Writing & Blogging: Excerpts from the Scent Reflections Newsletter March Bonus Booklet

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Dear Guests,

Earlier in March, I wrote a post about newsletters and updates. In that post, I promised that my guests here at Untangled Connections would get access to any writing and blogging content exclusives that I shared in the Scent Reflections LLC newsletters. But only writing and blogging-related content.

The newsletter is coming out on March 31st, so I’m sharing 2 excerpts here for you to preview. One excerpt is the same as I posted yesterday on Scent Reflections. But the second excerpt is different and more directed to the audience here.

No, you will not have to subscribe to the other newsletter to get the booklet if you are interested in reading more. I will, as promised, make the PDF file available here for guests to download for 2 weeks. After that, you will have to subscribe to the newsletter to get current past bonus content.

Exclusive Excerpt from the “Introduction”

This guide started as a conversation between myself and the young woman cleaning my apartment. We started discussing education based on a mutual love of plants, herbs, and aromatherapy. I felt compassion for this young woman and related to her frustration about finding better paying jobs without a college degree. At the time, I was looking into alternative education tools for my team.

~TJ Hom at Scent Reflections LLC

Exclusive Excerpt from “Types of Resources”

Non-profit, Outreach, Community Centers, and Volunteer organizations

Personal Finance

Back when I lived in Massachusetts (2013 approx), I realized I needed help learning about personal finance and budgeting. My life and finances got messed up when I separated from my family and lacked resources to ask questions. But I didn’t want to fall into the debt hole like so many others did because of living expenses and medical expenses being more than my paycheck could handle.

So I looked around for free financial advice programs that didn’t require me to be in a classroom. Many of the free programs were for people within a certain financial threshold. The rest required payment and a commitment of some kind. Or that I attend their in-person classes.

Eventually, I found a non-profit organization whose financial requirements and lifestyle restrictions I did meet and spoke with a tutor for 1 hour a week over a course of several weeks to get help. This person taught me how to understand personal finance, organize my bank accounts and track spending, and create a budget that made sense to me while also building my confidence and encouraging me to continue learning. I really liked the tutor even though I did not like the other people who communicated with me via email as much.

Safety, Security, Communication, and Legal help

But those communication problems were partly my fault too. Around the time I completed these sessions, I realized that I needed more help to start fresh. That included changing my legal name, getting protection from people tracking me via mail, credit cards, and utility bills, and opening up to different trauma recovery resources that appeared closed in the past.

Up until 2013-2014, I struggled with the fact that I was a victim of abuse, especially domestic violence, because I didn’t fit the criteria listed in many of the “warning signs” documents available through other nonprofits and government organizations. Plus, inside my mind was a little voice telling me that I didn’t deserve help and would get hurt worse if I tried to ask for help. But then I stopped sleeping again. And it was on one of those sleepless nights that I finally accepted being both a victim and a survivor. That one didn’t negate the other. And I deserved to feel safe and secure even if that meant putting my pride aside and asking for help.

So I did ask for help. I reached out to a domestic violence shelter who got me in touch with an attorney who helped me go through the legal name change process and get me enrolled in an address confidentiality program that kept me relatively safe for 2 years. Then I walked into the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and asked for help because my life felt like it was spiraling out of control. They assigned me a case manager and helped me get individual counseling too.

Through the case management program, I was connected to a scholarship program for survivors, a non-profit moving service, and limited government disability support that allowed me to pay the required legal fees for a name change, move to a new apartment, and feel safe enough to make future plans. Plans that included moving out of state for a fresh start.

In case you’re wondering, all these experiences contributed to me starting Untangled Connections.

~TJ Hom at Scent Reflections LLC

Thanks for reading

Sensory Movement Challenge Day 1 – from the ground up

Ground UP – Feet First, then everything else Why start from the bottom up? Well, that’s personal to my recovery journey. My physical health goal this year is to feel grounded and stable as I move. Not wobbly and worried about falling all the time. If you decide to join me on this, you can start anywhere you like. I’ve included 2 specific exercises and 1 general exercise you can try here. Reflection is at the bottom of the post. Exercise 1: Foot Joint exercise from Dynamic Aging by Kathy Bowman

Sensory Movement Challenge Day 1 – from the ground up — Scent Reflections LLC

Movement Challenge – I tried to make a video and can’t get it to work on WordPress; will try again soon — Scent Reflections LLC

I made an unedited “live” video for tonight, but don’t know how to compress the video enough to make it look good here on WordPress. Every time I upload, it looks fuzzy and blurry and takes forever. Not sure you’d even be able to watch it. So I’m going back to the thinking board tomorrow to try again. Today, though, I’ll share some thoughts about coronavirus:

Movement Challenge – I tried to make a video and can’t get it to work on WordPress; will try again soon — Scent Reflections LLC

Movement Challenge: Sleep is a Requirement not an option

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Sleep is often a challenge for me. Since childhood, I’ve experienced vivid dreams and nightmares that feel real. I am a restless sleeper who constantly moves in her sleep, but also likes to curl up and cuddle when in a deep, non-dreaming sleep period.

Thanks to the trauma of my past, I also experience night sweats, night terrors, sleep paralysis, and panic attacks too. And have alter personalities that don’t sleep at night. Some part of me is always awake and take sleep shifts to maintain this routine.

Before moving to Oregon, I never slept more than 3-4 hours at a time. It was restless, light sleep that did not offer any healing or rejuvenation. The healing only happened when I was so tired from lack of sleep that I would pass out and sleep for a day or longer at a time.

After moving to Oregon, I started experiencing deep, REM sleep in between the nightmares and panic attacks that woke me or the alters on night duty up so easily. Eventually, I started sleeping for longer periods of time too. The longer periods were a mix of REM, healing sleep and light, disturbed sleep.

But the difference was remarkable. The more sleep I got, the better I felt overall. Emotional balance was and is easier to attain/maintain. Physical health improved in a variety of ways. Triggers were (and are) easier to manage. Bonus: sound and smell triggers are noted if they wake one or more of us up, but do not impact rest or sleep in a significant way anymore. i.e. I can sleep through them when I feel safe in my home and building.

These days, I really feel it when I don’t get enough sleep. The guilt and increase in symptoms this time of year makes sleep a precious commodity. But I’ve learned some tips that help. Maybe they will help you too

Sleep tips

  1. Feel safe and protected wherever you live.
    1. I cannot stress how important this is because it’s something I am working with in real time (the present)
    2. Because I feel safe in this building and this apartment, the continued noise and sensation disturbances from my upstairs neighbor (exact same ones as from my last two places, but that is another story) don’t interrupt my sleep anymore. I literally sleep through the noise and the vibrations/massage sensations that used to interrupt my downtime and sleep.
  2. Stay hydrated and use the facilities before bed if you can
    1. The two major things that wake me up these days are 1) get thirsty and feel dry lips; 2) have to empty my bladder or bowels because the discomfort wakes me up
  3. Think about memories, feelings, experiences, or stories (includes reading or listening to or watching media) that help you move into a relaxed, safe frame of mind
  4. Do activities that help you feel relaxed and safe or move into a relaxed, safe state of mind
    1. stretching/yoga/gentle movement
    2. bath or shower
    3. mediation or deep breathing
    4. coloring/journaling/cleaning (I like to do dishes sometimes)
    5. Your idea here
  5. Sleep somewhere besides your bed that feels warm/cool, safe, and comfortable
    1. This used to disturb my parents and anyone else whose place where I stayed the night because I would randomly fall asleep in bed and wake up somewhere else in the house
    2. After I moved out, I kept extra pillows and blankets in the living room. Sometimes I had a sofa or comfy chair to sleep on. Other times it was the floor
    3. These days I have a convertible floor chair that folds out into a lounge chair and bed. It has extra pillows and blankets, and I’ve been sleeping there for the past two nights

And as I continue thinking about the movement challenge starting on Sunday, I wonder if sharing photos of my different sleep spaces and “DIY exercise equipment” will be useful or not.

Also wonder if doing a Facebook video or Facebook live to start the challenge will be useful too. Then you all can meet me at the beginning and give me some accountability if I get cold feet 🙂

Thanks for reading.

ADMIN: How can I support this site/blog? Will you publish more posts about writing?

A couple years ago, many valued guests asked these questions and offered their support to help me keep this site running while I was going through difficult personal times with work and family.

p.s. I added this info to to the FAQ too

How to Support This Blog

I was (and still am) so flattered that the guests here reached out that way and promised to let them know as soon as I found a way they could support this site without breaking the following values that make this blog what it is:

  • Keep this site and blog free of advertisements and other types of intrusive campaigns that could compromise guest safety and anonymity
  • Allow me to maintain creative control and ownership of the content shared here to ensure it is useful, factual, and interesting
  • Keep any type of monetization and payment options separate from this site to protect guest safety and anonymity

If you want to make a monetary contribution to support Untangled Connections, please visit this page at Scent Reflections LLC.

Writing & Blogging Posts + Newsletter

The original plan was to have 2 separate newsletters; one for each website and blog.

But I am only human…

and can barely fit in the time to create new content for both sites, work, send out 1 newsletter, and maintain the rest of my life.

If you want to join the Scent Reflections LLC newsletter, you are welcome to do that. A pop up ad appears within seconds of visiting that site.

Why share that now?

I’m working on some handouts and (maybe) an e-book that consolidates information from posts here and other documents I made for friends and family on the fly to share here and at Scent Reflections LLC.

This March’s exclusive newsletter content (you have to visit Scent Reflections LLC to join) will have a free handout with a list of continuing education and writing resources (includes personal reviews and links to websites) that will eventually become part of a larger resource.

And even though it’s part of the exclusive, bonus material for Scent Reflections LLC, I don’t want to exclude my loyal guests here.

That means: any exclusive content related to Writing & Blogging will also be shared here and available for free whether or not you subscribe to the newsletter.

For the rest of the exclusive, bonus content (including aromatherapy recipes, DIY recipes, affirmation cards, etc), you have to subscribe like everyone else.

Thanks for reading