Choose to Love.

This is a tough time for all….but also a time to learn and grow. I have some ideas about dealing with these troubling and traumatic current events. These actions helped me:

·         First, get bummed. That’s right…these events are tough, depressing and wearisome. Take some time to cry, get mad and just lose it – but time it; build in an ending.

·         Next, monitor your engagement with news coverage. Keep up with current events but limit the time of exposure. Take 30 minutes twice a day to read, watch or connect with this information.

·         Finally, take control of what you can…your own behavior. Do just one thing. Write a letter, choose an action that is useful and positive, find an organization to support.

In the midst of distressing, troublesome, even tragic events, people can become less compassionate, less loving. Don’t fall into that despair and negativity.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Choose to love. Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn

July Newsletter: A reminder of my survival and going after My Crazy Dream.

This is the anniversary of my brush with death. On July 20, 1990, 27 years ago, the life I knew changed – forever. I had no idea how things would turn out or what this experience would bring forth. Initially, my life seemed hopeless and without purpose. I spent much of my time depressed, angry and afraid. Unwilling to give up - I eventually made the choice to live. With time I accepted aspects of my new life and adapted. I reached out and took advice from professionals and friends who supported my recovery. I tried new things and got some traction. I refocused and became grateful for what I could do. The anger, despair and frustration slowly subsided. Then I had this crazy dream. I could help other survivors to maneuver around their own trauma and crisis and eventually grow, not in spite of what happened but as a direct result of their event. Metahabilitation was born. I now live for and with a purpose. Part of that purpose is my family. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, children, sons in law, grandchildren, colleagues and friends. My crazy dream has taken hold and I am more dedicated and driven than ever. I have seen Metahab work, providing a pathway for survivors and their families toward growth. It is becoming more and more the standard of care and less of an afterthought. So with deep gratitude for my survival and the opportunity to remind survivors of their courage, capacity and ability to move forward, I want to thank the Metahab community for supporting my crazy dream.

Now, find your purpose and go after your own crazy dream. Have fun, enjoy and grow.

 

What I learned from Lewis, 4 women and a walk on a Desert Tightrope

Always wanting to test myself, I recently participated in an incredible challenge called the Desert Tightrope. Traversing a cable 35 ft. in the air using only a series of hanging ropes to help maintain my balance looked excitingand fun. It ended up being all that and more. 

The dry desert of Tucson was where I, along with Diane, Makenzie, Terry, Sarah and Lewis, our insightful leader, embarked on this journey together. Lewis exuded incredible energy and determination. He made it clear - we were all going to do well and we were all going to learn something, mostly about ourselves. He was right. As my four new friends and I stood under the 35 foot tightrope, we looked up, squinting to block the bright desert sun, and decided the order in which we would climb. I was going second. Harnesses were placed. Instructions given. “Rely on your legs not your arms when you climb up the pole” Lewis recommended, “they are stronger!” With these directives and encouragement from my friends on the ground, I managed to summit the 35 foot pole ready to step onto the tightrope. I stood there – frozen, “You got this” were the reassuring words from my new and supportive friends. “Take your time. Look around-check out the view!” yelled Lewis. But I wasn’t interested in the view. My legs were shaking ferociously as I grabbed onto the first rope and pulled myself onto the tightrope. I held onto the rope for life, unaware of how tightly I was gripping it. “Great work” were the supportive words from down below. “Grab the next rope” they encouraged. After grabbing the next hanging rope with my right hand, I was too anxious, too afraid to let go of the one in my left hand. “Joyce, what is that rope in your left hand doing for you?” Lewis asked. “Let go of it so you can move on”. Wise words. I made it to 5 of the 7 hanging ropes before I fell and Lewis brought me down slowly to the ground. Surrounded by my team, I cried. I was shaking. I could not believe how scared I was but also how happy I was at pushing through my incredible fear and initial lack of confidence. I didn’t get to the end of the tightrope but I went further than I expected. 

I gleaned many lessons from this challenge but let me focus on the top three. First, letting go of the rope in my left hand signified letting go of the past in order to move on. It didn’t help to hold onto both ropes. It didn’t provide stability and it hindered my progress. Second, once I got to the ground, I noticed my hands really hurt. “Because you were gripping too tightly. Holding onto something too tightly doesn’t work. You need to relax and let the rope work for you” Lewis kindly reminded me. Holding on so tightly didn’t help my balance - it caused pain. Finally, it was with great surprise and appreciation that 6 individuals, coming together only 30 minutes prior to walking the Dessert Tightrope, became sincere allies and supporters. We wanted the best for each other - to feel good about what we accomplished and to acquire amazing life lessons: Let go of the past. It doesn’t provide stability, it stops you from moving forward. Holding onto to things in life too tightly causes pain and doesn’t get you want you want. Relax your grip. Take a deep breath and move forward.  Finally, depend on others. They provide strength and support during challenges and struggles. You’ll go further and it is fun to accomplish things together. 

Excellent life lessons and growth are brought forth by challenges and embracing new opportunities. This brings me to my next exciting growth opportunity. Metahab.com is partnering with LFM Consulting, a company that provides unique and meaningful physical challenges and adventures to inspire and promote the principles and practices of metahab: finding meaning in our personal and professional lives, in our struggles and suffering, and encouraging resilience and growth after challenging life events and traumas. I am honored to collaborate with attorney Dana Furbry and Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Leonard (US Army) on this important and life affirming work. Now, sometime during this month challenge yourself. Walk further. Run. Go on a hike or bike ride. Take a time off work. Read that book you sitting on your desk. Take on a challenge at work. Push yourself. See how you can grow.  

Team Metahab.

 

Metahab & Mother's Day

Mothers have been our healers from the beginning. Dealing with the minor traumas - skinned knees, cuts and bruises to the more significant crises and struggles as we grew. They understood the concept of Metahab all along. They helped us heal and grow from these events. Because they give so much, Mothers sometimes forget to take care of themselves. To attend to their needs. Metahab promotes health and wellness for all - Moms too! So if you are looking for a thoughtful gift for yourself, a friend, colleague or your mother, join us in Sonoma on June 10th for the Women, Wellness and Resilience Day. Take time out of your life, or gift it someone else. Replenish, find your balance and have fun.

The Metahab family wishes all Mothers a Happy and Blessed Day on May 14th.

 

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

 

"Metahab is a good fit with the Salvation Army Program - A process of teaching people how to overcome what seems to be insurmountable. The men who participate in Metahab workshops tap into a process that helps them excel in the rest of the program. We are grateful Metahab and Dr. Mikal-Flynn for partnering with us." - Larry Dayton: CADCII; Program Coordinator, SA ARC.

"This curriculum has been very helpful to the men at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. They are given the opportunity to view their history through the lens of metahabilitation rather than as wasted time."- Barbara Field, MA, CATC, M-RAS, CSC: Clinical Coordinator, SA ARC.

 

"Drinking is what you did, it doesn't define who you are....." a line from a movie I recently watched that dealt an individual entering into a life of sobriety.  The month of April focuses on addiction and dependency, fitting perfectly with Metahab and its message of resilience, strength and growth - using those terms to define the person dealing with addiction and dependence.

Tragedies, challenges and struggles happen. Some are worse than others. These situations can bring about despair, seeing only the negative - what is wrong. These events might even prompt use of drugs and alcohol to help cope and forget. However, research reveals that crises and trauma, like addiction and dependence, can also be viewed as an occasion for personal growth and development. They don't look like that at first but when one boldly chooses a different path, opportunities open up.

You see nothing but damaged goods but I see something good in the making. When you see wounded I see mended. (Matthew West, Mended)

What turns things around? What prompts the mending? It is different for each person and different times bring forth different motivations but one thing that helped me was redirecting my thinking. Focusing on what could make me better and going after it. With addiction and dependence one tends to spend time in the past. I want you to focus on your future. I am not undermining the pain and struggles endured, but survival should remind you of your strength and resilience. Recovery allows you to look at possibilities for your future. Instead of seeing pain, seek purpose. Try new things. Don't do this alone. Ask for and accept help. Look this issue squarely in the eye and focus on what has been given instead of what has been lost. Metahabilitate. Go above and beyond restoration. Don't stop at mended. Keep going for growth - see the miracle. You are not finished yet. Keep finding out who you are. Realize who you can be. Instead of feeling broken beyond repair, you can experience healing beyond belief. (MW)

 The month of April focuses on alcohol awareness, addiction and dependence. I want to profile and thank the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (SA-ARC). Barbara Fields, MFT, Addiction Counselor and Program Counselor at SA, heard me speak the Sacramento Chapter of the Women's Association for Addiction Treatment. She learned more about my work and brought Metahab to the Salvation Army ARC. For over 3 years, with the amazing supportive Larry Dayton, Salvation Army Program Coordinator, quarterly Metahab Workshops have been integrated into their treatment program. I have been given the pleasure and honor of working with these men and noted, firsthand, the damage brought forth by their addiction for themselves and their families. But I also witness, when they embrace hope, recognize purpose and identify internal strengths brought forth by survival of personal crisis and trauma, they create a new path. This new path and mindset brings forth a healthy person able to fully and substantially participate in society, with family and friends, as a dependable and loving individual. 

Thank you, Larry and Barbara, for your support and opportunity to work together.

Spain

A great trip to Barcelona, Spain for Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn to speak at the 2nd Global Conference on Emergency Nursing and Trauma Care about what prompts post traumatic growth for survivors and their families with Dr. Bridget Parsh.

Resurgam: "I Shall Rise Again"

Words are powerful, especially this one. Resurgam, is a Latin word that means; ‘I shall rise again’. I had two recent examples, actually reminders of resurgam. First, with Project Cohort. Their mission and focus is: A Community of Veterans Helping Veterans through therapeutic adventure, camaraderie and service. While attending peer training for Project Cohort at Texas State University and Bastrop State Park, I had the honor of spending several days with veterans who, as expected, endured disturbing events during their military service, finding themselves in some very dark, scary places after their tours of duty. Returning home brought forth unique and troubling issues. Many, if not most of their problems resulted from separation, no longer being part of a group with a defined, definite purpose. The only way to dig out of that despair and depression was to open themselves up, to get back into life. They found that in Project Cohort. Veterans were a part of something again, recognizing their strengths, re-engaging, first with fellow vets and then with others. They also found ways to serve. As they adventure together they have opportunities to connect, heal and eventually grow – They shall rise again.

Also, this month, I had an opportunity to spend a day with Lane Edwards as I took him to his adaptive therapies. On April 17, 2014 a freak accident caused a C 4 spinal cord injury. When I first saw him after his injury, he could not breathe and talk at the same time. He was immobile with little thought of returning to a full and meaningful life. That was 2 years ago. Thankfully, he was surrounded by people who saw things differently. They didn’t allow him to say, ‘no’ or ‘can’t’. Lane told me that it has been a matter of luck and really hard work – today, I saw him stand and walk. His adaptive therapist, Brian and his Aunt Sally are two people who don’t say ‘no’ or ‘can’t’, pushing him past perceived limitations. His very rigorous 2 hour work out included weight training/strengthening, standing and walking. Although still in a wheelchair, he continues to improve and will return to school this semester. His professional goal and plan is to teach high school American History. He shall rise again.

At our final training meeting for Project Cohort, we sat in a circle committing and sharing our plan to keep this program of healing and service moving forward. I shared that although I did not experience war, I know what it is to hurt and feel separated from life. I understand the confusion, despair and loneliness. So, no matter what trauma one goes through, there is an appreciation and understanding of the problems but also the opportunity to choose life – to rise.

This is Metahab’s meaning and platform. Individuals endure and move through some unbelievable trials and tribulations but eventually, they dig deep, finding personal power, courage and a fierce determination to move forward – and they do so in the most amazing manner. How they accomplish this, at times, is an enigma. But when survivors make the choice to move forward they do not stop until they metahabilitate: until they rise – again.

MetaHab Training to be held at Cedar Point Recovery - Registration OPEN!

Join Dr. Mikal-Flynn for the upcoming MetaHab training on Friday, April 1st and Saturday, April 2nd at Cedar Point Recovery in Sacramento.  Discover how traumatic events, even life crisis, enable personal awareness and development.  Discuss the original science and research and the methodology and stages of MetaHabilitation, identify characteristics and facilitating conditions that support MetaHabilitation, demonstrate a therapeutic approach and application of MetaHabilitation and more!  This program is uniquely and strategically designed for health care professionals and mental health clinicians to use the model of MetaHabilitation for both individual and group practice.  Learn how this adjunctive therapy can be used in your practice!

8 CE hours are offered for this program.  To view a list of our certified MetaHab providers, click here!  To register for the program, visit https://squareup.com/market/metahab and scroll to the bottom.  Please contact MetaHab’s Communication Director Elizabeth Brim with questions at elizabeth@metahab.com.

 

Pushing Past Cancer 2015

 

Come hear Dr. Mikal-Flynn speak at this awesome upcoming event on Saturday, November 14th.

To register, click on the Eventbrite link on the blue flyer above or use the following link: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pushing-past-cancer-2015-tickets-18559022536

Dr. Mikal-Flynn will be presenting at 3pm that day on the following topic: “Practical Steps to Move Beyond Trauma and Thrive”

Hope to see you there!