Tuesday, 2 May 2017

May, 2017: Check your Stinkin' Thinkin'

Dear all,

It's been a very productive month at WSTS central. Much of it is behind the scenes - for now - but has involved a lot of research, planning, and preparation for an initiative to be started later in the year. While I cannot say much about it now, it's something that I am passionate about and looking forward to working hard on. There will be others working with me who I trust as talented individuals and professionals alike. More answers will come about soon.

We've ended April and I hope that everyone has found some new purpose or goals in their new year. Back-sliding or challenges aside, I hope you are starting to feel the fruits of the labours you might have put forward so far this year. In numerological terms, this is a new year - a new beginning for many. Has it been yours? It's possible you're going through some rough times, and while it might not seem helpful at the moment, something will suddenly shift and that positive change you were looking for will suddenly be there. You don't have to be a certain religion, belong to a particular belief system, or subscribe to a specific social slot to believe that change is inevitable in life, and at some point, it's going to be in your favour if you've put some effort into the outcome in a genuine, inspired manner.

I wanted to look at one of the facets of success, that being challenging irrational or damaging beliefs. Often it's how we feel about ourselves that can determine our path. The adage of we get what we deserve is true, and sometimes we are the ones that limit what we are paid.

Stinkin' Thinkin'
An article about how to challenge our self-beliefs, check them for reality and how to call ourselves up on unhelpful or unfair definitions of ourselves. Possibly even others. We are not under any orders to be perfect, but it's hurtful to live by rules that are only there to protect us from moving forward. Even if they seemed true when formed, or even now, have you tested them for their pure validity? Could you be holding onto thoughts that support the tides working against you?
Article here.

This month's articles include:

Picking on Yourself: All About Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania is said to be an affective anxiety disorder, catagorised by obsessive picking of one's body, including scab picking, pulling out hair or incessant nail-biting. While considered minor symptoms, long-term it can cause serious health problems and a life-time of discomfort, both physically and socially.

Jem and the Rebooted Holograms
Last year, there was a revamp of the 80s cartoon, Jem and the Holograms, featuring a movie that re-captured the story of Jem and her band. While the movie was pulled out of cinemas after two weeks because it did not meet the high expectation of ticket sales, it doesn't delete the sometimes-energetic, sometimes-creative work starring Juliette Lewis. We look at the history of the Jem phenomenon and how the movie stacks up with audiences.

Sand of Thine
Sandpainting was bought into the world modern scene over the past few years via talent shows and street art, but where did it originate? The old-world art has hit the streets in many modern forms including online expression. See where it could lead you today. Applications enclosed!

As usual, I hope everyone enjoys the fruits of my recent labours and finds something useful in these articles. I try and keep them varied on subject, as the goal of the website is to expose people to content they would not normally seek out, as well as subjects they enjoy reading. Variety is how we develop.

For the next few months, other than article releases, it may appear that it's quiet at WSTS, but that's just the silence of hard work. Many projects are in the pipeline and I can't wait to share them upon completion!

All my best wishes,
The editor.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

January to February: New Year's Reprieve

Dear all,

It feels strange to write on the first day of February about January, but that's what it has become. Things have been through more transition, which has bumped forward some tasks. That's how life seems sometimes. We make great plans for ourselves, only to find some cosmic force wants to prevent us from staying on track. So what does it all mean? Are we destined never to change?

I recently pondered what it means to create and follow our New Years resolutions. Does anyone ever follow them? What does it mean if we fail? It became the topic of this month's lead article, New Year's Reprieve. We are so quick to judge ourselves, that if we didn't succeed, it must be our failure as human beings. In essence, it could be, but the reason is not one to reprimand ourselves, only learn, re-evaulate and re-develop our motivation and maintenance of the journey. This month I wanted to feature the idea that being competent is not about who we COULD be or SHOULD be in order to be powerful enough to solve all our problems, or complete all our tasks. Instead, I wanted to talk about the strengths in choice, reducing knee-jerk reactions and avoid the fantasism we often fall into. You don't have to be a warrior to win a battle.
Article at: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=214

The other articles we are featuring this month are:

The Pregnancy Project
This story is a few years old, but it never ceases to make you wonder how much power one person can have. Gabby Rodriguez was a girl on a mission - she just didn't know how far her plan would go. What started out a project for her social science class ended up a nation-wide, world-wide consideration. Being of Latin background, she was sick of hearing that she'd end up pregnant before college, and decided to confront the biases that existed. Her goal was to fake a pregnancy and document the change of opinions she faced within her community. What became blatantly obvious was that those around her became her boundaries, not just the "impending pregnancy" itself. The result became an American-wide acknowledgement of the negative contexts that pregnant teenagers face.
Article at: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=148

Weight Loss Joke Loses Support
With all the fads and diet plans out there, it was only time before a satirical book came out to mock them all. However, it was not regarded as amusing as the author planned. He soon found himself amongst all sort of haters who thought the book was serious. So is humour with limits? Are weight and diet jokes really the faux pas? Where do we have to show care in how we present humour? I sought to find out.
Article at: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=204

One month into the new year makes me wonder what the rest of the year will bring. Will there be new shining lights, or the same daily interactions we're used to? Only time will tell. Closing January, ready to start February, the month of romanticism, and the hope of April's chocolate endeavours.

My best wishes for the coming month,

The editor.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Dear all,

It's the time of year we feel inclined to take stock of our lives, consider what the last year has afforded us, and what changes we can prepare. Personaly, I spend the time taking a break only to miss the chores I have, which further helps motivate me in developing what more I could be doing with my time, or processing where I could be saving emotional, physical or mental energy. A time of reflection, but also a time of self-evaluation.

With changes to my family situation this year, it was brought to my attention there were things I wanted to introduce. New family members - and new beliefs of others - inspired me to bring in new traditions. One of which is a Christmas eve midnight snack to celebrate the turn of the day to the 25th. A nice comforting meal to soothe the soul, tantalise the tastebuds for the coming day, and give time to talk of memories. As well as the re-introduction of Christmas movie inclusion as remaining family members love musicals as much as I do. Why not have a good fashioned sing-along? It's good for the spirit!

My goals for the coming year include many new projects which will be produced and developed during the start of 2017. The new year for me is about efficiency - not multi-tasking. Pure focus and control on tasks to complete them to create room for the next project. There's a theory that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, as humans are not able to focus fully on more than one thing. My new goal is to test this - can pure focus speed up the process and move us to the next project quicker, then the same ground is covered as multi-tasking, only goals are reached more effectively? I'm curious.

I've also returned to study in a graduate program. While I'm testing efficiency in my life, my  professional growth has become quite important too. The year ahead will be busy, but anyone who knows me well will tell you I'm passionate about doing as much as I can in life as physical ability permits. As I progress through my years, it only fuels it more.

My new years resolutions are plentiful as they are most years:
1. Finish reading one book per month.
2. Keep up-to-date with my studies and never linger too close to deadlines.
3. Commit to me time and commit to recharging tasks.
4. Research, build and promote new website project #1.
5. Finish writing books.
6. Publish and promote fore-mentioned books for distribution.
7. Publish and promote new WSTS section.
8. Record video content for websites.
9. Learn the ocarina
10. Finish our new kitchen.
11. Release blogs and articles more timely.
12. Write at least 40 new articles this year.
13. Spend less energy on toxic people and spend the time productively.
14. Sparkle.

I want to wish everyone a great holiday season, whatever faith you belong to - or don't belong to. May you have joy and love during this festive time and enjoy the time you have to yourself, too.

Best wishes,
The editor.

Monday, 5 December 2016

November, 2016: Welcomes and restarts

Dear all,

It's been a very busy month here at WSTS central. We have continued to develop our program, ACAWS, as well as explore some constructive marketing. I'm not overly keen on paying for print ads or online banners when there might be more creative and fun ways to advertise. The world has enough banners already! In the coming year we'll be rolling out some interesting projects to both benefit the community and give branding to our programs.

Animal Caregiver Affective Wellness Services(ACAWS) is expanding its services, due to popular demand and new resources, as well as changing its name to Absent Companion and Adversity Wellbeing Services. Same acryonym, phone number, and website, only we've changed name to reflect the increase of areas we cover. While we still offer pet grief and injury counselling, we have extended our focus to offering the same free, quality care to those who are facing grief, injury and/or disability in regards to human family members or themselves. We recognise that love does  not limit by "human" or "animal" in our hearts, nor does disability or illness discriminate, so people should have the same care and support whoever the injured, disabled or deceased is.

We have also upgraded technology to ensure more calls can be answered and clients maintained. If you get the answering machine, please leave a message and we will get hold of you as soon as possible -- in the same day. Your calls matter to us and we will be in touch as soon as we can -- in most cases, within the hour.

The website has been updated to reflect the expansion of services. New business cards are also ready. If your practice or place of business would like to display some for your clients, please contact us on info@acaws.info. Someone will be in touch to arrange delivery.

Over the next few months certain projects will be developed ready for distribution and sharing. My aim is to do something more useful for the community while getting the name out there. My mission has always to improve the lives of others, not fame and fortune. The motivation came from having a rough life myself, only to find hecklers and destructive beliefs got in my way. Instead of allowing myself to feel down-trodden, I instead put my energy into ensuring there are measures to help those in painful situations, rather than letting them swim with the sharks alone.

This month the article we are featuring is a special article about Holly Hanes, who was a patient with Ovarian cancer, who wanted to leave her impact on the world. She made a video called What Not To Say to Someone Who Has Cancer, and was an advocate and ambassador for the American Cancer Society. Sadly, Holly lost her battle, but we wanted to publish a story about who she was, what she meant to the cause and her family, and how she defined strength. A personal family story that might reflect in many other lives, but has its unique qualities - as beautiful as Holly's dimples.

Rather than presenting a bulk of stories, we wanted to focus on one very important one.

Our household has become a very noisy place, our now-16-week puppy wishing to explore our house with his teeth. He is currently trying to gnaw away at the barricade that stops him getting into the less puppy-proofed area of the home. Toilet-training is going well, as are the cuddle session, however, general respect for my belongings is still a work in progress, as he sees them as nothing but inanimate objects perfect for massaging his gums!

This month I return to part-time university to accelerate my professional standings. It's a love-hate relationship with studies, that's for sure. You want to run screaming, wishing never to see a book again while you're studying, but when you are finished, restlessness settles in. At least for me. I long to soak up knowledge and progress in life. So back to school I go! In the coming months, there may be comments that I'm sick of studies, but deep down you'll know I secretly love it.

McHappy day 2016 was the 12th of November. If you missed it, remember you can still donate via their website. Monies go to Ronald McDonald House, a national initiative that provides housing and meals to families with terminally-ill kids in hospital. The program is of particular help to rural parents who have to normally stay in a hotel or other paid accommodation to be close to their children in city hospitals, which can greatly affect the family who might be losing out income being away from home and work. It's a great cause, as often we forget that medical expenses sometimes include travel, work inconveniences, and distance challenges.

This month marks Thanksgiving for American people, however, not in Australia where no peaceful meal was shared between native and invader. That said, it doesn't mean we can't use this time of year to be grateful - or every day if we wish. Finding things to be grateful about is nourishing to the soul. What 10 things are you grateful about this year? This week? This month?

May your lead-up to Christmas be merry. If you don't celebrate such events, I instead wish you a happy summer.

My best,
The editor.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

October, 2016: Mulitple Goodbyes

Dear all,

It has been quiet of late on my websites, and the reason for that was a personal one. This month I buried my girls. Both had been ill for a while, and with a heavy heart, I had to let them cross Rainbow Bridge. The vets did all the could, but as Lennon said, Time is not a friend.

My cat, Mini, passed away from old age. She had a cold, and while we tried to keep her fed and active, it was September 13th when her little feet stopped carrying her. I knew something was wrong instantly when I touched her belly - which would normally earn a bite - only for her to not even respond. The day's of hand-feeding and tucking her into bed near the heater were done. She was ready to go. I am trying to be grateful that she spent her last weeks by my side, and take comfort that I did everything I could for her.

My baby girl dog passed away the following Friday. She had been struggling with a seizure condition since April. At first it seemed quite manageable, vets ruling out any illness that would have been actionable. They concluded it was a legion or bleed in the brain which would be inoperable and to enjoy the time left with her. We did try alternative medicines including eating plans and massage sessions twice daily, only the measures weren't enough. After seven weeks of no seizures, she went into a bout of Static Epilepticus, where the brain cycles through numerous seizures which cannot be halted without vet intervention. She had 10 at home, while I rushed about getting emergency travel and care organised, it being a Friday night and all local vets closed. She had another 20 while being taken to the emergency facility, which is unfortunately over an hour away. Had I known how far it was, I could have prepared better, only when these extremes happen but several times over our long lives, you aren't able to.

Baby was put to rest after the vets made me aware that she was audibly suffering even on IV Valium. It would be unfair to keep her. After one seizure she would be stumbling for up to 24 hours, and it would be much worse after over 30 seizures in a row. The decision broke my heart, but it had to be made. Dog specialists had told me that the day would come and that I would have to be strong for her. Dogs can't tell us what they want us to do, but looking deep into her eyes as she had those first 10, I knew how trapped she felt, unable to control what her body was doing. It wasn't fair to leave her stuck between worlds.

Losing both of them within days of each other was a shock. Suddenly the house was quiet, nobody needed me to feed them, and there was nobody looking for the warmest spot in the bed. It was just my partner and I, both feeling lifeless. It was the stillness and clean rooms that bothered me. I grew up in a loud, messy family, always complete with several pets. Not having any felt so surreal, like I was asleep. It was driving me crazy.

While another animal will never be the same as my girls, I felt it was time to get another. Learn to love again and find positivity and joy in the world that felt so cold. I figured it would take ages to find another, as there are always waiting lists with breeders. That said, I found a litter of home-grown puppies that were of the two breeds I had been interested in: Jack Russels and Pugs. There was a little white one that caught my attention, who seemed very healthy, rambuncious and ready for love. He joined our family, earning the name of Ronnie, after my grandfather who passed away 3 years ago after battling Prostate cancer for 12 years. He was the kindest man I had ever known.

So while time has been rough, and websites have not been updated religiously, my life has not been easy-going. Starting this month I'll have everything back on track, including taking on more clients and projects that have been in the pipeline. I thank everyone for their well-wishes and hope that your lives are rich with happy tails and noses, whatever species they belong to.

Until next time,
The Editor.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Caught up in Numbers

Dear all,

This month has been incredibly busy, so the actual blog to announce all the big news will have to wait until next time. It's been a huge transitional time along with a few techological delays. Unfortunately, while computers are quite helpful and meant to cause less complication in our lives, they often end up causing more during installation processes. They are the irony of our lives!

May is always a big month for me, my parents both having birthdays. This is when I joke my mother is only 30, which is often when people smirk at me in confusion. "But you're over 30? Is she a step-mother?" When I shake my head, they seem even more puzzled, until I explain, "No, she was 40 once, but then started counting backwards after that. Once she hit 30 again, she stopped counting." While it's a humour that I share with people as a joke, it also inspires me because we are only as old as we feel. Why do we let numbers dictate how we must act? Granted, we do need to meet certain standards, for example, taking on financial independence when we become adults, or gaining self-worth and competence to care for ourselves, but outside of those, what is age really? The oldest woman to ever give birth was 66 officially, however it was recently reported in the Guardian that the oldest woman to give birth was in her 70s from India. So if even our biology can't tell us "you're too old" for something, then how can we?

Ageism can be a sickness in our world. We are judged on how old we are and what we have to show. Whether you're going for a job, going to a party, or just reading a book, we are covered in expectations or pre-conceived ideas based on our age. I used to feel insecure about them myself. Years ago, my plan was to graduate university as a psychologist at the age of 24, working through school to save up for a house by 27, then settle down by 30 with a partner while going into private practice. I planned a cat around that time too. Of course, life never went to plan, but it was recently I looked around and realised that things aren't that far off what I wanted. I got my living arrangements sorted years ago, graduated in 2012, and I've been assisting in a large health organisation for almost 6 years, and now working in private practice. That's not far off what I planned. The goals were completed in alternate ways to what I had chosen, but does that really matter? At 35, I've arranged most of what I wanted, and now just want to follow through with the plans long-term. Life seemed so complicated to get into the right path, but all it took was self-belief and determination.

Over the next month there will be many changes to the websites and practice, which I'm excited to launch. It's going to be a big month of movement and I hope everyone will be watching on with best wishes and good tidings. Wherever you are, remember, that you are only limited by yourself. You are your best friend or worst enemy, based on the actions or beliefs you allow yourself. You set your bar in life. If you want to do more, listen to that, nourish that, and ask how you can make it work for you. How others want you to live is only a suggestion; what you choose for yourself is the rule.

Until next time,
The Editor.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

April, 2016

Dear all,

It's been an even crazier month than I ever thought possible! Life seemed busy before, but now even moreso.

Last month was my birthday, with a special surprise organised, which you can read about in March's edition.

The last month has been about making contact with services who have clients who might need counselling, including colleagues, health organisations, pet services and grief resources. I've had calls so the business is getting off the ground, my practice being recognised as something the community needed, particularly for those with low incomes. Getting such feedback has been encouraging, now knowing that what I'm passionate about does have its place in society, and will benefit many people who are hurting from loss. My energy goes into what matters -- the clients.

This month is a feast of articles, some that are going to make readers really think about what the world condones, supports and rejects as a whole, and how freedom of speech might be set to change.

Self-Compassion: The New Self-concept model
Self-compassion therapy is a recently popular area of psychology. It could be considered a new version of self-evaluating, bursting through the ideals that therapists have held about self-concept and self-worth. The discipline delves to go against the grain, looking at self-honesty and change, based on self-love, rather than criticism, analysis or "I'd be better if only. . . " It seeks to earn clients personal comfort via internal factors, rather than outside influences.
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=208

Viewing A Pink Moon
At first inspection, Pink Moon feels like a typical drama piece where an attractive young girl is hiding a boy in her room. However, we soon find out that Ben, her boyfriend, lives two lives. What the viewer at first takes for granted is that the lifestyle being depicted is normal. Not in Pink Moon. The film aims to turn ideals of sexuality on their head, as their reality is where homosexual relationships are normal and heterosexuals, called Breeders, are not. It's a mind-altering world where all our typical beliefs of same-sex relationships are under question.
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=200

Pro-Ana Unmasked
Not only did I want to look at the sites that encourage Pro-Ana and what possible tricks they are teaching that could help unmask the eating disorder, but also the new legal environment we live in. Last year, an American teenager was put up for murder charges for coaxing a man to kill himself. Could we see the same happen for websites that promote self-harming, such as anorexia maintenance websites?
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=210

Movie Review: Starving in Suburbia
Starving in Suburbia is a film about anorexia and the websites online that promote it. Hannah, 17, is caused to think about her weight, and her friend shows her a Pro-ana (pro-anorexia) site to show her how "crazy" she isn't. However, it seems to have an alternate affect. These websites (see Pro-Ana Unmasked) give tips and motivations to people -- so powerful their natural body functions are ignored and overwritten. Pro-ana sites number in the thousands and are often a mere Google search away.
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=137

Dogs: Their Secret Lives
Mark Evans, vet and former chief of the RSPCA UK, fronts this series that aims to discover the lesser known facts of dogs' lives, and the little tricks they have in store for us. Using surveillance footage, new inventions and collaborating with dog experts, Evans focuses on cunning canines and the changes our society have instilled. Obesity, behaviour disorders, misconceptions about dog sociality, and their manipulations of humans.
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=156

Adults Who Colour In
As children, colouring is an art encouraged for learning, aiding in memory skills (ie, remembering the diagram you are colouring), developing fine motor skills in the hands and as a fun activity. The act of colouring and its caused reflection and mindfulness will aid in reducing the stress hormones in the body -- cortisol and adrenaline. The discipline is first recognised in India with Mandalas, but westerner alternatives are not specific in shape or designed for meditation or trance, however, still invoke reflection, mindfulness, and peace.
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=198

The Hunting Ground
Over the last year or two, a major movement has rapidly spread throughout America, being the Title IX activists. Rape in Universities is said to be ignored or swept under the rug, until two victims realised one of the primary human rights fell under Title IX, meaning pressure for universities to change their actions or lose funding. This movement and accompanying documentary follows the journey of two rape victims, who have fronted a modern-day revolution.
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=190

Warm Bodies: Romance In Cold
Warm Bodies came out a few years ago, but is a movie that re-invents the romance genre. It is a parody of a well-known traditional love story set with new, unusual characters. The male counterpart, R, a brain-eating zombie, meets a human, Julie. Know the reference? However, this story then develops into an apocalyptic adventure when their relationship begins to cause change within both dead and living communities. The story brings on a new twist to the zombie era, without making them into fluffy bunnies too soon. Instead it creates the idea of multiple motivations among zombie "tribes" and questions the events if a zombie was not as mindless as we thought.
Link: http://wesaytheysay.com/?id=167

I hope everyone is well and enjoying their month. Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Until next time,
The Editor.