Spirituality

I love you

Just finished watching “The trial of Gabriel Fernandez” on Netflix which is a horrific account of child abuse, torture and murder at the hands of his own mother and her boyfriend. It got me thinking about how much I love people. Life is so precious and short so I want to tell you all, I love you❤ Let’s make an effort to show each other more love and kindness because it’s so needed in this world today!

From me to you 😉✌

In other news, I am really excited to be taking an adult tap class tonight! It’s been a good ten years, probably more since I have taken a proper tap class! It’s definitely honoring my inner child so little Maria is thrilled to get her tap shoes laced up again💃

I need to carve out some writing time so I can share with you my dear readers all about my son’s visit here. Spoiler alert** he wants to move here!!

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.

Spirituality

Living my life as an empath

I’ve written some previous posts about being an intuitive, emotional and physical empath. Some of my very first memories in life are of being so curious about others. I would stare at people, drinking their feelings and thoughts in. It’s always been distracting and often times overwhelming to have others most inner concerns, heartaches, joys and life’s problems swirling around my mind as I tried to focus in class. It has taken me many years to accept and cope with my life as an empath. Learning how to protect myself, my individuality and my emotions was key to my own inner peace.

I can admit that it’s always easiest for me to help others than to help myself and I for years did just that. I wasn’t even on my list of priorities. It felt like my heart was open and bleeding all the time. Like a bandage being pulled from a scab that is never going to heal. I was always exhausted, confused and looking for an escape route mentally and emotionally that would release my mind so I could rest. Heck, I had no idea of what was going on inside of me and I didn’t talk about it to anyone. It wasn’t until I was well into my 30s that I even learned there were others like me! I remember talking about it with my therapist and thinking, this is a thing?

Empaths, energy healers, light warriors and mystics are all people who can feel others feelings instinctively. I am someone who intuitively understands what others are feeling emotionally, I can read thoughts and even sometimes feel their physical pain. The feeling pain aspect is an interesting one because it can be really upsetting for me to endure something I know isn’t actually happening to me.

Right now my fiance, who is a former professional football player, is going through an immense amount of pain in his entire body. Most specifically, his knees and his head. He sustained numerous concussions during his career and coupled with severe mental illness causes him daily debilitating headaches. We have spent almost six years together as a couple and for most of them he has complained of daily headaches.

Almost three weeks ago he started a new program that is a study on brain supplements and a new light device called a BrainPro. It looks like a halo or a pharaoh’s helmet. He wears it three times a day for twenty minutes a session and it’s ultraviolet light penetrates his skull rejuvenating his blood vessels. More blood flow creates healthier cells and has actually relieved his headaches finally!! It’s a bonafide miracle if you ask me.

On Thursday he was able to receive stem cell injections in both knees in hopes that his bone on bone knee pain can be eliminated and he won’t require knee replacement surgery. This man has seen so many doctors, has had hundreds of tests run, x-rays and MRIs. The last one he had was in September of 2017. When the doctor who injected the stem cells looked over his scans from that time he gave him news that we hadn’t known. He has a broken knee cap, broken bone spurs, a broken bone in his ankle and tons of arthritis throughout.

When I got his call while I was at work giving me this news, I broke down in tears. To hear that the man that I adore has been walking around with broken bones and suffering in pain proved too much for me to bear. The guilt and sorrow I feel not knowing what the cause was is completely encompassing my thoughts and feelings.

I’ve always admired his talent, his personality and who he is as a person but now I’m calling him a warrior. To witness him enduring such an excruciating level of pain on a daily basis is awe inspiring. He also suffers from auditory hallucinations, voices in his head. Yet still he gets up, puts a smile on his face and makes everyone around him feel special.

While we go through these next eight weeks together for this study, I have been asked to document it. My goal and the goal of this program’s director is to not only relieve the pain these players have but bring awareness to the powerful organization that owns the game of football in this country. I’m referring to the NFL. I would like to share with you an excerpt from my notes so far to give you my dear readers a peek inside….

My heart breaks as my emotions run high but I try to get what needs to be done intelligently accomplished. Lincoln is in even more excruciating pain, he can’t settle down and sleep is out of the question.Therefore, I’m not settled and my sleep is hugely interrupted. I am working 8 hr shifts back to back on little to no sleep. My patience is worn thin as I try to make it through each moment without screaming at the top of my lungs WHY US???? The blessings are still abundantly clear now which makes for an interesting paradoxical situation. We now FINALLY know why he has been in so much pain. His headaches are FINALLY being relieved by the brain supplements and Brain pro device he is wearing 3x a day religiously. That is a miracle in my mind and I can’t deny that. Since I have known and I’m sure for much longer than that, Lincoln has suffered from daily severe headaches. I keep telling him that he is my warrior. I can’t imagine or even attempt to wrap my brain around the amount of pain and suffering that he must endure on a daily basis. It absolutely blows my mind. He has sacrificed his entire body for the game of football. The NFL as of 4/19 hasn’t compensated him a dime. Sure they and their many umbrella programs have covered certain medical procedures, bills etc. Those were only granted after my begging, pleading, emails, written applications, phone calls and so on demanding they help him out. He was a big running back that the 93-95 Cowboys teams used as a battering ram in practice mostly and to back up Emmett when he couldn’t play or to save him from injury. The NFL has no humanity, people are walking $ signs and are definitely expendable in their eyes. For a nonprofit billion dollar industry it is beyond incomprehensible. Blood, death and suffering is on their hands and they are still fighting to not claim responsibility for it. It makes me sick to my stomach yet when I ask Lincoln and some other former teammates that he is close to now if they knew what they knew now, would they do it all over again? There answer is always the same, a resounding HELL YES!!! That is the power, glory and prestige we as a society have put upon these football warriors. For me this brings up the question of whether we have really created a positive outlet for those who want to pursue professional football. Where are our morals, ethics and values? Does the quality of life AFTER football mean so little to the powers that be that allow this machine to continue to grind forward season after season???

You see my dear readers, life as an empath isn’t always easy. I understand that God’s purpose for me here is to help and heal others. I’m thrilled and overjoyed when I can be an outlet for others. I’m blessed to walk this path and be on this journey. I believe the people we meet and everything that happens is for a deeper reason. I hold onto this belief and nurture it when I need to. No regrets, nothing but ❤

Mental health, Spirituality

Choosing love while I remain true to myself

It’s been an amazing six months of personal growth and accomplishments dear readers. I recently posted a poem of mine on my IG profile under the handle @emotionalmusings (I have reposted it here) that revealed a personal truth. I have purposely held myself back from success for the past 40 years. Why you may be wondering? For fear of failure, for fear of not being good enough and finally because I didn’t believe in myself. It has been a long and winding road for me. One that required lots of twists, turns and quiet self reflection. Ultimately it took losing everything, my sanity, my personal safety and my home for me to discover that in the end love for myself is the only superpower that I needed. Something that was inside me all along, I just wasn’t accessing it!

If someone had told me that being involved in an extremely difficult domestic violence relationship eight years ago would be one of the catalysts for my evolution, I would of never believed them. Getting punched in the face is quite jarring yet it showed me over time that I wasn’t as worthless as I believed myself to be. There are no magic pills, absolute directives or a master plan to figure out one’s purpose here on the journey. I’m among one of the people in life who had to learn these important things the hard way. Perhaps you can relate. Please put your own story in the comments below!

Perhaps it’s my hard headed Calabrese roots, my fierce independent nature or my insatiable curiosity for why things are the way they are that has led me down a more difficult path than most. A dear friend of mine recently stated to me that I always seem to have so much on my plate. That is definitely true. Juggling lots of “life balls” is all that I know and something I have had loads of practice with since I was quite young.

I follow my heart always and air on my emotional side most often over my intellectual understanding of any given situation. One may say I through caution to the wind. I pride myself on leading with my human foot when faced with adversity or confrontation. I love that about myself and the more I choose to follow my heart, the more confident and content I become. It has taken years to gain this inner peace and now that I have discovered it I desire more of it!

The self loathing, self doubt, feelings of inferiority, and uselessness seem light years away now. I have survived some dark years. I firmly believe that without those years I wouldn’t have found my path of enlightenment. I give thanks for that time, I don’t regret it. Important life lessons and poor life choices resulted in some truly brighter days.

I write and post a lot about the need for more of us to show empathy to one another. In my opinion we must become love warriors against hate and evil doers. It’s those people among us that are crying out, in a more negative way, for love and acceptance. Humanity’s fate is under attack. It’s ugly and it evokes fear. I feel it is the root cause for people to in turn act in an ugly way towards each other. Bottom line…..ugliness, fear and hate needs to be challenged. The only recipe for change is love. Love is the only answer my friends.

Love hard, whole heartedly and often. Hate is easy. It takes more courage and faith to choose love over hate. In a real and genuine way, I challenge you to try a little more love in your life. Especially with complete strangers. A bit more empathy will open your heart to more understanding of not only that stranger but for yourself.

Trust me. I am living proof. I have survived, now I am striving. This is what winning looks like😁

current events, Spirituality

Planting seeds of empathy and love

I’m not a “green thumb” by any definition despite the fact that my mother is a wonderful gardner. She and my father loved spending weekends in our lush backyard pruning, planting and cleaning our grounds at the house I grew up in. In this post I want to focus on a different kind of planting and that is in cultivating a more loving society.

In light of the extreme terrorist attack recently at Christchurch in New Zealand, I myself am searching for an answer as to why such violence exists in the world. For centuries we humans have fought over, waged wars even over the concept of beliefs. I recently read an article in The Washington Post, “In the United States, right-wing violence is on the rise” published on November 25, 2018 that discussed the rise of violence from right-wing white supremacists.

Over the past decade, attackers motivated by right-wing political ideologies have committed dozens of shootings, bombings and other acts of violence, far more than any other category of domestic extremist, according to a Washington Post analysis of data on global terrorism.

This violence has been on a steady rise since President Obama but has surged while Trump has been in office. I don’t want this post to become too politically charged however the facts are the facts. People in power do have a lot of influence over our society.

Intellectually I understand that I can only control and manifest change within myself. As an energy reader, healer and communicator, I firmly believe in the laws of attraction. What you put out into this world always comes back to you. Therefore, I choose to love no matter what. Good, bad or indifferent….the one answer is always rooted in love.

I believe our God, however one may choose to define it, intended our purpose here on Earth is to show and practice love with our fellow man. This involves active tolerance and acceptance in the face of adversity and misunderstanding. We don’t have to agree with everybody but we should allow for the differences that exist among each other. I believe if somebody believes in God and then acts in a completely contradictory way, that person has some reckoning to do. God is love. Period.

When my boys were little I used to tell them that they didn’t have to like or be friends with everybody but they must love everybody. It requires courage to love, a vulnerability to allow ourselves to feel for another. Discovering and nurturing our connections is what life is all about. Celebrating what we can relate to and have in common with one another is far more beneficial than what divides us and makes us different. Differences should be celebrated and accepted because uniqueness is what makes each of us an individual. We are a stronger force together than when we are divided into smaller groups.

Today and everyday, I choose to plant the seeds of love, tolerance and acceptance. I choose to stand up and chastise wrongdoings and hate filled violence. Each one of us has to search our souls and decide what we believe is right and what is wrong.

Inclusivity and acceptance must be in the forefront for the future of our society to survive. It is not us vs. them. There is no “invasion ” of any country by immigrants. Rising violence is driving huge numbers of people from their homes to seek asylum in a different place. What if that was your relative or friend? Would you be so quick to chastise that person?

I encourage you dear reader to be a seed planter of love and empathy. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. We must keep the lines of communication open in order to learn from one another. Evolve or die. Learn and grow or wither away. Let’s destroy ignorance by growing more love. The urgency is now and can’t be put off until tomorrow.