Unsettled

This doesn’t happen often anymore very much at all. I’m going to own it though now that it has happened.

I’ve woken up with a head heavy with swirling thoughts. I think one of my friends sensed the downward spiral starting yesterday because they randomly asked if I were okay.

I was – mostly – I have been sick and have pushed through except for Tuesday when I cancelled all of the clients I remembered (a sign in itself) and slept through the afternoon.

I’m exhausted. It’s been a big start to the year and feels like December already. The term is almost done, and I decided to write the bloody trauma book lol. It triggered my process last week. This week the process has triggered something.

I dreamed of sexual abuse last night. I can’t remember the dreams. I was not the abused. I feel that. Meh.

I knew the book would be difficult to write. And I know I’ll be okay. I’ll work through whatever this is.

I have already stood on the grass to ground myself. I’m going to do some body groove and I’m going to do a grounding mantra I learned at yoga yesterday.

Once my brain is ready to release whatever emotion it is processing, I’ll work through that too.

Childhood trauma is the gift that keeps giving. Like IVF lol.

Memories, feelings, stuff can come up at any time and knock you. And that’s okay when you have a self-care strategy. I do – years in the making to deal with these times. I won’t slide deep. I know what to do. And I’ll take the time I need to do it by saying no more often.

I’ve got this. You’ve got this. We’ve all got this.

A Healthy Ego v Arrogance

I was chatting to one of my sister tribe this morning. I’ve said a hundred times before that whilst I was a teacher, I became used to keeping myself small. I was safe there, being small, working within the parameters I was given by an institution. It suited me to not expect very much from myself. I was scared of so much.

It took me fifteen years to acknowledge to myself and then to others that I was an amazing teacher. I still am.

I build amazing relationships with my students and I work from a place of love. And, I myself, am a lifelong learner. Education is holistic – it involves significantly more than delivering content and enabling skills.

I am now developing into an amazing business woman, but I am a work in progress and wouldn’t have come this far in my businesses without the help of four women specifically ~ Karyn, Donna, Mai Mai and Michelle.

And then, wouldn’t be here without the support of my family and extended family ~ people who love me and support me through the every day. I may not see them often, definitely not as much as I want to, but they are in my heart every day and I know they are in my corner which enables me to keep moving forward.

I am humble in my arrogance. Hehe. And I will never allow myself to be small again.

In our society, as women, we believe (are taught) that to stand in our truth, the truth of who we are, and express what we are good at, what we have achieved, what we can achieve, what we have done, is wrong.

It isn’t.

There is a distinct difference between a healthy ego and arrogance.

We should be able to speak our truth. We should be encouraged to speak our truth. We should stand proud when we speak our truth.

I’ve worked fucking hard in my life and on myself to be the strong resilient woman that I am. I have had very low lows and some amazing highs. I’ve lived a full life of extremes and of balance. I’ve weathered storms and basked in sunlight. I’ve had it all. I’m proud of myself.

Every day, I wake up, blessed (and bloody tired lol) and ready to serve. Every day, I am grateful for all that I have and all that I am. Every day, I take steps towards achieving the life I want to live, and every day, I live the life I want to live.

I own this. I own me.

If you call me arrogant, I ask you to look within yourself and ask where that need to judge comes from. If you think you shouldn’t own the best in you, ask who is keeping you small and who that serves.

Me being amazing does not diminish your amazing-ness. There is enough light in this world for us all to shine.

Today, mentally, vocally, in writing, List the qualities, the things, that make you amazing. And then, stand proud in your truth.

We are phenomenal people.

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It’s All About Choices

Our lives are a series of choices. We choose what we do, when we do it, how we do it, how we respond, what we think, say and feel.

If you are feeling uncertain or overwhelmed or tired, that paragraph may niggle at you and you might respond angrily or sadly or out of frustration.

That’s okay.

It took me years to work out how true that first paragraph actually is and how much it liberates you when you apply it’s wisdom. I’m still a work in progress, but because I keep working on it, I’m getting there. Wherever there is.

Mindful March is revolutionising how I spend my time. I am making better choices consistently. I am consciously choosing how I spend my time.

Exhausted after a big Friday and big Saturday, once I would have chosen to not get up early and go to the beach. Yesterday, I chose to do it anyway. Best decision.

I have not swum in the ocean for toooooo long. I love it. The feeling of cold when you first get in, going through the stages of synchronising your body temperature with the temperature of the water. Gaining the confidence to dive under, feeling the water rush past your body, pushing your hair back. Breaking through the surface, taking a breath, opening your eyes and then floating until the next wave comes through.

Heaven on Earth.

Complete mindfulness, complete presence.

There is no other feeling like it.

What will you choose to do for yourself today?

It doesn’t have to be big.

 

 

 

 

Life CAN Be Hard

Modern life can be really hard. We work long hours to pay for the rent/mortgage, power, gas, phone, internet, cars and their many expenses, food, school fees, and the list goes on.

The time we have off, we feel pressured to socialise and catch up, when all we really want to do is lie on the lounge to prepare our energy to repeat the entire process the following week.

Life can be hard.

It doesn’t have to be.

We choose for it to be.

Me included.

It doesn’t have to be though.

Three weeks ago, I turned my intermittent meditation into a daily ritual. I’m sleeping much better and more deeply. I wake feeling more energetic.

I’m not the guru of meditation. I use an app (Insight Timer) and I try different meditations, mostly guided. It works for me.

A week ago, I decided to follow my sister’s example and, except for business, disengage from social media. All of a sudden, without mindless scrolling, I have more ‘free’ time. My mind is less cluttered and I feel more grounded.

I also decided to stand on the grass for five minutes a day to just breathe. I feel more centred and calmer.

I’m consciously and mindfully eating and engaging with food. I have more energy and feel like I’m healing my body.

Life can be hard. Our choices make the difference.

A War Within Yourself

I think one of the hardest parts in resolving trauma, in particular childhood trauma, is that it is a long process. A looooong process.

The journey for me, has spanned decades. I had to go through every uncomfortable thing I did to get to health, and I’m still getting there.

Through my twenties and thirties and early forties, I struggled to manage depression. I engaged suicidal thoughts too much and was a roller coaster of irrational emotions.

I endured an inner blood curdling scream for over twenty years. I never felt in control and I never felt worthy of good things. I sabotaged friendships and potential good relationships all of the time. I was almost happy being unhappy, but not.

My mid forties has been a reckoning for me. I’ve learned so much about myself, about the healing process, and about managing our pain.

Two things have to be present for healing to take place:

1. The desire to heal.

2. The right time.

You might scoff at both. You might say, No one wants to be unhappy.

You are wrong. It’s not that people want to be unhappy, but they have become safe in that place and pain has become their identity. Breaking through that requires a great deal of work.

I encounter people all of the time who say they want things to change, they want to heal, but they are stuck where they are and unwilling to take any steps away from the safety of where they are.

I get that. It sounds harsh of me, but it’s true. Sometimes, in our head, where we are and what we know feels safer than the unknown. Feels safer than risking it and failing.

The worst thing we can do though, is stagnate, not move, die where we are. You don’t want that.

And yes, the second we have little control over.

I have had opportunities my whole life to heal. Most I’ve taken, some I have not.

What I know for sure is that if we don’t listen to the whispers of intuition we get that we need to change something, our lives will eventually crash around us and force us to take action.

That’s what happened to me in 2016. I had been too scared, too stuck in the fear of life outside of teaching, that I had not left. As a result, investigation for almost a whole year.

Now, I’m grateful for every second of the torment and anxiety and life as it was.

The Phoenix rose.

Because of that, because of the psychological and emotional healing, I’m now ready to manage my weight effectively. The last frontier for my healing journey.

After this, it will become a journey of maintaining mental, emotional and physical health whilst I grow spiritually and intellectually.

I’m excited.

Healing takes a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Every tear, every breakdown, every second.

Living With A Trauma Survivor

I write a lot about what it’s like to live with a trauma history. I’ve only occasionally thought what it must be like to live with me or to be my friend or partner.

You see, when you have experienced a trauma, the person you were and the person you could have been, no longer exist. There is a grief attached to that, the loss of you and of your past potential, that takes a long time to heal for most.

And the rules that apply to people without trauma, don’t really fit those living with trauma and it’s impact. Trauma breaks people; most temporarily, but for some, permanently.

It changes the way you see the world, and people, and relationships.

When you are abused as a child, you lose trust and a sense of positive self-worth.

As a result, as an adult, you need validation continually that what you are saying, what you are doing, and what you are feeling is okay. You second guess yourself all of the time. Trauma survivors don’t know what the boundaries are and can drive the people closest to them nuts by seeking validation and/or approval constantly. It is hard to live with, but harder to live through.

Remind your survivor that they are safe with you, and that they are enough, especially on the really hard days.

Once a survivor opens up and trusts you, you’re pretty much in for a hard ride. You’d think it would get easier, but it doesn’t.

Because a trauma survivor’s sense of trust has been demolished, when we trust, we trust wholly and expect you to live up to our expectations. It’s not fair, but it is what it is.

We don’t trust easily. We are used to people letting us down, but we expect you to be better than everyone else which sometimes means we don’t allow you to be human, and you feel like you can never win. You can’t. Sad, but true.

Your survivor still loves you, they just need more. Like, if we are feeling something or processing something or working through something, we need to work it through fully. You need to listen. You need to engage. Until it all makes sense in our heads from our perspective, just nod, hold a hand, remind us, “I love you. I’m listening. Keep talking.”

If we express that your behaviour doesn’t help our situation, listen closely, say what you are hearing back, and maybe negotiate a compromise on your behaviour. If that could work.

It’s hard, living or being close to a survivor of trauma. Most of us experience, especially in the early days of healing, irrational rages. If not rages, serious bouts of depression-like behaviours – not wanting to leave the house or interact with others or get dressed or do anything.

We hurt those closest and we try to push them out of our lives before they can hurt us. Even if you stay, we will keep pushing and trying to see how far we can push you, what it takes to break you, because we don’t believe we are worthy of you or your love or your friendship. If there is a chance you can hurt us, your life won’t be easy.

We are damaged.

The world doesn’t look to us like it looks to you.

Where you see sunsets, we see night coming, and that means fear of someone hurting you.

Where you smell eucalyptus, we smell the abuser who wore Vick’s as they hurt us.

We are triggered by the weirdest things at random times, and often can’t access why until we have completely lost our shit. After the release of breakdown, the shedding of another layer of healing, we return to the vulnerable human you know and love.

It’s a hard life for everyone involved. You, the partner or the friend or the parent, well, you need to self-care, you too, need a support network, you need to do what you can for yourself to ensure you cope okay.

You’re right, it isn’t fair.

But it also isn’t fair for the survivor. Healing is a process. There isn’t a one size fits all. And often, healing can take a lifetime as the survivor learns how to live in a world that allowed the damage to happen in the first place. Surely, that, is the ultimate betrayal in trust.

We Are All Different But The Same

Ridiculous title really. At our cores, I think we all just want to be loved and to live a happy life. I’m fairly secure in making that generalization that it’s true for most people, if not all.

Where we differ is how this looks in our lives.

For me, I’m busy building a business and running another one.

My healing business is a slow grower. People want advice and strategies, but most people don’t want to pay for that. Or can’t afford to. Or don’t believe they are worth the investment in themselves.

I get that. It took me a long time to believe my needs were worthy investing in. At the end of the day, I realised, I need to heal and to grow and that money is an investment and will come back to me in some way.

We are worth the investment.

Sometimes, I get a short stab of ego pain if someone chooses a different healer. I hate saying this and owning it, but it’s true. And it only is a short, two second stab. I am human after all.

So, I cut myself some slack and I remind myself that there is never a finite number of people that require healing. The people that are supposed to come to me will find me when the time is right. And I have my bread and butter business where the books are closed and I’m trying to reduce my client list.

All in good time …

Ekhart Tolle’s work taught me how to focus on the now, be in the present, alongside meditation. It is easy to get caught up in perceptions of fairness and equity, but at the end of the day, perceptions are just that. They aren’t truth or fact, well, not broadly.

I seem to be having a week where it’s important for me to reveal my shortcomings lol. I’m okay with that – I’m a work in progress, as we all are. And owning my shortcomings empowers me to work through them.

After all, ego doesn’t have to rule us and only can when we don’t acknowledge it.

Be mindful today in your interactions with others and in your thoughts, does ego dictate your choices or do you.

A Perpetual Work in Progress

Massive lessons being learned by me at the moment. I am in transition again. So much movement in my life, and so much trying to be and do everything. You can only ever disappoint when you try to be everything to everyone.

Hmmm … I didn’t mean to underline, but there you have it. The first salient point in this post lol.

My whole life, I felt small. I felt like I had no worth unless I was doing and being for others. As I reflect, that core belief is what has always landed me in trouble during my adult life. And it is ultimately the belief that has lead me here to be able to smash through it. Gingerly lol.

Obviously, that belief started in childhood. I don’t hold others responsible for it – it was my perception (mis-perception) of the trauma I encountered. The same trauma that has made me who I am (who I like – an empowered, resilient, and beautiful woman – a little proud I can say that without any challenge or awkwardness).

Last weekend, I hit a snag on Sunday. I forgot I had organised to go to the beach and then catch up with one of my very closest people. I was too tired. Soul tired. I slept ALL day.

I knew I had to make changes.

I couldn’t keep watching people live their lives – explore the world, see family and friends, do stuff – whilst the vast majority of what I did was work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. I just realised last Sunday, that I also love not working. It’s as simple as that.

I am most present and most liberated when I am doing any sort of healing work, be it with others or on my own self. Healing, and all that means, is my highest value and the reason I am on this Earth at this time – to empower and inspire others to be their best selves.

When I am not engaged in this work, I am not as buoyant.

This work takes many forms: tutoring, workshops, clients, writing, videos with Renee, and connections. And I’m sure there is more. It is my whole self.

But there needs to be a balance within the healing work.

And because of my ‘fear’ of disappointing people, my inability to say no for the same reason, all connected to my belief that my worth is connected to what I do for others, I have run out of mojo already this year.

When I’m working in my balance, I am energised. When I’m working out of balance, I become soul tired.

I’ve made difficult decisions this week, had difficult conversations, and the world hasn’t imploded. I still woke up this morning. People are managing to live their lives. Not much seems to have changed.

However, I have. As someone said to me yesterday, “It’s good you are setting boundaries, Tina. We would keep taking as long as you were still giving.”

As a person who has experienced trauma, standing up for what I want and being supported in that and not being belittled or punished, has been empowering.

The world didn’t end when I set some boundaries. People are disappointed, but we are all still functioning. The difference now, my needs are being met too.

And I AM worth that.

If You Build It

Tonight is the first night of my Moving Beyond Childhood Trauma workshop. I am excited and terrified all in one.

Running workshops always terrifies me. The impact of my own trauma becomes very obvious to me: the fear that I’m not good enough and have nothing to offer of use.

Obviously, this is garbage, but it is the narrative I’ve told myself my whole life. I’m not good enough. I think that’s why I stayed in teaching for so long – the system kept me very small and I enabled that because it fed my narrative – I’m just not good enough.

So, I have to walk the talk. I have to tell the fear to sit in the back seat whilst I drive the car. It can come, but it can not speak. Thank you, Liz Gilbert. I pay this metaphor forward and it changes lives.

Fear is normal. Minimizing yourself as a result of it is something you can control. To live our best lives, we need to learn to harness it. Acknowledge its existence, but do not give it power.

I scaffolded the program weeks ago. As you do. Something had been holding me back from fully committing to that scaffold. Yesterday, just before heading to work, tonight flashed into my brain.

The last week, first.

Always have the goal in mind. What do I want my life to look like? Who do I want to be?

Then, we will deal with the trauma.

I’m hoping the participants find the courage within themselves to attend; I have such a good feeling about the group.

Another impact of my own trauma is that I used to struggle with stepping outside of my comfort zone. Twenty seconds of courage to click yes and to knock on a door changed that. I now go when and where I am called.

Changing my trauma narrative comes one word at a time, one impact at a time, one change at a time. With lots of self-love practiced.

Trauma doesn’t have to define our lives. It is our choice.