2
Nov

Finding Freedom to Love and Accept Our self as an Individual

I wrote this article in April of 2007. What I share in this article helped and continues to help me to love and accept myself as an individual.

The Power of Identification

Welcome back and I am so glad you decided to stop by and rest. You are a gift to me. I am fired up about a particular topic today. I have been fired up about this topic for most of my life. As a person with a disability, I never quite felt like I was enough or that I measured up. I never quite understood why I did not measure up until I began to understand the insidious nature of comparison. For too long, I measured my worth by the status quo. I allowed the measuring stick of other people to dictate how and what I thought about myself.

When I started treating myself with dignity and respect, I began having spiritual awakenings. One of these awakenings revealed that having a disability challenged the status quo. Although I sought to measure up to expectations, I found myself consistently falling short in my efforts. Living with my brain injury and my invisible disability left me clueless in my attempts to compensate for my real — yet unknown — deficits and limitations. In the process of my attempting to overcompensate I lost sight of who I was as a person. In the process, I became a human doing rather learning how to be in life.

Doing, instead of being became more important as I sought to prove my standing amongst the status quo. Even as I attempted to overcompensate through overachieving I had no idea how my brain injury and my invisible disability intrinsically impacted my world. What made matters worse was that I sought to defend the notion that my brain injury, invisible disability, deficits and limitations had nothing to do with my inability to meet expectations. In the course of defending my denial, I found that I was denying who I was as an individual.

In the course of maintaining and defending both my denial and the denial of family and friends, I grew weary in my attempts to prove that I was not an individual living with a brain injury, an invisible disability with real deficits and limitations. In my weariness, I reached a point in my life when I could no longer deny my reality. When I reached this place of despair — in which I could no longer deny my reality — I discovered a series of cause, effects and contrasts. I will share some of what I learned through examining those cause, effects and contrasts. This list is not exhaustive and can be expanded.

After you read my contrasts, get a pen and paper and determine what other contrasts you can add to my list. In the process of reading my cause, effects and contrasts and then developing your own list, you may find that you have been berating yourself for no good reason.

Identification as opposed to Comparison

Identification empowers, where as comparison minimizes contribution. Comparison asserts stipulation to inclusion. Comparison mandates that certain criteria be met. Comparison predicates acceptance. Comparison demands compliance. Comparison postulates performance. Comparison shuns that which is different. Identification encourages progress while comparison specifies and expects outcomes. Identification celebrates small successes, whereas comparison, by its nature seeks to invalidate. Identification encourages individuality and motivates self-expression. Identification cultivates creativity.

Individuality is not considered a threat. Status quo is dismissed. Identification empowers and motivates. Identification musters enthusiasm in the face of any discouragement. Identification breaks down the walls of isolation. Alienation is dismissed. Eccentricity is held in esteem. Self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth no longer need to be qualified. Value and ability is accepted at face value. Identification seeks to reconcile. Identification promotes humility.

As I seek to identify with others I practice love and tolerance. Identification frees my humanity to explore apart from comparison’s dictates. Identification encourages individual expression. Identification encourages hope, where as comparison predicates performance. Identification encourages process. Identification promotes self-confidence. Progress is accepted as a function of seeking to accept both others and one self. As I love and accept myself, I am free to create with my being.

My being and worth is not tied to a specific “toy” or outcome. I no longer need to keep up with the Jones. I no longer need to chase after external validation. Identifying with others dispels my need to judge. Identification gives me permission to take risks and to scrape my knees in the process. Identification promotes excellence, not perfection. Identification frees me to stay in the moment and to live life on life’s terms. Identification promotes unity.

I am interested to know what other contrasts you may have discovered. If you have any, please share them with me.

As you listen to, watch or read my articles and questions come to mind, please send those questions to mind. All questions are good questions. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.To do so, please use the below contact form. I will respond to your comments and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Craig

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16
Oct

Moving from Fear to Faith — Making Peace with God

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. Yesterday I published an article, Moving From Fear to Faith — Solutions. In the article I shared what I discovered that helps me to move from fear to faith. In my experience, what I share in this article is a gentler way. You see, for many years I viewed this process as an all or none, black and white affair. Either I had faith or I didn’t have faith. My all or none, black and white mindset had fear attached to the outcome. What I mean by having fear attached to the outcome is that if I wavered in faith, I did not trust God and could not please God. God would as a result abandon me, as did other people in my life who I did not please. The result would be that I would experience feelings of abandonment and alienation.

Through my recovery process I discovered that I transferred the feeling of abandonment and alienation — that I experienced when I did not please people — onto my relationship with the God of my understanding. As I had done many times in my relationships with people who I could not please, I found myself alienated from God or striving to keep Him from going away. As with my efforts to people please and approval seek with the people who I sought to keep from going away, I often felt alienated and isolated from a loving God who longed to be “there” for me. Through my recovery process, I discovered what kept me feeling abandoned and alienated from God. Through my recovery process, I discovered what interfered with my ability to draw near to God in my time of need.

In July 2007, I wrote a 3 part article series to share what I discovered through my recovery process that helped and continues to help me to move from fear to faith. What I share in this series helped me to repair my misconceptions and misunderstanding surrounding my relationship with the God of my understanding. I would like to share this 3 part article series with you. I have also created a 4 part video presentation of the article series. I will include links to both the 3 part article series and the 4 part video series below. I divided the series into 3 parts and 4 parts because of the length of the article. I did so to make reading / listening / watching  the article series more manageable. Please let me know if the information in the article series helps you to move from fear to faith.

The good news is that a loving God is an ever present help for us in time of need. The good news is that we do not have to be limited by a black and white / all or none thinking. The good news is that we no longer have to be bullied by fear.

Click on each Part of the article series and they will open for you on Second Chance to Live.

Making Peace with God — Part 1

Making Peace with God –Part 2

Making Peace with God–Part 3

Click on each Part of the video presentation and they will open for you on You Tube.

Making Peace with God Video Presentation Part 1

Making Peace with God Video Presentation Part 2

Making Peace with God Video Presentation Part 3

Making Peace with God Video Presentation Part 4

You have my permission to share my articles and or video presentations with anyone you believe could benefit, however please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) video presentation (s), and provide a link back to the article (s) on Second Chance to Live. In the event that you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you. Copyright 2007-2015.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day.

Craig

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29
Sep

Taking Care of Myself — How to Empower my Relationships Video Presentation

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table.  Yesterday, I wrote the article Taking Care of Myself — How to Empower my Relationships. Today, I would like to offer the article in video format for individuals who learn more effectively through watching and listening. To introduce the video presentation I will include an excerpt from the article below:

“Over the past day and a half I spent some extended time with a friend who I had not seen and visited with in several years. It was good seeing him and catching up, however I began to realize that as the time went on, I became fatigued.  In my fatigue, I found that I had been short with him several times. As I realized that I had been short with him, I asked him to forgive me for being short with him. He forgave me and our conversation continued. Although overall we had a good time visiting, I realized that in my fatigue, I needed to end our time visiting. Yesterday morning my friend called and left a voice message.

On the voice message he said that he wanted to get together for lunch, before heading out of town. Upon hearing his voice mail message, I realized that I had been taxed to my limit through the time I had already spent with him. I decided to not call him back, however during my quiet time, he called and I answered the phone. Knowing that he wanted to get together for lunch, I told him that I had become fatigued and needed some down time. He validated my need to take care of myself and I thanked him for understanding. Once I got off the phone and as I recharged my batteries, I realized that by taking care of myself, I created a win / win outcome and in the process, empowered the relationship.”

To listen to and watch the presentation, please click on the following link: Taking Care of Myself — How to Empower my Relationships Video Presentation

In the event that you would like to read the article from which this presentation is made, please click on the following link: Taking Care of Myself — How to Empower my Relationships

As you listen to, watch or read my articles and questions come to mind, please send those questions to mind. All questions are good questions. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.To do so, please use the below contact form. I will respond to your comments and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day.

Craig

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25
Sep

Taking Care of Myself — How to Empower my Relationships

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. Over the past day and a half I spent some extended time with a friend who I had not seen and visited with in several years. It was good seeing him and catching up, however I began to realize that as the time went on, I became fatigued.  In my fatigue, I found that I had been short with him several times. As I realized that I had been short with him, I asked him to forgive me for being short with him. He forgave me and our conversation continued. Although overall we had a good time visiting, I realized that in my fatigue, I needed to end our time visiting. Yesterday morning my friend called and left a voice message.

On the voice message he said that he wanted to get together for lunch, before heading out of town. Upon hearing his voice mail message, I realized that I had been taxed to my limit through the time I had already spent with him. I decided to not call him back, however during my quiet time, he called and I answered the phone. Knowing that he wanted to get together for lunch, I told him that I had become fatigued and needed some down time. He validated my need to take care of myself and I thanked him for understanding. Once I got off the phone and as I recharged my batteries, I realized that by taking care of myself, I created a win / win outcome and in the process, empowered the relationship.

When traveling on airplanes a familiar instruction is given by flight attendants,” In the event that pressure with in the cabin changes oxygen masks become available. Make sure to put the mask on yourself, before attempting to help anyone else”. These instructions are given to passengers to stress the importance of taking care of themselves before attempting to take care of anyone else. The reality of this illustration is that if we are not getting oxygen first, we will not be able to help anyone, including ourselves.

 

In this illustration, I am reminded that if I do not first take care of myself, I will be no good to anyone. With this awareness, I am reminded that by practicing healthy self-care, I empower my relationships. Through being self-caring I am able to both respect myself and other people. Through being self-caring, I am able to honor my needs. Through being self-caring, I am able to honor and respect both my and other people’s needs. Through being self-caring, I am able to keep my motives pure, while respecting other people’s boundaries. Through being self-caring, I am able to keep the focus on myself, instead of expecting other people to meet my needs.

Through being self-caring, I am able to ask for what I need. Through being self-caring, I am able to be honest with myself. Through being self-caring, I am able to understand where other people end and I begin, and where I end and other people begin. Through being self-caring, I am able to be more aware when relationships are becoming unhealthy and enmeshed. Through being self-caring, I am able to recognize when I am practicing codependency in a relationship, in an attempt to get other people to do for me what I need to do for myself. Through being self-caring, I am able to practice personal responsibility, while giving people the dignity to meet or ask to have their needs met in the relationship.

Through being self-caring, I am able to ask for what I need, while accepting what my relationships are able to give to me. Through being self-caring, I am able to accept what I can and can not give to my relationships. Through being self-caring, I am to able to empower and be empowered by my relationships.

Note: I like the Acronym — for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and SickH.A.L.T.S. In my experience I have found that when I am hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sick I am more susceptible to being irritable, restless and discontent. During these times, I am more prone to negative or stinking thinking, than when I am not hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sick. With this awareness, I have found that I need to be self-caring during these times. With my awareness, I am able to be an actor in my life, instead of as a reactor to my life.

As you listen to, watch or read my articles and questions come to mind, please send those questions to mind. All questions are good questions. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.To do so, please use the below contact form. I will respond to your comments and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day.

Craig

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14
Sep

Major League Baseball Brain Injury Prevention and Recovery / Helmets Save Lives

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. My friend Ken Collins, a former professional baseball player is attempting to enlist Major League Baseball to promote several initiatives: AMBASSADOR for BRAIN INJURY PREVENTION and RECOVERY / HELMETS SAVE LIVES. (Please see Mr. Collins letter below.) Mr. Collins would ask you to support him, by contacting Major League Baseball through Jane Nicholson at her email address: jane.nicholson@mlb.com. When you contact her, please ask  her to support Mr. Collins initiatives.

NOTE:

If you are an individual living with a brain injury, please share your own journey and experience living with a brain injury with Jane Nicholson.

Major League Baseball

I would really appreciate your support for my efforts with Major League Baseball. Baseball has given me many the skills I have needed to recover from my brain injury 37 years ago. On December 31, 1976 at around 3 A.M., I ran head first into the side of Bob Brewer’s, Ford Pinto while riding Pat Moore’s snowmobile by Summit Lake, Oregon. My friends said I was going full speed and was catapulted from the snowmobile to the side of Bob’s parked car.

On impact, I broke my left jaw below my chin and rammed my right jawbone into my ear canal, separated my skull completely (cap fracture), shattered most of my teeth and fractured a rib. In the hospital the doctors couldn’t set my jaw for two days because of brain swelling.

My hospital records show that I was in a Posey Jacket and wrist restraints all the time I was in the hospital. One day when I was in the bathroom I ranked out my catheter and a few days later was sent home with my parents because I started to get loose (3 times in 6 days). On my last day in the hospital I was found urinating in a planter in the hallway.
For my safety and the liability of the hospital, I was sent home with my family who were told if they couldn’t handle me to put me in a nursing home.

When I awoke at home a month after the accident I came out of darkness through a fog to about six inches from the mirror in my parent’s bathroom picking the wires in my mouth that was wired shut because of my broken jaw.

I took a step back and saw I was in my bathrobe so I knew I must be at home and I knew my name was Ken and I played baseball.

I didn’t know anything about home, Ken or baseball – all I knew was that my mouth was wired shut and that I wanted to find out why!

Over the years many of my memories of who I am and what I have done have come back to me.

However, the events of that night haven’t.

I remember Christmas Eve because I went to McCready Springs to lay in the hot springs and then I don’t know anything until I awoke standing in front of the mirror picking the wires in my mouth.

I remember coming home for the holidays to regroup and figure out where I was going to play that summer in Mexico, Italy or Australia? But all of that changed after the accident that I still can’t remember!

I respect baseball and am grateful for the lessons and rewards it has given me. These rewards aren’t monetary but emotional. The memories I have from playing the game of baseball and the coaches who taught me the skills of how to play are what have gotten me through my darkest hours over the years and provided me with the courage to not give up.

I respect my brain injury because of the lessons I have learned to get over the obstacles (stigma and stereotype) that society has created for people with brain injuries and other disabilities.

Baseball has played a major role in my rehabilitation and the way to judge my recovery over the years.

After my brain injury I pitched on several semi-pro teams in Eugene/Springfield, Oregon, but things weren’t the same. The first few years were very difficult because I didn’t have the self-confidence and discipline it takes to be a good pitcher. I pitched on 4 teams in six years, played some softball from time to time but didn’t have the ability to play at the level I could before my injury.

My self-confidence took about eight years to return and by now a Men’s Senior Baseball League team – Eugene Giants – was being organized by some old semi-pro baseball teammates who wanted me to pitch on their team. I pitched and I got better. I got better and my self-esteem improved, and this gave me hope because I could see that I could do things I wasn’t able to do the previous season.

Baseball also teaches you about poise and mindfulness.

When I am pitching and it’s the bottom of the ninth with no outs and the bases loaded and have a one run lead – I had to throw strikes and get people out.

If I lost my poise it gave my opposition an advantage because they could see I was becoming rattled and unable to concentrate on what I am there to do – keep the ball down – throw strikes – get ground balls – pitch to win!

It took persistence and perseverance to regain my poise.

Baseball brought back the poise and self-determination that I have needed to continue with my recovery from the brain injury.

Today, brain injury professionals call this – mindfulness!

By pitching again from 1994 to 2000, I got my pride back and was able to accomplish what I had done before my injury. I could see that I was getting better because I could start hitting the “spots” again and this took concentration and focus.

Concentration and focus are critical elements in regaining old skills and learning new ones. This improved my self-confidence and self-esteem even more. I could start seeing light at the end of the tunnel and this gave me hope.

Hope is something that gets eaten away during the recovery process.

It’s easy to give up hope and start blaming others when you don’t see that you are getting better and the constant reminders of “how you used to be -and- who you are now” compounds our situation.

The loss of your old self and the isolation this causes can be overwhelming and makes it easy to give up hope and start blaming others for our problems.

Baseball and brain injury are a lot alike.

When I played “organized ball” in the minor leagues for the Milwaukee Brewers for 5 seasons (4 regular seasons & a Winter Ball Instructional League) and a season in Santiago, Dominican Republic, I always worked hard and took every advantage to learn from my managers and coaches. I took pride in the lessons I learned and the managers and coaches who taught me.

Today, I use those skills when I work with people with brain injuries to live independently in the community.

It takes discipline, self-confidence and practice to succeed!

Organized baseball also taught me about learning “situations.”

Situations are what we practiced everyday during spring training. Thinking about these situations is when you have to think ahead and make the pitches it will take to “control the situation.”

For example:

With a runner on first who is a threat to steal second with nobody out –and you have a left handed hitter up – you have to know what pitch to make to get a ground ball for a double play.

You have to make that pitch so that your infielders make a double play so that you can get two outs – instead of having two runners on base, with no one out. This can be very stressful

Learning situations is about knowing how to relax during these stressful times.

Being able to throw over ninety miles an hour and hit the spots from sixty feet – six inches (length from front of pitchers rubber to home plate) is very difficult and staying relaxed controls stress and also makes it easier to think and stay focused.

Mindfulness is about controlling situations and relieving stress after a brain injury.

It is my hope that you will help support my efforts with Major League Baseball.

______________________________________________________________

Ken,

We have received both of your documents in the mail. They have been forwarded to the corresponding and respective parties.

Thanks,

Jane Nicholson

Public Relations

Major League Baseball

jane.nicholson@mlb.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day.

Craig

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10
Sep

A Collection of my Articles — To Share the Story Behind my Martial Arts Training

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. Thank you. Several days ago I posted a video presentation on You Tube: Benefits of Neuroplasticity — My Journey and Development using Martial Art Styles. In response to the video demonstration, I kindly received a comment. I would like to share a line from the comment to introduce the content of this article, ” I was delighted to watch your video. I am a Psychologist working for a brain injury organization and I love reading about inspiring journeys. I assume from your clip that there is a story behind your martial arts training but I wasn’t able to connect to it.”

As I thought about the comment, I decided to pull together some of the articles that I have written since 2007, to share my process and journey in the martial arts. I have included links to some of these articles. As you read through each of the articles, I believe you will gain an insight into some of the lessons that I learned, gained and am learning as I pursue excellence through my training in martial arts. My hope is that as you take the time to read from each of these articles — at your own pace — that you will be encouraged to not give up on your dreams or your destiny, as more will be revealed in time to us in time. As you read through each article and questions come to mind, please send those questions to me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Craig

Links to the Article Collection

Traumatic Brain Injury –Lessons I have learned

Courage that has said it’s Prayers

From a Seed

Living with a Disability through Commitment

Traumatic Brain Injury and the Elephant

Live Your Dreams in the Now

Living with a Disability — Turbo Charged

One Step Closer to my Black Belt in Mixed Martial Arts

Traumatic Brain Injury and Ingredients — Part 1 of 2

Traumatic Brain Injury and Ingredients — Part 2 of 2

When things DO NOT go as we PlANNED — Part 1 of 2

When things DO NOT go as we PlANNED — Part 2 of 2

When Circumstances Change our Plans

Traumatic Brain Injury — Learning to Let Go of a Dream — Part 1 of 2

Traumatic Brain Injury — Learning to Let Go of a Dream — Part 2 of 2

Traumatic brain Injury — THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE! Part 1 of 2

Traumatic Brain Injury — THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE! Part 2 of 2

Traumatic Brain Injury — THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE! Part 3 of 3

Traumatic Brain Injury and Starting a New Journey

Brain Injury and Rehabilitation Part 1 of 2

Brain Injury and Rehabilitation Part 2 of 2

Living with a brain injury, Failures and Setbacks

Traumatic Brain Injury and Living with Dignity Part 1

Traumatic Brain Injury and Living with Dignity Part 2

Back Ground Information for Keynote Presentation Craig Phillips Founder and Creator Second Chance to Live Southwest Conference on Disability 2013

Neuoplasticity

Martial Arts, Neuroplasticity and Recovering from Brain Injury

Baby Steps Turn into Miles, When put Together

As you listen to, watch or read my articles and questions come to mind, please send those questions to mind. All questions are good questions. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.To do so, please use the below contact form. I will respond to your comments and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day.

Craig

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17
Aug

Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets Video Presentation

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. Several days ago I wrote the article, Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets. To empower individuals who learn through watching and listening, I create video presentations of my articles. Below is a brief excerpt from the article:

“During the past 17 or so years I have trained pretty consistently in various martial arts. I have engaged in countless repetitions and drills in muay Thai Kickboxing, Western Boxing, components of Wing Chun, Kali and Jeet Kune Do.  During the past 22 months I have trained with endless repetitions in modern arnis using single and double rattan sticks. In each of these martial arts I have worked diligently to mirror both my dominant side of my body with my non dominant side of my body. By doing so, I have developed new motor and fine motor skills.

What I discovered in the past year or so was that I had been engaging in the process of neuroplasticity — creating new neural pathways and engaging in brain reorganization — through my training in various martial arts over the past 16 or 17  years.

As explained in MedicineNet.com, I had been using the principle or concept of neuroplasticity:

“Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as “axonal sprouting” in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neural pathways to accomplish a needed function.”

To listen to and watch the presentation, please click on this link: Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets Video Presentation

To read the article from which this video presentation is made, please click on this link: Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets

As you listen to, watch or read my articles and questions come to mind, please send those questions to mind. All questions are good questions. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.To do so, please use the below contact form. I will respond to your comments and questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day.

Craig

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All material presented on Second Chance to Live is copyright and cannot be, copied, reproduced, or distributed in any way without the express, written consent of Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND