“Simba” Showed Me Empathy…

I learned empathy from “Simba”
“I can feel your soul” Steve Sparks
Is Empathy at The Center of Healing?

Empaths are highly sensitive individuals, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking and feeling. Psychologists may use the term empath to describe a person that experiences a great deal of empathy, often to the point of taking on the pain of others at their own expense.

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-an-empath

I only learned about empaths more recently. Simba showed me the way…

“I feel your soul,” Simba’s soul told me so. In that moment my soul felt his soul…

I think empathy is at the center of healing. It’s hard for us because we feel deeply the pain of others, and feel love too.

Do you feel my soul? If you do, then, I feel your soul too, in that moment. We are healers then, a special gift to share…

It is God speaking to us, but I really don’t know. But I do know God speaks to me…

Thank you for that…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.

“As long as you don’t give up nothing is over.”

How to Leverage Difficult Behaviors by Friends, Colleagues and Loved Ones…as told by, “Sam” The Old Dog of Wisdom…

“Sam” The Old Dog of Wisdom…

Most of us have had to deal with people who have more then some difficulty interacting with others. I know I have. So much so that my level of awareness is now firmly connected to my soul…

I know well, all too well, all 10 types of assholes who are mostly narcissistic, less than empathetic, non team players and awful leaders… Most of them never change either. Being an asshole seems to agree with their angry souls…

The good thing about difficult people is, if you know and understand them, you can actually help them. If you can’t help ’em fire them from your life and that of others in your charge. Leave them alone to heal their angry souls…

But difficult people sometimes don’t know they are difficult, mostly. Maybe sometimes if we’re lucky and patient.

Let’s see, the “tank” sort of jerks are the the worst of the lot. These difficult people are aggressive and never nice and kind sorts…

The “sniper” is a sneaky basturd. These types of folks can’t be trusted. You can count on them to plot stealthy frontal attacks when we aren’t looking… Keep your eye on these self serving fools…

The “know it all expert” really doesn’t know anything. These SOB’s pretend and lie about what they know nothing about. You can catch and release them when they finally tire of talking out of their noses…and other orfices of choice…

And, the “think they know it all expert” is even more obvious to you. These idiots don’t even plot or think. They just spew BS and stupid proclamations and machinations nonstop to keep you distracted.

The “grenade” mofo is the one who comes into the room hell bent on disrupting all things constructive and productive. Just throw these terrible assholes in the dumpster without hesitation…

Ohhh! I can’t stand the “yes” person. You know them well… Don’t you?

Worse yet, the “maybe” dude or dudette is the most frustrating to me. Nothing ever happens with these noncommittal incompetent idiots. Dispense with them on the spot…

Worse yet is the “nothing” fool. This is the shithead who just stands there unwilling to show life as most of us know it. Don’t even let them come back to the party…

My God! It gets even worse with the “no person” person. But Don’t even invite them to the Friday night dance with the gang…

Finally! The very worst of all the difficult people on the planet are the “whiners” complainers and blame gamers.

Take them by the ears and throw ’em to the curb without hesitation. These deplorables in your life will ruin your day, everyday of your life…

So, there you have it! Take heed, learn the traits, symptoms and behaviors of all these useless difficult people. Get them out of your life permanently. Get them out of your work place, especially…

Enough! I’m so tired of people who love to be difficult in my life. Aren’t you too?

“Sam”

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate,.. and aspiring artisan…
Valentines Day with my bride…

“Levi” The Amazing and Kind Man in My Life…

“Levi” The Lover… photo by Jaccy Walker

Levi knows I feel like doo doo. He’s been taking care of me all day even when I can’t.

Levi is the amazing man in my life right now! He loves me unconditionally with kindness so much needed right now…

You know that face right there. “Levi” kept me going today.

Levi holds me accountable everyday all day. He hugs me too…

I love you Levi. I know he loves me too…

Levi gets me up in the morning when my mind says no. He hugs and kisses me when I need it the most…

Levi helps me take care of my stuff. He gets me started on the right foot each and everyday.

Levi even watches me do my eyes in the mirror. We laugh and smile together…

Levi looks into the happy mirror with me each day. We are friends forever, Levi and me…

Levi helps me cook breakfast each day. But not until I prepare breakfast for him first…

Levi brings his leash to me when it’s time for a walk in the Park. He loves to show me how much Mother Nature loves all of not just some of us.

My man, Levi, speaks to me and listens to me too. He loves me. I love Levi for he is the the amazing man in my life now…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.
Cape Perpetua Oregon https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Perpetua

Honolulu Bay c1964….

I surfed this a lot between 1963-65! I can still feel the freedom of being in the tube. I remember the power and explosion of spray on my backside… Then, the cannon shot out the tube on the other side. I knew in that moment my love for the sea. This is where God speaks to me…

Ala Moana on a freak out day!

I arrived in Honolulu in early December 1963. It felt like dream come true. My trusty friend and Greg Noll long board was tucked tightly under my arm…

The difference between me and other young surf dudes? I was just out of boot training and radio school, 17 and a half going on 18…

Headed to my 1st duty station, Comsubpac, Pearl Harbor, what do you think was on my mind?

No! It wasn’t starting a new career in the Navy. Well, maybe, I liked radios, crypto, and copying code from Morse Code…

YES! You guessed! It was surfing! And, surfing is what I did before joining the Navy. I was a surf duuude from South Bay…

I was ready, really ready, pumped up, stoked and freaked out. I was thinking about Makaha, Yokahma Bay, Pipeline, Ala Moana, and Honolulu Bay…

I wasn’t thinking about radios and Morse Code. But I did think about where my Greg Noll board would stay in the barracks on the base…

I hit the surf in Honolulu Bay to get my Waikiki fix and a tune up. The North Shore is what I came for. Greg Noll would make history in 1964 at Waimea Bay…

I did come to serve America too! Joining the US Navy was a dream come true…

The winter, summer and fall of 1964 showed me my soul for the first time. It was here on the beaches and in the waves of Honolulu Bay, Haluawi and Ala Moana that moved my soul.

Serving in the US Navy made me feel like a man for the first time back then. It was in this moment my soul was set free on the shores of Honolulu Bay…

Steve Sparks…Promoted to RM3 in 1964 while serving at Comsubflot5, US Navy Pearl Harbor…
Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and ol’ surf duude…

“Captain Pelican Pete” And, The Flying Aces of Little Whale Cove…

Captain Pelican Pete, The Flying Aces of Little Whale Cove…
“Captain Pelican Pete and The Flying Aces” https://myodfw.com/wildlife-viewing/species/pelicans-and-cormorants

“I want to be a Pelican in my next life. Pelicans fly as a true team with one goal motivated by one thing…love for each other.” Steve Sparks

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelican

“A group of pelicans is called a pod. Actually, there are many other names for pelican groupings — a pouch, a scoop, a squadron or if they are fishing as a group, a fleet. … At first, squadron was a good name as the magnificent…White Pelicans fly low in formation on a stealth mission.”

Oregon has two species of pelicans, American white and the Brown pelican, and three species of cormorants. All are fish-eating water birds with four toes joined by webbing. Depending on the species, pelicans and cormorants inhabit the Oregon coast, rivers or interior waterbodies.”

While looking down closer to the sea below the cliffs, I can see Captain Pelican Pete. He leads his squadron of flying aces on another secret mission along the shore near Little Whale Cove…

I can’t see Captain Pelican most times as they fly by in stealthy form. He leads his squadron of Flying Aces very fast, and so very close to the surface of the sea…

It’s too easy to miss Captain Pelican Pete unless I move quickly to the edge of the cliff. Sometimes I get to the edge of the cliff just in time to see the beauty and grace of his squadron of Flying Aces in perfect formation…

Captain Pelican Pete’s squadron flys near the water surface close to shore. He and the right and left flank commanders spot a school of herring just below the surface.

Captain Pelican Pete hits the water first followed by his stealthy Flying Aces. The herring are surrounded for a gourmet buffet like no other before…

With pouches full with herring, Captain Pelican Pete gives the order to return home. The flight home would be a little slower with pouches full…

Captain Pelican Pete’s squadron of Flying Aces takes off in perfect formation for the return flight home. They fly up high and a little slower while making a perfectly orchestrated approach to Little Whale Cove…

Captain Pelican Pete glides in without hardly a splash. He is followed by 12 of his Flying Aces as they glide in one by one into the Cove below…

I love to watch Captain Pelican Pete and his squadron of Aces splash and play in the fresh water pond In the Cove. It is here when love of brothers and sisters shines through…

I want to be a Pelican in my next life. These beautiful sea birds fly as a true team and family. It is this one goal motivated by one thing…love for each other as brothers and sisters in arms…

In that moment, then, is when my soul speaks to me the most. It is this love I see from my feathered friends that moves my heart and soul so deeply…

Dreams to fly in Captain Pelican Pete’s Flying Aces of Little Whale Cove will someday come true. It is this faith in God that brings hope and peace to my heart and soul…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health
https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Billie-Pillie-Christopher-Evans/dp/1946540919

“I highly recommend this book for all who seek the beauty of the sea and precious wildlife we love…” Steve Sparks

Description

The Adventures of Billie and Pillie tells the story of two young pelicans living along the Oregon coast with their parents.

While Billie does everything right and follows the family rules, his brother Pillie is very mischievous and is always getting in trouble. In fact, he never seems to learn right from wrong.

From the day these two are hatched, the pelican brothers take on one adventure after another, most of which end up with Pillie breaking all the pelican rules. Even the Oregon Coast Guard becomes involved in a sea-to-air rescue involving, you guessed it, Pillie.

About the Author and Illustrator: An Oregon native, Christopher J. Evans taught in Roseburg, Oregon, for thirteen years before teaching overseas for the next twenty-five years. A retired biology/chemistry teacher, he currently lives in a small town on the Oregon coast, with his house a five-minute walk to the beach. This is his first book about Billie and Pillie; however, his children and grandchildren grew up listening to these pelican stories. He volunteers at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and also enjoys hiking with his dogs

“Goober” Lover, Protector, Healer…

“Goober” All heart and soul…

I fell in love with “Goober” when we first met awhile ago now. I think he liked me then too. But proving myself worthy was another thing…

Goober wouldn’t let me into his heart unless he trusted my soul. He could see right away I cared about his Mom, Jamie.

Goober feels my soul. He is my friend too… Goober knows my soul…

Goober loves Jamie from the deepest places in his heart and soul. He is Jamie’s protector. He is Jamie’s healer…

Jamie loves her furry friends, especially Goober with a watchful eye…

Jamie loves Goober with all her heart and soul too. He is aways at her side. Goober never leaves her alone, never ever…

Goober is Jamie’s ‘therapy’ furry loved one too. He helps her when she needs his warm hugs and love the most.

Goober is always at Jamie’s side. He is with her when she is happy or sad. Goober never leaves Jamie alone when she needs him the most, never ever…

When Jamie is happy, Goober laughs with her. When she is sad, he stays close to her heart, never letting her go…

When Jamie visits with her friends Goober is there. When she goes on errands, visits to her doctor, or is in the hospital, he is by her side…

Goober watches over Jamie no matter what. Goober never leaves her side, never ever.

We are all better humans for Goober’s love and kindness. We are blessed to have Jamie and Goober as friends forever…

The whole community of friends, furry friends and love ones, embrace Jamie and Goober. Both are loved by all of us. We will never forget their kindness and love for each other and for all of us…

Goober lives in the hearts and souls of all of us. He shows us all his love, kindness, empathy and compassion, each and every day.

I will soon visit Goober again. For he knows my soul… I feel his soul on this moment too…

We are friends of heart and soul, Goober and me…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate… And, aspiring artisan…

Conversations with Your Inner Child Can Be Healing…

Stephen H. Sparks, age 2 1948…” I know this little future surf duude. He is my subconscious angel.” Steve Sparks

I know a little about my old pal Stephen. But mostly from the stories told when I was old enough to remember.

Stephen was born into sickness on July 6, 1946. A father who came home from war. A mother who struggled as a single mom. She was sick from growing up during the Great Depression too…

We were all proud to serve America. Navy Brats we were…

WWII was a terribly stressful time in America following WWII. Thousands of families served and suffered too…

Pain and profoundly dysfunctional family dynamics became normalized. Children inhaled the pain of war too. Lingering emotional damage was not understood back then, though…

Sickness often prevailed too. Polio struck Stephen as a 2 year old. He spent 6 weeks in the hospital, without loved ones close by to cheer…

We did not know then what we know today. We did not know how to help each other then when life was so overwhelmed with pain… Most souls survived with strong bodies and hearts.

The demons would hold the little souls hostage until much later. In those later years the haunting demons would return with emboldened rage…

Stephen survived too. But he didn’t know he was injured then. It would be decades later when the demons returned to haunt his mind…

Stephen did not know love as a child. He would not know how to love until decades later… The demons of hate steal love if you let them, you know…

Talking to my inner child… https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/inner-child-healing

I was asked not long ago by a friend, “How do you talk to your inner child?”

After many months of ‘Trauma Informed’ clinical therapy, learning how to talk to my old pal Stephen was a gift of healing for me…

Too many years growing up with no love or peace in my home. And, a series of too many traumatic events as an adult, hijacked my soul, I believe…

How did I help myself and Stephen at the same time? How did talking to my inner child help me heal?

Stephen seems to enjoy visiting me at the worst moments. I don’t want to talk about his stuff in those trying moments of despair…

Stephen keeps me awake in those moments when a warm embrace is needed the most. He triggers me to feel shame and guilt.

Sleeping doesn’t come at first when my mind is focused on Stephen. He needs someone to talk about his pain…

Sometimes I can’t talk to Stephen. So I ask him if we can talk later. With love, kindness and a hug, my old friend let’s me go to sleep.

Stephen shows up in anxious moments. He is angry in these moments. I ask him to give me space. Anger is no longer part of my soul…

Stephen is angry about his stuff. He wants me to reinforce his anger at others who hurt him.

I hug the little guy and we talk about stuff. Stephen knows he has a friend in me, a friend he never had before.

So, we hug each other and reassure each other. “It’s gonna be okay Stephen.” I always say to him with a kind smile and a warm hug.

Talking to my inner child gives me space to live in the moment. The pain of the past must end its haunting presence in everything good and joyful in the moment…

There is no joy in life when the past is breathing heavily on my back. There is no joy for the loved ones in my life when he is speaking to me, breathing down my back.

Talking to my inner child helps me to separate from him. We are friends now. He is not mad at me now, not ever again.

We are friends now, Stephen and me…

There is no peace of mind when my inner child is angry. Stephen, feels safe now. He is no longer alone with his pain without a caring soul near his side…

With a kind and warm embrace, we go separate ways. He visits me now and then as a friend. We talk and help each other as friends, Stephen and me…

We are never alone now. We have each other as friends near. We heal our souls together…

We have peace of mind now, Stephen and me…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate

Polio 1948! How do we look back and compare with Coronavirus?

Steve Sparks, age 2, struck with Polio shortly after this photo was taken on his 2nd birthday.

Polio 1948! Click here…

“The fight against infantile paralysis cannot be a local war,” Truman declared in a speech broadcast from the White House. “It must be nationwide. It must be total war in every city, town and village throughout the land. For only with a united front can we ever hope to win any war.”

I can only imagine what it was like for the Sparks family in 1948 when their 2 year old child was struck with Polio. There was no vaccine in 1948! It was a pile on for the American people and the world right after WWII.

I only know from first hand accounts from my parents and big brother. I do know because there were severe physical damages to my upper left side and face that left me with muscle weakness in my left arm, and facial damage and jaw function from being paralized.

Imagine

I can only imagine as a 2 year old having my jaw supported with a clamp of sorts to keep my mouth open to eat and drink. I can only imagine what 1000s of kids just like me were going through, and all their families too. I can only imagine how it felt not being home with my family for 6 weeks. I can only imagine what it was like for my family to help me recover.

My big brother always mentioned that the worst thing for him was 24/7 crying. Even though this is me as a toddler, I can’t even get close to imagining how much pain was going on in my little brain. I feel shivers up my back and a big hole in my heart.

My family was not prepared or equipped to deal with my recovery. I was lucky, indeed, to survive and thrive. It was trial and error for everyone at the time. I treasure life at age 74 and feel privileged to be alive.

Life with polio…

As I got older, my family joked about it. They made fun of my crooked smile and buck teeth. I pushed my buck teeth back with my thumb for years to build a smile I could be good with. The weakness in my left arm and muscle atrophy made me self conscious for most of my life. My left side of my chest was not developed as a kid.

So, I found ways to cover up my left chest with a towel or my right hand when exposed at the beach or pool. I learned to do push ups with one arm. I was able to get through Navy boot camp in 1963 this way. My right arm did all the work. I learned to swim and surf with a very strong right arm. I learned to defend myself too with a kick ass right arm. I felt ugly most of the time as a kid. The good news, I survived and thrived! I made it, still here at age 74. Hooray!

Polio was a thing that no one wanted to talk about. To my parents credit , they wanted me to think I was normal and healthy just like other kids. I was clearly not normal and suffered delays in my early development as a child. The chronic after effects of polio persist for a life time, especially in later years.

End of WWII

“During the peak of the polio epidemic in the U.S., some hospital wards even had large, room-like iron lungs where multiple children lived. ” Imagine how these kids suffered physically and mentally, just like me… Mental illness was not close to being in the conversation back then…

As an added tragedy for our family, my father just returned from 4 years of hard combat in WWII. He suffered from severe PTSD and depression without adequate treatment and recovery. Dad was in bad shape.

My mother would say to me that Dad cried for weeks. He carried me to the hospital where I stayed for 6 weeks before returning home. What my parents didn’t know then is how Polio affected mental health in children. The physical damage was horrific for so many at that time. In comparison, I was lucky.

Empathy

Polio has given me great empathy and compassion for what families are going through with Covid19. Never in my long life have I experienced a public health crisis as a ‘political event.’ It is unconscionable to think that America is divided when it is a life and death matter. I’m shocked to see now that we as a people aren’t coming together to fight Covid 19 like we did Polio in the 40s and 50s, and through the 70s. Every child in America was given the Polio vaccine once it was safe in the 50s. It was a global emergency we fought as one people united just like WWII. America was mobilized!

National and global leadership…quote from the above website reference…

“Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio 12 years before he became president. Roosevelt concealed the extent to which he suffered from polio, but he acknowledged having it. His presidency put polio front and center on the national stage. In 1938, Roosevelt founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and spearheaded the March of Dimes for polio research. In 1946, President Harry Truman declared polio a threat to the United States and called on Americans to do everything possible to combat it.”

And quoting again…

“The fight against infantile paralysis cannot be a local war,” Truman declared in a speech broadcast from the White House. “It must be nationwide. It must be total war in every city, town and village throughout the land. For only with a united front can we ever hope to win any war.”

Covid19 fast forward…2020

Fighting unknown viral and bacterial disease as a threat to humanity is obviously not new. What is new is a divided America, misinformation and politics taking hold to fight a life/death public health crisis. Deaths of loved ones continue to soar and cases rise around the globe.

I ask why? Why is America’s behavior so outrageously and inhumanly this way now? How can politics even be in the conversation? Why? What happened to empathy and compassion? Where is humanity and humility as a people? What the hell are we doing, really?

I ask why?

Steve Sparks, Mental Health Advocate, Author, Blogger

Click here for Steve’s author page…

Mindfulness Meditation Moments from Little Whale Cove, Oregon…

Escape for a moment to calm the soul…

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Warm wishes and good health from the Central Oregon Coast near Depoe Bay, “The Smallest Harbor in The World” to be sure…

Judy and I have deep empathy and compassion for our dear friends and loved ones during this COVID19 pandemic.  All of us have had to take a deep breath, reflect on our values, our dreams, and hopefully reset, finding more ways to live in the moment, and love each other more.  Paying more attention to each other without the interruptions of ‘Before COVID’ (BC) has brought us closer, but not without more than a few moments of healthy combat as we settled into a much simpler life and more resourceful life style.

We are ’70 somethings’ healthy seniors in our mind, but not without the butt kicking challenges of aging. We think young but the aches and pains and mental health challenges remind us that we aren’t young anymore. We both feel grateful and priviledged to be alive and as citizens of the USA!  I’m most proud of my service to America as a young man serving in the US Navy, as did my father during all of WWII and during the Korean War. Not to mention my brothers who served too.

Even after 36 years of marriage, Judy and I remain a team, partners in life, living life to the fullest even during the many uncertain times of the past, especially right now. But this time it is different fightling an enemy we can’t see. We have to fight this enemy together or lose. Fighting with each other doesn’t matter to the Covid19 virus.

We will all get throught this together. We believe that in our heart and soul…

Speaking of  ‘mindfulness mediation’ Judy and I are happy to share the joy of our stunning coastal community by way of short 30 second YouTube clips. There are over 100 clips from Little Whale Cove on my YouTube channel. Start by clicking my YouTube channel above.

Escape for a moment to calm the soul… Please let me know what you think and how you are doing… Stay safe while we reopen our communities…in time for Memorial Day.

Steve and Judy Sparks, Mental Health Advocacy, Community Building, Children and Families

click here for Steve’s author page…