Moving Through Emotional Trauma

My Daughter was shot early in the morning on Cinco De Mayo. The miracle is that she survived. The trauma of that incident has changed us all forever. I still feel stuck, lost and numb since this occurred almost 6 months ago now, but I feel I must share this incident in order to move on and past it. 

My daughter is an active and amazing 25 year old woman. She works in a leadership role in the food service industry and is a single mother of a very bright 5 year old daughter, but she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. She had gone out to a club with a friend to go dancing. While outside the club, getting ready to leave, some young men began fighting. Someone in the group pulled a gun and tried to shoot their adversaries but hit my daughter instead. The bullet entered high in her left abdomen and came out her back. It passed completely through her missing: stomach, intestines, lung, pancreases, spleen, and bones; literally missing everything important for life. There are many heroes in this story. Her friend was the first one. She fought her way back outside, against the crowd and despite active gun fire still occurring, to be by Kat’s side and apply first aid. Still more heroes were the police officers who arrived quickly and moved her to safety across the street. Then there are the EMTs, doctors and nurses who got her to the hospital, into surgery and started on her healing process. I am so grateful to all of these people who played these roles to make sure my daughter came back to me. Her sisters who rushed to be by her side, putting their own lives on hold, as well as all the other extended family members aiding in her recovery. There is so much for me to be grateful for in this story. 

I feel the need to finally share this emotional trauma. I have friends who have lost children and I cannot imagine that pain or what life looks like after having to face such a devastating loss. Many people go through all types of trauma and loss and I do not believe mine to be worse than anyone else or more important. I just feel the need to share about my trauma. That it might give words to others who have experienced this and somehow feel unworthy to express it. Because in the end, everything is okay. 

Everything is okay with my daughter. She has healed physically, although the scars are still there. Her life choices are forever changed by having gone through this, but emotionally she seems to be doing okay. For me, though, it is still there just below the surface. While she was in the hospital I stayed with her everyday; about 22 hours a day even though I didn’t have too. When she went home from the hospital it felt so hard to leave her. Somehow, I felt that if I could stay by her side, I could keep her safe. I knew I had to go but it was still one of the hardest things I have experienced. Having to drive away from her house her first day at home. 

I am numb, I am lost, and things that once seemed important have lost their appeal. I went to a therapist to see if that would help me work through it, but after a couple of sessions, she told me I didn’t really need to be there. I know I am processing grief. I am mourning the belief that we are safe. That things like random gun violence happen to other people but not to us, but it can happen to anyone. Does this mean we should live in fear and not experience life? I do not believe that. I believe that taking the risk, going to see and trying new things, falling in love, applying for your next great job, and following your dreams are all totally worth it; even when they do not turn out as planned. Even when pain and heartbreak are a part of your journey, the journey is still every bit worth taking. The trauma we feel is real, but so is our ability to dig and claw our way out of the the darkness. 

I am still figuring out how to make my way home to myself. Writing this blog is a part of that journey. Supportive friends and family are also a blessing on this trip. I have so much gratitude to all of the love and prayers that have been shared with us. Healing work, meditation, gratitude are also a part of this path. I will practice good self care, love my family, spend time with our children and grandchildren. Someday I will wake up and realize that the numbness is gone and that the darkness has been replaced with more light. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May any emotional scars you are carrying be brought into the light and validated. I love you!

Today is a New Day

Today is a new day. Today is a day that I recommit to myself. Today is a day that I say, “I am important”. Today is a day where I push guilt out of my mind. Today is a day that I realize that by practicing good self care; I am better equipped to deal with sorrow, stress, anxiety, and everything that life throws at me. Are you ready to recommit to yourself too? If so, come along on this journey with me. A journey with a heart full of love. Love for others, but more importantly, love for oneself. Love enough to know that I deserve to be a priority.

Those of you who follow my blog may have noticed I have not blogged for about 3.5 months. My daughter was shot and that shook me to the core. She is okay and for this I am extremely grateful. It is a story I need to tell, but today is not that day. Today’s blog is about self care and the future, not the past.

Inspired by my husband, I have decided it is time to take a serious look at how I am treating my body. After walking over 17,000 steps Saturday and over 10,000 Sunday; today seemed like the perfect day to make a commitment to 10,000 steps a day. After trying on clothes this weekend, I realized that what I feared was true. I have put on a few pounds over the last couple of months. A tentative step on the scale this morning showed a gain of 14lbs since April. Weight gain can be so insidious. A little comfort eating here, a couple of glasses of wine to numb the pain there and suddenly there is more of me to love. I find myself getting winded, having more back pain, and finding that all kinds of things take more energy. So, want to commit to 10,000 steps a day with me?

I have also noticed that I may chose to hermit in the house rather than getting outside. I know I feel best when I get outside amongst the trees. Whether it’s a walk down the street in the city or hanging out in a hammock in the woods, nature soothes me. It helps me feel more like me. What makes you feel most like you? How can you get more of that into you life? I intend to get outside and take a daily walk. It will support the earlier goal of 10,000 steps and also feed my soul!

Are you ready to commit to caring for yourself? What are your goals? There is no reason to feel guilty because you are making decisions that support your goals to care for yourself. My goals are related to getting my body healthy but yours may be related to getting your mind or spirit, healthy. What every they are, I encourage you to set a couple and commit to care for yourself in some small way each day.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find self care rewarding and enriching, as if by magic!

3 Reasons to Not Point Fingers

Recently, a generous person with a lot of money, offered a considerable donation to rebuild Notre Dame. Quickly, all kinds of controversy started about where they should donate their money and how it should be used. I do not watch the news, because I do not want all the negativity and fear that is broadcast there, to seep into my life. What I know about this situation is simply what I have heard others talking about and it got me thinking about finger-pointing.

When you point your finger at others (whether they see it or not) 3 fingers are pointed back at you. I see this as an invitation to look at myself. In regards to a donation, where am I putting my resources and time? In response to others behavior, how am I behaving? If something really gets my goat, why is it that it is pushing my buttons so?

It is not my job to judge how others are living their lives, nor is it up to me to decide where others should or shouldn’t put their money. It is my job to just love my neighbor, be grateful for the blessings in my life, and to notice all, that others, have to offer to this crazy voyage we call life. Like with the rule of threes, if I am going to have three fingers pointed back at myself, I want to be sure they are pointed with the highest vibrational energy possible.

Notice the good that people do, see the creativity that other posses, observe the wisdom shared by those around you. Raising our vibration to one of love and appreciation will have a magical effect in our own life and likely others around you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be full of appreciation for others, as if by magic.

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Introspection: 5 possible approaches

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a conflict and you’re not really sure how you got there? This has happened with me this week. I find myself in a conflict I would have never predicted and I don’t really know how we got here. It hurts my heart. I do not like conflict and typically work very hard to avoid it. All the same, here I am. I have been trying to use an introspective approach to determine what steps I can take in the future to avoid this same situation. After all, life is about moving forward.

The Oxford Dictionary defines introspection as: “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional process.”  This seems like a good approach to heal this situation and avoid future ones. What could I have done differently? What within me caused me to react in the manner in which I did? What parts of myself do I need to heal in order to move forward without a similar future situation, like this,  rearing its ugly head? Introspection is about looking deeply within yourself. We can only control our own reactions and responses to situations.

There are many ways to approach introspection. Here are 5 of my favorites.

1. Journaling – journaling is a great way to let the words just flow. It is a safe space to say everything you want to say, and you never know what wisdom may flow onto the pages. There can be many “ah ha” moments while journaling.

2. Meditation – mediation allows you to step away from the circling thoughts and find a few moments of peace. This is a great space to set an intention of having clear guidance and insight flow to you. I find this a powerful process.

3. Therapy – Meeting with a good psychotherapist is a great way to have someone hold space for you to get beyond any issues at hand. This person can often help you identify blind spots or actions you do see, that can cause pain.

4. Exercise – Going for a walk, running, or yoga can also be a great way to go inside. There is something about this process that is not only healing but helpful in gaining insight into who we are and the type of actions we take.

5. Tarot – This one may seem weird to you but I find, working with either tarot cards or oracle cards, is a great way to dig into the subconscious. Our subconscious often has a different agenda than our thinking mind. Even if you do not know what a card means, looking at the symbolism you notice and thinking deeply about its message for you, can be a great source of insight.

Introspection is a great tool. Whether you are currently within a situation that brings a need to look at your own actions and intentions, or you are just on a journey to be the best version of yourself. We all have shadowy areas within ourselves. It never hurts to go in and clear out the cobwebs.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you have introspective insight when you need it, as if by magic.

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Success: Where does it come from and why is it important?

During this mornings meditation with Deepak, he spoke about Success as it relates to our Ego and Gratitude. As I slipped into the peaceful space of meditation, I contemplated this truth. Success is important to many of us, but why is that? Where does success derive from? The principles of manifestation would say gratitude. My upbringing and pride though, would say just hard work.

I am not saying that hard work is not important or helps us a realize our dreams. It is certainly a part of the recipe, just not the main ingredient, as our ego would have us believe. Our ego wants to take credit for everything. It needs the constant praise and appreciation that comes with accomplishments in order to feel worthy. Getting to a deep place changes everything. A place where you can step aside from the ego. A place where the observer can watch and see how the ego pumps out it’s chest and struts around taking credit for it all.

When you change the way you look at your “work”. Whether it’s your career, the stuff you do around the house, or whatever “feels” like work to you; the words we use can help to shift our energy. If we say, “I get to…” instead of, “I have to…” it can help us focus on gratitude. Gratitude can bring our dreams into reality. Try it on for size. Instead of, “I have to get this project done”, say, “I get to work on this project and bring it into being”. Notice how the energy shifts from one of dread to one of gratitude. The more gratitude in our hearts, the more the Universe will conspire to bring us an abundance of items to be grateful for.

It can seem like it is unpopular to be grateful. Think how often you have conversations with others where you complain about things, even though deep down you are grateful for them. This has become the way we relate to one another. Somehow the ego thinks if we work really hard, then people will love us. If we are working hard at something we love, the ego tries to take points away from us. By shifting back to a space of gratitude, for the work we get to do, it takes away that martyr energy. Ego wants others to see all the sacrifices you are making. You are not making sacrifices. You are exercising your free will and making choices.

Let me share an example from my own life with you. I make inspirational memes for the Adventures Sisters Facebook page. I will often hear myself saying, “I need to…” or “I have to get memes made and posted.” Sure it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to take the pictures, select the quotes, edit the pictures, and get them posted with hashtags and links. But, what I really mean to say is, “I get to make inspiration artistic pieces that I share with the world. This task allows me to use my love of photography and love of inspirational quotes to combine them in a way that lets me use my artistic abilities and inspires others. By using this artistic outlet, I get to raise the vibration of the planet and serve my life purpose of spreading joy.” Isn’t that a very different energy from the “I have to get this done” comment.  How many times in your life do you express yourself in a way that pleases the ego but does little to bring more gratitude into your life?

As you go about your day today. I challenge you to notice how you say things like, “I have to…” and shift it and find the “I get to…” in it. They are there. Pay attention to how that shifts the way you feel about the things you are doing. That’s it for now! I get to go back to work at my amazing job that allows me to travel and provide education that improves patients care.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find the shift to gratitude happens naturally, as if by magic.

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5 Reasons Self Care & Your Purpose Are Connected

You have a purpose in this life! Yes, you! Even if you do not know what that purpose is, it is there, pushing you forward. This is precisely why it is important to take care of yourself! Here are 5 good reasons how self care and your purpose are connected.

1. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first! They say it on every airplane ride. If someone needs assistance, put the mask on yourself first before you help them with their mask. If you pass out from lack of oxygen, then you cannot possibly help that person who needs your assistance. It may seem like the noble thing to give to others first, but once your cup is empty, you will not have anything left to fill others.

2. You set a good example for others! When your children, family members, and those who admire you, see you caring for yourself, you set a good example. They begin to understand that self care is not selfish. They see how it provides you the much needed balance. By caring for ourselves, and therefore having the energy to care for others, those watching will learn that it is okay to take the time they need to recharge their own batteries. Isn’t that what you would want for those you love? That they feel they deserve to take care of themselves too? Of course it is. So be a good example to them.

3. Allow for creativity! If we are always busy with this or that, running from point A to B, how can we possibly have time for our creative juices to flow? Creativity needs some space. Taking time for meditation, art, exercise, and other self care activities give us time for inspiration to hit. Even if you do not consider yourself a creative person, in the midst of these self care activities, you may find yourself coming up with solutions to problems. Inspiration can hit while you are walking in nature, sitting in silence, or expressing yourself with paint on a canvas. You just never know when it’ll strike.

4. Define your purpose! Self care allows you to explore different activities and interests that may help you learn about your true purpose. Personnel development classes or retreats are self care options that can help lead you down the path toward your purpose, as is just trying something out. Maybe you think your purpose is to carry on the family business, by working in the tire shop that has been passed from father to son, you may come to understand that now it’s your turn. Perhaps that is a part of your purpose or not. Caring for yourself can help you feel the tug towards where the Divine is leading you. It can give you the space or help you develop new skills that can help you define your purpose.

5. Find the fun again! Self care can help you find the fun. As the proverb goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. According to Wikipedia this proverb was recorded as early as 1659. That’s at least 360 years of encouraging you to let your hair down. Dancing, laughing, playing are all great self care activities that will help you “Feel joy and share it”, as my friend Nancy says. Without some fun in your life, you may find that your purpose can start to feel like a burden. Life is meant to be joyous! Find the fun!

Whether you know what your purpose is or not, self care is important. Even if you do not believe you have a life purpose, life is too short to not take care of yourself and enjoy this adventure! I beg you to find at least a couple self care activities that feel good and feed your soul!

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find self care a part of your routine, as if by magic!

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Let’s Talk About Desire; 7 questions to help you explore yours.

I was raised Catholic and I remember getting the distinct impression that desire was a bad thing. That is was a sin, something to be avoided and resisted. I remember believing that weak people gave into their desires. Through studying wise teachers and texts, as well as meditation and seeking guidance; I have come to understand that this way of thinking is wrong. Let us explore the notion of desires and understand why they are often our friends.

During a meditation, Deepak Chopra introduced a centering thought that started to shift my perception of my desires. It was “My life moves forward through my desires”. What a freeing thought. That I have these desires because they are moving me forward. When you really think about it we strive for things, work hard, get education and all because we desire something. It is these desires that keep us reaching to be better, do better, accomplish more.

There is so much in this life we can accomplish. It may be personal goals, like being calmer and more centered. It can also be professional goals, like starting a business that improves the world at large. One person who has done this is Sage Lavine. In her book Women Rocking Business she also talks about desires being a positive thing. She provides a quote from Janet Attwood which says, “Your desires aren’t necessarily your destiny. Your desires are stepping stones on the path to your destiny”. I really like this imagine of following my desires like a path into the unknown; bringing me face to face with my life purpose. Sage says, “…Source is using your desires to communicate what you need to do”. Looking at our desires as messages or directions from God, changes everything.

I do think it is important to differentiate between desires and distractions though. Sometimes I want to drink wine until I am comfortably numb. This I would not classify as a desire leading me to my destiny, but rather a distraction to avoid feeling something. By allowing that feeling, I can acknowledge it and move past it.  Activities such as shopping, eating, drinking, and staying busy could fall into this category of distraction.

Other things that can appear to be desire is looking to gain someones approval. This may be because you are wanting to live up to someone elses expectation of you. Are you chasing that next promotion because it will make your parents proud?  Do you want a new vehicle because the neighbors have one? These types of things maybe more connected to your self esteem. When our self esteem is low, we are more likely to give our power away to things that others want or want for us. So it is important that we take a look at those things we are wanting to discern if they are true desires, or something we are doing for another reason. Having people be proud of us may be the underlying desire but is that the reason for your actions. There maybe a way to accomplish this that is more in alignment with our true nature.

Here are some questions to help you look at your desires to see if they are true to yourself and have your best interests in mind.

  1. Are you using this to avoid something?
  2. Are you doing this to “keep up with the Jones”?
  3. Is your drive behind this to make someone else proud?
  4. Are you fooling yourself about one of the previous answers?
  5. Why do you want/desire this?
  6. How long have you wanted this?
  7. If this has been calling to you for a long time why have you not acted yet?

Be honest with yourself. It is easy for “justifications” to get in the way of the deeper truth. I am an expert justifier. I can make myself believe all kinds of false truths that do not help me dig down to the truth of what is under the surface. Have fun exploring your desires! May they bring you face to face with your destiny!  “This above all, to thine own self be true…”, William Shakespeare.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find your desires leading you in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic!

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