I’m so pleased to share with you my dear readers and loved ones here in our little WordPress community the interview I did with my dear soul sister Chrissy-Marie Tucciarone, for her podcast on iTunes and Spotify called “The Art of Aliveness”. I recorded this in early July, before I started the 40 hours of apprenticeship healing sessions and right after the release of my 3rd book of poetry, “My Heart’s Song”. She asked me some great questions allowing me to share my healing journey thus far with a huge concentration on my art.
I describe myself as a creative person because I feel my sensuality and drive come from my love for anything that helps me express myself in an artistic way including writing, dancing, yoga, painting, chanting, singing, music and now the shamanic healing sessions I conduct. I see the world in technicolor orchestrated by a wide array of musical tastes from Classical, Jazz, R&B, The Dead, Reggae, EDM, Classic Rock and everything in between. There’s really no beat I’ve ever met I didn’t like my dears💃 Being able to express myself artistically is like breathing for me. It’s how I roll.
As I landed in Denver, the city I was connecting through from Idaho before my final destination in Fort Lauderdale, I saw a notification pop up on my cell from Chrissy telling me our episode #27 was live on the podcast platforms! I bought some snacks, found a place to plug in my device and started to listen. I must admit, this is my first ever interview on my own life’s story. I’ve been involved in other interviews with my partner because he’s a Superbowl Champion but this was the first time I would speak from my heart on my own journey from darkness to light. It’s an overwhelming honor and I feel a lump in my throat just writing about it now. Here’s the link. I invite all of you to have a listen….
“All wounds stem from the illusion of separation from Source and of all Creation. The route of healing this wound is through cultivating love and compassion for every being on this planet, including oneself. Not a bland standard of unquestioned acceptance, but a heartfelt sense of profound relatedness to whatever you perceive as apart from yourself. True compassion requires not only a feeling of warmth that emanates when you are in touch with your heart center, but in acts of kindness, even if this means being a fully attentive listener. Respect the fact that your heart is both a giver (putting out electrical energy) and a receiver (drawing in magnetic energy). These energies are best sensed by attending to the steady flow of your breathing while also noticing your heart center. Righteousness, fear, anger and judgement are some common ways to block one’s natural desire to love. Forgiveness is not only letting go of judgement, but also seeing through the illusion that you and All-That-Is are separate. Look about you and inside of you, and do your best to love whatever you see”.
In order to do this, I had to first forgive myself and welcome in many vital values we all require to thrive as human beings. I had been rejecting myself and needed to cultivate self love, trust and belief 15 months ago when I felt I could no longer carry the burden of being sexually abused. I have wanted to get a tattoo of a semicolon for awhile now and I felt that I needed to get it done in Idaho.
In 2011, I found myself in a very dark place my dear readers. I felt so burdened by shame, guilt, unworthiness and hopelessness. I attempted to turn out my light completely. The main mission of my writing and the reason I became a shaman is to let others see we can and do heal. My hope is fully restored and my life-force energy is extremely strong. The motto I live my life by is “Triumphing over Trauma” and today I proudly walk with my head held high. You are never alone my dears. Ever!
September 10th is #worldsuicidepreventionday and I put the ; on my middle finger as an everlasting statement & symbol to myself to remember where I came from and how profoundly impactful this healing journey has been. I got this the day after the final ritual ceremony, a full circle moment 🙏
My heart is at peace, I am filled with joy, feeling 100% content with life. It’s a well deserved place to be after the pain and heartache from the many lessons in life I learned the hard way. The pain from the human experience is something we are all continually healing from. It’s never-ending and everlasting while we walk this planet. I believe that each and everyone of us can and does heal in our own ways. It’s hardwired in our DNA to heal. I’m honored and blessed to help others heal as I did in the ways of shamanism. As a shaman, I help others connect to their own natural rhythm, retrieve their soul’s purpose and balance the chakra points in the body, our energy centers that govern our being allowing us the most optimized functionality possible. This is my magic and what I’m meant to do.
If you’re curious about any of my 3 books of poetry or what to contact me for a shamanic healing session or a tarot card reading. Click this link below.
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 that 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 comes 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, years of therapy and 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🦋
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.
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 with his and in a way caused a head on collision, 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 my 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. I need to rely more upon my gift so I don’t actively allow fear into the driver’s seat unnecessarily and careen myself and my life off a cliff.
This October has been very emotionally draining for me. As I realized the date today staring back at me just this morning it dawned on me the fact that every October and November in the past eight years have unfolded that way. Having Complex PTSD is the culprit because there is this little phenomenon that happens called the Anniversary reaction or effect. My body remembers that eight years ago within the months of October and November I endured tremendously intense trauma.
This month also ushered in the Harvest full moon on Oct.13th and in the past two days we have been feeling the affects of the new moon rising in Scorpio. Google defines this new moon as this:
“The2019 New Moon In Scorpiois about embracing the unknown. It’s rare that life unfolds exactly as you want it to. Often, what results is a mess of both success and failure. Even if you get what you want, it might not feel as fulfilling as you thought it would.”
Boy does THAT resonate with me! Needless to say, the combination of energy forces has proved to be quite tumultuous for me dear readers. It’s required me to put more effort into my self care by closely monitoring the daily reflections I jot down in my journal. My favorite tool in counterbalancing these emotional shifts is journaling. Remaining self aware of my thoughts, feelings and behaviors helps keep me in the moment as much as possible when my ego starts whispering lies and goes into full on protective mode.
Becoming more and more “realized ” as an empath, the rapidly downloaded messages I receive from the universe have also kept me on my toes. Here in Dallas, we expierienced a tornado and lots of thunderstorms that caused severe damage. Thankfully, the area of the city I live in was unaffected but I can definitely attest to feeling the vibrational pressure and sheer force of that kind of destructive power. The only option when faced with such strength is to remain as calm as possible by constantly reminding myself that this too shall pass. These temporary effects in nature and the energy being felt has resulted in an overwhelming amount of heaviness on me. Each day this month I felt a varying degree of extra pressure.
The best defense I have found is sticking to my daily rituals. The more my body can expect the comforting aspects of each self compassion tool I employ the more relaxed my hypervigilance is. Granted, this is time consuming and can definitely put strain on my day if I don’t make the proper allowances. Time management is an extremely important part of planning my day.
Another thing I’ve been reminded of this month is to resist making decisions during this period of intense emotional upheaval. Making decisions based in emotion is something I used to do a lot in my past. Afterwards, I learned that those decisions produced unsuccessful outcomes so I must refrain from those knee jerk reactionary responses. This month I was reminded almost daily to chill out. My best defense is to NOT react.
This month is a good example of growing pains. Nothing changes when life is easy and I don’t challenge myself. In the past six months I have conducted a complete overhaul of my internal story, my core beliefs and reassessment of the painful memories related to the traumas I have survived. My brain pushes back upon the new pathways I have built because our brains don’t accept change easily. My fight, flight or freeze triggers have also been in overdrive as I confront the difficult emotions that have long been cemented into my internal story.
These challenging feelings include an unrealistic sense of being abandoned, unaccepted and unloved. A constant, nagging reoccurring thought of not being worthy has threatened to cripple my behavior and how I respond to uncomforbility. I want to give up, throw the towel in. Pushing through these moments creates a feeling of accomplishment that raises my self esteem. I’ve been reminded that, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I have leaned on this mantra a lot lately. Incorporating breathwork and meditation is essential for soothing the conflicting messages my brain screams at me. Again, this too shall pass…..if I let it!
Relaxing into the natural flow and unfolding of life by consciously releasing my white knuckle grip on how I think life should be is a daily challenge and one that I meet with head on every morning. Positive self talk sets me straight and gives me permission to accept these difficult emotions. Reminding myself that growth is sometimes painful. Change isn’t easy. It’s natural to have bad days while the process of self healing continues. It’s a never ending journey. Eight years ago I attempted to end it all. Even though this month and next stand as yearly reminders of my painful past, it’s also another opportunity for self forgiveness.
Today, I feel more empowered and I know that I have a choice. That’s a fact I didn’t believe I had eight years ago. I am not my past. I have grown a lot and am continuing to heal. A journey I am grateful to of chosen.
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.
Life is full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. Living with Complex PTSD and experiencing dissociative episodes these last eight years as a result of the severe trauma I have endured has presented many difficult challenges to my stability and daily functioning. Lately I have expierienced a shift that feels like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I’m stumbling and struggling while riding these waves of intense emotions. A place I haven’t been to in quite some time.
When I was with my family this past February, my son got to witness up close and personal how my empathetic abilities draw strangers to me for healing. These are the walking wounded, people who are looking to release their life’s burdens. He quietly observed as this woman approached me on the street to share with me her life story of heartache and pain. She needed to vent to someone who would listen with compassion and understanding. I’m humbled and blessed to be that outlet for others!
This past weekend I had my own unique experience with a fellow stranger who I later came to find out is an empath. She and I knew each other a very short time before she held my hand and confirmed to me some events in my life I haven’t admitted to myself or even uttered out loud. I have been walking around with this deep dark secret since a young child. This is the repressed memory and acknowledgement of being molested when I was five and six years old.
Four years ago I started the journey into healing my inner child. The main healing tool that has worked wonders for me is EMDR, the reprocessing of emotions pulling that “charge” of the trauma away lessening its severity from my mind, body and soul. Trauma is held in the body and can be reactivated and triggered long after the actual physical damage has occurred. Even though these events took place some thirty-five years ago, my cells have been “refired” and thoughts, feelings and flashbacks have come flooding back with a vengeance.
To add to this complex situation, I work in a fast paced, highly stressful work environment. Two days ago I had an emotional breakdown before work. In an instant I was struggling to breathe, heart racing, uncontrollable crying…..the whole thing. My current emotional mindset is NOT conducive to helping and serving others. I need to repack my trauma baggage, rediscover who I am while continuing to peel the layers back of my life’s onion.
I have been riding an intense wave of high emotions, enduring intrusive thoughts and nagging feelings of shame. Anybody who has gone through sexual abuse knows the debilitating feelings of shame. For me they have crippled my life for years at a time. My fear and panic gets triggered as I worry that I’m backsliding into the depths of overly intense emotions all over again. Something I thought I had neatly packed away and compartmentalized in my psyche.
The two questions that first stopped me in my tracks were, why me and why now? Everything was going great and I was feeling so confident. Now I feel angry, ashamed and sad. A kind of mourning is going on. I’m in the process of patiently accepting and observing these emotions without judging myself or wanting to harm myself. Que the intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation. Here comes that heaviness in my heart and overall exhaustion telling me to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. I’m grieving my childhood and loss of innocence all over again.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far. This is all part of the healing process. We must continually throughout our lives revisit the pain and trauma from our past in order to learn, grow and accept it ultimately freeing ourselves. I refuse to become “stuck” again. I know I must carry on and this too shall pass. I’m taking a break to be kind and gentle to myself. I’m not ok right now and that’s ok.