Looking Towards the New Year – Setting Goals & Intentions (In Just 5 Steps)

The new year will be here before we know it. For me, twenty sixteen has been a year of discovery and radical self-acceptance. As I reflect on another amazing year, it is time to set intentions and look forward to what the new year may bring.

Armed with goals and intentions (instead of new year’s resolutions), twenty seventeen promises to be a year of actions and plans. I am feeling charged and ready to take on and tackle whatever the new year throws at me.

Definition of intention 

  1. :  a determination to act in a certain way :  resolve

  2. 2:  import, significance

  3. 3a :  what one intends to do or bring about b :  the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

Source – Merriam-Webster online

My number one intention for 2017 – write more and spread positivity.

Reach for the stars. If you follow the five ridiculously easy steps below nothing will be able to stop you from achieving your dreams.

1. Believe in yourself. – You can do anything that you set your mind to. Yes I mean anything but the first thing you have to do is have faith. Believe in yourself and your own ability to do amazing things.

2. Set goals. – Bring your intentions to life. Write them down, say them out loud, tell your friends, or keep them in the back of your mind. Let your intentions gently steer your life in the right direction.

3. Be flexible. – Setting long term goals is alright as long as you are ready for the unexpected turns that life tends to throw. Don’t get overly attached to your plans or be discouraged by short-term setbacks. Allow your intentions to guide you but be ready for them to evolve as they come to life. The end result may not be what you had in mind when you originally set out on your journey. Be open to what the universe has in store for you and have faith that things will work out.

4. Hard work. – The best things in life come from hard work. Some days the progress may be grueling, others you may be shocked by your own momentum, feeling as if you are riding on a jet propelled the rocket, blowing your expectations out of the water. Don’t give up. Always do your best, show up, bring your A game.

5. Baby steps – “How do you eat an elephant?” – One bite at a time. When setting out on a larger task don’t get overwhelmed by all of the things between you and your end goal. Pick one thing you can do now to help get you moving. Once you finish the first step pick another step. Chisel away at the beast in front of you. Eventually, you will look back and be amazed by how far you’ve come. Life is not a race. Progress is progress, no matter how slow. No matter what keep moving forward.

When you set your intentions, you give your life clear direction and meaning. Your intentions are the paths to your dreams. Intentions are powerful and so are you.

Adventure awaits you – get out there and change the world!

What is Neurodiversity? Does it Exclude People with Severe Disabilities?

Neurodiversity – the idea that neurological differences (Autism,  Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, and others) are natural variations in the evolution of the human genome.

Neurodivergent people have brought many great things society.  Attempting to “cure” future disability by preventing neurodiverse people from being born would be tremendously harmful to humanity.

Opponents of neurodiversity argue that neurodiversity conveniently ignores people on the spectrum who need extra help and cannot live on their own or are more severely handicapped by their neurological differences.

First off, many of us aren’t high-functioning enough to benefit from depathologizing autism. The neurodiversity movement doesn’t have much to say about lower-functioning autistics, who are decidedly less inspirational.

Gwendolyn Kansen – Pacific Standard

I want to clarify here why Neurodiversity does NOT ignore or exclude anyone.

What about people who are severely affected? How can that be a natural variation?

Thing’s aren’t that simple and I feel a strong urge to clarify what I’ve uncovered on this topic.

Neurodivergent people, myself included, tend to be more sensitive to chemicals and other environmental contaminants than the rest of the population.

Science suggests that autistic people may have weakened blood brain barriers, allowing toxins to flow into the brain during development.

People who are chemically intolerant often have serious reactions to common chemicals and some become too sick to carry out routine functions. Chemical intolerance affects about 10 percent to 30 percent of the U.S. population. Developmental disorders such as autism and attention-deficit disorder affect one in six children in the United States.

Read the full article here on Science Daily

This puts autistic children at greater risk for chemical brain injury than typically developing children.

Though exposure to chemical may not be the leading cause of brain injury, it can be dangerous to healthy brain functioning. It is not easy to accept the fact that by just being expose to chemicals which are available in the places where we work, in the house, in the garden and in almost every place where we go.

There are different classes of chemicals that could produce substances which could be lethal on the brain.

Full article here at the Brain Injury Institute 

Mothers with chemical intolerances are 2-3 times more likely than other women to have a child with autism or ADHD, according to a 2015 study.

If you’ve been following autism research in recent years, you have probably read—many times—that familial, or inherited, risk is seldom the whole picture. A few inherited genes are sufficient by themselves to cause autism. But most so-called “autism genes” only increase the risk that an infant will go on to develop this developmental disorder. As is the case in many complex diseases, it appears that autism often results from a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers.

This is where epigenetics comes in. Epigenetics is the study of the factors that control gene expression, and this control is mediated by chemicals that surround a gene’s DNA. Environmental epigenetics looks at how outside influences modify these epigenetic chemicals, or “markers,” and so affect genetic activity.

Alycia Halladay, PhD, Autism Speaks director of research for environmental sciences

People with traumatic brain injuries often develop symptoms of Autism and other comorbid conditions such as sensory overload. The similarities are undeniable and the effects look very similar to autism and other natural neurological differences (although they tend to be more severe).

What does it all mean? 

Some supporters of neurodiversity argue that people who are truly disabled by their brain differences pulled the short straw and are just unlucky in the neurodiverse spectrum, but this theory has never felt quite right.

Being neurodivergent does seem to be genetic and it may put you at a greater risk of chemical intolerance and brain injury. Neurodiverse children may be extra sensitive to chemicals in their environment – this could explain why some children develop more severe complications and comorbidities than others.

Only time will tell as modern science uncovers more and more information regarding the human brain and how it works.

So why do we need neurodiversity? More thoughts on the importance of this concept here in a post titled Why theWorld Needs Neurodiversity.




How to Spot & Escape a Narcissist

Narcissists hide in plain sight. They can be cunning and charming. Most of the time you can’t spot a narcissist unless you get to know their motives. Narcissists are dangerous master manipulators.

How to Spot a Narcissist 

Narcissists are self-focused. – Narcissists always think of themselves first and don’t care about the feeling and comfort of others. They tell stories about themselves. Often the stories will paint the narcissist as either a hero or a victim. The narcissist is never wrong and they always paint themselves in a positive light.

Gaslighting – Narcissists are master manipulators. Gaslighting is emotional abuse. A narcissistic partner may that causes you to question your own instincts, judgment, and even sanity. A narcissist wants the power to control you. When you lose your ability to trust in your own perceptions, it becomes easy for the narcissist to get you to do the things they want.

Narcissists play the victim. – Nothing is ever the narcissist’s fault. Whenever something bad happens in the narcissist’s life someone else is always to blame. The narcissist’s problems are always blamed on someone else and they never take responsibility for their own actions. The narcissist will give you one excuse after the other to avoid being responsible for anything negative that happens to them.

Narcissists are defensive. – Narcissists don’t like people who disagree with them. The quickest way to cause a narcissist to erupt is to tell them that they are wrong. If you don’t agree with them they will accuse you of being against them. Narcissists are used to getting their way and may lash out when they don’t.

Narcissists are selfish – although they may pretend they are selfless. Don’t let these charmers pull the wool over your eyes. A narcissist will never put someone else’s feeling above their own. Narcissists may act kind and compassionate but often this is just a ruse to paint themselves in a positive light and win people over.

Narcissists don’t care if they hurt your feelings. – Narcissist craves ego stroking and is incapable of understanding how their actions impact others. Narcissists don’t respect your boundaries. They may borrow your things without asking and take loans from you and not pay you back. Narcissists feel like they own and are entitled to everything around them.

Narcissistic parents – often see their children as an extension of themselves and treat them more like property instead of individual people.  The narcissist will always put their own needs before the needs of their children.

Narcissists feel entitled. – They expect to be put on a pedestal and want others to cater to their needs. Narcissists think the world revolves around them. They may mock and put down people around them in order to boost themselves.

Lastly, a narcissistic person most likely has no idea he or she is a narcissist.

How to Escape a Narcissist. 

The best way to escape a narcissist is to pack up and leave. Cut all ties, get a new address, change your phone number and remove yourself from the toxic situation. Unfortunately, there are certain circumstances where an immediate exit may not be possible.

If for any reason you are stuck with your narcissist flattery may be the best way to avoid conflict. Remember arguing with a narcissist is pointless because they will always blame everything on you. Keep your head low and act normal as you plan your escape.

The first step in escaping a narcissist is to free yourself mentally. A narcissist’s strength comes from their ability to manipulate and control. When you become immune to their mind games you leave a narcissist powerless.

When you are ready to cut the cord it is best to do so without warning. When a narcissist feels like they are losing control they may lash out, trying to suck you back in. They will do everything they can to manipulate you. If the narcissist is unable to control you they can result to name calling and bullying as they try to deflect the negative light back on you.

Remember the narcissist loves control. – When a narcissist realizes that they can no longer control you they may leave. Narcissists need to have control over everything and everyone in their life. People who don’t obey or placate a narcissist are often cast out as unworthy.

Confronting a narcissist can be very dangerous. If you ever feel that your life is in danger get out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your narcissist becomes violent call the police.

The National Domestic Abuse hotline takes calls  24 hours a day 7 days a week. Depending on where you live there may be additional resources in your area.

National Domestic Abuse Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Find domestic violence help and shelter near you here at DomesticShelters.org.




The Benefits of Living a Thankful Life All Year Long – 5 Tips for a Happier Life


It’s the time of year where we are all reminded to give thanks for the good fortunes and people in our lives. This is a time for family, fun, and feasting. We gather around our tables with our loved ones and say thank you for all the blessings that the past year has brought us.

This year I would like to challenge you to take your Thanksgiving a step further. Being thankful and having gratitude is not something that should be limited to just one day of the year. Having gratitude all year long can benefit your life in numerous ways.

In a 2012 study, a group of Chinese researchers discovered that higher levels of gratitude were associated with better sleep. They also found that people who practiced gratitude in their daily lives had a lower risk for anxiety and depression (more here on Psychology Today). Simply Googling “benefits of gratitude” will bring you countless more results.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our wants and desires that we forget to appreciate the things we do have. When we focus too much on the things we don’t have it becomes impossible to live in the present moment.

Chasing things will always leave you empty, longing and waiting for the next new thing to come around.

Living in the present, being grateful for the good fortunes we have right now, even if they are small, instead of worrying about things we feel are missing, could be the key to living a happy life.

How can I live my life with gratitude every day?

  1. Live in the present moment. It’s been said that “if you are anxious, you are living in the future.” When you catch yourself fretting over that missed promotion at work make a decisive effort to change your focus. Instead of dwelling on a perceived missed opportunity, think about all of the things you love about your job.
  2. Keeping the focus on your goals without letting your desires overcome you. You can have goals, hopes, and dreams without constantly longing to be your future self. Enjoying where you are in life now doesn’t mean you can’t set goals. Work towards your goals one step at a time, knowing what your next move might be, but paying attention to where you are today. Don’t forget to be grateful for all the work you’ve already done as you keep moving forward.
  3. Learn to let go when you don’t get what you want. Things don’t always work out the way we hope they will. When situations don’t go your way realize that new opportunities appear every day. Everything is temporary even disappointment. Someday you may be grateful your life took you down a different path.
  4. Remind yourself to be grateful. Live a joyful life. Any time you find yourself feeling sour about your situation make an effort to change your focus to all the good things in your life.
  5. Starting a gratitude practice. Working gratitude into your daily life is not difficult.
    • Start a gratitude journal. Challenge yourself to write down the things that you are grateful for every night before bed (or whenever you have time). It’s easiest if you write at the same time every day. If you meditate try writing in your journal before and after meditations. Pay attention to how your meditation affects your journaling and vice versa. If you don’t want to write down your blessings – try listing five things in your head every day before bed.
    • Use technology to your advantage. Another great way to work gratitude into your day is to set reminders on your phone. You can choose how often you want to be reminded. When the reminder pops up on your phone stop whatever you are doing and think of at least one thing that you are grateful for. Don’t snooze your gratitude alarm.

Keep working until gratitude becomes an automatic response. Rewiring your brain takes time, but the changes in your life are worth the work.

Rebelling against a culture that values assimilation over individuality.

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