The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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The Knife - Finding Spirituality in a World of Pain

I'm currently reading the book Midnights With The Mystic. The author is successful woman who self-professed failure at spiritual fulfillment. Her lifelong goal has been to achieve enlightenment. She tried everything - yoga retreats, trips to India, seminars with yogis and gurus - but the affects were short lived. After decades of disappointment, she gave up. Kind of. It wasn't that she didn't still ache for fulfillment, she was simply exhausted from disappointment. Ironically, it was when she gave up searching that her spiritual destiny fell in her lap.

While waiting for a plane, she noticed a young man meditating. Compelled to engage him in conversation, she learned that he studied under a mystic named Sadhguru. This book is about life lessons learned during her conversations with Sadhguru.

During my treatments at UCLA, I have learned a Multi-disciplinary approach to pain management. Medication alone is inadequate. One of the most important tools for pain management is pain psychology - using the power of the mind to combat pain signals to the brain. This can be accomplished many ways, through therapy, meditation, reading, learning, engaging in activities that help break the cycle. This can also include spiritual studies and disciplines.

I always liked to think of myself as a spiritual person. My childhood was littered with experiences that would be considered supernatural I suppose. Some quite frightening. Then at the age of twenty-four my mother and I both experienced a visit from my grandfather after he passed away. So, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that another realm exists and that life goes on even when our bodies don't. This is one of the greatest blessings of my life. But accessing this spirituality during my challenge has not been that easy.

In the beginning of my challenge all I could do was call out to God and beg for relief. I prayed. My parents prayed. My friends sent prayers. But little changed. In fact, my condition only seemed to get worse. Ultimately, the result of prayers was not what anyone expected, but in essence had set up the foundation for what has become the greatest spiritual awakening of my life.

My mother would hang her head in dismay as to why her prayers were not working. She was sure that she prayed so hard, she believed in God so deeply, why was I still suffering? How could her God allow her daughter's agony to endure?

In Midnights With The Mystic, the author describes an interaction she had with Sadhguru the first time they met. She asked him why - after so many years of trying - she still had not found lasting enlightenment? His answer cut to my core. He said to imagine your mind as a knife that is coated with cake. Then try to use it without creating a mess. Until the knife is clean and without clutter, it will be impossible. The metaphor for spirituality is that we all come to this journey with so many pre-conceived notions planted by society, that it seems impossible to discover true enlightenment, which can only occur when you realize who you truly are as an individual apart from ego and personality and everything your family and friends have imprinted upon you from birth. You need to clean off the knife.

Well, no wonder this is so hard!

During my challenge, when the world prayers seemed unanswered, was when everything I was seemed to be stripped away from my bones. Everything I believed in was shattering. My identity dissolved into pools of tears on my sheets. Yet, because of this , my knife is finally clean.

Before all of 'this', seeking true spirituality was akin to banging my head against a bible. As much as I tried to follow the discipline of my Catholic upbringing, I just could not accept too many of its doctrines. So I opened my mind to endless avenues, trying to stuff my brain with new methods of practice and theologies but nothing felt genuine enough to 'stick'. So I stopped trying, gave up, and figured leading a life with good intention and loving those around me just might be enough. Little did I know, I wasn't too far off.

Maybe being stripped of everything we think we are could be the beginning of everything we are meant to be?

I don't know what this spiritual journey will bring, but so far it is proving different than before. What I learn is absorbed. My body and mind respond when I listen to music and sounds that accompany teachings. Meditation is no longer just a closing of the eyes accompanied by monkey-brain - it is an opening of a gate to a world that was always there. Call it Buddhism, but I dare not give it yet a name. One thing I do know is I have finally found a path that is my own. It does not belong to anyone or any place outside of who I am. Who I really am. This process may take a very long time. But at least I know I'm on my way, protected by a knife that i have worked so very hard, to clean.

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