What lifted my spirit?

I can’t say much for today’s rainy Friday, but as for the last couple of weeks– WOW! Spring has sprung early in Wisconsin. This is what lifted my spirit as I walked through town during our recent, warm summer spring days.

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Plant Power!

Sometimes it takes big life events or decisions to impact spiritual wellness, like converting to a different religion or making a behavior change. Other times, a simple step is all it takes to help you spirit soar! I often look for these easy tricks, things that require little effort, but make a big difference all the same. I came upon one such step last week—placing a plant (or two!) indoors. Now, I’ve always known that introducing greenery inside is a good thing, but, why exactly? I guess I always attributed this idea to the fact that plants bring life to a room, adding a real, aesthetically pleasing attribute to the space around me. What I didn’t know though, is that they can have a huge impact on mind, body and spirit!

Plants keep us healthy!

Placing plants indoors greatly improves air quality and helps remove chemicals such as carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. Researchers found that school and job performance decreases when CO2 increases. In fact, studies show that plants can remove about 75% of indoor air pollution! They also decrease dust levels, which lessens respiratory problems like asthma.

Plants make us happy!

Placing plants in your home or office increase a person’s optimism and wellbeing. They can also help us feel calm and de-stress throughout the day. Various studies on the effects of indoor plants reveal people’s anxiety decreasing and recovering faster after an illness.

Plants help us stay grounded!

After suffering a traumatic or troubling situation, it’s common to find ourselves drifting off, and sometimes reliving that event. Feeling the texture of a leaf or watering a plant can help us come back to the present.

We are moving to a new building this week!

The Healing Center is excited to announce that we are moving to a new building this week at 130 W. Bruce St. in Milwaukee. The location is just 4 blocks East and 2 blocks North of where we are now. This four-story, 30,000 square-foot building is being constructed to meet the highest standards in energy efficiency and environmental friendly design. The Healing Collective, comprised of The Healing Center, Walker’s Point Community Clinic and Core/El Centro will move together, so clients of all three organizations can resume services at the same time. The first floor of the new building will house the Clock Shadow Creamery, a cheese factory and shop. Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic, which provides free primary and preventative care will occupy the second floor, while Core/El Centro, a non-profit providing stress management, exercise classes and other health services will see clients on the third floor. The Healing Center will again be located on the fourth floor and continue to offer free services to uninsured survivors of sexual abuse. This new building will allow us to serve more survivors and features a roof-top farm and state of the art technology, including an elevator that uses 0-Net Energy! Enjoy the photos!

Patrick Schmitt: How he’s using his new found strength to reach out to others

I feel so grateful that Patrick took the time to interview with me recently. Take a look at what we discussed!

 1. Tell me about September 1st, 2006. How did your life change?

On September 1, 2006, I was in a motorcycle accident that changed my life forever.  I left home that Friday morning a very active, energetic 22-year-old, living life to its fullest. I returned home from the hospital, 75 days later a c5-6 quadriplegic.

2. Who was the most significant person to you while you recovered in the hospital after your accident?

There wasn’t just ONE person. For sure my mom and dad were there the most, and my sister, but aunts, uncles and a few friends were there a lot. One of my uncles came almost every night and would stay until I fell asleep because I was scared [of] being alone. I was so out of it with the drugs they had me on so it was nice to have someone I knew with me.

3. I really enjoyed reading the story you wrote on your website: www.tomorrowsnotapromise.com. It sounds like you’ve been through so much, but are using that experience to help others. Tell me about what you’re up to now.

Well it’s been a LONG, SLOW journey the last few years. I’ve had numerous health set backs that just come along with being in a chair, but they have all helped me get to where I am today. Since my accident, I am no longer able to do the physical job I was doing, so it has forced me to go back to school. I’m in my second year at Concordia University going for a degree in Business Management. This is HUGE, because I never have been the type of person that likes school! After High School I just wanted to work and make money, school was never going to be in my future, or so I thought.  Also like you mentioned, I have started a web site with some of my very close friends. It’s a site you can go on and read other people’s stories about how they have overcome or dealt with some of life’s hardest situations. We really want the site to be motivating and inspirational to other people that are facing hard situations, and show them that life does get better!

  •  *Patrick would love to hear your stories about a time you realized that “tomorrow’s not a promise.” Please email him at: info@tomorrowsnotapromise.com.

4. Do you think you are a different person today (mentally and emotionally) because of the accident?

Absolutely, I think I’m a different person. People who know me will probably say I haven’t changed much, but I think I have! I don’t think 6 years ago, before my accident, I would have thought about trying to help other people cope with situations. Not because I didn’t care, you just see so many things from a different point of view when something like this happens to you. Mentally, I have always been a “hard head!” This has made me mentally strong, but I think driven is a better word. I think I have always been the type of person though that had the attitude “tell me I can’t do something, and I’ll prove you wrong.” Another great site I found years ago for inspiration is: www.sayiwont.com. Emotionally I have my good and bad days. I think anyone who has gone through something like this knows how hard it can be at times. You just need to sit back for a second and look at all the positives. I mean you’re still here breathing first off! Then look around at all the great people that support you. That usually helps ME, and reminds me it could have been worse.

5. Tell me about Tomorrow’s Not a Promise. What is your mission with this business?

At Tomorrow’s Not a Promise (TNP) we would like to think of it as a reminder of how fast your life can change, for the BETTER. We want TNP to be something you look to, to be inspired, motivated, and driven to make every situation of every day in life a positive! Face it, we have all had an experience that has affected the way we live our lives in one way or another. Whether it be losing a loved one to something tragic, overcoming a serious condition, or a simple event that you experienced, we ALL have encountered these events in some way. TNP has taken on the mission to share these stories of our life’s events. We share the stories of people who have had an event affect them and how our motto of “TOMORROW’S NOT A PROMISE” may hit home for that individual.  We will share their feelings, and discover how they have overcome their situation. We will get involved in these stories to help you to see that you are not alone.  TNP will provide a connection to help cope, conquer, inspire and motivate you to overcome any hurdle in life.

6. If you could describe your outlook on life in just one word, what would it be?

Promising

7. This blog is about spiritual wellness, which can include everything from religion to meditation, healthy living to positive life choices. What do you include in your life that allows for spiritual wellness?

Well I admit I’m not the most “religious” person there is, but I do pray and thank God every night for that day and the people I have in my life.

8. Whom do you most admire?

There is not just 1 person I admire. I admire lots and lots of people! My family as a whole is one, because they are some of the hardest working, caring people I know. I admire anyone who has been successful in life no matter his or her situation. The people I admire the most are every single lost solider or wounded warrior that comes home from overseas. I don’t know how you can’t admire what they do for us.

9. Do you have any long term goals for yourself right now?

My long-term goal is just to try and be as successful in life as I can be. Not in the sense of financial wealth, all though it would be nice, but just to live a good life. I want to inspire/motivate as many people as I can to do something no matter their situation. I also want able bodied people to be educated on the fact that just because I’m in a wheelchair does not mean I have mental issues. I’m as normal as the guy standing next to me, just a little shorter and not as fast!

10. If you could meet anyone, who would it be?

Travis Pastrana – http://www.redbull.tv/Momentum/Momentum-s01e22

11. Patrick, thank you so much for doing this interview. You are truly an inspiration and I really see you doing great things in the future! One last question: In your personal story you wrote about on the website, you talked about your pursuit of the whitetail buck. Any luck yet?

Sore subject after this season… NEXT YEAR!

What lifted my spirit today?

Do you remember this book? It was one of my favorites as a child and the last big snowfall brought back memories of Peter in his red coat, embarking on a big adventure.

As winter comes to an end in Wisconsin, this is what lifted my spirit:

.this story, by Ezra Jack Keats.

.these footprints (taken by Anne Frazier).

.Peter’s footprints.

.this tree (taken by Anne Frazier), perfect for smacking with a stick.

.Peter’s tree, equally as perfect for smacking with a stick.

.this fluffy snow, about to fall….

…right onto Peter’s head.

.Anne’s deep, deep snow.

.Peter’s deep, deep snow.

How do you celebrate your sense of “you?”

Stephanie coordinates volunteers, marketing efforts and operations for The Healing Center in Walker's Point.

As promised last week, I’d like to continue the discussion on Psychology Today’s article about what it means to be an “authentic” person.

How much do you rely on others? It’s important to be independent, but quite difficult to completely distance ourselves from the cultural, social and legal ties that bind us to society. The key to this concept is really about balance. For example, in my own life, I am pleased to help and receive feedback from others, as long as it does not take away from my own happiness and deter me from reaching my goals.

I also think it’s important to remember that we are not things, constructed for one purpose. We are human beings, composed of many parts that allow us to think, feel, grow and create change. For instance, a teacher is not just a teacher. He is also a multitude of other roles: a parent, a church-goer, a runner and a traveler, who prefers pears to oranges, red to blue and coffee to tea. True authenticity does not negate the fact that one’s “building blocks” may be similar to others’, but that these blocks are stacked in a different order, comprised of diverse colors and are chosen based on that individual’s unique likes and dislikes.

It is important to take a stand for what you believe in and hold on to your principles. Although, as the article points out, it’s not necessary to “…fight every battle to the death…” it is imperative that you uphold your dignity by defending the values that you find most important.

To foster my own individuality, I must choose a path that allows my self-confidence to shine and feel comfortable learning from my mistakes. I can increase my confidence by practicing self-acceptance during the hard times and moving on, instead of turning inwards and consistently berating myself.

As with anything in life, true authenticity may seem easy for some and more difficult for others. For most though, including myself, I believe it’s really a daily process that grows stronger over time. When faced with an open mind and heart, we can begin to strengthen our unique selves and learn to thrive as individuals amongst the world around us.

The Healing Center provides counseling, group therapy and other support services to adult survivors of sexual violence. All of our services are free, as we believe that everyone, regardless of inability to pay, has a right to heal from abuse. To learn more about our services, please visit our website

What lifted my spirit today?

I’ve found that day trips with someone you love can really lift the spirit! Walking around a new place, no matter how close to home (for my husband and I it was Port Washington), allowed us to take a break from the norm and do some exploring. It’s really amazing what you can discover, especially when you pay close attention to detail!

This is what caught my eye…

.these boats.

.this walkway.

.these links.

.this moss.

.this burst of color.

.this destination.

.this texture.

.this mist.

.this connection.