Ascension

My hormones are changing.

My body is rolling between high days where I am full of energy, talkative and inspired and days where I feel out of control, raw and demand silence.  This past week has been cloudy and grey – I have been irritable, isolating, and restless.

And, NO. It’s not that I work too much and have job stress. It’s because I’m a 47 year old woman.

I have noticed during the space between waking and rising my brain slides into conversations with people close to me. In these imaginary conversations I’m fed up and  I hit them my harshest truth. Things like how much I despise them for lying and not following through on assurances they made, how their apathy enrages me, how I don’t like the sight of their face, how what they do and don’t do pisses me off.

Do what you fucking say you’re going to do!!! I scream at them (in my head).

I don’t want to hear you chew your fucking food, I don’t want to clean up your goddamn messes and I don’t want to hear how you don’t like something you have the power to change. You only get one go in this life, DO SOMETHING important, please!!

I work in human services and talk to people in other agencies and the state who work with vulnerable populations forty hours a week. I have zero tolerance for their small talk and hearing them pontificate on important community issues – then DO NOTHING. They go home to their nice houses, in their nice cars, with a car full of groceries and their middle class problems. The hypocrisy grates on my Very. Last. Nerve.

My lady doctor, whom I saw yesterday says she believes menopause (pre and post) is about women realizing they don’t need nor want to take care of everyone else anymore. The drastic shifts in hormone ratios trigger a high level of self awareness which most women grapple heavily with. They experience feelings of guilt, selfishness, self criticism and decreased self esteem.  Internally, they begin questioning who they are, what they want and what they are doing.  They begin to see themselves as an entity outside of their families, jobs and friends.

Who am I? What do I want?

Throughout my twenties and thirties I committed to grabbing my shovel and digging into my wounded-ness.  I wanted to know what happiness felt like and I knew in my marrow that healing, peace and resolution were on the other side of the hole in my gut. I struggled with anger, rage, depression, grief – being a victim of my pain. I hated my life and myself and I wanted something different so that I didn’t raise may daughters in my pain.

I was offered the option of choice. Love or Fear? Responsibility or victim?

Over time and through emotional work/healing I developed a deep and thorough acceptance and love of myself.  Today I AM grounded, confident and content in WHO I am. I do not value myself only as a mother and a wife, I value ALL aspects of myself and I am a very complex creature. If I hadn’t spent my life committed to clearing out the cellular and emotional wounds my family of origin handed me and working on WHO I am I imagine my current hormone fluctuations would bring me to me knees.

I am grateful for the tools I was offered. I am grateful beyond belief for my friend and mentor for sharing her wisdom with me and for loving me when I wasn’t able to love myself.

I am ascending.

I am looking deeper at how I can take who I am and make a tangible difference in the world I live in.  For a long time I felt I was outgrowing or taking what I was taught to a higher level.  The level I seek is more than just about the victim game or ego states or feeling my emotions. The level I seek is about total integration of feelings, emotions, responsibility, integrity, acceptance and self respect. This level is one where I take my highest self out into the world and share my gifts with people who need them.  I seek to share the parts of my story that people need, to share my energy and myself in ways that encourage and support acceptance and LOVE.

The ONLY way I am able to do this is by being my truest, most authentic self. Living in honesty, being vulnerable, LOVING hard and deep and most importantly being honest, truthful, and real.  THIS is who I am and this is who I was created to be.

I am committed to no gossip, no drama, no lies, no fear, no judgement, no doubts, no lack of integrity.  If you wanna play and be a drama queen thats cool, but I’m not going to hang with you.

I have read many self-help books that encourage stuck-ness. They encourage readers to ponder, make lists, consider, think about, and journal.  These are all fine and good, however growth isn’t in a prompt or list, growth is in the DOING. Growth is in doing the hard, gut-wrenching work to level up and create a different reality for yourself.

Becoming aware of your own bullshit.

As for today, my hormones are leveling out. I struggle with not hating my rolling hills of emotions, I see and feel their value.  I know that this is all part of my evolution as a woman, as a human being and it’s spurring an internal dialogue that will help my continued growth journey.

as·cen·sion
əˈsen(t)SH(ə)n/
noun
the act of rising to an important position or a higher level.

 

 

~Shawna

 

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Pretending.

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Something I have been observing and experiencing is bothering me…I’m seeing a lot of pretending going on.

It appears as though our current every day life of social media, raising families, earning a living, making ourselves overly busy and manifesting every excuse NOT to connect with our hearts and our inner voices has gotten us into a sad spot.

pre.tend – to speak and act so as to make it appear that something is the case when in fact it is not

Most glaringly, I see it on social media. People pretending to address their pain with shallow quotes and posts about how if you say you’re beautiful you’ll believe you’re beautiful. How loving yourself is just a page turn away.  And I see people believing that if you read enough “self help” books that somehow magically they’ll assume the writers logic and stance and have a miraculous healing.  Or they keep searching for the self help book that will be “the one” to give them the answers to all their burning questions about themselves, their lives, careers, their purpose.

I call bullshit.

I’m not a psychologist, but I have experience with the work of healing deep inner heart wounds. I have been on my journey of healing for nearly my entire life, twenty eight years to be exact.  Growing up without my mother, under circumstances of physical and emotional abuse, caretakers dying and then as I was planning to meet my mother, she died suddenly.  I was one angry, grief stricken kid.  At sixteen I knew I needed mental health help, but I did not feel I could ask my dad to get me that help.

That being said, I never pretended my pain didn’t exist, just the opposite actually. I used writing as my path to healing and self discovery. I wonder today if social media had been a thing during my painful adolescence if I would have pretended more that my life was good or that I was okay or would I have laid out my pain in vulnerable posts begging for attention like I see wounded hearts doing Every. Single. Day.

In my life and in my work I practice and teach responsibility. I teach transparency not only between oneself and the outer world, but more importantly inner transparency. I teach that pretending is not truthful. Pretending is not responsible. Pretending is not honoring our delicate hearts, our inner wisdom or our vulnerable inner committee. Pretending is lying to ourselves and to the world and that’s not on the menu of options for my life or the lives of the women I teach/mentor.

If we take a step back and really observe our world today we will realize that we are almost constantly inundated with information. More so than during any other time in history, we have data streaming into our brains almost twenty-four hours a day.  Social media, television, radio, and the people around us.  I’m an introvert and I have to plan and make time for myself to be alone and quiet. My brain requires this time to recharge, but how many introverts actually realize this?  Could this be part of the reason why we are seeing anxiety, depression and panic disorders in such high occurrences?  Sensitive and unaware people living in a very over stimulated world?

Pretending is a strategy used so we don’t have to explore, acknowledge, accept, and love ourselves for the flawed, complex beings we are at any given point in time. Pretending is a coping mechanism we use to avoid being truthful with ourselves, it’s a way to cope with our faulty self image, it’s a less painful way to be here and be human.

Pretending is fake. Pretending keeps us in our pain. Pretending is not transparent.

How many women do you know who are living a lie? How many women do you know who are afraid to be themselves? How many young ladies do you know who hate parts of themselves? Their eyes, their bellies, their skin, they’re too short or too tall?  They hate that they aren’t pretty enough, that they aren’t good at math or they struggle with depression and/or anxiety?

Erik Ericksons Stages of Development created this wonderful lesson about the masks that adolescents use in order to develop their identity in relation to their peers and all the different social groups they belong to.  They develop different masks for school, family, sports teams, specific friend groups, teachers, coaches etc. These masks are a normal part of development as human beings, they are a form of safety, survival, acceptance and are an important part of the social framework of childhood development.

Now, imagine if we have traumas while we are in the process of developing these masks and finding ways to fit into our various social groups.

What do you think might happen?

We might get trapped in a developmental stage.  We can get trapped in the adolescent ego state where we live in our logical brain for the majority of our lives. This usually also involves being in fight or flight and not having the ability to drop down and live in our heart center.  We lack mindfulness, and the ability to act rationally,  we tend towards being impulsive and moody, searching for something all the time.  We lack contentedness, and the ability to think on a deeper level.  We fall into just surviving. Depression, anxiety and fear can drive us in our daily lives.  We may turn to food, alcohol or drugs for relief or to further cope.

THIS ^^ is what I see on my social media news feed. This existence is what I see on bold display in our society. People who are frozen in one developmental stage, the one place where things are not working, but they just keep doing what they’ve been doing, over and over and over…

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got”

I see it manifest in peoples work lives, relationships, their passion projects, their careers, their parenting and their relationships with themselves.

If any of this sounds like you, if you can relate to this at all then the good news is, you can make changes in your life to create peace and love for yourself.  You CAN create a shift in  your life, a shift towards a deeper knowing, better communication and a more peaceful existence.

Follow these steps to start the process:

1.) Stop hating yourself – If you wouldn’t say it to a three year old, then don’t say it to yourself.

2.) Listen to yourself – to your whole self (heart and brain). Get in touch with your values, who are YOU? What is important to you in this world? What are your unique gifts and talents?

3.) Journal – even if it’s just a list.  Write what you discover above.

4.) Connect with nature – Air, trees, dirt, water, nature sounds work wonders for self realization. Nature automatically gets you connected to your heart center.

5.) Stop pretending/lying about yourself to yourself and to the world – Challenge yourself to be 100% honest 100% of the time. If this is too hard, then pick a smaller time frame.  But, commit to NOT lying to yourself.

 

Loving yourself is the single greatest gift you can give yourself  – Are you ready?

 

Blessings –

Shawna

 

 

 

Holding On, While Letting Go.

This is Amelia Jean. She is my second born daughter, my baby B.

She has been in a hurry her whole life.

When Amelia was a toddler she would bounce out of bed at 6am with sleepy eyes and crazy wild hair flying every which way. She would scamper to the kitchen, grab her Barney cereal bowl and sippy cup. With gusto she poured her cereal and milk carefully into her bowl (I do it, momma) then she’d plop down to watch Teletubbies while she gobbled her breakfast down.  With milk still dripping down her chin she would ask, what are we doing today, Momma?

This girl put me into labor at 19 weeks. I imagine she has been excited about life and it’s possibilities since conception.

Amelia is going to Europe this summer for three weeks, London, England to be specific (her dream since she was 9). All. By. Herself.

My little peanut of a girl, my barely four pound premie baby is going to fly to London, live alone and navigate one of the oldest cities in the world.  Solo.

Her AirBNB is paid for, her RT British Airways ticket has been purchased, she’s secured a 10K race to run and tickets to a couple of London adventures. Today she shared a post that her departure is 60 days away, my breath caught for a moment. I felt the realness of her adventure – I also felt the tug of trepidation and negotiation.  What if something happens? What if she gets sick or has an accident? What if she just disappears? If I freaked out hard enough, maybe she’d stay home?  Have I watched the movie, Taken too many times?

My mantra is: She is not my possession. She is my gift to the world and I trust that I have suffered enough loss in my life and she will come home to me, safe.

Let me tell you a story…

I was sexually molested as a young girl. It was repeated and it was on the heels of the traumatic death of my grandma, or as I called her, Mom.  From these experiences I developed PTSD and triggers that developed into fear and anxiety.

In 2006 my brother in law and mother in law died unexpectedly within a day of each other.  My mother in law was in hospice but my brother in law dropped dead of a pulmonary embolism on his kitchen floor.  In one fell swoop we lost half our family. My husband, myself and our daughters were all traumatized and grieving and without realizing it my childhood grief was triggered tremendously.  About a week after our losses both my daughters’ wanted to go to a new friends house for a sleepover.  The family was nice and they adored my children, but I found myself feeling uncomfortable with both of them being away for the night.  I agreed to the play date, met the parents and saw where they would be sleeping.  I was introduced to “uncles’ and “brothers” and there seemed to be a lot of people in the home. I left my phone with Sofie in case they needed to be picked up in the night (not something I had done before),  I left with only a shred of concern.

As evening approached I began to feel uneasy, but shrugged my concern off.  That night I tossed and turned, not able to get into a restful state.  I couldn’t shut my mind off, I was consumed with worry.  I found myself being overly concerned for their safety, I was having visions and dreams and was terrified they were going to be assaulted during the night. I pictured their lives being ruined and their innocence being ripped away from them forever, a wound I could never fix. I grappled with my panic for several hours until my anxiety got so heightened I woke my husband and pleaded with him to pick them up immediately.

Once I saw the car pull into the driveway I dropped to the floor sobbing, so incredibly relieved they were home, safe and under my watchful eye.  In my fearful world we had averted a terrible tragedy.  I tucked them in, whispered apologies into their sleepy ears, kissed their foreheads and thanked God for keeping them safe.

My seemingly irrational fear response to this innocent sleep over launched off my past traumatic experiences, but was triggered by the sudden deaths we had freshly suffered. After this incident I worked with my friend Jean on what happened and how I could avoid a reaction like this again. What she said made a life changing difference and I will share it with you.

— What we fear, we attract. If you don’t heal your past sexual traumas you will attract them right to your daughters. —

Her words hit me like a Mac truck. A lightbulb went off and I knew right then that I would NEVER allow my unhealed traumas/fears/PTSD/wounds or anything else to affect my children as they had in this instance. I felt like I dodged a bullet, I felt that WE dodged a bullet. Once we buried our family members, I dove into my pain and worked to heal myself from the inside out.

Fast forward to today, how do you think this impending trip to Europe would be effecting me if I hadn’t figured out how to heal my old pain and find peace and healing?  I am confident I would be a massive ball of anxiety, panic and fear.

I would be unhinged.

I would force my fear onto my child which would probably keep her from living her dreams, and living her life as she wants to.  I would do to her what was done to me.

I am so proud that I can say to my precious child, GO! Go live your dream, go have the time of your life and Mom will be here when you get home excited as hell to hear everything, see everything and to have you back in the safety of my arms.

My goal as a parent has been to raise wonderfully self aware, confident, self sufficient, caring, kind, independent, adventurous children. Mission accomplished.

Go live your dreams, Amelia! I love you to the moon and back, my love.

Blessings –

 

Shawna