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How to Live and Die well

Life is an incredibly powerful thing; it gives us so much and can also remove so much in an instant. I live a very full life and sometimes I wonder if that isn’t because I have some kind of attention deficit? I get bored easily and change constantly. My heart is constantly full of things I feel I need and must do-every minute of every day. I tend to take life by the horns and just go a lot of the time, which has both its positives and its negatives. I am the eternal optimist, yet often find myself struggling with anxiety and depression. Because of this I have been able to really reflect on what is important, how to spend time wisely now and how to transition at the end of life that makes the most sense to myself, my clients and our communities.  

I am from the western world, and as such have grown up with the value that youth is everything, and death is so terrible we are not to even regard it as a thing. I understand a lot of this is for self preservation and consumerism as it is much easier to focus on light happy optimistic things such as youth, parties, the newest music drop and glowing skin. But deep down I have had this sinking feeling that we are our own worst enemy by refusing to acknowledge that aging and death is actually kind of normal, expected and doesn’t need to be considered all doom and gloom.

The downside of life.

The downside of life is that it is not always easy. It can be messy and for much of our lives increasingly unclear. We are constantly bombarded with a steady stream of what we should be and do, how we should look and act, what we should spend our lives fighting to attain. We suffer immeasurably through loss, guilt, shame and manipulation. We drown in anxiety and depression and wander around wondering why everything is just so terrible. We go through divorces and abuse, jobs filled with those that struggle to be nice or even have values and morals. We know we should be doing things that fill us with purpose but wind up feeling confused, lost and heavy as we fill our boots with the promises and intentions of others.

The downside of death.

From my experience in nursing, the downside of death tends to be the fear of dying, the fear of crippling pain, the fear that is our bodies degrading in front of our very eyes. The fear of running out of time to be and do and accomplish big titles and big paychecks. We fear watching someone we love waste away and be in pain, we fear losing someone we love so dear. We fear not having the opportunity to say the words we so dearly wish to say, and the love we so desperately need to feel-leaving us. We fear the struggle we face once those we love have left us, the depression or anxiety that may follow, the change that will inevitably occur after they are gone.

We very much view death as sort of the absolute worst thing in the entire world which causes me to wonder- is this because we aren’t living? Do we fear living as much as we fear death?

I had a skin cancer scare a few years ago. The dermatologist told me just by watching me describe a mole, that I had less than 6 months to live- period. He told me to get my affairs in order before even doing a biopsy. At the time I happened to be in a very stressful job, and a very stressful period of transition with a past partner and had spent a lot of time silently wishing, hoping and praying for death to come. Oddly I found myself a little shocked to have a specialist in the medical profession tell me that basically I got my wish.

This was a very sobering moment for me. All the things I had been wishing, hoping and praying for in mostly secret were becoming real-and that is when I realized I did not want to die. I wanted a better life. I wanted more time; more time with my son who had just entered kindergarten, more time to go to the places and do the things that made my heart happy. More time to laugh and carry on, to sit on beaches and play in warm waves. I wanted less of the crap and more of the good.

I say I spent time mostly in secret wishing for the end because I know no one likes talking about these most uncomfortable topics, especially in this society in the age of the perfect online profile that is happy and sheltered behind a radiantly glowing filter of beauty and light. Yes, I saw a counsellor and used very wisely my then employers Employee Assistance Program. Most people saw me as a happy go lucky, everything is possible, put together person when really, I was silently praying to have a sudden life ending heart attack in my sleep. I did not feel comfortable speaking about it openly, I did not want to be a burden or bring others down which is basically one of the hallmarks of depression and the warm blanket of stigma that surrounds it.

The upside of life.

The upside of life is not a short answer although it is a simple one. There is just so much beauty and opportunity around us. The upside of all the many challenges is that they are all there by design to kick us back on to the path that is best for us, the path we need, the path that fills us with the most purpose and accomplishment. I think back on some of my failed jobs which I thought were so important at the time and see clearer how slicing osso bucco at a butcher in Australia probably wasn’t the be all and end all of my talents and aspirations. I only lasted 3 days there, but it was a full three. The upside of life is experiencing so many wonderful humans, so many genuine connections, so many beautiful places. The upside is having the ability to seek out the things we desire most and enjoy a huge bowl of our favorite gelato on a hot day in the Caribbean.     

The upside of death.

I don’t think death needs to be viewed as a negative event. If anything, it could be seen as inevitable gratitude for a life well lived. It is the moment to let go and be as free as we have ever been, to be as happy, full and connected as we ever will be. Death is a chance for us to move on and let go from everything. To have a new experience and to be surrounded by what many in the spiritual deem “ultimate truth”. Life is a cycle, one for which we have trouble trying to control or even step out of. Death at the end of a chronic illness could be seen as a blessing, a way of no longer being in pain, a way of finally being able to exist without disease. Perhaps the purpose of death is to remind us to live well, in every moment. To learn kindness for oneself and others, to learn forgiveness and to let go of the shame that keeps us chasing after those people, places and things that do not fill us with gratitude, love and laughter. Perhaps we could learn to embrace death as a blessing for a life well lived, as a motivator to focus and concentrate on the things we love to do, and less on the things that feel like sandpaper on the skin. To stop chasing jobs, careers, people and places that do not serve us and instead focus on those that do. 

Death is one of the most natural things in all of life, there is literally no other choice. Even being cryogenically frozen like some does not guarantee eternal life, nor does waiting for Tom Cruise to pick you up in an intergalactic vessel. Perhaps death is like a page being turned, on to the next chapter, the next adventure, the next quest for learning.

To live well is to hone those activities and pursuits that gives us that sense of freedom and vivaciousness. To move our bodies and eat good food, to contribute to a community that is working towards becoming more alive, so that when the transition time comes, we are more ready to turn the page. To find a way to figure out what our passion is by acknowledging what it is not, to go to the places and meet the right people and do the things that breathes new life into our souls.

To die well is knowing you are supported, that you are cared for, that nothing is truly ending. To know your family is supported, that you are surrounded by love, that you have lived a truly full and wonderful life. Transitioning in life, no matter the age or stage is never easy, but it can be made easier by surrounding ourselves with the right kind of people. We are these kind of people. Placed here to make life and death as natural, as supportive and as kind as possible.

No part of life needs to be lonely and unmanageable.

Connect with the author to find out about private Yoga Instruction, Nursing services and support for Mental Health issues such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, grief and loss.

The end of Life needn’t be overwhelming. For Death Doula support for end of life transitioning for clients and their families, please contact us for tailor made support services.

We have the tools to help support you to live and die well.

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author, Private Yoga Instructor, Mental Health supporter and Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.wordpress.com For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

Life Rehaul

Life Rehaul-Part 1

A few years ago, I was not in a very good place-in any way, shape or form. I was still reeling from a very bad separation, a new partner who was not terribly healthy for me, struggling as a single mom working multiple part time jobs, living in a house that was practically falling over. I knew something had to change, but over the years had learned helplessness. My self confidence was in the negatives and I was very much struggling with a fun layered dip of grief, loss, depression and anxiety. I did not know what to do, but I knew I needed to do something. I began to realize I needed to drop the heavy feelings of disempowerment and sadness and grab the wheel in my own life. Yes a lot of bad stuff happened TO me, but I needed to reframe that as what it was doing FOR me, trying to propel me to something better. We are the only ones responsible for our lives. Future mindset is dominated by today’s thoughts.

So I started writing, and enrolling in courses. I started reading books that helped get me engaged with seeing past my current state. I cannot possibly express how much it changed my then view of myself and my future when I actually started actively planning in its creation. It really helped me to focus past the chaos I was surrounded by, and really narrow my vision on what it is I truly wanted. Sometimes we are given the most unsurmountable tasks in order to learn from them. What not to do is the story of my life, and instead of continually running from myself I started to run towards me.

It is very, very hard to rewire a brain. I still to this day, which is approximately 6 years after I started retraining my brain have to catch myself when I start to lull back into negativity. I fell down a wormhole of despair that was equivalent only to being sucked into the eye of Sauron, and it takes every day of being present and conscious to not slip back in.

I realized I had forgotten how to dream. After years of being with depressive, narcissistic, self serving people I had forgotten what a dreamer I once was. My dreams had once sent me around the world-doing all kinds of things I am now so grateful for.

Dreaming is so incredibly important to help someone to break out of whichever place we find ourselves in. It is important for us to spend time encouraging ourselves to dream: to have a focus of what our most satisfying life looks like. In order to do this, it is easiest to make a list, or actually a series of lists:

Start with reviewing the current life situation: what is in there that is happy and joy bringing, energy creating, what is it we like doing, our strengths, the things that make us feel full of optimism and zest.

Also list out the negatives. What is it in our lives that is not serving us, what we find is heavy or hard or the bringer of stress and we will see these things as that part that needs to change.

Take some time to visualize what the best life looks like-dream as big as your mind can imagine as nothing is too silly. These are our dreams, and make sure to write them down. Do this many times in a week. Even just for 5 minutes during a commute or whilst waiting for takeaway food or the bath to fill up. The more often we practice writing down our dreams, the things and life we truly want-the easier it will become. Get really specific about the details. Where are you in your perfect life? What does your home look like, smell like, feel like? What kinds of clothes are you wearing? Who is with you? How do you spend your days? If you could spend your days doing anything-what would that be? How would it feel to be doing that thing you love so much, every day? What does satisfaction look and feel like?

After you’ve had a good session in your mind, begin to put your dreams to paper. Break your thoughts in to different categories:

Home and Family

Career and Finance

Physical and Health

Social Life and Attitude

Pleasure time and activities

Contributions to society

 

Give each category its own big circle and divide it down the middle from top to bottom. On the left write down all the goals you would like to reach, all the things you would like, all the dreamed-up plans for each category. On the right write all the things that would be helpful to get you there-as though you had a great imaginary friend that could make anything happen, regardless of finances or time or any other constraint.

 

We often think we won’t be able to reach our goals due to one thing or another, so when you are dreaming and writing, do not give yourself such rigid walls. Think the sky is truly limitless and dream up all the amazing things you would like to do, all the amazing places you would like to visit and experience.

 

Do this as often as it takes so that it does not feel silly, the more we practice the more our lives will start getting aligned. The more focus we have, and with more clarity-our future selves will be put on the path forward.

 

Trust.

 

Check in with me weekly to let me know how this is going or if you need any help figuring out how to go over this exercise. The first few times it is a bit tricky, but it does get easier.

 

This is a great exercise for those of us stuck inside due to quarantine or self isolation. It can help us to keep things in perspective when we feel like we are so very stuck exactly where we are. A pause is always a great time to plan-once we overcome the overwhelming feeling of rapid, massive change.

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

The Upside to Covid-19

For the first time in our lifetime, we are at a crisis point. We are actually faced with our own mortality. We have spent so much time distracting ourselves from the core essence of who we are, because we could and because it was more comfortable to worry about things like the kind of car we drive or the brand of socks we buy, which nail polish colour to get this time around, how much Botox or that chemical peel or what have you. Absolutely nothing wrong with any of that, and I don’t intend to put any of it down. I absolutely spend time online shopping and trying new cosmetic fun things. It just makes me question how bored we may have become, how comfortable we had become, how complacent we may have been.

Until now. Now we watch in horror as towns, cities, countries and continents grapple with an enemy we cannot even see with our naked eye. The dreaded virus. It has claimed so many lives thus far, and will likely continue to take more. We were clearly not prepared for such an invasion on a molecular scale. Guns and bombs we were more likely equipped; little did we know that nature had other plans. We are grappling with a changing environment, society and workforce. There seems to be a trend at the various progressions of comprehension of the rapidly evolving situation. First, we are largely skeptical, under evaluating the gravity and magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 we think it only affects certain populations, or in certain geographical areas. Racism is rife as people begin to get scared. Then the fear sets in, panic and uncertainty. We run to the shops to stock up on whatever other people are getting because it is literally so hard to make rational decisions when our brains are overloaded and working in fight or flight. This moves on to more sensical decisions-moving on to food, medications, vitamins etc. Chaos is usually interspersed throughout the whole journey, the fear of the seemingly unknown. The uncertainty of tomorrow as the number of infected rises, and the deaths that follow. We find ourselves having moments, days or weeks of disbelief, sadness, grief. And as time passes, just like with any grief, we begin to readjust. We do not ever completely heal as we will never be the same. My hope is that we will take heed to the lesson we are given and grow from it.

We are mourning our previous life. One where we could leave the house, enjoy functions surrounded by friends and families, pursue activities and visit businesses without much worry of what we may have touched, or if we were unknowingly infecting others with asymptomatic health. We are mourning our ability to live in complete disillusion that we are immortal. We have spent so much time disregarding the one thing that is absolute and complete uncertainty-that one day we too, will pass on. This is a huge lesson in grieving, in learning to embrace loss, in learning there is a better, kinder, more fruitful way to be living. One that might actually end us serving us better in the future than the life we are leaving behind. We are evolving-and this may be an eternally optimistic stance, but I feel it to be true.

Emotions tend to fluctuate on an hourly/daily/weekly swing. I have moved past thinking this “wouldn’t be so bad”. I never did reach the hoarding of the toilet paper stage, although I did definitely buy more non perishable items and have begun to sprout my own food garden for the yard. Not because I feel this is the end, but because I feel this is only the beginning.

Slowly we shall come out of our cocoons, we will learn a new way of being. We will cherish time spent in close proximity with those we love, and just how important our health really is. It can be taken from us in an instant. We are learning to be more resourceful and creative with our abundance, to look after one another and check in to each other’s mental well being. This virus is incredibly adept at teaching us just how alike and how connected we really are. It is teaching us how easy it is to reconnect with nature and spend time outside, slowing down and actually taking time to organize our own spaces, thoughts and things in a way that serve us better. It is forcing us to re-evaluate what really matters. It is also helping us to figure out what can be cut away, what is not serving us, what we are willing to tolerate. Our close circles may get smaller but they will also become stronger. Our bonds to humans all over the world will be fortified in the understanding that this virus does not discriminate. It is no one’s fault-although we do have the tendency to lash out and blame others when we feel unjust actions have been thrust upon us.

We are learning a new way of being and perhaps it is a better way than that we were living previously. Perhaps now we will appreciate the ability to be close to those we want to be close to. We will savor the moments and learn how to live in a more sustainable way. Is it any wonder how popular bidets have suddenly become? Or how nice it is to have less to be rushing between on any given day.

As humans we hate change, we only change when we absolutely have to-and even then, it is a terribly hard sell. We get stuck in patterns of thinking and doing and what seems normal and comfortable, despite how it might be making us sick, unhappy or feeling lost. The irritatingly optimism I hold is hopeful that this is just the beginning. We are learning to deal with our grief, to be members of communities, to be present in our stillness. We have much less external stimulus to be bouncing between, and so the hope is that we will begin to tear away all the things that are not serving us, that are keeping us from realizing who we really are-how unlimited our potential really is. I have seen creativity and ingenuity skyrocket around the globe. People are adapting and modifying in order to help one another and it is amazing. I see an outpouring of love for those that continue to serve the community. We are beginning to really embrace the change we did not ask for-I can only imagine how much more inspired we are to become.

Make no mistake, this is not an easy time. There are days where we struggle to motivate, there are days that are a roller coaster of emotions. There are days that leave us wondering what will happen tomorrow, in ways that we could never have even imagined 6 months ago. There are also days when I see the positives and feel the calm that allow me to understand the greater purpose of all of this. The grand design of a reset button because we can’t seem to trigger it ourselves-for the planet, for our bodies and for our souls. So, it is happening for us-to learn, to grow, to wake up, to experiment, to embrace, to love, to focus and to reunite.

This is absolutely by no means meant to downplay the absolute sadness that surrounds a pandemic. Many people will not make it until the summer, and for anyone affected-do know I am incredibly sorry for the loss. Grief and loss are in plenty right now.

For those that struggle with social distancing or the enormity of seeing death tolls rise, infected spread and the impact on those we love-do know there is a whole community looking and waiting to support us all. Reach out, I am more than open to listening and can put you in touch with supports in your area.

 

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

At Home Wellness Partners

As a nurse in community, especially one dealing with grief, loss, life transition and coaching-it is vital to support other community networks.

At Home Wellness proudly supports:

British Columbia Bereavement Hotline

Victoria Hospice

Canadian Mental Health Association

Living Through Loss Counselling Society of BC

Know of an organization helping the community to heal? Let us know.

Be well xo

—-

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com To buy a copy of The One Life Movement click here

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

Socially Distant Yoga

For all those who find themselves at home more often and doing what they can to be socially distant to spread the risk of sharing illnesses, At Home Wellness will be holding Socially Distant Yoga throughout the week and on weekends. Email sweetfeet@live.com or text 1-778-581-4325 for more information, class times and location.

All classes to be given outside, on an acreage in Central Saanich Victoria BC- weather permitting. 

$10 per class paid by paypal, etransfer or cash.

All classes in March and April 2020 are by donation/free for our community mental health. 

Guidelines for attending class:

Bring your own mat

Remain a tall person height (6 feet) apart from others at all times

Do not shake hands or physically touch the others in attendance

If you are exhibiting any signs of a respiratory illness: cough, fever, body aches please do not attend for 14 days and self isolate. 

Ample, socially distant parking available.

All classes are taught geared for the most humble beginner and focus on slowing down, breath work, managing anxiety and groundwork.

Socially distant does not mean spiritually distant. May we use this time to reconnect with our strength and resolve to overcome and build a better future, together.

Be well. xo

——

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

To purchase a copy of The One Life Movement click here

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

 

Meditation for Beginners

Full disclaimer up front. I am terrible at meditating. I am the kind of person whose mind is literally thinking about ten thousand different topics, how they could all be improved and how they are all connected, all the time. I continually begin to learn how to meditate every day as I never truly feel as though it is something that comes easy to me, nor is it easy to find space in the day ever day to sit on a zen like mat in a still room without a child or an animal jumping on me for various reasons. I have had to get over the fact that I am not a perfectly calm, still, mindful person. But I am trying and I believe that is even more important. Getting in to a calm, level headed frame of mind has always been challenging for me. My life has been so chaos for as long as I can remember, so I do take stock of the fact that even sitting for 30 seconds in stillness is an absolute feat. Do not feel bad at all if you feel like you and I share this in common. It does not mean meditation is out of reach, it does not mean that we are lost causes, it just means we have an opportunity to try again, every single time.

Meditation is for us and no one else. Yes I truly believe that mindfulness and meditation will definitely help to heal us, to become more connected with who we truly are as beings in this incredibly fast paced, digital, instantaneously gratifying society. That does not mean I have the luxury to dedicate massive chunks of my life to becoming the be all and end all of the practice. I have so many jobs, so many commitments and that too is part of who I am. Acceptance.

Here is a very simply way to start meditating, even if by “starting” this is your fifty thousandth attempt. I absolutely applaud your perseverance, and my own. I will not give up on you, or myself-so know we have that in common.

  1. Find somewhere comfortable to sit. If you have a floof or a cushion, feel free to try that. If you have a space outside and the weather is amicable-try that. If you have a bare floor, try that or if you are more comfortable anatomically in a chair or couch, by all means-snuggle your bum in. The emphasis is on finding a sitting position that is comfortable.
  2. Don’t worry about what you are doing in the sitting position, or what is happening around you. Try to dial back into just feeling your bum sitting where it is sitting. Close your eyes, or focus on an inanimate object in your line of sight. Some people really dig having a lit candle in front of their face (on a table some distance away, I don’t recommend being so close you singe nose hairs). Some people like to have soothing music in the background-I’m sure there is enough literature to counter indicate this but please, do what makes you feel good. There is no meditation police that will come knocking.
  3. Try sitting for 30 seconds the first few times. If you make it to a minute or two that is awesome. The key here is to get into some kind of ritual that helps to tell your brain it is ok to shut off, to press pause, to slow down, even just 6% less than what it is at. For those of us that have experienced things like anxiety or panic attacks we understand the value of becoming acutely aware of the senses when things start ramping up.
  4. You can always try the body sensory thing wherein once you are sitting you begin by feeling where your feet are, in relation to the rest of your body. Are they touching the ground, are they under your knees, are they wearing socks? And then work up the body, simply focusing on an ascending region of the body, and feeling the breath go in and out of the body.
  5. Ah yes, the breath. Focus on the breath. If you have not spent time doing such in the past, I do highly recommend spending some time on this. I will work on some YouTube videos describing different breathwork techniques if you are so inclined to try. Nothing fancy, just remember to make sure you are getting air into and out of your lungs on a steady basis. Feel your ribcage expand as you inhale, feel every tiny little space inside each cavity of your lungs fill with warm, vibrant and delicious air. Feel that air pressing and expanding your ribcage outwards until you pause, and gently release the air back out your nose (or mouth). With each breath you may want to relax a different part of the body, especially those pesky shoulders that seem to always inch up my neck, closer and closer to my ears. Tension shall be released one muscle fibre at a time with each inhalation and exhalation.
  6. Thoughts are going to come swirling into your mind, especially if you are anything like me. Don’t worry about it. This does not make you a bad person, this makes you human. All we have to do when this happens is observe that it is happening, let it be and run its course, and send it on its’ way.

Literally even if I just take a minute at work or wherever I am, when I feel the shoulders tensing or the mind wandering into not the best territory- I try to do this as a grounding exercise. I don’t know if I even mentally classify it as meditation. Don’t get hung up on labels. Have a little fun with it. Try it before you sleep. After some time, you will find you may do this for more than a minute, some can even sit and do it for hours! I’m not there yet but there is always next time.

 

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

 

Forgiving Ourselves

I write a lot about forgiveness because it is something I feel incredibly passionate about. Nothing has ever been gained by retaliation, by getting back, by harming someone else when we have been hurt. It’s not like we can double down on pain and have them somehow cancel each other out. Pain is pain, and sharing pain with others because we hurt, only creates a spiral downwards. One of my quests in this life is to stop this, and many other cycles I have struggled with. 

One rather simple way to begin the healing journey of forgiveness is to do the forgiveness exercise directed at others I mention in another article that I wrote which can be found here. The next step in the journey is to actually focus on ourselves and how exactly we begin to close the wounds within ourself and forgive ourselves. We make mistakes, we say and do the wrong thing. We have inflicted pain on others because we were upset, sad, lonely, frustrated, tired, unfulfilled or felt cornered. I say it is a simple exercise because the framework is fairly direct. The actual sitting down and hashing through it is a whole other can of worms. Don’t be afraid to get emotional in the process, and don’t be at all surprised if you find your eyes squirting out liquid at any point along the exercise.

Start by writing a list of names, make it as long or as short as it feels necessary of all the people you feel you have caused pain, harm, malice to and how you feel you hurt them. Take the time to explain what it is you feel you did or said and how it may have affected them. 

Go through each name, visualizing a conversation you are having with them that apologizes to them for all the ways you feel you have hurt them. Explain that you are releasing the anger and resentment you hold for them and are letting go of any attachment you have with them.

Once the list has been worked through and completed, rip up the list or by burning it, recycling it, or simply adding notes that they have each been forgiven and released beside their names it will signify that the exercise is complete.

 

Repeat each of these as many times as necessary in order to help you to let go of negative feelings towards others. Evening releasements may prove helpful after particularly trying days. 

Most of the time when we are taking out our emotions on others it is regrettable, full of sorrow and shame. We all have to work at mending old wounds-especially considering when we hurt other people it is because we feel hurt ourselves.

**I will mention there are those that are sociopathic/psychopathic individuals as well as those with other personality disorders that simply lack the ability to “feel bad” about anything they have done to another person. It is still up to us to learn to release the negativity, stop the toxic cycle and learn boundaries with such individuals. I will touch on these personality types in another article as I am very adamant to break down stigmas and beliefs regarding various mental health issues. This one being excessively close to my heart.

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

Forgiving Others

Forgiving others may seem like an odd task. Many of us has heard or seen the old quote from Buddha “holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. And as hard as it is for us to let go, we must in order to start down our own road of healing. 

I speak to a lot of people throughout my day who struggle with the same things; so much anger, so much pain, so much shame held inside from a variety of people, occasions and things that we have yet to let go of. Unbeknownst to us, holding on to this pain is much like holding on to fire. We are the ones that feel burned, even if the flames were created by someone else.

One simple thing we are able to do that does help us to do are forgiveness exercises. The one I am addressing in this article is the art of forgiving others who have wronged us. Yes indeed there are those that have tried to make us suffer, and in some cases we have certainly allowed them to. I know myself to only recently be learning how to establish boundaries to not feel as though I am STILL being ran over by a cement truck. We will swing back to boundaries in another article. For now lets focus on how to learn the art of forgiving others.

Start by taking a forgiveness inventory by writing a list of names of all the people you feel have caused you pain, harm, malice. Living or dead. Don’t feel bad if the list is long. Go into as much detail as you are comfortable with in outlining what and how you feel they have done this. Once the list is complete, start at the top and work your way down.

In a solitary, quiet space without interruption or noise, go through each person, one at a time-visualizing them in your mind while letting them know how you feel they have wronged you, explain the hurt and the ways it affected you. Explain to them that you are forgiving them and releasing them, and you will no longer be holding on to the pain and resentment you hold towards them. “I forgive you and release you. I hold no unforgiveness back. My forgiveness for you is total. I am free, you are free”. Take time while visualizing each person and visualize them letting go of you and the pain they caused you at the same time.

Take this list once you have worked down all the names and forgiven them all and find some way to complete the task by either ripping up the list, burning it, recycling it, or simply adding notes that they have each been forgiven and released beside their names. Repeat as often as is necessary, adding to the list or creating new lists as you go.

One important aspect of this exercise is to understand that it is not necessary to “get back” at someone, or to “make them suffer the way I have suffered” because of the hurt or pain you have endured. There is absolutely no excuse for someones poor behavior against us. Understanding that their motivations come from somewhere completely different from ours. Leading and learning with compassion will all help us to heal, even just a little bit every day.
Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

 

 

 

 

Holistic Wellness

As we age, mental function changes along with us. Mental decline is common, however there are things we can do to keep our brains active and alert. Cognitive impairment is not inevitable. Here are 12 suggestions for enhancing andmaintaining brain function as we age.

Focus on hobbies of enjoyment

Brainy activities have been found to stimulate new connections and between nerve cells and new cells, helping to develop neuroplasticity and building up a functional reserve, or extra padding against future cell loss. Reading, taking courses, learning languages-even a few phrases, word puzzles or math problems like Sudoku all assist in this. Doing the things one enjoys, and finding new hobbies also helps to expand the neuro network. Things such as drawing, painting, pottery, scrap booking and knitting/sewing are some examples of activities that keep the brain sharp. Swimming, pickle ball or squash and even board games like Scrabble can help!

Get Moving!

An increasing body of research is showing that the more we move our muscles, the more our mind moves as well. Even animals who exercise on a regular basis have an increase in the number of tiny blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Maintaining physical activity also kickstarts the development of nerve cells and increases connectivity in the brain. With an increase in oxygen and connectivity, we also have an increase in performance, cognition and creativity. Getting exercise also has the added benefit of lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, aids in maintaining blood sugar balance and reduces mental stress. A total win-win.

Focus on a plate full of colour

Eating foods rich in unsaturated oils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and plant proteins such as tofu or quinoa are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia. By incorporating superfoods such as blueberries, sweet potatoes and kale we help to increase brain activity by offering nutritionally dense substance to the human biome.

Decrease blood pressure

With increases in stress and responsibilities sometimes also comes an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure as we age may increase the risk of cognitive decline as it puts more stress on our cardiovascular system-including how blood is pumped to our most vital organ-the brain. Usually simple lifestyle modifications such as walking or running daily, avoiding sitting for long periods of time and improving stress management techniques help to regulate blood pressure at a more reasonable rate. Limiting alcohol and fatty foods also helps to decrease blood pressure. If you are concerned about your blood pressure, please check with your physician for assistance in managing it to a more sustainable level. 

How “sweet” you are, indeed.

As we age, we may become more susceptible to heightened blood sugar, or Type 2 Diabetes. It is a very important risk factor for dementia. As more studies are showing to link diabetes to dementia it is important to be mindful of our sugar and refined food intake. Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes consists of eating well, cutting out fatty and processed foods, exercising regularly and staying lean. If your blood sugar is on the rise or hard to manage, please be sure to consult a physician who can help guide you to better management. 

Learning the difference between good and bad cholesterol

What is too much of a good thing? When we consume too much LDL or “bad” cholesterol in foods like fatty cuts of meat, full fat dairy, processed and fried foods. These are all associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Exercise, weight control, avoiding tobacco products and alcohol as well as choosing leaner foods are straightforward ways to improve cholesterol levels. “Good” cholesterol may be found in foods such as beans, grains, fruit and fish. As always, consider consulting a physician for assistance in maintaining healthy cholesterol.

Baby Aspirin, not just for babies

Some medical studies suggest taking one low dose (81mg) baby Aspirin may reduce the risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia (the kind associated with decreased blood flow to the brain. Consult your doctor if this is something you’d like to consider. 

Butt Out

Avoid tobacco in all its forms. Many studies indicate this is the single most preventable cause of disease there is. Smoking cessation programs are available. Consult your physician for more information. 

Don’t overindulge in happy hour

Although we may enjoy the occasional glass of wine or cocktail hour, it is best to keep this to a minimum, or abstain all together. Excessive drinking is a major risk factor for dementia and can lead to many other issues as well. If you’d like a to partake in a splash of spirits, do try to limit intake to one drink a day. 

Calming the emotional storm

Anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and exhaustion may lead to poorer cognitive function tests-which may in turn cause more anxiety! Grief, PTSD and trauma also add to the pile of “intriguing” life experiences that create a rich emotional tapestry. Positive mental health is not an easy task for anyone living today, so it is helpful to put emphasis on the importance of learning better coping skills and stress management. Meditation, restorative yoga and breathing exercises, as well as cognitive behaviour therapy are all positive ways to restore, enhance and maintain general well being. 

Where’s your head at?

Head injuries are no fun to anyone and moderate to severe head injuries-even in the absence of a diagnosed concussion increase the risk of cognitive impairment. Accidents happen, and when they do make sure to be checked over by a medical team and give your brain time to rest and recuperate. 

Build a solid tribe

Finding those we have similarities with, people that share our values and morals, those who are strong enough to support us when we fall and are around in the good and the bad help us to retain a sense of community and belonging. Some studies show strong social ties may be associated with a lower risk of dementia and other cognitive decline, as well as a decrease in blood pressure and a longer life expectancy. Having a sense of belonging and being connected to positive, loving individuals also helps us to become more positive and loving in return, which helps keep the brain connected.

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions.

Grief and Loss workshops are scheduled throughout the year.

For inspiration, travel adventures more backstory on the above and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or

LinkedIn

Growing Through Grief

Grieving is so Sexy, said no one ever.

Often when we hear the word grief, we think of death. As in someone just died, so clearly, we expect that people should be in mourning. It is true that we grieve after someone we love dies, but it is not the only time we experience grief. And it’s not exactly a “one size fits all” experience either. It seems like we spend a lot of time avoiding it, well both the grief and the death. It seems like we have become accustomed to pretending like neither exist in order to not make ourselves or the people around us uncomfortable.

Have you ever experienced the death of a loved one, as in a person or a pet? Have you ever lost a job, or had to leave one due to an incredibly toxic environment? Have you ever been divorced, left or been the one to leave? Have you ever experienced abuse-whether it be physical, emotional, financial or otherwise? Have you had your house burn down or survived war? Have you been diagnosed with Cancer or Multiple Sclerosis, ALS or suddenly become paralyzed? Have you lost a business or declared bankruptcy? Have you struggled with becoming a new parent or left a spiritual community? Did you grow up in a household that struggled to be safe, caring, attentive or nurturing? Did your partner cheat? Do you like the cozy embrace of drugs and/or alcohol? Is your housing situation unstable at best? This, and a whole lot more is also loss that can be considerable sources of grieving.

I understand how hard it is to silently grieve, to feel there is literally no one to talk to about any of this stuff. We get very hung up on the shame that comes from a sense of loss and failure. Specifically, I find in the western culture we are taught to not speak of such things, and to “save face” as it were, keep up appearances, don’t stir the pot by being real. I think it is time to start really delving in to grief, and not to wallow and wrap the cozy blanket of depression around ourselves, but to actually begin to heal because we are dealing with it.

Growth through the grieving process is real, it is possible, and it is such a good thing.

For the longest time I thought I struggled with depression, and sure-I had my days that were a real struggle, that felt as though I was citizen #1 and only on a sinking island but I was never to the point of “clinical depression”. I have also struggled immensely with anxiety. I have had poor partners, poor jobs, poor life periods. I have cried for hours, days, weeks and months and only recently did I realize it was because I was grieving all the cumulative losses I have experienced over the past 20 years. Once I made this realization it was like a billion-pound weight lifted from my shoulders and then the healing process could begin. Holy crap did that feel fantastic.

Grief looks like a lot of different things to each individual, and is experienced differently as well. Some things that we feel would be simply silly disruptions might actually be experienced as detrimental to others. Just because someone does not experience a situation the same does not mean they are not grieving. It is not a competition to see who is in more pain, or whose experience was worse off.

It is about realizing that that thing that is festering in our innards is grief, pain, longing, yearning and was once known as love.

I grew up in a very chaotic family environment that was short on time, attention, patience, support and trust amongst other things. My first boyfriend tried to kill himself- something I held on to with such guilt forever. Why couldn’t I make him happy? Why couldn’t I make him get help? Why was I not enough for him? My next relationship was a marriage to an everything-aholic, we all know how those turn out. I went through a spate of jobs, wandering through the world alone. I finished nursing school but felt like I sucked at everything as the work environment is not exactly the most therapeutic in nature (and I had recently lost any self esteem I ever accumulated- kicked out of me from  a very public divorce). I single parent alone. I left toxic work environments despite loving my job. I have been uncertain of my living situation for most of my life. I watched my dog get run over and writhe in the throws of death.  I have had cheating partners, and have been abused, lied to and stolen from by those I thought I could trust the most.

This is why I now am focusing on healing through grief work. I have survived this and a whole lot more, and will continue to do so. I am grateful for my struggles as it has given me a new appreciation and ability to be compassionate to those that also struggle. I have attended numerous courses on grief, loss, death, palliative care nursing, mental health, suicide education and beyond. I understand the importance of connection and struggled for so long hoping that there would be just someone out there who might understand me, and so I am that person for others.

Let’s have the difficult discussions, so we may grow through them and walk lighter, stronger, clearer and braver into our futures.

I am going to focus on various types of grief in upcoming articles, so please share with those who might feel them to be a breath of fresh air to hear someone speaking openly about things we fear.

There is nothing we cannot overcome together.

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Grief, Loss and Mental Health supporter and End of Life Transition / Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.ca  for in person, over the phone or online support and coaching sessions. Grief and Loss workshops are scheduled throughout the year.

For inspiration, travel adventures more backstory on the above and lifestyle content visit www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn

Services Offered

Live Well

Private/Corporate Yoga

Lifespan Mental Health Support

Depression & Anxiety

Grief and Loss

Life Transitions

Respite, Footcare and Nursing

Die Well

End of Life Support for Clients and Camilies

Bereavement & Loss for Family

Death Doula

Spiritual, Emotional & Physical Support at End of Life

All services are strictly confidential

To live well

Tackling the conversations most people don’t want to have.

Let’s talk about depression, anxiety and everything in between. Do you struggle with feelings of inadequacy and failure? These are some of the hardest things to speak about, yet we feel so much shame and guilt to seek support. It is ok to have feelings and to share them. Are you worried about a loved one or family member that would benefit from having supports in home? A safe, strictly confidential space is created in order to support and nurture therapeutic relationships.

Are you going through a divorce and feel like it is hard to navigate? This can be challenging and tricky at the best of times. Most of the time there is so much shame that goes along with the feelings of failure and anger, it really does help to spend time with someone who understands.  

Becoming a parent, one of the most wonderous times of our lives is also one of the toughest transitions for us as individuals, separate from the child. A lot of becoming a parent is glossed over by most. Many feel a sense of guilt for not feeling completely in utter bliss after birth, however this is normal. Aside from post partum depression, there are also other transitions that happen when bringing baby home for the first time. A sense of identity has shifted, and is newly becoming something that may seem foreign for a while.

Have you recently suffered a loss of a loved one or animal? The pervasive sense of loss can be extremely overwhelming for a seemingly long period of time. The emptiness after a significant loss has a massive effect on our wellbeing and ability to cope with the every day.

Have you realized there are a lot of issues from your childhood that are holding you back?

Do you feel trapped in a career that is less than fulfilling and feel like there’s no escape? Lifespan support and coaching helps to bring a sense of clarity to situations that can sometimes feel out of control.

At Home Wellness offers respite for families and family members going through rough patches, physical, mental and emotional challenges, dementia and Alzheimers relief for family members who are their primary or even secondary caregivers. Footcare for those with diabetic or problematic feet including diabetic neuropathy assessments, corn and callous removal, sanding down of fungal and thickened toenails and nail cutting. Nursing services for those requiring some in-home aid for things like assistance with activities of daily living, the morning or evening routine, medication reminders and administration, mobility, nutrition and socialization.

Personal, private and corporate yoga sessions for individuals and groups in the comfort of your own space. Working with your abilities to help cultivate a more balanced sense of physical and emotional wellbeing.

Online video support is available, as well as telephone and in person for individuals, families, groups and organizations.

To die well

Many clients I have met have often felt extremely afraid and alone with the thought and experience of death. Many do not want to burden their loved ones or even know how to go about navigating the end of life chapter. Likewise, many friends and family members are unsure of how to navigate the end of life, not sure what to say or do and struggle with heavy emotions and family dynamics on top of it all. We are not often taught how to grieve or how to experience loss. We are here to help facilitate that transition, to navigate the often complex and confusing world of public health care, to know what options there are or even where to get started.

Once loved ones have passed, many families also struggle with how to pick up the pieces, what to do with the things, stuff and all the feelings. Let us help to guide and support you through. Having someone there to help navigate you and your loved ones through the spiritual, emotional, physical and everything in between alleviates a lot of the expectations we feel by helping to carry the load.  We have compassion for what you and your loved ones are going through, we listen and respect your culture, traditions and beliefs. We create an environment of non judgment, comfort and hope. We shall continue to connect you with your religious community if you so desire, and offer prayer if and when it is requested. We work with the healthcare team to offer medical support as necessary and directed and remain in contact with all medical professionals as things advance.

To know you are supported as life begins to wind down helps to bring a sense of ease into the fold. Family members will be supported with the feelings and emotions that might arise during and after the end of life has lapsed. Aftercare for the family is helpful in facilitating healing, on each individuals own timeline. Grief is not a linear prescribed course, it may take unexpected turns, dips and detours. Be rest assured the support continues until each member feels empowered to continue for life after death. Planning for the end of life (which is inevitable one could add) brings a sense of control and knowing to the forefront. Understanding you are supported always makes a huge difference in life, it is no different in death.

Online video support is available, as well as telephone and in person for individuals, families, groups and organizations.  

No one needs to struggle through life or death alone. At Home Wellness is here to support you and your family.

Reach out to find out more about services offered.

Kimberley Dickinson is a Nurse, Author of the bestselling novel The One Life Movement, Private Yoga Instructor, Mental Health supporter and Death Doula. For more information on her lifespan inclusive services and skills please connect with her on www.athomewellness.wordpress.com

For inspiration, travel adventures and lifestyle content www.theonelifemovement.com

Instagram @kimberhosen

Email; sweetfeet@live.com or LinkedIn