Mind and Body

Recently I was challenged by an abrupt hospitalization due to severe and intolerable spleen pain. Before I knew what was happening, I was in the hospital emergency room, then transported to a patient room with numerous special teams taking care of me. High doses of intravenous pain medication took the pain away like a dream but left me numb and out of touch. I knew this was only temporary, and that the final regiment would be effective and comfortable. The most important thing then was that the pain was gone.

But I have never felt so strange in my life. It felt like my physical and spiritual body were separated. And the question popped into my mind: “why would people drug themselves, is this what they are looking for”? Sure, problems disappear, and an artificial balance is created, but feelings disappear as well, and isn’t that what allows a human being to enjoy pleasures, feelings, and to grow? Lots of questions went through my mind during that short period of time, and I feel grateful and in awe of the complexity of our mind and body. Here I was crippled with pain and feeling sorry for myself, then I go through a period of complete pain-free detachment, and finally, my whole being comes together again. The image of a dog shaking wildly and bringing all the hair back in place again, that’s in a way how I felt. And it was a heavy shaking!

I am nearly back to my old self, pain-free I would like to point out, and I am grateful and delighted. I am still struggling with some of the drug effects, but they are disappearing rapidly. The doctors at the Mayo did an awesome job, and I am grateful for my blessings; doctors who can perform such miracles are mind-boggling and my gratitude is deep.

The mind and body connection is a miracle. Treat it with respect and be grateful for the blessings it provides. This experience in my life is difficult to describe, but hopefully, I was able to give you a glimpse. It will always be at the forefront of my mind. It made me clearly aware of the need to keep a harmonious relationship between the two so we can enjoy life to the fullest.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

A Special Day

Seventy-six years ago, a little girl was born into the ravaging final stage of WWII. Three months later, her father died in a massive bombing attack, and then after a few weeks, the house burned down in another assault by allied bombers, burying her under the rubble. Her mother dug her out and tried to save the baby’s eyes using her breast milk since no water was available. A rough beginning indeed, and that little girl was me.

It has been a long and diversified journey since then. I experienced incredible spiritual encounters, painful losses, stressful family situations, two immigrations, a successful career, exotic travel, and a more even and exciting life with my husband for the last 38 years.

Looking back at my life and considering the serious health condition I am dealing with, my birthday this year felt like the closing of a circle. I felt compelled to ponder where I stood in my life at this time and came to the conclusion that I am in peace. Most of my life lessons have been absorbed, and I can honestly say that I am ready to accept whatever is waiting for me. Not everything has been solved to my satisfaction, but I cannot change people. The only thing I can do is love them from far away and hope that someday they will open up enough to feel my love.

I have been blessed with many loving and caring friends, and my life is filled with happiness. Please do not think that this is a goodbye note, I still have some living to do, but my birthday this year brought clarity to me which I wanted to share.

Life is a gift, and being close to the end of mine, I am filled with appreciation. I know that some of the struggles and challenges made me grow to the person I have become. I am grateful for the opportunities and will keep on with my efforts to become a better and more fulfilled person. My birthday has always been connected to a painful loss in my younger years, and I understand loss so much better since I have lived it myself. We all feel in different ways, and I am not so presumptuous to think that I am an expert about loss and know how others think and feel. I am talking about the hole and the void loss creates and the resulting experience we carry with us throughout our whole life. This is true for most of our emotions, and the more I can feel, the humbler I become.

My birthday this year was a special day. I’ll travel this memory lane often and it will give me strength and joy during the coming year.

Enjoy every day to the fullest and be happy.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

A Kind and Loving Soul

During my 50 years living with Yorkies, four little girls, and now our first boy, I have been blessed to learn a lot from my furry companions. Each one has shown unique personality traits, and I loved all of them deeply. Romeo, our present little boy, is an extraordinary creature, and he demonstrates it every day. I often ask myself who supposedly is the “evolved” being, and I humbly admit that Romeo teaches me lessons of love, tolerance, joy, and patience. He has been a guiding light in my life, and every day with him is a gift I truly appreciate and cherish.

Does he wear a mask? No, he doesn’t, but I am sure he wouldn’t mind if I would put one on his nose. Quarantine is not a big deal for him, as long as his mommy and daddy share it with him. If he could talk, he would most likely ask what is the big deal, since we are living with people we love, in a place we enjoy, savoring fabulous food and pursuing our hobbies?

Reading and writing are two of my favorite pastimes, and I enjoy learning about the different ways people accommodate the pandemic and its restrictions. One thing is evident: the more we complain, the worse we feel, but the more we focus on the positive, the better we fare. Somehow our little Romeo does this naturally and lives from moment to moment, enjoying his life to the fullest. He doesn’t allow moments of distress, like a scary noise from a smoke detector, or a loud clasp of thunder, to affect the rest of his day. He looks for comfort, cuddles in his mommy’s or daddy’s arms, and when the noise is gone, he is ready to enjoy the day again. That defines “living in the moment.”

Life is simple for Romeo, and I try to adapt his outlook into my life. When I am in pain, Romeo is distressed, wondering what he could do for me; and then he goes into his toy box and brings me his favorite toy. Could life be so uncomplicated and love more unconditional?

I believe that we can live lives focused on pleasant experiences when surrounded by kind and empathetic people. Of course, there will be moments of tension, but we do not have to stay there longer than required to resolve them. Romeo doesn’t think he has to like every person and to spend time with them. He is always pleasant and says hello, but if someone is not what he considers loveable, he takes his distance. Most people don’t realize it, but he maintains harmony in his immediate surroundings and successfully eliminates any negative impact. Life doesn’t have to include a series of unpleasant or stressful events. We can choose, like Romeo, and we can do it in a pleasant and stress-free way.

Having had more time to watch our little Romeo during this pandemic, I concluded that he is a guru, a gentle soul teaching love, kindness, and empathy, with an attentive and grateful student in me.

There are many ways to learn, and sometimes life’s lessons come from surprising sources.

Silvia Coggin,
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Life is Good

Yes, life is good as long as we allow positive and beneficial thoughts to vibrate within us. There are times we have to work on it, and consciously invite positivity into our lives, but hanging on to negative thoughts and feelings is not the way to live a happy life.

Every morning I tell myself that life is good, and I bless our little Yorkie Romeo, who is vital to my mental health. He cuddles and distributes kisses, looks lovingly at me when I am in pain, or do not feel well. He and I share our bed and feeling that warm little body pressed next to me brings pure bliss. I believe our furry friends play an essential role in our lives. Romeo is a big part of my being able to say life is good, despite advanced cancer and its complications. He continually brings joy, happiness, and laughter into my life.

My husband, Steve, is another factor in my endeavor to remain positive about life. He helps when he can. He wanted a slide digitizer for Father’s Day, and now we are traveling down memory lane, providing us with much joy. I look at the slides from many years ago (we started with our Honeymoon) and count my blessings. I tell myself that life is good as long as I focus on what I have and not what I have lost.

Having a progressive and incurable disease could be such a natural invitation to slide down the slope and start feeling sorry for myself. There are times when it takes energy and strength to keep a positive outlook. When that happens, I tell myself that life is good, no matter what, and it brings me back into alignment. I can also look around and appreciate my husband, little Romeo, loving friends, a beautiful and comfortable home, and medical care that allows me to function and control my pain. And now, with the slide converter, I have another avenue for joy and positivity open to me.

If you are stuck where you don’t like to be, change it. Visualize what would bring you happiness, and then dwell there until the dark clouds lift.

Life is good. Let us open our eyes and allow the blessings in.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

The Best and the Worst

During times like this pandemic, the best and the worst have come out in people. Just watching the news makes this extremely clear. For some people, it is no longer about remaining safe and healthy and keeping our thoughts and actions focused on logic and caring for others. The worst is brought out in them, and kindness and caring are transformed into a platform for political bias.

Then there is sincere kindness and caring for our fellow citizens when the best comes out in people, and it makes one’s heart sing. It affects not only people but also pets, animals, and the environment.

We can sit home during quarantine, watch television, and focus on what is going on in our country and the rest of the world, and we can decide where we can help most. For example, in our neighborhood, many women were busy sewing face masks, which made a huge difference when none were available. I have never regretted being ill as much as I did when I realized that I could not be as helpful and supportive as I would like to be. I had to accept that I could no longer provide physical relief and assistance. As with many other things, I had to go within me and open up my flood gates of well-wishing, positive affirmations, and prayers. In the end, it is all up to us; we can bring out our best or our worst. It is our choice.

And then I wonder if the people who mostly focus on what’s wrong are aware of what they are doing? Do they realize how they are hurting themselves by living in this negative and obtrusive fog they have created and how they are moving further away from joy and happiness? When I was diagnosed with progressive and incurable cancer and finally reached the end-stage a few years ago, I had to make a serious decision. Did I want to live a good and happy life or feel sorry for myself and eliminate any chance for quality of life? I knew it was my choice, and although progressive cancer caused the situation, it was my decision how I look at it. I decided to focus on what I had left, not what I had lost, so I am able to live a joyful life. We can all do this not only for health but also in other areas of life. Stressful relationships are an example. We can bring peace and balance through meditation or affirmations. One of my favorite affirmations, which I have used for many years is, “Let resistance go, and love and wellness flow”. And then there is the current pandemic, of course.

We can all live a happy life, but it takes effort and a clear will, it doesn’t just happen miraculously. We can look at this pandemic, for example, as a great learning opportunity. Are we focusing on what we have or what we have lost? Are my nails professionally maintained, or am I doing the best I can? Looking at them, I even feel some pride that I got the varnish on the nails and not my fingers! And I know I will get better at it with some practice. Living a happy life is the same. It takes a firm will not to be a victim, but to enjoy every day. The pandemic is such a great opportunity. It has changed all our lives, and now it is up to us to decide how we want to react? Will it get the better of us and bring us to our knees, or will we choose to let happiness and light in? Our decision doesn’t change the pandemic, it will run its course, but the impact it has on each of us depends on the choices we make. What will it be? Happiness or depression? You know the answer, now let’s take the right road.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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