The Expert Within Has Moved!

February 18, 2013

I now have my very own domain name, which means a new address.  Click here to see TheExpertWithin in its new home.  Actually, The Expert Within resides in you.  The blog address is for help in finding it.


In an attempt to become an honest-to-God writer, I look online for a primer and find Writing Tools, which I chase down in the library.   I dig in.  Roy Peters Clark (in Chapter One) tells me that an active voice entails beginning sentences with a noun and a verb and is the most effective way to grab and hold the reader’s attention.  I rewrite a recent blog entry so that nearly all the sentences start with a noun followed by a verb.   A wave of satisfaction takes hold as I note the improvement in my writing.

Then (for some unknown reason) hopelessness edges out the satisfaction.  Cursing this new feeling, I try to rekindle the old “expert within” momentum.  I Google two writer friends to find inspiration in their blogs.

I find a partial blog on by a NY friend, Jean Reilly.  She seems to espouse the noun-verb format, too!  The expert in her is thriving, I notice. She writes, she interviews famous wine makers, she skydives, and she will soon assume the “role as principle on-camera wine specialist and commentator for ‘Jet Set Chefs’, a culinary adventure travel series scheduled to air next year”.  A year ago, she “became this country’s 26th Master of Wine, only the sixth American woman to hold this prestigious title”.  I remember that at one time, she did solitary taste tests in her home, sipping wine from identical glasses while blindfolded.

I think about my life.  She is famous and I am teaching myself to write in a blog which has only two followers, my boyfriend and my therapist.  The blindfolded taste test part of Jean’s story fades to the recesses of my consciousness.

My mind wanders to a children’s book called Sheep Out to Eat I purchased for my now 30-something nephew long ago.  I loved that book!  I loved it for the same active sentence construction espoused by Roy Peters Clark in Chapter I.  I download it to Kindle.  It starts, “Five sheep stop at a small tea shop.  They ask for a seat and a bite to eat.”  Then it foreshadows an imminent cultural collision with the following words, “Sheep get menus, sheep want feed.  They point to words that they can’t read.”

I see in those words the cultural mismatch I feel with the world.  I search for meaning in my life. When I can’t find it, I start with the simple noun and verb structure: I drink tea. I write the beginning of a blog entry. I get ready to clean the mobile home.

DIY Digital

January 9, 2012

I started my private practice with a hurried, do-or-die approach.  I wouldn’t advise this knee-jerk approach as a general rule, but having had the brain injury just months before, it was a way to stay afloat and still make my clients’ needs a priority.  Think: small, low overhead with a manageable case load = sanity intact.

When considering how the years ahead would roll out, the mandate to keep client records available for 6+ years loomed a bit large.  Staff at my former group practice had struggled with the unwieldy volumes of  chart hard copies which had been stored in what now was an unworkable format; the owners had not yet established a digital record keeping format and so were keeping every chart in its entirety.

The same unwieldy room of paper threatened to follow me to the end of my career.  So a year of so into my practice, I scanned every single piece of paper in my office, and set up a DIY format for future case note entries.  I bought a Brother all-in-one and started to acclimate to the learning curve of all things digital.

I researched clinical billing/documentation software, but found it expensive.  This made me question the cost vs benefit of investing in a pre-packaged computerized system to manage clinical documentation and billing data.  I didn’t question that a software writer could invent a way to chart and bill better than I could, but there were aspects of these software packages that seemed limiting.  The case notes sections had point and click options to streamline the job of charting, but did I really want to describe clinical interventions by selecting from a series of multiple choice options?  I boldly set about inventing a rudimentary, but workable, system, using the software programs I already owned.  I used  Scansoft to convert scanned documents to PDF, a universal file type that could be easily transmittable and accessable through the years.  (Scansoft was included with my All-In-One software, so it was a useful freebie.)  I jumped on Open Office (a freeware word processing program) when I noticed it would support note-taking during client appointments without distracting me with the bells and whistles so prominent in Microsoft Word.  Quicken was the workhorse which downloaded and tracked business-related finances and produced reports for my billing service.

This took some doing.  Sometimes I was still glued to the computer when Anani arrived to clean the building–and he works late.  But my time investment has paid off in spades.  I built an affordable system that I can continue to tweak as my practice grows and shifts, and most of the time I find computerized record-keeping fairly effortless.  And it’s given me the extra time to write this blog.

How about you?  Have you resisted the digital trend or jumped on the HIPAA bandwagon to rethink your old pen to paper routine?  How do you organize those important records of yours?  Do you fax directly from your computer, or do you still feed documents into your fax machine?  Write and let me know if you could make use of a blog entry about the strategies I’ve invented.

2012 Affirmations

January 1, 2012

  1. I have made peace with food
  2. I love my body
  3. I love myself and I love feeding my self.
  4. I have a lean and beautiful body
  5. I have fun expressing who I am—in other words, creating with clothes on my body
  6. My greatest joy is expressing who I am to the world
  7. Expressing my authentic self is perfectly safe in my world
  8. I have perfect health
  9. Manifestation is nothing more than removing blinders in order to see that which already exists
  10. My fears have disappeared
  11. The Universe is completely safe and I know this on a deep level
  12. I am loved and cherished by self and others
  13. I am surrounded by close friends who love me and treasure their time with me
  14. I have a deep connection with those around me
  15. I connect as much with my heart as with my head
  16. Peace is no longer a dream to be chased, but an innate quality of my heart
  17. I allow and trust my highest excitement to bring me abundance, joy, and prosperity