A Week Later ๐Ÿคจ

I have had a bit of a yucky week. Woke up on Monday with the beginnings of what became a massive migraine that stayed with me, in a variety of forms, until Friday night. It forced me to really stop – something I struggle to do these days – and so, for that At least, I’m grateful.

I realise I have overcommitted myself this year. Leaving teaching has left me with a small fear of not having enough money and so I have overcommitted myself to my tutoring business. Add to that an inability to say no, and I have some issues to work through lol.

I laugh, but probably shouldn’t be.

All of this is a manifestation of unresolved trauma.

I’ve worked through quite a few layers since leaving for the cruise just before Christmas. Triggers come. I do the work. I resolve that aspect. Cycle continues.

Somewhere in there though, I’ve become vulnerable, a little overwhelmed and a little fearful again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong and empowered woman. I am also a work in progress, and sometimes don’t feel quite as strong as I want to.

All of that comes from deserving and self-worth. When I become triggered, when I do the work, I focus on the intellectual and forget to focus on the little girl.

I am not her anymore. I know this. The little girl has evolved into a woman who knows her power and stands in it every day. This grown arse woman though, doesn’t necessarily feel her worth as deeply as she should. The little girl definitely didn’t feel her worth.

This is the long term impact of childhood trauma. Intellectually I know I’m fierce, and lovable, and deserving. Emotionally, maybe not so much.

How do I cross that divide and merge the two?

For me, awareness is a massive thing. Once I’m aware, I start making different choices. I can already feel a shift within me regarding this.

I need to nurture myself: eat better, bless my food, ritualize eating, wear clothes I love, wear beautiful underwear, stand in the grass, hug a tree, play with my pets, laugh, live with intent, connect with old friends, affirm myself, make my life about me, burn candles, declutter my spaces, breathe deeply, meditate to love my inner child and bring her to maturity. Just a few things I can do that work for me.

And, I need to start saying no. People won’t hate me, and if they do, that’s on them and I don’t need them.

Easy to say lol – we all want approval, especially when we are vulnerable. But, we need to approve of ourself first. That comes from affirming that our own needs are as important, more important, than the needs of others.

We can’t give wholeheartedly when we are empty.

I will learn and manifest this. It’s my next layer to peel back.

Have a beautiful and inspired day.

The Long Term Impact of Trauma

I was having coffee with a great friend yesterday afternoon. We are in the process of developing an idea for You Tube content. The series will focus on childhood trauma and its impact.

We are both examples of surviving and healing childhood trauma, and creating impactful lives for ourselves in the process.

Our trauma occurred in very different areas: she lived in a cult and I lived in suburbia. We both have very high ACE scores (Adversity in Childhood).

The interesting thing about this, is that for both of us, the long term impact and effect of the trauma (unresolved and untreated during childhood) has been the same.

We both struggle or have struggled with confidence/trusting our judgement, we both have found a voice that had been silenced by shame, we are both workaholics, we have both suffered depression and contemplated suicide, and the list goes on.

The impact is not all negative though – we both want a different world and we work hard to raise awareness, and enable and empower the healing in others. We are both very passionate, very focused and love music (a safe place).

Trauma is interesting. It can keep us stuck, afraid, and unhappy repeating desperate cycles, but it can also liberate our souls so that we achieve bigger things than we ever dreamed possible.

Ultimately, our lives are what we make of them. Our lives are the collection of choices we make every day. Even after trauma, maybe because of trauma, life can be amazing.

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.

Healing Truly Is A Process

Well, I’m exhausted lol. Another layer of healing pulled back and processed yesterday.

What I have noticed is that once upon a time, triggers took days, even weeks, for me to process, and during that time, I would slip into depression and sabotage my friendships. I would be immersed in and suffocated by darkness.

Yesterday, during the trigger and processing process, I was a little disoriented when a friend came knocking on the door, but I was functioning and to a high level. In fact, the visit brought the remaining cortisol down. Apart from tired, my self-care and tool kit of strategies took me through the process.

Very often, the triggers are not the cause of the emotional and/or psychological chaos. They just trigger it. I’ve found, that as I’ve added to my tool kit, the triggers no longer disrupt my life or my psyche for long.

I think the greatest tool I use to return myself to balance is what I’ve learned from Mai Mai in our sessions, and from reading Dr John Demartini’s books and applying the ideas.

I no longer have to look for the support in the moment – it is always there in some form – I still acknowledge the step as part of the process though.

The drawbacks are always fairly obvious, and then I focus on the benefits and list them one by one. I also now connect them to my values – how does this incident support my highest values?

Then, after that intense work, I’m just tired and yesterday, I practiced self-care. I apologized for not being able to attend an event I had been looking forward to, and I was honest about why, which whilst embarrassing and shameful (in my eyes at the time) liberated me in the long term.

It is so important that we use our voices and share where we are. Honesty enables trust in relationships and removes guilt.

Ultimately, yesterday was an opportunity for me to walk the talk, and to demonstrate to others how I did this.

Healing is a lifelong process, and that’s okay, because I’ve got this.

Poor George ๐Ÿ˜ onwards and upwards

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 ๐Ÿคช

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.

I have a friend …

I know, lucky me. I have a friend. The ellipsis suggests that there is more to this sentence though for those giggling ๐Ÿ˜œ.

I have a friend who is on a rigorous healing journey. Who is confronting her demons and holding her ground. And, who is absolutely shit scared, every day, of what this could lead to.

When we embark on a healing journey, we first spend time holding the truth within ourselves. We go over our narratives so many times that we can finally feel ‘comfortable’ within them. We start to own our narrative in more than just a debilitating way.

We almost start to feel safe that this is who we are now, and we start to use the labels: survivor, victim, me too. We also brand the trauma: sexual abuse, physical abuse, dysfunction. The labels start to define us. They hold us tightly, but in a way that makes us feel, I don’t know, connected, maybe, secure, even.

This part of the journey can last many, many years. Some people become ‘stuck’ in this part of the healing and they, in essence, hide behind these labels. The labels and the trauma become safe. They, in turn, become the labels. This isn’t healthy.

The next part of the healing journey takes place when we start to share our narrative. We talk to other people, we write, or we create, in some way, to share our narrative. The courage it requires to share is significant. It’s like stepping out into the humidity after a big storm; the fear smothers you until you acclimate.

Sharing comes at a cost. You fear that you won’t be believed, that people will judge you, invalidate your experience (and you), and look at you differently. Sharing makes you very vulnerable, scarier for someone who already feels invalidated.

Rarely, depending on who you choose to share with, will any of these things happen. More often than not, people will support you, commend you on your bravery, and ultimately, start to share their narrative.

This phase of healing helps you to develop strength. It is usually at this point that you start to think outside of yourself. You start saying things like, I want to help others, I want to make a difference, and I need to get my story out there because this needs to stop. Most of us start changing our little parts of the world here. We share and by doing so, we empower and inspire others to share. We start to impact the broader social narrative (this is where #metoo gained real traction, just as a current example).

Some people then move beyond their own circle. They start blogging, writing books, making movies, giving speeches, designing workshops, to get their narrative out there to impact even more people. I think, it is at this point, that the trauma stops defining you. It is a subtle change. But, importantly, I think the healing starts to define you at this point, for most people.

Again, this is terrifying. Even more terrifying than first sharing your trauma with close friends and/or family.

It is here when you start to worry about the impact sharing your narrative will have on those in your narrative. We worry that relationships will change, and be lost. We worry that the pain of others will be exacerbated unwittingly as a result of sharing our narrative. We worry that we will be shunned by those we love.

It is at this point that we weigh up the value of what we are doing, for the world, the community, and ultimately, ourselves. And then, if we proceed, we try to do it sensitively.

Owning our own voice is so important in the healing journey. Owning our voice and our truth.

We are raised to believe that truth is a singular concept. Something is true, or it isn’t. Defining truth, this is ‘true’; however, when it comes to our stories, my truth could be different to someone else’s truth because of perception.

If, in a situation, someone’s action impacted me more than others around me, I might remember the action more than the other things happening at that time, and others may not remember the action at all. This impacts my narrative.

My truth can be different to someone else’s. Both are still valid in the context of a life. Because healing needs to occur from where we are, not from where someone else is.

Someone can say, That isn’t true. It might not be for them. For the person sharing it though, it is. And, as a result, they need to rebalance (heal) it. Standing in our truth is frightening. We all want to belong. By standing up, we risk losing our sense of belonging.

It is important to remember, at this point, that whilst some will turn away from us, the universe always ensures balance, so others will come.

My truth is just that, it is my truth. As I move through my life, striving for harmony and happiness and all things beautiful, I need to do what empowers me to achieve these things. I need to be sensitive to the truths of others without compromising my own truth.

My truth is as valid as your truth. Even when they are different. Healing ourselves, heals others.

Let’s share our stories, rebalance our perceptions, and attain happiness.

Father-Daughter ๐Ÿ˜ข

Our relationships with our parents are so fundamental to who we become as adults. I had a moment last night, watching Trouble With The Curve, which I’ve watched a heap of times, where I burst into tears, saying, “That’s me.”

Amy Adams’ character, Micky, confronts her dad, Clint Eastwood, about his rejection of her as a young girl. Her dad, raising a young girl, on the road for work, after his wife/her mother died, finds himself out of his depth when Micky is touched inappropriately by a horse trainer.

He beats the crap out of the guy, waits for the police to come after him, and moves Micky to live with relatives because he thinks she will be safer.

He never tells any of this to Micky. Her perception is that she wasn’t good enough for him, and she spends her adult years trying to please him and gain his approval. He is oblivious to all of this. He loves her, but doesn’t know how to communicate that.

I just bawled. I rewound the scene to watch it a few more times. It never had impacted so deeply before.

My tears were for my same feelings relating to my dad. Seeking that validation. Our perceptions are interesting things. I can now see that we tend to remember that which hurts us more than that which makes us smile. As kids, with minimal scope for broad perspective, we internalize the negative and create narratives that really focus on the negative.

The violence (aka discipline) told me I had to behave a certain way to not be hit, and the goal posts here were always moving. I never knew where I stood. I was also taught that I was responsible for everyone else (my sisters’ behavior), and that I wasn’t good enough if they misbehaved and I hadn’t stopped them. I also learned that I was different to my sisters. They were the pretty ones.

As a teen, who wasn’t overweight, but was a different build to my sisters, my dad would coax me to lose weight by offering me rewards. Looking back, I didn’t need to lose weight. I was fine. But, the narrative I was telling myself, that I perceived was being reinforced by the actions of my father, took over. And a key aspect of that, that I then internalized and still play over today, is that I am not good enough as I am.

I sense a list of memories are going to be made and Demartini’d very soon.

I now understand that my father’s context lead him to these choices. I now understand that self-worth is one of my lessons, that I chose, for this lifetime. However, the hurt was and is real.

That feeling of not being enough, not being valuable, not being deserving unless you meet another person’s criteria, is gut wrenching. My intellect was always validated by my father – I thrive here.

More work to be done.

A Rollercoaster of Emotion

Well, it has been a while. Today, my brain won’t let me do anything else until I have blogged. Not sure I am quite ready to put down the emotional rollercoaster that is my brain every year at this time, but meh. What can you do. I must blog so that I can achieve other things lol.

I cried myself to sleep last night. Unexpectedly.

A friend of mine had commented on a Facebook post by Em Rusciano. Em was due to give birth yesterday, but miscarried earlier in her pregnancy. It was such a heartfelt post, something resonated, and I just released. No prize for guessing what the next thing will be to work on when I return to therapy in January. I will, under guidance and not by myself, Demartini the mother out of my miscarriage. This morning I awoke feeling emotionally hungover. I can feel the cogs turning in my mind, a lot of processing happening, I can’t access most of it yet.

I head back to my permanent teaching position in ten sleeps. Yes. I am counting down. Why do we do that to ourselves?!

I have had a phenomenal year. My goal was to heal from the investigation, and for the most part, I have. I do not think I carry any anger anymore, especially towards the people that I used as a symbol for all that went wrong last year (and not the people you would expect). I feel quite calm about returning to work from that perspective. However, this year has really solidified for me the people that regard me as a concept and those that value me. This is a good thing moving forward.

I carry concerns that I will fall into past patterns at work upon my return. I have no desire to be the person I was when I left, almost a year ago. I no longer desire to mentor any adults in the workplace; I no longer want to be the ‘go to’ person for all and sundry; I no longer want the long hours and excessive workload, watching those that I have supported drive through those gates to liberation before me.

My life has moved. I have moved. My values have changed. I am no longer the person that I was; I have liberated myself from the cage I had imprisoned myself in.

I think I felt a lot of shame and a lot of guilt. I had always wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t stop to think that teaching takes many forms and doesn’t necessarily just happen in a classroom. I was, and am, grateful for all of my years in formal education. I grew into myself, forged new paths, and inspired and empowered many. My legacy in education may not have reached award status, but my impact has been significant. So, I felt guilty thinking I may have outgrown it, shame that I wasn’t being grateful by needing to move away from it.

One of my clients had to watch a TED Talk to use as a related text for an assessment on “Discovery”. We were deconstructing it on Wednesday. It spoke to me on so many different levels.

Emilie Wapnick’s “Why Some Of Us Don’t Have One True Calling”

It sort of sums me up. I think I am a multipotentialite. I am a teacher, but I think my main calling, and this has been a recurring theme in how I teach, what I teach, and in who I am as a teacher, is that of healer. This year, even in my tutoring business, what I am really doing, ultimately doing, is healing the fragments within all of us that we carry with us every day. My multipotentials come in the myriad of activities I have engaged in through teaching and outside of teaching. I am always doing many things.

So, the shame and guilt I have felt have given way (or are in the process of giving way to) an acceptance that in our society, living and moving unexpectedly, requires courage. And, I am courageous.

When you are unhappy in life, and we all have moments – mine just became a long term series of moments, it is imperative that you do something to change it. It takes courage, even to mix it up a little, let alone to take leave to see what else is out there. I have always said that all change takes twenty seconds of courage. Thank you eternally, We Bought A Zoo.

We can all do twenty seconds.

It will take the same courage to go back, to be authentically me, to stand by the changes I have made this year, and to remember that I am worth putting me first. And, I can do it; I know I can.

This year has been successful beyond measure, a true legacy to my friend Natalie. It took me a while to make my promise to you real, but I will live with passion and energy. I will not waste my life, because I know how much you would have given to still be here breathing and living yours.

I firmly believe that our souls find peace when we are walking the path we are supposed to walk. My soul had been restless and scared for years. She liberated herself this year and she will not go backwards.

I do not know what the future holds for me. I know that I return to my school full time in a week (ten sleeps) and then five days a fortnight next year. I know that my tutoring business is going to be fine (most of my clients have already re-booked for next year – humbling and surprising to me – such is my naivete, and I have new clients booking). I know that the outline and focus for my book found its shape yesterday. I know that I have some ideas for an online business to source and build during January. I know that I am excited to start programming for my school students and to be back in my classroom next year.

I am moving forward. I am where I am meant to be. I am not stagnating again. I will continue to wholly love and breathe, embracing change and the moment with passion and wonder that I could be just this blessed.

I should stop there. It was inspiring and empowered and strong. However, this post is a true example of my brain, my rollercoaster. Be grateful you don’t live in it lol.

Much love …

The Magick of Kampuchea: Pol Pot

The Khmer are a resilient people. It has been just under thirty years since Pol Pot died and his specific regime ended. Our current guide lost most of his family during this time.

It hits home how blessed we truly are in Australia to have not known long term war or totalitarianism on our shores. We have been involved in the conflicts of others, but not on our ground. No comment to make there.

It also makes me even crankier that some Australians take their freedoms and their right to vote for granted. It isn’t hard to do the research on google to make an informed vote. Enough said on that.

We haven’t been to the museum; I don’t think we needed to. We were informed by our first guide that we wouldn’t see many elderly people, especially in the cities. Very true. A whole generation of people is missing or very underrepresented.

In the rural areas, we have been privileged to see life how it is. People that have little, but are happy. Consumerism, especially overconsumption, tends to not bring very much long term happiness. I know that myself from my experiences this year. It is important to be able to live, but money does not bring happiness.