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.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/7aiqLKqwfl9Z4KkjLllPe8?si=Aw8ANxUhRnW3cLMg1WzGjA

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
Spirituality

“Thou she be but little she is fierce”

This is one of my favorite quotes. It’s one I lean on when the weight of the world is on my shoulders. It’s by William Shakespeare from his play, “Midsummer Night’s Dream” from the third act…..
Hermia won’t hurt Helena even if you try to help her. Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school. And thou she be but little she is fierce.

This post is dedicated to all the powerful women, soul sisters, a tribe of females who support, remind and inspire me on a daily basis. I firmly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am without these badass ladies. I am nothing if not a woman who sticks her hand out to my fellow female warriors just trying to make sense out of this wild wild world.

As competitive as I can be, I have always believed in rising up as a collective. Not only me but why not all of us, hand in hand together? It does sincerely take a village. There is true strength in numbers my dear readers. When I am in doubt, I don’t isolate myself only relying upon my own stinking thinking. Nope, not anymore because I know I have a solid counsel of women whom I can reach out to and ask for advice, guidance and to throw me a life preserver when I’m drowning in my ego!

I was raised in a family of strong women starting with my Mom’s mother, my dear Nana. If you have been following me from the beginning of this blog, you know I have looked up to this woman as the matriarch of our family. I also have three sisters and lots of female cousins. My Mom is a petite and feisty woman who has taught me to always speak up for myself. Here is a poem I wrote last year with Nana as my muse. Celebrating her beautiful and generous spirit and recognizing how she served as such an influential role model for me on how to treat others💖

Since I was the age of two studying dance, I have always been around more females than males and I definitely feel more comfortable around girls. This sisterhood in which I am a part of share a camaraderie that is unmatched by any other group of women I am lucky enough to call my friends. We have bonded by sharing our growing pains, as young girls transitioning to our awkwardness as teenagers blossoming into women and mothers. Practicing all styles of dance, seven days a week for hours creates more inside jokes, silly stories and laugh out loud anecdotes than I can count, only these ladies and I know. They know who they are and are forever bonded in my soul.

Expressing my gratitude towards my sisterhood tribe is the focus for this week’s post. As the holiday season looms near and the end of 2019 is close, I want to take this time to tell these ladies how much of an impact you have made upon my heart and soul. Your strength, wise words, laughter, hugs, comfort and advice is priceless to me. Love you ladies forever. I see you, I thank you and I love you all 🙌🙏❤

Mental health

How I see things

I’ve been in my current relationship for almost six years. Most of the time I can’t believe how blessed I am to be able to be with a man whom I truly consider my best friend. He’s my person. Unfortunately, there is also a black cloud over us at times because of his mental illness combined with complex complications from years of playing professional football. This is simply my side of the story. What it feels like for me.

I say sometimes that the hardest part is missing somebody so much yet they are standing right in front of you. This man has endured the highest of highs on the gridiron and is now forced to suffer the harshest blows to his ego and personality as his memory, physical pains and overall health deteriorate slowly. I often feel helpless and overwhelmed by the reality of his conditions. As of right now he takes fifteen pills in the morning and about six at night before we go to bed. He has told me numerous times how he loathes all these pills.

Another aspect of our relationship that becomes hard to handle is his mood swings. Feeling so out of control, up and then crashing down creates this pushing away and then pulling towards one another. I could set my watch to his manic period every month, like clockwork. The rage, confusion, discomfort and instability inside him tells him to push me away. That I’ll be better off. I can’t help him. I need and deserve a different life. This from the man I love so deeply and have promised to be with forever. In one breath I’m hearing, “I love you”. In the next I’m being told to leave. More accurately I’m being left alone in our bed at night, staring at the four lonely walls of our apartment. We live in the back of his mother’s house and he often retreats into there.

No matter how many countless times I have begged and pleaded with him that I don’t want us to go to bed angry with each other and how it’s really hard for me to sleep alone because of my own C-PTSD symptoms and the feeling of security I get when we sleep together.

Right now my heart is so heavy as yet again I am alone after an irrational bout of senseless arguing. I tell myself each month not to take anything personally, don’t give in to fighting back with him. Yet every month I fall into this trap again. Laying here crying wondering what I did that was so wrong in his eyes yet knowing that he doesn’t have the ability to see things from my perspective. His perception right now is very skewed as his mind whispers lies to him.

I have vowed that I am down for the ride but the journey to healing is one he must take by himself. I can’t fix him. All I can do is be there for him and support him. Love him in spite of the hurt, love him even when I don’t like him and yes also love him when the voices in his head are screaming at him to give up for good.

It requires patience, understanding and stamina on a daily basis. It requires courage to put my own fears aside and not take the things he does and says personally.

I have come to be able to recognize the man I fell in love with as two different people. Both are intense, sometimes intimidating and passionate. One side is an amazingly funny personality and possesses an outgoingness that is infectious to everybody around him. The other side is serious, mean spirited, quick to criticize and unforgiving.

The roller coaster I ride is not for the faint of heart. It has taught me lessons about myself and my own inner strength. I rise and I fall within each and every month’s cycle living with a man who has severe schizoaffective bipolar disorder, PTSD and Concussion syndrome. We are doing what we can to slow down the progressiveness of his conditions yet I am aware of what our future will look like.

As I write this I choose to remember all the love, fun times and so many belly laughs we have shared. I want more of those yet I see them slipping away a little more each month. My heart aches for a more simple and less complicated road ahead.

I will never leave, give up or give in. I’m a love warrior, that is my job❤

Mental health

Appreciation for feelings

I’ve come to accept and fully appreciate the fact that I’m a highly sensitive person or HSP. I’ve disclosed before in my blog posts that I’m an intuitive, emotional and physical empath. All that being said, I am an emotional being. That is a fact I used to feel shame for. Others would criticize my emotional responses to certain high intensity situations and I would allow their harshness to hurt my fragile feelings. I definitely am someone who wears their heart on their sleeve. Instead of being embarrassed or ashamed for having deep rooted emotions, today I am grateful for them.

Trusting ones gut is a basic and instinctive response to danger. There’s a reason why we say, “go with your gut.” It’s our bodies natural defense mechanism and a way for us to identify how best to react in a potentially dangerous situation. For too long, I was trying to condition myself to be numb. Ignore what I was feeling, not trusting myself or my own instincts proved very detrimental to my safety and well being.

I’ve now learned that with balance, patience and acceptance that I have held these powers all along I just wasn’t listening to them. I subconsciously became too overly trusting of others for fear that my emotions would loom too large. I always held myself back in one way or another.

I love to listen to podcasts and YouTube videos, a few years ago I came across a series about the dangers of denying ones true self. Our emotions are what make us human. I rewatched these videos a few times until it finally struck me. I remember it clearly, the epiphany I had was a game changing principle that I had been resisting for far too long.

The peace that overcame me when I finally began trusting and believing in myself was something I had never experienced before. The quest for my true self had been lying just underneath the surface all along. In that moment, everything began to change.

Shame was washed away and I finally embraced myself as the emotional and spiritual being that I am. The power in that is great my dear readers. There is nothing I can’t accomplish with these beliefs.

My message to you my readers is to learn from my example. Trust your feelings and use them to your advantage. They serve an important role in life. It’s a strange paradox I know to feel others so deeply and honestly yet I was denying myself. Looking back it was just another lesson I had to learn the hard way. I’m blessed to have this newfound perspective and greater understanding of myself.

Feeling amazingly peaceful on this Sunday. Peace, love and light to you all✌🙏❤☺

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😁

Mental health, Spirituality

Keeping love alive

Does anybody have a “love hangover” today, the day after Valentine’s Day? I must admit to feeling some aftershocks from being shown so much love yesterday. From the moment I opened my eyes until the moments before I closed them, love was surrounding me and encompassing me in its warmth and glory. Yesterday was a magical day for giving and receiving love from my friends, family and even my customers at the store. Of course my fiance stepped up his game too by making me feel special, very appreciated and of course loved yesterday as we celebrated Valentine’s Day together. All in all I had awesome day!

I know I have written this before in previous blog posts but I must emphasize it again here. My mission in life is to always spread love and kindness to all I encounter along this journey called life. Especially those who need it the most, the downtrodden, forgotten amongst our society. Those who are homeless are a good example of this. I observe those folks getting treated and judged so poorly on a daily basis, it breaks my heart.

I have a confession to make here. About two years ago, my fiance and I found ourselves without a secure living situation. We were homeless for about three months while we lived in our car. We showered at our local YMCA, ate at food pantries and sometimes slept overnight on the beach. It wasn’t easy and the only positive part of it is that at least we were together. I can’t imagine having to bear that time alone on the streets by myself. Some days were better than others. Some days I was so terribly sad and depressed not knowing where we were going to end up and how we were going to rise out of the terrible spot we felt stuck in. Our cell service was cut off too so we became experts at finding and utilizing free WiFi in order to stay in touch with our loved ones.

I have seen life from different angles and perspectives. My experiences have shaped me into the woman I am today. I take nothing for granted and try to be as grateful for everything I have today as I possibly can be on a daily basis. Anything can happen at anytime that can shift one’s world, turning everything upside down. Believe me dear readers, I am living proof of it!

I like to tell others when describing my life that I have lived a few different lives during my lifetime so far these 41 years. My family owned a car dealership while I was growing up and we enjoyed an upper middle class lifestyle. Then while I was married, my ex-husband was a hardworking blue collar type of guy who usually worked more than one job which afforded me the ability to be a stay at home mother for ten years while my boys were little. Then I went through my divorce and found myself working three jobs to try and survive. As I began having nervous breakdowns that required me to be hospitalized so many times I found myself homeless for the 1st time. I couldn’t afford my rental house because I had lost all of my jobs one by one so I was offered a friend’s couch to sleep on. That experience was extremely humbling, complicated and difficult.

It took me years to rebuild my life after going through so much loss. I have a keen awareness of how much grief and loss can affect a person’s outlook in life. I was basically just trying to survive everyday, I was definitely not thriving. It has taken years of intensive treatment, therapy, healing and rivers of tears to get me to where I am today.

There is not one day that goes by that I don’t pause, allow myself some quiet time to sit and reflect on my past. I whisper Thank you God for keeping me going forward, pushing me even a millimeter more when I wanted to give up. For allowing some wonderful people to come into my life and inspire me to want to do better. For guiding me through the darkness until I could see just a small speck of light. For keeping my faith, hope and belief alive enough so I never quit. There were a few times I did consider ending it all. I thought those who loved me would be better off without the burden of worrying about me, the pain of the disappointment I felt I had become.

Yes dear readers, I have expierienced some very dark days. I have also had the pleasure of feeling some truly amazing moments too. I am grateful for all of it. Without the dark one cannot appreciate the light. Hold on tight to those you love and tell them how you feel. Don’t judge others for there but the grace of God go any of us. Be kind always and act as if God himself is always watching you (because he is) In the end life is short. Love is all that matters. Spread it generously to all everyday and keep love ALIVE💖