Spirituality

Revisiting my #Momentsofjoy

Yesterday I wrote about my fellow blog friend’s idea of posting under the hashtag #Momentsofjoy, so here it is my dear readers. The story that unfolds is one I have never recounted before yet I hold it very near and dear to my heart❤

It’s a mixture of both sorrow and pain coupled with happiness and joy. Every ounce of it sprinkled with genuine love straight from my soul.

In 2010 my ex-husband and I were living in New Jersey, specifically at the home I grew up in from 1977 until 1996 when I graduated high school and left for college. In 2008 however, we found ourselves part of the financial and homeowner’s crisis in the United States having to negotiate with our mortgage company and begging them to allow us to short sale the house we had purchased in 2003. After achieving the go ahead to close on the property, we gathered our things and moved from Rhode Island to Northern New Jersey. My parents were living part of the time in Florida then. Where I’m from, we call them snowbirds. Retired folks that spend the winter months down South and the warmer months up in the North.

It was May of 2010 when my ex-husband told me quite matter of factly that he had put in for a job transfer back up to the New England area he was just given the news on the new location he would be reporting to that July! Mind you my dear readers, all of this was done without consulting me at all. I knew he couldn’t stand life in general in New Jersey. In stark contrast, I was in heaven! I was living in my childhood home, back hanging around with my many friends from my school days and having both of my boys attend the schools that I went too! It was a glorious time for me. I was also teaching dance at the studio that raised me and gave me the knowledge and opportunities for a professional dance career. I was living my best life up until that day he ordered me to start looking for a rental home.

In hindsight I can now see at that point how quickly I slipped into robotic mode, putting his needs before my own. Anyhow, I jumped on the web and reached out to a few real estate agents asking for their assistance in finding us a house to rent in just 2 months time. The pressure was on as we spent every weekend traveling up to RI from NJ to look at different properties. It was grueling and very time consuming.

In late June during one of these weekends we were shown the most darling beach cottage on a dead end road across from a private beach. Even though it was just a one bedroom Cape, it’s charm had all 4 of us immediately smitten and we signed a one year lease on the spot! I knew how special this property was and I wasn’t going to lose it! This picture captures the ambiance perfectly both in and around the cottage 🏡

#5 Nichol Ave. aka my paradise 🥰

In early July 2010, I think it may have been the 4th of July weekend even, my family of 4 along with our cat Moses moved from NJ to our new beach cottage in RI. I like to joke around by calling myself a professional nomad. I have moved over 20 times in my adult life and it doesn’t take me much effort anymore to move. I have whittled my personal belongs down to a few suitcases and a few boxes of keepsakes. At this time however it was still quite an undertaking moving 2 adults, 2 small children with our cat across state lines.

Paradise island

I must admit, our 1st weekend inhabiting that cottage was 100% magnificent! Quiet, peaceful and invigorating. I loved being able to walk right across the street to find unending opportunities for peace and happiness. Each and every day taught us new things like when the tide was going in or out, what kind of fish and shellfish was to be found at different points along Narragansett Bay. All of it delicious and right in our own backyard. The beach was really just for residents which made it very private and allowed me to feel extremely grateful for where I had found myself after two years of heartache. I don’t wish the hell I felt after losing my home to the mortgage company bank upon even my worst enemy. The powers that be made my life a living and breathing reoccurring nightmare until that final day when we dotted the i and crossed that t during the closing paperwork.

We enjoyed several months of bliss in that cottage as a family. Again, looking back upon that time I can see anything but peace for me personally. I was wrestling with my mental illness, the slow loss of reality that ended up leading to my suicide attempt in November of 2011.

You’re probably scratching your head dear readers like, hmmmmm she said this was supposed to be highlighting #Momentsofjoy? Yes, I digress since I still have regrets and reservations over this particular time in my life. I vow to my audience to always be authentic and real about any part of my life and this time is no different. The years of 2008 until 2013 were the hardest, most sobering and dark times of my entire life. Since this is the 1st time I have truly written about it, I ask you dear readers to forgive the perspective I have now which is still sadness and shame despite the beautiful gift that living there truly was for me. Even today.

I absolutely LOVED this beach cottage. I felt at peace there and I relished every morning when I woke up, window open to hear the seagulls cry, smell the saltwater air drench my senses and look out to sun spectacular sand! It was like living in paradise every damn day. I would open every window and practice yoga. It was marvelously grounding and filled my days with joy. When I’m asked what my happy place is, I immediately recall my beach cottage and its beach. Ahhhhhh, OM🧘‍♀️

Low tide

Even after the separation from my ex-husband I worked 3 jobs just to be able to afford the rent and utility payments there. I lasted almost 2 full years living there alone making all the money I could to keep afloat my dream home. To me, I was keeping the dream alive for not only myself but for my boys who were just 6 and 10 at the time. I didn’t want for them to see their mother failing even though in many ways I was.

These are the benches I sat on gazing out at the water and asking God for the answers🙏

In early 2012, I was forced to give up my paradise. I was blessed enough to have a friend offer his couch to me for the next 8 months while I tried to get my life back together. I took a job in sales working for a high end clothing line at that time. I spent my last day in that house taking pictures and sitting on these benches giving my hopes up to God.

Now, 8 years later I can say how much I learned about myself during that time. I’m not easily a quitter. I don’t take NO for an answer the 1st few times. My resilience fuels my passion for what I love and hold dear. I am proud of myself for how long I hung on even when I knew I would have to make a choice that I didn’t necessarily want to or agreed with at first.

In life, we do what we have to. We fight the good fight for as long as it makes sense. Nowadays, I don’t spin my wheels as much. I make smarter choices for my own emotional and spiritual energy and health. Everything in life is a lesson my dear readers. In the end, I don’t regret anything even though I wrote that I do, I release it with thos post and feel infinitely blessed to have had the moments of happiness and joy the beach cottage on 5 Nichol Ave brought me❤🏡🥰

Spirituality

A little bit of sunshine

Hey y’all!! I returned back here to Texas from Florida late Sunday night. I gave myself permission to rest and do nothing yesterday which is a real challenge for me having the amount of energy I do 😜 The weather cooperated however and was quite dreary with rain, inviting me to lay under the covers, snuggle with my partner while we watched movies🎬 one of my favorite down time activities.

To do list

The clouds parted and the sun was shining bright today here my dear readers! YAY, I am a huge sun lover 😉 I must express how welcoming this felt here since Dallas has been under rain storms for over two weeks now 🌞 I made my daily morning shake using these supplements. Took my vitamins, put on my work out clothes and headed into my backyard😎

Plant based protein & maca powder
Supergreens for superior health

First I read my daily affirmations, repeating them once over with my eyes closed. Then I read a page under today’s date in Mark Nepo’s “Book of Awakening” which focused on growing even in darkness. Ah Mr. Nepo, how your words hit so close to home today. I would be lying if I said that the current state of our world hasn’t gotten me rattled and worried. As an intuitive empath, the energy swirling around me affects me differently throughout the day. I am doing my best, my damndest to allow my emotions to flow through without getting stuck on the fear or sadness too much. My anxiety is amped up however, I do have CPTSD and it feels more intense lately in a new way my dear readers.

I spent three hours out there in solitude and it felt wonderful❤ I balanced my chakras using my crystal set too. Putting all of my energy into keeping my thoughts light and positive. Here’s a little video I took afterwards featuring my latest mantra🧘‍♀️

As Above So Below

I am centered. I am balanced. I am encased in white light. I radiate love from the inside out. I am alright🥰

Until next time…..peace, love & light ✌❤🌠

Spirituality

Let love shine

During these uncertain and rapidly changing times, it’s important to allow our feelings to flow as they will. It’s normal to feel the fear and panic that is swirling through the planetary energy because of the affects from the Coronavirus. However, it’s just as important to not get stuck in a negative downward spiral of anxiety and worry.

I speak from experience my dear readers because for the majority of my life I was frozen by fear, paralyzed by it actually. I found myself in these terribly painful dissociative episodes and debilitating panic attacks not to mention the routines I created to soothe my OCD. There was a period of time when my oldest son Ty was a baby that I didn’t even leave my house. My anxiety and overthinking ruled my days as I found myself repetitively washing not only my hands but my home and beyond. Those were dark days my friends and I’m grateful to be past them now!

Yesterday I woke up with a vision for a new painting. I have always enjoyed using paints but have mostly used oils. This past holiday season while scrolling mindlessly on Amazon, I discovered these fantastic watercolor pens. They are refillable too and make using this medium so easy with virtually no mess! Not that making a mess bothers me these days however clean up is a breeze with these pens. My creative juices flow quite quickly and at times my time management is lacking in between my daily chores, practices and work schedule. Sometimes I feel the urge to paint when time doesn’t always allow for it. Lately I feel there are just not enough hours in my day, I bet many of you can relate to that!

Love vibration in full color

My dear friends and the owners of the boutique I manage decided to close down for at least this week and had me shut down a lot earlier this past Saturday night. It’s out of our control my dear readers and we all must abide by what our governments are advising for our own safety and health. I am choosing to look on the bright side of this unexpected time off. I have many creative projects to explore and execute this week. My mother found very reasonable airfare to South Florida from Texas and I will be leaving for there tomorrow morning until Friday night.

I am really looking forward to spending quality time with both my parents because they are elderly and time is so precious. Our weather here is calling for rain all week and being out in the sunshine of Florida feels much more positive for my spirits! My parents live on a glorious lake with a wonderful nature path nearby within walking distance and I’m really looking forward to spending time in nature too. Getting to float in the ocean and in the pool is also top on my list. Creating these serene moments of calm and serenity allow me to take mental photographs in which I can then utilize for meditative imagery when I feel stress mounting. Being able to visualize an oasis in my mind has helped me tremendously during my healing journey and one of the best practices I was taught ten years ago when I began down the path to self.

I want to remind you my dear readers that our minds can create the best and worst scenarios for our reality. It is a choice which way one wants to travel through thought and feelings. By practicing yoga and meditation I have allowed for space to be able to observe these choices so that I can best choose how my day will unfold. I chose to follow my heart and listen closely to my intuition. Deciphering between ego stories and my soul’s voice is a gift I have worked really hard at obtaining and one that I don’t take for granted by impulsive actions. I enjoy where I am in life today, the inner peace I feel and the love I feel radiating from the inside out. I have served my time feeling depressed and anxious. Those dark days and years have led me here to become the master of my own emotions and realize how much I actually do control my own reality. I’m no longer a victim but the hero of my own life’s story. This is the epitome of my motto for living, “Triumphing over Trauma”. Walking out of the shadows and into the bright light🌠

Allowing love & light to shine from within

When we chose to radiate love towards ourselves, even through times of conflict, we provide healing for our soul. When we are radiating love towards others, we reciprocate the love and kindness that they give us in such an abundance that it helps in their own healing creating joy for both the other person and for ourselves. It’s a transmuting force of energy and my wish for our world right now. Sending you all love, light & peace ❤🌠✌

Spirituality

Thoughts from a recovering perfectionist

The thoughts of a recovering perfectionist need to be parsed out. When the other shoe drops, oh boy can it ever….my mind becomes scrambled eggs. I can’t string one thought to the next while I doubt everything my mind presents me. Hi again, Complex PTSD thinking, nice to see you again, insert sarcasm. Listen, I have been on this awakening ride long enough to realize the healing comes in waves. Never all at once. How would we learn that way. At least I sure don’t.

My soul yearns to be the compass most days. I have understanding enough to know that reality is an illusion because ego predicts 90% of what we see as truth. It takes a deep dive to see that a higher consciousness is needed to integrate all parts of self. When I find self caught up in my head, deciding my next direction becomes complicated. That’s where I have have found myself lately. Too caught up, fighting my own mind. Giving myself permission to feel this as it flows through my body. Telling myself to go with the flow, the less I resist the more easily it is to let go of these moments instead of becoming paralyzed by them.

Thoughts of a recovering perfectionist
Spirituality

Stuck on memory lane

Ahhhhhh dear reader’s I can tell I’m neck deep in my own “stuff” when I wake up and immediately feel left over anxiety and frustration from the night before. Any little irritation sets me spinning off and yes I have been feeling quite heavy for the past 2 days as I reminisce about the good ol days of my youth. Since my last post I have been stuck on memory lane💭

Sadly, on Sunday my Mom called me to tell me that my step sister Liz’s husband passed away. My parents are both not well enough to travel from Florida to New Jersey for the service. I immediately thought of my nephews and niece who are now without their Dad. He was a great father and he and my sister were married for over thirty years. There are six of us siblings all together and I fall second to the last in age order. Here is a picture of all of us at their wedding sometime in the early 80’s…..

That’s me on the left😊 I was probably 7 or 8 years old.

My parents came into their marriage together with two children each. Back in the late 70s they did the best they could to create a blended family, which was extremely difficult because of our wide age gaps. My step brother Jay is twenty years older than me, my step sister Liz is eighteen, then comes my sister Tami (my Mom’s oldest daughter) who is twelve years older, then my brother Billy is ten years my senior. My parents had me in 1977 and lastly the baby of our family, my sister Gina was born in 1979. Thinking back I remember us all always spending holidays together.

When someone passes it always makes me think of the past and how fast time has gone by.  I remember the little girl I was so wide eyed with wonder, curious about everything and super shy. I really didn’t break out of that phase until I started dancing competitively at around age 10. With all I have unearthed surrounding my sexual abuse at age 5 and 6, I have been slowly going back in my memory bank. That expierience taught me how to dissociate and being numb to my own feelings began there. Eventually I developed Complex PTSD, but that diagnosis took many years to come about.

Little Maria age 3
Silly Maria age 5

For this post however I’m choosing to focus on how my youngest sister Gina and I had the best of everything provided to us. She and I are just twenty-two months apart. I call her G, she was my first best friend, we did absolutely everything together and my Mom dressed us alike for too many years I think🤣 Looking back at these pictures however, I must admit how darn cute the two of us were (are)❤

Sisters in the summertime
We ❤ this hammock

We grew up in a very idyllic neighborhood, nowadays I would compare it to Mr. Rogers’s. Our small town, Wyckoff, NJ is located just 15 minutes from NYC. Everybody knew everyone, all the kids in the neighborhood rode our bikes together, played on each other’s front lawns and swan in each other’s pools in the summer. Our neighbor directly across the street became my first friend outside of family because our mother’s were pregnant with us at the same time and I like to say we were bonded in the womb 😄 Around Christmas time, we would dress up and go caroling. Even my grandparents joined us and the neighbors would invite us in for hot chocolate and cookies. You could run to any neighbor’s house at anytime and feel welcomed. My sister and I went to summer camps, took all kinds of lessons including tennis, swimming, dance, piano, art, and sewing just to name a few, played sports and went on at least one family vacation yearly. We were extremely blessed to have been exposed to so much from an early age.

My sister Gina and I both started dancing soon after we could walk. I know I was around 2 years old. We were always paired in duos once we started dancing in competitions and we were always next to each other in the same line (our director said it made it easier for our Mom to take pictures!) usually front row, in all of our dance numbers. Thinking back, dancing was the highlight of my childhood and into my teenage years, creating my passion for dance and movement today 💃❤

Jazz sisters
“Dreamgirls” opening recital dance

Since G lives in Florida and I live in Texas, we are far away from each other. I can’t just get in my car and meet her to get our nails done or grab some coffee. When I was married and lived in Rhode Island while she was living in New Jersey, we used to meet at a half way point on I95 a lot so our children could see each other. Many times I would take her daughter and son back up with me to RI so the cousins could spend quality time together. I also used to drive down to NJ at least once a month to stay at my parent’s house for the weekend so everybody could visit together. Lately I have been thinking about her and missing those times we spent together a lot! So much time has passed since the sweet days of our youth and early adulthood. I’ve been experiencing a lot of inner child wounds that keep bubbling up to the surface. That’s what happens after you stuff a dark secret away for thirty-five years. It’s like holding a balloon under water, eventually it will find it’s way to the surface.

So I have spent much of the past two days in my head and in my shadow. All of the old beliefs about myself, old thinking patterns, nightmares and memories are back in full force. It feels sticky and honestly very awful. I must console myself by myself because that is the job of reparenting. It’s bittersweet because as much as I love these pictures, I can’t really remember any of the specific details that go along with them. My memories are really hazy and clouded by fear, anxiety, stress and an overwhelming sense of panic. I have often said my body felt like it ran on a motor of all of these fore mentioned feelings. Healing comes in waves. I’m weary and I feel weak. Time to retire this heavy head and ❤ of mine.

I wrote this poem before I fell asleep last night…

Spirituality

Healing through movement and sound

My dear readers, I am about to share with you all a few practices that have created such joy in my life and are proving to be real game changers along this healing transformation I am experiencing lately. My heart is singing just thinking about the calming impact they have had, at the same time exhilarated feelings that these practices have brought to my life!

Solfeggio sounds

I love to meditate. I have rediscovered it’s beneficial aspects again after having not made the time for this practice for too long, I can see how my life was seriously lacking it’s mindfulness results. So I restarted a couple of different styles depending on my mood and the amount of time I could give to it daily. I like both guided and Transcendental techniques. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon the information but I think it must have been in an article I was reading that explained the benefits of sound healing through frequencies like Solfeggio sounds. I did incorporate the information about the app I use called, SoundHeal in my long post last week, entitled “Visons proclaiming my future path”. I have come to look forward to the 10-15 minutes a day I allot for this practice because I literally tune the world out and get to be with myself. It’s a gift. It’s something I need to do in order to keep in the present moment and remain mindful. It calms and soothes me while adjusting my mindset so I can tackle my day.

Dance

Another very important practice I have restarted in my life is dance! I have written in past posts dear readers that I studied all forms of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and modern since age 2 and then quit abruptly due to emotional stress of competing at a high level and some other reasons I will elaborate on in future posts. Last week I posted, “This is me,” a video of myself dancing alone in my room to the song “Titanium” by David Guetta. I feel most alive when I’m dancing and moving my body. It’s so freeing and the best way, I believe for me to allow my spirit to soar and get connected with my soul’s essence. I recently returned to the dance studio too attending both a ballet and a jazz/funk class.

This resurgence of my love for dance got me thinking about the kind of dancing that allows people to connect with their true spirit and tell a story through dance. So I turned to Google and entered “transformative dancing” and the first video I clicked on was my answer!

Mindfulness Dancing

There is a woman from Ohio named Jaime Marich who is both a professional counselor with a human services degree and has a dance/theater background founded a group dance class called “Mindfulness Dancing”. She incorporated her love of yoga, breathwork and therapeutic dance into a group class that frees your soul and spirit! She discovered after getting sober and living in recovery that when you incorporate your body into therapy it produces such deeper healing results than just traditional talk therapy alone. I watched this video below a few times and was immediately struck by how when you allow your body to do what you feel, using even the simplest of movements, you tell your own story. She and the other participants admitted that people in their early 20s sometimes have a hard time finding the words to express themselves but can more easily find a movement that exactly matches their feelings. Add music to this and BAM….I immediately wished there was a local class I could attend like this! I have really learned the benefits of healing in a collective, a community of like minded people.

Perhaps I need to start a class here in Dallas like her model 🤔 Check it out here….

Bringing people through their pain and trauma while igniting their life force energy, aliveness is something that I admire deeply. There is a beauty to being within a group that casts no judgement or critique to one another. The complete opposite of the kind of dancing I grew up aspiring to perform. I can see now how the level I was at crushed my love of dance. After I quit, I turned my interests in music to following The Grateful Dead and twirling along with my fellow deadheads. Their music is still a big part of my life today. I put it on when I want to connect with myself, let loose and get free! This is one of my favorite medleys of, “Estimated Prophet/Shakedown Street/Fire on the Mountain/Sugar Magnolia” from 11/24/78 at The Capital Theater in Passaic, New Jersey. Being both the Jersey girl I am and born in 1977, this performance tickles my fancy and makes my spirit soar!! Enjoy it my dear readers, put it on, crank the volume up loud and dance my fellow soul dancers!

“The Art of Aliveness”

Lastly, I want to share with you my dear friend Chrissy Marie aka @comealivewithchrissymarie on Instagram’s new podcast called, “The Art of Aliveness”. She has recorded 7 episodes so far and each of them contain gems of truth, humor and insightfullness coupled with her quick witted intelligence on how to cultivate life force energy by utilizing curiosity and courage with play. Proving these practices bring joy into your life and connect you with your soul. Her latest episode explores the healing qualities of sound vibration within the body. She provides the science behind the proven benefits of sound and how talking to yourself, singing, chanting and humming bring your attention out of your thinking mind and into your body. Helps to regain your focus, improves memory and is just plain fun! I just adore her, my sassy red headed friend. I think anybody who wants to feel alive, boost their joy and laugh needs to listen. I take notes as I listen usually twice through each episode that spark laughter, sometimes I cry when she strikes that chord and mostly she makes me think. Afterwards, I can connect with the information and find what speaks to me that I can incorporate into my daily practices and healing.

“Triumphing over Trauma”

We are only on this Earth for such a short time and I feel like I don’t want to squander another moment being in pain or reliving trauma from my past. So far, since June, I have reignited my passions by remembering just who I am and what I came here to do. I believe we come to this life as spirits being many thousands of years old with amnesia. Everyday I am waking up a bit more, engaging in the conversations, living my truths, finding the situations and expierienced that make my free spirit take flight again. I am alive and it feels so good after years of living in and feeling stuck by pain, trauma, depression and anxiety 🥰 This is what my motto “Triumphing over Trauma” looks like….

Me in the boutique I manage “Studio Store”
My ode to sound healing
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🦋