Thriving

Several years ago, I went on an adventure exploring past life regression.  My very first session was done in the home of a person I respected at the time.  The first past life regression took me to a large family setting on a working farm.  The life purpose projected onto me was to maintain the farm.  It was pure survival where there was no room for emotion.  My mother and father in that life were both cold and disconnected, and as children, our purpose was to work hard and please them.

I remember the feeling my higher self shared as it guided me through this experience.  There was such sadness and disappointment that as we as eternal beings enter this reality, we are shaped by survival to detach from who we are really are.  Pieces of us are disconnected in the process of living a human life out of the necessity for survival.  We forget who we are and often are programmed to be something else entirely.  The despair I felt in that regression was a critical moment, though I was lead away from it.  Through those sessions, I would discover that the person doing the regression can easily guide us away from the most critical pieces of information based on their perception and underlying agenda.

During my time playing in the spiritual community, I observed that we allow individuals to have power over others, and they often use that power to misguide them for their gain.  Somehow we put these people on pedestals believing they have information that is not available to us.  Mostly it is in those relationships that we replay the dynamic we learned as children. I am not blaming anyone; we are all similar; they have forgotten who they are and have learned survival programs just as we have. All of our behaviors are filtered through our unconscious bias.

As I drifted out of those groups and belief systems, I’d receive more and more information that allowed me to see just how we disconnect from our authenticity and sometimes journey to find our way back by conquering the programs that guided us away.  Over the years, I have gained a connection to more and more of who I am and have always been.  Beyond this human physical experience, I have had many experiences; I will always be. 

I understand the quantum possibilities. And I recognize I may be having all of these experiences simultaneously across the illusion of time and space, the information filtering through for my use as I emerge in interaction with information.  At this moment, I know I am not human, I am not my body, I am an eternal being that moves outside of this dimension having a human experience.  At the same time, I am finding and reconnecting all my parts and pieces, returning to an experience of my authenticity and also recognizing my relationship with my body and respecting her as I should have always done.  I am riding waves of experience that allow me to experience pieces of what is already whole.

This became apparent after my recent surgery and dance with cancer.  The patterns of experience are undeniable. I have watched a cycle that began in the summer of 2007 finally end this summer of 2021 with this recent surgery.  My surgery on the summer solstice I emerged connected to a more significant portion of my authentic essence and being. The cancer was no longer cancer, just a non-malignant tumor. It housed much of the pain I carried around.  Once removed, I was free from the emotional experiences which had been made manifest into my physical body.  I saw how I had trusted my intuition, and it had taken me right to where I needed to be, experiencing in the flow.  My gift for trusting myself was a whole new perspective and experience of standing in my authenticity and power. I emerged with boundaries that would no longer allow others the power over me that often resulted in my disconnection.

The message continues to ring; we mustn’t allow the perceptions and agenda of others to disconnect us from our authentic selves.  Whether it is a need to belong or be accepted, learning who you are and trusting that regardless of others results in freedom.  Fully understanding who we were before the programs and the survival thrust upon us is of the utmost importance.  Here we find an experience of wholeness and a connection to the greater part of our eternal being or, as I call it, our higher selves. It is a journey of discovery taking us closer to acceptance of our being.

I have entered a new cycle and a whole new experience.  My inner and outer critic, which were shaped through trauma, have lost their grip, and I live to the fullest.  Shame no longer pulls me from my authentic self, and I stand firm in my energy.  I am experiencing more of myself, and it is beautiful. As I follow my lead, I flow in and out of the experience with grace. As I look at everything that is in my life, I feel gratitude.  My reconnection and trust of my authentic self shaped the experience, only when I took back my power completely. And it has shaped a human experience full of love, no longer merely surviving and settling but genuinely living and thriving. 

Grace

Over the last month, I have contemplated whether to write about my current cycle of experience. In the end, I have decided to document my experiences as I have done to date.


While I have discussed the cycles, I have not gone into detail concerning the recent experience. Since the beginning of May, my perspective has shifted, and I have experienced various emotions. Every ten to fifteen years, I have a dance with cancer. During those cycles, there is a range of experiences surrounding cancer in my body.
It feels like I spent the last ten to fifteen years getting my mind in order, and since January, I have been working to take care of my body. I previously had a belief that we create these experiences, and maybe I still believe that to a degree. I find no coincidence that most of my trauma was sexual trauma and betrayal by feminine energy, and my cancer is located within my reproductive system. But I will no longer carry the shame that accompanies these belief systems. On the other hand, I will treat it exactly as it is, an experience. It does not define me and has nothing to do with who I am. These experiences only shift my perception, and I believe that is the entire game here in the earth simulation.


About a year and a half ago, I was told I had large fibroids, and I would need to have my uterus removed. At the time, I was taking an opioid medication that I had spent nearly seven years tapering myself off. The doctor told me; they would need to use that medication for pain. She also said my other symptoms were not connected to these fibroids, and it was not necessary to have this procedure. And I learned to cope with the symptoms related to this diagnosis. That is until I started paying particular attention to my body this year. The pain had increased, and exercising was limited due to the size of my uterus.

So, I returned to the doctor frustrated and ready to have my uterus removed; luckily, she retired, and I saw a new doctor, and she was much more thorough. She had me receive another sonogram to see what had changed within the year and a half. My biggest fear at that time was having surgery. It would be an open surgery cutting me hip to hip, and I feared the treatment of others due to my history with opioid medication. Even though I have not abused drugs or alcohol for more than ten plus years, I am almost always treated in a disrespectful manner because it is on my record. I have proven to myself several times over that addiction is not my issue. Those years ago, I was self-medicating undiagnosed complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, people make assumptions, and their actions have been painful. That is a whole other blog, and I am learning to navigate this experience more healthily.


The ultrasound did not show what the original doctor diagnosed. While the scan was clear and the fibroids measurable the first time, this scan showed my complete uterus was opaque and expanded into my stomach area, taking up my entire abdominal cavity and more. I would need an MRI to find out what was going on. The MRI was reported as uterine sarcoma, with my uterus measuring like I was in my fifth month of pregnancy. The doctor sent me to an oncologist more than an hour away from home. I really dislike being outside of my comfort zone!


I did feel fear and anger the first couple of days. The most significant worry I had was my children and husband; I worried about their state of mind. We would be going through a journey that might be very stressful at times, and I did not want to affect them negatively. I felt as though my life had been so traumatic, and the choices I have made these last fifteen years had earned me the right to have a peaceful and loving life, void of any more suffering (sometimes I do feel like a victim and that is okay). Over the next few days, my husband and I openly shared our feelings. And I observed my behavior and thought processes, eventually returning to equilibrium.


I am slated for surgery in about two weeks. The synchronicities allow me to know I am exactly where I am meant to be. The patterns are undeniable! That surgery and testing will determine what will be next in my dance with cancer. I do not fear death; I feared that the early departure and possible suffering would hurt my husband and children. And I am working through those feelings. Armed with forty-five years of information, my interaction with this experience’s information is different from the first two interactions with cancer I had earlier in my life cycle.

Everything about me and how I view the world has shifted, so let’s see how that translates to experience this time around. If I am here to have the human experience, this is undoubtedly a big part of my female experience. My perspective shifting yet again.


This experience has me deeply aware of and learning to navigate the difference between my intuition and my perceptual filters. My intuition has me at peace and, strangely, some excitement (I am getting better at shifting anxiety), and I observe as my filters are identified and fall away. The approach I take this time is to trust myself entirely, no longer concerned by the opinions and assumptions of others who have no skin in my game. I do not need to control or bypass; I am openly and authentically exploring every emotion allowing the experiences to unfold. At the end of the day, this is a ride, and I will utilize every second of the experience.

I create memories, no regrets. I live and LOVE to the fullest. Here I am pure awareness having the human experience. And I am okay with that; I am no longer searching for the escape. I have learned to ebb and flow with grace.

Personal evolution, emerging into possibility

As time passes and I interact within this reality operating through my perception, I experience and recognize patterns and have been able to make several assertions. From my perspective, my reality is shaped by interaction with information. The way I see it, humans have an emergent property where we seem to be evolving through experiences. Some themes and patterns display themselves throughout our lives. The interaction and integration of information allow us to traverse the repeated patterns from a new perspective, armed with added information between patterned events and experiences. It is at this point that we can shape our experiences and interactions with the information.
I have noticed over the years that large groups of people who have suffered trauma gravitate towards ideas that provide a sense of control or bypassing of a depth of interaction and understanding of their trauma or any triggering stressor. Through my awareness, I recognize that trauma wires the brain to operate in a particular way, shaping perception. I find a link between these individual’s perceptions shaped by stress and trauma. Understanding how my central nervous system was shaped and practicing rewiring it brings an awareness of the slightest feelings and sense of my perception. Armed with this information, I can enter situations and change my repeated patterns of experience.
For me, the journey through my reality has allowed for an understanding that changes my experiences. This awareness is a choice and requires complete honesty and authenticity. I have had to go deep into my bias and uncover the shame that shaped many of my beliefs. I was a people pleaser and desired approval. In the end, I discovered beneath those behaviors was a simple desire to be loved. It opened the door for me to recognize that in others, reminding me to be more compassionate with others. Taking a step back, I realized I had all the love I could ever desire in my husband and children. I have created a perfect bubble of reality, its foundation built on safety.
Over the last year, I have settled deeply into the authentic self, no longer apologizing for who I am and my perceptions. Although I continue to work to change my perceptions to alleviate a feeling of shame or suffering, I accept and honor who I am. Again, the principal factor for me and my relationships are authenticity and honesty. These precepts are my boundaries, and I no longer apologize for them.
My relationship with my husband represents the possibility for all other relationships. We are not threatened by one another, our belief systems are entirely different than the other, yet we are secure in who we are. I do not force my perspectives onto him; I celebrate his unique, authentic self. We communicate openly and without judgment because we know we are safe. We make no assumptions; if we have questions, we ask. We respect and love one another to a degree I rarely see in other relationships. For this, I am honored and blessed. It was my goal to have this type of relationship. It was only through interaction with information that I shaped my experience. I knew what I did not want and actively shaped the experiences I would prefer through awareness and choice.
I have come to a repetitive cycle in my life that happens every ten to fifteen years. How will I interact with the information given my accumulation and change in perception over these last ten to fifteen years? For one, I am incredibly aware of my brain patterns, and I no longer react. I explore my thought process and feelings, interacting with compassion rather than shame. This change in perspective has already shifted how I interact with information and has changed my experience. I feel safe, and for someone who carries a diagnosis and brain biology of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this is undoubtedly evolution. I see myself emerging through an evolution built on awareness and authenticity. My fears subsiding as I settle into the loving reality that I have cultivated.

On being human

Many years ago, I had a sudden transcendental experience.  This transcendental experience allowed me to see this reality from a whole new perspective.  I was no longer a mother, a woman, or even a human; in one moment, all identities dissolved.  And from this perspective, I felt whole and complete.  I enjoyed observing the world from this space; I did not have a relationship with this reality, and the things that plague most people dissolved.  From here, most human experiences were irrelevant. 

I lived from this perspective for many years; it was a space that provided love and peace.  The problem was I had a challenging time relating to others.  My daily meditations would continually show me that it was time to return to my physical body to have a balanced human experience.  While this space is blissful and love-filled, it was disconnected and disassociated space.  The point was to experience the awareness, allowing me to recognize I’m so much more than all these identities took on as a human. This transcendental experience is truly an empowering moment.   But to stay here is bypassing being human.  AND, I am here to have a human experience.

Through that experience, I observed how humans create narratives and how we relate to them as a part of who we are.  I suddenly understood cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias, how individual perception is made and how we operate.  By releasing all my humanness, I was able to exit and observe the human template.  This release allowed me to let go of things that kept me trapped in stories, exposing the depth of narratives that had created many of my behaviors.  And with this awareness, I was shown the choice. I finally fully stepped back into my body some years later and began to balance, creating a preferred experience.  My relationship with environments was forever changed, and I began to change my beliefs, shifting my human experience.  

Now entirely in my body, realizing who I am from this perspective was the next part of the journey.  And as the adventure continued, I let go of so much toxic shame around measuring up.  Embracing my entirety and honoring all my experiences without judgment began to shift my sense of self, dissipating old belief patterns.  I stopped trying to escape or heal my trauma to some standard created outside of myself, always attempting to measure up.  I embraced the physical and started nurturing my body, no longer ignoring it. I learned to honor all my parts and pieces with respect and love, no longer trying to shape myself into the person who would be approved of by others.  These last two years have been a journey into self-discovery and self-acceptance. And for the first time since I was a young child, I embraced who I am in its entirety. And I no longer apologize for who that is.

Over the last month, I have had a pattern show itself.  There were several classes outside of my academics that presented themselves.  I took lots of time processing whether these spaces for me to experience.  Two people similar in energy presented a class in which I had an interest.  The first class I realized I would be attending to prove something or to feel belonging.  And I felt as though I was not honoring myself by participating with groups of people who did not respect or care about my wellbeing. The energy in this class was very inauthentic, but I would have gone against these instincts in order to connect with others in the past.  There was no new information being presented in either of these classes; however, I continued to have a pull to participate.  I convinced myself I would receive something I did not have through participation in the second class. 

As the class approached, I wavered on taking the class.  The behavior of the facilitator began to send me red flags. I meditated, and the message was attending the class would bring me personal and spiritual freedom.  So, I participated in the class and was shown more areas of concern.  I observed a pattern in myself that often occurred around this time every year. I would reach outside of myself for answers.   I would lose trust in who I am during this time and reach outside to find missing pieces I did not believe I possessed.  It wasn’t attending the class that gave me personal and spiritual freedom; it was knowing that the class was not for me.  I experienced a moment of self-trust or confidence in who I am by recognizing that I already had everything I need. My choice and boundary facilitated personal and spiritual freedom.  I ended a pattern!

In the past, I would open myself up and share myself without boundaries with others in these gatherings.  Even when I was shown patterns of behavior that I knew were unhealthy, I would stick it out as if somehow my impact on these people would create some change.  Often all I saw was the light in others and ignored all the messages that told me to protect myself.  Suddenly I recognized the importance of boundaries and holding to who I am.  The confidence I needed to trust myself was within, and I embraced it.  I realized many times I miss the message, and this time I ultimately heard it and implemented action.  It wasn’t information outside of me that would bring personal and spiritual freedom; it is the information I have within and the choices I would make. 

For the last fifteen-plus years, I have immersed myself in information from a plethora of topics.  I actively explored so many ideologies, tasted each one.  Sometimes I forgot how much knowledge I have acquired along this journey. It does not surface until it is tapped.  

At last, all of this information and experience has found balance; I am both spirit and human.  The heart-mind balance is fully underway, and I have covered a great deal of ground.  It is time for me to take my rightful place; I am no longer reaching outside.  I am whole and complete, well versed in many areas of life, intellectual knowledge, and emotional understanding. I will never again look to others as if they have the answers. We are all a spectrum of experience.  And FINALLY, I know my value and worth enough to have the boundaries in place that respect the energy of who I am. Finally, I have found BALANCE, fully integrating all of my parts and pieces, as above, so below. No longer dissociating but bringing the full awareness of who I am into the physical body for the ultimate human experience.

Understanding

I do not get to write many blogs these days.  Between my education, my children’s, the house, and life, there are not many extra minutes.  I extend my education beyond academics by watching YouTube videos to pull in additional information while exercising.  On occasion, I have time to read a book while healthily balancing science and spirituality.  I just heard the astrophysicist Brian Greene say something along the lines of, “understanding provides the latitude for experience of it.” This understanding of all things has been vital for me in my life.  Understanding how my behaviors were created and having the tools to shift those has created beautiful experiences in my life.

Although many people disagree with my lifestyle, I have created everything I have always dreamed of.  I have the most amazing children, a supportive and unconditionally loving husband, a home of which we made beautiful through hard work.  I have even made a couple of quality friends along the way.  Yes, life is good, from my perspective.  Through understanding, I have been finally able to create the experiences I desire. 

It took some research, time, and understanding, but I finally discovered I was attempting to have relationships with individuals who were not emotionally available.  When the relationship did not work, I would internalize there was something wrong with me.  As a matter of fact, I continuously allowed others to shame me for my behaviors.  However, this last year, I have discovered exactly who I am and have found what boundaries are and where they need to be in my life. People-pleasing learned during survival periods when I was young did not allow for boundaries. Fuck, I did not know what a boundary was! Finally, I have discovered what boundaries are and where they belong, and wow, what an improved difference application of healthy boundaries has brought into my life experience. 

Accountability and responsibility are so essential to me.  When individuals take responsibility, they lessen the projection of their issues onto others.  I began by taking responsibility and recognizing the part I played.  So much healing has been achieved through this approach.  No longer bypassing one thread of experience has positively reshaped my reality. After a lifetime of suffering, I have healthily found peace.  No longer bypassing the issues but going in-depth, understanding, and taking action to make a change. 

My personality is different; my perspective is almost always different than those around me.  For most of my life, I internalized I needed to change who I was to fit in, again, that something is wrong with me. By understanding shame and how it was wielded, how I internalized it, I finally shifted how I related to shame.  I have finally experienced standing in the power and energy of who I am without shame.  Not the shame projected onto me by others or the shame I took on through experience. Everything has shifted, and I am experiencing something new. I love it! Finally, I have discovered myself! And I no longer apologize for who that is.

            I continue to shift in many ways. With my approach to life, it has been an enjoyable ride.  The balance I needed between the spirit and body continues to unfold.  The black and white thinking has dissipated, and now I can view things as “this and that,” rather than “this or that.”  Ken Wilber’s integral theory describes a development where we transcend and include.  Previously, I would reject old ideas as I moved on to new ideas, but now I understand the necessity for the scaffolding of information.  It all has its place. I am not sure what created the black and white thinking; it appears to be tied to trauma. Through hard work, I continue to rewire my brain, which has changed my perception, resulting in new experiences. 

            So, yes, Brian Greene, including quantum physics, understanding how things work does change our experience.  It has been vital to my life; I have discovered much about myself through exploring and understanding.  I have been able to reshape my reality to create experiences I prefer.  I know who I am and have boundaries protecting and honoring my energy.  The deep dives into exploration on many scientific and spiritual topics over the last fifteen years have influenced my behaviors and my choices in navigating this life experience.  Armed with this knowledge, I create and experience the life I desire.

Beyond dual

If you want to read the thoughts of someone who will sugar coat or pad your worldview, I am NOT your girl.  However, if you desire to openly and honestly explore ideologies and behaviors without judgment, you are in the right place.  I must have been a sociologist in a past life!  My natural stance is to ask questions and explore the programs associated with this reality we have collectively created, raised in a western culture that is the only perspective I can safely share.  While I am educated on many other cultures, I may never observe without my native cultural lens. I do, however, see the links between beliefs and behaviors from a multicultural perspective. I am a product of my experiences. By observing those experiences and beliefs, I have explored my reality and the collective reality in greater depth.

We are never stuck; we can choose to take a more in-depth look and actively shift.  As a collective, we are continually changing.  When we are open with awareness, it can be a very fluid process.  The essential factor I recognize is moving beyond dual thinking, the binary systems of belief. This cognitive process and way of thinking are very limiting.  I realized it in myself a few years ago.  I am not sure if it was the trauma that caused my brain to be wired like this or if it is a result of cultural programming. It is probably both, no more this or that, but I move towards this AND that thinking.

Last summer, I started a discussion group sharing and respecting each of our diverse perspectives. My goal was to learn to hold my own space without the energetic push and pull we experience through confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. One of the things that I recognized was this behavior of rejecting ideas that are not supportive of our current thinking. Could I embrace new ideologies without rejecting the old?  The tendency was black and white thinking, but everything is very multifaceted and multidimensional. I have set out to determine if the current black and white thought can be transcended, and so far, it is a big YES!

Everything in our reality is showing us the necessity to move beyond duality.  We see it in more people embracing their spectrum of sexuality and gender and breaking away from the socially constructed binary system.  Moving beyond race to understand that race is not even real, it is a social construct that we enforce with our agreement. We see a two-party system’s dysfunction, observing how our relationship to this binary system can keep progress and assistance from emerging. We see the toxic secondary emotions of shame, blame, and guilt associated with the identities taken on by the socially constructed systems of belief, keeping us locked into behaviors that do not serve us. There are too many expressions to name here, but here are just a few we have become aware of that allow us to begin to shift our beliefs from dual thinking. The bottom line is we are a spectrum of experience. AND we have neuroplasticity! Just because this is the way we have always thought does NOT mean this is the way we always will. 

Just by opening to new ideas outside of our current beliefs, like the discussion group I started last year to exercise our brains!  The discussion group has shown me so much as I observe myself and others.  I am forever grateful to those who show up fearlessly with a willingness to explore in radical honesty and authenticity, attempting to move beyond the projections.  We have had participants come and go, unable to hold the space without confirmation bias.  The ability to understand perception has been a great gift for me.  I do not make their choices personal; I know why they see things the way they do because I once saw things the very same way. 

I have worked with many alternative healing modalities over the last fifteen years.  From EFT, Theta Healing, to hypnosis and regression, you name it; I probably tasted it! But what I finally discovered was that if I was not taking the time to go within and smile, love myself, and process and understand my emotions in real-time, I would not acquire the desired results. This practice is akin to diet and exercise if you want to have a healthier life experience. Once I moved beyond this or that and incorporated this and that, everything changed!

I am not here to say you are wrong, and I am right!  I am saying that our behaviors and cognitive processes need to change to be inclusive instead of rejecting new information. It is time to exercise our brains.  Yes, alternative practices give us the go-ahead to explore outside of the boxes mainstream had trained us to maintain.  But careful NOT to create another box!

So much of what we do is based on belonging and a sense of safety.  Sometimes to do this, we create us versus them structures, an ethnocentric mentality.  Or we may even still be submersed in an egocentric way of thinking.  The ability to pull back the layers and self-assess is essential, recognizing that we may have blind spots, which is okay.  The awareness and willingness to explore those is the key.  There should be no shame in observing our behaviors and beliefs; while we cannot change the past, we can change today by finally learning from it.  I am still working through this myself and have tremendously more desired changes in my life. I continue to rewire my brain through practice and belief, just as it was originally wired. 

I am not sure if this is evolution; it sure feels like it to me.  By opening my mind to transcend and include old information, I no longer view things as black and white and grow.  As I change, so too do my experiences.  I will not focus on toxic positivity or bypass any emotion, feeling, or experience any longer.  It takes great strength to challenge your thinking processes.  It is just too easy to look for a practice that creates more of the dual perspectives. The practices that develop more boxes.  It is far time we start to learn to live as the multidimensional humans we are by evolving our minds beyond the dual.

Social construction

Several years ago, I began to recognize and explore what I then called programs but now have learned are called the social constructions of reality.  Everything we believe and how we interact is based on this social construction.  It is only a reality because we believe it, and we agree to it.  There really is no race, gender, or the myriad of other identities we have come to accept as our own or that of the others.  Every piece is a social construct that we have agreed to.  I mention this because one of those social constructs is at the forefront for me recently.  That is the ideology surrounding negative and positive and how things are supposed to be—this idea surrounding positive and negative emotions and our perception of them.

Western society has created several acceptable versions of many things.  We hold up what is deemed a healthy thirty-year-old as what we should look like, no blemishes, perfect body, healthy minds, and most importantly, successful; all believed as positive and socially acceptable norms.  Most of us are striving and longing for this moment we measure up.  And for me, I see the behaviors and beliefs extracted from this social construct is what makes me believe I am not quite good enough.  I understand where these behaviors and beliefs formed and wish to make changes to create new experiences.  I want to stand firm in my energy, knowing I am okay, even desirable as a friend, spouse, and professional.

It is so interesting how our perceptions are created—the journey to opening to look at our bias allowing us to become aware of them.  The last week I opened and allowed myself to be vulnerable by sharing a small part of the trauma I had experienced.  We all have this relationship to our experiences that have shaped us.  The environment we grew up in and those relationships impact our behaviors and current relationships.  These behaviors were formed there during that time, in those places, and it is our responsibility to reshape those behaviors if we desire a new experience.

Interestingly, I had several reactions to my vulnerability—the reactions of others a testament to their own experiences, which have shaped their perception.  I faced my anger and rage with courage regardless of the reactions of others.  And I continue to go against the norms to raise some awareness and deeper questions. There is a deep shame I continue to work through, a shame that I am not the perfect unblemished, both physically and emotionally, superwoman society says I am supposed to be. 

I stimulated toxic shame, blame, and guilt in others with my sharing.  I am looking further at why this is such a typical learned response.  Most people do not want to venture here; it doesn’t feel good.  And in this social construct, we do not desire to experience things that do not feel good.  Many of us a so focused on avoiding anything that makes us uncomfortable we have created lives built in lies and lack of authenticity.  I say THIS is the problem.  Instead of looking at what we can do to make things better, why don’t we look more in-depth at why these things are happening at all.  It takes a great deal of courage to face these behaviors, taking a more in-depth approach at the social constructs, and understand our perceptions.  

It only begins with us, each of us, with a willingness to step away from the toxic blame, shame, and guilt that have kept us, prisoner.  Feeling good might eventually be on the other side of the discomfort this process initially brings.  Change is sometimes uncomfortable at first but brings a new experience. It is taking responsibility for our part in this socially constructed reality.

Exploring

I find trauma so interesting, the behaviors it creates.  People have learned many responses to trauma; some shove it down, others attempt to erase the memories and some disconnect.  Realizing it or not, trauma impacts our everyday lives and touches most behaviors.  It can show up in so many ways.  It isn’t just the behaviors most discussed like addiction, violence, or weight that might be trauma symptoms.  It is expressed in everyday decisions and actions, some with negative consequences and some without.

Since beginning to openly discuss some of my trauma as part of a cathartic release, Mr. Freud, the jury is still out on that one. It brought up more responsive behaviors.  First, I felt like I should be ashamed of my trauma.  Somehow discussing my trauma is a negative thing I should not be doing.  As I expressed myself, I realized this view of myself as damaged and not good enough.  By allowing others to see my trauma, my feelings are that they will view me in a negative light.  Instead of having compassion and respect for the strength that it takes to openly share such deep parts of the self I had disconnected from, I felt more toxic shame.  Like I need to hide these parts of myself and pretend the experiences never happened.  Just keep swimming, is what I say. 

This response is two-part, one is what trauma taught me in my experience and how I internalized what that must mean about me, and the other is how society reacts. My writing is an attempt for me to release some very deep and intense anger.  My anger is multilayered, and I observe the struggle created within my daily life. The lack of accountability for others’ actions and within that is the reversal of toxic shame onto me. I am tired of how trauma is processed and perceived by society in general, especially for women.  I can think of many examples of women whose lives were destroyed, yet for the men who took advantage of them, they never experienced their actions’ ill effects.   Society does not seem equipped to deal with trauma.  There are these automatic responses we view as expected and that no longer sits well with me. 

After writing yesterday’s blog, I did get to discuss a few things with my sister.  Honestly, I did not realize she read my blog or that anyone really reads it, for that matter.  I rarely receive feedback, which is probably a good thing because I am so insecure, always trying to measure up. Mind you; we haven’t spoken in a few years, interesting that the blog triggered a response.  But after talking, we came to an agreement.  My sister wants to repress and erase all memories of her childhood.  This response is how she has chosen to deal with it, and I respect that.  However, for me, I want to understand why I have particular behaviors.  I asked her, don’t you wonder why we have such a problematic relationship? How was this created? Or why you have this specific behavior and belief that is impacting your relationships?  I desire to understand myself and make the changes to my actions to create the life I desire, which is one of compassion and deep connection.  To do that, I have to reframe how I look at trauma and revisit what I once detached and erased from my mind. 

Erasing these things or removing these experiences from our minds, often accompanied by stating I cannot change the past, does nothing for my current situation.  With this approach, we stay in our current relationship dynamics and struggle with the same issues over and over in a repetitive cycle.  Only by courageously looking at and reframing our experiences can one bring awareness and a depth of understanding, creating a space for possible change.  For so many years, I was numb, numb from disassociating as my primary coping mechanism. And I found ways to bolster that disassociation and escape.  After years of being fully present and allowing myself the space to feel, I feel everything and very intensely.  I am learning to work through these emotions and to understand each one without judgment.  I step back and observe how connected experiences are to my behaviors and relationships.  I choose something new, no longer accepting a particular experience as a necessity. I’m reminded of the saying “it is what it is,” IS IT?

My feelings of being overwhelmed are beginning to dissipate as I pull the layers back and take a deeper dive with radical authenticity and honesty.  I am learning to observe with compassion, looking at each piece and part of me with new eyes. I deserve to be at peace; I deserve connection and to experience fulfillment.  And while I have created those things in my life with my husband and immediate family, I feel there is so much more.  I am in gratitude for all I have and recognize I have only accumulated this through my willingness to take a more in-depth look at myself and my beliefs. Even with all this active awareness, I still struggle with confidence and self-esteem issues.  These issues can only shift when I understand where they stem from and how to shift them.  Because while awareness is the key, it is not quite enough to bring change. 

I am still deciding what and who I want to be when I grow up.  It is time to build my legacy.  In part, I want to look at the social constructs that keep society locked into particular ways of thinking and behaving.  Through my work here, I get to explore, and I certainly am an explorer.

It is that bad

I was reading a novel the other day.  A pair of sisters were walking, and a van came up behind and grabbed one of them to be abducted.  The other sister who did not get captured jumped into the van because she did not want her sister to suffer alone.  I thought to myself, jeez, my sister would have shoved me into the van and then told them how awful I was to ensure my suffering. I have never had people I could trust who supported me and provided safety until I met my husband. Every time I felt safe, I was quickly shown why I was not. Attachment is clearly one of the issues I continue to work through.

I have not had the luxury of feeling a mother’s unconditional love or the support of a sister or best friend.  Every relationship was based on conditions and lack of communication.  My sister slept with one of my boyfriends. She and my mother got some joy out of hurting me.  For some reason, I was a threat to them, and they needed to solidify their place in the world through these actions. Time and time again, my mother would enter my life with false promises, and I would excuse her actions with open forgiveness only to be hurt all over again.  Some of the most traumatic pain was inflicted by the woman I was supposed to provide safety from but instead created pain.

I remained in these types of relationships for most of my life. Perhaps this was because I could always see the light in others.  Yes, even when I knew my betrayed me, I looked at her and understood why she made the choices she did.  I could never hurt someone like that, especially my sister, and for some reason, I never blamed her. Time after time of being hurt by these two women, I continued to believe the next time would be different.  If I continued to love them unconditionally, perhaps, they would wake up and do the same.

That time NEVER came.  Instead, in a repetitious cycle of abuse, I was pained over and over by their actions.  When I did not give them what they wanted, they would lash out with some action which showed me how alone I was. And my other relationships were no different; they were plagued with betrayal, abandonment, and rejection.  Eventually, I ended the cycle by ending these relationships.  Even with all the pain, my desire for a genuinely authentic and compassionate connection remains, and I believe it IS possible. 

The last week I have been taking another look at my experiences and releasing some energy that may have been hidden in the layers of weight that I continue to shed.  The social constructs surrounding trauma and pain might need a more in-depth look.  I recognize how I have used toxic positivity and bypassing all these years under the label of healing. The spiritual communities provided the perfect haven to escape from the pain temporarily until one recognizes the same behaviors with these individuals. It is no coincidence most of the people attracted to these spaces are all traumatized to a degree, and the relationships within demonstrate this fact.

In this realization, I am allowing my wounds to resurface without shame as I work through them from a new perspective.  I had learned to be ashamed of my wounds through these communities.  No longer lost in the cults and echo chambers, I see things in a different light.  There remains this push for us to heal or to move beyond our wounds. My actions are different from ten years ago. But I ask, why push those around us to heal to this acceptable and specified degree?  I have recovered to a degree where these experiences do not create unhealthy behaviors; isn’t that enough? I am not healed enough because I am speaking up about trauma? Perhaps it is time we look more in-depth at these wounds, not run from them.  There is a belief within society that we must push through and beyond, “it’s not that bad, or it could be worse, be grateful for what you have.” The best is “the gift of our experiences!” But maybe it these perspectives that keep the trauma from ending by making it okay. No one is responsible for their place in the cycle. There is no accountability, just more bypassing, which creates more trauma. 

Maybe it is time to say it isn’t okay, that it IS THAT BAD, so sorry for your suffering. We have created a whole society that uses distraction and escape to cope.  Most of us are uncomfortable around pain and suffering because we have not dealt with our own.  We fear it, and thus we must escape it with toxic positivity or projection. It might be time for a complete overhaul of the social constructs and programs that keep us avoiding the real issues. We are a society that bypasses feeling and emotion. Most individuals are not aware of their emotions and feelings.  This lack of awareness is what causes more behaviors that compromise our desired happiness.

I understand why my sister made the choices she did.  She was ensuring her safety and approval from my mother.  She pushed me into the van more than a few times. I forgive her for that. But it has taken me a long time to discover my boundaries, not allowing myself to pushed any longer. I finally found a template for boundaries I have never had before.  Within the past year, I have discovered more of who I am.  With this knowledge has come my boundaries.  While yes, I can see the light in everyone, I will no longer make excuses for them.  By holding people accountable, I end the bypasser’s game.  

Perhaps my choices will reflect into the collective, and we will begin to look deeper, pulling the layers back of the status quo.  Maybe society will begin to look at and explore its shadows without the secondary emotions of toxic shame and guilt.  I am practicing a new approach to healing, one filled with self-love and compassion, by stepping up and saying, YES, IT IS THAT BAD.

Changing the lens

In my last blog, I shared a few significant trauma experiences that I felt shaped me.  But the reality is my life was a constant traumatic situation until my thirties where it slowly shifted into more positive, healthy experiences. Everywhere I turned during my youth was surrounded with environments ripe with disfunction, which would breed more traumatic experiences.  I think the worse part was that I never told anyone.  I didn’t have anyone to tell.  My mother was mostly dysfunctional and continues to be to this day. To find peace, I made the conscious choice to end my relationship with her years ago.  And EVERY other person was abusing me on some level.

Just a simple sleepover at the girl’s house, the apartment across the way, with whom I spent most time from five to twelve, resulted in her sister sexually assaulting us nightly.  From the child’s perspective, it was great, no adults.  From the adult perspective, wow, it was terrible, no adults.  Even the adults were so sick with the untreated trauma they could not be relied upon to protect or support the most innocent of us all.  The trauma cycle is real, and it’s time to end the stigma; we must begin talking about and making changes.

As an adult, I had constantly been looking for an escape.  And my behavior before the last ten years represented that. I was looking for a job, relationship, situation, and environment that would allow for my escape.  I desired to live a healthy and happy life far away from my trauma. And many times, my choice was close to suicide, the ultimate escape. But over time, I discovered there is no escape, and that might be the ultimate purpose. There is no pretending it isn’t there or a part of you with the spiritual bypass. Choosing to protect yourself with escape as a workaholic or alcoholic by finding the right person or situation, none are the answer.  The answer comes when we face our experience as a piece of who we are, and it is okay to be angry. It comes when we feel safe enough to share our story like I am. 

I do not have many happy memories; only within the last few years have I been able to show up and experience life through a new lens.  My trauma has touched every relationship I have had.  And thankfully, I have a couple of people who extend to me the grace to feel and express myself without rejecting me like most of the relationships throughout my life. 

The trauma had me so raw that it has created a highly sensitive person, and I have learned to be okay with that.  While I am improving in these areas and gaining self-confidence, any interaction where there is resistance is like touching a third-degree burn repeatedly.  Over the last two years, I have allowed myself the compassion to observe and heal.  I reject the idea that I am a wounded individual and so am toxic, to stay away.  Finally, I understand that has less to do with me and more to do with someone else. My vibration is not low, and we all have shadows.  I am honest and authentic in every moment because I have had a lifetime of bypassing, stuffing down, and disassociating.  Through my healing, I have made the promise never to be quiet ever again. None of us should be silent any longer.  We cannot make the necessary changes unless we look deep into the issues and uncover what has been hidden. We are the ones who hid it in our fear.  Humans are resilient as hell when we apply ourselves. 

Looking at and understanding our emotions is something that has been at the forefront for years.  Over the last ten years, I have played with many healing modalities. They provided a permission slip to look deeper by bringing awareness to the underlying issues. But at the end of the day, honesty and authenticity with the self were the keys.  Understanding my emotions and learning to process them in a healthy way healed me in ways that eliminated the need for other healing modalities.  My relationship with the self was the master template that would reflect into all other relationships.  By openly exploring who I am, I healed my environment and my physical body.

If you’re reading this, thank you for providing the space for a cathartic experience.  We could all use that support from time to time, and it is perfectly okay. Let’s embrace our experiences and sift through them, understanding the layers of emotion they have created. We are taking a deeper look at what we have all learned to bypass; how we feel.  My goal is to change the stigma surrounding emotions and understand them for the messengers that they are.  By recognizing that all emotions are a part of us, and each should be respected, not only those that feel good.

Today I will enjoy the beautiful friends and family surrounding me, celebrating my willingness to find this place through my courage to do what made others uncomfortable. 

Today was my best friend Tod’s birthday. He died more than twenty years ago. I regret many things regarding our relationship. This feeling is grief, and it is okay.