The Hard Lessons – Shame

Third post in this series that started this morning with a mid post breakdown.

I mowed the lawn after the last (second) post. The cortisol moved through my body, I sweated heaps, showered and vomited, and after my shower, I felt cleaner and the cortisol had subsided enough that I knew taking time out and just being, with some meditation later on, would bring my body back to balance. Oh, and eating food with nutrients. Plus a coke or chocolate (this part is not nutritionally sound and a habit I need to break – just not today – don’t judge).

I have worked hard to dissolve the actual abuse triggers. I realised this as I pushed the mower through the grass. This isn’t about the sexual abuse itself. I am grateful to those people for my abuse; I have posted about that before, and this trigger hadn’t changed that. This is about the impact that the trauma of my childhood made. This is about my automatic reactions to things and having to work through every trigger as it comes up.

And that’s okay. Three hours after the incident, I am lying on the lounge, feeling much better, empowered and fully feeling that my mission to empower others is my soul work for this lifetime. So, I’m good.

I want to talk about the shame though. Receiving those messages made me feel like I had done something wrong.

Maybe I shouldn’t have replied. Maybe I said the wrong thing. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough.

Intellectually, I know otherwise. Trauma is a funny thing though. And trauma is not intellectual.

Posting my initial Facebook post yesterday made me feel vulnerable; I was worried that people would judge me, blame me, hold me responsible. I was worried that people would say, and I shit you not, that I am ugly and no one would look twice at me, how many tickets have you got on yourself. I posted anyway.

I wasn’t letting irrational fears guide my choices – this is real growth for me. Trauma is fear based and very hard to ignore or move through. It requires feeling the vulnerability and dealing with the shame.

When people, out of love and kindness, pointed out that George was probably a bot or a Nigerian catfish scammer, my brain told me that I was stupid and I should have known that (how, I don’t know). I felt significantly more shame. I am still unwriting this shame narrative. It will take time.

I think my belly weight is the shame manifested physically. This is really important for me to realise because that knowledge will empower me to lose my excess weight. I thought it was the abuse that caused the weight. I think it is actually unresolved shame. I think my underlying narrative is a strong shame narrative that I fight against.

I now own that I’m an amazing teacher. It took me years to not feel like I was being conceited and to stand in that truth. When I said it to some people, they tried to shame me out of it, but I refused to be shamed.

I now own that I’m a very attractive woman – and the belly twinges – I am, I argue with my belly. I’m not model beautiful, but I’m gorgeous. I am me, wholly and proudly, and shame only has the power to make me buckle, not drop.

Trauma is insidious. It told us we weren’t valuable, we weren’t important, we were disposable, unworthy, undeserving. Trauma is wrong though. And my trauma and my healing is the legacy I will leave this world.

There is more to say. I’m not sure what it is at this point. But I am so grateful for being able to express my self, grateful for having a medium to express myself in, grateful to have the courage to acknowledge the shame publicly, and grateful that I empower myself to stand in my truth.

Oh My. Healing the trigger.

If you have read my last post, you were witness to a triggered reaction/break down from unwanted male attention. I had to stop writing and responding to comments, and move away to process what I was experiencing.

I felt shock at first, as I realised the extent of the violation because I connected it to my childhood sexual abuse. I have always known that my weight issues were connected to unresolved childhood trauma and the subconscious desire to protect myself. I have been wanting to resolve that – ask and you shall receive – as I roll my eyes at myself.

After the shock and the realisation I was breaking down mid post, I felt sick in my stomach and my shoulders tightened. This is where I usually carry stress. I walked through my house and fed my pets. Made the bed, opened the blinds and turned on my salt lamps.

Amidst that, I started to unravel purpose. I need to resolve more layers. I’m good with that. This is a healing opportunity, and a teaching and learning experience. That’s the purpose.

Then, to gratitude. Find the gratitude in the discomfort, Tina. What am I grateful for?

I am grateful that I am still healing, for I am human and I love learning. I am grateful for the immediate support I received, and for the love and solidarity that was so strong in their comments and messages. I am grateful that I have a voice that empowers and enables me, and hopefully others. I am grateful that I am strong and that I am resilient. I am grateful that as I write this, I can feel the cortisol that was coursing fast through my body, start to abate. I am grateful that I am taking deep breaths and that I know to do and how to do that. I am grateful that I know this is temporary. I am grateful for all of my past healing. I am grateful because this will not destroy me, not ever. I am grateful that I have grass to mow. I am grateful that I can apply all that I have learned, including self-care. I am grateful for my ability to help others. I am grateful for the intensity of the experience and for the ability to feel my body’s response so that I can empathize with others to become a better healer. I am grateful …

These are my first steps. I will take the time today to continue my work on me. I will give myself the space to do that. I will walk the talk.

I will cancel my commitments today. I will mow the lawn and water my plants. I will make a nutritious breakfast. I will focus on me. I will Demartini the experience and look at the benefits and drawbacks which I’ve already started to do.

The beauty of having done so much work is that I feel already that I’ve got this. This will work for me. I needed to do this. I will model what others can do.

Funny thing – I’ve been blocked bowel wise since this happened yesterday and I rarely get blocked. After this, my body let go. Something in that for all of us I think. Our bodies hold our trauma and our grief. That isn’t healthy.

The Detour – the impact of IVF and the importance of shared narrative

I’ve had an amazing couple of weeks of connections. Like, truly amazing. And I’m learning some interesting things and having to grapple with learning from some interesting things.

Yesterday, I was meeting with someone at the Square. I’m not often in Campbelltown anymore – too many people in those public places. But, as I walked from the car into the centre, I heard my name called.

I turned around and two beautiful people I’ve known for, gosh, twenty years or thereabouts, were walking with their young children. We stopped and chatted and they said they were going to Big W – in the opposite direction to where we were heading. I was surprised. Trace laughed and said, We saw you and we took a detour.

I was humbled. I have not been an easy person to know throughout the years for any of the long-standing friends I have; I disappear frequently and for long periods of time at times. I become very immersed in wherever my life currently is. These two fit into this category.

My IVF journey made seeing friends with little children and babies even harder, so I didn’t, I couldn’t. It’s easier watching their children grow, the children from that period, in pictures on Facebook. Nowadays though, it’s nice seeing those pictures come to life. Man, this isn’t going where I thought it was.

The day before yesterday, Wednesday, I established a soul connection friendship. We shared our stories. Many similarities, many differences. We navigated the terrain of difference together and learned how to communicate effectively and authentically with on another. I left her home, almost six hours later, knowing I had reconnected with another member of my soul tribe.

Part of our sharing of stories involved me talking about my IVF journey. I don’t really ever talk about the whole process for me – there doesn’t seem to be much need and I blogged most of it here. It was nice talking about it though.

It was a difficult journey. It was hell emotional. It was my detour I think. I had to go through that to get here – empowered, whole, authentic.

I wouldn’t wish the uncertainty, the drugs and their ensuing impact, the alone-ness of the journey, on anyone. However, I am stronger for it.

The person I met yesterday, to talk about reiki and attunements, has walked a similar IVF path to me. Funnily (or not – the universe is a little bit of a prankster), we went to the same primary and high schools, and her brother was in my classes most of our schooling life. We have crossed paths (or possibly in the corridors and playgrounds at school) without realising the significance that would later emerge. It’s a very small world.

I caught up with a small group of girls I adore, girls I met through teaching at Reddall. Again, lots of laughs and honesty, and genuine conversation. Shared experiences. Again, some talk of fertility and struggles that come. In that group of four, two of us have miscarried and two of us have struggled to fall pregnant.

These conversations show how important having people in your life to share your experiences with are. Our shared narratives enable healing. Not just in one, but in all.

I love women’s conversations. They enrich me. They connect us.

My closest female relationships today all felt the pressure of my IVF journey in some way or another. Those women, my sisters, share an unbreakable bond with me now though. I know that in my heart. They couldn’t get rid of me if they tried. I will always pop up in their lives. The path we walked and navigated during very dark times for me has strengthened all of those relationships in the long term. They are oak trees.

I think this is our strength. As women, when we are authentic and vulnerable, we see our similarities rather than our differences. Our shared narratives empower and enable deep conversation which yields deep healing.

I have another recently connected soul friend. We were friends in the heart before we met face to face. The reason I connected with her is because she has created a network of women to support one another in business, but mostly in life. She reaches out to women, prompting them to share with one another to push themselves further. I believe she comes from a pure heart and pure purpose. And I respect and love her for that. She wants women to find themselves and creates opportunities for just that.

I am surrounded by exceptionally strong and powerful women, and we share more similarities than differences. I am extremely grateful for my life and for the people in it. I am blessed by meeting more and more sisters and being able to share and learn from each other’s narratives.

Ultimately, we all want the same things: love, support and happiness. Together, we achieve them.

Fear & New Opportunities

When we let go of something that no longer serves us, no longer brings us happiness, it creates space for new things and new people to come into your life.

There is always fear when we make a change to our life. It doesn’t matter how small or large that change may be, fear of the unknown and the what if always lurks.

Liz Gilbert, author of Big Magic, recounts the way she handles fear and I’ve found it useful. We can’t ignore the fear, so we acknowledge it. She uses the metaphor of taking a drive. She tells fear to sit in the back seat, so it is acknowledged, but she tells fear to keep its mouth closed – it has no voice – and she does what she needs to do, drive her car.

Sometimes, too, it can help to write yourself a permission slip. Brene Brown is a huge advocate for writing yourself a permission slip. The act of giving yourself permission just makes it a little easier to do what you need to do for yourself.

Fear is useful. It keeps us humble. We just can’t let it control our lives. Fear keeps us small. None of us are small. When we aren’t living our best life, we can’t be our best self, and that robs the world of what we were put here on Earth at this time for.

When I left teaching, I was scared and sad. I loved being in the classroom. I thought I would die at Reddall, teaching the grandchildren of the children I had taught.

Letting go of a stable and secure income was difficult. Terrifying. I’d only ever really known teaching. But, it became infinitely more difficult to stay somewhere where my values no longer aligned with my employer’s values. I was sooooo unhappy. I hated going to work. I had to change.

I left gradually. I built a business up. I had enough stability in that to leave teaching.

As a result, I have more energy, my passion for life is back, and there is space in my life for new things. I’m 47 and feel a youthful zest for life that I haven’t felt in years.

Change is scary. Change is necessary. We ALL deserve to feel passionate and happy in life. You have to be vulnerable and you have to leap into the unknown sometimes.

Permanently Exhausted

Whinge whinge whinge hehehe. Nah, not really.

Up until last weekend, I had been working seven days a week for over ten weeks. I know there are people who do this all of the time – hats off to them – I have struggled. By the last week, I was quick to temper and quick to spiral down. Just tiredness. And I knew that, so could keep tabs on it all quite easily.

I’ve had five days off. I don’t feel replenished. I have a couple more off after today’s work.

I have been reflecting this morning – has anyone else noticed that as daylight savings draws nearer, they wake up earlier – and I think that walking my path can be hard work at times.

I am okay about my grandmother passing. I am sad about the loss, but it’s purely sadness from her physical departure. I believe, quite strongly, that there is life after death. My experiences after Nat’s death have only strengthened my faith. I know that when we pass, our soul continues. Death no longer holds fear for me.

I also think the DeMartini work I’ve been doing with Mai Mai has shifted the way I perceive the things that happen. I’m more aware that there is always balance – sometimes it isn’t as obvious as at others, but that’s our mis/perception – and this makes the drama harder to access.

Death is a natural part of life. After all, it is our only certainty. I am endeavouring to live every day with intention and with purpose. I am being as I build. I am present and honestly acknowledge each moment. I love my work and I love where my work is leading me. I love the lessons because they enable me to establish my worth for myself.

But, today, and yesterday, I’m tired. I’m grateful for it – tiredness means I’ve been productive. But, it’s time to learn how to balance it all.

After self-worth, that’s my other ongoing lesson. I have faith I will get there – the self-worth is coming along very quickly. Truly escalated over the last ten weeks.

I wonder where I will be in another ten.

The Lessons In Death

A couple of years ago, you may remember, my grandfather died. He was not my grandfather by blood, but the grandfather that was provided because my parents’ parents were in Finland and Germany. I never met them. My parents worked hard to create a surrogate family of grandparents and aunts and uncles for us.

Yesterday, my grandfather’s wife, my grandmother, died.

I pause and stare out at the incredible landscape before me as tears surface. The chimes that had been sounding stop, as if time stands still, but the birds do not. I hear them chirping and chattering throughout the many valleys in front of me. Two small rabbits bounce through the grasses, avoiding the watchful eye of the territorial magpie. The breeze picks up and the chimes cascade and wash over me.

Sigh.

I am sad. For unexpected reasons.

She had been ready to go weeks ago. Medications kept her breathing and kept her heart beating. I will miss the knowledge of her existence in this realm, with me. In the hospital, we laughed and shared. I was blessed enough to be able to tell her exactly what she had meant to me in this life. I could tell her I loved her.

Another pause. Another sigh.

Looking out across the mountains and the valleys, I realise how blessed I am. The breadth of this landscape enables perspective. We are all born. We will all die. Our times here are fleeting; the trees and the mountains will easily outlast us all.

And, that is okay.

Life, as the old cliche goes, is short. We can resist change or we can embrace it. We can create chaos or we can create peace. It is our choice. We can focus on the negativity of life or we can bring life to balance. We can be inspired, or we can be cynical. All choices. We can stand still, we can become stuck or we can strive to move forward, carrying with us all that we gain along the way.

Healing truly is a process. It requires a hell of a lot of hard work. It requires rests along the way; time to reflect on how far you have come and time to just be to let it all integrate. My work has garnered strengths and peace. I mark Aunty Val’s passing in my soul, but I choose to celebrate her existence in my life rather than hold on to her passing.

I am grateful for a very developed belief system and faith that enables me to know she isn’t far away from me, and within reach whenever we may need each other.

Thank you, Aunty Val, and to Uncle Ian, for being my grandparents and shielding me from pain, as best you could, as I grew up. Thank you for the wonderful memories and laughter and sense of family, But, most of all, thank you for loving me and reminding me I was enough. Just as I was.

What Happens When We Let Go

I left teaching seven weeks ago. I haven’t looked back. I was past my ‘best before’ date and I knew it. I still have a hundred percent in the classroom, but I wasn’t as motivated outside of it. Probably because I was running a business outside of school hours and all day Saturday; there was no time.

I am now working seven days a week. I’m knackered lol. I’m blissfully happy too. I’m growing my business and creating new pathways for myself; I am living my dream. Did I mention, I’m exhausted. Lol.

The last couple of weeks has been bizarre.

I was first contacted by an ex-colleague who has offered me the opportunity to run a stress relief, mindfulness and meditation session for Year 7 students at her school. Yes, please, thank you. Humbled and initially terrified, I accepted. Of course I can do this 😳.

After saying YES, the universe realised I was willing to accept opportunities and was serious about not going back to teaching in a school.

I was then contacted by an ex-student from another lifetime altogether and asked if I was interested in running meditation/healing in his centre.

Yes, please.

From that meeting, a whole other new opportunity emerged to work with the Department of Housing, developing and implementing programs to support the empowerment of women. Oh my. It’s still sinking in. That was the end goal of my business; it’s come ten years early.

Yes, please.

And, then, realising that what they want is just who I am. No bells or whistles, just what I do every day being me.

What a gift. I am beyond grateful. It is amazing what transpires and manifests when you just let go …

Let go of everything that no longer serves you, of everything that does not bring you happiness and joy, of everything that no longer fits … and you create openings and space for everything that you do want, to come in.

It’s a process, but man, such a worthwhile one.

Battling On

Well, not really battling. I think it’s important to follow up Sunday’s post.

IVF really changed parts of me for a long time, as it is wont to do. I do not regret the journey and I am ultimately grateful for the outcome. Without all of that, I wouldn’t be here. And, here is pretty darn good.

Shedding the emotion on Sunday has empowered and enabled huge steps forwards. I have deleted unnecessary pages I was adminning on Facebook and found an admin for one of my groups that has over three and a half thousand members.

One of my inner circle is continually reminding me that I need to send clear messages to the universe regarding the life I want. Deleting pages and removing myself as admin is sending that energy out there as well as creating space for new things.

I think this is important. It is not enough to just want change. We acting very need to create the space for new things in our often cluttered lives and then we need to actively pursue the new things. Clear messages; clear direction; clear action.

I am also revamping my healing page and my writing page. I have created new promotional material for Akashi Healing. I feel empowered. Inspired. Happy. Peaceful.

Time to Say Goodbye

This is the final weekend of eclipses and marks a new phase for all of us. The last eight months or so have been very unsettled and resolutions will now be seen to manifest. The past is the past, and our presents belong to clean slates.

Wow. I’m struggling even to write this. I’ve been absent from here. I have left teaching and have been establishing new routines and new ways of being. I am happy and significantly less stressed. And, I have started writing the book that my soul has been called to write for at least the last couple of years, if not longer, subconsciously.

Today, though, I needed to say goodbye to my grief about not becoming a birth mother during this incarnation. I will be eternally grateful that those people closest to me have not given up on me. I am still invited to the baby showers of my extended family. Difficult, but I am truly grateful.

I am also grateful that they all fell pregnant after most of my healing had been done, when there is some residual around Baby Showers, but nothing else.

Today, I had to resolve the last part. I didn’t know it before today, even though I had a feeling I wasn’t entirely good, but today I knew for sure.

I have been good with people falling pregnant, being pregnant, having babies. I haven’t been okay with Baby Showers and couldn’t understand why. I figured the actual baby would be more difficult to handle, but no. Not for me.

About three days ago, symptoms of anxiety started to surface. I wasn’t sure I would make it to the Baby Shower today. I kept breathing and talking sense to myself, and I knew in my heart that I needed to make sure I went. People can’t be sympathetic forever, and there comes a time when you stop being invited to events. There also comes a time when you need to move on within yourself.

I worked this morning (not that I necessarily call Sunday’s client, work at all). I came home for a shower, put the dress on I had been wanting to wear, felt overdone, and changed, resulting in feeling boganesque. I wasn’t going to win by changing outfits continually, so I stayed dressed this way, resisting the urge to wear yoga pants, cons and an oversized cardigan.

The anxiety became stronger. I started to experience heart palpitations and nausea. I questioned why I committed. At this point, I stopped, took some deep breaths, and acknowledged that I loved these people. That’s why I committed. Because I’m grateful I was invited and because I want to be part of these children’s lives because I want to be part of their parents’ lives.

These are my people, and I’ve been very absent for a very long time. IVF altered me and made me not me for a long time and I lost a lot. I didn’t know how to come back and I don’t want to lose these people.

I cried on the drive in. Thirty minutes of increasingly feeling worse. I willed myself to stop crying and to stop shaking. I tapped whilst I drove.

Even though I’m feeling exceptionally vulnerable, I completely love and accept myself.

Then, I forced myself to fake smile and visualised talking to people and feeling safe, confident, unimpacted. I debated calling ahead, asking to be met outside, asking to not go in and giving the gifts and apologies and running away. I debated turning around and going home. I debated pulling my head in and just going.

I arrived, took some deep breaths, grabbed the gifts, and walked to the door. I hugged the Mum to be and thanked her for the invitation. I spoke to my mum to be sister and burdened her for a while, then went outside to relieve her of my angsty self. I started to breathe evenly and calm myself. I spoke to people. I interacted. I think I did okay.

I left to see members of the birth family.

I drove home. I cried most of the way. I felt ridiculous. Then I spoke to myself and loved myself like I would others in this position, and I owned my grief.

It is okay to still feel this way. It is okay to hurt. There is no time limit. There is no pressure. This was the time. This was the place. This is the beginning of a new phase. I had to grieve and cry out this residual from my old phase.

It is okay. I am okay.

Whilst I had been in the shower, I had had an epiphany or realisation for why Baby Showers are such a struggle. I share this in case one day you, or a friend, or family member, go through something similar.

Baby Showers are a celebration of motherhood. And it is important to celebrate this journey.

As a middle aged woman who has failed in this society to bear children, for me, this celebration is hard. For me, it highlights my inability to conceive and carry, and it highlights that I don’t live a normal life, have never been normal, and probably won’t ever be normal.

As a middle aged woman without children, you don’t tend to fit so easily into this world. You can carve out your spot, but you don’t belong to the motherhood tribe. You can’t talk about your kids or share wisdom about raising children, with others. Often, the first question you are asked is if you have kids. Or you aren’t asked, and people assume. After all, you look old enough now to be a mother, so you must be.

I don’t think we realise how much the expectation of women is to mother. Until you can’t. And then it becomes very clear. And I think the expectation marginalises those of us that cannot fulfill the expectation. Especially those of us who try and fail.

I dunno. I’m writing about childhood trauma. If I hadn’t miscarried in 2013, my baby would be turning four next week. Maybe that’s why Baby Showers are hard. Maybe, but not likely. Meh.

Nurturing

Two weeks ago, I found a massive lump in my left boob. Once, finding a lump would have sent me into a massive tail spin. This didn’t.

I felt a stillness from within, a trust that this is meant to be, for whatever reason. Whatever it is, I will deal with it, I’ll manage it, I’ll do what needs to be done. And, if it is worst case scenario, then I’ll make sure I make the most of each new day and live, doing things I love, being with people I love. And, the stillness and peace continues.

A couple of days after finding the lump, I made an appointment with a doctor. The appointment was last Wednesday, the earliest I could get.

My appointment was for 11.20. I had clients from 12.30. I thought I could make it. However, ended up cancelling first two clients due to the doctor running late.

Getting in to the car to go to the appointment, I smashed my left thumb in the door jam as the door closed unexpectedly. I have no idea how it happened. It hurt. My language was very unladylike lol. I held an ice pack around my thumb on my drive to the doctors.

Congested car park. One spot next to a brick wall. Figured I could make it. Figured incorrectly. Metal from the door jam to the back wheel on the left side pulled back. Yep. What the.

Pulled out. Drove to another spot, further away. Looked at the damage. Shook my head. Went in to surgery to wait for two hours. Still relatively calm.

I suffer high blood pressure (is it any wonder lol), but came off my medication last December because I didn’t like the side effects. I started meditating more to compensate. Also, watching diet and monitoring stress and self care strategies. I know I’m not a doctor, but I know my body best and me. Drugs weren’t helping; they were making it worse. No point managing one thing only to create others, and realistically, the drugs were managing the high blood pressure, not correcting it.

The doctor, whom I haven’t seen before, but I prefer a female for female things, looked at me, then to her screen, then back to me, and exclaimed, You look amazing for your age! I laughed.

Confirmed I have a tumour, not a cyst, and gave me the referrals for a mammogram and ultrasound.

Blood pressure 150 over 100. I was ecstatic. Yes, that’s high. But, that was my blood pressure medicated, occasionally it went lower, but not by much. More often, it was higher.

For me, on a day I had smashed my thumb in the door and smashed the back of my car, then had to wait for a doctor and cancel clients, whilst having a lump that after googling, I knew was a tumour, this blood pressure reading shows that I’m managing it! Ecstatic.

No family history of breast cancer. Older than 40. Approaching menopause. Doctor thinks it is more likely it is benign too.

I’m not worried. I trust that whatever is going on, is ultimately for my benefit.

One thing I know for sure, every time I’ve perceived I’ve gone through hell, I have discovered exquisite beauty and greater happiness on the other side. Every negative situation has created greater positivity in my life.

The universe is always in balance. Where there is pain, there is also joy. Where there is hardship, there is also ease. I trust that I will be okay. I am okay now.

Three things – left side – nurturing the feminine. I have lived so much of my life in masculine energy, it makes sense I need to balance my energy.

At school, I’m called on for masculine energy. In my business and life, I’m more feminine in my energy. Affirmation that my time in organised education is up. Time to nurture me, just like I’ve nurtured so many others.

I had a healing client yesterday. Seeing her face open and light come back into her soul, I knew that I had made the right decision.

Everything happens for a reason.

We all need to trust that.

Oh, and after extensive research, I will have the ultrasound but not the mammogram. It’s my right to say no.