An Unexpected Lesson

I think this will crack you up.

I was sitting on my lounge, mindless TV on, and Max, my six and a half year old Maltese/Shih Tzu/Mini Poodle cross cake and sat right in front of me.

When I got Max, I had failed IVF cycles behind me and giving up on children, decided to buy a dog. We get the dog we need, not the dog we want.

Max has always been an obsessive dog. He gives and gives and gives love. He struggles to receive it back.

So, I’m sitting on the lounge, trying to give this kid a hug, and he is trying to lick me (hate being licked). I turn to him and I say,

“Max, it’s okay to give as much love as you do, but it’s important you also learn to receive love.”

Anyone who knows my story knows how ironic this tale is. It wasn’t lost on me. I laughed and said,

“Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black.”

And I’m still wryly smiling.

Hilarious.

Max is the black one – he’s a human trapped in a dog’s body lol. Aka very spoilt.

Childhood Blessings

My mum sent me this photo of us last night. I became really emotional. My chubby body not facing the camera and leaning against my mum as she holds me. My mum’s smile.

My perceptions and memories of my childhood are quite focused on the negative: arguments, screaming, violence, me lying in bed bawling and making deals with God.

The negative always seems to create more of an impact than anything positive and this misdirects our perceptions.

If I could, I would teach everyone in the world, from birth, that the universe is always in perfect balance. When something negative happens, we need to look for the positive in that moment too, to keep balance. If we could do that, our perceptions would be more balanced, and we would be more balanced.

Sounds too simple, right?

It’s not. It’s hard to step outside of yourself and your situation to look for the benefits. Even as an adult, an intelligent adult, it is sometimes difficult to reflect. The negative, the drawbacks, are always so easy to pinpoint. We are geared to look for the negatives in a negative situation. We somehow thrive from this.

Looking for the benefit, well, that’s more difficult. However, doing it really changes your perception of events. My work with Mai Mai has really enabled and empowered me to do this, and I can do it quite quickly for most things now. Especially for the small ego hurts that occur. And doing it at the time, really empowers you to keep more balance.

Try it next time you feel miserable about something. Be in the moment, list the drawbacks, list the benefits. See where it takes you.

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.