Living a Joyous Life Tour

Hello!

I am excited to announce my upcoming new workshop tour, Living a Joyous Life!

The workshop tour, now in its planning and scheduling stage, will be introduced in Oregon and Washington states first in the Fall of 2018.

Details will be provided on the “Living a Joyous Life Workshop Tour” page as they are finalized, so check back frequently for updates. If you would like my workshop to include your Oregon or Washington city on the tour, please let me know. If you have a specific venue in mind, I would love to hear about it! Thank you!

Blessings,

Megan

Corks and Oaks

An acorn holds the potential of a giant oak tree within its small container. It only takes the right conditions for the acorn to activate its amazing powers to create something far greater than itself, seemingly out of nothing. How does it do that?

Let’s make this personal: We all started from a single fertilized egg cell, which rapidly divided and divided and divided, making multiple copies of itself. At an exact point in the cycle, the cells start to differentiate – for example, some become muscle cells, some become skin cells, and some become bone cells. What causes a cell to “decide” to become muscle, skin, or bone? The short answer is DNA.

However, there are many questions that require a much longer answer to that initial question. All cells have the same DNA. Why does one cell access its DNA and morph into a muscle cell? Does one cell “decide” and the surrounding cells “follow”; or does each cell “decide” on its own? What if one cell “decides” to be a muscle cell, the cell to its left “decides” to be a skin cell, and the cell to its right “decides” to be a bone cell? What is the mechanism that joins muscle cells into a functioning heart? What starts the heart beating? What gives this conglomeration of cells “life”? Where does our self-awareness enter this cell grouping?

Don’t worry; this won’t become a biology course, or even a lecture. In fact, I’m not even going to try to answer the questions. I just wanted to introduce the concept of the complexity and synchronicity of the development of oak trees and the human body. Or, as it was so elegantly stated in that classic opera, “Hair”:

“What a piece of work is man, How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, In form and moving how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel.”  William Shakespeare, Hamlet

OK, for those who really want a scientific “answer” – which doesn’t really answer or even address most of the questions above:

“Gene regulation switches genes on and off, and so controls cell differentiation, and morphogenesis.  Wikipedia

Morphogenesis (meaning the “beginning of shape”), is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape.”  Wikipedia

Some points to ponder for your day.

What about Corks, you ask?

Our bodies are all created in the same structure, as stated above. However, when each body enters the “world,” it is subjected to its own unique experiences, which shape its life far into the future.

Hold a cork underwater and then release it. The cork pops up out of the water, and then bobs along on top, riding the waves. This is the same as holding down and suppressing a child’s spirit, hopes, and dreams, which, hopefully, are mercifully released with such joy later. The child, or adult child, can then handle the day-to-day waves of life, like a cork riding the waves.

My hope for you is that your cork bobs and rides the waves of uncertainty and joy in your life.

Blessings,

Megan

P.S.: Yes, I hear you, acorn-science seekers. Here’s the scientific explanation of acorn-to-oak, which only answers, “What happens,” not “how it happens.”

Evolution of an oak tree, by Beth Botts, Chicago Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/home/ct-sun-0222-garden-morton-20150217-story.html

  • “As the acorn grew and swelled, the scales enveloping it formed a cap atop a hard-shelled nut containing the embryo of a potential oak tree. The embryo consisted of two structures, called cotyledons, which store food to get the sprout started.”
  • “When the acorn was ripe, it fell.”
  • “Lucky acorns immediately claimed their territory by sending an embryonic root down into the soil to anchor the plant and search for water.”
  • “Once spring comes and the soil is moist, the cotyledons will swell with water and crack open the acorn shell. Then the acorn will send up a young shoot”
  • “The cotyledons will provide food to the young seedling for many months, even after it has developed true leaves, equipped with green chlorophyll to gather sunlight and produce food.”
  • “As the tiny tree grows larger and stronger, the cotyledons will fall away.”

You are welcome, acorn-science seekers. Now, how does that green chlorophyll in the leaves turn sunlight into food? Tests have shown that oak trees don’t actually gobble up dirt as food, so how does the oak tree grow with only sunlight and water? Ah, the wonders of nature.

My hope for you is that you marvel at the wonders of nature, and never lose your childlike enthusiasm.

Blessings,

Megan

Lesson for Puff

Puff the Magic Dragon is at once both a happy little song and a sad, depressing view of life.

When Puff is with Jackie Paper, he’s happy and fearless as he goes on adventures with the little boy. However, Jackie grows up and moves on to other friends, leaving Puff lonely, depressed, and isolated.

As a child, I cried for Puff because he had been happy like I wanted to be, but he turned out sad and lonely like me. Crying for Puff was actually crying for myself and my Little Kid inside. I knew exactly how Puff felt, and it proved to me at that time that, even if I could become happy, it wouldn’t last and I would become sad and depressed again, just like poor Puff.

Years later, I was introduced to CoDA, Co-Dependents Anonymous, and learned that Puff was too dependent on Jackie for his happiness. I starting judging Puff as weak and co-dependent, and the song was no longer a happy little song at all, but a completely sad song of a dragon who gave away his power and ability to have fun to a free-willed Jackie, who was off onto other adventures.

Not having thought of Puff until many years later, I heard the song and listened anew. With my current understanding that our joy and happiness are found within ourselves, my hope for Puff is that he takes back his power by realizing that he has total control over his own happiness, and that he continues on his adventures, perhaps occasionally sharing that happiness with other little girls and boys, helping them see the brightness of the world. Because dragons live forever, Puff has an infinite number of adventures to share with others, uplifting them and showing them their own internal joy and happiness.

If I were a lyricist, I would change the last verse from:

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave oh

to something like:

Although he’d miss his Jackie, Puff did not feel pain
Puff still smiled and went to play along the cherry lane
And then one day he met a boy he would befriend
So Puff that mighty dragon roared out his name again oh

 

No one has the power to make you happy or make you sad. Events happen, but you have total control over your reactions, feelings, and emotions to those events – once you see you have options to the way you have always felt. May your days be filled with joy, happiness, and adventures.

Blessings,

Megan

All italicized quotes are from “Puff”, Songwriters: Leonard Lipton / Peter Yarrow, Puff lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC, released in 1963

Mindfulness

This is a follow-up to my previous blog, “Be Here Now,” where I mentioned that I “eat mindfully” and promised to explain it.

“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.  While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.  Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.” https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

As I noted previously, I often ate on automatic pilot, with my mind wandering over vast times, places, events, thoughts, and plans, I would chew and swallow my food, never tasting it nor enjoying the textures, and often not even knowing what I was eating. My plate would be empty and I didn’t know if I liked the food or not. While that approach may be helpful when forced to eat things I don’t like – Brussels sprouts, overcooked spinach or kale, etc. – mindlessness is not helpful when it’s food that I enjoy and want to savor.

Applying mindfulness goes beyond eating, to all areas of your life:

  • Immersing yourself in a movie, rather than thinking about the work you have to do tomorrow
  • Fully experiencing a live performance, rather than thinking about the basketball game you’re missing
  • Enjoying your child’s baseball game, rather than continually checking your phone for (more) important messages that you might be missing

From The Mindful Awareness Research Center, a partner of the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, within the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA:

“Mindful awareness can be defined as paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. It is an excellent antidote to the stresses of modern times. It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one’s inner experience. … In the last ten years, significant research has shown mindfulness to address health issues such as lower blood pressure and boost the immune system; increase attention and focus, including aid those suffering from ADHD; help with difficult mental states such as anxiety and depression, fostering well-being and less emotional reactivity; and thicken the brain in areas in charge of decision making, emotional flexibility, and empathy.”  http://marc.ucla.edu/http://marc.ucla.edu/

The above quote illustrates that you get a lot more from mindfulness than a fuller experience of tastes, textures, colors, and sounds in the present – you can also improve your health. My initial health improvement was the elimination of stomachaches and acid reflux, because I am now slowly enjoying the food instead of gobbling something down so I can get on with the “important stuff.”

Your health is the “most important stuff” you can do for your body.

Based on the proven benefits of mindfulness, 44% of Fortune 500 companies have added mindfulness programs for their employees. My hope for you is that you follow their lead by spending more time living in the present (“Be Here Now”), allowing all of your senses to be engaged and entertained, and giving your overstressed mind a rest.

I will leave you with two mindfulness quotes:

“Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered. Travel them, and be expert in home-cosmography” – Henry David Thoreau

“The Intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant, we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

Blessings,

Megan

Be Here Now

“Be Here Now.” How about that for a blast from the past? In the early 1970s, if you wanted to be “hip” (as in “hippie”) and mellow, you just kept saying “Be Here Now.” Of course, at that time I had no idea what that meant. Is it anything like “Get good quick”? We’re always here now, right? Short of time travel, where else could we be but here, now?

Flash forward to 2018. As I was eating breakfast, “Be Here Now” comes to mind. Well, duh, yes I am here and it is now. Then I noticed that, while I was eating, I would be thinking about the past, worrying about the future, or rehearsing something I should have said in the past or something that I plan to say in the future. So, I stopped and noticed my body’s reaction to the replaying or rehearsing:  my stomach tightened up, my breathing became shallow, my cheeks (no, the lower ones) were clenched, and I didn’t taste the food.

When I eat mindfully – a fantastic technique I learned and will describe later – my brain is disengaged and my senses are alive so I enjoy the textures, aromas, and flavors of the food. I also breathe deeply, my stomach and cheeks are relaxed, and I am calmly experiencing my breakfast.

“Be Here Now.” I stopped eating breakfast for a bit, and thought back to other times when I have eaten while my mind was elsewhere:

  • Sneaking bites of food at my desk, while working through the lunch period because I had so much to do
  • Grabbing a hot dog and gobbling it while hurrying to the next meeting

Expanding my focus beyond eating, I remembered that even when I was intent while writing a term paper, a report for work, or a letter to a friend, I was primarily thinking about the future:

  • Will I be finished before the deadline?
  • What will the reader think about the word I just used?
  • Is this paper or report good enough to submit?
  • What will my boss’s reaction be to this report?
  • How do I finish this sentence?
  • What should I write next?

At breakfast, I took a poll of how much time I spent being in the present while I ate, how much time I spent reliving or trying to change the past, and how much time I spent on worrying or planning for the future. Because well over half of my breakfast had been eaten, with very little memory of how it tasted, I figured about 5% (if that) of the time I was in the present, and for 95% or more my thoughts were bouncing around all space and time.

Expanding that poll to the rest of my day, I realized that I was not really focused in the present much at all. My attention was either to the past, where I replay old tapes, or to the future, where I worry about something coming up (or what the future holds in general) or I rehearse what I’m going to say to someone a week from now. I also have the same bodily reactions – shallow breathing, tight stomach, and clenched cheeks – when I was focused in the past or the future, even though I wasn’t eating. The only time I breathed deeply, relaxed, and felt good was when I was totally in the present in mind, body, and spirit. “Be Here Now.”

Ram Dass, the author of the book “Be Here Now,” originally published in 1971, said, “Don’t think about the past. Just be here now.” And that reminded me of “Your point of power is in the present moment,” a statement by Louise Hay that resonates with me, and one that I thought I had been practicing.

How about a change in habit? I will set aside some time each day to reflect on the past and, perhaps, rewrite some more old tapes. I will set aside other time each day to plan or rehearse for the future – but without the worry. Most of my time will now be spent enjoying the present – the sun shining on the trees, the rolling sound of the ocean, the different heaviness of sounds from each passing car or truck, my deep breathing, my relaxed body, and just feeling good.

My hope for you is that you, too, can feel the freedom and joy of living in the present. “Be Here Now.”

Blessings,

Megan

A Winter’s Day

A Winter’s Day, in a deep and dark December.” Thus starts “I am a Rock,” the Simon and Garfunkel anthem of the 1960s lost generation, and my personal theme song of that time. I memorized and deeply felt every word, which became imbedded in my psyche as justification for my solitary, unhappy life.

I touch no one and no one touches me” is the price I paid to never be touched or hurt again. Singing the song out loud in my own isolated, impenetrable fortress, the words were powerful and I tearfully sang through feelings of sadness and anger. Is this the only way I can ever be safe? Do I really have to shut out the entire world to ensure I would never be hurt again? Are friendships totally out of my life forever?

The song ends with “And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.” However, I did feel pain clear down to my soul, and I cried – a lot. So, I was neither a rock nor an island – but what was I?

Gradually, through help, I came to realize that I am a person – a human being capable of loving and worthy of being loved. I slowly released the anger over my stolen childhood and emerged into a life filled with contrasts and choices, ups and downs, and struggles and successes. A life of colors, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. A life meeting people of every size and shape, learning from their stories and sharing some of my own experiences. A life of friendships and happiness, with occasional disappointments and restarts.

In my mind, I rewrote the end of the song: And a rock feels no joy, and an island never loves.

Wishing hope to all of the “Rocks” and “Islands” who have entered into a life that initially may contain some pain and uncertainty, but reveals joy and happiness as you walk along the path away from your fortress of isolation. Never give up HOPE.

Blessings,

Megan

 

 

All quotes are from “I am a Rock” written by Paul Simon • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, and performed by Simon and Garfunkel.

 

About the Book “Pieces”

Hello!

Today I’m sharing a little more about my new book, “Pieces: Help for Your Life Journey,” so you get a better idea of the topics covered, the purpose for writing the book, and the hope for all who read it.

Blessings,

Megan

————-

Pieces: Help for Your Life Journey Synopsis

When you rebuild a shattered life, sometimes you don’t get – or want – all the old pieces, but introducing new pieces results in a better life.

Megan Erin Galloway, Pieces: Help for Your Life Journey (Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press, 2018)

ISBN: 978-1-5043-9620-2 (soft-cover)     ISBN: 978-1-5043-9621-9 (hardback)     ISBN: 978-1-5043-9654-7 (eBook)

Pieces offers hope and help for those who have lost hope due to childhood abuse, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, fear, and/or depression.

About the Author

Megan Erin Galloway’s “credentials” for writing this book are 63 years of pain, fear, depression, and anxiety – and an incredible seven years of growth, expansion, happiness, and joy. She shares her journey with others who are experiencing, or have experienced, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, so they don’t have to search as long as she did to find the hope and help they need. The growth and expansion Megan has gained have improved her life and health immensely.

About the Book

This is a book of uplifting joy, which the author is sharing with others to help on their journey out of darkness. The first chapter, “Broken Pieces,” consists of a series of notes the author recorded throughout the middle years of her life. Following each note, she explains the circumstances of her life that lead to writing the note, as well as provide help and hope for those who can readily identify with, or remember, similar types of experiences in their lives and are looking for a way out of the darkness and fear. The remaining two chapters show the author’s progression as she found her “self,” started picking up the broken pieces of her life, reviewed events and people throughout her journey, gradually healed and pieced herself together, and opened up to a glorious new viewpoint and an enlightened outlook. It’s the author’s sincere hope and intent that this book will provide enough ideas and suggestions for the readers to achieve their own unique progression on their journey from darkness to the light.

First Paragraphs

Today I’m Daniel. Daniel is Dr. Daniel Jackson, one of the characters in Stargate SG-1, a science fiction TV series which debuted in 1997. You can tell that Daniel’s a science fiction character because he’s a sensitive man who would never hurt a child.

I don’t have multiple personalities; in fact, I probably have no personality at all. I’m emulating Daniel – I’m letting Daniel be my guide, my personality, today. I’m reacting like Daniel.

Daniel isn’t my first guide, or my only guide, or my last guide – he’s just today’s guide, subject to change without notice. My first guide was Thunderbolt, a black-and-white pinto horse. Thunderbolt helped me gallop when I needed to escape. … Thunderbolt helped me survive my childhood – and today Daniel is helping me.

Contact Information

Website:              www.megan-erin-galloway.com

Email:                   megan@megan-erin-galloway.com

Pieces Book Published!

Hello!

I am excited about the publication of my book, Pieces: Help for Your Life Journey, which is now available in paperback and hardback formats on the Balboa Press website and on Amazon.com!

Sharing my journey through childhood abuse, depression, and anxiety into the light of joy and happiness, I want to bring HOPE to those who feel there is none. This is an uplifting book of joy!

Megan

Manuscript Submitted

Hello!

After substantial editing and tweaking of the writing, I submitted the manuscript for Pieces to the publisher on January 8, 2018. It is currently undergoing Content Evaluation, which is the process in which the publisher assesses the manuscript to ensure that it meets their standards for publishing.

While awaiting the publisher’s decision on whether to accept my manuscript, or not, I am researching marketing strategies.

One step closer to sharing my experiences and how I survived, so others may be encouraged about their ability to survive their own traumatic events and find a path out of the darkness into a brighter future. Don’t give up!

Megan

Welcome!

Hello!

Thank you for visiting the Megan Erin Galloway website.

My first book, Pieces, is being edited, and is planned to go to the publisher, Balboa Press, in early January 2018.

I am hoping that, by sharing my experiences, I can help others who are or have been undergoing similar emotional and/or physical trauma as I had.

The one affirmation that kept me going – and hopefully will keep others going – is: Don’t give up!

Thank you.

Megan