Mental health, Spirituality

Further understanding and integration of my shadow self, getting comfortable with discomfort

When I first started this spiritual journey into healing my mental health and searching for just who I am there were two concepts that honestly terrified me. Those two things were the idea of healing my inner child and meeting my shadow self. The latter being the most intriguing yet completely unacceptable to me way back then. November of 2011 was an extremely dark period of my life yet it also marks an important time in my life because I was given the gift of desperation. Once I hit my bottom the only way to go was up and through. Understand that clearly dear readers, the only way to healing is walking through the pain. There are no quick fixes, magic pills that numb your feelings forever because those feelings are sensations in your body that send your brain important messages of what your body needs.

Our society wants to ignore feelings, seeing them as a weakness not a strength. Swallow or stuff them in order to be strong when in essence it is completely the opposite that grows one’s mental strength. This past weekend’s full moon was a very powerful reminder for me to actively release all that no longer serves me. It also brought up some more darker truths, that being the existence of my shadow self. But what is shadow self?

When we are born we don’t know anything about how our body works and what it needs. As our knowledge about theworld around us grows our personality is forming. Based upon what is socially acceptable, some aspects of ourselves are repressed and denied because they are seen as negative. It is the subconscious part that our egos don’t want to identify with, everything of which is unconscious. Basically the unknown. In order to truly become enlightened one must explore, accept and integrate this side of ourselves to achieve true balance and a sense of wholeness. Again, there is no way around this, one must walk through. There are many ways that we can learn more about this mysterious side of ourselves but my favorite is journaling. The kind of writing that is free flowing, not thought out, in order to access those feelings we deem as ugly, the ones we don’t want to admit to having. We all have parts of ourselves that we deny because we naturally seek love and acceptance. Our egos tell us loads of lies to protect ourselves from rejection, abandonment and pain. What’s amazing is that this other side of ourselves is actually incredibly powerful and necessary to our evolement, by becoming more self aware we grow to accept others too. We can identify and show empathy toward others when we see these sides of their personalities emerge. We become less judgemental of first ourselves, then of others. We can forgive more easily and practice humility. When I consciously made the decision to meet my shadow self my ego was screaming at me to stop, close that door and bolt it forever. Throw away the imaginary key that I had created in childhood. The energy that I have now restored within myself by ceasing to repress this side is so empowering. All that exhaustively wasted energy was my egos attempt to keep my true spirit covered. I thought I was protecting myself and staying safe. The exact opposite is true as I was a prisoner of my own mind. Stuck really, feeling as though I was fighting my own brain. I repeated this pattern for a couple years. Put my self healing on a shelf, not ready to deal with it.

The same patterns emerged around facing my inner child. That wounded little girl that was conditoned to betray herself and her needs in oorder to have the acceptance of others. Over time that progamming made me feel unworthy of love and attention cementing within me that I was unimportant. That is where real suffering begins and lies. I had ignored my childhood pain for long enough because these mixed up messages were creating chaos within my relationships. I was constantly being triggered into a trauma response morphing me into this extremely hypervigilant, nervous and fearful individual who had an over abundance of anxiety.

By following me and reading this blog of mine, you should be able to tell by now that I have made a lot of progress in investigating, facing and accepting both my shadow self and healing my inner child. I believe it is a lifelong conscious decision and isn’t something that happens overnight. I am actively reparenting myself by tending to that part of my wounded self. It demands my patience, requires self compassion and asks for me to allow space for showing myself grace. This concept is especially challenging for me because I want to deny myself, blame myself and hurt myself when I feel certain of my needs aren’t being met. It is up to me and only me to fulfill these needs and tell myself new stories, creating a new tape to play in my mind when I am triggered.

Monday morning I awoke feeling so powerful and confident but by that evening I found myself triggered, acting out and all those parts of my shadow self were alive and well in my behavior. I created chaos within the partnership with my fiance because I was relying too heavily on him to mke everything better. He was so confused and alarmed by my words and actions. In hindsight he had every right to question the woman in front of him. In the past I would deny any of this was even happening because I wasn’t ready to acknowledge the darkness within me and the pain inside me that had been laying dormant for years. That is the old Maria, now I am choosing to heal by accepting this new path. I spent yesterday giving myself permission to show myself some love. I practiced self care, rested my overworked body and mind by spending some extra time practicing meditation. Inner peace is only achieved when I can slow down my thoughts, observe them without judgement and become mindful of my breath.This is where the power of choice comes in. Making the conscious decision to understand mysef more fully AND accept whatever comes up is like a new superpower.

Making friends with the darkest of my emotions has sparked a tremendous surge in my creativity. Realizing my shadow self is a reflection of my power, honesty and passion. I can laugh at myself with ease and rerelinquish the perfectionist in me that tells me to hate myself when I make a mistake. I can take myself less seriously. I use my meditation practice to focus on self compassion when I feel like I want to start beating myself up again. Squashing old patterns and forming new pathways takes mental, emotional and spiritual awareness. The mental strength and courage to be my best and most whole self. It’s like meeting myself for the 1st time. It’s the most gratifying and profoundly powerful experience to date on my self healing journey.

Sending love, compassion and understanding to al the other self healers out there, we got this💪🙏✌💖

Mental health, Spirituality

What silence means to me

Life has it’s ebbs and flows. Lately I feel so connected, balanced and centered in my human vessel. The universe is providing me all that I need. I’m awake and conscious, sharply focused on manifesting my intentions. The best way I have learned to get there is through meditation.

Rediscovering, reclaiming and restarting my meditative practice has been absolutely vital to my whole body health. I was taught Transcendental meditation over 4 years ago but stopped my practice due to larger life stressors and putting my own health on the back burner. Not a great choice but that’s life sometimes, right? Knowing I can start again and get myself back to a place of zen is a beautiful gift that I’m choosing to give myself! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’m showing myself grace by allowing missteps to happen.

I’ve really evolved this summer and integrating both Transcendental meditation, chanting and energy balancing meditation back into my life is a huge part of my newly uncovered peace of mind. We humans are mostly living in the subconscious while 95% of our brain functions this way. I believe because of my gifts and the higher vibration that I function at, I definitely use more than the average person. My therapist and I talk about how igniting different parts of one’s brain can definitely benefit those of us who have experienced trauma.

I read a study recently that showed the mental health field is now paying more attention to how trauma has impacted so many other conditions. A great deal of applause needs to be given for Dr. Gabor Mate. He has a background in family practice and a special interest in child development and trauma, and the potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including autoimmune disease, cancer, ADHD, addictions, and a wide range of other conditions.

Basically, most of us think as trauma in the Big T way. The DSM-5 defines a PTSD trauma as any situation where one’s life or bodily integrity is threatened; these are typically large ‘T’ traumas. While small ‘t’ traumas for the most part would not lead to the development of pure PTSD symptoms, it is possible that a person can develop some trauma response symptoms. In other words, the person may experience increased distress and decreased quality of life. Most individuals develop PTSD as a by product of avoidance strategies, being “tough” to avoid the stigma of having a mental health issue yet completely inaffective in actually healing from the trauma itself.

I have been living with Complex PTSD my entire life. I can tell you the latest therapies (EMDR & Acupuncture for me) research and advice about how to actually alter my behaviors due to my trauma responses has proved life altering for my quality of life. I have connected with a great little group of mental health practitioners, empaths and light workers on Instagram who deal with the exact same “stuff” as I do. They have found a way out and are so validating to me while I navigate my own experiences.

My mission with this blog is to shed light upon, connect and share my truth with others whom have similar life experiences. Good, bad or indifferent. It’s all about gathering more positive energy and experiences so we can counter balance the negative ones that are inevitably going to show up during our journey here on Earth.

I recently had another bout of laryngitis. I am a chronic sufferer. When I lose my voice I must commit to at least one day of silence so I can recoup and rest my inflamed vocal chords. On Monday I found myself writing on a yellow legal pad so that I could effectively communicate with my partner. That experience was surprisingly amazing! I retreated into an inner realm that reminded me of meditation. As both a writer and somebody who likes to talk, I feel I have a lot to say most days. My fiance has to remind me to enjoy the quiet more, close my ever flapping lips and just be more often than I care to admit here.

By Tuesday I can admit to having a very rewarding and enlightening experience with silence. This poem was the end result of those emotions and experience. Sending love, light and positive energy to all my readers and fellow writers while we “Triumph over Trauma” ✌💪😊

Spirituality

Making peace with my past and moving forward

I have really been going through quite a transformation as of late. The universe is always there to provide what I need when I need it. A return to caring for my emotional health, really a blessing in disguise. A sort of tap on the shoulder to remind me to always make my mental health a priority. Another opportunity for growth, understanding and healing. As an emotional, intuitive and physical empath and a woman who has Complex PTSD, I must work extra hard sometimes at maintaining my whole body health. This summer has been both tremendously painful and incredibly enlightening. I have learned to accept my shadow self in order to reap the benefits of a deeper understanding of myself and my personal truths.

I have uncovered more of what makes me ME, my authentic self. Disconnecting from the daily grind and using this leave of absence I am on to truly heal is a gift. I am eternally grateful to those who have crossed my path and helped me along the way. We are all connected and we need each other to survive. Speaking one’s truth can be scary sometimes but ultimately so liberating!

I had the pleasure of visiting with my oldest son, my parents and other family members in celebration of my Mom’s 75th birthday. What a milestone to ring in and what a month August has been for me. In order to think on a more complex level we must feel more and in order to do that, I have realigned myself by living in the moment.

Last week ushered in an abundance of gifts. Reconnecting with my oldest brother, having the opportunity to be there for somebody who needed support and spending more one on one time with my boy er man (he’s 18 now) lifted my spirits like a homeopathic medicine!

On my last day with my family, my Mom and I spent time at our favorite beach. The beach in general has always been my safe space, my happy place and where I feel most alive. This day was made extra special because I helped my Mom overcome her fears of living in an aging and sometimes failing body by getting into the ocean. It was so serene and refreshing, becoming one with the waves as I float on top of the water allowing the sheer power in it’s current to rejuvenate my soul. It’s the best cure for whatever is ailing me. Nothing brings a more peaceful vibe to me than floating in the ocean!

Once we were in the water and working to stabilize ourselves, we noticed this man. I instinctively could tell he was summoning the ocean’s great power for something. Turns out he is an energy healer and claircognizant. After a brief conversation he invited us into his energy grid of crystals. The intense warmth I felt while standing inside of it was so welcoming and soothing to all of my senses. He then proceeded to transmute the negative energy we each carry due to trauma into positive life affirming source energy. When I glanced over at my Mom, she was glowing! Absolutely beautiful and engulfed in this bright white light, it was amazing to witness! I’ve long suspected my mother too shares some metapyschical gifts and that experience proved it to me. He also successfully healed the trauma cord between us.

I also shared some very special time with my son. He admitted to me that he too has intuitive instincts, knowing things before they actually happen and feeling on a deeper level. I’m so happy he has me to talk to about his extra sensory perceptions because I didn’t have anybody to share my own experiences with at his age. I didn’t even start talking out loud to anyone about what has always been a huge part of my life until five years ago. Sharing these gifts with him is so deeply ingrained in who I am and I feel has brought us much closer.

The universe is taking care of me by providing all the answers to my many questions and fulfilling my desires. I’m vibrating on such a higher plane now. It feels amazing that I can clearly manifest my intentions. The love I have inside for myself and humanity is overflowing. I know how loved I am in return. My spirit is so bright and this human vessel I am in finally matches my insides! I feel completely whole. I possess an inner knowing, so much more makes sense to me.

Everyday I make it my 1st priority to meditate and align myself. It’s as important to me as breathing. Keeping myself balanced not only facilitates my own ongoing healing but is vital towards assisting others in theirs. I’m right where I’m supposed to be. My feet are planted firmly in today. Being present in this moment allows my free spirit to soar to new heights!

Mental health

Emotional breakdown to spiritual awakening

Since my last post two weeks ago, I have been in the thick of what was first believed to be an emotional breakdown. Now I’m coming to understand that I’ve been experiencing a spiritual shift, an awakening and a rebirth of my spirit. The reiki sessions I had coupled with some introspective meditation has led me to this place of knowing that what has taken place has elevated me to a higher understanding and evolvement.

As an extra sensory person, an intuitive, emotional and physical empath I vibrate on a higher frequency which lends me to experience all these beautiful gifts our creator has bestowed upon me. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and more like a curse or burden but lately due to the emotional flashbacks from trauma, moon phases, eclipses and shifting planets my world felt extra heavy. That’s when my shadow self appeared.

Over the years on my spiritual journey into healing and understanding of myself, I have learned that we possess both light and shadow selves. One cannot exist without the other. We tend to praise our light beings and have a more positive attitude and relationship with that part of ourselves. Meanwhile our dark or shadow self is cast aside, unaccepted and deemed wrong. It’s not ok to be depressed or sad. We deny it, resist it and try to abolish it altogether.

Lately I’ve been delving into research in holistic psychology and reading about this dark side that we may consciously or unconsciously be aware of within all of our egos. I’ve come to see the beauty and necessity of both sides. Again, one cannot exist without the other.

I have spent two weeks in a thick heavy mud feeling stuck. A roller coaster of emotions from sadness to anger and rage. All these feelings I stuffed, deemed as unacceptable or wrong even “bad” have come bursting out of me. My psyche has been attempting to block these uncomfortable feelings tied to my traumatic events for so many years.

Now I have this awesome opportunity to fully heal BOTH sides of myself. I sat in the mud, I told myself it’s ok to not be ok. I stopped resisting my depression and moved through it. Three nights ago I actually had a spiritual awakening. It was so powerful and left me with this overall feeling of peace and calm.

This is the best way I can describe it. It felt like an outer body expierience. All sounds became muffled and I felt outside of myself just observing the moment. Then there was a shifting feeling, like something propelling me forward. I was walking through the fog into a bright light. I immediately felt lighter, and I could breathe again! I haven’t been able to take deep relaxing breaths lately but now I could breathe a sigh of relief, finally! This sensation lasted for maybe thirty seconds.

Now I can get to work on the next step of my healing process. Eradicating the block I’m having while accessing those uncomfortable feelings during EMDR sessions. My traumatic event and the feelings that are tied to it must be properly reprocessed. I’ve done the soul searching and introspective work by accepting it now I can’t allow it to harm my emotions in a destructive way any longer.

It’s a balancing act really. Acknowledging both sides of myself and accepting both of them as they are. Appreciating the role both play in my personality and how I interact within my relationships with others. I’m moving forward and I’m on my way to feeling whole again.

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, Spirituality

Steadily climbing a mountain

One of my favorite quotes is by Sir Edmund Hillary, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Today this quote really resonates with me. I am acknowledging and giving myself the gift of self love by recognizing how far I have come in only a year. My C-PTSD has been in remission for three and a half years. I have gone from being a mess upon the floor, sobbing and in a dissoactive episode to holding a management position at work while self publishing my own book of poetry. I’m really so very grateful and elated with how truly wonderful it feels to have inner peace and strength within my soul.

On Tuesday my team at work and I witnessed a near fatal car accident right in front of our window. It was the most horrible and terrifying scene I have ever witnessed. The sounds and visuals have left their scar on my heart. The gentleman’s truck looked like God himself crushed it with his hands and dropped it out of the sky onto its roof where it landed. My store is next to the freeway and the driver’s truck came literally flying off the road landing on its roof on the grass across the street from us. Airbags deployed, windows busted out and smoke billowing from it, the truck looked unreal. The five of us dropped what we were doing and immediately ran outside. Three of us called 911 while the my two other younger coworkers ran up to the truck itself. One of them had grabbed our fire extinguisher and used it to smother the smoke and kept a fire from starting. Her heroic actions really moved me. She later admitted that her own father had died in a similar situation so I felt it was a kind of redemption on her part in trying to save this man’s life. The EMT’S pulled him from his vehicle alive and consciousness which is truly miraculous given the circumstances.

For the rest of the day we all kept hugging each other. We used our nervous energy to clean our store to a like new condition. When I closed up Tuesday night I felt a sense of pride for how we coped with the days extraordinary and unusual events. I can honestly say when you witness such an extreme example of life and death in front of your own eyes, while in a job setting it changes your perspective.

Here’s what I took away from Tuesday.

1. Life is too short, each moment is a gift. I will not waste my time with frivolous worries about things out of my control. My time is precious, therefore I must prioritize accordingly.

2. I work with 5 very selfless people who I know have my back in a special way. That feeling is priceless both on a professional and personal level.

3. I am getting stronger. This same situation for my past self would’ve driven me up under the covers for a few days. Left me a puddle of tears and nerves.

4. I can do this……I managed and led people through a crisis. I continued to do my job in a professional manner despite the chaos. We all went back to work serving and assisting our customers.

All in all as I reflect now I can see myself steadily rising up from the ashes of despair and heartache. One foot in front of the other I climb. I keep going even though my mind is screaming “NO” and “you can’t do it”. I’m proving to myself everyday that the challenges I face are all preparing me for greater things. The best is still yet to come which is what gets me out of bed everyday!

I never thought I would achieve success again after so many failures. Attempting suicide, being strangled to within inches of my life on my previous job eight years ago, going through a hell of a divorce, surviving domestic violence and rape, losing touch with my children, being homeless, coping with my fiance’s health issues. The list is lengthy and not for the faint of heart.

Last week I made a life long dream come true all on my own. I self published my first book of poetry. It is available as both an e-book and in paperback through Amazon.com. I have created a small following here with this blog and my writing profile on Instagram called Emotional Musings.

I am currently working on putting together a book signing event here locally with family and friends. Sharing my success with those who have loved, supported and believed in me is such a blessing. It gives me the chills that I have so many wonderfully loving people in my life today.

I’m bursting with positivity and gratitude. And yes…….

I have survived and conquered over myself.

Living my motto, “Triumphing over trauma “.

Mental health, Spirituality

Some musings on my musings

I’ve been doing a lot of introspective reflecting as of late. What makes me tick and how far in these last six months I have come. A year ago I was utterly depressed, unemployed, out of shape and directionless. Something started to change around mid to late August and looking back I’m unsure of what that precipitating moment actually was. All I know now is that in September I connected with an amazing woman in Australia who gave me the selfless gift of simply believing in me. Her suggestion that I should start sharing my writing has absolutely changed my life!

Being able to let down my defenses, walls and whatever other terms can be applied here has proven so freeing! I gained so much self confidence that I finally applied to work for a company I have admired for many years. As fate would have it this coffee chain was building a new store in my neighborhood less the a mile from my house. I carried myself quite fearlessly into my interview and landed the job. After only a short time I was promoted to management. I began walking to and from my new job daily while starting to care again about what I was eating. I’m a petite woman and have always been naturally small yet when I gain even ten pounds I feel uncomfortable. This new me gave me back a spring in my step! My sassy self was finally shining on my outside again😁

Just yesterday I made one of my childhood dreams come true. I self published a book of poetry on Amazon entitled, “Emotional Musings” using my maiden name Maria Pratico. Afterwards, I felt like I floated on a cloud to work!! I’m so damn proud of myself my dear readers. I have always used writing as a way to cope with uncomfortable emotions, and being an empath sometimes they were feelings that weren’t my own. When I was younger I was really mixed up about this part of myself so my writing helped me make sense of it, process it and let it go.

I’ve always felt different from my peers and even anybody in my family. A blacksheep, a sore thumb, someone who walked to the beat of her own drum. I’m a true middle child who’s able to get along well with others but I still felt like I was outside looking in. I was a decent student, made friends easily yet I have always known that I perceive things quite differently than most. Now I have reckoned with that part of myself that felt strange.

I love the weirdness that my creative side allows me. I appreciate the way I hear music and the feelings I get from it. I understand that I feel stuff on another level, a more complex way that most wouldn’t be able to articulate into words. God has brought me down dark paths because He trusts that I will find my way back and learn from it.

I’m a late bloomer. An analytical thinker when it comes to these intense emotions, musings I call them. I have a highly tuned emotional intelligence that has delayed my progress in understanding certain important aspects of life. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. As a middle aged woman that sounds ridiculous but to me it’s exciting.

I’m just getting started. I’m coming into my own. Watch out world because I’m ready to roar and I’m finally ready for it all!!!!!!