I had the wonderful opportunity this week to travel to Aruba for a vacation with my fiancée and future stepchildren. One evening, while sitting alone on the balcony of our room, gazing out in awe at the beautiful landscape and feeling warmed the balmy breezes, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude. I’m blessed with so many things – family and friends who love me, opportunities to meet and work with amazing people and the daily opportunity to express how grateful I am to God for giving this recovering addict a second chance at life. I’ve been in very dark places and know that my story could have ended differently. But this night in Aruba, like all of the days since I made the commitment to be clean and sober, offered another moment to reflect on the reality that if you do the right things, hang in there and choose to live God’s way, all of those blessings are possible.
Since I renewed my commitment to God and a life of meaning and purpose dedicated to helping others both professionally and personally, I’ve developed daily prayer, meditation and journaling rituals that help me get into the right spiritual mindset. I’ve been doing this ever since I got sober. I wake up by 6 a.m. at the latest and spend 30 minutes on a combination of praying (sometimes on my knees on a clean floor, but sometimes even at my kitchen counter having my morning coffee) and doing affirmation readings from books of positive quotes and writings that inspire me to live that day and be present. I spend a lot of time on gratitude. Whether it’s dark or light, I always light a candle. It’s just my way of bringing spirituality into the moment and connecting with God. My morning journaling is simple, just writing thank you to God for another day He has granted me. Continue reading →
Jenna Basile is the Bassist of the Modern Rock Band Mildly Medicated. What do you get when you combine a lead singer with Hemophilia, a guitarist with ADD, a guitarist with diabetes, a bassist with Tourette’s, and a drummer on HGH therapy? You get the modern rock band Mildly Medicated. Against all possible odds, these uniquely talented young musicians from Monmouth County NJ found each other in 2012, all unaware that each of them had medical issues.It was only until they were discussing possible band names that they all realized that they shared a commonality.
I’m going to start this story backwards.I can assure you it ends well, and I have found peace, love, and acceptance. I have forged a family out of people who were once strangers, I have found my passion, my defining life force, my balance. The road to all this enlightenment and nirvana was not exactly an easy one to walk as there were many obstacles in my way and many forks where decisions had to be made. Let’s back up a little a put ourselves about 4 years ago. I was a young female going through my really awkward stage. I wasn’t hideous, but I wasn’t the belle of the ball either. I did not hang with the “popular kids” and my father spent long hours as an investment banker in NYC, and sometimes left to live in foreign lands for weeks or months. I took solace in playing music. My older brother was already an accomplished drummer, and it looked like he was having fun, so I decide to follow him and began studying piano. After almost two years, I was pretty decent, although if I was honest with you I don’t think I was truly passionate about the instrument, but I did enjoy the accolades. One night while practicing, I noticed that I was unable to strike the keys with precision. As I continued, I realized that I was losing control of my body as a whole; the movements that were happening were not of my own design. I freaked out and had to be taken to the emergency room. I remember when the doctor walked in after I had taken a battery of tests. Just the look on his face told me that my world was about to change. Continue reading →
Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” As a recovering addict given a second chance at life, I have been given the opportunity to pay forward my reversal of fortune to help others struggling with the disease of addiction. Every day I ask God how I can be of service to others using the talents He’s given me, and I have learned that the true measure of success is found in how many people you bless. It may sound ironic to be grateful to have gone through something so horrific, but I thank God now that I can help people experiencing the same nightmare. Continue reading →
For many people, prescribed painkillers can be a lifeline. They allow patients to manage the chronic pain associated with ailments such as dental pain, migraine and post injury/surgery pain thereby giving them the opportunity to go about their daily life relatively normally. However for others, taking these painkillers for a prolonged period of time or misusing them in any way can cause a whole range of other physical and psychological problems.
Once again the world is infused with a sense of horror and shock by the heinous attacks on innocent Parisians enjoying a Friday night in the City of Lights. And our collective response sensationalized by the media leads us where? The facts leading up to this attack should in no way be received as a surprise, for the endless stream of human barbarism and war has not receded in millennia. Our contemporary world order looks strikingly similar to many civilizations of the past.
What is an alternative response to terrorism? Merriam Webster defines terrorism as, “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” The heart of terrorism is to get under your skin, churning a sense of dis-ease and fear.
Any response powered by fear demonstrates low frequency, low vibration and has an internal destructive nature that ripples across the collective unconscious. Let us find a better solution than more killing, more savagery and attending to the lowest human frequency.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a panelist at The Parliament of World Religions conference in Salt Lake City. The Parliament of World Religions held its first conference in 1893, and since this date has attracted such remarkable speakers including: His Holiness The Dalai Lama, former president Jimmy Carter, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Vandana Shiva, and Dr. Eboo Patel.
In September, I was in New York City when a professor asked me in person if I would be willing to join a Parliament panel and talk about my book, A Widow’s Guide to Healing, and immediately my heart was in my throat. It was not one of my finer professional moments as I couldn’t even muster up the words, “Thank you.” I didn’t answer “yes”. I said I had to think about it and this was partly true. I would need to make travel and work arrangements to get coverage at my day job, where I am a clinical social worker. The other part that I did not share was that I was scared. I was intimidated by the nature of such a large conference, attracting 10k people from 80 different nations and 50 different faiths, and the other panelists I knew had doctoral degrees from fancy ivy- league schools. I flew home and thought long and hard about this amazing opportunity and why I was so reluctant to accept it. Deep down I knew that it was my own insecurity because I had never have spoken in a panel format and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, especially since I realized that the professor was taking a risk in even asking me to participate.
And a few days later, it occurred to me that I needed to revisit my original intent in writing my book. The intent was to be able to share the narratives of other widows so that a widow would be able to find herself in one of these stories and feel less alone.Before writing my book, the words that C.S. Lewis wrote “We read to know that we are not alone” rang true to me.And I know first- hand how lonely and scared grief can leave a person. I was 33 in 2007 when my husband, Roy, died from advanced adrenal cancer nearly eight weeks after being diagnosed with bronchitis at his family doctor’s office. Continue reading →
Also, let your family and friends know that you’d want to be an organ donor. Post a message on Facebook or Twitter, send out a blast email, talk about it over dinner. If and when they had to make a decision on your behalf, in a time of grief and shock, it would be a tremendous comfort to them to know what you would want. To make it easy to find what you wrote, add the hashtag #organdonor.
This issue is particularly close to my heart. For decades, my husband had hepatitis C, which attacks the liver (he got hep C from a blood transfusion during a heart operation when he was eight years old). Well, it turns out the liver is a very, very important organ to have. A liver transplant was definitely a possibility for him, so I became very interested in this issue of organ donation.
October is a month known for sweaters, pumpkins and fall leaves. It is also Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time when we rally around survivors, family, friends and remember those who lost their battle to the most common form of female cancer. So what do we need to be aware of?
Autism is treatable and recovery is possible.If I can do it, you can too!
As parents we find ourselves in an exclusive group, the Autism Club. No one asks to be a member but become a member because of our kids. Only another A-Club member understands what it is like to live on Autism Island day in and day out. It’s exhausting and the personal anxiety, stress and isolation you experience is overwhelming. As much as we’d like to, we can’t give up on our children, because sometimes we catch a glimpse of the kid we know is in there.
Please understand that parenting by the regular rules doesn’t apply when you have a kid with autism. I was consumed with self-doubt. I wasn’t a bad mother. But part of me actually believed my son’s behaviors were my fault. At first, I was in denial. I tried to pretend everything was okay. If I admitted that my son had difficulties, I also had to admit I wasn’t doing my job as a mother correctly. My personal hell became worse when relatives, doctors, teachers and other experts couldn’t wait to jump into the chaos to tell me I wasn’t doing it right. Moms sometimes think the reason our children are out of control is because of the things we do, or don’t do, or maybe ate, or maybe touched, or maybe…Continue reading →