Through the Woods

Over the hill & through the woods… It feels like 2020 brought us some new different sort of woods that we were unaware & unprepared for. The climate has been unpredictable..frightening…forceful… it could put us in awe.


The twists & turns… we’re unsure of the stops… the lights are both red & green. Our hearts beat faster, our anxiety higher, the loneliness more apparent. The changes….. in finances, jobs, schools, businesses, dots on floors, plexiglass up, wash, wash, wash your hands, sanitizing, signs of new hours adjusted, new hours worked, lay offs, hunger…And still more change as we Zoom; commute through our homes… if we are blessed to have a home & the technology to do so.  


And still….we age….grow….live.  


We now may stop to consider the ramifications of giving and receiving a hug, a handshake. Our faces are covered so the baby can’t see our smile….the stranger behind the mask.


There are so many firsts….haven’t those generally been a good thing, a goal to work towards? How many days has it been since I saw a movie in a theater, watched a live in person performance, played soccer, or planned a trip that included an airplane?


Somehow it seems like a break up we didn’t see coming. I didn’t know that was going to be the last kiss, the last day I would walk into school, the last day of not thinking about… 6… feet.  


The list of to dos before I leave my home…..mask, hands washed, sanitizer, temperature checked…..and the question… do I really need to leave?  Is this worth the risk?


With all the pain, sorrow & grief…the grief of not attending a memorial, a graduation, a wedding, the grief of not getting to be with family or friends at all or…. the same way. People are dying alone… more than ever before.


And still….. there’s light, the unexpected. A vaccine becoming available at a pivotal time, new leaders preparing to take hold of their part of the reigns, past leaders teaching us tales we can learn from. Perspectives have changed….. some things can no longer be taken for granted. 


And still…… we are human. Flawed, beautiful, unique beings living amongst one another. Trying to turn on the flashlights in the darkness, to show one another……that despite distance, despair, sorrow, conflict, war, and trauma…..that there’s still the genuine, kind gesture. A laugh, a masked smile and joy in a moment to share if only brief…..


It lights up a day.


~Jasmine Rose Penter, LCSW 12/20/2020

Breast Cancer Awareness

It’s a busy month. My private practice business (Ignite, LLC) has partnered with another local company, Chacha’s Boutique to make these handmade copper bracelets to raise money for breast cancer. Next week we will be producing a video on my YouTube channel talking about this specific fundraiser as well as how to cope with a new diagnosis for those with breast cancer and their loved ones. Folks can purchase either bracelet on Etsy for $15 and there are two other options for personalization as well. Proceeds will go to OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute. Pre-order your’s now and they will start shipping out October 1st in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. IMGP4760

Coping with Epilepsy

This video discusses the effects of epilepsy both on the individual and their family members.  It can be helpful to find ways to express emotions through art as well as talking.  kunmidrawing

I was contacted by Healthline which has published an educational article about more of the medical aspects of epilepsy, particularly the effects it has on different systems in the body. I hope you might find this article helpful as you seek out more information about this illness.

Inspiring Hope: Molly Burke

Molly Burke speaking for Me to We.

Molly Burke speaking for Me to We.

Molly Burke was 4 and a half years old when she was diagnosed with Retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that eventually causes blindness.  She was 13 years old when she could no longer see colors, and her vision continued to decrease. She started being bullied in school – other students would take her crutches, backpack and dignity, and she grew depressed.  Things got difficult enough that in 9th grade she transferred to a school for the blind.  Still, she found over time she started being bullied again.  In 11th grade she decided to switch back to a sighted school.  With the help of a vision itinerant (a teacher trained to help visually impaired) she was able to transition back to school.  While Molly made friends at her new school, the bullying never stopped completely.

After Molly finished high school, she discovered an organization called Me to We and joined one of their youth trips to Kenya to build a school.  She spoke at a local girls’ school and realized her new goal.  Through Me to We she joined their speaker’s bureau and began to share her story about blindness and bullying.  Molly is proud to say she has overcome her depression, has come to terms with her blindness, and now lives in her own apartment.  Read more about her story.

 

The Benefits of Caring for Ourselves

Several of my private practice clients have been talking about finding time to taking care of themselves.  While this generally seems like a basic task, it does seem to easily fall off our to do list.  Whether its getting a massage, taking a short walk, spending time with friends, considering healthier food choices, or buying pair of supportive shoes that help staying on one’s feet all day comfortable.  Did you know that research shows massage lessens stress, depression, anxiety, and reduce pain?  I’ve noticed for more than one person that finding a reasonable bed time and sticking to it has been a challenge and so we’ve brainstormed setting an alarm clock for bed time with hopes that waking up will become less of a struggle.   Getting enough sleep has been shown to improve memory, supports quality of life, curbs inflammation, enchances creativity, improves athletic abilities, improves grades at school or meeting deadlines at work, sharpens attention, supports healthier weight (those sleep deprived feel more hungry), lowers stress, makes you a better driver, and improves emotional stability.  

Taking time to take care of yourself can relieve stress and relax, it can improve our overall health both physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Another consideration is to think about who in your support network can support certain aspects of your self care.  Perhaps one of your friends loves to hike and could point out some new trails for you to try, or a colleague of yours enjoys a hobby that you’d love to try but you’ve hesitated because you are not sure where to start.  Getting time to yourself is also important to re-charge and to ground ourselvesso that you don’t lose sense of our priorities, purpose, and balance in our life.  With the holidays fast approaching I encourage you to think about ways to take some time to conside how you can integrate self-care in your routine.