Wholehearted Healthcare, P.C., Newsletter
March 2017
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March 2017

"Vines will be planted, corn will spring up, a whole growth of new crops; and people will still fall in love in vintages and harvests yet to come. Life is eternal; it is a perpetual renewal of birth and growth."
---Emile Zola
Picture of the Foster FamilyThank you to all of you from me and my staff for referring your family members, friends, and colleagues to Wholehearted Healthcare!

I have built my entire practice on your kind "word of mouth," and I want to take a moment here in our March newsletter, which is one year old this month, to let you know how much gratitude I have for your referrals. I'm excited to continue growing the clinic and this community of like-minded people. ---Gena
Supporting Mothers: A Call to Action
by Tanya R. Cochran, Editor

"I have a special place in my heart for empowering women to take care of their own bodies. They're such amazing beings, deserving of their own love and respect," declares Gena. "I also love young families and understand the intimate support new mothers need during the postpartum period as well as the continued support mothers crave as they become confident parents." Because of her love to see new moms and their families thrive, last fall Gena felt compelled to act when she considered the gaps in resources available in Lincoln. So she decided to host a public event at Wholehearted Healthcare, one that invited anyone who shares her passion for motherhood to come together to brainstorm how the gaps in support might be filled. About 35 women packed into the small waiting area at the clinic on Sunday afternoon August 28, 2016. Some sat on the floor, others stood in the entryway. The room reverberated with the energy of a diverse group of women—new moms, seasoned moms, grandmothers, aunties, doulas, midwives, and nurses—all putting their minds together to affect change. Gena captured the two-hour gathering in an email shared days later with those who had attended:

Dear Ones,

Thank you for sharing your presence, time, passion, and stories with all of us last Sunday. I think this is a great start to something really amazing, and I am humbled to be a part of supporting moms and their families in this lovely community we live in.

Key Thoughts and Commitments That Emerged
  • Mothers in the fourth trimester need more support than they are receiving, more than they may even realize they need, and more than is currently being offered in our community.
  • We are passionate about supporting mothers in our community.
  • We feel mothers need a "village" or "tribe" to support them, and we want to help create that space.
  • Education on all levels is neededor mothers themselves, for spouses/partners, extended family members, and providers.
  • Many agencies, organizations, and churches in town have some key elements we feel mothers could benefit from.
  • We will network with the pieces of various systems that are already in place in our community and are working well.
  • Our movement needs leaders to organize it, and leadership is emerging.
  • We will reach out for resources: funding and education.
  • We will foster a community of mutual love, non-judgement, and acceptance, holding the "transition to motherhood" in reverence and grace and with the full support it needs emotionally, physically, financially . . . be a circle of wise elephants . . . so that the children of the future can grow up well-attached and nurtured.
Theoretical Framework (Thus Far)
  • Leadership/organization?
  • Maybe an umbrella non-profit? Name?
  • Network with agencies to create small tribes that would consist of like-minded providers; mother support groups (some with facilitators); in-home grandma/auntie/nurse postpartum support; prenatal and postnatal educational classes in offices for moms, spouses/partners, their family members and friends on the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, anxiety disorders, and psychosis.
I could feel so much pain in the room. Thank you for being BRAVE and sharing your suffering. I extend compassion to each of you and ask you to also have compassion on yourself. I could also feel passion, love, and healing in the room. Let's be BRAVE together and share in creating a solution.

Peace, Love, and Light,
Gena Foster, MSN, APRN, FNP -BC

Since August, many of the women in attendance have acted on their shared commitments. Support groups have developed, moms have connected with each other, and new ideas for support have continued to flow. Gena is not working alone, of course. She's honored to be collaborating closely with other like-minded women in Lincoln, including a certified nurse midwife, birth advocate, health coach, and chiropractor. Their dream is a local non-profit organization. Still, plenty of opportunities to volunteer are available. There's much more work to do.

Gena especially needs help from "wise sages, women whose children have already left their house, or women of retirement age who would like to be trained and then volunteer as an HONORARY Grandma or Auntie!" If those words describe you, Gena would love to connect. Email her at
If you're a mother and want to join Wholehearted Healthcare's Mothers' Connection, request to be added to the group's Facebook page.
Nourishing Our Bodies and Souls: Story and The Sacred
by Tanya R. Cochran, Editor

Marc David's The Slow Down Diet isn't actually a diet at all. Rather, it's an approach to meals that teaches us to eat for pleasure and increased energy as well as weight loss. It's more about how to eat than what to eat. (Learn more about David's Institute for Eating Psychology.) The how rests on a fundamental principle: slowing down.

If we slow down our hectic lives and rushed meals, claims David, our metabolisms will speed up. Thus, at the core of David's approach are eight universal metabolizers: Relaxation, Quality, Awareness, Rhythm, Pleasure, Thought, Story, and The Sacred. Last month, we considered Pleasure and Thought. This month, we look closely at the final two.

We humans are story-creating, story-loving beings. Even our simplest questions call for storytelling: How was your day? Marc David explains the connection between story and metabolism: "There's a hidden narrative within each of us that puts a spin on every aspect of our journey. And that spin—whether it's positive and life affirming or negative and nihilistic—sets our metabolism in motion and creates a biochemistry that is a mirror image of our inner world." That inner world is a storybook made up of our DNA as well as our personality.

Picture of open bookDavid gleefully plays with the metaphor of our DNA as a timeless tale composed of thirty-two chapters or chromosome pairs and tens of thousands of genes that give our narratives their plots and subplots, their settings and characters. As the drama unfolds, it has the potential for multiple endings. In other words, we can choose our own ending in the sense that we can choose "so many of the variables that influence the expression of our genes—what we eat, how we exercise, where we reside, how we live and love." [This ability to influence our gene expression is called epigenetics, something Gena regularly works on with patients.] 

The other narrator of our story is personality. Or personalities—plural. David says that all of us have a collection of archetypes within us. At one time or another, we might be the mother, father, child, sibling, warrior, victim, fool. And the list goes on. Each persona expresses itself differently not only in our minds, but also in our bodies. According to David, "Because we are biochemical beings, every cognitive state has its biochemical equivalent." So when you sit down at the table, who is eating? The rebel or the lover?

Finally, David addresses the internal critic. What story do we tell ourselves about who we are, and how does that story impact our metabolisms? If we live in situations and have relationships that are stressful or abusive, we're likely to have a vicious inner critic. If our internal dialogue is toxic, we experience a physiological stress response, one that impairs digestion, calorie-burning, and weight loss. Changing our thinking about ourselves is essential. As David concludes, "Re-storying is not only a radical act of self-respect, it's also a powerful form of self-initiation." If we claim it, we have the power to write our own ending.

The Sacred
In the final chapter of his book, David touches on the mystery of being a soul "in a biological spacesuit." He insists that "sacred metabolism is the chemistry ignited in the body when we are infused by the Divine. . . . Sacred chemistry is meta-chemistry."

Metabolically speaking, how do we access the sacred? Through severe religious rituals? By meditating for hours on end? No. Through the eight sacred metabolizers: "love, truth, courage, commitment, compassion, forgiveness, faith, and surrender." David admits that this list is not exhaustive. However, if we learn to embody these eight, we move closer to who we're meant to be. And as we move closer to the heart of the Divine, we experience healing, rejuvenation, and holistic health. At the same time, illness can be sacred too—if we let it.

The ancient Greeks believed the gods made people sick when human souls needed to alter course. Thus, the antidote for illness was the illness. David puts it this way: "Whatever you believe is the disease is actually the cure. Whatever bodily concern you believe is the problem is, in the soul's reality, the solution." He uses low energy as an example. What is fatigue trying to tell us? David replies, "Speed is the disease. Low energy is the cure." In our hectic lives, we often don't slow down long enough to listen to our bodies and hearts to see what state they're in. We forget how to be and to feel. The wisdom of low energy encourages us to realign with "the slower pace of the soul." In doing so, we cure the dis-ease of being busy.

Sacred nourishment can be expressed in many ways. It's in the act of praying over a meal. It's in the act of rituals—cooking, having tea, setting intentions, caring for the body. It's in the act of being thoughtful, reverent, receptive, humble, and grateful. Ultimately, sacred nourishment is in the act of seeing our own bodies as sacred and treating them with the reverence they deserve.

We hope that our four-month introduction to the eight universal metabolizers inspires you to slow down and enjoy a renewed relationship with yourself and with food. We encourage you to read more in The Slow Down Diet. If you're interested in exploring further the relationship between emotion, spirituality, and food, you might also appreciate Marc David's first book Nourishing Wisdom: A New Understanding of Eating.
NOTE: Interested in knowing more about how the psychology of eating could benefit your health journey? Registered Dietitian Amy Harshman is also a Certified Eating Psychology Coach. Learn more about nutritional support and counseling on her website True Nourishment.
Listening to Yourself, Voicing Your Needs: The Balm for Imminent Burnout
by Tanya R. Cochran, Editor

In her article "How to Reset Your Wife When She's Falling Apart," Katelyn Carmen addresses the all-too-common topic of mothers on the brink of burnout. Of course, burnout is not a medical or psychological term. It's the common word we use in place of the clinical one: depression. Burnout at work is workplace depression. And when you're a stay-at-home parent, burnout is . . . well, it's still workplace depression. Carmen calls on husbands to pay attention to what's going on with their wives, but all families—ones with a mom and a dad, two moms, two dads, or single parents who rely on extended family and close friends—have similar experiences. The twelve pieces of advice she offers husbands are helpful for anyone who's chosen to raise a family together, though we've left Carmen's gendered language in place:
  1. Be aware of her responsibilities.
  2. Get involved before she burns out.
  3. Be an active participant.
  4. Stop trying to fix her problems.
  5. Hold her.
  6. Let her talk for as long as she needs.
  7. Be a partner.
  8. Provide her hope.
  9. Be useful.
  10. Give her a day all to herself.
  11. Pray for her.
  12. Ask her what you can do to help.
Carmen elaborates on each point above, so you might find the whole article useful. However, the flaw with this list is that it places a lot of the responsibility for a woman's well-being on her spouse. In essence, this list assumes that spouses can and should read minds and anticipate the needs of their partners. Of course, we all hope our most intimate partners and closest loved ones will be attentive, so attentive that we won't have to say a word when we're in distress. The other person will just know—and will know just what to do. But we might be better off using the energy invested in hoping to practice asking for what we need.

This is the heart of self-care: taking care of your own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. It's your responsibility to speak up!

According to, "The term self-care describes the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health. Mental health professionals often use the term self-care to refer to one's ability to take care of the activities of daily living, or ADLs." ADLs include the following: eating, bathing, brushing one's teeth, putting on clean clothes, getting regular checkups from a doctor, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. These are the basics of self-care. [Try "The Importance of Self-Care," a playlist of TED Talks.]

But we're more likely to think about the additional forms of self-care, the ones associated with relaxing and feeling emotionally well. [Try "45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul."] These ADLs might include "meditating, journaling, or visiting a counselor," reports Picture of meditatorAlso, meditation, writing, and counseling are some of the best means we know of for figuring out what our true needs are and how those needs might be met.

As Rumi tells us, "The cure for the pain is in the pain." If we're burning out, the most self-compassionate thing we can do is slow down long enough to hear what our bodies and hearts are telling us. What do I really need? We can't expect others to anticipate our needs, especially if we ourselves don't know what they are. This is not to say that we don't need loving, supportive, attentive people in our lives. We do. And sometimes, perhaps in times of burnout, we need help taking care of ourselves. That's the very moment when we need to speak up.

Though having one is helpful, a spouse or partner who cares isn't the solution to "workplace depression" in the home. The balm for imminent burnout is listening to yourself and giving yourself a voice. Only you know what you need, and only you can put those needs into words.
Parenting the Child Within: Give Yourself the Love You Need
by Tanya R. Cochran, Editor

An active and early member of the self-help movement in the United States, John Bradshaw was one of the first counselors and educators to draw the general public's attention to the concept of the wounded inner child, or the internal piece of ourselves that gets stuck in the stage of childhood during which we suffered neglect, Picture of woman with hand on heartabuse, or abandonment. Or when we simply didn't get the love and attention we needed from our caregivers.

Some of the all-too-common experiences don't seem significant because most of us have had them: not being consoled when we cried, being compliant rather than expressing our true feelings, being hugged when we didn't want to be hugged. But the impact these and more serious events have on us is actually quite great. When a part of our psyches gets stuck at a stage of early childhood, we inevitably and without awareness develop coping strategies and other behaviors that mask our suffering. Masking or dissociating from our pain, in turn, can lead to irritability, anger, isolation, anxiety, depression, and unhealthy relationships.

The good news is that because we're adults now, we can learn how to hear and heal our inner child. The less-than-good news (because this next part's difficult) is that no one else can do it for us. We have to give ourselves—our inner child and our adult self—the love we needed then and the love we need now. Sometimes we can do this work on our own, and sometimes we need a mental health professional to guide and support us.

In Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Bradshaw offers seven aspects of parenting the child within (because the majority of our newsletter readers are women, we've replaced Bradshaw's use of masculine pronouns with feminine ones): 
  1. Trust—For your wounded inner child to come out of hiding, [she] must be able to trust that you will be there for [her]. Your inner child also needs a supportive, nonshaming ally to validate [her] abandonment, neglect, abuse, and enmeshment. Those are the first essential elements in original pain work.
  2. Validation—If you’re still inclined to minimize and/or rationalize the ways in which you were shamed, ignored, or used to nurture your parents, you need now to accept the fact that these things truly wounded your soul. Your parents weren’t bad, they were just wounded kids themselves.
  3. Shock—If this is all shocking to you, that’s great, because shock is the beginning of grief. After shock comes depression and then denial.
  4. Anger—It’s okay to be angry, even if what was done to you was unintentional. In fact, you HAVE to be angry if you want to heal your wounded inner child. I don’t mean you need to scream and holler (although you might). It’s just okay to be mad about a dirty deal. I know [my parents] did the best that two wounded adult children could do. But I’m also aware that I was deeply wounded spiritually and that it has had life-damaging consequences for me. What that means is that I hold us all responsible to stop what we’re doing to ourselves and to others. I will not tolerate the outright dysfunction and abuse that dominated my family system.
  5. Sadness—After anger comes hurt and sadness. If we were victimized, we must grieve that betrayal. We must also grieve what might have been–our dreams and aspirations. We must grieve our unfulfilled developmental needs.
  6. Remorse—When we grieve for someone who has died, remorse is sometimes more relevant; for instance, perhaps we wish we had spent more time with the deceased person. But in grieving childhood abandonment, you must help your wounded inner child see that there was nothing [she] could have done differently. [Her] pain is about what happened to [her]; it is not about [her].
  7. Loneliness—The deepest core feelings of grief are toxic shame and loneliness. We were shamed by [our parents’] abandoning us. We feel we are bad, as if we’re contaminated. And that shame leads to loneliness. Since our inner kid feels flawed and defective, [she] has to cover up [her] true self with [her] adapted false self. [She] then comes to identify [herself] by [her] false self. [Her] true self remains alone and isolated. Staying with this last layer of painful feelings is the hardest part of the grief process. “The only way out is through,” we say in therapy. It’s hard to stay at that level of shame and loneliness; but as we embrace these feelings, we come out the other side. We encounter the self that’s been in hiding. You see, because we hid it from others, we hid it from ourselves. In embracing our shame and loneliness, we begin to touch our truest self.
Again, this beautiful and intensive personal work can be difficult and even overwhelming at times. Don't be afraid to ask for help from professionals who can guide you along the path of self-healing.

To touch our truest self is to set ourselves free from the bondage of old wounds. Love is the key that unshackles us. By parenting the child within and giving ourselves the love we needed years ago and the love we need still today, we gain our freedom to be the authentic, whole beings we're meant to be.
All events take place at Wholehearted Healthcare's healing space, 4701 Bancroft Ave., Lincoln, 68506. Note that cancellations and updates are posted to the clinic's Facebook page.

Mindful Mondays
Monday, March 6, 13, 20, and 27, 7:00-8:00 a.m.

Join Gena, Joyce, or Tanya—depending on the day—for a mindful start to the week. The morning will begin with a grounding exercise, a bit of inspiration, some conversation on mindfulness, and a sitting, walking, or lying meditation as the spirit moves. This will be an ongoing event, free and open to all. Come as you are. Meditation mats and cushions provided.

Meditation and Movement
Wednesday, March 15, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Using the body to help us center back to ourselves through movement in addition to the practice of quieting the mind can help to release stagnant energy and increase the flow of positive energy through our body while enhancing our sense of well-being. This easy, gentle practice requires no previous experience and is led by Joyce Schmeeckle.

You will want to wear comfortable clothing. Meditation mats and cushions provided. Space is limited for this session. First-come, first-served. Free will donation at the close to support Pan American Health Services and sponsor a child's education at a bilingual school in Peña Blanca, Honduras.

A practitioner of Zen Meditation and T’ai Chi Chih (TCC), Joyce combines the practices with other guided or body movement for a full spiritual practice of connecting inward and outward. Joyce has engaged in spiritual practices for almost ten years. She has led groups in meditation and TCC for over six years.

Synchronicity Meditation Experience
Wednesday, March 22, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Picture of bamboo and stones on waterIn this class, we use Synchronicity sonic technology (Holodynamics). This high-tech approach is designed to facilitate a theta-enhanced meditation session, balancing both hemispheres of the brain and offering us the opportunity to achieve a deep meditative state. This innovative practice is suitable for beginning as well as advanced meditators and is led by Paul ("Prem") and Nan Nathenson.

You will want to wear comfortable clothing. Meditation mats and cushions provided. Space is limited for this session. First-come, first-served. This event is provided free of charge and open to all.

Owners of Simple Path Wellness & Health, Prem and Nan Nathenson are dedicated to healing the whole person by attending to the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, occupational, and spiritual aspects of human beings. Prem in a Naturopath and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), and Nan is a certified holistic life coach who works specifically with women's wellness and self-care.

Mothers' Connection
Wednesday, March 29, 8:00-9:00 p.m.

Picture of Gena and Her DaughterA group to support women who are mothers along their journeys. Nursing infants are welcome. Join us this month for hot tea, supportive conversation, and an Easter-inspired activity brought to us by guest leader Ann Halim. This event is provided free of charge. Connect with Gena and other mothers on the group's Facebook page.
Save the Date

You Are How You Move: Stop the Pain and Start Living
Wednesday, April 12, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Picture of Michelle SpickaIn April, Michelle Spicka, DPT, will join us for a presentation on how movement can reduce pain and free us to live healthier, happier lives. Dr. Spicka, a specialist in pelvic pain and dysfunction and a team member at Husker Rehabilitation, will cover three key points: (1) Chronic pain is not natural; (2) You are how you move; and (3) Don't just sit there . . . transitioning to a more active life. We hope you'll join us. Cost: $20 at the door on the evening of the event.
Love, light, and peace to your soul,

Gena Foster
Copyright © 2017 Wholehearted Healthcare, P.C., All rights reserved. Edited by Tanya R. Cochran.

Our mailing address and phone number are:
4701 Bancroft Ave., Lincoln, NE  68506
(402) 730-9819

Disclaimer. The information in this newsletter is provided as a resource only and should not replace professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

Advice from Gena. Personalized medicine is always the best type of medicine.

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Wholehearted Healthcare, P.C. · 4701 Bancroft Ave. · Lincoln, NE 68506 · USA

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