family wellness | success

This is 40: The Responsibility of Healing Generations of Pain

By on July 25, 2020

On Turning 40

I turned 40 in May. The day I turned 40 I received a phone call from my mom to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me that she is homeless. Sometimes I go months without hearing from her, and when we do talk it is like hearing the tale of a trainwreck.

Since early childhood I watched her walk a path of destruction. I always hoped she would “wake up” and make wise decisions, it just never happened. I wanted me and my brother to be important enough for her to fight to create a good life for us.

When I was about 14, I knew that one day homelessness would be her reality. I also kind of knew that if I wanted a different outcome, it was going to be up to me.

It is a sad reality, and at this point my life I have grieved the loss of a mother. Over the past decade, I have worked really hard on healing my mother wound. I know the women in my lineage have struggled for generations.

Choosing to Heal

The hardest work I do is on myself. Throughout this healing space sometimes the only thing I have truly known is that I have to go forward. Along the way I have to face fears or make steps even when my inner dialogue is less than pleasant.

My inner work is like “mental fitness”. I can either choose to be mentally-ill or balance and uplift and create the life I want to live. I have had to make the decision that I do not want to live in pain. One day I learned that I was responsible for my outcome.

My parents had bad circumstances, they felt a lot of pain and created a life of pain for their children. It was unfortunate. My dad overdosed when I was 33. That year I knew I had to wake up and stop allowing pain, failure, and unfortunate circumstances to dictate my behavior and moods.

I realized I could wake up and choose to fight like hell and make my dreams become a reality. That didn’t mean to wake up and fight like hell with the outside world so I had to fight with myself and find ways to relieve the lineage of pain.

The ways I’ve been able to balance myself and work out my past traumas and wounds has been quite an interesting journey and enlightening one, too.

My Top 5 Tools

I am going to share some of the things that have truly been life changers and have empowered me to find peace and healing.

  1. The one thing that has been constant in my life is having someone who believed in me. In each stage of my growth, I have had a friend, a mentor, a family member, or someone who showed me my worth. Believe it or not, when my mom is sober or having a moment of clarity, has been one of the cheerleaders. So the company I keep is tremendously important. Any success book I have ever read states that you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. This lesson has been a tough one for me to learn.
  2. In a previous blog, I mentioned that essential oils have been a major tool for my healing. The simplicity and ease of using oil is super appealing to me and the benefits have been profound.
  3. Having a regular meditation practice is something else that keeps me grounded and peaceful. It is a place I can return each and every day and improves my daily life.
  4. The Emotion Code is something I found last summer and has really helped change some of my old patterns. It is truly a simple technique that can bring profound release.
  5. And believe it or not, my business has been huge. It has provided security (which relieves stress), personal growth, and has allowed me to serve others. It has provided more fulfillment than any other profession I have tried.

I write these tools down and look at them in retrospect and think “wow, that’s all”. I truly think the take-away message is that the strength came from within, once I stopped looking for it on the outside and started empowering myself to heal the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together rather magically.

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success

Affirm Your Reality

By on February 22, 2020

This week my teenager has been jittering with nerves and excitement because he is participating in a Tae Kwon Do sparring competition. He has been so concerned with his snacks, his playlist, and his electrolyte drinks. At first, I found it cute– until I heard some of the words he used to describe himself.

His negative self-talk is a bully. This made me stop and think. Where did these thoughts come from? Why do we as humans have these types of thoughts that turn into destructive self-talk?

We walk through life bombarded with suggestions. We see advertisements, we hear our parents, our peers, our society. The brain can only filter so much, and after a lot of repetition, we tend to automatically gravitate toward the negative.

Think about the weight loss program that is being sold to you every single time you open your computer. How often is the result (product) sold to someone? The odds are that the majority are just being “sold” the thought that they are fat and need to do something about it. This is how our subconscious minds are programmed by what we see, what we hear, and what we are exposed to. Whether you buy it or not, the seed is planted that you’re not good enough as is, or you need to change.

I think about my son, this year we made the decision to leave brick and mortar school, and the main reason was that he could not handle the environment. The way the kids were talking and making choices that made Keenan feel anxious. What he saw and heard, whether directly or indirectly, made an imprint (or trauma) on his psyche.

The negativity from our earliest childhood exposure (age 5 and younger) make the strongest impact on our young minds and can be the toughest to unwire. Although everything else we pick up along the way cumulates, one thought on top of the other.

We can receive suggestions in 2 ways. The suggestions of others. These are other people’s thoughts and suggestions that stay with us. We think it and feel it as our own, even if it isn’t rooted in our own experience. And we have thoughts that are truly ours and ours alone.

A personal goal of mine is to make conscious choices about what I think and do. I know I have been on autopilot many times or adopted other’s values as my own so that I gained a superficial sense of acceptance.

Because I grew up in a traumatic environment, I have researched and tried many therapeutic methods to help release negative thoughts (traumas). I have also found that the deeper the scar and earlier the imprint the harder (more work, more effort, more time) it takes to unwind the “damage”.

One of the most powerful ways I have found to retrain thoughts is by using an affirmation. This technique is simple and just requires consistency to be effective.

Only use one affirmation at a time, and stick with it until you see success. As I said before the deeper the scar, the longer you may need to use the affirmation. When writing an affirmation, write in the progressive tense. Meaning I am — ING. I am becoming. Not I am already, or I will, you have to write/say as if you are moving toward improvement.

A good starting point I have shared many times is the affirmation “Every day in every way my mind/body is becoming healthier and healthier.” Write it down on a post-it note and put it in every space you visit frequently. Your bathroom mirror, your computer, in your car, etc.

This has proven to be powerful for me and has improved my self-confidence and awareness when negative thoughts or reactions start running through my mind. I gave my son this tool and hope that has he uses it, to master his inner bully of self-talk and move toward adulthood with confidence and strength.

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emotional wellness | integration | success | yoga

The Power of Acceptance

By on January 30, 2019

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Last Wednesday night I attended my first prenatal yoga class in several weeks. The instructor prompted us to set an intention for our practice and the word that popped directly into my mind was “acceptance”. Since I left the class, the word and the word meaning has been bobbing around in my mind. What is it I need to accept?

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What is Self-acceptance?

The Merriam-Webster definition of self-acceptance is  the act or state of accepting oneself : the act or state of understanding and recognizing one’s own abilities and limitations”.  

The definition is pretty straight-forward; however, implementing acceptance can be the problem. Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time. In a way, it is almost an out-of-body experience. Hormonal shifts, sleep disruption, and physical discomforts all play a role in this and I often give myself a hard time when I am not functioning at optimal levels.

I tend to have an “I can do it all mentality”, and the reality is that I can’t and I don’t have to. That is what makes a family, a family. All hands need to be on deck to keep things running. Slowing my mind down and changing the way I talk to myself is how I have been able to implement self-acceptance.

Being aware of both my strengths and weaknesses, understanding my talents and capabilities and being satisfied with myself despite having a slower day or making mistakes along the way.

Writing Your Story

Yoga is always a good practice and reminder of what is going on in my mind. Ruminating on my intention and practicing self-acceptance brings me back to a lesson I have learned many times. A key thread in the Yoga Sutras is ahimsa– or non-violence to others and self. In each moment you’re either practicing self-acceptance—or you’re judging yourself.— Linda Arnold

When I am telling myself I am not a good enough wife, mom, entrepreneur, or writer I am being violent to myself. I am actually putting a lot of negativity in my mind rather than fruitful, accepting thoughts. When the negative, violent dialog enters, I take a breath and do something that feels positive or productive.

Taking a moment to journal and write a positive, opposite thought from what I am feeling is another helpful tip. I do this frequently, it is almost writing MY truth because the negativity is just a lie I am telling myself to discourage healthy self-esteem.

Wednesday is upon us again, and this week my mind feels a little less cluttered and down. I know I will leave my practice with another piece of my personal puzzle and I look forward to finding out what I need to reveal to myself.

 

 

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musings | success | yoga

A Season of Gratitude

By on December 4, 2018

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Those of us in America recently celebrated our Thanksgiving holiday. I have so much to be grateful for, and although the holiday is over, I want the feeling of gratitude to spill over into my everyday life. Keeping my mind on what I am grateful for helps ease any fears I have about my future or misgivings I have about my past. You see, gratitude is the opposite emotion of fear. Fear is something that can keep us stuck, spinning our wheels, staying victim to our circumstances, and can keep us from attaching to the good around us. Staying grateful can help us rise above any negativity, worry, or doubt.

As we are in the holiday season, our calendars are filled with Christmas activities. This is one of the things I am putting at the top of my gratitude list. Friends are extremely important. Moving to a new city really put this into perspective for me. January marks my 3rd year of being a Floridian, and only this year I have started feeling grounded in the social department. I moved from a place where I lived for 35 years, and the 6 degrees of separation felt very real. Everyone knew everyone. I am also incredibly grateful that even my work is social in nature, and I can help people and meet friends that become like family along the way. A tribe, so to speak.

Each day during this holiday season, I am going to wake up and note something that I have immense gratitude for. Today was one of the days I woke up and just took life for granted. I did not quite feel like fulfilling my obligations for the day. In an essence, taking my day for granted and not noting its incredible beauty, is being greedy. By focusing on what I have, and being grateful for it all keeps my mind away from the negative thoughts that tell me I am lacking. The feeling of lack, of not having or being enough is what creates the fear, anxiety, or whatever keeps you stuck. Making this a practice during this season may spill over into the New Year– creating a new positive habit and removing one that is often a stumbling block.

 

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diet | health research | success

Mind over Mama-Brain

By on November 13, 2018

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I have to admit, I went quite a bit off the wagon with my health habits during the first few weeks of knowing I’m pregnant. Something clicked inside of me that wanted comfort, I did not want to cook, and I was emotional. Like I mentioned in my previous post– I had the “what the hell are we thinkings?” going on for several weeks. I am not a good pregnant person. I worry, I obsess, I become a ball of anxious stress. That is; until I get the all clear from the doctor that the pregnancy looks viable and is on track. As soon as we had our first ultrasound and I heard the heartbeat, my anxiety levels bottomed out.

Also, planning with my doctor to manage my risk of preeclampsia alleviated a lot of my stress. My doctor praised me for my diet and body changes over the course of this year, so I regained hope and had to revisit my relationship with the lectin-free diet. Why is the lectin-free diet such an important factor? My entire physiology changed after getting in a groove with my diet. Anxiety and postpartum depression ceased, I lost over 20 pounds, and the shape of my body changed. I have lost weight many times, but never actually lost the puffiness in my upper abdomen and actually been able to keep it off. My hormones regulated, I stopped having digestive issues, and my moods stabilized. As you can see, I received many benefits from these dietary changes.

I felt off the rails for a bit– eating what I wanted, eating emotionally, and feeling I deserved the junk because I was carrying a baby. My logical mind knows much better. I know that it is a slippery slope moving from something that obviously works very well (and probably a key factor as to why we conceived so easily) to something that was known to cause many issues! I had to readjust my mind and diligence to keep myself on the program. Being pregnant, working, raising 2 other children and being a wife is a lot of work. Healthy eating is also a lot of work, and a lot of money. However it is something that will prevent many problems down the road, so the investment of time and money is worth it.

To be successful with a plan I have to find my belief. I research, study, make plans, do a lot of trial and error. Once the parameters were established and I figured out the websites to visit, cookbooks to use, and where to buy the food I was set. We rotate a few of our favorites and occasionally try something new. When I think of something I am choosing to do for health and wellness, or habit changing I always put my kids first. What am I modeling for them? My choices are often reflected in their behavior and attitudes. We have proven time and time again that if my teen overeats sugar or carbs, his attitude is much worse. If I am choosing a fast food meal over a nourishing meal of protein and vegetables and allowing my toddler to have those tastes, his tastes will develop around what he is fed. And now I am the keeper and incubator of another wee one, and this baby’s well-being is also going to be determined by my choices.

When I take a step in the wrong direction, it just takes some strength of mind to dust myself off and get back on track. Remembering the pain of the past often makes it easier to face the discomfort of a green smoothie over Chick-Fil-A. The “pleasure” I receive from eating something that does not nourish my body is not worth the damage it does. I can take this lesson and apply it to many aspects of my life. How often am I reaching for something that feels pleasurable that ultimately does not line up with my goals? Am I talking to and about others in a constructive manner? Am I spending my money wisely? Am I working my business effectively? You get the idea. Keeping on track will make things feel much better in the long run.

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