost as much as they take, the relationship is usually a good one. For example, if you like cleaning and your husband loves cooking, you care for one another that way. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you cook, clean, organize, work full time, do the majority of the child care tasks, and your partner works, comes home, throws his socks on the coffee table, and falls asleep with the remote in his hand, I hate to say it, you have an imbalance, and you shouldn’t take it.

I recently heard a quote that made more sense to me than just about anything I’ve ever heard or read. Ready? “You date at the level of your self esteem.” It’s so simple, but I look back at my life and see that it’s completely accurate. When I met my first husband, my self esteem was at an all time low. I was 20, and I realized that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was drinking WAY too much and that’s not good for anyone, but it was the only thing that didn’t make me feel empty. It gave me the social courage to meet new people. The problem is, when you make friends and the bond you share is binge drinking, those are not healthy relationships. I’d gotten out of a serious relationship with someone I thought was going to be “the one” about a year and a half prior to meeting my ex husband, and I dated some real losers in the meantime. Unfortunately, these losers and users seem to have a sixth sense for women who are down on themselves. They can somehow sense that you don’t think you deserve much. When your self esteem is at its lowest, you’re a magnet for the biggest turds on the market. My ex started out charming and kind, and slowly turned into a jealous ass who slowly isolated me from my friends. These men find ways to get you away from people who know and love you and have your best interest at heart. He has reasons, and while you’re being gaslit, his reasons *kind of* make sense. One friend smoked a lot of weed, and I was really, really not into that, so she wasn’t “good for me.” Another drank a lot and slept around, so I shouldn’t be around that, should I? Plus, he had a good group of friends. They were almost all really good people who had absolutely no idea what kind of an emotionally abusive ass he was in private. Still, I really couldn’t sack up and convince myself that I really, truly, deserved better than that.

Of course, looking back, would I change anything? I mean, he’s my son’s father. I’d never trade my kid for anything. Still, if everything happens for a reason, usually the reason is that you make bad decisions. I think if I’d had more self esteem, more belief that I had power, I could have changed that relationship for the better. It ultimately wouldn’t have worked out, but it might not have been the lonely, isolated, living hell it was, especially at the end. I’m actually glad it got so bad, because that lead to me GETTING OUT.

Look at your beautiful, talented, hilarious friend. She’s this strong, amazing woman and she’s dating one of these toxic turds. Why? She may not really grasp it, but she probably thinks Todd the Terrible Turd is the best she can do and she’s lucky to have him. She’s not dumb. She knows he’s not a very good dude, but when a woman has a low self esteem, sometimes being with Larry Loser seems better than being alone. She equates being alone with being lonely. I can tell you from experience that when you feel like shit about yourself, the last thing you want is time alone to think about it, so you stay with Alexander the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Dude and make excuses for him.

STOP THAT SHIT RIGHT NOW.

So wait, what am I saying here? If your husband is a lazy ass that fully takes advantage of you, should you just up and leave him, or kick his ass out? Probably not. If he’s a good man and he’s not an emotional, financial or physical abuser and your relationship is pretty good, besides your constant resentment brewing, take charge.

Find what makes YOU happy. Find what makes YOU feel good. I see a lot of this when I’m working on my fitness coaching business. I talk to women who are super disappointed with the their weight and their lack of energy. They want to be healthier, look better, and be able to chase after and play with their young children. Do you know the reason I hear most often? These are women who are sometimes in tears when they decide not to join my 30 day challenge groups. They want to do it really badly, but they say they DON’T. HAVE.TIME.

OK, single working mamas to little ones. I was one of you, and I KNOW that sometimes your days are packed from dawn til dusk and beyond and you’re probably not getting much sleep. I get that. If there’s a way that you can trade childcare even 1-3 times a week with another single or married parent, or if you have a friend who would be happy to spend a little time in kid-land, take that time. Fill your cup.

The majority of these women, though, are married to the fathers of their children. They tell me that they have no idea when they’d find 30 minutes, 4-6 times a week, to work out and work towards their goal. Even with all they’ve told me about their fitness goals, they don’t think that they can leave the kids with the husband for 30 minutes to work out in a different room of her home. I just wonder. Does Mr You have time to tinker on an old car that hasn’t run for 9 years? Does he golf or bowl or play hoops with his buddies? Does he run? Does he sit in a chair and watch TV for three hours a night?

Now think about this. Do you deserve 30 minutes to yourself, to work on yourself? Even if you’re not using it to work out, do you need that time to center yourself? To meditate? To go have a drink with your girlfriends?

Here’s another thing. If you see yourself in what I’m writing, and you can hear that man snoring on the couch while you read this a few paragraphs at a time in between loads of laundry and dishes, I have a hard truth for you. This man, this sleeping man who lives in your house, probably has NO FUCKING IDEA that you feel this way. I mean, he’s aware that you’re pissed that your jeans don’t fit, but he really, truly, doesn’t know how you’re feeling and what you need unless you TELL HIM. Turn off the distractions. Ask to talk to him for a minute when the kids are in bed or elsewhere. If you do all of the cleaning and all of the cooking and all of the other bullshit on autopilot, all but the very best of men who are vying for sainthood will LET YOU. You bet your ass they’re going to keep that status quo. After all, it works for him. If he’s a good man, he wants to know. He wants a happy wife, but homeboy has no freaking clue how to make that happen.

Decide. It’s up to you. Decide that you’re worth it. Decide that your kids don’t need Pinterest lives every day. Your Elf on a Shelf doesn’t need an elaborate set up every day. If that brings you joy, then great. But if these things are draining you, take back your power! Tell that man that you’re feeling tired and down, and that you need time for YOURSELF every day. For some reason, over the course of your life, you’ve decided that you don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve self care? I think you do. I think we all do. For me, that means I MUST have time home alone, just me and the dogs, for several hours at least twice a week. I need to move my body. The JOY that pumps through my bloodstream with that release of endorphins can’t be replaced by organizing someone else’s underwear drawer or vacuuming under the feet of a grown ass man. The clarity of mind I have when I’m eating clean, healthy foods 90% of the time can’t be replaced by hate-eating leftover macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets my kid didn’t finish.

So this is my purpose; my manifesto.

I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.

I DESERVE TO TAKE TIME FOR MYSELF.

I DESERVE A PARTNER WHO GIVES AS MUCH AS HE TAKES.

I DESERVE TO FEEL AMAZING.

I DESERVE TO FEEL STRONG.

I DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY.

I DESERVE SELF CARE.

I LOVE MYSELF.

I DESERVE JOY.

I DESERVE STRONG, CARING FRIENDSHIPS.

I DESERVE ABUNDANCE.

I DESERVE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF SO I CAN TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND CLIENTS AT THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE LEVEL.

CALL ME SELFISH. I’LL WEAR THAT BADGE WITH PRIDE.

And guess what? YOU DESERVE ALL OF THAT TOO. Not when your kids are grown. Not when your career is established. Not at some arbitrary point in the future. There will always be demands on your time, on your energy, on your body. There’s never a magical time when your world stops and you can do all the things you always wanted to do. Do it now. Take back your self esteem and power and realize YOU DESERVE THIS.

I can’t decide what that thing is for you that builds you up, recharges your battery, and makes you feel amazing about yourself and your life, but whatever it is, don’t delay. When you’re a happier human, you’re a happier mom, a joyful wife, a  caring friend, an energetic employer or  employee.

Love, power, and light,

-Selfish Mitch

 

 

 

Let Shift Happen

This year has been an incredible, sometimes painful, transformation of self.  I admit I have spent my adult life ignoring the signs the universe was giving me, I feel a lot of us have.  For me, there was no option…do you ever feel like the same shit keeps happening over and over?  The same shitty people in your life, just different faces?  I sure did.  That was definitely my thinking at the beginning of 2017.  The other big question I kept asking myself was…Why me? Why did all this shit keep happening to me?  The first question would be answered in April, when I was guided to Abraham Hicks & the Laws of Attraction.

After listening to Abraham a few times, it hit me…everything is energy.  I have to admit, being raised a Catholic, this was a huge belief system shock.  Even as a child, religion did not make sense to me, I never felt connected with it.  Don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful aspects to all religions, but I’ve always felt Love is the true religion and we don’t need any of the rules created by religious organizations.  The combination of Science & Spirituality really, deeply resonated with me.  For the first time in my life, the Universe began to make sense.  So…The same shitty events with the same shitty people were my fault.  My energy was attracting the shit! By letting ego take the driver’s seat of my life, by living in the confines of fear & insecurity, how I felt about myself was manifesting externally.  Holy shit!!  This BS needed to change.  However, change is NOT easy, looking honestly at oneself is fucking tough and I was deeply saddened by what I saw.   I understood in that moment that if I wanted the life of my dreams, I had to shift my thinking…shift from Ego to Soul.

Since then, the shift from Ego to Soul has been profound. Ego is the mask we use to hide our fears and insecurities.  Ego not only blocks us from recieving all the abundance we deserve, it stops us from being our true selves.  Dissolving ego takes patience and practice. We have been so deeply programmed, by people & society, to let Ego run our lives we don’t even know it’s happening.  I love this graphic of Ego vs. Soul based thinking….

Be attached with the detached; EGO is not your identity.

Any of that sound familiar?  I began to accept the fact that I had been living from Ego (with a little soul here and there) my entire adult life and I was sick and fucking tired of it.  I began to instill daily practices that helped me shift…gratitude, self affirmations, focused breathing, reading & studying chakras and all things spiritual,  meditation, yoga and journaling.  I did NOT do these all at once (posts on each one are upcoming), they were gradual, but each profound in shifting perspective, in rediscovering my authentic goddess.

We live in an Ego based society, clearly…look at who represents us all as Americans (definitely more on that another day).  I can feel the collective energy wanting change, but we must understand that we cannot change others. The changes we seek must forst come within.  Those changes can only come from healing ourselves.  As our energy rises, the energy around us will rise as well.  That’s how vibrations work, my loves.  It is why we must focus on self…self-healing, self-care that leads to unconditional love of self.  We must see that every one of us is a perfect soul having an imperfect human experience.  As woman, we must rise into our goddess power to affect the change we want to see.

Peace, Love & Light Beautiful Souls

AK

Goddess Unleashed

P.S.  This is your daily reminder that YOU ARE A FUCKING GODDESS…OWN THAT SHIT!!

One Giant Leap of Faith

I have always known I was here to be a teacher.  Growing up in the 80’s, in a strict Catholic family, lead me to one career choice…teaching.  I come from a family of teachers (on both sides): it is a noble profession. Other avenues of teaching were never encouraged, nor discussed. I was conditioned to believe that if I went to college, got my degree & became a teacher, I would live ” The American Dream”.  What a crock of shit that turned out to be.

This will not be a long drawn out story of my 15 years in the 5th largest school district, teaching at-risk kids.  The stories I could tell…maybe I’ll write a book someday.  I can tell you that I loved EVERY. FUCKING. MINUTE. with my kids.  They would tell you I was an awesome teacher, they are kind & love unconditionally.  My gift, as a teacher, was the connections, the relationships I built with each & every student that sat in my classroom.  It is the Empath in me.  Kids see through the bullshit, they feel who someone truly is.  They could feel the unconditional love, the empathy, understanding and compassion I felt for them.  In my room, my kids were not letters, not test scores…they were the beautiful, imperfect beings that they are(as I write my heart chakra is lit up like a Christmas tree).  Once my kid, always my kid.

Anyways, there were many things, of course, that I did not like & did not understand…what relevance they had to teaching kids.  But, like all good slaves, I did what I was told, telling myself it was for the kids.  I gave and I gave, I poured my heart & soul into being the best teacher I could be (the old me was a bit of a perfectionist).  At my last school, I became a leader in the building, chairing numerous committees, implementing & running professional development for teachers, you name it, I did it…the only thing I got paid for was tutoring, which I did on top of the aforementioned jobs.  I went into teaching for kids & the belief that I would have “The American Dream”.  For 15 years I was there for the kids, all the while, taking time away from my own children, friends & family, and struggling to pay the bills.  This was not the dream I was sold.

Last school year was a tough one for me.  I was teaching and going through deep personal shit at the same time.  When I came back from break in January, I was feeling better, hopeful, starting to heal.  By April, the awakening had begun.  I had been guided to the words Twin Flame and things about myself and personal relationships suddenly came to light.  I was excited and happy…for the first time in years I felt free, not walking on eggshells.  But, things started to shift at work.  We tested my 5th graders for 6 weeks straight, I’m not even shitting you…6 fucking weeks my babies had to sit in a lab, day after day taking a bullshit test.  I lost it one day, I went home and cried like I hadn’t in years.  Crying for them, crying for me, crying for the whole fucked up system.  I didn’t know what to do.  Then the Universe stepped in, there was a problem renewing my license, I wouldn’t be able to do it fast enough & the district was going to fire me…how’s that for appreciation of 15 years of service…so I gave them the big fuck you & resigned. The thing about it, a year before and I would have straight up had a meltdown, total anxiety attack.  But this year, I walked away with a smile on my face, knowing in my heart I was doing the right thing.  However, I had not put total faith in myself & the universe…I took a job at a charter school within 4 days.

I made a commitment this summer to focus on myself, use the break to really do some soul work.  In the Spring, I had started doing small, daily practices & they were instrumental in allowing the shifts for awakening to happen.   At end of June, I began meditating and shortly after added yoga to my daily practices.  I will get into how I made them daily practices in upcoming posts.  These 2 changes to my daily life, changed it in ways I never thought possible.  My spiritual awakening began accelerating at rates that were quite difficult for me to handle.  As I opened to all that was possible, my psychic abilities (we all have them) & the way I feel things as an Empath were at an all time high.  They still are, but I’m learning how they work, how I work.  I began seeing through the illusions, the outdated systems that no longer serve us.

So, with all this going on I start teaching a new grade, at a new school, in a new, not better system… talk about breaking out of comfort zones…I couldn’t handle it.  I absolutely hated being in that school.  I coudln’t sleep.  I was crying every morning at the thought of having to go there to teach.  In this new situation was the sudden awakening to how outdated our education systems are (along with all of our other government systems).  The realization that it does nothing in the best interest of kids , nor teachers…the 2 most important beings in a school.  I will rant about the education system another day, when I’m in my spiritual anarchist mood.  The hardest realization was that I was a part of it. I was a hypocrite, a slave to an outdated system, standing there teaching kids shit I know has no bearing on them being successful and I was tired of the bullshit…tired of being asked to be a robot, when I am a goddamn fucking unicorn! So, I resigned, with no plan other than to follow my heart & divine guidance to teach in a different way, use my gifts to help others heal.

One giant leap of faith taken.  I am so grateful you are on this journey with me.

Peace, Love & Light Beautiful Souls

AK

One Brave Bitch

P.S.  This is your reminder that YOU are a fucking goddess!! Be brave, shine YOUR light, stand in YOUR power, my divine sisters.

 

Those Bastards! (1) Emotional Advertising and Big Money in Politics Screwing With Our Lives

**I anticipate several “THOSE BASTARDS” posts so I just started it as a series. Makes sense to me.**

If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll know that I’m crazy skeptical of pharmaceutical companies and the doctors who are in cahoots with them. The side effects I’ve experienced from medications given to me in the hopes that they would alleviate some of my Lupus symptoms. I have gained 25 lbs in 3 weeks due to one drug. Another made me suffer a bipolar (literally; it’s not cool to use bipolar as a metaphor) swirl of manic periods and depression. I gained 40 more lbs on a different medication. Yet another made me need a nap after about a 2 hour period of light activity. That was a really lit class reunion, with me being Nappy Sleeperson. I have yet to find a pharmaceutical drug that does less harm that it does good, except maybe Plaquenil, which is an antimalarial drug that somehow makes your immune system weaker, from what I understand. I don’t notice anything different whether I take it or not.

The big name, expensive drugs, though, are insane. Some are over $3,000 a month, and of course doctors love to push those. I don’t know what the payoff is, but I assume it’s a lot. I have a friend who was taking a biologic that WAS working for her, and her insurance decided to stop paying for it. The same exact insurance company she had in October that paid for her medication decided not to pay for it in November. No reason given, just “nope.”

This is what happens when you allow fucking corporations to take control of our healthcare. Corporations with giant budgets lobby Congress and fund campaigns for our Senators and Representatives, and they’re then allowed to do whatever the hell they want to the American public. Those of us who are ill are totally at their mercy. That biologic helped my friend walk. It helped her work and support her family. She can’t do that now because the insurance company clearly didn’t like what it did to their bottom line, so fuck the patient, right?

The drug companies themselves are just as bad. The way that they tug at our emotions in commercials. These kind of commercials aren’t allowed in the rest of the Western World, FYI. They trust their doctors and their own research to determine which medication, if any is right for them. They think it’s totally crazy that their doctor would prescribe one medication over another because of financial benefit.) The commercials show active, healthy people, and happy dogs. Eddy

How do I know they show dogs so often on pharmaceutical commercials? Easy. This giant doofus tells me. My dog, for some reason (the big one) watches TV constantly looking for animals. As soon as he sees one, he barks at it. He’s actually broken a flat screen TV trying to get to some antelopes in a Geico commercial. Those drove him really crazy.

I keep the TV on in the background a lot when I work on paperwork or emails, so I rarely pay attention to what’s on, but I sure as hell know when an animal pops on screen, because Eddy lets me know. The amount of pharmaceutical  drug commercials that feature dogs is insane. It’s constant. They’ve done PLENTY of market research to show what attracts people. Young looking active senior citizens with their dogs seems to be a THING. The thing is, the happy feeling we apparently get from seeing the happy people and the dogs is fully meant to make you think something is wrong with you that this pill can fix. Can it? Maybe, but I’ve learned the hard way to trust no drug, trust no commercial, and be hesitant AF to trust your doctor. That laundry list of side effects at the end of the commercial is legit. They may not happen to you, but they might. If the drug really helps, then I’m all for it, but just be careful. Read the fine print in the drug insert. A lot of times these side effects sneak up on you. I know that the Effexor hell snuck up on me. I wasn’t fine one day, a raging banshee the next week, and unable to get out of bed the next. That’s not how it works. It sneaks up a little bit at a time, so you need to be your own best advocate.

Try to control your health through a super healthy lifestyle. Follow a healthy diet on the 80/20 rule. Eat lean meats, tons of vegetables, fresh fruit, and complex carbs most of the time, leaving junk food and processed food as 20% of what you eat. Exercise enough to get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes, 4-6 times a week. If you’re a healthy person, that should keep you healthy. OF COURSE, if you’re on medication right now, don’t just stop cold turkey because eating a lot of salads works for me. Never, ever, ever do that. Evaluate your side effects and talk to your doctor. Make her listen to your concerns and take you seriously. If your doctor isn’t taking your concerns seriously, you need a new doctor, full stop.

If you’re a person who is already struggling with health, with eating issues, with chronic illness, reach out. I’d be happy to chat with you about things that work for me and what might work for you. I love to help. Just remember to not be emotionally affected by those sweet, cute doggies on the commercials.

In Selfishly Healthy Glory,

-Mitch

Work Sick, Part 2

Self Care Isn't a Luxury.Self Care is aNecessity..pngI had goals. I had HUGE goals! I was going to crush it in real estate and start my own team. As I mentioned in my last blog, I even had the name of the team and my logo all picked out.

Then chronic illness happened. They say everything happens for a reason, but I disagree. Sometimes things just suck. They knock you down, turn you inside out, and drastically change your life for the worst. Have I gained perspective, knowledge, wisdom and other shit from all of my health problems? Yes. But it sure as hell doesn’t make up for a full, healthy, relatively pain free life. I want to feel normal. I want to do things other people my age do without having to carefully balance on a tightrope doing health equations in my head every single day, but that isn’t the life I have, and it’s not the life I’ll ever have unless medical science gets its shit together. I’m not holding my breath.

If you’re an entrepreneur who has recently been saddled with a diagnosis that you’ll have to deal with for the rest of your life, I thought I’d share my strategies with you.

  1. First and foremost, BE SELFISH. You need to put yourself first whenever possible. I feel almost lucky that I have always been a little selfish, but I really had to hone it in when I got sick. For women, in particular, we’re used to saying yes everytime someone asks something of us. Be it our partner, our boss, our coworker, the PTA, our friends, family, children, etc, you need to learn to say NO. You must put your health first. If that means you’re no longer available to network, don’t let people tell you that you that you MUST go to every happy hour a title company throws. If your spouse is a grown ass human being, don’t keep doing all of the housework yourself. If they need to learn how to cook, or do their own laundry, or sweep a floor, it’s about damn time anyway. Tweens and teens can start pulling their own weight as well. Putting some of that physical work on other people is very helpful. After all, if I go down, the whole ship goes down. If a relatively healthy person runs herself ragged and gets sick, a few days of rest generally return her to health. My last flare was pretty bad and it took a month to stabilize. During a flare, laundry doesn’t get done, nor do income producing activities. I must choose wisely every day.
  2. REEVALUATE YOUR GOALS. This one took me a while. I had dreamt about running my own team, because I’m the kind of woman who people call bossy, but I know that I just have leadership skills. It was a let down to realize that it probably wasn’t in my best interest especially in the hypothetical team members who would be relying on my guidance and commitment to their success for their income, or in my clients’ best interest for me to be on my own or running things. I’m lucky that I started on a team with an incredible mentor and was then recruited to the team where I still work today. I am still a kick ass agent, but if I happen to go down and require time off, my team mates will happily pick up where I left off with my clients and see that their needs are met at the highest level. Sure, I’ll have to split my income with them, but I don’t have to make the choice to either run myself totally into the ground to do a 5 star job or abandon them in the middle of the process of selling or finding a home, and lose my paycheck entirely. This ties into…
  3. FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR YOUR WORK. As an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’re used to doing everything on your own. That’s OK if your disability is something that’s pretty predictable. You should be able to figure out what you’re able to take on at any given time and what you’re not, and what you can realistically accomplish as long as nothing catastrophic occurs. Autoimmune illnesses are different. I can be feeling great and functioning for all intents and purposes like an adult with a bad back problem one day, and then go into a flare that basically feels like the worst flu you’ve ever had the very next. I’ve gotten fairly good at predicting flares, but they can still knock me for a serious loop. For me, as a Realtor, being a senior agent of a Top 50 Team in the USA as ranked by the Wall Street Journal is the best support system possible. They work with me on the balance I need of working from home or working in the office. Obviously I work with clients in their home and in the field, but when I’m prospecting and doing paperwork, I can get more accomplished in my home office where I experience less physical pain sometimes. I miss being in the office with my team, but I have support and the compromise works for everyone.
  4. EAT RIGHT AND EXERCISE. When the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve and 2016 became 2017, I was 236 lbs. I was ANGRY with my body. When you have a chronic illness, you feel like your body has betrayed you. Sometimes when someone asks me why I do or don’t do something, I simply say, “Oh, because my body is an asshole.” I still think that’s true, even though my body and I have come to something of an understanding this year. If I feed it right about 90% of the time, avoiding foods that are inflammatory (to find out what foods are inflammatory, just write down a list of everything that’s fucking delicious, like gluten and sugar) exercise regularly for 30-60 minutes a day, get enough rest, and don’t stress out too much, my body takes it easy on me and lets me live a “new normal” life. I’ve been treating it well enough that I now weigh 169 lbs at this moment. Weight loss, however, is a side effect of the health and fitness program I started at the beginning of the year. The main objective was to FEEL BETTER and keep flares at bay. I can’t freaking believe how much better I feel when I eat right. It does kind of suck that I can’t enjoy the donuts   the home warranty rep brings into the office in the morning, followed by the pizza the lender brings for our team lunch meeting, followed by happy hour at the bar in my office. Again, it’s about saying NO. I honestly feel like my life finally changed for the better once I got started with fitness, which is why I became an online health and fitness coach. I’m extremely passionate about helping anyone, especially people with chronic illness, change their bodies and their lives. Doctors throw pills at us and tell us to lose weight, but I’ve never had one suggest a nutritionist or a way to determine which foods specifically inflame my body. That’s life changing stuff.
  5. Discover who your true friends are. That’s a hell of a lesson to learn in your mid 30s. Your true friends are the ones who understand why you have to cancel hanging out yet again. They’re the ones who continue to invite you, even when you bail early if you show up at all. They’re the ones who are happy enough stopping by to chat when you’re in your pajamas, on your couch, in your messy house, because you can’t get up to clean, and they’d never want you to exert yourself by cleaning up on their behalf. They know that usually, your work takes priority when you only have the energy for work or play. Treat these friends like the rare, precious gems they are. Take their phone calls whenever possible. Be there for them emotionally if you can’t be there physically. Having strong friendships is actually big factor in longevity and in avoiding depression and other illnesses. Don’t let them go.

There’s no one size fits all guide to being an entrepreneur with a chronic illness, but this is what’s helped me. In these crazy times of escalating health care costs and the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act, it’s crucially important to arm ourselves with skills and strategies to manage our illnesses with nutrition and doing the right activities as much as humanly possible so we can continue working, making money, and contributing to our society and our families. As always, if you have questions or comments, I’m just a click of a mouse away.

Gentle Hugs,

-Selfish Mitch aka Michele Van Detti, Senior Partner, The Curtis Johnson Division of Revelation Real Estate

PS. The pin above is one I purchased from www.EmilyMcDowell.com I LOVE everything on their site, and don’t get paid a dime for linking to  them and they have no idea who I am. I just like to share stuff I love.

 

Work Sick

I have a few chronic illnesses. I have Lupus, RA, and degenerative disc disease. Due to a few failed back surgeries, I have been diagnosed with “failed back syndrome.” I also have ADHD, and most of these diagnoses happened prior to my 40th birthday. In fact, I spent #39 in post op from the spinal fusion surgery that ultimately failed to fuse, leaving me in more pain than before. The surgeon said that if he went in to try to fix it or remove the hardware, or to try to fuse it again, I’d have a 50% chance of some pain relief and a 50% chance that it would get worse or stay the same. I sure don’t like those odds. I later had a spinal fusion surgery, but that, too, failed to work. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, at first, I considered filing for disability, as a couple of doctors recommended. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around simply giving up at such a young age. I know that people younger than me have had to file for disability, and their reasons are sound. I’m not judging anyone for that choice, but I just KNEW it wasn’t for me.

I’ve always worked really hard and had big goals. I started babysitting at eight. That sounds ridiculous in today’s world, but I guess in small town Montana in 1983, when people knew my teacher parents (and the parents of the kids) were less than a mile away at all times, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I lied about my age on a job application to get a job waitressing at the age of 14. I worked 1 or 2 jobs at a time while going to college full time, which might be the reason I never finished a degree. I have about 170 credits that don’t form a degree, though, so that’s something. (ADHD was real in the 90s, even if we didn’t really know what it was or how to treat it, especially in adults.)

When I started in real estate in 2005, I knew I’d found IT. My career path, what I was supposed to do. It was all so clear. I’d start as a buyer’s agent on a team at Keller Williams to learn all I could. From there, I’d try to move up to the listing agent on a team, and then go out on my own, and then I’d build my own team. The path laid in front of me was so clear, that about a year into my career, I had my team name and logo designed in my head, and I was certain that nothing could stop me. Hahaha. Doesn’t life always have other plans?

First, the market crashed, and it crashed HARD. Luckily, I’d been recruited over to another, larger team that allowed agents to handle buyers and sellers, and continuously found ways to be successful, even with the median price of homes dropping about $200,000 over a couple of years. However, there was stress all around at that time in my life. My husband’s job changed, making him unhappy. It seemed like we were working harder and harder and making less money. I think just about everyone felt that way during that time, but as a married couple who both worked on commission, it was a BAD TIME.

I started feeling terrible. I have had issues with my shoulders ever since I worked my ass off in restaurants and bars, but this was all over my body. The exhaustion was horrible. The foggy mind and the unpredictable symptoms made working a serious hell on earth. It made LIVING a serious hell on earth. All along, I looked fine. That’s what everyone told me. My weight ballooned due to medications for what they diagnosed as fibromyalgia, and from the emotional eating I reverted to when I had no other way to cope with what was happening to me. I’d never learned healthy coping skills. It was food or booze for me, and at that time, I turned to both.

In 2012, my husband got a great job out of state and we moved. I didn’t work for a while and I focused on my health. I worked out as much as I could, ate well, and got my weight down from 230 something to 184, and I felt better.  Still, mystery symptoms reared their head. Finally, finally, I got a diagnosis. It’s autoimmune disease. It’s here forever, but it can be managed. My doctor gave me an antidepressant for pain, even though I was not depressed at the time. Turns out, my brain processes antidepressants as depressants. I was sunk into depression, anxiety, and misery like I’d never felt, but was assured that it was the result of a scary diagnosis and the realization my life would never be the same. I tried working part time from 2012-2015 but, honestly, that depression and the wacky medications made it nearly impossible. Steroids, low does chemo, biologics, etc. I felt like a chemical shitstorm and felt worse. We moved back to Arizona, which greatly helped my joint pain, but I was still depressed, and still taking Effexor. If I missed a dose by about 3 hours, Effexor withdrawal happened. It was like nothing I’d ever felt. It’s like you have electric shocks from your brains to your limbs. Still, I didn’t connect my depresseion with Effexor until I had what was basically a manic breakdown and started researching.

happy

 

I weaned myself off of it, so a lot of the cloud of misery disappeared, but it left my life in chaos anyway. I was back up to over 240 lbs at that point, and in a great deal of pain still. What in the hell was I going to do? Plus, I needed to contribute to my family, and as someone who has ALWAYS worked, except for a dismal failure of a stint as a housewife when my husband and I got together, and I needed the mental stimulation.

Then came the back surgeries and the recoveries, and an office job that I really liked, but was constantly taking time off from for doctor’s appointments and pain. It really didn’t pay enough to make a huge difference in our finances either. So. What now?

 

TO BE CONTINUED….

 

Love and Health

-Mitch