by Dr Angel Adams and Dr Patricia Papciak
This beautiful heron appears to be contemplating. Have you reflected and pondered over the past year? If so, what was your greatest source of inspiration? We asked some colleagues and readers the following question: Who inspired you the most in 2009? Here are some of the responses received:
My Dad and my Mum have been my greatest inspiration. Last January my Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer and over the last year he has under gone two operations and had chemotherapy. All of which “touch wood” have been successful and he is back on the road to recovery. During all this he has remained so optimistic and strong. He maintains an unstoppable positive attitude to all his treatment and I am sure this has only enhanced the success of the treatment. I have not once heard him complain. Both my parents have been positive role models for all the family throughout this and I am very proud of them both.
-Carol Mannion, Sutton, Surrey, UK
Single moms living in poverty who have the least resources and most responsibility of any group on earth inspire me the most! Women desperate to feed their children have always done what they could to get by–take in washing, sell baked goods in which those small hands wished to take for themselves. In 2009, we witnessed a global financial downturn that frightened the most privileged. Impoverished struggling mothers could not afford, literally, to allow fear to keep food from their families’ mouths. From Appalachia in the USA to Afghanistan to Africa, single moms put renewed fervor into entrepreneurship. With pennies, borrowed or saved, these courageous women found ways to grow their own small or micro-businesses. Survival was their motivation–a child able to sleep with a full stomach was their daily affirmation. These single mothers are a true inspiration as 2009 has gone. May we honor their courage by stepping into our passion and service in 2010.
-Dr Julianne Hanson
Maui, Hawaii, USA
I have always felt inspired by those people who run the London Marathon and I have been to see and experience it (as a spectator) a couple of times: once when a cousin’s husband was running who I saw along the route in Wapping. Those people who run or walk or limp in the name of Charity and personal achievement are a true inspiration and it always moves me. They persist despite exhaustion, sometimes disability or ill health and sometimes pain.
Whilst watching BBC Sports Personality of the Year this year I started to think about this again. Eddie Izzard, Comedian, was given a special award for running 43 marathons around the UK in 51 days. He covered 1,100 miles and raised over £200,000 for charity.
A swimming instructor Doreen Adcock won the Sports Unsung Hero. At the age of 72 years she has been teaching swimming for over 35 years and is thought to have taught over 13,000 people. These 2 people from different backgrounds are both inspiring and show what we can do to help others.
I know that some organisations promote Voluntary Work by giving staff time to do this in. This is a concept that I would love to see extended through the UK. Maybe, if we all push and encourage these schemes we could all gain from such activities.
-Dr Nicholas Silva, Surrey, UK
My youngest son, Jack has inspired me most in 2009. Jack is a young adult with Asperger Syndrome (AS). In spite of being badly beaten up in a totally unprovoked assault by three anti-social youth in our local town, Jack has continued to be a very kind person and amazingly never lost faith in humans. He’s living at home now and helps out when he can although we have both come to realize that some days, life is just too much.
It was particularly hard for him as he was out with two people he considered his ‘mates’. They ran away and left him unconscious and bleeding in the street when he was attacked. They were too frightened to even call the police/ambulance, anonymously from a phone box and refused to stand up and be counted by identifying the thugs concerned. ‘Mates’ are very important to my son and as most people who have AS, he is loyal to people he considers his friends, even to his own detriment. This was a very hard lesson for him and very hurtful.
This has been a truly horrible and frightening experience for Jack. It would be for anyone but for a person with my son’s disabilities, it has really knocked his already shaky confidence and self esteem. My husband Robin has also been an inspiration as he has been an absolute rock for Jack, accompanying him to the police station, wading through all the paper work and unfailingly supporting Jack and our other three adopted autistic adult children.
Once again our gullible youngsters are shown to be so vulnerable. They’re so pleased to have ‘friends/mates’ like everyone else they don’t see that these people are often using them in some way, or leading them into potentially harmful situations, most certainly not behaving in a way that you or I would class as being supportive in any way.
Jack had the courage to go to court to try to get justice even though it was a terrifying stressful experience. Good on you for not giving up, good on you for trying to help people voluntarily while you wait and hope for the apprenticeship to materialize and good on you for continuing to be a loving and caring human being. We hope 2010 will be peaceful, happy and successful for you. You deserve it after all you’ve been through. Dad and I are very proud of you.
-Sandy Row, Wales, UK
The person who influenced me most in 2009 is Glenda Green, who wrote Love Without End: Jesus Speaks. The book is filled with profound but simple wisdom that I have found easy to keep with me. The book has given me plenty to contemplate regarding the life-changing convergence between science and spirituality. This is a quote from the book:
“Love always seeks for betterment, for ways of making life more workable, joyful, whole, and beautiful. Love examines every option available to bring about an improvement in life.
-Dr Kathy O’Fallon, Lake Arrowhead, CA USA
The person who inspired me most this past year is Dr Joe Dispenza, neuroscientist and chiropractor. He is a person who proved through his life that conscious focused action can give a person unlimited energy to carry out their plans. Though I had seen him in a movie a few years ago, I never really knew his story until this year. Basically, Joe was competing in a Triathlon in the late 80’s and was hit by a 4X4 truck. His spinal cord was badly damaged and the doctors said he needed radical surgery and he would never walk again, but, Joe had his own deep conviction: “The power that made the body, heals the body.” He was totally willing to surrender his healing to this unlimited power.
What amazing courage and determination it must have taken for Joe to dismiss what the surgeons had claimed and to commit to the process of taking control of his own recovery. For two hours twice a day he visualized his intended result: a healthy, healed spine. He stated that “If my mind wandered to any extraneous thoughts, I would start from the beginning and do the whole scheme of imagery over again. I reasoned that the final picture had to be clear, unpolluted, and uninterrupted for this intelligence to take my condition to the next level. Within 10 weeks he was back to his practice, because he had experienced a “veritable healing”. Since that day Joe has spent his life investigating and researching the mind-body connection, as well as the concepts of mind and matter.
I have benefited immensely from reading Joe’s prolific articles and books on how our mind can literally change our brain’s functioning. He reminds us that in order to become good at something we have to practice the skill over and over. I believe this applies to our role as parents. None of us get a manual handed out when we first became parents. Luckily in this day and age, we have great teachers, awesome books, helpful support groups, parent classes and workshops. Thus, we have to practice what we learn from these various resources. Like playing an instrument or getting good at a sport, we have to first learn the principle of behaviour management from an intellectual point of view. We have to educate ourselves about conditions our children may have and look at evidence-based techniques or methods to try to help them. This is where the neocortex comes in, the part of the brain that is the “thinker.”
After consciously learning and planning to use the techniques that will assist our children, the next step is to put them into action. This involves the cerebellum, which is the “doer”. The reality is that we must practice the techniques we find over and over even in the face of many obstacles. The temptation may be to go back to the old patterns for the sake of an easier life because the new ways take too much patience, too much time or too much effort. But persevere! A few examples might be to:
- Practice walking away from your child if she/he is verbally abusive.
- Become mindful as a busy parent to stay truly attentive to your child when spending quality time together (don’t get distracted by other things in your environment).
- Find every opportunity to give your children ways to build their self-esteem through healthy empowerment (e.g. ask you child’s opinions, ask them to help you fix, cook or plant something). No matter how small or large their contribution, show them what they think and what they do is valuable!
- Be aware of the difference between praising versus encouraging your child. Click here for more info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXkyfowC5gM
Finally, after you have rehearsed and practiced these skills, it becomes so natural, and automatic, that it operates even on a subconscious level. When the thinker and the doer parts of you brain unite, you become a fully competent parent, and you won’t forget how to do it.
What will you do in the New Year? Will you practice spreading your wings with the total belief and expectation that you will fly, and that you will inspire others?
-Dr Angel Adams, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, UK.
I was most inspired this year to be a more conscientious person after reading Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman describes our time as the Energy-Climate Era. He uses this term to include the three adjectives in the title of his book. The term flat in this book is used to describe how in many ways there is more opportunity in obscure as well as developed countries because of the technology with computers, the internet and cell phones. People in quite obscure places can be designing things, while far away others can be creating them and even farther away others can be marketing them; leveling somewhat the economic possibilities worldwide. These are good things. The world is flatter in terms of the playing field of opportunity.
The term crowded is used to describe the amazing increase in population in the last couple of hundred years and what that means in terms of the use of everything available in the world.
The term hot has to do with the warming trend our planet is experiencing due to activities associated with worldwide manufacturing. Friedman talks about the development of industry in the 1700’s and how most of the energy functions that were developed have been powered by fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which emit carbon dioxide. He refers to the work of Rochelle Lefkowitz who calls these fuels the “fuels from hell”. And he suggests a huge program to move into consistent use of what Lefkowitz calls the “fuels from heaven” which are wind, hydroelectric, tidal, biomass, and solar power.
Friedman says that in America there are too many different agencies regulating too many areas of energy production. For example the Department of Agriculture deals with ethanol production, the U.S. Army corps regulates the hydro-electric dam system, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission deals with the operation of nuclear plants to name a few. Further, U.S. senators, governors and members of the House of Representatives are lobbying these commissions all the time to protect the particular form of energy that is generated in their states. Friedman says there must be an agency that is committed to refocusing on “the single priority of innovating and generating clean power, energy efficiency, and conservation through a smart system.”
Friedman points out that the first steps in major change are always painful and expensive, but that the longer we put off these changes, the more painful and the more expensive it will become. He quotes Nicolo Machiavelli writing The Prince in 1513, almost 500 years ago,It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents—who have the laws on their side—and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them
So what am I inspired to do? I am inspired to make a list of all the things I can do to change the greenness of the world and the inequality of the world. And then I plan to attack the list. Perhaps in a future newsletter, we will look at the list together and all make our own attempts to change the world where we can. We will not only hope for a better world, we will make a better world the reality. Will you walk lightly or cautiously, or will you leap into 2010 with renewed faith, focused intention and inspiration?
-Dr Patricia Papciak, Carlsbad, California
All photographs courtesy of George Papciak © All Rights Reserved