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!

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Making Time for Your Priorities: 6 questions to ask yourself

What are the things that are most important to you? What are the things in life that you wish you had more time for? Life is so full of the push and pull to do various things, that finding balance amongst all of these, is one of the challenges we all face. I used to look at people who were retired, or didn’t work for one reason or another, and thought they must have it made. They have all the time they need to do whatever they want. As I have paid more attention to this perceived abundance of theirs; it seems not having a job does not mean that there is plenty of time to do it all. These people are still very busy and vocalize having a lot on their plate to get accomplished.

So, I had a couple thoughts about priorities during a meditation this week.

The other morning, as I sat in meditation and my husband scurried around cleaning up the kitchen, it struck me that we make time for the things that are priorities in our life. If we feel that there is no time for our priorities, we need to take a look at our life and see how we are really spending our time. What things have crept into our life that are not priorities, but we just treat them as if they are? I am blessed to have a husband who shares the household duties with me.  He never suggests that I am not carrying my fair share of the load or that I should be doing more and this helps allow for more time. Working a full-time job, that often requires more than full time hours and almost weekly travel, makes the time to pursue things like blogging, planning retreats, offering classes, sharing inspiration, and my own personal development quite sparse. I have changed things in my life to be able to have time for the things I feel are priorities. Here are some things to ask yourself. I have and continue to reevaluate these as life marches on.

  1. Where does time go? By looking at how we spend time, it is possible to find some extra space in the day to do more. Things that steal time for me are playing games on my phone, procrastination (where I stay busy to avoid something else) and the occasionally TV binge.
  2. Is it really important? About 25 years ago, I made a conscious decision that the TV would not be in the main room of the house. When there it steals our time. It is easy to fall into the trap of coming home and plunking down in front of it. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of really great things to watch on TV. Just be mindful about what you are watching and how much of your time it is truly taking. Is it really the priority? Our Tv (at home) is in a family room in the basement. So that it is not in the center of attention when meals and conversations are had.
  3. Is there another way to accomplish it? We all know that living in a sanitary way is important for health. I am not a germaphobe and my house does not have to be perfect, but It does need to be tidy. Also, according to Feng Shui, a cluttered environment causes a cluttered mind. Your space needs to be a priority, but maybe you make a chore list to share with others in your house? Can you hire a housekeeper? Are there efficiencies you can add like cleaning the shower as you get out of it in the morning once a week? We have worked out a trade deal with one daughter so she comes and cleans our house in exchange for us helping her with things she needs. Be creative!
  4. Is there times when you can multitask? I love audio books! I listen to them while I commute, exercise, cook, etc. It is a nice way to fit in some learning or self development while doing other things that I have to accomplish anyway.
  5. Could you start your day differently? I am a morning person and getting up early to get things done, before the demands for the day start closing in, works well for me. Even if you are not a morning person, is there a way you can make a morning routine more supportive of the things you want to be priorities in your life? I recently started daily meditation again as well as another 40 day yoga practice. I have found that if I get up a little earlier in the morning I have time to meditate, do my yoga, and often even blog, before I have to go to work. Having this routine has been very positive for me feeling more centered and finding balance in my life.
  6. Check your attitude. How is your mood or your tude? In March, I had a tough month. I couldn’t seem to find the energy or desire to blog or commit to other healthy habits. I was eating poorly, vegging out in front of the TV, and I was uncharacteristically crabby. Then I started “shoulding” all over myself, which made it worse. I felt guilty for the choices I was making but yet I seemed incapable of changing them that month. On April 1st, I decided enough was enough. I made intentional changes to take control of my life again. I got my diet back into check, stopped the sugar and restarted intermittent fasting. I stopped zoning out in front of the TV. I started the daily meditation and the 40 day yoga practice. My mood shifted the first day. It is very empowering to take control of your life.

I hope these questions will help you to make your priorities, priorities. Remember that you are a priority and not to give all of yourself away. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you will have what you need to be there for the others you hold dear.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your priorities fall into place, as if by magic.

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Family Roots

Having placed a child for adoption, changed my life and changed me. It formed the way I think about things during a very formative part of my life. Maybe changed isn’t even the right word; maybe germinated things inside me is a better way to say it. I think, as a young person, it was not something I thought about a lot. Family was family.

It has given me new insight as I watch my daughter figure out who she is and explore her roots. The stories that I have heard my whole life about my ancestors, were not taken for granted by her. She, in fact, has a whole group of ancestors not even related to her by blood but rather by the heart. Because she has ancestral stories from the family who raised her as well. This does not makes these stories any less powerful or any less important on her journey.

I was recently having a discussion with a relative, where I stated people who are adopted need to find their roots. She shared with me that she was adopted. I had never known this about her. She told me she had completely bonded with her adopted family and felt no need to look for her birth family. I am so grateful that she shared this with me. It has taught me that the need to know blood ancestral stories is completely individualized. She does not have that yearning, that so many other people I have spoken to seem to have.

Since I grew up with my birth family, I cannot even begin to guess how I would feel. My grandmother used to talk about the importance of blood and family. I do know though, that family is much more than blood. There are soul families, who are not blood in this lifetime but may have been in past lifetimes. There are friends who feel like family. There are non-blood relatives like aunts, stepchildren and adopted parents that are every bit a part of who we are, without the blood connection. The face of what family looks like today is constantly changing and evolving. Who shows up to holiday meals can be a wonderful, changing, eclectic group of people that we call our family.

Family roots ground us. They hold us deeply to the earth. They can be like a blanket telling us who we are. However family roots, whether blood or not, do not define us. Allow yourself to be more than your story. Your story formed you but it is not you. Your story contributes to your view of the world through the experiences you have had, but allow that view to be ever changing.

I am blessed in my family heritage stories. They are full of examples of strength, comedy, and lots of love. They are not without their share of times of struggle, but it is that pressure that makes us into diamonds. As the parent of a child placed for adoption, I have spoken to many other birth parents over the years and it has been my experience that placing a child for adoption is a gift of love. Myself and other birth parents think about that little soul out there in the world. We send them love, wish them every happiness, and wonder how they are doing often.

However you define your family or who you chose to claim as your people, remember that those stories are a part of who you are, but you are much more than your family roots. Just as the roots of the tree hold it to the earth, nourish it, and allow it to grow; so do our roots. However, a tree is so much more than it’s roots and is shaped by so many things that have nothing to do with the dirt in which it’s planted.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your roots give you comfort, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Bellingham, WA

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Family Secrets

 

About a year ago I had my DNA processed with the 23 and me testing. Because of connections made through my DNA being tested, I have learned some family secrets. This is not as new to me as one would think.  As a hospice nurse and a tarot card reader, I have often been privy to other peoples family secrets. I feel that these “secrets” can sometimes be very toxic and eat away at the inside of a family. 

As a hospice nurse I have watched people decide to unburden themselves to their family at the very end of their life. When this happens, some families accept this with grace and move forward to heal. While other families are forever hurt and confused by the revelation of this secret. Either way, it can cause so much confusion and brings things from the past into question. 

The truth usually always finds its way to the surface.  I feel it is so much better to be honest and upfront; I myself have never been one for keeping secrets. I will keep confidence with other peoples information but in my own life, and with my personal story, I see no reason to keep secrets. If I make a decision which seems like a mistake, I fess up and ask for forgiveness because keeping secrets is exhausting. 

Often secrets are just kept as a way to keep pain from affecting those around us. That pain though,  can be so much worse, when the lies and deceit are piled on top to keep that initial secret. 

I am learning more about my family through my journey with DNA testing and the connections I have made with relatives are rich and true blessings; learning more about my family’s past and interesting ways they lived their lives. These past experiences do not have to be painful if we remember that everyone does the best they can in the time and space they are in. Then with this in mind, even though we may not agree with what someone has done, can still offer forgiveness and love to that person. I find that the things I am learning make me wish that my ancestors were still alive to ask them questions, because there seems to be so much more to the story that probably has its own beautiful lessons and connections related to it. 

People are usually stronger that we give them credit for and we are also stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Instead of hiding it, share things with those you love. They can handle it! Often times the secret you’re holding, is not as much of a secret as you may have thought. Often times others already have a sense of it but still love you just the same. People many times just need to process the information you share; but wouldn’t you rather trust them with the information than continue to have to hide it? 

I can think of only one possible exception to this and that is if you will not be safe to reveal the secret. When you truly fear some type of abuse or severe punishment as a result of the reveal. If you are in a relationship, where you would expect abuse (physical of emotional) as a result of sharing this information, then I suggest you seek professional help. 

Perhaps I have over simplified all of this, because I have been accused of doing that in the past. I think with love and acceptance all things are possible. Always trust your intuition and follow your inner guidance. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you be free from the burden of secrets, as if by magic. 

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What Are You Willing to Do To Get Where You Want To Be?

Lisa Nichols talks in her book, Abundance Now, about having to be willing to walk alone to get where you want to go. Are you willing to leave everyone behind who is not willing to step up and support you? It is an easy thing to say yes to in therapy, but it is not an easy thing to actually do. So often those people closest to us, will be the ones who try to hold us back the most. Let’s take a look at why that is.

It’s not because they do not believe in us or think we aren’t capable of it, but because they are afraid we might get hurt. They do not want to see us fail. They also maybe afraid that we will out grow them. They are afraid of being left behind. Do you ever try and hold back those around you? The best gift you can give them is the permission to exceed with or without you.

Those we love the most, sometimes are the ones who become most angry when we start to succeed. They may be the ones who act like we have no right to be trying to achieve what it is we are setting our sights on. They do not do this because they hate us or even because they are jealous. They do this because they love us, so much, they are afraid to not “have” us any more.  Emy and I recently gave each other permission to succeed with or without the other. What more loving words could two people say to one another.

We promised to not be jealous if sudden success finds one of us and not the other. In fact, we now see it in a different way. Rather than viewing it as being left behind, we see that the one who reaches success first, would be breaking trail for the other. Smoothing the path and moving the obstacles out of the way.  Imagine if this is how we viewed all the successful people around us. Not that they were leaving us behind or stealing our opportunities, but rather, making the way for us a little easier. What a beautiful manifestation. What a lovely way to recognize the oneness that we all share.

As those around us advance, wish them every success and joy. Encourage them even if you are afraid for them. As you succeed and set your sight on bigger goals, do not be afraid to step out in front of those you have traveled side by side with in the past. Do not be afraid to leave some people behind. In the end you are giving them a gift. You are showing them that they can do it too. You are breaking trail for them. You are setting the example for all of our children, that it is possible to live the life of your dreams and to even succeed beyond your wildest dreams. I give you permission to succeed with or with out me. You deserve it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you always feel supported, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken at Tettegouche State Park, MN

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Messy Emotions; How to better understand yours!

Emy and I returned from our retreat with such Joy in our hearts. We decided to set an intention to keep this Joy, regardless of what life through at us. We had no idea how much we were going to be tested. A series of random concerns and annoyances turned into opportunities to learn how to hold Joy firmly in our heart.

The Joy was overflowing from my heart while on our retreat. I couldn’t stop smiling. Having had the space and time to just be and work on myself was such a beautiful gift. Then we stepped back into our lives and it was life. Things were being thrown into our path to see if we could really continue to navigate with Joy. What a test it was! When I was having an especially hard day, Emy reminded me what Wayne Dyer had said. He told us that, when we are squeezed, all that can come out is what we truly are. If I am Joy then only Joy can be squeezed out of me. So as stressful situations and heartbreaking circumstances popped up, I purposely sent Love (Joy) into the world and to the other parties involved. Hate (Fear) serves no purpose. It only hurts everyone.

I do not mean to say that I am perfect and that I didn’t feel frustrated, fearful, or even angry at some of the things going on. I just didn’t allow myself to stay in those lower vibrational feelings. I believe that ultimately there are 2 emotions and everything else are just ranges along that continuum. There is Love. This is Divinity and our true nature. Love is the energy that creates all of the beauty and blessings we are surrounded by. On the far, other side of the spectrum is Fear.

Fear holds a much lower vibration and is a place where we can get stuck. Look at a situation in your life that brings up negative emotions and then ask yourself why you feel that emotion. Keep digging away and going deeper into that emotion. Keep asking yourself what is underneath it or what is bringing this emotion up. I bet as you peel back the layers you will find Fear deep in the core. You are also likely to find Love there too.

Let’s look at an example. Say you have a friend that has some unhealthy habits. You get so frustrated with this friend; because they just continue to make these poor choices. You try to talk to them or help them but ultimately nothing changes. You may even feel angry with them or even disgusted at this point. Why? Because you love your friend and you want to see them have a happy and successful life. You are fearful that they are going to get hurt or their choices are going to cause them problems that they cannot recover from.

Try this with scenarios in your own life and see what is deep down there. Understanding where the emotions are coming from may not change how you feel but it may make it easier for you to send Love to the person or situation, rather than Fear.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find understanding of your emotions and acceptance of yourself, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Ybor City, FL

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A 40 Day Practice

Kundalini Yogis love their multi-day practices. Some commit to a 40 day practice but others commit to 90, 120, or even 1000 days. 1000 days equals 2.7 years and if you miss a single day of practice, you have to start over at day 1. Wow, what a great motivator to not miss a day! Especially once you get a ways into it. When I did my teacher training in Kundalini Yoga, I did a 40 day practice. That was a number of years ago and I do not remember a lot about it; other than really committing to myself seemed to be the hardest part. I now feel compelled to again do another 40 day practice.

During our retreat we did a very motivational YouTube video of Nahbi Kriya. I had already been feeling drawn to start a 40 day practice of this yoga set, so when we did it together that Friday night on the boat, I knew I had to keep going. Emy and I decided we’d both commit to a 40 day practice. We text each other each day as we check off completing our practice for the day. Tonight I completed day #12 and that puts me a little over 1/4 of the way to the finish line. According to 3HO, a 40 day practice, “Will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra”.

There are days that seem more difficult and some days when it takes every ounce of my strength to begin again. The thought of having to start over at day 1 again though,  gets me onto my mat and fulfilling my commitment to myself. I have learned some things along the way already, and one is that I am a driven person. I am not good at sitting and resting. I always want to get to the goal as quickly as possible. As I reflect on the 40 day commitment, I realize that I can’t rush this. 40 days is 40 days! I can’t do it 2 or 3 times today to get to the goal sooner. I have to commit to myself and complete each day and then patiently wait for the arrival of the next day.

Another thing I have learned, along the way, is about my nature to attempt to be perfect. My form is not always going to be perfect. Some days my practice is going to be better than others. Some days I will have time to do the full 45 minute versos and other mornings where I am needing to get to the airport; so the 25 minute version may just have to do. I have to trust that adjusting the practice to fit my life, while still maintaining the commitment to myself, is okay. I know that even if today’s best is not the same as my personal best or someone else best, that it is still okay.

Tonight’s practice was done surrounded by family. The grandchildren and a couple of the adults joined me. It was not as peaceful and meditative as it usually is when I perform it in my hotel room; with the toddler was bopping around from person to person, but tonight it was filled with joyous energy and love. Tonight I learned that I can keep commitments to myself even while spending time with those I love.

What commitments would you like to make to yourself? How would you see this taking place in your life? What do you think you might learn from it?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with fulfilled commitments to yourself, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken on New Smyrna Beach

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