Viewing entries tagged
mother

Who Will You Be Today? The Importance of Being Yourself

I stood in the dark parking lot for several minutes before going inside the restaurant that waited for my arrival. The expectation of the night remained unknown.  I was unprepared and uncomfortable and really, I didn’t genuinely want to be there. Yet the discomfort of the invite drew me in as a means of addressing one more fear I’d long held.

It wasn’t meant to be a big deal, this networking dinner I’d been asked to attend.  My friend said “come mingle and meet people in your field”. I knew it was a good idea, meeting new mental health professionals who had long worked independently. I loved to share my views on mental health. I wasn’t new to the work, but I was just beginning my private practice so I didn’t at feel like I knew what I was doing. I was insecure in my ability to share my opinions independently, not representing anyone else other than myself.  

I heard the question in the darkness break my internal stillness….”Who am I going to be tonight?”

It was a valid question. I’d spent most of my career in a profession that required me to filter my words and opinions. I had to craft my views wisely to ensure the face I showed was acceptable to the employer I represented.  I could not have been successful if I didn’t curb my true inner thoughts and feelings…which was also the reason I was no longer there.  I longed to break free of the constraints and in that parking lot, I recognized that I was free. This was my choice, my gig, my terms, and yet I wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like.  I wanted to assist whichever part of me was going to show up to be prepared.

After a brief assessment of who was best suited for the presentation, I heard the next question…”why don’t you just be yourself?”

The exhale came fast. I was terrified. The internal fears flooded quickly. “What will they think of me if I share my non traditional views? How will they reject me once they realize I am not one of them? Will the start of my new career be the end of it?”

And then…”wait, what am I really afraid of? I have absolutely nothing to lose. Go be yourself and try her on. What’s not to like?”

Deep breath.  Keep Reading...

Forgiveness on the Road to Freedom

I woke up early this morning watching the warm shades of red and orange fill the sky over the horizon from my bed. The view never gets old for me. Each sunrise boasts of possibility, of hope and promise of another opportunity to embrace the adventure of this life, never quite knowing what is coming next.

I have always been a lover of the early morning. I feel like no matter what happened yesterday, I have the chance to start over today. It’s my choice of what I want to do with it.

Today was feeling especially auspicious and once I noticed the date, I knew why. It’s my mother’s birthday. This day has come and gone 27 times since the day she took her life.  It slips in right in the middle of the holiday season and nudges me to reflect.  For 27 years, I’ve felt waves of sadness and remorse, anger and regret, riding on top of a guilty sense of relief underneath.

Occasionally, I’d lightly share this remembrance with someone, but for the most part, I kept the memory just out of reach of my heart and my mind….never quite knowing what to do with it. 
In 19 days, it will be the anniversary of her death, and then five days later, my own birthday. A day I’ve struggled with since her exit from this world. 

This past birthday was especially challenging for me.  I woke up angry.  I mean I was really angry.  I had taken the day off and was setting out for an adventure and instead of feeling gratitude, I just felt enraged…at my mother. 

Once I realized I was mad at her, I became mad at myself.  Why was I feeling all this anger so many years later? I felt like I had hashed out and released all my pent up emotional junk. How could there be any left? And why now? I didn’t understand and that just made me judge myself even more harshly.

But man, I was ticked. I sat in my bathroom and cried, yelling at her, asking what kind of mother takes her life and leaves her child only days before their birthday. How could she have been so selfish, so insensitive?  How could I not have been important enough? Old feelings of not being good enough flooded me. I sat in a puddle of my own misery. The hurt little girl who just wanted to be loved was fully exposed.

A few hours later I bounced back.  I always bounce. My rational brain took over and put all of my feelings in perspective, but I was still emotionally sore from being stretched so far. I knew why this year was different.  This was the year I would outlive my mother. She died when she was 41 years and 19 days old, and I had just turned 41.  In my rage, I was going to be damned if I was not going to continue to make it my ongoing goal to live my life as fully as possible.  Happiness was mine to have. I earned it and I was determined to keep accessing it in myself.

As it winds down, I can see that 41 has proven to be one of the most transformative of my life. I’ve spent more time digging into the deep parts of myself to uncover my long held patterns of resistance, self-sabotage and feelings of lack.  I’ve re-evaluated all of my relationships and assessed how I interact, how I invest emotionally…or not, and how I run in fear when my heart feels remotely threatened. 

About two months ago, an opportunity developed for me to look at myself when the threat of loss once again stared me down questioning what I was going to do about it. I dove down again, identifying deep seated patterns in myself, dating back to early life with my mother.  I saw my fears, my resistance, and how my unconditional love for my mother turned conditional when I sensed her time here was short.

I saw how I pulled away and shut down and left her feeling unclear how I felt about her when she died. I felt my old guilt slam into me, devastated by the loss. I saw all the reasons why I held on to the anger, to protect me from getting hurt again. I let it come up and pour out of me, overflowing waves of sorrow and regret. And then…I saw it all for what it was and forgave my mother for not being what I wanted her to be and for myself wanting to protect myself.  She was, and I was, in fact, human.

And that feeling, letting go of the anger and guilt, was the freedom I’d been craving for a very long time. For the first time, since my mother’s death, I felt my mother’s energy in a very different way. It was light and flowing and a soft pink. I felt her embrace me as I let her in. She wanted to support me and I let her.

I could go on and on and explain how our early relationships with our parents and caregivers impacts every other relationship in our lives. Any dysfunction that exists begin the patterns that last until something proves important enough to stop us and realize we don’t want to repeat them. And it’s not until we change ourselves while also accepting ourselves that our lives and our experiences will change accordingly.

These revelations are a culmination of the work I’ve spent rebuilding my relationship with myself. Getting to know the real me. The scarred parts that continue to heal and the eternal optimist who has made peace with her internal masochist. The one who is always striving to be the best and most authentic version of herself. 

She is real and she is spectacular.

(Seinfeld anyone? I simply cannot help it)

So today, I am celebrating the new relationship I have with my mother, as well as myself.  The birthday of new beginnings, the dawn of opportunity, the celebration of all things learned that brought me into this fascinating existence that is my life.

Happy Birthday Mom! Thanks for getting me here. I Love You.

Skeptic Turned Believer

As a young child, I watched way too many horror movies. Way too many. I was obsessed with scaring the crap out of myself.  I played on Ouji boards, followed my horoscope, attempted to do séances with friends and did reports on Witches, until I was so freaked out I couldn’t read anymore.  I remember reading once in my horoscope that I lost a parent at a relatively young age and that I liked the occult. Creepy and disturbingly true.

How did the stars seem to know so much about me?

My mother’s mental illness had her looking for solace anywhere and I was one of those objects of solace.  She would tell me of her deep sadness and I would say positive, encouraging things to her often. Most of the time, I had no idea what I was even talking about. I was in elementary school, I hadn’t learned too much about the world. Yet, she would always say I knew exactly what to say and when she asked how I knew, I would reply, without hesitation, that God told me to say it. Ain’t no big thang.

Looking back as an adult, with skeptical and questioning logic, I would say, “well, of course it was comforting. She was as depressed as it gets and I was young, hopefuland positive spewing whatever desperate ray of sunshine I could muster.”   But the truth is, I was far from hopeful and positive and not full of sunshine. I wrote one poem after another of darkness and misery, of sadness and anger, of living in a dark hole.  So what if, maybe, just maybe, God really was speaking through me to offer my desperate mother some sense of hope?  

My interest in the occult ended somewhere in adolescence after my mother died and was replaced with booze and numbing out any uncomfortable emotion.  If God had any chance of speaking through me, it was going to have to get through the layer of toxins I’d put in my body.

Somewhere in college, my beloved grandmother started talking to me about the afterlife and her spiritual beliefs and because I loved her so dearly and respected her so much, I jumped on board to the New Age train.  We traded books, talked of God, spirits, energy and strange, serendipitous events.  It was so fascinating and the more I learned, the more peaceful I felt.  Like the missing puzzle pieces were being handed directly to me.

The busyness of full time work, marriage and children distracted me from furthering my spiritual side and instead left me with lots and lots of anxiety.  Although I loved being married and being a mother and greatly enjoyed the work I did as a counselor, the pressure I put on myself to do even more was huge and the voids I felt were large and looming.  There were many whispers and opportunities for me to change my attitude and shake things up, but I tuned many of them out. After all, change is scary!

In the winter of 2013, I was in the darkest place of my life.  My marriage was ending and life as I knew it and dreamed it would be would never be the same.  Yet the entire time, I heard those whispers of support, encouragement of which direction to take and distinct ways to take care of myself. I began to meditate daily, withdrew from my everyday worries and spent months healing with my long time best friend I once married. It was both incredibly painful and incredibly rewarding. I began to understand myself and who I was and appreciate all I had to offer. I allowed my nonstop chatty mind to slow down so I could actually hear my inner thoughts and not just the babble that rambled all day. 

In the early Spring of 2013, I approached the hardest part of my new reality…the physical separation of my family. I dreaded it immensely and questioned myself daily.  It was at this point I was introduced to Integrated Energy Therapy, quite randomly I would add, at a holistic health fair I wasn’t even sure I’d go to.  But I was drawn to the table and the description of what the modality offered.  One empowerment session later and the warmth of the amazing woman who’d eventually be my teacher, and I was hooked. In my typical inquisitive fashion, I skipped receiving a full healing and chose to learn IET instead.  I was intrigued how this stuff worked! The first class was incredible, but wasn’t sure I needed to continue. In my also typical fashion, I questioned everything. Maybe I just needed a flavor…yet I continued to be intrigued.  I took the Intermediate class two weeks later. The class that changed my life.

A week before the classI was in court to officially announce my dissolving marriage. The following week my best friend purchased a house and moved out.  The night before the class I sobbed for hours. The morning of the class, I remember standing in the shower willing myself to move. I don’t recall ever being so depressed. I just kept telling myself I had to get there. I forced myself to go.

I can’t say there was an exact moment or a lightening bolt or anything, but the healings I gave and received that day altered me forever.  My natural skeptic wanted to believe there was something to this energy stuff, but I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t rationalize it, I just had to hope it was true. I knew it made me feel good, but could that be enough?  I could tell you how I physically pulled an energy block out of my friend’s third eye (with lots of angelic help) or how I received “messages” that were loud and clear for me to share. But what made me a believer from that day forward was how I felt, right down to my soul. By the end of the class, my despondent self was long gone and an excited, energized over the top happy me talked my friend’s ear off the entire hour ride home. We still laugh at how I was seemingly on speed!

I have since been trained to become a Master Instructor with lots of fun angelic energy tricks and am able to teach the modality I’ve come to love and immensely respect.  I know, with the utmost confidence that we all benefit from opening ourselves up and allowing ourselves to heal.  And with that healing and trust, our lives can and will change for not the better, but the best! 

Looking back, I do believe that God, the Universe, the Angels, my guides, whatever you want to call that Divine help, played a role in helping me help my mother and every other person who comes to me for help.  I feel so fortunate, so grateful, so blessed to be able to share my gifts.  After all, they are meant to be shared!