Out of the Darkness

Intense past month or so for me. And many others, I know, I feel you.

I have been (and am) in a massive place of transition at the moment. I can feel it – it’s like I’m lost, utterly lost, but know I need to feel that way to be able to shed and leave behind everything that no longer serves me.

As many of you know, I once thought (and for a very long time) that I wasn’t worth very much and I was pretty much an ugly duckling. I’ve had a recent lesson that has supported me in owning and accepting my worth and my beauty (in and out).

I finally believe that I am worthy and deserving to be my best self and have people around me who are striving to create a beautiful inner and outer world for themselves and others.

I feel like I have developed, through the darkness, a stronger sense of why I am here. It’s a little scary – not in achieving it, but in the machinations of how to achieve it.

I have a vision for this world.

A unity and community borne of, and from, love, as well as a deep connection arising from our collective similarities rather than our differences. I believe it is achievable. And I believe the way to get there is through collective healing.

I’ve had to step back from my normal lifestyle to regenerate and repair my energy. At the end of last term, I was completely exhausted – physically, emotionally and at a deep soul level. I tend to give a lot of energy out. All. Of. The. Time.

I have slowed down. I am realising that too much work brings money in, and takes happiness and fulfillment out. For me, in this moment. Money is great. I’m not knocking it. I’m just not wholly fulfilled earning it the way that I am. So, I’ve started pulling back from that. If I don’t believe I am serving people well, I need to step out. It’s hard, but necessary.

I have also realised that I am worthy of a deep and profound love. I do second guess it a bit, but in my core, I am worthy.

I have chatted to a couple of people over the last couple of days, overwhelmed that people can see me as amazing when I’m just being me.

I’ve been me my whole life, and have never been regarded with as much enthusiasm and validation as I have since India in November of 2016. Just recently, it has amped up even more.

My healing intentions for the world are being supported and people are ‘impressed’ by me. Freaks me out. Little girl lost is finding herself. I wish that for everyone.

I’m ready to evolve. Ascending higher. I know that won’t be solitary work. And it will be fraught with challenges for me to learn and grow from. But, I’m learning that there is a larger plan, that I need to be patient, that everyone who enters my life enters to teach me something, and that not everyone is here to stay. And, that’s okay.

A little lost still. Reread a book today and finished another book. Peaceful, but a little lonely. An interesting feeling for me because it’s a foreign feeling. I also feel raw, open and exceptionally vulnerable. Yet, I blog. I’m such a weirdo.

I am grateful for this darker period. I am grateful for the light occasionally flickering to remind me it is temporary. I am grateful for the deep connections I am able to build with people. I am grateful that I have courage. I am grateful that I am me. I am grateful for growth. I am grateful for pain. I am grateful for loveliness. All serve to remind me of where I have come from and where I am.

A Valuable Lesson

I’m back to being self-absorbed (am I ever not 🤔). I cried a lot yesterday. I felt very sorry for myself in parts. Sorry for others in the other parts. I woke up this morning after a long sleep, feeling like I’d been hit by a bus and rolled over by a truck.

No surprises there. When I’m sad, I become self-destructive in the sense that I start to have very high expectations of those around me. So high, that no one can reach them or come close to fulfilling them. The soul sisters had messaged me. They were both awake, with time, and we could unpack the purpose of the shadow self.

I knew there were old behaviour and emotion patterns that needed to be broken, and were so presenting themselves AGAIN. They have reared their heads now because I am in transition and they will not serve me in my next phase. I needed to acknowledge them, wrestle with them, speak to them, and ultimately, love and release them.

Healing work takes time, and I’ve realised, with such busy lives, we don’t tend to make time for it. I used to a lot more than I do now. Ironically, running a healing business takes my time. I grin wryly and shake my head at the folly that is human.

I gave myself permission to not feel guilt when I cancelled my plans today. When the guilt rises, I let it know that it’s okay that today, we put our needs first. And it is okay, even though I feel like I’ve been doing it a hell of a lot, too much, in recent weeks. Then, I chat to my shame and I let it know that it’s okay, we are in transition and we are growing and that causes disruption.

It’s important to walk the talk. I preach at others to do what they need. When they present excuses, I am firm. It is more than okay that I make myself do what I tell others to do because I know it works. So, I have.

Off to Bunnings to grab a few final touches for my meditation space. I realised that just being near the plants released stick parts of myself, so on the way home, I explored roads I’ve never been down (I did think they lead somewhere different, but it didn’t matter that they didn’t go where I thought they would).

Words kept going through my head – you have to become lost to find yourself.

A constant mantra as, mesmerised, I stopped the car to be mindful of and to where I was. I expressed gratitude and kept going, stopping every fifty or so metres to acknowledge the different sights, sounds and feelings.

I was free. I was empowered. I was present.

After hitting the car’s undercarriage on a rock, I was forced to turn around and head back to a road I knew.

I live very close to a national park. It’s one of my soothing places. I don’t go there enough. I’m scared of being raped and murdered and no one finding the body because I’ve turned location settings off on my phone. I know. Welcome to my brain. Residue from childhood trauma.

Today, though, I turned right without hesitation and started the descent to the dried out lake beds.

I love water and I am devastated that there is no water in the lakes anymore (thank you, fracking). However, the bush is still there, and it soothes my soul almost as much as water does. Well, today it did that and more.

There were people eating lunch and I’m avoiding humans to the best of my ability, so I decided to walk down a walking track – just a little way.

Oh my. Forget your pain. Forget your self-obsession. Forget everything. Just be.

I started to feel inspired. Ideas for workshops started to crystallise. Directions became clear. My spirit strength gushed back through my veins and arteries, exploding my heart.

I only felt mildly concerned when some guys on trail bikes were at the head of the path and the other picnickers had gone. I don’t think males appreciate how vulnerable females can feel.

I started the journey home. I felt lighter.

And then, the purpose to the misery yesterday revealed itself. Funnily, I had to feel, really feel, something I believe and something I always say, to the extent it’s the byline for both of my businesses – empower yourself.

Healing is a solo journey. Healers hold space so that you are safe as you journey your healing path. But, ultimately, healing is a solo endeavour. And, it’s scary to do it alone.

I think it’s human nature to want someone else to hold you, to save you, to do the work. To be there, even just to listen and to hold your hand. I also think that that doesn’t really help you brave the healing wilderness and come out the other side, more whole than when you started.

This is MY life. I am responsible for it. I, and only I, am responsible for it. I make choices, as an adult, that dictate my days and my life. I need to walk the path alone so that I can be mindful of everything I experience along the way. Other people can offer their wisdom and their support, but ultimately, I need to do the work to attain my own wisdom.

Personal responsibility and empowering the self.

I know what makes me feel peaceful. It’s nature. When I’m out of balance, and I know when I am, I need to go into nature. But, so often, too often, I don’t. I put the needs of others and my ‘responsibilities’ first. I have dozens of excuses to not do what my soul cries for.

And I face the consequences for not listening.

I am worthy of giving to myself first. Just as you are. In fact, it’s my core responsibility. Without fulfilling it, I am less able to do the things I choose to do for others.

Healed. Lol. Thank you, kind old tree.

Standing in Truth

Something fundamental has gone wrong in our society. Kids are feeling alone and troubled and disconnected and we don’t see it. Hope seems to be non-existent.

I grew up in trauma and I know many people my age who did. We just kept going. I guess, it’s like we felt we didn’t have too much of a choice.

Fuck. I don’t know what I’m trying to say.

Yesterday, I received a message to let me know that one of my ex students from school had died. This has become a regular occurrence. Just too regular. Too many young lives gone, at their own hand or through accidents.

Too many of our youth feel there is no light. They wander aimlessly, living the life they feel they are expected to live. Scared to pursue their dreams, or to even dream, not believing in their own light. Not realizing they even have a light.

We are all so connected. The ripple effect of kids dying is savage. Meh. The words won’t flow. I’m still in shock.

Death serves to remind us all that life is short. We deserve happiness and peace, but they don’t come easily. We need to work towards it by making choices that take us there. One after the other.

Hardship is part of life. It serves to teach us humility, compassion and resilience.

Every time someone I love dies, I take stock of my life. Is what I’m doing serving others, serving me, making the world a better, more authentic, happier place? What do I need to change? We only get this one opportunity to live this life.

Ah, Trae. You were a gorgeous kid. Year 8 English, sitting with your boys, staying back to have chats, smiling at, but not participating in their silliness. I am just so sad that you won’t become the adult version of the child I knew.

This is the hardest thing to go through as a teacher. We give our hearts and souls to our kids. We invest in their happiness whilst we invest in their education. When they are sick, or lost, or suffering, all we want to do is grab them and hold them and save them from all of the shit that can be this life, their life.

But we can’t.

We all impact those around us. Even when we feel we are nothing, we impact. Even when we feel we are unseen, we impact.

Man. I feel for Trae’s family, his mum, his friends, all being forced to deal with and process and work through something that must be ripping their hearts apart.

Life is short. Significantly shorter for some. We need to ensure we honor the memory of those that pass early by living our best lives and creating a beautiful world.

😥

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.

Childhood Trauma

Obviously, I’ve decided to start writing every day again. I’ve missed it. I think (it could change) that a lot of my posts might focus on childhood trauma and abuse and healing.

I was sexually and physically and emotionally/psychologically abused during my childhood. The way I perceived it all, I grew up believing that I wasn’t worth very much. This made it easier for other people to keep me feeling small in my life. After all, when you aren’t worth much you believe you don’t deserve much.

I have recently read two amazing books on childhood trauma. Dr Bessell van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score and Dr Nadine Burke Harris’ The Deepest Well. If you are interested, the second one is a much easier read than the first. She also has a TED Talk.

An ACE Score is an adversity in childhood experiences score. There are ten questions based on childhood experience. The higher the score, the more traumatic your childhood experiences were. This leaves you open to greater health problems and dysfunction in adulthood.

My score is 8 out of 10.

I’m flabbergasted I function as well as I do hehe.

I always felt motivated intrinsically to heal though. I never wanted my life to be restricted because of my childhood adversity. After all, it wasn’t all bad, it’s just that the bad had no voice and no way to release itself or moderate itself so it took over.

As I read The Body Keeps the Score, I realised how significant the impact of silence and shame has been – especially physically. The physicality extends into the psychological.

I have achieved a great deal in and throughout my life. I continue to grow and to heal. I don’t know why I never really fell off the rails into promiscuity and drugs. Possibly fear lol.

I do know though, that we are better informed today than we were in the seventies and early eighties. I know that counselling and support could make the world of difference in an abused child’s life.

I do not understand why it isn’t mandated in the Child Protection legislation. Trauma counselling should be a given for children experiencing trauma. Research indicates that it can make a significant difference to life outcomes.

So, I will be advocating for this. I want children to have hope, and passion for life, and the belief that they deserve to have their dreams come true.

That’s why I taught for so much longer than I think was healthy for me. I believe in our children, and I’ve seen too many parents, out of their depth, not know how to support their child through trauma. Parents need support too.

We know better. It’s time we do better.

Tina says 🤪

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.

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.

Blake

Video today. Words are hard to find at times like this. And, I forgot to mention, probably because it’s too hard, his mum and brother. Watching their grief makes you appreciate the loved ones you do have. None of us should have to lose people we care about. Much love to Lisa and Rory, universe.

And the mask crumbles.

I wore my big girl pants all day today, until ten minutes ago when the tears came sobbing out as I drove closer to home. Too late to go and get a hug from someone, especially with a shit load of marking to do.

I have changed as a teacher. The compassionate, loving creature that this year’s Years 11 and 12 know, I don’t think the younger years have met. It’s sad. This me is a cool teacher. But, fuck, it’s hard.

When I have taught, prior to this year, I was all in. Heart. Mind. Soul. No wonder I have burnt out.

I remember this heart break and all the prior heart breaks, fresh. Belinda has said that this is our seventh student loss. I’ve been close to every single one. And, that’s not the hardest part.

No, the hardest part is watching the kids left behind, breaking in front of you, while you stand with them, powerless to fix their pain, to take the hurt away, to stem the flow of tears. We can only hold them, tell them we love them, and say, “Yep. This is fucked,” as we hold them tighter, scared we might lose them too. Scared that we won’t be enough. Scared … just plain scared. Whilst we break too.

No child should go before old age. But, they do. All of the time. It’s devastating.

I told a couple of the kids today that we honour Blake’s life by becoming our best selves, living our best lives. And, I believe this.

Death of loved ones changes us. It doesn’t matter who we are; death and grief are equalizers.

I am holding a lot of anger towards the senselessness of this, and the selfish arrogance of the ‘perpetrator’. I’ll work through it. He has people grieving him and praying for his recovery. I am sure if he had a chance to do over, he would change each decision that resulted in this devastation. Still …

It’s hard as a teacher. People don’t expect us to have these deep emotions for our kids. We do though. It’s hard not to. We see them every day. We see them at their best and at their worst. You get to know their souls, and you get to help them navigate their way through this sketchy thing called life.

I will never forget many things about Blake: white bloody shoes and a myriad of other ongoing uniform infringements, cheeky grin, stubborn spirit, his compassion and love for those he was closest to, and his honesty.

I had a conversation with him during 2016, before I left, that really highlighted his maturity and battler spirit. I will never forget it. It reminded me of how much some of our kids contend with to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Blake was a survivor.

I believe (ever so gratefully) that his spirit lives on. That his cheeky grin is a flicker away. And that his life will continue to impact those he knew positively through death. Some things just live on.

For now, my big girl pants are with my mask, away for the night, and as I tell the kids, I’m being real and doing what I need to do to self-care and to move through this, peacefully. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to vent. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to do whatever you need to do.

❤️🙏🏻💦