Making a Difference, Having Fun (Part 2)

January 5, 2015

The routine of daily life affords opportunities to make a difference in your own life as well as in the lives of others and (since everything is connected) in the world. To continue to do so without damage to personal health, relationships and career is to employ an element of fun.

Remember your humanity – and the aspects of your personality.
In eagerness to do great things we can get caught up in the work and forget our humanity. That all work and no play produces stressed individuals and strained relationships. That we are a multi-dimensional being with needs and it is okay to have those needs met. Needs like sleep, family time, worship, community service… Deliberately schedule in down times. Purposely set a no-electronic break. DO take a yearly vacation, preferably without cell phone or e-mails.

In eagerness to prove who we are one often take on too much.  “I can do that.” “I can do that.” “I can do that.”   In the overload reality sets in; “I cannot do that!”  Just because you are good at something does not mean you have to do it. Never say “Yes” just to be liked.  It doesn’t work!

Remember that you cannot be all things to all people so give up the stress of trying. Psychologist Carl Jung says that of all the people we meet in a lifetime, 1/3 love us, 1/3 tolerate us and 1/3 loath us. Joyfully adopt the mantra: “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Next! J”
Remember their humanity

Co-workers or family members have viable ideas and legitimate needs. They tire and become stressed. They make mistakes and need compassion. They have an identity and need acknowledgment and respect.

In the movie Patch Adams the training doctor took lowly interns on rounds. With pontification he pointed out maladies and pronounced treatment. To his humiliation (and I trust humbling), Patch gently reminded Doc that “the gall bladder in 202 has a name; Mrs. Smith.”

How easy is it to expect a child to be something the parent is not willing to be; patient, calm, understanding. How easy is it to respond “Again?” to an appeal to restock a local food pantry?

We human beings are more alike than we are different. Find commonality and soften irritants.

Use humor appropriately. If you are going to laugh about it someday, go ahead and make that day today.  Be on the lookout for the absurd and find something funny about it. Laugh at yourself and with others. Never make another the bunt of a joke. Eliminate sarcasm.
Life is a gift given to us by God and our parents. What we do with our time on planet earth is a gift given in return. You will not live forever.  Pass it on.  Be promotable.  Leave a legacy. 
“Let your vision become larger than yourself, or it will die with you.”  – Cleddie Keith

Your comments are welcome. Let’s get a conversation going.


Making a Difference, Having Fun (part 1)

February 21, 2012


The Tipping Point” author Malcolm Gladwell points out how little things can make a big difference and this difference can literally tip the scales in your favor. A lot of people make a difference, but lose having fun in the process.

When asked, “What do you do for fun?” I am often saddened by replies of: “I am too busy. I do not have time for fun.” The lack of fun indicates their stress level and they currently have, or will have, major health problems.

Here are two points in my list of how to make a difference while retaining your humanity and having fun in the process (the remaining five to follow).

Watch out for the “Savior” complex.

Our basic need for purpose is fulfilled through work and service. Each individual is equipped with talents that will bless your corner of the world and is compelled to bring it into reality. Driven people strive to do as much as possible – accomplish a lot – at great cost to themselves and to their families. And lose fun in the process.

There is a big difference in being driven and having a calling. Called people joyfully do what is set before them and in keeping with their own gifts, talents, innate desires and available resources.

Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” He also said, “It is finished.” Oh, surely you jest! But there is still hungry to feed, sick to heal, wars to end, and on and on. Jesus said, “I have accomplished what the Father gave me to do.” While Jesus, the Savior, was in human form, he refused to take on “the savior complex”. Do you have task to do? Yes, most definitely. Just do what has been given to you and do not take on too much.

Carry the message, not the person.

We are each self-determining. I teach Life Skills at a correction facility where the residents are forced to attend. A brooding young declared, “I don’t think you can fix my problems!”

I agreed with him. “You are right. I cannot. I am not the answer man. All I can do is give you information, what you do with it is entirely up to you. All I can do is help you to see things in a different light. You can ignore it. You can rebel against it. You can receive it and act upon it. I can ask you to change, but I will not demand that you change. My experience is that demanding adds fuel to rebellion. In my experience, demanding is less effective than asking and then giving you room to grow.”

If I give you information, I have added to your knowledge.

If I cause you to think, I have added to your stature.

Someone came to me so I could “fix him”. I replied, “Don’t hang your hopes on me.” It is my goal to help people grow through self-evaluation that brings internal change.

Because I carry the message and not the person, when the individual continues in his self-destructive ways, I am sad for him but I am not devastated. Also, when the person begins to change for the positive, I rejoice with her, but do not take the credit. I may have given the travel schedule, but the individual is the one who bought the ticket and got on the bus.

is that demanding adds fuel to rebellion. In my experience, demanding is less effective than asking and then giving you room to grow.”

Let me hear from you; let’s get a conversation going.

Self Care

February 8, 2011

It is more important that you take care of you than that you take care of them.

Does that sound selfish? Done in the right spirit, it is the first step toward selflessness. You cannot give out of an empty basket. A hungry man is unable to feed another. A full chef delights in serving.

Decay or grow. Our bodies are built to move. Movement stimulates cell growth. Reduced movement results in cell atrophy. A lethargic lifestyle causes the body to waste away. Decay. The body is a good servant in that it responds as gracefully as possible to the treatment we give it.

Endless recycle program. Our bodies consist of trillions of cells. They continually die off and are replaced. Bones dissolve and regenerate. High school health class taught that we have a completely new body ever seven years. But it is in increments, like 1% a day. What determines the quality of replacement? Whether the replacement quality is high or inferior depends on the lifestyle choices we make every day. Stronger or weaker cells? Our choice.

Intentional care. Remember the airline instructions? In case of emergency, you place the air bag on you first before helping the child, elderly, infirmed or others. Be intentional about your nutrition, your rest and your needs so that you are in optimum condition – mentally and physically – to help others.

Emotions play a big part. Human beings are composed of molecules therefore everything affects our molecular structure. Destructive emotions such as anger, hate, stress and loneliness send a “decay” message to the cells. These long-held emotions lead to chronic pain. Even though the angry person may be wishing ill on another, in reality, he is issuing his own death warrant.

Conversely, positive emotions such as optimism, love, compassion and community promote strength, thus healthy molecules. Not only does the molecular body benefit, but also one’s mind, heart, spirit and social life.

Handling the day-to-day stresses of life begins with self-care. Start with quality quiet time. What if it really does work?

The Day the Covenant Kicked In

September 30, 2010

I have been on health regimes most of my life. After years of yo-yo dieting,  I became complacent. Happy, but complacent.

God had spoken to my spirit that if someone did not like me because of my size, who owned the problem. He also whispered that I had bigger problems than weight gain. And it was those bigger problems that were more urgent as they were hindering my relationships, success and happiness.

In the ensuing years much has been healed and settled through conscious decisions and actions. Things like anger, control issues and unforgiveness. As previously recorded, now is the time to step up to a healthy lifestyle.

I came back from the Chicago Self-Care Covenant training with renewed courage. Weeks passed and things rocked along nicely. Then we bought new cell phones and the frustration begun.

I will not bore you with the details but suffice it to say that I talked with individuals from several countries and no resolve had come. I went back to the store of purchase. They talked with individuals from several countries. 

During the ordeal I remained relatively calm with my mind fixed on an ice cream sundae.  How it would soothe.  And comfort.

As I walked across the parking lot, Holy Spirit asked me if an ice cream sundae would solve the phone problem?  What joy filled my soul as I acknowledged it would not.

As I drove past the ice cream parlor, I waved. And I also said a prayer of thanks that the covenant had kicked in.  

Eventually my money was refunded and I went with another provider. Thanks for asking.

Taking Care… of the Body of Christ

February 17, 2010

Greetings. I am Mona Dunkin and I am a member of a local Health and Wellness Task Force. If you read my profile, you see that I call myself a Motivational Speaker. But the truth is I cannot motivate anyone to do anything.

 And neither can you.

 I am not even going to try. That is too stress producing. Maybe you can identify.

 It’s not stress that kills us …It’s our reaction to it!

We are each self-determining and make our own choices based on the pleasure-pain syndrome. We seek as much pleasure and success as possible while avoiding pain and failure. In the body-care realm, one may see vegging out in front of the TV as more pleasurable than the boredom of exercise. However, after a near-death experience, one sees death more painful than the pleasure of staying alive, even if that means exercise and healthy eating. Our mind is capricious and is capable of being deceived, and of being enlightened and of being changed. 

You cannot motivate people, but people are motivated! They become self-motivated when somehow a solution is seen to meet an individual need.

 I am not here to tell you anything you do not already know. My goal is to strike a cord that resonates in your being and you motivate yourself for better self-care.

Everyone has a story and I would like to share a little of mine with you. 

 The book of Acts begins with a reference to a previously written document that we know as the epistle of Luke. “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”

 I love that. Jesus set the example while he taught it. With God’s grace, I teach what I live. 

 The majority of my work is with the at-risk community and/or training the facilitators that work with the at-risk community. In giving illustrations, I carefully avoid using weight loss/gain points to explain a point. Why?  Although I have many disciplines in my life, taking care of my health has not been primary. And now it is time.

When I was asked to serve on the forming Health and Wellness Task Force, I readily said “Yes”. I must admit to selfish motives: I joined H&W as a way for you to hold me accountable for my health habits and lifestyle.

 I am spiritually and emotionally and financially and relationally and mentally and even physically healthier today than I was 35 years ago; however, my weight has continued to be an issue. 

 I love the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program:

 Step 1: I came to realize that I was powerless over _______________.

 Originally it was “powerless over alcohol”. With the success of the 12-step program it is used for any life-controlling issue – drugs, gambling, food, inertia. Or we could insert a character flaw such as anger, selfishness, … pride.

 Step 2: I came to know there is a Higher Power that can restore me to sanity.

My Higher Power – who to me is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – has and is restoring me to sanity in a number of areas:

 Morality and fidelity

Self-esteem and anger issues

Perfectionism and stress

Control and unforgiveness

The food/exercise issue has pretty much ceased, due to resignation, not a continued effort. Now it is as though “the fullness of time” has come …. not that it hasn’t been time before this. It’s just that the struggle has been released. Partly through Renew “U”niversity’s Self-Care Workshop and the commitment to a self-care covenant, but more about that another time.

 I equate this to my salvation experience. As a child I was reared in a five-charge country Methodist church. My Mom especially had a fire burning in her spirit, so we went to other churches, tent revivals, Pentecostal meetings and fellowshipped with black congregations. It is a rich spiritual heritage. Unfortunately, in my teenage rebellion I turned my back on God. It lasted for years. Maybe there is still some residue.

 At a particular low point in my life, I sensed God speaking to me. “Mona, why don’t you give up the struggle. Just let me be your friend.” 

As I listened to my heart’s yearning, it seemed as though the invitation was to quit the struggle to be good or nice or holy. It was a summons to relationship not rules.

 It was an offer I could not refuse.

 I responded with an audible whisper: “Okay”.

 Bells did not chime nor did rockets soar, but something dramatically happened in me that day. And it is still in effect. And growing. Broadening into every aspect of my being.

Now, thirty some years later, this friend is saying, “Mona, quit the diets and fads and the weight resignation. Just let me teach you about nutrition.”

 My response is a simple, “Okay”.

 Dr. Mark DeHaven, founder of the GoodNEWS program, is a social epidemiologist, which is kin to the science of Epigenetics. That is a big word for years of science that basically means, just like there is a protective layer of skin – epidermis – above the lower layer of skin – dermis – so also in the genetic code there is a protective layer above the gene.

Just like the epidermis is sensitive to the environment. Skins sunburned. Skin sweats when hot. Skin becomes clammy when nervous. Skin gets goose-bumps when chilled.

 Different environments. Same body systems. Different results.

 So too this epi-gene responds to the environment. Stress wrecks havoc. Limiting beliefs sabotage. Calm restores. Abundance mentality heals.

 Different environments. Same body systems. Different results.

John Wesley (1702-17910), founder of the Methodist Church, preached a “method” of holiness and emphasizes three themes:

1)      preserving the “well-working body” which is the proper mechanical functioning

2)      encouraging “sympathy” among the bodily processes that influence one another (such as the rightly ordered passions, or emotions, that can prevent disease

3)      the “healing power of nature” by which wholeness can be regained

 “All violent and sudden passions dispose to, or actually throw people into acute diseases. The slow and lasting passions, such as grief and hopeless love, bring on chronic disease. Till the passion, which caused the disease, is calmed, medicine is applied in vain…. The love of God effectually prevents all the bodily disorders the passions introduce, by keeping the passions themselves within due bounds; and by the unspeakable joy and perfect calm serenity and tranquility it gives the mind; it becomes the most powerful of all the means of health and long life.” Westley, Primitive Physick

Renowned scientist and author Bruce Lipton says that if John Wesley were alive today he would be an epigenestists.

In the book, Anti-Cancer, Dr. Servan-Schreiber, begins: “Cancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check. In the west, one person in four will die of cancer, but three in four will not. Their defense mechanisms will hold out, and they will die of other causes. … This is what I learned: If we all have a potential cancer lying dormant in us, each of us also has a body designed to fight the process of tumor development. It is up to each of us to use our body’s natural defenses. Other cultures do this much better than ours.”

At the October Health and Wellness Task Force meeting, Pastor John Clifford’s closing prayer:

  “Lord, we say we love you with all our heart, soul and spirit. Now let us live to manifest that.”

 ALL: “Lord, this is our prayer.” 

This blog is an account of my journey and recovery in the all-encompassing arena of Health and Wellness. I would love for you to join me. I would also love for you to give input into your struggles, insights and victories.

Take care. Mona