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#BrainInjuryAwareness Month and Cranium Crunches

10 Mar

From the beginning, Cranium Crunches has taken March and Brain Injury Awareness Month seriously. This is the time to raise the level of understanding about brain injury –the perfect time to get good information to those who need it.

It seems, however, that every March I find myself thinking, really hard, about the brain injury journey. This year, before sharing my current thoughts, I decided to get a little perspective and take a good look back to see how my message has changed over the past seven years.

That dive into the past was a beautiful exercise for me and before putting the 2017 version of my thoughts about the brain injury journey out there, here are three bits from pieces from past Brain Injury Awareness Months that showed me just how far I have come… but not really 😊!

Last year’s March self-reflection included this:

Dear Brain,
I am almost done grieving the losses
The loss of my keys, the loss of my words, the loss of where I fit in the world.
As peace sets in and I find a comfortable level to float
It really is time to honor, celebrate, and thank you for all I found.
Within your imperfections, I learned to listen closely
And I found my voice, calling me to action.
Within the fog I walked into a deeper understanding of what is around me
And I found the focus I needed to see the beauty right in front of me so much more clearly.
Within the confusion, I learned to look for clues in context
And I found the insight that comes with shifting my perspective.
Within the fear of doing it all wrong I heard the laughter
And I found the key to my survival.
Within the world of believing that no one could possibly understand I discovered a community
And I found my purpose.

With deep love and gratitude,
Ruth

 

This piece of March 2015’s reflections jumped off the screen (entire selection here):

As I think about Brain Injury Awareness Month and those in midst of the fog, I am reminded of a few key things.

First, most of the time people with brain injuries look sooooo normal. It is those conditions that you can not see that are difficult for both those who are living them and those who are living with and caring for those who are living with them. Please, as my friend Kim Tackett says, Be Kind.

Second, living with, caring for, and cleaning up after someone with a TBI is a hard, thankless job. Patience, understanding, and then more patience works…most of the time.

Third, honor those who carry the load. My husband, my son, and a few trusted friends are freaking amazing human beings and I did not always remember to thank them but, I am now. Every chance I get.

Finally, embrace the imperfections in any way possible. My dear friend Kathie (one of those trusted friends mentioned above) still has a scarf I made for her as part of my recovery work. It is a symbol of my imperfections — it is uneven and has holes but every stitch was knitted with every bit of gratitude I could muster.

One of my favorite March musings to date is this sort of words to the wise piece from 2013:

So… as part of your journey into understanding the world of brain injury from the outside:

  • Listen, watch closely, and adapt to changes as they happen.
  • Drop assumptions and preconceived notions about how that person “should be”.
  • Slow down and think through your questions, especially when you get unexpected answers. Perspective, among so many other things, changes so it may take a while to find the right question.
  • Find those things that are difficult and create ways to practice those skills in a safe place. Games – board games, word games, car games, online games, apps – are ideal.
  • Think about how frustrating the changes are for you and now imagine having those same frustrations with no way to control your emotions or think your way out of them….
  • Find the experts as you need and support groups when you need.
  • Know that you will all come out differently – make the most of that and celebrate what you can.

Stay tuned for this year’s reflections!

The Lovers, the Dreamers, & Me! #GoCubsGo #FlytheW!

23 Oct

Watch out all of you who say I am overly optimistic and that my outlook on life is entirely too hopeful because you know what? Dreams do come true.

I woke up this morning knowing, not just hoping or wishing or feeling but knowing that the Chicago Cubs, my Cubs, the team I fell in love with in 1965 and have cheered for every year since, are going to the World Series in my lifetime.

I am now officially an empowered believer.

Beware all you naysayers because my dream list – that list I am now officially empowered to believe and know will come true – is long and lofty!

Here is just a sampling of my Believer’s List this morning.

Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States not only because the alternative is horrifying but primarily because we truly are stronger together and she will prove that.

Citizens of the world, not just a privileged few, will have the chance to feel the power of serving others – the power that will propel them to new personal heights – so deeply that they will repeat that service over and over and over leaving an indelible mark on hearts across the globe.

Children, all over the world including right here at home, will go to bed well fed with the proper nutrition for their bodies and brains to grow and thrive.

Girls and young women, globally, will have the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe, sanitary environment.

Climate change scientists – the real Earth keepers – will drive the plan to save the planet and the world will listen and follow.

Barack Obama will take his seat on the Supreme Court.

And my hope for you?
You will wake up tomorrow and ask yourself “What if everything went right today?”…and it does.


Now imagine yourself as an empowered dreamer. What is on your list?

This piece is also posted on the blog at SoulBasedHealers.com

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