Whorl! Whorl! Whorl!” shrieked the house alarm, startling Laura from an already restless slumber. She sat straight up with her eyes wide, and looked around the dark room anxiously. Wishing for the umpteenth time that her husband was home from travel, she bolted from bed and stood motionless in the dark. “Now would be a great time to have a big, BIG, dog,” she mused as she listened intently.

Primed for flight, she tiptoed to the bedroom door and silently locked it. A second later, she jumped as the phone on the nightstand began to ring. With one hand on the receiver and the other over her heart, she heard, “This is your security alarm center calling….” After a rapidly whispered pass-code exchange, the service person informed her that the motion detector had been tripped in the garage area and a police car was dispatched to her location.

Just then, a bright light flashed through the window and moved along the bedroom wall as a police car pulled into her driveway. Sending up a mental prayer of thanks, and motivated to act, Laura flew across the room. She clicked open the bedroom door and peered into the dark hall.

With all senses in a heightened state, she paused to listen for sounds coming from the floor below. Hearing only the unrelenting screech of the alarm and emboldened by the officer now at the door, she sped down the steps. Again pausing at the bottom, her eyes quickly scanned the darkness. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, it took two strides to cross the foyer. She flung the door wide and breathed a sigh of relief as she stared up at the man in uniform.

Officer Wilson had been perusing her neighborhood when the call was broadcast across the radio wire. Per his instructions, Laura gladly turned off the noisy alarm, then stepped out onto the grass to wait while he moved through her home. With arms tightly crossed and all manner of wild thoughts flittering through her brain, Laura was surprised to see him return only moments later with a light smile on his lips.

“I walked through the house and checked the garage,” he said. “All appears to be locked and in order and your intruder seems to be a hungry baby mouse!” He chuckled. “He must have tripped the motion detector while munching his way into your bag of bird seed and corn.”

Wholly relieved now, and feeling a teeny bit foolish, Laura gratefully thanked the officer and locked the house up for the night. Crawling back into bed, she was amazed by how tired she felt. Only two more days until her hubby came home…maybe it was time to get that dog he wanted …and a kitty too!

PRESERVATION is the single minded focus for this amazing creation we call our body. And though man has evolved beyond the “java man,” homo-sapiens, Neanderthal and Cro-Magnum states, this stubborn focus on survival continues to protect the human form today. During times of upset, or situations man would avoid if possible, as well as times when man feels he has no control, the human brain receives a warning message: “Danger!” This ‘warning begins a chain of events that are designed to assist the body through a perilous time.

The actual chain of events that takes place within, initiated by the Danger’ warning, is referred to as Fight or Flight. This process assists the brain to think more clearly, the body to move rapidly and even the vision to enhance. In fact, all the senses become sharpened and the blood capillaries of the hands and feet collapse. (Amazingly, shutting down of these smaller blood vessels protects the limbs from excessive bleeding during possible injury.)

In the 1950’s, the famous researcher Hans Selye divided the physiology of Fight or Flight into three distinct phases. The first phase is the Adaption phase. It is initiated when there is a fear or confrontation. During this phase, the body intermittently secretes slightly higher levels of hormones. The second phase is the Alarm Phase. This is the high point of the stress during which the individual is working through the incident. Throughout this state, when the stress is constant enough, or great enough, it causes sustained excessive levels of certain adrenal hormones.

The third phase is the Exhaustion Phase. The body’s ability to cope is now depleted. The adrenal hormones plummet from excessively high to excessively low. Tired now, the body moves through a rest and recovery phase which requires about 24 – 48 hours. While recuperating, there is less cortisol secreted plus, and the body is less able to respond to any additional stressful situations. In addition, the portions of the body that were over stimulated during the heightened second phase become more resistant to stimulation. The body has exhausted its resources. It’s tired and in need of rest and reprieve. In fact, the word Stress actually pertains to the strain placed on the body during the Fight or Flight activities.

In antiquity, the danger alarm would trigger Fight or Flight in cases of physical jeopardy, such as when man found himself facing a saber-toothed tiger. In this contemporary world, survival threats primarily stem from psychosomatic pressures, such as when man finds himself late for a meeting, or when he is awakened from sleep by the sound of the house alarm.

While we may not need this means of preservation activated every time we are experiencing a challenging day, unfortunately, the body itself has no reasoning power to determine when to proceed forward and when to remain idle. For every case the brain determines to be taxing or a threat, it executes the same programmed steps without discrimination.

In essence, Fight or Flight has become a double-edged sword. It miraculously enables a small woman to run from an enemy, or lift and remove the front of a car from the body of her wounded child. Yet during extended periods of emotional upset such as bereavement, this otherwise wondrous process becomes an insidious, persistent and dangerous enemy.

While natural, grief is a distinctively stress-filled experience. (And interestingly, the physical and emotional effects have been described by survivors as feeling very similar to fear.) As the emotions cycle through peaks and valleys, the Danger message is sent to the brain time and again without relief.

Unable to fully recuperate between cycles, the exhausted body begins to weaken, making it susceptible to infection and a host of illnesses. It is therefore critical to be as proactive as possible. Rest often, take long slow deep breaths when possible, eat fresh healthy foods, drink abundant amounts of water and replenish the body’s stores of calcium and magnesium.

But most of all…be gentle with you. Here’s wishing you much peace and strength.

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Janice Ervin

Heeding a call to the service of others, Janice Ervin volunteered in the United States Army from 1979 - 1983. During this time, she received rapid advancement to Sergeant, and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for meritorious service. Through the years, she volunteered for a variety of assistance programs with Holy Family Catholic Church, from holiday food and gift drives, to assisting the elderly. Her favorite program selected a day several times a year, to offer children from such difficult home situations that they had never experienced a birthday celebration, an opportunity to attend ‘their’ birthday party at Watkins Park. On this day, Janice and her husband Vic would drive to the homes, pick the little ones up, and take them to Watkins park where they would enjoy a hayride, time with the animals in the petting zoo, games, open presents, sing, laugh play and eat cake. For just a little while, their daily struggles were far from their thoughts. During her employ with Sytel Corporation, she spearheaded an annual food and clothing drive to assist multiple abused mother and children programs in Washington DC. For several years, she and her husband purchased food and packed multiple lunches each night, for her to walk the streets of Washington, offering such meals to the homeless. This well intentioned project came to an abrupt albeit humorous halt when she found herself being questioned by the police on one occasion, and chased down a street, pelted with the food she attempted to offer, to one homeless woman! As a volunteer for Larkin Chase Nursing Home in Bowie, she fully enjoyed the company of those in their autumn years, by playing games, polishing nails, reading books, and more. And for the past several years, she has been a hospice and vigil service volunteer for Hospice of the Chesapeake in Prince Georges County, an incredible avenue for assisting those in need of end of life care. A life of enormous loss caused Janice to question from a young age, the validity to the roots of life’s generally accepted precepts. Having personally experienced many a dark night fueled a desire to understand the purpose of existence, its cycles and all that such theories entail. Her studies, spanning more than 25 years, include multiple facets of historic thought, such as Kaballah, Philosophy and History pared with the Universal Laws and Scientific Research in the field of Para physics. As she continued to gather knowledge through the theory of Tarot, Mediumship, Reincarnation, Altered States of Consciousness, the Dying process and the Stages of Grief, she noticed a synchronicity with regard to the cyclical nature of existence. She eventually formed a core philosophy that remains open to change, yet tried and true when applied to the larger questions of existence itself. Her life passion and experience led to a realization that a spiritual and emotional knowledge base is greatly needed during times of despair. This bridge is especially valuable to survivors moving through the questioning phase of bereavement and grief. Feeling lost and alone during the darkest nights, survivors cry out to understand ‘WHY?’ and the stripped bare response, ‘Have faith’ merely echoes, reverberating within their hollow soul. Rooted in the concept of a loving divine source, Janice’s theories have the ability to gently lead survivors through bereavement across to the other side where hope exists. These offerings initiate the birth for an expanded awareness while encouraging the survivor to continue to search for, and formulate layers to enrich their own personal truth as they confront life’s experiences moving forward. Such an enfoldment into their future translates to a larger sense of peace - for them and for others. Hopefully, these theories will reduce suffering and lend towards a more thinking aware discerning universe, motivating a shift towards a perspective rooted in compassion. Janice was the Message Board Moderator for Evidential Medium, Barb Mallon, from 2004 - 2005. Her local TV program, ‘Open Mind’ (Cable Ch#77) was nominated in 2006 for 5 awards, to include ‘Best Host’ and ‘Interesting Subject Matter’. Janice is a member of the Rhine Research Center (for scientific studies pertaining to evidence of continuation of consciousness), the Association for Community of Transformation (ACT), she supports her local American Legion as a prior duty military member, and is contributing author to the Open To Hope Foundation Internet site, www.opentohope.com. In addition, she creates Para Physic events to enhance awareness and was a contributing factor to the Open Source Science Mediumship Preliminary Trial Experiments from October 2008 - January 2009, working closely with Alex Tsakiris and evidential mediums through the United States as well as volunteer bereaved individuals throughout the world.

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