Self Care Sunday – Are You In The Arena?

Theodore Roosevelt quote

I am a lifelong learner. I am intellectually curious. I crave knowledge. I consider myself a student of life. I am a risk taker. As Theodore Roosevelt says, “I am in the arena”; I show up in life.

Self Care for me includes personal growth, professional development, self exploration and learning from every person I meet. Every situation I am in presents me an opportunity for deeper self awareness and knowledge. Since I am an eager “student”, I am always looking for online courses to take, lectures to attend, mentors to work with and books to read. If you’ve got something to teach me, I am willing to learn from you.

A few years ago, my boss at the time recommended I read “Your Intention Difference” by Ken Tucker, Todd Hahn and Shane Roberson. In the book, you work through exercises that help to identify reoccurring themes in your life and then associated that theme with one word. That word becomes your ID Word and represents the dominant theme in your life or it’s your Intentional Difference. My ID Word is growth. It was really enlightening to read this book and see this in myself. While I always knew I was growth oriented, I never really thought about making decisions so I intentionally put myself in situation where I could grow; it just happened. That’s an amazing piece of self awareness that has changed my life. Since reading that book, I now intentionally make choices that honor my need for growth in all areas of my life.

I changed a lot in the last few years. I’ve changed because I intentionally focused on putting myself in situations where I would have room to grow and stretch; I put myself in situation that honored the truth of who I am. For example, I returned to school to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach in 2017; I wanted to learn how to take better care of myself. When I interviewed for my current job, the interview panel asked “Why are you interested in this job?” I said, “Because GROWTH is my ID Word and this seems like the perfect opportunity to stretch and grow”.

Having a growth mind-set and being willing to learn from everyone has been very beneficial in my life, especially in my career. As I’ve been exposed to different people and situations, I’ve been able to learn from each person I encountered then use that knowledge in work situations. For example, a few years ago a coworker was working on redesigning websites in SharePoint. I had no idea how to use SharePoint let alone build a website it in but she needed help and was willing to teach me. I became her student and learned everything she was willing to teach me. In the last few weeks, I’ve been building a website in SharePoint using the skills she taught me. I sent the development site to a few managers for a concept review.

OH MY GOD! So much positive feedback; it blew me away. They didn’t know I could design websites and I didn’t know they need someone who understands SharePoint. My stock went up again this week😂 I am finishing the design and development in the next week or so. I demo it for our “Big Cheese” in early November and then I’ll start socializing it in staff meetings and webinars through the end of the year.

Professionally, growth and development will be my main concern as my temporary assignment at work starts to wrap up in the coming months. I am reminding myself “GROWTH” is my ID Word. I will be evaluating my professional options according to my need for growth and development. I am cautiously optimistic that my current organization is working to find a way for me to stay permanently. Things take a long time where I work so I am still waiting on the dust to settle but we have time to work thing out. The bottom line is I believe there is more room for me to stretch and grow in this organization than the one I worked in formerly but I am trying to keep my mind open. For now, I will pray God puts me where he needs me the most and I pray I am in a position where I can do the most good. I will trust everything is always working out for my highest good.

Since I deactivated Facebook 26 days ago and I have been been limiting my Twitter time, I’ve been reading more. I am now reading “Dare To Lead” from Brene Brown. I’ve read a couple of her books already and I just love her style. I love the way she talks about vulnerability and shame. I especially love how this book reflects on how leaders who are empathetic and vulnerable are actually the strongest. It’s a great read for anyone –especially leaders. If you don’t like to read, it’s also available as an audiobook.

Dare To Lead

Lastly, I suppose worrying about my stomach biopsy & the appointment at Jeff Gastro took it’s toll me the last few days. A mother of migraine hit me early Thursday morning. While I went to work on Thursday, I was in a lot of pain by the time I got home. I took the meds but it was past the point of return. I vomited all Thursday night from and pain and have been taking the meds every six hours which means I haven’t been able to leave the house or drive because they make me sleepy. I guess it’s not all bad. I’ve been enjoying reading and enjoying the rest. It finally broke Saturday afternoon.

My question this Self Care Sunday is are you in the arena or sitting on the sidelines?

I am in the arena. I like being vulnerable and taking risks. As Brene says, “If you are not also in the arena getting your ass kicked, I am NOT interested in your feedback! If you are in the arena getting your ass kicked, I am open to your feedback and insights!”

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Self Care Sunday – Overstimulation is my Kryptonite

Rumi quote

I am highly sensitive and an Empath. My intuition is super charged. I can feel the heaviness of emotions around me. I am empathize to the point I take on another’s pain. I can tune into another’s heartbreak until I become incapacitated. I can feel the sadness of those around me. It’s a gift and burden. I’ve been this way since I was a little girl. People have always commented about how sensitive I was. My family used to tease me about my sensitivity until I would be in tears. I learned to hide it as I got older until I was eventually old enough to self medicate it with wine and beer.

In recent years, I’ve learned how to manage my sensitivities and embrace the gifts God gave me with good self care practices. I’ve also learned OVERSTIMULATION is my Kryptonite 🤢 Actually, it’s Kryptonite to anyone who is sensitive and empathetic. I’ve found inner peace, harmony and balance can only be found by managing external sensory stimulation.

So what is overstimulation? Overstimulation means too much sensory stimulation from lights, sounds, people, etc. It can include loud music, incessant talking, chaotic environments including work environments, bright white lights, perfumes and scents, too much screen time, too much TV especially NEWS, too much socialization, big parties and social events, not enough sleep, not enough alone time and stress even good stress can be over stimulating. When I am overstimulated, I become snarky, agitated, emotional, controlling and stressed out. When I am overstimulated, I clench my jaw subconsciously. When I am overstimulated, I worry and obsess. If I continue to be overstimulated for too long, I become depressed and can get sick.

I’ve learned as someone who is highly sensitive and empathetic it’s necessary for me practice good self care by giving myself plenty of alone time to recharge. I’ve learned to control how much TV I watch. I’ve learned to opt for quiet music instead of loud music. I’ve learned to stay in bed a little longer and to rest. I’ve learned to use soft lighting in my home and I’ve learned to be selective with whom I socialize and which social events I attend. My biggest overstimulation trigger was revealed to me a few weeks ago and it’s rocking my world.

I deactivated my Facebook account 18 days ago. 18 days ago I stopped using Instagram every day. 18 days ago I started limiting how much time I spend on Twitter. 18 days ago I took control of my Social Media habit and in doing so I realized Social Media was huge trigger of overstimulation for me. I also realized it’s an addiction. The first few days without Facebook were like detox. I kept wanted to go back but I held out. The first few days, I wanted a fix. I held out. I got through it and now, I am calmer and less keyed up because of it. Not only I am not triggered by what I see on Social Media but I’ve also greatly reduced my screen time. I’m sleeping better too.

The biggest benefit to my Social Media withdrawal is that I have more time back in my hands. I am back to reading books before going to bed instead of having my face buried in my phone. I now turn my phone off more often when I am writing or listening to music. I even started watching some shows that partial subtitles and I enjoy it. Something about watching a show with some subtitles makes me pay attention to it more which means I can’t look at my phone. It’s actually pretty relaxing. I am not sure how I feel about Facebook anymore. I am going to go 30 days without it and see how I feel about it then but I am thinking I am just going to leave it deactivated. I actually don’t think it was good for me. I also greatly reduced my time on Twitter too. I am actually happier and more relaxed without all of that noise in my life.

As I sit in my quiet room under warm blanket on a Saturday night writing this blog on my iPad Pro by the soft warm light of my Pink Himalayan Salt Lamp, I am thankful for the wisdom life has given me. I now write on Saturday nights and schedule my posts to go live at 6:00am on Sunday mornings. I am grateful I learned how to shut out the noise and tune into my inner knowledge. It’s been helping me manage my thoughts and stay calm in stressful situations. Sitting in silence is often the only way we can hear our own truth. My soul talks to me in these quiet moments. When does your soul talk to you?

SELF CARE CHALLENGE: Are you up for it? Deactivate Facebook for seven days. If you make it for seven days, go for 30 days. See if you are as addicted and overstimulated as I was.

Other updates, I had another great work week. I am designing a website for my Program and I got some good news about one of my projects that was stuck in our Legal department. I gave another successful presentation to leadership on Thursday which was fun. I enjoyed it. This has been such a great professional experience for me. It’s allowed me to really work to my skill level, use all of strengths and grow at the same time. With regards to my tummy troubles, my appointment with the Jeff Gastro is Wednesday. My local docs say Dr. Michael DiMarino at Jeff Gastro is worth the wait and he is supposedly an excellent diagnostician. I am looking forward to getting some answers and relief. While the pain isn’t horrible every day, it’s definitely not going away and hasn’t gotten better. It may even be a little worse. The waves of nausea that come on suddenly followed by a few other symptoms are uncomfortable. I pray for courage, strength and healing.

Staying tune to my hippie soul, I chose Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for the music on this post this week. Their music speaks to my soul. I love their harmony. “Carry On” is one of my favs from them because it’s about Love. When the melody changes in the middle, is usually when I feel the need to dance, be free like a flower child and wish I still “smoked” 😂 I might need a medical script 😇 😂 I digress… in my opinion, “Deja Vu” is one of the BEST ALBUMS of all time by any artist – hands down! I also attached a link to a “Legends” VH1 documentary about them.

Music Deja Vu, CSNY

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Self Care Sunday – How do you define success?

Art

On this Self Care Sunday I want to discuss Career. Career is the one of the four areas of life that Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches call “Primary Food”. Career satisfaction can affect your overall happiness and it also can affect your health and relationships. It’s important to step back and evaluate career satisfaction from time to time. If you are manager, I would recommend encouraging your employees to do this too.

For me, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in constant movement. As a “do-er”, I check my boxes off and claim my productivity by accomplishments and goals achieved. In a recent professional experience, things didn’t work out quiet the way I thought they were going to. I was not going to be able to achieve the goal I had set for myself which was causing me some anxiety and making me doubt myself a bit. Being trapped in my own definition of success was undermining my enthusiasm for the work I am doing and I was starting to feel a bit deflated.

I traveled to DC to give a briefing to senior leadership on Tuesday morning. In the briefing, I discussed my honest assessment of the program I am working on and its future if it remains supported the way it stands today. As I spoke, I was careful to be confident while also be truthful about my observations of the challenges and opportunities.

As I spoke, the conversation and energy in the room shifted and became supportive even nurturing. That’s when we realized that my definition of success was different from senior leadership’s definition of success. Leadership already viewed me and my Program as successful while I was still trying to prove to myself I could be successful. Let me say that again… Leadership already viewed me and my Program as successful while I was still trying to prove to myself I could be successful. My leadership explained to me that I already accomplished more than they originally thought was possible. WOW! That hit me hard. Right as I sat there in front of them I felt the magnitude of that reality hit me. I was pushing forward so hard that I never stopped for one minute in the last nine months to really see what I accomplished or to be proud of myself. They made me stop in that 45 minute meeting. It was a powerful moment for me. It was a powerful moment in my career💙

One of the Directors pulled me into her office for a chat about career opportunities. She wants me think about what I want because there are few different type of opportunities that could be open to me. She said I’ve proven myself capable and comfortable in “high profile” roles. She wanted to know if I would be satisfied going back to something less “sexy” after this 😊 It’s an interesting question for me. The truth is I am comfortable in this type of high visibility role. I am good with stakeholder engagement, up and down the chain. I present well and handle myself well. My biggest challenge this year was my own body. The constant health issues have been frustrating and the current issue with my stomach still isn’t resolved. I told her about my current issue and that I needed to see a specialist because of a suspicious stomach biopsy. She reassured me. She told me I shouldn’t let that be my deciding factor because my health issues obviously didn’t interfere with my work performance this year. She also told me accommodations could always be made for me. Yes, it may be easier for me to go back to a desk job that has more predictability, maturity and less of an ask from me but will it be enough for me after this???? My intuition says no…😊 But, I am keeping an open mind because I think it will depend on the opportunity and if it has room for growth and diversification. I also don’t want to work in chaos again. So work environment is important to me now too. For now, I am going let go and trust that everything is always working out for my highest good. I am going to trust God and my intuition to direct me to the right choice. As opportunities present themselves I will ask myself, “Does this honor who I am?”

I also met with new GM who is now an advisor to my program. Wow! What a difference chatting with someone with fresh eyes and fresh perspective can have! Having to walk her through my whole program reenergized me. It reminded me why I was passionate about this. It reminded why I wanted to do this in the first place. Her thoughtful questions and insights helped me find an unexplored path forward. I just met her that morning and already she helped me get unstuck. She suggested I look for something I can leave as a legacy, something tangible that people can say, “Linda did this”. I laughed and said, “Being the first and standing up the program isn’t enough?” 😂😂 She laughed but said she was thinking something more like a brochure or even a webinar that folks could use after I’ve moved on…. The budget will not allow for my current role to be a full time position. However, the role will continue as a temporary assignment after I move on to something new. She encouraged me to remember that I was first. I was the trail blazer. I have been the vision setter. I need to leave a legacy as well as start thinking about a transition plan. I came home full of things to think about as well a fresh new perspective and a new to do list. As I flew home looking out of window at the spectacular clouds, I was pensive. I was thinking about the events of the day and what I accomplished this year and what I learned about myself along the way. It’s been a great year professionally and great work experience.

I learned this week it’s important for folks to agree on what success looks like. While we had conversations about the goals of the program, their view of success was actually more achievable than my own. I learned this week the value of talking to people face to face when you have an important message to relay to them. If I presented my briefing over the phone, they would not have felt my energy or passion. The conversations that took place that day never would have happened. They would have missed the subtle nuances of my facial expressions and body language. This is good advice in any situation. If you have something important to say to someone, say it in person. The message may not be received in the way you are intending through phone, text or email. I learned this week talking to someone with fresh eyes or perspective can reenergize you. It can help you see things you may have missed. I learned this week to be open to constructive guidance and accept support when it is offered. Most importantly, I learned this week to always speak from my heart with confidence, authenticity and honesty even when I am briefing the big cheese in the organization😊

I write about self awareness a lot on this blog. I write about it so much because I truly believe self awareness is the key to growth and development. I think it’s especially important to practice self awareness in our careers. I admire leaders who encourage self awareness. How can you grow if you refuse to see yourself as you are instead of how you perceive yourself to be? How can you grow if leave no room for inner reflection and self knowledge? How can you be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others including your employees if you can’t even acknowledge your own needs and desires? It’s with this new self awareness I will be moving into the future and evaluating upcoming career opportunities.

Do you celebrate your career accomplishments? Do you honor who you are while making career decisions? What legacy will you be leaving to the folks who will step into your shoes? Do you encourage your employees to leave a legacy? When you talk to employees, do you ask thoughtful questions and give helpful insights? Do you help them define success in their careers or projects? And is your definition of success in alignment with the folks around you? Do you practice self awareness as a leader or in your life?

I chose “Blackbird” by the Beatles for this post. It was written by Paul McCartney during the Civil Rights movement after seeing a black women arrested for sitting on a bench in a “white” section of a park in the United States. As a highly sensitive, empathic feeler, the current political climate is causing me a bit of anxiety.  I worry about our Democracy and the inflammatory rhetoric used by leaders against the Press and to stoke right extremists.  And now, a “USA Today” Op-Ed full of outright lies that many will believe on the surface without questioning. He’s gaslighting our nation.  I urge people to fact check politicians.  Even worse are the rich GOPers who only care about the economy and their own economic interests; turning a blind eye to everything else because life is good for them. I’ve been pulling away from people who lack a social conscience and put money & power over people. If you recall, fair haired white people were living good lives and turning blind eyes while 600K Jews were executed. I do not think our President is a horrible human being but I do think he lacks social consciousness.  Money and power are his Gods and rulers.  He’s willing to exploit the right extremist groups to win and aligns himself with Dictators.  The Senate and/or House needs to be a different party to separate and diffuse his power as well as bring accountability & transparency back in DC. November 6th is my sister, Sandy’s, birthday. I am hoping her spirit brings us luck and change. Stop the #trumpcult 🌊#votethemout 🌊💙

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In My Dreams

Dream art

I had a wonderful dream on Monday night 😊 It was so vivid and clear that I could have sworn it was happening in real life. Around 2:30am on Tuesday Morning I had the below dream…

I walked into a room and found BlueLove sleeping. He was on his back with one arm over his head. I kissed his cheek and said, “Wake up, I’m here. It’s time to wake up.” He was startled when he opened his eyes. He slowly sat up in the bed with more or less a “WTF is going on” look on his face. He looked extremely confused and oh so cute with bed head. As he rubbed his eyes and shook his head, he looked at me and asked me “Where am I?” I said, “You are with me. You needed me. So I am here. Do you want me to get you anything!” In his grouchy morning voice, “YES! COFFEE; I need Coffee!” 😂😂☕️ I started laughing and replied, “You want me to make you coffee NOW?” He said, “Yes!” 😂 We exchanged a few other cryptic sentences in the dream which I won’t get into. Then I kissed his forehead, told him I loved him and went to go make him coffee. The dream ended with me walking away 🤔

Any professional Dream Intrepretors want to take crack at this one? I will say it’s interesting because it felt so real. His expressions were so real and him being grouchy before coffee was absolutely perfect 😂😂 Well, he wasn’t actually so much grouchy as he was confused and had no idea where he was with me😂 After I woke up, I had to wonder. You see, I believe it’s possible for people who share a deep spiritual connection to communicate subconsiously in dream state and in reality. Perhaps we did need each other and found each other in our subconscious while we were sleeping💙 In this particular dream, it seems I was sent to reassure him and calm him. It also seemed like he was brought to show me he can hear me when my heart talks to him. Who knows, maybe it was just dream…

This all made me think about dreams vs. reality. I’ve always been a dreamer, an idealist. My family would often joke that I was off chasing rainbows. I never felt like I was chasing rainbows. I truly believe the human heart and human mind are very powerful. I believe we can create amazing things in this world and our life by harnessing the power within ourselves. That’s what the last few years have been about me. I’ve been working to harness my own personal power. Every change I’ve made in the last few years has been about finding the best within me. Every decision I made, every friendship I stepped away from, every relationship I ended, every professional decision I’ve made has been making me stronger, better and wiser. While friends and coworkers say I’ve changed, the truth isn’t that I’ve changed – it’s that I’ve grown.

I’ve been relying upon intuiton more than logic to make decisions lately. I was getting signs that it was time to figure out where I am going after my temporary assignment is complete in February. I applied for a job one pay band higher in the Organization I am working in now. I made the referral list that went to the Managers😊 I did have an interview. It was good but it’s not a great fit for either of us. They prefer someone based at HQ and I don’t want to move. I actually only applied to see if I was qualified to get on the higher payband referrral list – and I was 😊 That’s been helpful. So two other opportunities came up but they will both take some time to be worked out. That actually works out fine because I still have get some advance testing on my stomach since my biopsies came back suspicious but not conclusive. I go to Jeff on 10/24. Having a delay at work will actually give time to do all that and have everything figured out before my temp assignment is done. In the meantime, I will trust everything is always working out for my highest; the love I give is returned 💙🦋

I am sharing Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” because it’s one of my favorite songs. It’s a song about dreams vs. reality. It talks about how a dreamer looks at the world versus how a realist looks at the world. I am definitely a dreamer.

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

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Self Care Sunday – Are you being called to “wake up”?

Healing

This Self Care Sunday I offer some thoughts on how I practiced restraint in my communications and I offer some food for thought on “waking up” or higher consciousness.

I’ve needed to practice restraint in how I am handling conversations regarding politics lately. I really have no tolerance for folks who don’t do their own research, propagate divisive rhetoric and are contributing to the crisis our nation is encountering. I wish folks would take a moment before sharing inflammatory posts and I especially wish politician would stop using inflammatory rhetoric. I think it’s important for folks on both sides to realize the power of words, images and even memes. I believe demonizing people only adds to the polarity and it’s just mean.

If you read this blog, it’s not a secret I am a Democrat. I consider myself moderate and I have at times voted Republican but I will be honest. The events of the last few weeks have pushed me a little further to the left. Rather than arguing with my Red friends, I am choosing to peacefully coexist or disengage. Getting into debates and arguments is not worth my time or energy; it will only further divide us and possibly damage our friendships permanently. It doesn’t have be that way. Neither one of us are going to change our views but it is starting to feel like we no longer have anything in common – maybe we never did and I am only now accepting that truth.

Perhaps it’s idealist – but I believe people should always come before money and power. I am firmly Pro Choice. Abortion is not nor has ever been an option for me personally. I do, however, believe in a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her body. I believe men should stand together with women against sexual assault and for women’s rights. I believe in the separation of power. I believe the Senate has Constitutional responsibility to keep the President in check but our current Senate seems to be more concerned with obtaining power and control. Lastly, I believe the Supreme Court of the United States should been held in the highest esteem and only have the most reputable Judges holding the seats. This doesn’t seems like a lot to ask. Sorry, but there are other well qualified conservative judges with less baggage, who are less controversial and who could have made it through the confirmation process with Democratic support just like Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is conservative, got democratic support and didn’t divide our nation. So why Kavanaugh – especially with all of his baggage that is going to follow him onto the Court? Why do the Republicans want him on the Court is my question… I have my own conspiracy theories about Presidential Pardon Power being expanded to the States in an upcoming case in front of the Court. Hopefully, one of the other judges pulls to left to offset this guy….So, yes! I’ve been practicing restraint and holding my words. Just because I am silent doesn’t mean I didn’t notice something; I am just taking care of myself by not wasting my time or energy acknowledging it.

I’ve been practicing restraint in my use of social media to protect myself as well. This includes ensuring that I do not like, share, tweet, retweet or engage on social media while at work or during official work hours. That’s just a good self care for anyone…period. Protecting your livelihood should come first; advocating smartly for causes that speak to your soul should come second. While I may scroll through my Twitter feed during the day, I do not engage until I am off and away from work. Generally, I consider all of my Tweets to be temporary. I eventually delete them all. I clean them up every month, if not sooner. It’s been four days since I deactivated Facebook. I don’t miss it. I realize now that checking Facebook was just a habit. I didn’t enjoy it; I used it as a distraction or when I wanted a break from what I was doing. I did it out of habit. I like having less noise in my life. I haven’t been posting to Instagram lately. The account only has one post on it. I still like to scroll and get inspiration from other posts but I am not interested in posting there for now. A smaller social media footprint feels like better self care for me. I am in touch with the folks I want to be in touch with. I don’t need to be “Fakebook” friends just to be connected to folks. While I am enjoying less social media, I do also enjoy writing this blog. I’ll continue with at least two posts per week – every Sunday and at least one mid week.

I spent the better part of three months deleting all of my activity from Facebook. I still felt a bit creeped out and decided to finally deactivated it. I don’t need Facebook owning my data since we now know they can’t be trusted. I also don’t use Google anymore. I use DuckDuckGo or FireFox Focus Privacy Browsers for web searches; neither retains your information and both block tracking. You can add DuckDuckGo to Safari on Apple devices or add the DuckDuckGo app to your dock. I wish I could disable the new Presidential alerts. I’ve managed without them so far just fine. Getting them just tells me they can hack into our phones whenever they want. Something about that seems like a violation of privacy and is creepy! I feel bad for the younger generations. They won’t have any privacy and will be tracked and monitored their entire lives.

Well, on to my next topic – food for thought about higher consciousness…

I would like to offer some food for thought for those who may be struggling with spiritual awakenings and higher consciousness issues. It’s is said the family member who “wakes up” first is the one in isolation. In other words, when someone is removed from the noise that surrounds their regular daily life, they are able to hear the truth in the Universe and within themselves. That happened to me when I distanced myself from a group of friends and moved to my condo five years ago. Once I started to spend more time alone and focused on self growth and development, my awareness opened and I started changing. I am stronger and back into alignment with my true self.

Some folks never wake up. They don’t want to wake up. While others of us, have no choice.
Once awakening starts, it is hard to stop but the choice is always yours. Often God will make you uncomfortable until you have the courage to see it’s time to let go and change. Sometimes letting go becomes your only choice. A “spiritual” awakening is far from pretty. It’s messy, stressful and often turns your life upside down. The worst part is you start seeing your own bullshit and the darkness comes to light to be healed. That’s not alway fun. For me, I ended relationships and friendships. Changed jobs. Started letting myself deal with repressed anger and feelings from sexual assaults, loss and grief. But I am honesty happier and better off for going through it and having the courage to sit in self awareness.

If you let yourself go for the ride and surrender into it, if you let your eyes and awareness open, it’s a truly a beautiful experience. While I will say I had a lot of fun in the past, it’s today that I feel the most at peace and the most authentic. It’s in the peacefulness of my condo as I write this blog that I find my own voice. It’s without comparing my life to others on Facebook that I find acceptance and peace. It’s in helping others step into their power and find their voice, I find my strength. Make no mistake, I am here to change the world in some way. I am here to be a force to be reckoned with. I am here to be a warrior, lover and an inspiration. I am here to change the world even if it’s just my little corner of it. Will you awaken and help me? Will you help me make the world a better place with your light? Will you put people before money and power? Will you bring light into world and instead of selfishness and darkness? Will you “wake up” with me?

Does this resonant with you? Are you feeling a shift or does it feel more like an earthquake? If so, take some time in silence to hear what your soul is trying to tell you. Are you willing to surrender? Does it make you sad to see things change? Have you reached acceptance yet? These defining moments in our lives are extremely stressful but also are the moments where we grow into the powerful beings God always intended us to be.

To harness your own power and manage your thoughts in times of uncertainly, I would suggest using affirmations. If you start seeing repetitive number sequences please know you are being called to “wake” up. It usually starts with 11:11. That was the first one I noticed a few years ago. Now I see all of them all day long. 222 and 2222 are my favorite repetitive number sequence. When you see a repetitive number sequence, say an affirmation to direct your thoughts or create an intention. When I see 222 or 2222, I say my favorite affirmation.

EVERYTHING IS ALWAY WORKING OUT FOR MY HIGHEST GOOD. THE LOVE I GIVE IS RETURNED

If you need an affirmation to keep your thoughts positive, try using this one or create one for yourself. If you need support, reach out to someone who has been through this type of change. Also, there are lots of Instagram accounts with some really great info on awareness, consciousness, spiritual awakening, 11:11and the Universe. Starting following some of them. If you know me personally, please feel free to call or text me for support or just to chat about things. As far as my personal coaching business, I am not taking new clients for a while. I have to take care of some health stuff. I should also note too that I only take clients who are personally referred to me by family or friends. I can gladly give referrals to other great coaches. Feel free to reach out to me through the “Contact Me” page for a referral.

Well, after the new judge was confirmed I was nauseated. I practiced good self care by turning off the TV and staying off of Twitter all night. Instead I watched “A Wrinkle In Time” on Netflix. I decompressed by writing this blog and listening to my favorite music which is on the mellow side and is 70s folk/rock. 70s music speaks to my soul. If I had to name my top favorite songs of all time, in no particular order it would be these:

Taxi – Harry Chapin
Come in from the cold – Joni Mitchell
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
You’re my home – Billy Joel
Love Ballad – LTD
Me & Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel
What’s going on – Marvin Gaye
Leaving on a jet plane – Peter, Paul and Mary
Wooden Ships, Carry On, Woodstock and Ohio by Crosby, Still & Nash
River, Help Me, Both Sides Now, Woodstock – Joni Mitchell
Can’t find my way home – Blind Faith
Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Shooting Star – Bad Company
If loving you is wrong – Luther Ingram

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Taxi from Harry Chapin brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. I was in grade school the first time I heard it. The woman I babysat for was drinking a glass a wine and listening to it when I walked in the door of her home. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “just a beautifully sad song; listen to the story.” She was right. It’s a beautifully sad song… I will never forget that.

Growing Up Sexy

Blue Love Art

I have a pretty face and a sexy body.  My breasts are full, my hips are wide; I have the traditional hourglass type of body.  My body is not skinny nor is it fat.  It is womanly, voluptuous.  I grew up turning men’s heads. I grew up sexy.

Growing up sexy has not always been easy.  When I was a teenager, a man I loved and trusted in my family attempted to rape me twice while he was high on Cocaine and alcohol.  I was able to fight off the first attack because he was so drunk. The second attack was more violent & aggressive. I was thrown against a wall and hurt. By the grace of God the noise woke my eldest sister, Sandy, who saved me; she also protected me from him and ensured my mother removed him from our home immediately. This is the first time I am writing about this on this blog.  I am writing about it in the context of my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis and writing to show how traumatic events can have a long-term impact on people’s lives.

I have been seeing a therapist for over five years.  My official diagnosis is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is multi-faceted for me, including but not limited to: anxiety, depression and flashbacks. I’ve been struggling lately. My therapist and I believe grief from my best friend’s death in April is triggering PTSD flashbacks causing depression and anxiety.

As my therapist and I started to follow the threads of traumatic events in my life, we could clearly see it started with my father dying when I was seven; the two attempted rape attacks were the next traumas I encountered.  Other traumas I’ve experienced along the way include my sister dying from a long-term terminal illness, my brother-in-law dying of a heart attack at an Eagles vs. Dallas game in the Lincoln Financial Stadium in Philadelphia and most recently my best friend dying from Cancer. There have been other tragedies and traumas in my life but the events listed above are the major events that left the biggest scars.  Since I have been allowing myself to live in the truth of my past, it is now time for me to openly express my feelings about them so I can perhaps stop the flashbacks, calm the anxiety, live with memories and open one day to a healthy loving relationship with a man.

Without a father figure in my life and being victimized by a man I loved and trusted as a teenager, I never really knew how to be loved, truly loved, by a man.  When I was in my 20s, I can remember hearing my boyfriend(at the time) say to his friends one night that I was the kind of girl who was good for fucking but not the kind you marry.  Low self-esteem, never truly loving myself and not knowing how to allow a man to love me set me up for casual relationships and unhealthy sexual behaviors through most of my 20s and into my early 30s.

Through my 40s and 50s I’ve healed and grown spiritually. I know understand the energy that is exchanged in sex. I also respect my body and learned to care for my emotional and spiritual well-being.  I will say that honestly I will not give my body away to any man who does not love me or hold pure intentions towards me. Friends tell me I should date more, “Have fun”, “get mine” and “live a little”.  Given my history, it is healthier for me to wait for a man who values and cares for my emotional well-being as well as desires my body. It is better to wait to give my body to man who understands who I am, how I got here and why it matters so much to me that he understands my anxiety.

Since I want to heal, lose my fear and make room for the love in my heart and life, I need to dance with my demons for a bit and understand how I got here. I want to see and understand how I ended up 51 years old single, never married and without children still choosing subconsciously to love men at a distance.  How did I end up standing in the same skin I had when I was seven not allowing anyone to truly love me? I need to understand how this happened so I can work to heal. This isn’t an easy journey but I feel it’s necessary for me to get a better handle on the flashbacks and mitigate the affects of any future traumatic events.

In recent years, there has been a man in my life that I love deeply and truly. I call him Blue love. I’ve enjoyed our sexual attraction. I love our flirtation. I love to write erotic poetry for him. He’s a fun playmate but I also know he cares about me.  However, it is not lost on me that I am in love with a man who can’t be available for me to hold, touch and feel. We can only love each other at a distance. The word that comes to mind is “safe”. It’s safe for both of us to love each other.

I do believe Blue Love and I are soul mates. I believe we share a deep meaningful connection.  We were meant to be in each other’s lives. My connection to Blue Love has been very healthy for me. It’s perhaps the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had with a man. Blue Love showed me a man who cares for me will respect and treat me well. Blue Love showed me a man who cares for me expresses his love and respect for me by not taking advantage of me physically. Through Blue Love I allowed myself to trust again. I would put my life and heart in his hands because I know he would also protect me.

While I would love for Blue Love to be my happily ever after, I understand he may not be. I am, however, thankful he’s been in my life the last few years because now I know what a man caring for me feels like. Only time will tell what happens between us in the future.  I guess all I am trying to say about Blue Love is I trust him enough to allow him to see me – all of me – even the wounded parts. That says a lot coming from me and understanding my history. I hope he can see the depth of meaning it has for me that I allow him to see me. I have not let any other man see me in this way.

This is not a #metoo post.  This is not a statement about the sexual objectification of women.   I enjoyed being sexy all of my life.  I still enjoy being sexy.  I like that men look at me.  I absolutely love the look in Blue Love’s eyes when he looks at my body.  I will not hide my body nor down play my breasts so they are less noticeable.  I like getting dressed, putting make-up on and being sexy.  It makes me feel womanly and feminine. I will continue to flirt shamelessly with Blue Love and write him erotic poetry. I like growing up sexy.

This post is about how traumas leave scars and burdens that change us.  It is a post about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with depression, anxiety and flashbacks. It is post about self-love.  It is a post about finally living in truth, honesty and authenticity. What happened in my past was NOT my fault but it is still my burden.   A burden I carry every day. A burden that held me back from love. A burden that welled up in my heart a few weeks ago and came to my consciousness for a reason – it wants to be healed.  A burden I am ready to hopefully release.

In sharing this information so openly I hope that people reading this do not judge me. Believe me; I spent a long time judging myself.  I hope only to share this information as a way to start releasing the heaviness in my heart and free up some room for a man to love me.  At the same time, I will not judge any man in my life for the person he was in the past or for “extra-curricular” relationships he may have had in the past. Perhaps he didn’t feel truly loved either. The only thing I care about is today. I only care about who we are choosing to be today and being kind to each other now.

With my history written in this blog, I clearly need the man in my life who is patient and understanding with my anxieties. I need to be his only women. My love needs to be enough for him. Any man who touches my body needs to be mine and only mine. I am allowing myself to feel pain so I can heal and be loved. I am not sure I would survive another heartbreak.

If you believe you may suffer from PTSD, anxiety and flashbacks related to traumatic events, please consider seeking help. Allow yourself to heal. We will never be cured but it can be managed and we can be healed.

Here’s an article I found helpful on PTSD
https://www.gracepointwellness.org/109-post-traumatic-stress-disorder

😘

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Self Care Sunday – Honor Where You Are – Monday Update at bottom

http://www.jpreece.deviantart.comhttp://www.jpreece.deviantart.com

Go to the bottom for the Monday Update:

My friend and fellow Holistic Health Coach Stephanie at Find Your Brave writes a lot about honoring where you are in the present. Stephanie coaches women to honor their feelings and emotions as they are right in this very moment. I am honoring where I am emotionally in this Self Care Sunday post.

I am grateful. I am truly grateful for all of the people who love me now and loved me in the past. This includes my family, friends and men who have been in my life. I am grateful for every person who played a role in my growth, protected me along the way and helped me become the woman I am today. I am grateful for my job. My job provides me stable income and health care which allows me to live comfortably at the beach as well as help others with my abundance. I am grateful for my apartment on the beach. It is truly my sanctuary and is a beautiful place to rest and live in peace. I am grateful for my body. My body has been through a lot and it continues sustain me. I am grateful for my tenacious spirit. It helps me rally in tough times. I am grateful for my big heart; it gives me the capacity to love deeply and truly. I am grateful for my old soul. I have the soul of an old warrior. I’ve experienced many tragedies and suffered more than most but my soul used those experienced for growth. I am a very fortunate woman but…it’s not enough. It’s all just not enough.

It’s only been in recent weeks that I’ve allowed myself to see the true price I’ve paid in the name of self protection in my life. It’s only been in recent weeks that I’ve began to understand I lost so much more than people in my life, I lost love and my ability to choose without fear. I am only now starting to understand what was taken away from me by the actions of men. I am also starting to understand what my life could have been if I didn’t close myself off so long ago. I can now see how expensive suffering has been in my life.

I ask God, Angels and Guides, is this it? Is this all there is going to be in my life for the next 5, 10, 20 or 30 years of my life? I ask this question because it’s become clear to me that life, the way it is, simply is not enough to sustain me long term. You may ask me what does that mean. The truth is I am not sure what that means. I only recently admitted to myself that I felt this. I talked at length about this with my therapist this past week. She honored what I was saying. She didn’t try to put happy face on anything. Her closing words stuck with me, “It’s not your fault. None of it has been your fault but your heart is carrying all the burden(s). Everyone reaches a breaking point.” It’s not that I can’t handle stress and suffering. It’s that I’ve been handing it and dealing with it since I was seven years old. The sustained pressure is breaking me down on every level. I am worn out.

What does this mean for my future and my life. I am not sure. The only thing I know is I am no longer as strong as I was. I am weary. When I get knocked down, I don’t get up as quick as I used to. When I need to rally and fight, I am just not sure it’s worth it anymore. What the hell am I fighting for anyway? To live another 5, 10, 20, 30 years in a life like this? I am not sure I want that. In honoring where I am today I allow myself to write in complete authenticity and honesty. I am allowing those who are reading this blog to truly see me and understand the burden I am feeling.

On a work related topic, In this role I’ve learned to be a Program Manager in the “company”, you need to play office politics. I have the knowledge, skills and strategic abilities to be a fantastic game-play politician. However, being a politician lacks authenticity; that doesn’t vibe well with me and it actually stresses me out. I am good at this job. I have skills necessary to do this job. The whole point of taking this temporary assignment was to explore opportunities to see how they fit. For the most part, this role fits me. However, I still say the perfect role for me is something more along the lines of a Senior Advisor to leader. In that type of role, I could do program management, project management and also offer support services to a leader without being in the middle of the politics myself. I feel like I need to “take care” of someone. Doing that is rewarding to me. Actually, I am not fulfilling that need in any area of my life right now. Also, My body is not handling stress well anymore. Perhaps it never did it’s just more noticeable now that I am older. That has been on my mind a lot lately too. It reminded me that I used to have a boss that would tell me to “STOP” “BREATH” 😂 I don’t always know how/when to stop myself. It was helpful having someone who knew me well enough to see when I needed to be pulled back.  I don’t have that anymore.

Have you been honest with yourself lately? Is your life, the way it is now, enough for another 20 years? Can you live like this for another 20 years?

I encourage you to honor how you feel and where you are on this Self Care Sunday. Sit with yourself.  Feel whatever it is.  Stay soft in this unkind world💙🦋

MONDAY UPDATE
I spoke my truth this morning to my boss and another manager. I told them my temporary status and the project drama was starting to cause me anxiety. First, we spoke about my project; we have a resolution. It’s still moving forward 🙂 It’s in a Legal Review now. Fingers crossed everything goes well and I should be able to start meeting with vendor by next week. Next, we spoke about the anxiety I am starting to feel about my future and the temporary status I am still in. They understood what I was saying and allievated some concerns that came up last week. However, I won’t feel completely better until I am permanently sitting one place or another. I learned through this experience long term temporary assignments are not good for someone with an anxiety disorder. It creates too much uncertainity. It’s giving me too much room to worry. If I ever do something like this again, the maximum length I will agree to is six months.

The funny thing about our conversation today was what my boss said to me. He’s a Ph.D. He,of course, had to explain my anxiety in scientific terms and with a picture😂 He stood up and drew a graphic on the board and explained the “Anxiety and Performance(Arousal) Axis. He explained to me that there was a study done that proved that high performance requires a higher level of anxiety. People who are high performers tend to be more anxious. You actually need anxiety to push you to perform. The key is operate at the peak of curve abd manage the anxiety so you don’t slip down the slope. Below is a photo similiar to the graphic he drew; click the photo for the link to the article on “Anxiety and Arousal”. He told me to Google it. When I googled it, I also found a helpful article on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After I read that article, I reached out to friend who lost her son in a car accident and we scheduled a call to catch up for tonight. Hoping we can help each other 🦋

Anxiety and Arousal Axis
ef=”https://www.gracepointwellness.org/1-anxiety-disorders/article/38465-anxiety-and-arousal”>Image depicts anxiety can positively affect performance. [/cap

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