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

Happy 1 year anniversary to me

Just one year ago, I started this blog called “Emotional Musings”. I have been journaling, writing poems and short stories my entire life but always kept them private. Sometimes, I have written poems as gifts for my loved ones. This blog has started a new adventure for me. I have been able to connect with almost 1,400 readers from 30 different countries around the world.

I really didn’t know how writing these posts would affect me. Basically, I use the poems I write as my muse for what each post is centered around. My poems come to me as visions and take little effort to write. Each of the blog posts on my page discuss in depth, the meaning behind each poem. It’s a very introspective thing on my part to delve into what I was thinking and feeling each time a new poem comes to mind. I believe this process to be very cathartic and quite helpful to my overall healing from Complex PTSD.

In total I have written 62 posts on this blog. Most of them are centered around my experience as an empath in this fast paced and often confusing world that we live in today. Our culture focuses mostly on the analytical mind paying little attention to our emotional health and wellbeing. A few of my posts can be considered social commentary on how I view our culture, humanity as a whole and how spirituality plays a role in our society.

This blog has also been a vehicle for me to even consider myself a writer. Earlier this year I self published my very own book of poetry which is available on Amazon in both paperback and digital form. It means a lot to me to have all of my work titled “Emotional Musings ” because that’s the truth, each word is a reflection of my emotional state. I have been gathering my latest poems for the second book, “Emotional Musings2” which I plan to release before the end of this year. Stay tuned!

A huge thank you to my current 24 followers. I didn’t expect anybody to actually read this and I’m so grateful these posts resonate with others. It’s a real labor of love for me to write these posts as I view each one as an opportunity to not only reveal more about my personal journey but to allow others the space to consider theirs.

My mission here is to provide a space where others can relate to and find connection with their own emotional journey. It has been almost 10 years since I set out to discover just who I really am, what my purpose is and to heal from the traumatic events of my past. November will mark eight years since I first attempted suicide. That act of desperation as led me on a beautiful, painful yet ultimately rewarding expedition that has allowed me to constantly peel back the layers of my life’s onion. Uncovering and understanding my authentic self as a result of writing is absolutely priceless. I highly recommend this process to anyone who is searching for their own truth.

My wish for this next year to is be able to interact more with you readers. Please share my blog with others whom you believe it will resonate with, comment below and tell me more about yourselves. I hope to make this a more interactive space where I can lead open discussions on both whole body health and wellness along with spirituality. Mostly, I want each person who takes the time to read this blog to feel less alone in their emotions.

For so many years, I felt like I couldn’t discuss what was going on inside of me. Why did I know what others were going to say before they said it, why did I feel their feelings without first being told and where were these phantom pains coming from? Aside from my empath experiences, I know many of my experiences aren’t unique either. There are many of us out there who have spent time in psychiatric hospitals, inpatient and outpatient programs and weekly sessions of psychotherapy yet still feel lost even discouraged about their mental health.

This is Mental Health Awareness week in the United States. I hope my blog can serve as a safe space for others to not only recognize their own struggles but to gather information regarding the important role our emotions play and what our body’s are trying to tell us. I feel there needs to be more public education about how important it is to recognize one’s feelings and the sensations in the body. It’s essential for whole body health to be able to do a body scan and recognize where we hold emotion in our bodies. This is especially true for those of us healing from trauma. It’s true, the body holds onto trauma and we will continue to hurt until the root of the pain can be discovered and released. I highly recommend reading, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Van der Kolk M.D., Bessel.

On Monday I woke to a much less humid day here in Dallas, TX. I decided to spend the afternoon running along the path at my favorite park. The path stretches around a huge lake for approximately ten miles. I took in scenic views of sailboats, canoes, fishermen and wildlife. Mostly I rejoiced in feeling the wind on my face. It was a beautiful day that produced the poem below, “Wind”. Autumn is my favorite season. Hopefully, I will get many more days just like this one.

Spirituality

Signs of transformation

The past two weeks since I last wrote a post have been full of highs and lows, such is life. The best parts have been glorious while the darker ones have definitely served as more life lessons. Now that summer is over and Autumn is upon us, I can look back and really reflect upon how much I have grown since early June.

Since deeply healing from the traumatic events in my past, I have consciously let go of the intense fear that was encompassing my entire life. It felt like a motor, the anxiety constantly coursing through my veins. The self doubt, mistrust of myself and not feeling good enough were beliefs I wore like a shield of armor. It didn’t protect me however, it hindered me and prevented my spiritual growth.

July was an extremely dark time for me while I worked to integrate my shadow self into the lighter side of my personality and spirit. I know now that the pushing away and denying of this part of my psyche caused it only to build and grow stronger. Like it was screaming at me loudly for acceptance all the while I was deaf to it! Refusing to accept these two intricate parts of myself took a lot of deep inner reflection, meditation and letting go. Slowly but surely, as I showed myself grace, while remaining patient with myself all of the pain and anguish disappeared.

Once the clouds had parted I started to see my life transform and take on a whole new direction. Manifesting my intentions and asking the universe to provide me with signs has been life altering. It seems that everyday a new person shows up to validate the truths I am now living! I have an amazing support circle of ladies both on social media and in my own life that uplift my spirits and allow me to soar higher as the free spirit I am!

Let me share with you two recent stories regarding how the universe works itself into my life to provide me with what I need at that moment. I am now managing a cute boutique inside of a popular contemporary hotel in downtown Dallas called The Statler. I absolutely love it because I get to do what I am best at, talking to people and fashion! A woman came in and immediately I could tell she was from Australia. I mention to her that a dear friend of mine lives there and that the two us went to high school togetet over twenty years ago. She then tells me that she and her partner are visiting Dallas for a wine tasting at our hotel. I tell her my friend runs a vineyard near Adelaide. Then she asked me the name of the vineyard to which I couldn’t recall. So then she comes right out and asks for a name. When I told her my friend’s name, she abruptly stopped what she was doing and told me with as much astonishment as enthusiasm that she knows him very well!! Apparantly her and her partner work closely with him on their wine!! There are 23 million people in Australia and this perfect stranger and I know the same person! What’s even more unbelievable is that my friend and I grew up in a small town in Northern New Jersey and here she and I were meeting in Dallas, TX!!! So cool right?

The night just kept getting better from there dear readers. An older couple came in and as soon as they started talking I could tell they were from the Boston area. I lived in Rhode Island for 13 years from 2000-2013. My two sons still live there with my ex-husband. I have a lot of fond memories of the area and the three of us hit it right off! They must’ve spent over an hour in the store shopping and telling me stories! I learned that Rosemary (Rosie) and Bob have been married for over forty years with two sons, one is married and one is close to becoming engaged. They adore their sons partners and even the women’s families which is awesome and rare to find. Such beautiful people, inside and out!

I share these two shining examples of humanity to highlight that we do really live in a small world. We are ALL connected in some way. Love and kindness are easy values to practice if more of us took the time to connect with each other. It’s not hard, takes little effort and patience, add a splash of curiosity and that’s it!! Socializing is becoming a lost art because of our fast paced world and high speed technology. Start making a conscious effort to put your phone down and look away from a screen in order to meet the people who come into your life. Trust me the entire experience is so rewarding!

I also experienced my first phenomenally profound vision. Last Saturday night I came home to a dark sky full of bright stars. One in particular caught my eye as it started to twinkle brilliantly against its black backdrop. I then watched it take on a deep purple hue as it transformed into a rose before turning into angel wings. Big and beautiful while remaining clearly present in this vivid purple color that took my breath away! My mouth hung open as I struggled to come to terms with exactly what was going on. I now believe my guardian angel revealed itself to me as a sign of mercy and transformation.

I started to ask Google in rapid fire succession anything and everything I could to figure out what just happened. I learned that Angel’s are neither male or female but are all knowing entities. This is what Google says:
Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God (or Heaven) and humanity. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out tasks on behalf of God.

Seeing the angel represented in the color purple means:
The purple angel light ray represents mercy and transformation. This ray is part of the metaphysical system of angel colors based on seven different light rays: Some people believe that the light waves for the seven angel colors, blue, yellow, pink, white, green, red, and purple, vibrate at different electromagnetic energy frequencies and attract the angels that have similar kinds of energy.

This information comes from an article entitled, “Angel Colors: The Purple Light Ray, Led by Archangel Zadkiel” written by Whitney Hopler. She goes to to explain this:

Purple Light Ray and Archangel Zadkiel

Zadkiel, the archangel of mercy, is in charge of the purple light ray. Zadkiel helps people approach God for mercy when they’ve done something wrong, encouraging them that God cares and will be merciful to them when they confess and repent of their sins, and motivating them to pray. Just as Zadkiel encourages people to seek the forgiveness that God offers them, he also encourages people to forgive others who have hurt them and helps deliver divine power that people can tap into to enable them to choose forgiveness, despite their hurt feelings.

Zadkiel helps heal emotional wounds by comforting people and healing their painful memories. He helps repair broken relationships by motivating estranged people to show mercy to each other.

I firmly believe in this explanation Ms. Hopler writes about because I saw it with own two eyes while under no mental stress or chemical impairment. My senses are heightened, my gifts are growing more powerful while my spirituality is always evolving.

Look for signs from the universe my dear readers, they are all around us in abundance just waiting to be acknowledged. Enjoy your weekend. I wish you peace, love and light ✌❤🌠

Spirituality

Harvest Full Moon, a time for change and release

Today marks an especially spiritually charged and powerful day. This is the first full moon to fall on Friday the 13th in 13 years! According to numerology and astrology experts, 13 is auspicious, being a sign for future success. We have 13 full moons and 13 menstrual cycles a year. Friday is also associated with the goddess Venus, who’s functions encompass love, beauty, desire, sex and fertility. The moon is in Pisces, a water sign associated with emotions, intuition and artistic inclination. Ushering in a stronger flow of compassion and a holistically grounding time for us to access intuition and our feelings.

As for this empath, I awoke feeling lighter and full of hope. I’m a Sagittarius, a fire sign, so today’s energy is extremely calming allowing me to thoughtfully cleanse my mind, body and soul of that which no longer serves me. Here are a few of the things I have done today to celebrate this new phase.

Recently, I started making Shungite water which helps rid the body of toxins, improves skin conditions while improving its tone and elasticity. It is also said to be a powerful miracle stone that improves joint health, boosts mental health and induces positive energy. It contains long lasting antioxidants that further extends its healthy and positive affects on the whole body. Shungite is a stone used for grounding, related to our root chakra or our “survival center” in the body. I wear one around my neck at all times. Today the first batch is ready, it takes 3 days to fully charge the water. I love the connection to today and what a great combination for my healing ritual!

My dear friend who is a Reiki master and shamanic healer, Lindsey Luna (@spiritmetamorphosis on IG) offered to pull a tarot card from a new deck she just acquired for a reading for me. I got Estanatlehi(pronounced es-tan–AHT–lu-hee) which is the Turquoise Changing Woman.

She represents the ever changing woman that never dies or ceases to change. Guiding us along on our path while we embrace change, that is essential for growth. I am not to fear this shedding of old ways but retain my spiritual connection while I strengthen my inner knowing. She offers courage, peace, trust and reassurance that will help navigate the shift taking place within me so my life can improve throughout the process. I will allow it all to unfold according to the Universe’s divine timing having it’s own unique rhythm of creative and loving intelligence.

The healing mantra included on this card which I spoke aloud in a meditative pose like how we see Turquoise Changing Woman is:

“Through unconditional love, I am blessed and empowered to grow through change. All that I need to evolve into the next expression of my divine destiny is generously provided for me. I surrender into divine blessing for renewal, now open to receive my highest good. So be it.”

After completing this meditation along with my daily chakra balancing meditation ,I feel my spirit flying free. I envision myself actively letting go of all the fears from my past. Manifesting my intentions upon this full moon, I am cleansing my spirit and energy of all that no longer has meaning or a place in my life. I accept the pain I have experienced in my past and let go of the fear it created within me. I am evolving from my past traumas and I understand that they have brought me here and helped create who I am today. I do not forsake them or hold regrets but instead choose to honor it. I have learned what my soul desires and what it will no longer allow. I am safe, I am protected and I love myself.

Moving forward with grace and self compassion, I welcome all that I deserve in this life. In order to achieve success I reflect upon the boundaries I have put in place within all the relationships in my life. Like I wrote in my post entitled, “This is my watershed moment,” nothing will be the same after this moment. That is a promise I made wih myself because I have grown. I am enlightened with a renewed respect for myself.

As a realized empath, I have specific needs essential to my healing. They include solid boundaries for myself and when dealing with others, having a clear vision for my life, while cultivating a strong sense of my power. I must surround myself with others who are like me, maintain their connection and support because their validation helps me embrace the willingness to do whaever it takes to work through this process. There is no place for victimhood. In the past week I have attracted three other women who have become my new friends and are empaths too.

As I leave my position with Starbucks and take on a new role as a boutique attendant inside an awesome hotel in the downtown area of Dallas, all of this makes perfect sense. I am doing something that is healthier for my well being and serves my personality a lot better. Less stress allows my creativity to blossom so I can fully focus on my writing. I can also now incorporate more of my yoga practice and love of dance back into my daily routine.

All around I feel so much joy and inner peace that I’m on the right track. My future looks bright and feels so good

🧘‍♀️✌🙏🌈🙌🌠🌚😎

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

Little Ms. Perfect

What is perfect? There are two separate definitions. Using it as an adjective means this, “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be“. When used as a verb, perfect means “make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible”. Either way it’s used I have suffered from perfectionism my entire life. In psychology, perfectionism is described as a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.

My Mom has told me that when I was younger she used to find me obsessively organizing my room. I loved to neatly arrange my books, toys and knick knacks. Cleaning and straightening a room, tidying up things brings me a peacefulness and calm that’s hard to match by other activities. It’s also something that has made me feel strange and weird.

There was a period in my life when I literally couldn’t sit still or overlook a piece of lint on the carpet without having to immediately stop whatever I was doing to pick it up. After the birth of my first son, I found myself in a perpetual state of motion, always wiping a countertop or vacuuming a room that was already spic and span to everybody else’s eyes. I got caught up in routines that kept my in a “loop” for hours. So many routines and rituals had to be achieved compulsively and repetitively. Some days I got so stuck I didn’t even leave my house. Looking back those were dark days.

I’m a shift supervisor at a Starbucks and at 41 this is the first time I accepted a management position. In the past, I had been offered/recommended this role but I always turned it down due to my overwhelming fear of failure. Truth be told my perfectionist ways have plagued me throughout my life. Recently at work my manager challenged me to stop working like a superwoman. She asked me to examine my leadership skills by holding others on my team accountable for certain tasks. At first it felt awkward delegating the things I have been doing alone without help. Lately however I can feel an important shift taking place.

A favorite quote of mine by Maya Angelou is,”Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. Boy does this sentiment ring true in this regard!

I’ve always been an analytical thinker, wondering why things are the way they are and trying desperately to make sense of the world around me. I had this book as a kid called, “The book of why” and I loved it. I’ve especially been intrigued by my own emotions and the emotions of others. That intense curiosity has sometimes kept me up at night.

A former therapist once told me to disengage myself from the outcome of a certain problem I was having a difficult time finding a reasonable solution for. My perfectionist ways and drive to control a situation can leave me breathlessly spinning my wheels. Despite my efforts I end up feeling exhausted mentally with no end in sight.

When I start to feel my old ways creeping back into my daily choices, I try and recall his words. Letting go of the outcome and maintaining an open mind sounds logical enough but my heart stands stubbornly doubtful.

Establishing a connection within myself has been key to easing off my perfectionist attitude. Grounding myself really quiets my mind and eases my fears. Whether these fears are real or hypercritically blown out of proportion, I can often find myself overwhelmed and grasping for my idea of perfection. I’ve learned I’m only hurting myself when I put this kind of pressure on myself.

For there is no such thing as perfect my dear reader but perfect imperfections throughout life. Try shifting your perspective taking a closer look at yourself. Deepening your own connection within your soul. Becoming your own best friend, saving yourself from yourself. Like Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true”.

Mental health, Spirituality

Learning to see the forest for the trees

I’m a highly detail oriented person who naturally takes everything in without a filter. Certain things come easy to me while others are more of a work in progress. Emotional intelligence is an area that I have worked hard to understand and master at a young age and I feel is crucially important to one’s well being. Seven years ago while I was in the thick of dealing with many complications from Complex PTSD, I took part in an outpatient therapy called DBT or dialectical behavioral therapy. This psychotherapy is the creation of psychologist Marsha M. Linehan. I enjoyed it so much and (needing reinforcement) I attended it four times! I fondly refer to it as emotional college. I was in a classroom of sorts in a separate wing of the psychiatric hospital I did many inpatient stays at for an entire week, 9AM until 5 PM with only a break for lunch. Our class was small, only 6 or 7 other ladies. We had reading assignments as well as homework. After completing that week I was invited to join an aftercare support group for an entire year.

In many ways those ladies saved my life, helped me learn some tough life lessons about myself and aided me in realigning my mindset, body and soul. Taking an introspective look at oneself is difficult and the desire to change one’s behavior takes lots of patience and practice. At first it was confusing and awkward but after my fourth time going over the educational materials, reading some self help workbooks focused on DBT and spending 2 hours every Wednesday evening with my support group I reemerged with a fresh outlook.

I learned that my intense emotions can sometimes drive me into certain behaviors that are self harming and self defeating. Continuing down that path creates more suffering. Learning and incorporating DBT principles into my life has changed the game!

Like everything in life, it only works if you work it! Over the past few years I like to open that workbook up and give myself a refresher. The main principle that I work the hardest at is definitely Radical Acceptance. DBT uses both behavioral science and Buddist concepts like acceptance and mindfulness to teach better coping methods for people with Borderline Personality Disorder. It has proven highly effective for many mental health disorders as well.

This is Google’s definition of dialetical behavioral therapy:

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes. DBT may be used to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors.

In a nutshell it taught me that I can coexist between two mindsets, see both sides of an issue, be both comfortable and uncomfortable in any given situation. The definition of dialetic is this:

Dialectic or dialectics (Greek: διαλεκτική, dialektikḗ; related to dialogue), also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.

For me the bottom line is that one principle I mentioned earlier, Radical Acceptance, is the key to ending my suffering. On most days I can clearly and easily achieve the understanding that even though I may not like something or think it to be ok, it still is. It is what it is. I have the choice to respond or react, always taking my emotions into account.

In this last week I have been blessed with so many amazing opportunities. My fiance and I mingled with some A list former professional football player friends of his, had an overnight in a phenomenal luxurious lakehouse and on Sunday I met Mariel Hemingway at a small movie watching party and interview session.

I have admired her life and career for a long time. I even gave her my poetry book, “Emotional Musings” that she asked me to sign! A real “pinch me” moment that I will cherish forever. To be able to meet such a kindred and emotional spirit is so profoundly powerful.

Despite the years of psychotherapy, DBT classes, numerous sessions of EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) and reading shelves of self help books I still struggle with my core belief that I’m not good enough. I do however understand that I can chose to change that tape that plays relentlessly on repeat through my mind, unpack that emotion from that invisible backpack I wear daily along with the other intense emotions I cope with or I can suffer. Intellectually and logically I get it. Sometimes the disconnect is to my soul. The memories, the flashbacks and unfortunate nightmares that will plague me for life.

At the end of the day, I am growing and evolving everyday. I am blessed and humbled. I have people around me who love and understand me. I’m able to see the many miracles of humanity being an empath. Life is good ❤