Mental health

Learning how to push the pause button

We live in a fast paced world where instant gratification is king. Self centered, ego driven and demanding people seem to be all over the place. There is a major lack of empathy and compassion in today’s cruel world and our culture is paying the price. I for one truly worry about the next generation and the harm on our human connection. Technology has influenced our society in many positive ways yet it’s the negative impact that terrifies me. We hardly speak on the phone any longer with each other. When was the last time you received a hand written letter? Most people walk down the street staring into a screen. The worst example is being out at a social gathering and nobody is talking to each other because everybody is preoccupied with their cell. Don’t even get me started on family dinners with my teens!

We are moving away from an important part of life. Learning how to develop and maintain close personal relationships is under attack and ironically enough, we humans invented it! Out of convenience the precious time spent interacting with each other has become fewer and far between. I feel so many of us have learned to separate ourselves from emotions for time’s sake. Ending relationships by text shouldn’t become acceptable because feelings are messy. If I read an email that I disagree with or am hurt by, I can quickly react and write one back before really thinking through the consequences before hitting that send button. It’s that knee jerk reactionary response to so much in life when it comes to our interactions that is causing undue stress and pain.

There is a big difference between these two actions. Responding to something or reacting to it are choices that can have large and damaging repercussions. I have explored this idea in my own life for the last few years. I made it a priority in all my interactions but most importantly with myself and how I treated me. Of course it will never be perfect but it’s become one of my works in progress. By learning to push that invisible pause button, imagine how much different outcomes in a wide range of situations could be! You get a mean text and instead of reacting to it, you thoughtfully respond. Not two seconds later either, you consciously decide to allow for some space between your thoughts, feelings and actions (whether or not to respond or react). Too many of us purely react to everything in life. We look at everything as though the entire world is against us and we must always be on the defense. Is that mindset allowing for space? How well does that serve us not only as a society but in our individual lives? These are some of the questions I ask myself.

When I encounter a difficult person or situation in life it’s easy to react to them and doesn’t require much thought, looking at it soley from the emotional side. If I can shift my thinking, push the pause button and allow for some space (even 15 seconds) imagine what my response can be?! Putting these ideas into actual practice helps them become more automatic. I have a tendency to act impulsively so this was a challenge for me at first. When I shifted my thinking to decide what was more instinctive to my nature, a loving response or a hateful reaction that’s what made all the difference.

In the end it’s all about staying true to onesef. I must decide to respond or react by what I value in myself. I refuse to take on what others want to impress upon me based on their own scewed perceptions. We are so caught up in the judgements of others that our minds start agreeing with them! Mostly I choose to respond to life in a kind and gentle way. Yes, when I’m met with anger and hatred it would be easy to react with more of the same but ultimately that doesn’t make me feel really good. I end up with regrets, nobody wins and especially learns anything from that kind of interaction.

More of us need to push that pause button. Respond with empathy and react with loving compassion. These are the human qualities that are virtually disappearing from too many around us. I hope you can find your pause button and allow for some space. The next generation is watching. This is a poem inspired by the concept of space.

Mental health, Spirituality

From soul washing to enlightenment

Sadness used to terrify me and exacerbate certain situations I found myself in that brought me down. I was literally afraid to break down and cry because I thought I would never stop. Fear of drowning in a pool of my own tears. I went through a period of time before my beloved Nana passed when I never shed a tear. It lasted six years. A complete denial of emotions left me absolutely numb and expressionless. Looking back now, it seems like a whole other person I am describing however that was me.

Since that time in my life I have learned so many life lessons and grown in countless ways. That’s the key to evolvement, if one isn’t open to learning, nothing ever changes. YES, it can be painful and NO, it is not easy. The rewards however are innumerable and priceless. Once I gave myself permission to feel my emotions fully the more I grew. People around me questioned and couldn’t quite place what had changed. They did however remark about how peaceful I seemed. I could definitely feel a spiritual shift occurring deep down in my soul. It was life altering and my sense of self empowerment doubled.

How did it happen you ask? A few key concepts needed to be reckoned with. First and foremost utter and complete honesty with myself. I put my emotions under a microscope in all situations and carefully dissected each one. I started questioning the motives of others and how they impacted me, ultimately drawing conclusions about how I truly felt about them. I believe women can get trapped into a mode of operating on auto pilot when our lives get complicated dealing with our marriages and raising children. We take charge by making sure everybody around us is happy and their lives are running smoothly. We tend to put our needs last, if ever even into consideration on each decision and choice that needs to be made. I know plenty of women who are probably reading this and nodding along, able to recognize themselves in this description. My advice is to do some self examination. Just like we do self exams of our breasts, examine your hearts ladies. Is a kind of cancer lurking beneath the surface eroding our self worth and self esteem? There are so many choices to be made throughout any given day and people in our lives will ask us for our involvement in their life. Give yourself permission to answer these questions honestly:

1. Does it serve me, positive and negative impact on myself and others involved.

2. Am I willing to fully commit, do I love it?

3. What am I willing to lose in order to reap future benefits?

4. What is my risk threshold?

5. What does my “end game” scenario look like?

When we invest some crucial time into investigating each one of these questions and asses how we truly feel about each, we can make whole hearted decisions about our own progress on this journey through life.

So for real, what are you doing today that is beneficial for your own enlightenment and growth? What is your role with those around you? Each one of us has a responsibility in figuring that out. We can choose to do nothing and life happens to us, just surviving life’s ups and downs and merely existing. We can also choose to thrive and engage in our lives. Making the most out of each situation, flourishing and enriching our life to get the best out of it. I wrote this poem in that vein.

Consciousness, Mental health, Spirituality

A crack in the shell, an Empath’s journey to salvation

I can see a bit of light and it finally feels more than alright to break free. The weight of life’s worry, sadness, fear and judgement have cemented me into this shell. A suffocating feeling of being bombarded by ten foot tall waves of negativity slapping me upside my head. Gathering my strength I kick as hard as I can and am finally through! I stand up to see where I am and get my bearings. Time passes slowly so minutes feel like years. The pain I was feeling was growing unbearable and my only prayers were for mercy to be relieved from my torture.

Who is this enemy that locked me away? Well the answer is not quite so simple. My energy field had been corrupted by an emotional vampire. This particular parasite is someone who was supposed to love and protect me. Some children view their parents as heros. I will never know what that feels like.

Sound familiar anyone? If you have experience living with these types of people you can understand these thoughts and feelings all too well. The entire world slows to a crawl and my body gets heavy. Extreme fatigue and sleepiness latches on making it impossible to function properly. My thoughts are all hazy, confused and unfocused. Due to this, my emotions are wildly irrational and I can’t help from weeping. It’s like somebody turned all the lights out and I’m wandering around, stumbling to find my way. Everything seems too overwhelming and I have a case of the “I can’t(s)” and “I don’t care”.

Once I can see my way to reality, there is a stark contrast to that last statement. I care too much and I take the world upon my shoulders. My body physically hurts due to the anguish and sorrow. This is a burdensome feeling I have known since I was very young. An unexplained heaviness of heart. It wasn’t until my early twenties and after my first son was born that I was able to discern the root cause for these spells. Once I had left home for college and my own adult life it become very obvious exactly who was causing me to feel so out of body. While growing up, I never felt quite right. I was happy and everything was great and then I would enter my house and the darkness would creep in. As a teenager I started to feel like I was going crazy. Of course I never spoke about this to anyone, how would I have described it?

Finally, once already along on my journey to self discovery was I given the answers I so desperately desired. My therapist told me I am an intuitive and physical empath. That means I can feel others feelings and I can also feel the physical pain of others. When I get very close to someone I love, I know their thoughts before they speak them. Upon hearing this I immediately felt cursed not relieved. I started building a wall all around myself mentally. Digging my heels in and resisting everything I encountered.

Trying to live life against my nature which is open, friendly and positive was hurting me more than anything. I was living in a constant contradiction scrambling to keep others away from me. I was turning into someone I didn’t recognize and I became so miserable.

By God, my creator’s grace I woke up one day and made the decision to change my thinking . I went into full on study mode to teach myself how empaths protect themselves, maintainin our energy and use our gifts for healing. Incorporating boundaries has become essential to my daily mental health. I’m a big fan of using visualization techniques. I taught myself how to meditate and then I attended proper classes on different types of meditation. Sometimes I color mandalas for relaxation. I love my essential oils collection and how they can impactfully change my mood so quickly. I carry a small sack of crystals in my purse wherever I go. My nighttime routine before bed includes deep breathing and chanting. Yoga is my religion and when I miss doing my stretches my joints ache.

Here’s what I have learned so far about my empathic life. I have the ability to see colors and sights so vividly. My sense of hearing and smell is extra sensitive. I operate on a higher vibration than most. My soul is touched on an almost daily basis by those around me, especially by strangers. I fully embrace these as gifts today. I’m a good listener and strangers seek me out to tell me about their problems. A friend once told me I have an invisible flashing neon sign on my forehead that says I’M SAFE, YOU CAN TELL ME”. I have to agree and I feel humbly honored to serve.

Consciousness, Spirituality

A peek into my inner child

I have been involved in some type of therapy since age 7. This year I will turn 41 years old, needless to say, I’m well versed in all things psychology related. A few of my therapists have even admitted to me that they felt I was more qualified and knowledgeable than they were on certain topics. My major in college started out in psychology but I switched to humanities and later sociology. My main focus and curiosity in life has always been very analytical in regards to myself and the human condition in general. What makes us tick? What is the root cause for an emotion or behavior? I have been fascinated by others around me for as long as I can remember. Sometimes my curiosity and burning desire for the truth has led me down some unpleasant paths. Mostly I am in awe of the human brain, our psyche’ s and interaction with one another.

If you have been reading my two blogs thus far, you can probably draw conclusions has to why I am so preoccupied by humanity. For my new readers, I will tell you the two major influences are first and foremost my family of origin’s pathology, my dysfunctional and traumatic upbringing. Second is my own life as a physical and intuitive empath. These two aspects of who I am have been my ruling forces and have always guided my way. My journey into self awareness started very young because I was constantly being bombarded with thoughts and feelings I instinctively knew were not always my own. I devoured books on subjects including psychology, new age metaphysics, different world religions, different social sciences and even neuroplasticity. Discovering the answers and uncovering the truth were my goals. Three years ago I embarked upon a path on my journey that would lead me inside all of it and most importantly reconnect me to myself; inner child work.

Just another layer of the onion my therapist at the time reassured me. We had been having some very intense sessions of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) when he asked me if I had ever done inner child work. Damn, I whispered to myself, it’s THAT time. I have brushed off and avoided that topic for too long and now was the time to dive in head first. I understand that our society forces us to repress our inner child and “grow up”. The truth is while most adults physically “grow up” they never quite reach emotional or psychological adulthood. This leaves us in a state of childish fears, angers and traumas that fester away in the unconscious mind for decades. Inner child work is the process of contacting, understanding, embracing and healing that original self who we represented when we first entered this world. It is our capacity to experience wonder, joy, innocence, sensitivity and playfulness. At that time my 37 year old self was completely disconnected from that original girl locked away inside.

My therapist guided me in a few exercises to start. First I was to have a chat with my little girl. Now was my opportunity to protect her and care for her like I never felt I had been. Telling myself, I love you, I hear you, I’m sorry and thank you felt silly at first. In time and with the aid of visualizations it became second nature and felt really rewarding. Many of my most intense emotional break throughs have happened as a result of this one exercise, absolute healing. Then I was to search for picrures of myself as a child to remind myself of what I looked like then, not only my appearance but my expressions representing that presence of innocense. Luckily for me, my mother took tons of photographs and I had many albums to remind me of that little girl. I was truly enthralled by the sight of myself and the feelings these pictures evoked in me. My therapist advised me to recreate what I loved to do when I was younger as another way to reconnect. I remember I loved splashing in puddles. The next rainy day I set out and did just that for hours! I also rediscovered MadLibs, as a child I loved creative writing. To my surprise, I really enjoyed creating those silly stories again! Another component for healing my inner child was to go through different visualization and meditation sequences that really helped me focus in on and reflect on what I was feeling at age 7 and 8. That was the age we targeted because that was when a lot around me became too overwhelming to process properly.

Further along down the path of healing, I was asked to write a letter to myself in the perspective of myself at the age I feel emotionally inside (which for me is 17) from the adult (present time) me with my other hand. I’m a right handed person so this would be done using my left hand. I can not express how much this letter helped me. It sounds so simple yet this one exercise left quite a profound impact on me. In that moment I was again bonded with my teenage self and my adult self was my hero. I’m getting emotional thinking about it and writing this.

In the years since putting myself on this path of healing my inner child, I write poems. This poem is an ode to that little girl inside me and how she reckons herself with the world today.