Mental health, Spirituality

To love is to live

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

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

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

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

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

“Glimpses”
For my Nana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spirituality

Consciously blocking fear

This has been a tremendous past week for me my dear readers!! I have received so many messages from the Universe validating the path I’m currently on which is the journey back to the authentic spirit I embody within this human vessel. In a nutshell, I have raised my vibration to the point where I’ve shifted into such love and abundance while actively blocking out fear. If you read a newspaper or watch the news, however you get your information, there are events happening in our world that have many speculating if we are of the verge of WW3. What these events like the wildfires in Australia and the US killing Qasem Suleimani one of Iran’s top generals me is to not allow fear to get it’s claws into my psyche.

I’m uber focused on not allowing myself to be brought down by fear. Everything is energy so when we engage fear we are ultimately feeding it. I chose to feed love by investing my energy into making myself the best human being I can be, knowing myself as well as I can. For me, it’s about management of my time and what I’m feeding myself. You are what you feed your mind and body. Period.

I must serve myself and heal myself first so I can live my soul’s purpose which is of spreading love and kindness to everyone I meet. We need more random acts of kindness and empathy for our fellow sisters and brothers. We are all connected, everything alive on this planet has an affect on each other. When you start to really see the world we live in in this way, you want to make choices from love and abandon fear.

I recently watched a YouTube video by one of my favorite YouTube stars, Ralph Smart aka Infinite Waters. He calls his followers Deep Divers because we dive into different subjects going below the surface and appearance. He is a beacon of light and hope sharing advice on how to make yourself more self aware, be a better person, gain consciousness etc….you get the point as to why I follow him closely😉 One of the connections he draws upon highlighted within the video below is that our society is feeding fear by ingesting animals. The killing of animals during food production creates fear and pain for them. By ingesting that meat, now you have transferred that energy into your own body. Think about it. That one blew me away.

While I’m on the subject of YouTube stars, another amazing woman I follow closely is Dr. Nicole Pera aka The Holistic Psychologist. I stumbled upon her Instagram page through one of the soul sisters I follow on Instagram. She’s revolutionizing the field of mental health by focusing on what the root cause is for so many illnesses, disorders and conditions. Every day she posts advice on how to undo the programming and conditioning we as a society go through when we are growing up. The steps she lays out make it crystal clear on how to become more self aware, live more consciously and make better decisions surrounding our choices and behaviors. Her guidance has helped me in countless ways! She’s a tool in my ever evolving tool belt of self healing information.

Today she posted about unraveling the conditioning we go through, specifically the letting go of the habit of self. Many professionals in the field describe “self” as personality but really it is the expieriences we live through that creates this aspect of ourselves. This is ego, unconsciousness, operating throughout life on auto pilot, living in the past and it doesn’t serve us well at all. Here is the link to her YouTube video.

Become an observer my dear readers and understand that the first step in obtaining peace in this world is to start within yourself. Working on the inside will eventually transform the outside world around us. Ralph and Nicole have very similar messages. Their work and content focus around discovering our authentic self which is what our spirit, what our soul tells us. This is our intuition. The longer we operate from fear, the more silent that inner voice becomes. I’m talking about our intuition. Some end up never even acknowledging it at all let alone trusting it.

For most of my life, I was living in a constant and perpetual state of fear and anxiety. I didn’t feel good enough, I distrusted my inner guide and went about creating false stories, ego stories, that screamed at me that I was a failure. Since working so diligently on raising my own vibration, becoming a realized and empowered empath all that has vanished.

The creation of daily morning rituals helps me to care for my spirit by allowing me to finally feel my worth. Meditating regularly has allowed me to become an observer to my obsessive and compulsive thoughts surrounding anxiety and depression. I can choose what I act upon, what is real for me. Journaling is a great way to unload my mind and stay in the present. I pick up on so much dear readers, being constantly sent messages about the others around me whether I like it or not. It can really weigh me down if I let it.

Becoming aware of synchronicity is one of the signs of a spiritual awakening and definitely one of the coolest parts of my journey thus far. I have praised my dear soul sister Lindsey Luna aka soul.healing.with.luna on Instagram a few times in my posts. She is an amazingly talented shamanic healer and Reiki master. A few weeks ago she posted her chakra healing crystal set in an Instagram story and I was immediately smitten with them! I quickly messaged her and asked her where she found them. The neat thing about us empaths is that we are so in tune with each other, she knew I would ask her! On Saturday they arrived to my pleasant surprise about an hour after I posted about allowing soul power to flow freely. Not a coincidence, there is no such thing my dear readers 😊

I opened the box and gazed lovingly upon my new crystal beauties. I took three deep breaths as I held each chakra point crystal in my hand while setting an intention our loud. I burned some sage to cleanse them too from any negative charges they may be carrying. The fact that Lindsey picked them out, touched them and transferred her own positive energy into them is very special to me. I then lay them upon each of my chakra points while listening to her guided meditation. I can’t fully express the euphoric feeling I immediately recieved from these healing crystals!! When I was finished and was putting them away each crystal was quite hot to my touch. I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the rest of the day!

The last bit of news I will leave you with is that I expierenced my second vision!! It was so awe inspiring and glorious leaving me with tears streaming down my face🤗 I started using a brain waves frequency app for background tones while I meditate. I was sitting outside in my backyard just gazing at the sun through the trees. All of a sudden I could see the energy waves in the air. This isn’t the 1st time I have seen them but what was different is the appearance of the sun. I saw a big purple heart. At first there were three circle like shapes and then those morphed into a heart. This keep happening over and over while I just stared in awe. An overwhelming feeling of calm came rushing over my body from head to toe.

Witnessing such a vision is a clear message to me from Universe that everything will be alright. Purple is not only my favorite color but when I saw my guardian angel during my first vision, she was bathed in purple light. Universe really knows how to quickly get my attention!

About twenty minutes after that experience I went back inside to journal about it and write the following poem💜🌈🌠✌🙏😊

Spirituality

An end of year gift to myself

Here we are my dear readers, the final days of 2019. We made it through another year and decade. We’re in a new moon and eclipse cycle too which has my energy vibes feeling a sense of overall calm, a tiredness has settled into my entire being. A few days ago I wrote a poem about the greatest gift to myself and how much it means to me to be uncovering my true and authentic self. It’s the most wonderful, beautiful and precious experience of my life.

It certainly has not come easy or free! Since June, as you know if you have been following my blog here, I have been on an accelerated spiritual journey. It required a tremendous amount of patience and grace on my part. Integrating my shadow self, the aspects of my character that are darker, the ones I don’t like to admit led me to places I never dreamed I would be. Ultimately accepting every ounce of what makes me me has taught me so much. I finally see my worth, understand my value and strive each day to care for my spirit by practicing daily rituals that strengthen the bond I have with myself.

Over this past weekend, I stumbled upon a website where I could map together my complete birth chart. Cafeastrology.com gives a very detailed and informative view of where the sun, moon and planets were positioned the day you were born. It took me two days to read it and summarize it into my journal. The descriptions of my characteristics( inborn, undeveloped and overdeveloped) impressions I leave upon others, my communication style, habits and reactions to the world, whom I attract, my values within different situations are all connected to my chart. I learned so much about myself and was validated on many fronts it was uncanny! Certain paragraphs I had to reread twice, even three times because they blew me away so much.

The picture above raises interesting questions. I feel that there are certain character challenges that are unavoidable while some information I read I could definitely connect with in a way that is constructive to my growth. For example, I was born a highly sensitive, even moody at times individual. Most empaths moods can change so rapidly leaving others around them quite puzzled as to why. The sensitivity I am most especially affected by is the relation to my environment. I am extremely sensitive to it due to my heightened senses. If something smells off, I am distracted, often bothered and have difficulty focusing. If sounds are too loud, I am immediately in fight, flight or freeze mode. I believe no matter how much I work on myself these physiological aspects of my being wouldn’t change. I believe them to be hard wired.

However, I do take heed to the suggestions within my reactions to others. For example, I rely too heavily upon myself. I like to be independent and this streak is defined in every description throughout my chart from my sun and moon signs, both are Sagittarius by the way(many of the planets were in Sagittarius for me making me a super Sagittarius)to Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Scorpio position. All define my intense desire to keep others out of my inner drive to get things done. My North Node in Libra and in my 4th house says that I take on the management role of fixing problems like a second nature although if I let others in, I can improve my life many times over. This is definitely something I can attest too being true. Initially, I want to handle everything on my own, have all the answers etc. Life has proven to me that when I reach out and ask for help, the load I’m carrying whether physical, emotional or spiritual gets much lighter.

I believe learning the most I can about myself by becoming as aware of myself as possible, the better I can care for myself in the world and within my relationships with others. I have always had a feverish curiosity for knowledge and understanding. I’m a gentle, generous and emotionally sensitive person who is practical in my values and fairness with others. I tend to be independent and want my freedom. I get restless when I feel I must conform to others ideals or am around others with inhibitions forced upon me. I am a very free spirit who likes to think and figure things out myself in my own unique way. I can come across as slow and methodical with my language and writing when I am taking on too much information. I need to process things conpartmentally at times in order to derive meaning from it because I’m highly philosophical.

All of this information has taught me how to handle my problems, mood shifts and emotions when dealing with others as an empath. I have always tended to get more involved with other’s feelings rather than feel and pay attention to my own. I believe I’m shifting this tendency. Even my partner can see a difference in me in how he and I interact. I think it’s hard for him because he doesn’t want to feel left out or left behind because of my growth. I assure him that my personal journey is necessary for my spirit and purpose during this journey to continue. It’s nothing to be feared or worry about but a beautiful and everlasting gift to myself.

I have often done just this. Feeling “too much” for others to handle because of my passionate views, the intensity of emotions I display and brutal honesty. Sometimes I can definitely put my foot in my mouth and say things with little or no tact. Being born and raised in New Jersey while residing in the South has elicited comments from others about my brashness and abruptness which leave a negative connotation in my mind. Attempts to stifle or cover these traits never works or feels genuine to me. I only end up hurting myself and that is something I’m finally finished doing!

What I have learned is to embrace it ALL. I refuse to hamper down who I am for anybody. I have lived through and endured so much pain and heartache that experiencing this revitalization of my spirit feels like flying. I alone decide how high I will soar, who I will let into my inner circle of loved ones and damn all the rest. This is me, in my truest and most genuine form. I love me today and that is something I pretended to feel for entirely too long for the sake of others. No longer will I allow the thoughts, opinions and actions of others to cloud my self expression.

I’m ready to kiss 2019 goodbye with a deep felt gratitude for all the lessons I have gathered this year. I have a clear picture of my future in 2020 and beyond that is of me owning my female empath warrior strength in an even more empowered and realized way so that I may shine as brightly as our life giving Sun 🌞