Grief and loss, Holidays, Mental health, Spirituality

How do you say Happy Thanksgiving?

This is a bittersweet holiday for my family and I being this is the first one minus my Dad. The man who always carved the giant turkey and presided over the time we committed to enjoying it because it couldn’t coincide with the big football games that are being played today.

Despite the fact that my siblings and I aren’t together, I know our entire country is having a very different experience in celebrating Thanksgiving this year due to the pandemic of COVID-19 that our world is living through. I’m writing this to remind ALL of us that it’s what’s in our hearts, our grateful and loving hearts that we celebrate and say thanks to God for our many blessings. I’m an extremely blessed woman to know the unconditional guidance, protection and love that is available to us all through God’s grace. This is what I get down on my knees for today and say, “Thank you” for.

The outpouring of love I have received from family and friends over the passing of my Dad keeps the smile on my face and warms my heart. This year, 2020 has been my most transformative yet and I’m blessed that my Dad got to see me blossom and bloom this year. A close girlfriend of mine reminded me of that and it really changed my thinking on the day he passed over. I want to share this experience I had with you all just yesterday while I sat in meditation….

My Dad’s spirit came to me and he said, “hey Mare (my Dad’s nickname for me) I’m so sorry dolly that I didn’t understand you more while I was alive. I get it, I get you now that I’ve died sweetheart and we are closer now”. He is already my top advisor, teacher and guide as I dance the sacred waltz with Spirit as a shamanic healer. It’s the most beautiful gift I could ever imagine to receive. All I could say, while the tears flowed were “Thanks Dad, I love you”.

I wrote this first poem, “Daddy” just hours before he passed over. I read it to my mother when she woke up Tuesday the 24th of November 2020 and when I got to the last line, she hugged me tighter and we looked in each other’s eyes. My spirit guides later told me that we ushered him over at that exact moment because when the nurse called to tell us that he was no longer with us and the time, we both instantly knew. We laughed and cried and I could hear my Dad say, “Thank you Maria, I’m free” while the Frank Sinatra song, “Born Free” played loudly in my head. My Mom and I were both outside on the lake and saw his spirit appear in a hawk that was flying overhead. This is the picture on YouTube for that song! Talk about synchronicity my dears.

“Daddy”

This is a poem I wrote for his birthday last year September 1st, 2019. My Dad was always such a strong, proud and dignified man. He had a gentle manner and a heart of pure gold, my hero.

“Dad”

Life is so precious and short my dears. Tell the ones that you love you love them. We must all today celebrate each other, the abundance of God’s blessings upon all of creation, look around at this beautiful world he gave us and say “Thank you”.

In light and in shadow, always with love. If you’re interested in a shamanic healing session, tarot card reading, my recorded meditations or to purchase any of my 4 books of poetry please click the link below.
https://linktr.ee/Ladysag77

Look at what arrived yesterday in the mail. If anyone who like a personalized autographed copy of “My Soul’s Light” please go to my contact page and email me. Namaste 🙏

“My Soul’s Light”
Mental health

My 2nd Poetry Slam

I’m continuing to get on the microphone and dramatically read my poems. When I was younger and studying all forms of dance my dream was to dance on Broadway. I do love the thrill and terror that comes from being on a stage.

Last night’s slam was very intimate and cozy. I met some wonderful artists and even made plans to host a book signing with the promoter of this event who was so welcoming and made me feel so valued as an artist. This is called “Nothing But Poetry Live” and it helps showcase artists in and around Dallas, TX. I really love being around other creative people in this performance capacity!! I have found my people! Being seen and heard, my personal feelings landing with my own unique flare is so empowering. I was asked if I have a music accompaniment to go with my poems last night. I will be doing a collaboration with an old dear friend of mine from high school who is one of the most amazing guitar players I have ever heard and have the pleasure to know.

I asked the promoter Sam, to video me since I attended this event solo last night. This poem is called “Losing my best friend” and is inspired by what’s going on with my partner who is my best friend. My fiance played and retired from professional football with both the NFL and Arena football leagues. Watching and witnessing his struggle with mental illness including memory loss, hearing voices and not knowing who he is at times is beyond heartbreaking. Ironically, he wanted to attend with me last evening but had an anxiety attack that kept him from leaving our apartment. He later admitted how hard it is to see me in pain over what’s happening to him. I know he can’t help it and I don’t take any of it personally because I know how much he supports and loves me. My writing has always served as an outlet for me to process my feelings. This entire situation is hard for both of us yet I know he is my biggest fan even if he can’t show it 100% of the time.

I was having a conversation with my oldest son yesterday about how fast time goes by. I believe it passes even quicker as we age. He wasn’t too thrilled to hear that but I said it just makes every moment more precious. I want to stay mindful in each of them as much as possible to fully enjoy my life these days. I’ve squandered so much time in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s been 9 years since I was in and out of a psychiatric hospital myself with complications from CPTSD. These days, I celebrate my life and am intensely grateful for all of it! This is what “Triumphing over Trauma” looks like…..

“Losing my best friend”

This year is my year for transformation, a metamorphosis. I am going after my dreams by keeping my foot on that gas pedal and making the most out of this momentum energy I’m cultivating by doing it. It’s so exciting and it makes me feel so alive to be up on a stage again. Keep watching as this free spirit spreads her wings and soars high🦋

Mental health, Spirituality

To love is to live

My dear readers, have you ever woke up to a certain song stuck in your head? I did this morning and the way my mind works I’m always so curious as to where it came from. I grew up with my mother playing a lot of John Denver and American folk music in our house. The song that popped in and kept replaying was “Annie’s song”. That’s still one of my Mother’s favorites and I must admit mine too. Whenever I hear it I want to run through a brighly colored meadow or hike up a mountain. The whimsical visions that are sparked in my mind are so clearly an ode to love and nature. Lately, it’s a love affair with myself and my new found self love Imthat I’m so interested in exploring. I envision myself holding hands with my younger self running through that meadow and the look on the face of that little girl inside me.

Life has a way within its ebbs and flow to present me with what I need to consider more of and work on when it cones to either delving deeper into shadow work or exploring more and caring for my inner child. Lately, it’s the latter I have been being reminded of. I’m not sure if I have published my real name yet on this blog but it’s Maria. My full given birth name is Maria Teresa Pratico. Little Maria has been begging for my attention lately and wants to be nurtured. My legal last name is Swanson and I chose to not change that when I went through my divorce because I wanted my boys to see us as still being a family. Now i choose to use my maiden name because it resonates more within me. The Swanson in me was a robotic force and Pratico is more of my true identity.

After the realization I had in June of the abuse that I suffered it’s like a whole new part of me has been awakened and is demanding my attention. I must tell you my dear readers, my own years of therapy, the countless books and articles I have read on processing emotions has taught me that when our feelings are not properly realized and our emotional moods go unexpressed, over time it creates a real issue that just continues to hold us more and more captive. This is especially true when it comes to trauma, the more we stuff and repress the harder and heavier our bodies get holding onto that energy. That’s what having sessions of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy has helped me to release. However, there are other ways my inner child wants to be recognized and reparented in order to fully integrate her into my body. In his book, “The body keeps the score,” Bessel van der Kolk writes about unresolved trauma from a neuroscience perspective and explains why traumatized people experience incomprehensible anxiety, inexplicable numbing and intolerable rage, and how trauma impacts concentration, memory, and the ability to form trusting relationships. These are symptoms that our bodies display because it’s been holding onto that energy, trapped in our body.

For so much of my life, I operated in an auto-pilot unconscious state of being. Now it feels like I was almost two separate people. The me before and the me now. I wasn’t awake, I lacked self love, self confidence, I doubted myself in almost every situation and really I can admit I wasn’t really living! I held myself back so much by choosing to focus more on other people’s feelings and emotions, their problems in hopes that if I could fix them I would be loved. Now I know that the only person who can give me the full attention, fulfillment and happiness I crave is me. It’s not an external process and doesn’t come from material things. I feel like I’m really living and in doing so I am living out loud, unapologetically and on purpose. Speaking my mind and my truth in my loudest voice whether or not it makes some people uncomfortable and disagree with me…all of it! If you don’t like it, look away and step out of my way because nobody will become my next excuse for not taking care of myself or stopping me now. At 42 years old, I have stifled myself for far too long and it’s my time to shine!

With it being a new year and a brand new decade, I made a promise with myself to do the things that made me uncomfortable. Right now this includes getting more and more comfortable with uncomforbility. I started recording video confessionals on my social media that I call, Maria’s Musings. I’ve never been a fan of myself in pictures and video because I’m so critical of my looks and my voice. No more!! I even record myself without makeup, dressed in my pajamas or workout clothes. It’s me being me and loving myself every step of the way. You can find me on Instagram @emotionalmusings. I checked off a goal on my vision board too by doing my first poetry slam over the weekend. I performed my poem, “Glimpses” which is a tribute to my dear Nana who is now one of my spirit guides who appears to me as a butterfly🦋

“Glimpses”
For my Nana

The new me has confused some people in my world and one person in particular is my partner. He gets upset with my new and total focus on myself at times because he is so used to me putting others, like him first. This has created a lot of friction between us. In the last five months we have argued more than the last six and a half years of our entire relationship together! I have disclosed in previous posts that he is also someone living with severe mental illness stemming from traumatic brain injuries and the many concussions he sustained while playing professional football.

https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/lincoln-coleman-former-cowboys-running-back-struggles-with-effects-of-head-trauma-10983207

Another harsh reality he faces are the facts that have been well publicized about the connection between traumatic brain injuries and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)which is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries. The symptoms may include behavioral problems, mood problems, and problems with thinking. These symptoms typically do not begin until years after the injuries. CTE often gets worse over time and can result in dementia.

It’s creates quite a challenge for him as he has watched many players die or commit suicide by shooting themselves in the heart so that their brains can be studied. Recently, he lost another player to suicide and when he told me, the look in his eyes rattled me to my core in a very deep way. Our connection and bond is so strong and to think of losing him in anyway but especially in that way terrifies me! Then I start examining everything he is doing and saying in a more critical way. The empath in me has had to learn how to actively block him so I don’t get caught up in his energy and thoughts.

Lately, it’s all been too much for me and my own regularly shifting fast moving energy collided and had in a way a head on collision with his energy and BAM! Making life decisions based in fear is never a good idea and results in undesirable outcomes. It’s my nature to love and accept others. That must include both myself currently and his reality too. All of that became entirely too much to handle last week. We had a bad blowout that resulted in both of us saying things we didn’t mean and I ended our relationship.

I also allowed this overly active fear and emotional state to spill over into my job as a manager for a dear friend of mine’s boutique. Without going into details, I did something that I shouldn’t have that could of put the business in jeopardy. My emotional state had me not thinking straight when I made this mistake. Then I went further into crash and burn mode by telling her I was quitting and gave my two weeks notice abruptly and without any warning which hurt my girlfriend’s feelings badly. I know now what I did could’ve had irreparable damage to their livelihood and our great friendship. Taking stock of the situation took some serious sole searching on my part. The will to listen and quiet my own fears so that I wasn’t acting so selfishly and considered all sides of the situation. I’m praying for a positive outcome to my apology.

Living in fear is like being backed into a corner, triggering me to feel scared, helplessness and confused just as I did during the abuse I suffered. As I continue to heal, these parts of me are lying dangerously close to the surface and my own current reality. They at times become twisted up and entangled in a way that clouds my decision making and has me wanting to escape. This is by no means an excuse, it’s my reality and I’m addressing it head on.

I want to share with you dear readers the importance of addressing what you need to in life because we only get one shot at living. Life is precious and short. I’m someone who wanted to pull the plug by cutting my own short because living was so painful and I felt the only way out was death. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Learning to love myself and having the ability to love another person, despite terrifying circumstances shows strength, resilience and most of all courage. Summoning that courage took the abity for me to use pain as a motivator not as a roadblock. I admit, I don’t always make clearheaded decisions concerning my life. I have the tendency to want to blow up my life and throw the towel in and say FUCK IT ALL!

Not giving into these urges is hard for me because my natural tendency has been conditioned to not focus on my own uncomfortable or challenging feelings of fear, anger and sadness. I stuff, numb and dissociate from them just like I did in childhood during the abuse. It was easier to put my mind in another place and numb out. It’s our bodies defense, protecting our brains from the highest levels of anxiety and circuit overload. I now know this coping mechanism no longer serves me and I must change that maladaptive pattern before it continues to wreck havoc in my world today.  Following inner compass suits my life and decision making much better!

Choosing to love and remain in love is hard during these fearful moments but if I want to live, I must love. I have also been programmed to find pleasure in pain. I have been noticing that when typing a lot I tend to type live instead of love. That’s what sparked me to start investigating this vital connection between loving and living. In order for me to consistently maintain my happiness, I must choose to love in order to keep living. The abuse is over. The little girl who experienced that rauma is grown. I have learned a better way to live. I can make better choices. When I fall down and make the same mistakes my from past, I can now recognize them and correct them by taking responsibility for my words and actions by choosing to not blow up my life. If it’s one thing I have learned it’s that the grass is never greener.

I choose to accept my partner’s prognosis and conditions because when taking stock of the pros and cons of our relationship, the pros undoubtedly outweigh the cons. More on that in upcoming posts my dear readers. Once I can snap myself back into my body, I can easily recognize this. When I was high in emotion mind, I wrote this poem. Thankfully for me writing is such a great outlet. One I need to rely upon more so I don’t actively allow fear into the driver’s seat unnecessarily.

Mental health, Spirituality

The art of allowing love is magic

Oh love, what a complicated and fickle pursuit it can be! My dear readers I have come into such an abundance of love’s pure energy flow lately and so far my new year is as bright and shiny as my spirit is. Last Monday I expierenced my third vision, out in nature, which I just love. Awe inspiring and breathtakingly beautiful! Looking up at the sky now holds more meaning for me than ever before. As I continue to heal and push through obstacles, one solution remains constant and true and that is love. When we allow love to flow freely throughout our entire being it frees us from our problems and allows us to be closer to Source and Divine power.

In keeping with my daily rituals while always setting the intention to allow a steady stream of unconditional love to flow through I am reminded to surrender. Love presents a polarity between weakness and strength. When we are in love we are vulnerable because we are putting our heart out there and there’s always a possibility we might be hurt or let down. Yet when we do this, we are showing strength in our belief that we deserve and want love. Accessing superior energy, which is God (or whatever higher power you believe in) we are able to look inward and feel that essence inside of us. It’s there in abundance dear readers. I know this to be true because I kept myself closed off from it for years. My intuition was quiet almost inaudible, barely being listened to. Now, ten years into this spiritual and self healing journey, it is loud and clear.

The first step was learning to love myself and to do that I had to figure a few things out. Understanding where I had been, why I was here and what was my soul’s purpose became goals that had me reading anything in the spiritual realm I could get my hands on. Seeking out therapists, taking medications for a time (15 years to be exact) to heal from the severe traumas I had experienced, attending outpatient therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy). Getting my mind right as the kids say, was a painstaking process that has instilled patience with myself into my core. None of this happens overnight 🤯

Along this journey I learned some powerful tools that I incorporate into my daily self care practices. Meditation is hugely vital to my well being and allows me quiet reflection and observation space to my rapidly shifting thoughts. Listening to binaural sounds at varying frequencies allows me to hear my spirit guides better and receive messages from them. We all have these angels all around us and last week Universe gifted me an angel orchestra of them during my vision. I have been asking for a sign to show me they were here and as I gazed up into the big blue sky while the moon was showing herself, all of a sudden I saw hundreds of twinkling white lights! Immediately I knew that they were my guides saying hello. I was filled with an indescribable sense of comfort and warmth while tears streamed down my face, it was one of the most beautiful sights to behold.

After that, my week continued to unfold in both positive and painful ways. I have come to a point in my life where I can see the beauty and purpose within pain. It’s my body’s signal and way of teaching me what I need to heal from, let go, accept and turn into strength. It’s like magic when you think about it that way. I’m no masochist, I no longer engage in self denial and I don’t seek out pain on purpose. I do however believe pain is one of our greatest teachers. Over my 42 years, I have experienced an incredible amount of pain and heartache that I know now served its purpose in instilling a deep love and kindness for my fellow humans and all living things for that matter.

When you allow love in you understand it’s the only truth

I was drawn to do some inner child healing too last week which used to scare me because it was painful to look at. Now that I feel more in tune with my own emotions, loving myself in this way allows me to reparent the little me inside. Planning for and scheduling activities that bring out my childhood essence is really important for my continued growth, self integration and evolvement. These include talking to myself, dancing, going out in nature, painting, listening to music and singing along. Playing around with sounds like chanting, even swinging on a swing! That was my favorite activity as a child, I always felt like I was flying so high and free.

Remembering this part of me allows me to be my own hero and rescue myself which is hugely empowering. I write letters to my younger self at different ages reminding her she is no longer alone and is seen, heard and loved. It’s again, a kind of magic when those old stories that ran through my head telling me I’m not good enough or I am too much, too sensitive get triggered to start playing and now this new more calming and comforting voice is heard in their absence. Reparenting myself is a huge gift to not only me but those who love me and are in my life can see a big shift in my outlook and self confidence. Isn’t it amazing how music can fill the shallow parts of our souls allowing us this wonderful connection with who we are?

As an empath, I have lived most of my life distracted and focused upon other’s feelings and thoughts while neglecting my own. Honestly, my own were scary to me and overwhelming so I neglected them in favor of trying to save or rescue another. I can also admit that even during my current relationship with my fiance, there have been many many times that I looked to him to save me. Finally, I understand that only I can save me. I am responsible for my own happiness and the inner joy I feel is fueled by such self love and gratitude for the lessons I’ve learned. I have no regrets and I wouldn’t change a minute of my life thus far.

My main goal for this year has been to put myself out there more by releasing my inhibitions once and for all. I have forced myself to do more video confessionals that I post on my social media @emotionalmusings on both Instagram and Facebook. I hoped to attend my first poetry slam where I would perform one of my most personal poems, “Glimpses”this past Friday. My words are like my children and it both terrifies and excites me to share them on a stage. Unfortunately the weather here in Dallas kept me from attending but it turns out Universe is granting me another opportunity to do it this Friday because I have the night off from work!! YAY😊

I also reached out to a dear fellow empath friend @emilyrainbowglo on Instagram to ask her if she would want to do a collaboration with me, a live chat for our fellow empaths to feel empowered by and learn from. I was thrilled with the outcome of our conversation yesterday, it was seamless! It’s still available for a few more hours if you dear readers would like to hear what we had to talk about. It’s based around love and surrendering to it, allowing in self love and care so that we can protect our precious spirit and gifts while being open to receiving messages from the Universe. I have also asked another healer and dear friend of mine if I could join her on her new podcast. I will keep you dear readers in the loop of when that happens but for now you can follow her on Instagram @comealivewithchrissymarie and her podcast on Spotify is called, “The Art of Aliveness”. I will post the link below so you can check her out too.

I have made up my mind that this year, 2020 is the year I stop holding myself back. I have done just that for one reason or another for the last 40 years and finally, FINALLY I feel strong enough to put my hand ✋ up to anything or anybody that tries to have me go back into a box or wants to label me, stifle my spirit….no thank you!! I am determined to let my free spirit soar as high as I can fly! I also did a confessional for a company I represent by sharing my story. I have it published here as a post under, “My journey with BodHD,” but I will also drop the link below so it can be accessed here too.

I wrote this poem last night that really expresses my love and gratitude to the elements, the Universe that has held me in its loving arms, nurturing my spirit even when I was neglecting it and continued to show to love and acceptance. That little voice has always been there giving me the strength to never give up. Whatever pushes you along my dear readers, keep doing it. Don’t let anything stop you, ever. Shine and allow the world your gifts. Never give up. I am a forever friend to all and I appreciate your support, follows and likes. You can always reach out to me, I love to listen. You too can “Triumph over Trauma “😊💪💜

The elements that make me who I am
Mental health, Spirituality

Intentions for an open heart

When in doubt follow your heart. That mantra has been my focal point all of my life. As the empathetic, passionate and free spirited woman I am following my heart’s desire has always felt right to me. In the years since I have been healing myself from trauma however, there were many times where I would tell my partner that I felt a disconnection between my heart and my mind. I can recall a specific time four years ago when that realization made me so sad and confused. Unraveling trauma, pain stuck in my body has taken time and required me to simply be patient with myself.

I have loads of patience for others yet I tend to be more harshly impatient with my own progress in this area. The integration between my heart and soul while processing my own emotions surrounding trauma has taught me that I can’t force anything to happen. Creating a false sense of security by telling myself that it’s not that upsetting or lying to myself that “I’m ok” only furthered the process. The sentiment of “time takes time” just came to mind. I’m thankful I surrendered to the process and showed myself grace. It’s yielded tremendous growth for my spirituality and awakening journey!

Another opportunity presented itself recently in regards to allowing my heart to remain open, just feeling the feelings, without intellectualizing them and over explaining them. I was made aware of the fact that I tend to do this. It’s an old coping skill I developed in order for me to feel safe in my body, feeling everything and everybody all at once. As an empath, for so long before I realized it was detrimental to my own well being, I have tended more to others feelings while stuffing or numbing my own away. My fast moving energy creates BIG intense feeling sensations in my body and I was fearful of them.

After reflecting on why I have done this throughout my life, understanding that it’s no longer necessary and shifting into open heartedness requires me to evoke that same level of patience with myself. I have noticed that when I start to digress into old behaviors and patterns my posture changes. I cross my arms and hug my body, slouching my shoulders, I don’t stand with my head held as high. Being aware of how this overwhelming and uncomfortable feeling actually feels in my body allows me an opportunity to grow. In the past, I would allow this low vibrational fear to consume me. Now, operating from a place of love which is a higher vibration, I feel more empowered to overcome that fear. Sitting with it, tending to my own emotional response has proven to be so powerful!

I recently learned how to quickly reconnect with my heart and my soul’s power by clearing my central channel. I rub my hands together creating energy and hold then in front of my pelvic/hip region. Then I raise them up over my body slowly while visualizing releasing any stagnant energy that may be blocking me from my power. Once I get to my heart I stop and shake my hands off as though they were wet. I practiced this the other day while staring at myself in the mirror. The intense feelings I got, the rush of self love made me feel happy and warm all over.

I’m using my power and gifts of sense mastery to heal myself! It’s incredibly empowering my dear readers. This is new ground for me. Becoming the master of my emotions and the creator of my reality is a shift I had no idea would change how I see everything in my world. Forever, my feelings and other’s have run my life in a negative and harmful way. I didn’t know how to sort it all out and I have gone through forgiving myself for not knowing how best to care for myself.

I believe that the way I was treating myself, misunderstanding how best to care for my spirit left me with a deep sadness that I have carried for a long, long time. When someone would ask me, “what’s wrong” it was often difficult to articulate exactly why but now I know it was this heaviness dragging my down creating sadness and eventually pain. Like a broken heart. I was unaware of how it was affecting my life. Now that I’m on the other side of it I know I have found the key to eternal happiness.

Happiness isn’t something you can get from external sources my dear readers. It must be cultivated from within. God has created us with everything we need for balance and peace within our own amazing bodies! I used to feel my heart was failing me because I felt too much and that my brain was attacking me because my thoughts ran so quickly through my mind. It was a terrible, victim like perception I was inflicting upon myself. I now see that I had the power all along to change and feel better. By taking care of my emotional and spiritual needs on a daily basis I have established a strong bond within myself. I make the promise with myself every day to never go back to my old ways. I release the worry and fear surrounding the entire thought I even would.

This new year 2020 feels like it’s going to be my brightest year yet🌠🌈🎇🙏❤