Your Authentic Refreshment with Refreshment Specialist, Dawn Herring

Welcome to Your Authentic Refreshment, A Revealing Place showcasing folks who have discovered and benefit from engaging in refreshment that is authentic to their personality, preferences, and purpose in life, the kind that enables them to appreciate themselves, validate their emotions, and nurture their soul. I am Dawn Herring, Your Refreshment Specialist, Host of #JournalChat Live for all things journaling on Twitter and publisher of my monthly Refresh Journal. I am eager to share the stories of how others how found authentic refreshment that increases the quality of their life experience. Perhaps someones's story will resonate with you and initiate a discover for your own authentic refreshment. If you would like to share your authentic refreshment story, contact me at

Monday, June 24, 2013

Your Authentic Refreshment: Kathleen Pooler, Writer and Blogger

I am pleased to feature the Authentic Refreshment Story of Kathleen Pooler, a writer, blogger, and
#JournalChat contributor, who is in the process of writing a memoir and sequel with her hopeful life experience. I appreciate Kathleen's contribution to our #JournalChat Live sessions; she brings a thoughtful, healing vibe to what she shares. Her blog, Memoir Writer's Journey,  represents what comes from her heart and the beneficial purpose of sharing our stories through memoir. Here, Kathleen shares a combination of activities that bring her authentic refreshment: prayer, journaling and positive visualization. 

Kathleen defines what authentically refreshes her: 

The three things that come to mind when I think about what charges my batteries, adds positive energy, inspires and helps me keep a fresh perspective are: Prayer, Journaling and Positive Visualization.

She shares a portion of her memoir, Hope Matters: A Memoir of Faith, revealing her prayer roots and effective positive visualization:

As a "cradle Catholic" I was brought up with all the traditions and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic faith; so prayer has always been a part of my life. My faith slowly matured from a religion to a spiritual journey where I felt God's presence in a personal way. It wasn't until I was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Stage Four Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 1996 that I sought and found an even deeper relationship with God that sustains me in my times of trial. Journaling and positive visualization also added to my authentic refreshment in a meaningful way, especially during this cancer journey. 

"On December 19, 1996, worsening shortness of breath and a dry cough had precipitated an early morning trip to the emergency room. As I was pacing near my stretcher, waiting for the results of the CT scan of my chest, realizing something serious was happening, I cried out in desperation, 

'Dear God, please give me the strength to do whatever it is I need to do for this is the battle of my life and for my life.'

A peace beyond understanding flowed over me and stayed with me throughout my eventual diagnosis of Stage Four Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and my two-year treatment course which included chemotherapy, radiation and a peripheral-stem cell transplant. I allowed myself to be open to accepting help from others--meals, gifts, prayers. God had answered my plea to "do whatever I need to do" to fight the battle.

Throughout my treatment, I journaled my feelings and worked on positive visualization. On March 17, 1998--Ash Wednesday--the night before being admitted to New England Medical Center in Boston for a peripheral stem-cell transplant, I wrote a list of twelve positive visualizations: attend my friend's wedding in May, visit my friends in Wisconsin and Missouri during the summer dance at my niece's wedding with hair in October, etc.  I even leafed through an LL Bean catalogue and ordered out an outfit--denim shorts and a gingham blouse in my normal size--that I visualized wearing in the summer. 

And every single visualization I had written came true!"

Kathleen gives a clear view of her specific process to prepare for effective positive visualization: 

Finding a quiet, distraction-free space and time to think and journal, [playing] soothing background music to get in the mood, taking a hot bath in a darkened bathroom with a lit candle, prayer time and playing the piano. 

She shares more specifically about the list she created and visualized during her illness: 

My anxiety and sense of vulnerability--fear of the unknown--over traveling to Boston to start the process of my peripheral stem-cell transplant [prompted this list]. I wrote these visualizations in my journal while sitting in the hotel room the night before my scheduled appointment at the medical center where I was to discuss the details of the procedure with the transplant RN, see the Oncologist who would do a bone marrow biopsy, see the Cardiologist who would make recommendations since previous chemotherapy had damaged my heart. The visualizations helped me to center my thoughts on the positive rather than the myriad of potential negative outcomes. It worked!

The frequency of her authentic refreshment is revealed: 

Positive visualization, prayer and journaling helped me to tap into positive energy during a time when my prognosis was uncertain. It worked so well that I have made it a part of my daily routine. I try to journal daily, even if it is jotting a few thoughts down, but I usually pick up my journal when I need to reflect on my feelings or reactions to something that has happened.

Kathleen shares her preference for refreshing solitude versus sharing with a group:

Often times positive visualization, prayer and journaling are solitary activities, but any of these can be shared when it feels right. I did have an experience while undergoing chemotherapy that steered me away from sharing temporarily. I had attended one meeting of a cancer support group facilitated by the staff at the cancer treatment center. My expectation was that I might not feel so alone if I talked with other cancer patients. The exact opposite happened. I felt dragged down by the negative energy and pessimism in the group. I wanted to focus my limited energies on the hope of survival not the despair of the diagnosis. I never went back.

She shares her enjoyment and sometimes surprising benefit of her authentic refreshment:

All three authentic refreshment activities I have engaged in have grounded me by offering self-awareness, solace and clarity. Sometimes I have been surprised by an insight or recognition of a pattern. Often it has helped me sort out and frame my thoughts. And we are what we say we are, even if we have to "fake it til we make it" initially!

Here is how her engagement provides her with validation of emotions and feelings:

[My authentic refreshment provides] a safe and sacred place to pour out my deepest feelings and needs. I do not need to worry what others may think or deal with their responses. I can feel free to unload it on the page. Then when I read it back, it may take on a different shape than when it was grinding away inside me. Somehow labeling a feeling feels validating and empowering. When I can identify what I'm feeling, I can decide on actions I may need to take.

Nourishment of the soul is also a benefit for Kathleen:

These activities help me to get in touch with myself. I am taking time out of a busy day to pay attention to what I am thinking and feeling. I am honoring myself as I would honor a best friend or someone I love. This helps me get in touch with what I need to nourish my own soul--reinforcing healthy boundaries, helping me embrace my unique humanness, and helping me stay connected to what matters most.

She offers how her authentic refreshment has personally empowered her: 

By reaffirming my values and beliefs, I can act with more confidence. By being clear on my own feelings and boundaries, I can offer the same to others--allow for differences and respect each other's differences. It reminds me of a quote (author unknown), "You can't meet the needs of others if your own needs aren't met."

A final word from Kathleen on what she recommends for others looking for their authentic refreshment:

Learn to trust your feelings. Stop, listen and take time every day to get in touch with yourself and your needs.  Find a way that works for you to learn about yourself and honor your own story.

Kathleen Pooler’s Bio:
            Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir and a sequel about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments:  domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
            She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: and can be found on Twitter @kathypooler and on LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads and Facebook: Kathleen Pooler
            One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
            Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the mini-anthology: “My Gutsy Story” by Sonia Marsh, 2012.