I Didn’t Think My Heart Attack Was a Big Deal: Why I Was Wrong

It was Sunday, March 24th, at 6:30 a.m. I finally got up to feed my devilishly persistent cats. Their regular MO is to run around using me as a springboard in order to wake me up and get my attention. They didn’t really care that it was Sunday and that I wanted to sleep in. I slowly got up and immediately noticed the irritating burning under my chin. It felt as if I was trying to have a sore throat; you know that feeling you have right before you get sick? I ignored it and continued to the kitchen and the task of feeding the cats. Fifteen minutes later with the cats satisfied, I headed back to bed, but quickly noticed that the irritation was getting worse. In fact, it felt as if someone was taking sandpaper to the area just below my chin and down the front of my chest to the tip of my stomach.

Don’t let my smile fool you.

It was at this point, I thought “something is not right here…this is definitely not right.” I felt a moment of panic and took an antacid as if that would help (which of course it did not). I laid down and felt a bit of relief. Then the pain began to spread. Up until now it had been running vertically. Now it was spreading across my front from shoulder to shoulder and eventually shoulder to shoulder across my back. While I knew something was definitely not “right” I still got into a shower. I remembered thinking “well I haven’t died yet so it can’t be that bad.”

I got dressed and then called my friend and neighbor and said “I’m trying to decide whether I’m having a heart attack.” She asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said yes. A few minutes later she was at my front door. It took us 20 minutes to get to my HMO. As we drove, my conversation dwindled as my symptoms worsened to the point where I could not speak.

Once I walked into the ER, I was rapidly admitted and a few minutes later they confirmed I was having a cardiac “event.”

Tip #1: Do NOT have a friend drive you 20 minutes to a hospital. Call 911. Make an agreement with people close to you that if something life-threatening is happening, whether a heart attack, stroke or an assault, that you seek out the professional help you need. Friends or family are there for support and comfort only.

In my case, I knew I couldn’t drive myself, and given that logic neither should anyone else. I will say I wasn’t actually thinking very rationally. Taking a shower was not the top priority. This irrational thinking reminded me of the time I was in a bank robbery where the robbers took over the entire branch. I threw all the money I had into my trash can as I had been trained by the “what to do in a robbery” training videos. Since one of the bandits had a gun and was wearing a mask, this was definitely a life and death situation. You never really know how you will respond in this type of situation. That’s how I felt when I was having the heart attack. I wanted everything to be “normal” and I think my misguided logic said if I call 911, it’s definitely not normal. This is a coping mechanism. I remembered thinking I don’t want to call 911 because I don’t want to be the house that everyone comes out to see what’s going on. Not rational either.

Back in the ER and several tests later, they scheduled me to have an angiogram early the next morning. An angiogram would give them a precise view of what was going on inside my heart and arteries.

Around 5 p.m they finally told me I was being moved to a regular room and what a blessing this was. The frenzy and brief horror of the ER was quickly forgotten as I settled into my room. Thankfully, I had it to myself. That night was a series of meds and BP checks and intermittent sleep. Having never gone through and angiogram, or recently spoken to someone who had, I was managing my anxiety by listening and watching the C.A.R.E. channel on my TV. I watched the parade of relaxing scenes and listened to a meditation that relaxed and calmed me about the upcoming procedure. Kudos to Kaiser for this service!

After being pushed to the back of the line several times for anogiograms a team appeared at 1 p.m. to prep me for the procedure. Finally, we would have some answers. While everyone agreed I’d had an MI (myocardial infarction) they couldn’t actually agree upon why. All of my previous test results – cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. – were quite stellar. Everyone kept wondering (including myself) how could I have had a heart attack when my test results were so good? Well, it turns out those test results are just “generally accepted” guidelines for a larger swath of the population. Okay, but I still wasn’t sold on this response.

Up until the time I went for the procedure, they were all floating the possibility that I was experiencing “shibutani” also known as “broken heart syndrome” because test results just “didn’t fit.” This theory made no sense to me because my life was pretty normal and my time for “broken heart” syndrome was about 9 years too late.

As the team wheeled me out, they told my friends it would be about an hour and half and then I would be back. As it turned out I was gone for 3 hours and by that time my friend who had driven me to the hospital was frantically trying to find out what was happening with me.

The first thing they told me in the procedure/operating room was that most people don’t remember what goes on during the procedure. They do not put you “out” but rather give you enough meds to feel no pain and still be awake and aware. I remember most everything and I won’t go into details. I will say I felt comfortably numb and mostly kept them entertained when they were not focusing on cleaning out my arteries and inserting the stents.

As it turned out my left anterior descending artery was 99% blocked. When I looked at the before picture of this artery, it looked “broken” in that nothing or very little was getting through. Apparently, the right coronary artery was clogged too – about 85%. That’s pretty major. So much for “broken heart syndrome.” I sometimes wonder how I was able to do three zumba classes a week and never experience a symptom.

Tip #2. What or how things appear outwardly is not always indicative of what’s truly going on inside.

By inside, I mean, inside your body or your mind. Too often we say one thing and actually think or want another. In my case my test results showed something quite differently than what was actually going on inside my body. I honestly thought I’d escaped the bad genetics. My mother and her siblings and parents, all died relatively young (my mother was 57) of massive heart attacks. Several years prior I’d mentioned this to my primary care physician, but based on my test results (and they were consistently good) she never felt the need to screen deeper. I can’t really blame her.

Additionally, when I went for my follow up with her five days after I was released from the hospital, she kept telling me how great I looked (I’m not really sure how you are supposed to look after a heart attack). Okay, that’s a nice compliment but it kind of did a head job on me. I disregarded what a big event this actually was and how it impacted me over the next several weeks and months.

Over the next few weeks I went through a wide range of emotions from being cocky to “are these pains normal?,” to “oh shit I AM mortal.” I realized I had minimized what happened to me with the heart attack. Part of this is just denial. Who wants to admit that they are mortal? We cannot dwell on our mortality or we wouldn’t be able to experience a full life. I have mostly been being with the discomfort and denial of my heart attack and present to the myriad of feelings I was experiencing. I was finally able to love and comfort myself and fully acknowledge this as the life-shaping event it was and continues to be.

Which brings me to…

Tip #3 You – me – we absolutely, 100% deserve to be seen and acknowledged with love and compassion even when we get things “wrong.” We all deserve this acknowledgment purely because we exist. Getting things “wrong” simply means we haven’t found a better way yet to do something. Right or wrong is a judgment and a perspective. Let them go if they do not help you.

We all have an “expiration” date. Most of us don’t know when it will be and that’s a good thing. For me, I knew it wasn’t my time. I have many more years to go (although they seem to fly by now much faster than they used to). It doesn’t matter whether you have days, or years left on this planet. What matters is that you live each day with love, compassion (self and others) and with purpose and intention because facing your mortality is a big deal. What matters is that you live each day – each moment – with the awareness of who you are as a human being and that you learn to love yourself unconditionally.

End of Year Holding Pattern?

Typically, the last few months of the year are my slow time for readings. I generally attribute this to the fact that people tend to spend their extra time and money on holiday related purchases. However, this year, while there was a bit of a slowdown, the readings that I did give, although each unique were also tied together by a theme.

We as a nation, seem to be in unusual and unparalleled times. This shows up in a couple of ways. One of them of course is politically and while I have very definite views personally, I will not be addressing them here.

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My 21-Day Cleanse Experience: Day 4

The thrill is gone…oh wait, there never was any thrill. Ok folks, this is NOT actually getting any easier. I had a terrible headache today…again. I went in search of sinus meds because it seemed like it was coming from there, but who knows. What I DO know is that I miss my chicken and fish more than I can express. I am awash in disappointment and some sadness at the absence of these simple proteins from my diet. Not to mention, I can’t seem to focus. Every day I ask myself “is this worth it”? The jury is still out. Although my pain is so much less, I feel that I traded one pain for another. Sad face emoji. Why can’t I just have some chicken? I’m at the point where I don’t really want to even eat. Another sad face emoji.

Off to bed where I don’t have to think about eating or not eating.

The Akashic Records-Past, Present & Future Guidance

What are the Akashic Records? The short answer is they are an energetic (vibrational) storehouse of limitless knowledge for each soul. They consist of past, present and future insight and they hold vast amounts of healing light and information. They also provide an atmosphere of unconditional love, compassion, and complete acceptance, while offering insight, clarity, and wisdom to help you evolve on your human path. You just need to learn how to ask for the information!

When I was about 7, I would go outside and lay down on the grass in the front yard of my house. I would look up at the sky and seeminglymelt into its oneness. I knew back then I was part of something bigger. I remember a tremendous sense of peace and knowing. I could lay there for hours and ponder existence. Looking back, I’m not sure what “existence” meant to a seven-year-old. I just knew I was at peace.

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Why Needing External Validation Can Be Harmful

When I was growing up, I often felt like I needed to hear confirmation that the decisions I was making or not making, were correct, so I sought out external acknowledgment and validation from others. As I grew more confident in my judgment, I relied less on that external validation and more on my own internal wisdom. Now I rarely seek out external input, although when it occasionally does happen I see it as a growth opportunity.

The terms “internal” and “external” in this context is one of several NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) terms called Metaprograms. In short, Metaprograms are unconscious filters to process incoming information so you can utilize it in productive ways in your life or interactions with others.

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Are You Afraid of Choice?

I recently finished teaching another certified beginning Akashic Practitioner training, and while exhausted, it always reminds me of what I value most and how good this work is for me, my students and the planet.

At the same time, a client contacted me for advice about a challenging situation she is facing concerning her son, his children, divorce and the soon to be “ex;” a common situation in our culture.

I felt honored that she would contact me for advice as it can be challenging to witness this kind of situation and feel unable to do anything about it. Since I’d just taught the most wonderful spiritual training, my guidance to my client was simple (but by no means easy): Communicate with her family that she unfailingly holds them in a bubble of love, compassion, and inspiration, and this may mean keeping her boundaries in tact and her feelings to herself.

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Is the Sh*t Hitting the Fan?

Very recently I’ve given several client readings with specific likely outcomes. Then I heard back from these clients, and something opposite occurred with no reasonable explanation. I even went back into my clients’ records to bring them some additional understanding (and to understand it myself!). Each time I did this, the beings told me this “upside down” experience is a result of a recent cosmic event! Blue, Red Moon maybe? The words they specifically used were it’s a “cosmic jungle out there!”

At the same time, my clients were experiencing this I was also having crazy sh*t happening. I’ve had significant plumbing issues (as in sewer, water line, and water main replacement). My computer and Fitbit went haywire; I thought my cat was down for the count (she’s fine), and I even felt challenged about my ability to provide a useful reading. It’s been a wild ride that has lasted about three weeks. The last time I saw this type of event was a few years back so thankfully it doesn’t happen very often.

If you have had strange and unusual experiences, it may be cosmic! Great, and I bet you want to know what you can do about it?

Thankfully, I work with the most wonderfully compassionate, wise and loving beings I’ve never seen. Their guidance is this:

  • Find your internal energetic core and strengthen it. You need to find your center of gravity so to speak. It is a place within you that is your anchor. Even when seas get rough and the wind is blowing, and the sh*t is hitting many different fans, you have an inner strength that guides your ability to respond more positively.
  • If meditation is your thing, do it and do it regularly. It doesn’t have to be 20-30 minutes; it can be 5 minutes as long as you find that quiet place and go there every day at the same-ish time.
  • Focus on allowing the divine light coming into you from above and the stability of the earth energy rising from below.
  • If you have a completely different practice, use it! It can be 5 minutes of sustained and strengthening breathing, or playing the piano (or another instrument) or writing or painting or doing whatever connects your heart to your body and quiets your mind. Imagine all of your internal energy centers (chakras) spinning with correct alignment and precision and trusting that they know what that means.
  • Connecting to your inner energetic core (anchor) with persistent and consistent practice will be the proverbial port so you can weather almost any storm.

Also, I found laughing at most of this stuff pretty useful.

By the way, I don’t know much about astrology so here’s a link to something I Googled. You can do your research. What I also know is that this event is finally passing through and things should be back to normal, unless your life isn’t “normal” to begin with. Wishing you well!

Holidays: 5 Tips to Saying “No” and Feeling Good About it!

The good news: It’s the holidays! The bad news: It’s the holidays! This time of year can have you going from one extreme to another. Parties, family, friends, spiritual gatherings, shopping and oh yes, work. There are a lot of demands on your time and energy. The only way to happily navigate this time of year is to set boundaries that you can feel GOOD about!

If you are like me, you may have grown up hearing how setting your boundaries is essential, only to feel that “setting your boundaries” may feel like a generic term for “something doesn’t feel quite right, but I don’t know what it is or how to change it.”

There are boundaries for everything. You have to know what they are, when to use them and how to communicate them. There are a lot of moving pieces in boundary setting. Even when you know your boundaries, expressing them with firm compassion is often a challenge.

Simply put, a boundary is a limit. There are different kinds of boundaries; below are the two types you may be most familiar with:

• A physical boundary defines who can touch you, when, how and where that will or will not happen.
• Emotional boundaries are the limits you set on how people will treat you.

Your values and priorities guide your boundaries. You have to decide, “what’s most important” to you when you choose, say, how you are going to spend your time during the holidays. Once you know your limit, then you have to know when it is about to be or has been reached. The way you know this is through your feelings and emotions. When you feel bad, guilty, resentful, etc., it’s usually a boundary issue. Keeping all this in mind, below are a few tips for communicating with compassionate firmness to keep your boundaries intact.

1. Start with a list. What needs to get done? What can you delegate? What can you cut out or postpone?

2. Decide the top actions or activities you want to do (not that have to get done). You just cannot do everything, nor would I suggest you try. Decide what makes you happy and start here first.

3. What actions or activities make you feel guilty, resentful, inadequate, depressed, anxious, etc.? Put those on the bottom of the list.

Make these lists short and simple.

4. Once you know your limits, you have permission to say “no,” “maybe,” or “yes” or something else entirely.

5. Lastly, setting your boundaries is about communicating expectations (yours and theirs), adjusting if needed (not giving in) and acknowledging the invitation or request by thanking the person and then expressing your response.

Here’s a short example:

Bob: My mother just called, and she wants us to come over early on Christmas and help with cooking, set-up, and clean-up.
Susie: Of course! I love your mother and am happy to help. And…I feel like every year I end up doing the bulk of the work. What if we told her we can come over between 2-3 and would be happy to help with whatever still needs to be done?
Bob: I’ll try, but you know how mom is and how nobody else helps.
Susie: Yes, that’s the problem. Let’s tell her how much we appreciate what she is doing and that we are happy to come over by 2 p.m. and that it’s a great opportunity for other family members to step up and help her.

No more dialog. That is the conversation. Communicate it and repeat it verbatim as needed. The gem is the repetition! If you are not used to using compassionately firm language, practice saying it to yourself and out loud.

Happy Holidays and enjoy setting some new boundaries.

Julie Hawkins, is the Biz Psychic and Women’s Boundary Coach. www.juliehawkins.com


Why This is So Hard and Yet Must be Done

Recently I was pondering a past relationship in which something had been “done to me” that felt so heinous I wasn’t sure I could ever forgive it. In fact, it happened more than 25 years ago, and I was still harboring deep feelings of anger. Since I teach Ho’oponopono (the Hawaiian process of forgiveness), I felt a bit at odds about urging others to embrace forgiveness when it didn’t seem I was fully walking my talk. In that very moment, I tapped into a brilliant source of illumination and let it rain down on me as if I’d just stepped into the shower. I finally experienced forgiving this person, a feeling I’d not been able to allow before. There is a bit more work to do, but at that moment, a sense of surrender and release flowed through me, and it was hugely freeing!

My past inability to let go of this offense added a layer of useless distress to the junkyard of emotions I’d worked so successfully to pare down. There had been a part of me that didn’t want to let go of these feelings (which is of course why I still held onto them). I wanted to feel self-righteous. I fought the tug-o-war of releasing this man from what he’d inadvertently done to me. Maybe he has held onto his guilt, I don’t know, and I don’t care now. What I finally got on a heart level is what I teach every day of my life: everyone is doing the best they know how and he was no exception. In my heart and mind, I finally released the energetic rope that bound me to him. That release, in turn, enabled my heart to grow bigger and fuller in alignment with Source and my reason for being here.

Everyone has something they believe they cannot forgive. Be it an insult, direct injury, perceived betrayal, disappointment or hurt. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t experience this yet I ask you to imagine all the angst and pain you’ve caused yourself by holding on to the real or perceived offense? What is the price you’ve paid in your quest for self-righteousness and vindication? Was it worth it? Probably not.

When you finally accept others for the flawed humans they are you will look back and realize what a waste of time it was to keep this person wrong!

In the bowl of emotional soup, love is the main ingredient followed closely by forgiveness and compassion. It is a meal we must eat every day to survive emotionally and spiritually and grow as a human in this lifetime. It is your purpose to evolve. Holding on to junk hurts only you and stunts the process of your fabulous potential. This is why you must find forgiveness.

If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, then I invite you to download my free Ho’oponopono meditation and listen as often as you need to until you can forgive and see the truth; that you are both flawed humans from a Divine lineage. http://www.juliehawkins.com/free-things/

What are you worth?

I recently had several people tell me that they read all my blogs. I was a bit stunned and certainly pleased. It started me thinking about the value I bring to others and what it’s worth.

How do you determine what your “value” or “worth” is? What value do you bring to those around you (personally or professionally)? Is it a dollar figure, contribution or service, unconditional love, understanding, compassion, or something else entirely? Most women and (a few men) struggle with the concept of “value” and “worth”regardless of what they do for a living, however, self-employed individuals often struggle much more with this if what they have to offer is a service.

Often the labels of “value” and “worth” are used interchangeably. I’m not sure it makes a difference, however, here’s how I see it. I ascribe a dollar amount to the word “worth.” When I think of “value” I think of how important something is to me. Of course, what holds value to me may not have the same value to you.

There are things I could not put a dollar amount to such as human, animal and plant life. If our Earth home ceases to have plant and animal life, what is its value? I’m not suggesting that would happen so don’t get your knickers in a twist. It’s simply an extreme observation of how I see the difference between “value” and “worth.” Life is not a commodity that can be assigned a dollar amount. You are unique and bring something special to Earthdom.

You are priceless. What you have to offer is priceless. Everyone has value in some context. Even the “worst” human has value because it teaches you what you do not want to have or be. How do you put a price on that?

Simply put, how you decide your “value” or “worth,” is highly dependent on context, perspective, and beliefs. Additionally, do not confuse what you earn with what you are worth.

You come into this life with no understanding of the concepts of “value” or “worth” and as you grow you learn a version of what these concepts mean. Then these concepts become your beliefs until you find another definition you like better. If you need another version of how you define your own “value” or “worth” then check out my tips below. Ask yourself the following:

1. What are my current beliefs about my worth and/or value? How did I determine this? What is it based on?
2. Am I confusing my value with my earning power?
3. What context am I using to discern my worth?
4. What do I offer to those around me, both personally and professionally? What do I think about this?

As to your monetary value if you provide a product or service, ask your clients/customers what is it worth to them? What is it worth to you?

Would you like to have a different belief about your “value” and/or “worth”? Then create one. Remember, you and you alone, decide what your “value” and “worth” is.

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