Mental health, Spirituality

Wherever you go, there you are

I have always liked the idea of wherever you go, you take yourself with you. In other words, you can change your physical location, surroundings or environment and that is all that actually is different because you are still you. The idea surrounding the possibility of instant growth simply because your physical surroundings are different is idealistic. We take ourselves, good, bad or indifferent wherever we go because we are creatures of habit. We don’t naturally like change. Change is scary and it upsets our egos. Ego mindset is there to keep us safe and small. Observing and deciphering the story our egos tell us is the first step in creating the real shift that is necessary for actual change.

Happiness is an inside job my dear readers. You can fly around the world, search the deepest forests, oceans and scour the beach for the meaning of life or buy things in attempt to find happiness and still come up short because no matter what you do or where you go, we must still answer to ourselves. Searching the external world for what makes one happy is never the answer for only we can create joy and peace within our own reality. The ability to think is what makes us uniquely human. The ability to understand we are not our thoughts is what allows us to become creators of our own reality. How empowering is that? Very😊

While I was thinking about writing this post, I read an article about the comparison of attitudes that either empower growth or can hold one back. The following are five attitudes that create confidence in contrast to overconfidence in life.

There is a difference between feeling truly capable of handling something versus thinking that YOU are the only one capable of accomplishing something. Now, I will state that I know and believe that the only thing I think I am the best suitable person for is taking care of myself. That being said, in every other situation, it isn’t very productive to think and definitely act like you are the only one who can do XYZ. When one thinks that way, it’s a set up for failure.

Overconfident people will continually talk without hearing others, I mean really listening to them. Confident and successful people understand that it’s best to always be learning while keeping an open mind to hearing something new. There must be a balance between talking and listening. I tell my boys to always remain open to new ideas and concepts because when one stops learning, growing ceases and spirit starts to die. This is a mindset that is easy to spot in others, usually depressed people who think they have nothing to offer the world. When those thoughts arise, recognizing that that is an ego based story devised to keep us small and free from changing. That thought can impede growth and squash all possibilities if one acts upon it.

The right kind of attitude is necessary for success in everything one sets out to accomplish. When I have an unrealistic belief that I’m too perfect to make any mistakes, I am attempting to act like a God. We are human and only God is perfect. Therefore it’s best to keep yourself in check by putting your best effort into achieving your goals. Thriving for your best, effortly speaking, is a better way of knowing that the only control you have is putting your best foot forward. We humans are fallible and will make mistakes along the way indefinitely.

That idea brings me to my next point which is being able to learn from your mistakes so that you don’t have to repeatedly keep making the same ones over and over again! We can either learn from our many mistakes along the way or we can choose to let our mistakes hold us back from actually acquiring the lesson and instilling it within our souls so the next time we remember that feeling and take steps to avoid that kind of self induced pain again.

Lastly, people who are confident work to gain respect from those around them by showing loyalty and kindness towards others while maintaining a down to Earth attitude. Overconfident people demand to be the main attraction and the center of attention. The latter type of person I try to avoid at all costs because they are extremely draining on my energy reserves. They lack self acceptance and are constantly seeking it from external sources.

Honestly, I have recently noticed that throughout my life as an empath, I have drawn in many narcissists and sociopaths. Those looking to drain my life force energy because they are so unsettled within their own beings and have no regard for human emotions. Since my spiritual growth has taken hold and my vibration has been raised, I only attract other like minded people to me. Mostly other extra sensory people, empaths, lightworkers and metaphysically interested people. It’s very awesome and a gift from Universe💜

Through daily meditation, over the years, I have learned to observe my own at times monkey mind. I can’t control what I think because I know our minds love to link information together and at times, tell us lies that keep me safe ….ego stories again. All that is within my power is the ability to put space between my thoughts and my actions. Meditation helps me grow that much needed space by passively observing. That’s when I can decipher what my thoughts are trying to tell me. I’m able to then break down my thoughts into the category of either rational or irrational.

I first learned these techniques while attending cognitive behavioral and dialetical behavioral therapyies. These two courses saved my life in many ways because I was allowing my overactive thinking to control my life instead of me being the master. I found myself in a downward spiral trying to escape my life in unhealthy ways and ultimately in permanence when I attempted suicide eight years ago.

I’ve entered a point in my life today where I feel an intense gratitude for everything! The people I have met, the lessons I have learned, the mistakes I have made, the opportunities I have been granted, the many experiences I can add to my tool belt by living life with am open mind along with my free flowing spirit. I love where I am. I am so grateful for where I find myself today and yes, I have brought myself here.

Spirituality

“Thou she be but little she is fierce”

This is one of my favorite quotes. It’s one I lean on when the weight of the world is on my shoulders. It’s by William Shakespeare from his play, “Midsummer Night’s Dream” from the third act…..
Hermia won’t hurt Helena even if you try to help her. Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school. And thou she be but little she is fierce.

This post is dedicated to all the powerful women, soul sisters, a tribe of females who support, remind and inspire me on a daily basis. I firmly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am without these badass ladies. I am nothing if not a woman who sticks her hand out to my fellow female warriors just trying to make sense out of this wild wild world.

As competitive as I can be, I have always believed in rising up as a collective. Not only me but why not all of us, hand in hand together? It does sincerely take a village. There is true strength in numbers my dear readers. When I am in doubt, I don’t isolate myself only relying upon my own stinking thinking. Nope, not anymore because I know I have a solid counsel of women whom I can reach out to and ask for advice, guidance and to throw me a life preserver when I’m drowning in my ego!

I was raised in a family of strong women starting with my Mom’s mother, my dear Nana. If you have been following me from the beginning of this blog, you know I have looked up to this woman as the matriarch of our family. I also have three sisters and lots of female cousins. My Mom is a petite and feisty woman who has taught me to always speak up for myself. Here is a poem I wrote last year with Nana as my muse. Celebrating her beautiful and generous spirit and recognizing how she served as such an influential role model for me on how to treat others💖

Since I was the age of two studying dance, I have always been around more females than males and I definitely feel more comfortable around girls. This sisterhood in which I am a part of share a camaraderie that is unmatched by any other group of women I am lucky enough to call my friends. We have bonded by sharing our growing pains, as young girls transitioning to our awkwardness as teenagers blossoming into women and mothers. Practicing all styles of dance, seven days a week for hours creates more inside jokes, silly stories and laugh out loud anecdotes than I can count, only these ladies and I know. They know who they are and are forever bonded in my soul.

Expressing my gratitude towards my sisterhood tribe is the focus for this week’s post. As the holiday season looms near and the end of 2019 is close, I want to take this time to tell these ladies how much of an impact you have made upon my heart and soul. Your strength, wise words, laughter, hugs, comfort and advice is priceless to me. Love you ladies forever. I see you, I thank you and I love you all 🙌🙏❤

Mental health, Spirituality

Intentionally releasing and letting go

Where to begin. It seems too much. Thoughts running through seem my mind are sometimes too much. I must get this out is what my soul is yearning to scream. Was all of this for real or is it just a dream? The affects of the full moon are upon me in full force this weekend. I am needing a release of my thoughts and feelings, these words more than ever, to be dumped from my mind.

I took careful preparations Friday because I knew what I would be walking into at my job that night. It was the busiest night I have seen so far in the hotel my boutique is in downtown Dallas. Besides the full moon’s energy ramping up the dial, we have our State Fair going on PLUS the huge rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma. This game will be played close to where I live, at the Cotton Bowl.

I awoke to my me-time to do list consisting of my grounding meditation, light therapy device session, journaling, tarot card reading and yoga practice. This spiritual warrior and trauma survivor knows the stuff I need to do to prepare myself before I head out into the world but most especially this type of crowd!

As soon as I stepped foot into the hotel, I was smacked in the face by a strange, frenetic and unpleasant feeling. The energy this empath was picking up on was over the top. I kept whispering to myself to stay steady, find my center and be mindful of my breath. You see, when I feel this kind of uncomfortable energy, it actually makes my heart race and my hands shake. I braced myself for what I knew the inevitable was.

The first part of the night was wonderful actually. Getting the opportunity to chat with others while helping them find what they need is truly my dream position! I get to meet and greet others from all over the world! It’s humbling to be asked if the boutique is my own, to which I blush and admit to the manager. I am truly invested into it for a few reasons. Number one is I absolutely adore the couple who own it! They have become such dear and kind friends to both my fiance and I. I feel like and treat their boutique like my second home. I feel genuinely honored mostly to host hotel guests and customers into their vision of a fun retail experience. The boutique has a little bit of everything, we hit every price point and have very unique items!

Second is I get to employ my natural talent for helping people while listening to their stories. As an empath and for my entire life, people just have always talked to me and told me their “stuff”. I definitely have the gift of gab and as my fiance’s Mom tells me, I never meet a stranger.

Thirdly, the hotel our boutique is in is just really very cool. It’s an older hotel that was actually closed down for many years. The Statler, was originally called The Grand. It has since been renovated and bought by a private owner. Like the boutique, The Studio Store, the hotel welcomes all types of people from all walks of life. There are different things to do, see and experience all over the entire property as well as the nightly events that take place in its bars and restraunts. I get such a kick out of people watching there! Contemporary modern mixed with an older more classic vibe dresses the setting for an anything can happen atmosphere!

I seem to be drawing lots of new friends into my world who I find out are empaths too! Tonight was no exception. I met two really down to Earth ladies that told me they too are empaths after I spilled the beans about being one 😉 Even after that, the fun, witty banter and usual interactions with the many employees and residents that come in and out of the boutique seemed to quickly evaporate as the night drained on.

It really wasn’t until the last hour and a half before I closed up that it sucked me in. That super heavy and drained of all energy, deeply troubling and conflicted feeling hit me like a mack truck. Boom and now I felt like I was dragging myself to the finish line after a marathon! My head started to hurt and spin as I kept checking the time. I must admit it has been a minute since I felt this overwhelmingly bogged down. Right as I was piecing my emotions together, a hotel employee started literally speaking my thoughts out loud. His validation of feeling exactly as I did was weirdly comforting.

I even stayed open later than usual because I still had a few people lookingaround and purchasing items. It took every fiber in my being to hold it together until I clocked out and locked the door. Then unfortunately, I got into another terrible Lyft experience(in the past few weeks there have been entirely too many)

By the time I arrived home, I was dragging myself and willing my feet to take each step. I sat down on my couch and bowed my head and immediately begin to cry. Soft tears at frst led to sobbing while I heaved and hoed my sorrows out. I felt reduced to a puddle on the floor feeling like a dried up orange, drained from all its fruit.

Then it dawned on me. This is a Hunter full moon. A time for letting go, releasing and expelling that which no longer serves us. I asked myself if tonight was Divine Source’s way of showing me how NOT to be? Stop giving away all of my energy so freely? Nah, that’s not it. Then I read a post by a truly gifted and talented writer on here, The Typewriter.

It wasn’t even a recent post but one from June of last year that expressed why she writes. Sharing her many thoughts and philosophies. Just getting the words that tumble around our ever thinking minds out is a gift and a blessing. I believe it is the chosen few who can have the shifted perception to believe it’s when I am down, I am the strongest. For it’s my hurt and pain that I transmute into positive and sustainable life energy.

Reflecting back, tonight was a manifestation of what I set out for my intentions this AM in my journal. Deciding to let go of all that no longer has purpose in my life. No more squandered and wasted energy and brain power. Bloom and blossom into the flower I am meant to be. Show others my authentic self by being honest, open and giving. Speading kindness to all whom I encounter along the way.

Writing this post was helpful because now all of those thoughts, feelings and emotions that aren’t mine can be released and let go. No poem attached to this post. Just this…..

I call this my bubble mantra an I say it out loud after practicing my grounding meditation.

“I am surrounded by healing light. It protects my spirit from negativity and that which isn’t mine. I will not rescue others emotionally. I am safe. I am grounded. Nothing can infest and infect my spirit”.

It can feel quite scary to pick up on and feel other’s pain. It is then that I remind d myself that m duty is to show compassion towards others but nt to take responsibility for their emotions. We are all healing from something. My journey here, is mine and mine alone.

What about you dear readers, how are you intentionally letting go? What are you resisting and holding onto that may be creating undue suffering in your life?

Mental health

Emotional breakdown to spiritual awakening

Since my last post two weeks ago, I have been in the thick of what was first believed to be an emotional breakdown. Now I’m coming to understand that I’ve been experiencing a spiritual shift, an awakening and a rebirth of my spirit. The reiki sessions I had coupled with some introspective meditation has led me to this place of knowing that what has taken place has elevated me to a higher understanding and evolvement.

As an extra sensory person, an intuitive, emotional and physical empath I vibrate on a higher frequency which lends me to experience all these beautiful gifts our creator has bestowed upon me. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and more like a curse or burden but lately due to the emotional flashbacks from trauma, moon phases, eclipses and shifting planets my world felt extra heavy. That’s when my shadow self appeared.

Over the years on my spiritual journey into healing and understanding of myself, I have learned that we possess both light and shadow selves. One cannot exist without the other. We tend to praise our light beings and have a more positive attitude and relationship with that part of ourselves. Meanwhile our dark or shadow self is cast aside, unaccepted and deemed wrong. It’s not ok to be depressed or sad. We deny it, resist it and try to abolish it altogether.

Lately I’ve been delving into research in holistic psychology and reading about this dark side that we may consciously or unconsciously be aware of within all of our egos. I’ve come to see the beauty and necessity of both sides. Again, one cannot exist without the other.

I have spent two weeks in a thick heavy mud feeling stuck. A roller coaster of emotions from sadness to anger and rage. All these feelings I stuffed, deemed as unacceptable or wrong even “bad” have come bursting out of me. My psyche has been attempting to block these uncomfortable feelings tied to my traumatic events for so many years.

Now I have this awesome opportunity to fully heal BOTH sides of myself. I sat in the mud, I told myself it’s ok to not be ok. I stopped resisting my depression and moved through it. Three nights ago I actually had a spiritual awakening. It was so powerful and left me with this overall feeling of peace and calm.

This is the best way I can describe it. It felt like an outer body expierience. All sounds became muffled and I felt outside of myself just observing the moment. Then there was a shifting feeling, like something propelling me forward. I was walking through the fog into a bright light. I immediately felt lighter, and I could breathe again! I haven’t been able to take deep relaxing breaths lately but now I could breathe a sigh of relief, finally! This sensation lasted for maybe thirty seconds.

Now I can get to work on the next step of my healing process. Eradicating the block I’m having while accessing those uncomfortable feelings during EMDR sessions. My traumatic event and the feelings that are tied to it must be properly reprocessed. I’ve done the soul searching and introspective work by accepting it now I can’t allow it to harm my emotions in a destructive way any longer.

It’s a balancing act really. Acknowledging both sides of myself and accepting both of them as they are. Appreciating the role both play in my personality and how I interact within my relationships with others. I’m moving forward and I’m on my way to feeling whole again.

Mental health

Feelin shook up

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.

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 ❤