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.

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

Choosing love while I remain true to myself

It’s been an amazing six months of personal growth and accomplishments dear readers. I recently posted a poem of mine on my IG profile under the handle @emotionalmusings (I have reposted it here) that revealed a personal truth. I have purposely held myself back from success for the past 40 years. Why you may be wondering? For fear of failure, for fear of not being good enough and finally because I didn’t believe in myself. It has been a long and winding road for me. One that required lots of twists, turns and quiet self reflection. Ultimately it took losing everything, my sanity, my personal safety and my home for me to discover that in the end love for myself is the only superpower that I needed. Something that was inside me all along, I just wasn’t accessing it!

If someone had told me that being involved in an extremely difficult domestic violence relationship eight years ago would be one of the catalysts for my evolution, I would of never believed them. Getting punched in the face is quite jarring yet it showed me over time that I wasn’t as worthless as I believed myself to be. There are no magic pills, absolute directives or a master plan to figure out one’s purpose here on the journey. I’m among one of the people in life who had to learn these important things the hard way. Perhaps you can relate. Please put your own story in the comments below!

Perhaps it’s my hard headed Calabrese roots, my fierce independent nature or my insatiable curiosity for why things are the way they are that has led me down a more difficult path than most. A dear friend of mine recently stated to me that I always seem to have so much on my plate. That is definitely true. Juggling lots of “life balls” is all that I know and something I have had loads of practice with since I was quite young.

I follow my heart always and air on my emotional side most often over my intellectual understanding of any given situation. One may say I through caution to the wind. I pride myself on leading with my human foot when faced with adversity or confrontation. I love that about myself and the more I choose to follow my heart, the more confident and content I become. It has taken years to gain this inner peace and now that I have discovered it I desire more of it!

The self loathing, self doubt, feelings of inferiority, and uselessness seem light years away now. I have survived some dark years. I firmly believe that without those years I wouldn’t have found my path of enlightenment. I give thanks for that time, I don’t regret it. Important life lessons and poor life choices resulted in some truly brighter days.

I write and post a lot about the need for more of us to show empathy to one another. In my opinion we must become love warriors against hate and evil doers. It’s those people among us that are crying out, in a more negative way, for love and acceptance. Humanity’s fate is under attack. It’s ugly and it evokes fear. I feel it is the root cause for people to in turn act in an ugly way towards each other. Bottom line…..ugliness, fear and hate needs to be challenged. The only recipe for change is love. Love is the only answer my friends.

Love hard, whole heartedly and often. Hate is easy. It takes more courage and faith to choose love over hate. In a real and genuine way, I challenge you to try a little more love in your life. Especially with complete strangers. A bit more empathy will open your heart to more understanding of not only that stranger but for yourself.

Trust me. I am living proof. I have survived, now I am striving. This is what winning looks like😁

current events, Spirituality

Planting seeds of empathy and love

I’m not a “green thumb” by any definition despite the fact that my mother is a wonderful gardner. She and my father loved spending weekends in our lush backyard pruning, planting and cleaning our grounds at the house I grew up in. In this post I want to focus on a different kind of planting and that is in cultivating a more loving society.

In light of the extreme terrorist attack recently at Christchurch in New Zealand, I myself am searching for an answer as to why such violence exists in the world. For centuries we humans have fought over, waged wars even over the concept of beliefs. I recently read an article in The Washington Post, “In the United States, right-wing violence is on the rise” published on November 25, 2018 that discussed the rise of violence from right-wing white supremacists.

Over the past decade, attackers motivated by right-wing political ideologies have committed dozens of shootings, bombings and other acts of violence, far more than any other category of domestic extremist, according to a Washington Post analysis of data on global terrorism.

This violence has been on a steady rise since President Obama but has surged while Trump has been in office. I don’t want this post to become too politically charged however the facts are the facts. People in power do have a lot of influence over our society.

Intellectually I understand that I can only control and manifest change within myself. As an energy reader, healer and communicator, I firmly believe in the laws of attraction. What you put out into this world always comes back to you. Therefore, I choose to love no matter what. Good, bad or indifferent….the one answer is always rooted in love.

I believe our God, however one may choose to define it, intended our purpose here on Earth is to show and practice love with our fellow man. This involves active tolerance and acceptance in the face of adversity and misunderstanding. We don’t have to agree with everybody but we should allow for the differences that exist among each other. I believe if somebody believes in God and then acts in a completely contradictory way, that person has some reckoning to do. God is love. Period.

When my boys were little I used to tell them that they didn’t have to like or be friends with everybody but they must love everybody. It requires courage to love, a vulnerability to allow ourselves to feel for another. Discovering and nurturing our connections is what life is all about. Celebrating what we can relate to and have in common with one another is far more beneficial than what divides us and makes us different. Differences should be celebrated and accepted because uniqueness is what makes each of us an individual. We are a stronger force together than when we are divided into smaller groups.

Today and everyday, I choose to plant the seeds of love, tolerance and acceptance. I choose to stand up and chastise wrongdoings and hate filled violence. Each one of us has to search our souls and decide what we believe is right and what is wrong.

Inclusivity and acceptance must be in the forefront for the future of our society to survive. It is not us vs. them. There is no “invasion ” of any country by immigrants. Rising violence is driving huge numbers of people from their homes to seek asylum in a different place. What if that was your relative or friend? Would you be so quick to chastise that person?

I encourage you dear reader to be a seed planter of love and empathy. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. We must keep the lines of communication open in order to learn from one another. Evolve or die. Learn and grow or wither away. Let’s destroy ignorance by growing more love. The urgency is now and can’t be put off until tomorrow.

Mental health, Spirituality

Keeping love alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental health, Spirituality

The intense feeling of anticipation

Today is the day my dear readers!!! I am sitting aboard a flight that will take me to my son! I have been dreaming of this exact amazing moment for over 2 1/2 years. That’s a long time to wait patiently. This entire situation with my children and becoming estranged from them has almost broken me completely. It definitely tested my courage and beliefs. I have learned an entire new level of being patient and how fruitful the outcome can be! Once what seemed a long shot and something that seemed was never going to happen is now just a plane ride away! Be still my rapidly beating heart.

It’s also been about four years since I have traveled alone. I have been so consumed with caring and helping out others that realizing this fact caught me off guard. I have gotten into a very comfortable routine in these last three months on my new job. I realize now that I haven’t disclosed to you readers what I do exactly for my day job to pay the bills.

Three months ago I interviewed with Starbucks as a barista. When I was well into the interview with my manager she asked me if I wanted to be a Shift Supervisor since she was looking to fill that position as well. I immediately turned her down. I wasn’t confident enough having not been in the full time work force for years. I have spent the past three years caring for my fiance since his medical issues had gotten more severe. In every past position I held in retail, I had been asked to be part of the management team. I never actually thought I could do it and that level of responsibility kind of scared me.

Just two weeks into my journey as a Starbucks barista, the opportunity presented itself again. My manager was in a desperate need to hire a shift because one of ours was transferring. I decided to say yes and go for it. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The position is quite challenging and there have been days that I thought would break me yet I soldier on and even surprise myself with how well I am doing. Most people are with the company much longer before they get promoted. Timing is everything. This is my time and I’m beyond proud of myself that I just did it. The level of confidence and self esteem I have acquired by taking this position is immeasurable and priceless. I have toyed around with the idea of working for Starucks for years honestly. It wasn’t until they started to build our new store so close to my home that I took it as a sign from the universe, it was the right time.

This post is about connection and anticipation. These two examples of my reconnection with my oldest son and my decision to work for a company I have admired for years is all about patience and timing. Having a strong faith that everything I have wanted for years would work itself out took a leap of faith on my part. No action was required. Too many times, especially in our busy society we are forced to define ourselves by what we are “doing”. In both these cases I wasn’t doing anything but simply living my life the best way I knew how by putting one foot in front of the other in a patient and steady manner. I wasn’t attempting to make things “happen” by willfully interjecting myself or making demands on others. It was all about the timing.

I know it’s a cliche but, I believe everything does happen for a reason. God needs us to learn certain lessons in life before he moves us along down a new path. Remaining patient was a real challenge some days and I felt like screaming but I didn’t succumb to my anxiety or worries. In time, my son did call and I did get a good job. It’s all working out in God’s time, not mine.

I wrote this poem in the vein of all of these emotions as I process how long I have waited for this week to come seeing my son. It’s my time for reckoning. Peace✌

Ironic addition to this story……as I sit waiting to take off, the pilot comes on and tells us we have a mechanical issue. We taxied back to the gate and are now in limbo awaiting the final decide if our plane is safe for take off or do we all get on a new plane. More patience and more waiting is required of me. I got this😉

Spirituality

Here to heal

Last evening I had an ephiany and I woke up determined to write this post about it. I came to the conclusion years ago of what my purpose is in this life. It’s extremely important, vital really to understand your purpose in this world. In the midst of my struggles, woes and wanting to give up I searched my soul asking God for an answer. It was then that I realized I am here to heal others. Last evening I turned to my fiance and said simply HTH baby, HTH.

For may years I felt being an empath,caring so much for others to the point where I hurt, was a curse. I wasn’t ready to receive my purpose and view it as a gift. I resisted and dug my heels into not accepting this fact. All that did was bring me further pain and suffering. It was then that I realized I had an important choice to make. I could keep kicking myself down into a deeper hole of despair or I could accept and embrace my role. Since making the conscious choice to do the latter, I have never felt more liberated. Set free from my old and useless patterns of thinking, I reimerged into a much more grateful woman. I know and understand God’s plan for me and that is to be a conduit of love so that others may find peace within their own struggles. I am now able to see that I posses certain keen insights and skills that others along my journey here seek out. Strangers tell me their life stories in the grocery store. Afterwards, almost every single person admits to not knowing why they have shared their feelings with a total stranger. I reassure their insecurity by admitting to being an empath. I always thank them for being vulnerable and sharing with me. Something I once tried so hard to avoid has turned into a beautiful experience for both of us.

Most who know me will say I’m an extremely outgoing person who loves to talk. My coworkers joke and tell me I could talk to the wall and be happy! Thankfully for me it’s part of my job to engage with customers and it’s the part of my job I value the most. Despite my propensity for chattiness, I am also a great listener. Many of my friends have told me so over the years that I am so easy to talk to. I’m grateful to be that shoulder to lean on, the confidant and a person someone else can trust.

I take my role very seriously and I understand how special it is. It’s not always easy to just listen and not give advice. That is NOT my purpose. When somebody seeks me out it is because they need to get something off their chest without looking for answers. I can’t fix their problem but I can be someone who shows compassion and understanding. I see too little of this in our world today which is why I feel humbled and honored to fulfill that need for someone. I like to say I am like a vault with others inner thoughts. I take it all in yet it never comes back out. Retaining other people’s trust is very important to me because it’s so crucial for them.

Since my revelation, I make it a daily goal to show kindness. Being able to make someone smile is hugely rewarding for me. It’s a priceless gift that can change somebody’s day for the better. We never know where others are coming from or what has gone on in their lives. I believe we must view each person we encounter as our own brother or sister because that is what God intended. I genuinely care for others in a non judgemental way until that person gives me a reason not to. If more people could adopt this habit what a more empathetic world this would be!! It starts with loving yourself and understanding that we are all connected. We all hurt the same.

I composed the following poem “Baby steps”to describe the time in my life when I doubted myself, viewed my gift as a curse and my decision to turn that all around. It is a choice my dear readers. I hope this post provokes that idea in you today. Give a bit more, show more love and embrace your true gifts. Peace✌