The painful part of Letting Go

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We hear the phrase “let it go” so much during these times. What does it really mean to let something go? How do we know when we have let it go and what does the process feel like? Letting go does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean squandering the feeling so far down that it gets lost inside you. To me, letting go of the past is actually the acceptance of pain. It is the willingness to feel that painful part – to be with it and acknowledge its hurt upon you. To grieve the absence of someone, to feel the hurt of a memory that was once tucked away, to acknowledge that you are partly made up of a series of experiences and emotions that go with those experiences. Let pain be what it needs to be – let it wash over you and let yourself feel sad. This is actually the door opening to let yourself feel free.

Releasing these painful experiences does not mean that they are forgotten. It is not your hurts laying dormant awaiting your awareness and acknowledgment. To “let go” or release, means that your pain no longer holds the same intensity and activation within you. Yet we are also human – so it’s natural and totally ok to feel activated sometimes. It’s all part of the process – if you tune in. Your pain likely won’t dissipate in one fell swoop, it takes time and tears, and more time and patience. Grief comes in stages and isn’t linear. Keep being kind to yourself – tell yourself the things you would tell your best friend. Build up your confidence and celebrate your successes. Keep at it. Keep going. You got this.

When we see painful experiences as a doorway to healing, this gives us power. We can choose to take this opportunity to truly heal, or we can try and outrun our pain (which never really works). You can’t outrun yourself and so you cannot outrun your pain. If you try and pretend your pain doesn’t exist you give it the power to rule you. See your pain for what it is – look it in the eye and face it. You will take your power back. The process of letting go may takes days, weeks, months or even years for some things. That doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it everyday, but be available and willing to make space to feel what comes up for you when it does. Sometimes we sink into our pain for a bit, and that’s ok too. As long as we know how to get ourselves out. As long as we can bring ourselves back to the present and remind ourselves that things are ok now. We need a lifeline out of our pain. Allow gratitude to play a part in your letting go. Gratitude for the lessons you learned, the gifts you have been given to cherish forever. Gratitude for your resilience through it all.

Trust that letting go takes time. Our bodies have a way of healing that we will never completely understand. Painful emotions have a way of showing themselves at exactly the times we need to open new doors to new places, new joys, new chapters. The ending of something is a gateway to the beginning of something else. That is something we can be sure of. For those who want to grow, pain is inevitable. For those who seek their purpose here on this planet, growth is inevitable. Remember – on the other side of pain there is joy – you cannot appreciate one without having experienced the other.

Letting go is messy and difficult. To tell you the truth I don’t think anyone has the perfect recipe for it. We are just trying our best to move forward and enjoy what we have around us in the moment. Keep coming back to the moment. Trust that you are doing your best right now, and that you did your best with what you had available to you before. Live with integrity and believe that you always have. Things have a way of settling with time. Trust this. Things have a way of being ok. Things have a way of being better than you thought. Or not. But we keep believing either way.

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Feel your Feelings

This sounds kind of simple, but we go to great lengths sometimes to avoid feeling our feelings. To avoid seeing what’s there, under the rippling surface vying for our attention. Sometimes we underestimate how much we are feeling. The busier life gets, the harder it is for us to find time to be with ourselves. The more challenging it can become to drop down into our emotions for a minute. The less likely we are to feel real. The more things and plans and work and responsibilities we give ourselves, the further we can get from our true being. The being inside me (and inside you), that longs for quiet moments, sipping our tea and savouring every flavour of that dark chocolate piece.

We busy ourselves so much that when we do get quiet, we don’t even know how to really be with ourselves. I get busy in my mind thinking of all my plans and future goals and things I “should” be doing. It’s easy to miss the fact that I am here, alive, doing an extraordinary thing just by breathing. The fast-paced state of the world is not our true nature. So then we become anxious, stressed, overwhelmed and burdened. Because our bodies are trying to cope with everything that is coming at us. Just being a human, having a human experience can be a challenge in this world. But it shouldn’t be a challenge to enjoy daily activities. That is why I feel sad…and frustrated…and tired. Tired of trying to keep up. Keep up with who? The more I try to keep up with the world, the less I am close to Myself. Especially if you are a human with trauma, as so many of us are. Keeping up and staying sane brings me to tears regularly. But only the closest of friends would ever know it. We become so good at putting on a brave face, a brilliantly-masked exterior. We are fooling everyone but ourselves.

It’s not a wonder that when I feel most connected to Myself is when time seems to have slowed down – I have slowed down. I am close to nature, or meditating, or practicing yoga. I am having a bath, laying and listening to my partner read a book aloud. Those times are treasured. So treasured that I need to know how to get more of that time. When I slow down and can feel every inhale, exhale. When my awareness is in every part of my body. When a calm, comforting cloud of love surrounds Me. When I feel content in simply being. The gratitude sweeps over me, filling in all the cracks. Little pleasures seem insurmountable. Appreciation for the love and support of others sinks in. I drink in the clear realization that this gift of being alive and here is beyond something that is describable with words. The beauty of my soul and my soul’s co-existence with other souls. The tangible form of my body, being able to touch and feel close to my loved ones. This is what I crave. This is what we are here for.

Make more time. We have more choice than we think we do. Choose acceptance over fear. Choose freedom over restraint. Choose love, over and over again. Choose to be here, in time, in this world…but not a product of this world. Allow the honouring of all that you are and all that you have accomplished to be unveiled and truly felt.

Recognizing your Enoughness

YouAreGoodEnoughSometimes I forget to appreciate Myself for all that I am and all that I do. I get caught up in a downward swirl of negative-self chatter. I feel like I’m always a step behind the rest, or struggling to keep up to life’s demands. I forget that I am here to design My own way. I forget that I am doing enough. I forget that I am enough without doing. I forget to see all that I AM, and instead I get caught in a web of all that I wish I was. This is why self-care is so valuable. Because it is within the space of truly being with yourself that you can reflect on the beauty that is you.

We put these unreasonable expectations upon ourselves that we wouldn’t do to our closest friend. So why do we do it to ourselves…aren’t we supposed to be our own best friend? It’s easier to fall into the trap of not feeling good enough, than it is to take the space you need to appreciate yourself. We are not taught to appreciate ourselves, we are taught that selfishness is “bad”. I believe that caring for yourself is a sign of amazing strength and resilience. Sometimes it means saying no to others. It doesn’t really matter if they understand, but it certainly helps when they do – or at least are empathic to your situation. Being Self-Loving doesn’t mean that you are out to be nasty to others. It doesn’t mean you get a free pass to not consider anyone else’s feelings. But it does mean that you set healthy boundaries for yourself and do your best to recognize your own needs.

Needs can be conflicting, and this is where things get tricky, friends. Especially in relationships. One person may need something and the other may need something entirely different. You may feel as if you are speaking a different language. The best thing to do in this situation is to have an open conversation about it, where you own your needs without blaming the other individual. This is much stickier than it sounds. And it’ll take a lot of practice (and probably relational or individual therapy). Sometimes it means taking space for yourself or spending some time apart. Perhaps there is a way where you can both have your needs met and you can agree on what that looks like together.

It is your responsibility to voice your needs to your partner/friends/family. People cannot read your mind, and sometimes we become upset because we expected someone else to  know what we needed. We think it should be obvious to them, but it’s not. That’s why we have to speak up for ourselves. In a kind manner, preferably. You don’t have to be a bully to assert your needs, but you also don’t want to shrink into the background whilst attempting to appease everyone around you. There is a happy medium. You don’t want to be one of those super hard tennis ball avocados, but you also don’t want to be the overly ripe and squishy browned avocado that turns into a pile of mush on your plate. You want to maintain your beautiful colour, flavour and soft firmness with a slight creamy malleability. (Apparently I love using vegetables as metaphors)!

Nothing ever stays exactly the same. Your needs will evolve as you do. We all have certain non-negotiable needs such as food, water and sleep to survive. I believe we need Love to survive as well. We cannot thrive without it. Some areas of our lives will become more complex while other areas find more solid ground. Pieces to our giant puzzle of life are being put together – so try to enjoy building the puzzle. Chill for a minute. Take a breath. It’s ok. It’s gonna be ok. You’re gonna get to where you’re going, or you’re at least going to get somewhere. Maybe it’ll look different than what you thought, maybe once you get there you realize that you don’t actually want it anymore. Without change, we can’t have growth. But the good news is we are always changing. Even when you think things are the same or not progressing forwards – they are. We are constantly evolving, individually and collectively. Our pains of the past become less painful as our scars fade and soften with our renewing skin. Nothing will ever be exactly how it was before, but the beauty is that we get to CREATE a new way of how it is NOW. And this time we get to design it more consciously, so that our today is the primer for our tomorrow.

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Building bridges to your Success

storecarrotsSuccess isn’t born overnight, usually. It is built from within you. It is built by stepping into your fear. Facing what scares the shit out of you. Looking it in the eye and seeing it for what its worth. Most times, it’s not worth 2 pennies. I can tell you this because I face my fears daily. I have been diagnosed with “OCD” or obsessive compulsive disorder. No, OCD does not mean that you are a super tidy person who just cleans better than everyone else and likes things neat all the time. It is a savage monster in your mind and it will try to take you over, leaving you feeling powerless and like a puppet to your own mind. Your OCD mind feeds you fear as a control tactic, as a way to scare you into doing exactly what it wants. And it will not let you rest until you obey its commands. And the fear carrot that it dangles in front of your face is a big PHAT juicy jumbo size fear carrot. That carrot knows all your fears, all your secrets, and what will get your anxiety from zero to one hundred in a millisecond. Countless times it taunts you with that carrot – saying if you just do this one thing (this one compulsive behaviour), you can eat the carrot and your fear will go away. LIES – OCD LIES. Not only will you NOT get to eat any of that fear carrot, but it will grow bigger and stronger and more carrot-y. As the carrot grows in force, so does your anxiety. And the meaner this fear carrot becomes. It will try to order you around. It will be your mean boss, telling you to waste time doing stuff that is taking out of the beauty of the present. Or the non-beauty of the present. Whatever is happening, carrot tries to distract you. Carrot wants you striving for it, running towards it on a never-ending treadmill with carrot reflections in your eyes. Carrot is not juicy, not tasty and never ever satisfies. One demand fulfilled for carrot only brings more demands. It builds and feeds on your fear.

BUT! WAIT! THERE IS A WAY OUT! It won’t be easy, but nothing worth it ever comes easy. At least no lessons really worth learning ever came easy. And sometimes life just gives you your challenges. It gives you lemons, or nasty carrots. And this is just what is in front of you, in your way…and you know what they say…”what’s in the way, IS the way”. And it may be your challenge for today, and tomorrow too, and quite possibly the next day. But if you play your cards right…it might not be your challenge the day after the next after the next. To gain, sometimes you have to take a leap.

So let me tell you how I’ve been working at that stupid carrot. I have been doing what is called “exposure therapy”, wherein you expose yourself to the anxiety you are trying to avoid feeling. The avoidance of your feelings usually comes by doing these “OCD compulsions”. Instead, I am choosing to hang out with the anxiety for a little bit. Choosing the scary path, making the uncomfortable or difficult choice. But the greatest reward of freedom is waiting for me on the other side.

Sometimes in order to take leaps we must first face our fears. Acknowledge them and give them our presence for a minute. When we do that, a funny thing happens – the fear starts to dissipate. And we feel a little bit of our power coming back. When we show that we are no longer afraid, our fear holds much less power over us. We become free.

By facing the fear or “the scary way” we actually begin to undo the fear. And we begin to build our bridge of power towards our success. Don’t get me wrong – it can feel absolutely terrifying to choose the “scary” way. However the power of our ability to choose makes it much less scary. It seems backwards – but it is the way to my healing and to my ultimate power. In being with my emotions and acknowledging them, I am no longer running from the fear that tries to run me. The fear of the fear begins to unwind itself. I am freed from the rule of the over-sized carrot. In freedom I find my truth, and truth is what I seek.

So I keep building my power bridge, and it’s going amazing places, I know it. I can feel it. The thing is, the bridge is my success. As long as I’m building it, I’m successful.

What are your fears that you face or haven’t yet faced – small ones, big ones? How are you building your bridge? What’s keeping you moving? How do you want to feel when you get to where you’re going? How do you want to feel along the way?

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Sunny Days

sunny days

laze away

fears settle into the ground

limbs feel warm

face feels hot

time seems to slip away

sunny days

in the park

watching people act like creatures

feet feel firm

legs feel strong

merely a mysterious outsider looking in

sunny days

beauty is easy

finding connection in the disconnect

arms feel light

tummy feels hungry

the noise drowns out my peace

sunny days

walking slowly

thoughts feel scary

head feels spacey

a different way calls me

 

 

Anxiety & Trauma

I don’t really know how to write about anxiety. Or at least every time I try – I get stuck. Or I go off on a tangent. It’s such a vast topic and so many people experience anxiety at varying levels. I Myself know what extreme or severe anxiety feels like. Or at least, I can tell you what it felt like for me.

Anxiety has been a part of my life for a long time, but it showed up in a much more severe way in the summer of 2015. I started having really intense panic attacks. So intense were the panic attacks that I actually went to emergency a couple times because I had no idea what was happening to me. It was way beyond scary, and I literally felt like I was dying. I had experienced anxiety before this, but never to this level. My body was telling me that enough was enough. Enough distractions by means of partying and drinking. Enough denying my trauma and childhood wounds. Of course, I didn’t want to listen. I was in denial for a long time. But when the body speaks, you need to listen. And I did. I entered into what would be the biggest transformational journey of my life thus far. What happened over those years until now is a long story, too long for this page.  What I can say tho, is that where I am today is a miraculous place far more powerful and in tune with My True Self than I ever was before. I am literally living my dreams, with them coming true right before my eyes. And I am a part of it all. Here for it all. Embodying it all.

Mostly everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives, but sometimes it is hidden very well. To the outside world, you may appear to be doing “fine”. People also experience anxiety differently in their bodies. For me it shows up as racing, terrifying thoughts, feeling dissociated, feeling disconnected, feeling intensely afraid. Tormented with worry of the worst happening to me. Feeling as though I might faint, collapse or stop breathing. Feeling afraid that I might not wake up. The worried and racey thoughts aren’t rational, because anxiety doesn’t speak logic. It speaks it’s own language, unique to your own worst fears. My chest feels tight and everything around me seems amplified in a loud speaker. Panic. It’s like I am part of a video game but I don’t know how to play. Everything seems to be moving too quickly and noisily around me. It can feel extremely awful to say the least.

If you experience anxiety, it is likely you will become more aware of when it comes on and what your triggers are. Self care to the max. Seriously, your today influences your tomorrow. How you take care of yourself today will set you up for a better tomorrow. I’m not perfect, and sometimes I binge on a bag of potato chips and reality TV. I know it’s not the “healthiest” choice, but sometimes we do need a little distraction. The key is knowing when you are distracting and not allowing yourself to fall in the hole for too long. If you know someone who is experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, PLEASE – do NOT tell them to  “just relax”. Telling someone to relax when they are having a panic attack will likely only make it harder for them. Instead, I encourage you to be a support by letting your friend/partner/family member know that you are there for them. MOST IMPORTANTLY – ask THIS: “How can I help?”. You may assume you know how best to help someone with anxiety but they might need something different. Sometimes when I am feeling anxious I want to be hugged or soothed. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Alone while also knowing my partner is not far away. Sometimes just having someone notice and see that you are struggling helps. Sometimes a good cry helps. Sometimes talking it out helps. Sometimes visualizing your favourite calming place helps. Sometimes meditating helps. Sometimes journaling helps. Sometimes eating helps. Sometimes a big mug of tea helps. Sometimes changing environments helps. The take-away here is that the person experiencing anxiety usually knows what will best help them through it. So – listen and be there.

Over the course of my journey of healing my trauma and my wounded little bunny self, my anxiety levels have lowered substantially. Although I still do experience anxiety and sometimes still quite intensely, I now have the tools to manage it much better. There IS HOPE. My healing has not been linear by any means, and it doesn’t always make sense. But it has also brought me the greatest gift I didn’t even know I was missing – Myself.

Mostly anxiety is your body’s response to trauma. It’s that simple. Which is actually not simple at all. When you are healing from trauma, it can be difficult to separate the past from the present. I don’t know if you can ever entirely separate them out. Because a “trigger” will put you right back in the past. It will trigger those past memories – responses or feelings that didn’t get to be felt at the time. Trauma is messy, and it is beautiful because we can become these incredible human beings in spite of it. Because of the work we choose to do. Because we begin to lead with our hearts, not our heads. Here are a few things that have helped me along my path that I need to consciously come back to again and again:

 

  1. SUPPORT. You cannot heal without support. The right kind of support that encourages and lifts you up. Support that is consistent and accountable. You cannot go it completely alone through this. Find your tribe, your trusted team.
  2. TRUST. Support builds trust. Trust in yourself, trust in others, trust in the Universe, trust in your body.
  3. PATIENCE. This is essential for healing. You will need it from others and most importantly from yourself. When you are patient with your self you are also being compassionate. Don’t expect an overnight transformation – learning the important lessons that you require to heal and live an extraordinary life takes time. So give yourself more time than you think you need. The process is the healing.
  4. SELF-LOVE. The more you practice the first 3 steps, the more self-love is cultivated. Find that place within yourself that knows how awesome you truly are. How amazingly unique and strong you are. Keep believing it. You will sway and falter sometimes, but you will learn to come back to that self-loving place sooner.
  5. ACCEPTANCE. No matter how crazy the shit storm, how long the dark lonely nights are, accept that you are learning. Acceptance doesn’t mean complacency, it means changing your perspective about your situation. It doesn’t mean “fuck it, I’ll do nothing”. It means accepting where you’re at – being honest with yourself and going from there. One step at a time.
  6. GRATITUDE. If you need any help in accepting your situation or changing your perspective, gratitude is a sure-fire way to do it. We ALL have something to be grateful for. We can all tap into that place of appreciation and gratitude. Make a list, say 3 things to yourself that you are grateful for every morning. Whatever works for you and shifts you into that perspective of abundance, will create more of the same. By appreciating what you have, you actually open yourself up to receiving more goodness.

Blessings to you all! Let me know if you have any questions about anxiety and I will answer them to the best of my ability!❤️

Healing Lightly – Lean In

rsz_1a1-9Sometimes we become accustomed to the idea that the healing process is supposed to be continuously painful. It can be this way particularly in the beginning of your healing journey, because everything seems foreign and you feel out of place within yourself. I think the hardest part of healing is learning to trust your body’s wisdom. Watching and becoming attuned to the messages your body gives you is a developed skill, and the more you practice it the easier it will be. This doesn’t mean that healing from trauma/unhealed relationships/childhood wounds is not difficult and scary af. But it can be easier on us when we get in touch with our body. That IS part of healing in itself, isn’t it?

There is all this outside chatter going on around us telling us we need to do more and be more. It is taking us away from our bodies and asking us to mimic machines. You are not a machine – you have depths and feelings and circumstance. You have thought and awareness of that thought – you have consciousness. What we are and where we are right now is ok. The more we can learn and accept what our limits are, once we become aware of them, the less painful our healing becomes. The tough part is being courageous enough to honour these “limits” – which are not really limits at all they are simply guidelines to a more balanced and embodied life. When we listen in to the clues our bodies give us, we are no longer hitting up against a brick wall trying desperately to move it. Trying to bargain with ourselves by borrowing tomorrow’s energy to get through today. We accept the hand we have been dealt and do our best with the resources that we have available to us. And we begin to change our situation step by step.

Healing is not always linear, this we know for sure. But…it doesn’t always have to be an uphill battle swinging your sword blindly in the night, while your other hand tightly grips the shield behind your back. There is healing in every single time we say “yes” to our bodies, that we acknowledge our needs. There is healing in the quiet moments, the little leisures we enjoy, those tender embraces and connecting smiles. There is healing when we sit in the green grasses watching the leaves move with the wind and feeling the sun’s love warming us from above. Feeling the power of our connection to the solid Mother Earth supporting us from below. Observing how the Ocean is never quite still, yet she is consistent. That is what keeps us going, keeps us swinging. Until we can put down our swords because we realize that we are no longer being swung at. That we are actually safe, here and now. And what could be more freeing than that?

I urge you, my empathic friends and “angel aliens” out there…to stop doing what sucks you dry. Start doing what fills you up instead – replenishes your life force and hydrates every part of your beautiful being. Because that, I promise you, will make every step of the way a little bit easier.  I believe in you – and you are enough. We are not discounted items of torn clothing labelled “as is – 15% off”. We are creatures requiring a little more care, a little more tender love, a little more empathy and compassion. And we retain our full value and then some. So lean in to those precious tender moments, soak in all that love and abundance. Allow yourself to feel supported because you are. In more ways than you probably know.img-spiritual-healing