Giving AND Receiving

 

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The holiday season is here and we are in the spirit of giving. It should feel good to give to our loved ones. Unfortunately, with mass marketing  we can be guilted or pressured into buying beyond our means. The smiles on Christmas morning fill us with gratification; but, then we are left depleted financially. We forget that giving doesn’t have to be material things. We can give our time, our presence, a smile or an encouraging word. We can craft, cook, write or sing a gift.  We should give from our heart and do it  unconditionally in a way that feels good to us. The act of giving and  kindness should be practiced regularly and not just during the holidays. It is said to give what we want to get. 

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Most of us are continuously giving of ourselves to our kids, our families, our relationships, our work, our home, our pets…we usually forget to give to ourselves. This leaves us feeling exhausted. It is so important to give to self first. To nurture your own being and fill your well with love until it flows over, and only then can you give to others. Whether its the holidays or not, giving is an art to be appropriately learned and practiced. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is give-to-self-first.jpg

The other end of giving is receiving. Receiving doesn’t get as much praise. Most of us have been taught to give; but to be too humble to receive. We feel guilt or shame or unworthy to receive. Whether it be a lavish gift, or a simple compliment. We usually shrug it off and feel uncomfortable. The truth is that receiving is just as valuable as giving. It keeps energy flowing. To not receive is to block what that person is trying to give you. We must love ourselves enough to open up and receive what loved ones, our bosses, or God, or Universe is trying to give us. To not receive is to close ourselves off from love, from Source and from our own worth. To be able to give, you must be able to receive. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is receive-deepak.jpg

The goal is to understand that giving and receiving are a constant and natural flow. In order to give you must be able to receive, and to receive you must give, of yourself, to yourself, and to others, and to do it in a way that doesn’t deplete us and without expectation.

“Giving and receiving are different expressions of the same flow of energy in the Universe.”~Deepak Chopra

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I am giving and sending out much love and light to you all through the holiday season and always!!! Happy Holidays and Many Blessings!!💖

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My Carotid Artery Dissection

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After four days of throbbing neck pain, I finally called the Dr. I had assumed it was related to my cervical stenosis and arthritis. I also had some cold symptoms and thought it may be a swollen gland. I was wrong. My doctor’s office said it wasn’t related and I should get urgent care. 

I went to the local urgent care walk in clinic, my daughter by my side. After careful examination they decided to send me to the ER for images. They said while they couldn’t hear any blockages in my neck arteries they wanted to make sure, because if there was anything wrong there, it put me at high risk for stroke.

The ER physician ordered a Cat Scan with contrast dye. He explained he wanted a good look at the arteries because sometimes surgery is needed for a dissection; but, he assured me that it was probably nothing because the chances were 1-2 in 100,000.

Feeling a little more relaxed knowing the odds, my daughter and I awaited the results and looked forward to going home.  

We were all surprised as he returned and said something was there, a blood clot. Apparently, my carotid artery had a small tear and it clotted off.  I didn’t need surgery; but they were going to give me an IV of blood thinners.

Relieved there was no surgery needed; but the relief lasted moments and ended when they said they were admitting me. It all became very scary. They had to admit me for observation to make sure I didn’t have a stroke.

The next 24 hrs seemed liked days. I felt very emotional knowing that there was a possibility I could have a potentially fatal stroke. After the shock wore off, the tears came. Then the prayers.

The next morning I met the vascular surgeon, He prescribed blood thinners and a follow up in three months. I felt he was kind of dismissive. I am always suspicious of being treated poorly with basic medical insurance; but, I tried to find peace in the fact that I was being discharged.

I also met with the physician on duty. He ordered a MRI of my brain to make sure I didn’t have a mild stroke already. He was very nice and took the time to answer my questions. As much as I wanted to go home, I was fearful. He said if I had any numbness in my limbs, extreme headaches and/or vision problems to come right back. 

He drew this picture for me to explain exactly what had happened.carotid artery dissection

I also googled and researched carotid artery dissection, and it did not put my fears to rest. I was still at risk for stroke or worse, and it could take 3-6 months to heal.

The MRI came back negative for a stroke; however, it did show White Matter Disease, which I knew about in 2011, when a MRI was ordered for my migraines. It was explained back then as normal; but, this doctor used words like Lyme and MS being possible.

My head was spinning. I didn’t know what to think. The fact that my artery spontaneously tore made me afraid to even sneeze. I anxiously awaited to talk it over with my doctor.

A few days later, the other side of my neck hurt. It wasn’t throbbing pain, more of a sore feeling. Terrified I went back to the ER to make sure it wasn’t happening again. They ordered an ultrasound which showed “normal blockage for my age.”

When I asked my doctor about it, she explained, as we get older our blood vessels narrow and I was right where I should be. I thought to myself, normal???? How?? She ordered another ultrasound in two weeks to see how my dissection is healing and to monitor the blockages and blood clot. She also said that the white matter hasn’t progressed much since 2011. I was to discuss all of it with the neurologist who I have an appointment with on Dec 24. Meanwhile, keep taking the blood thinners, despite they have started making my gums bleed. She said I could skip a dose every other day. The good news was there wasn’t any stenosis and the blood was flowing good to my brain. I could return to my life. I can do my yoga again and not be in constant fear.

Because of the severity and rarity of this, I have to believe it happened for a reason. I started reflecting. I had been working on transmuting parts of me that I viewed as negative. I wondered if those parts were trying to hurt me, because they felt threatened. I also have been struggling with my marijuana dependency, I felt trapped within myself because of these issues. I prayed for help. Now, I am forced to not smoke anything, because it constricts the blood vessels.

Was this an answer to my prayer, a wake up call? I don’t know. I do know that I can’t wait to put this behind me. I hope that it heals quicker than three months. I want to be off these blood thinners and find herbal replacements. I am going to research herbs to help my circulation, my blood vessels, and my brain health. 

I want to live even though I know parts of me don’t. I began working on that in therapy yesterday. I am sure that this incident will begin a whole new path of my journey to health.

I am reminded that health is golden, life is precious and to not waste any time. Love the people in my life. Live my purpose. Fuck the fear. Go for it, reach for those dreams.

Every moment is an opportunity to live the best life I can.

I don’t want to die with regret. 

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Deep Breaths and Baby Steps

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This is the frame of my mind you need to recover with mental illness. Keep moving forward! When I had my nervous breakdown, I felt paralyzed. I was terribly sick physically and just existing was painful. Deep breaths and baby steps, became my mantra.

Healing has many levels and the journey is different for everyone. It has been 13 years since my breakdown and I’m still on the road of recovery.

Through the years, I often feel the return of that drudge pace, like I am walking in mud. Thinking I will NEVER heal, dragging my depression with all my might. Holding on to a thread of hope while I snail through life.

I feel like I have finally come out of the heavy and thick darkness, and I am standing where I can see the light at the other end of the tunnel; but, sometimes that light seems so far away. Each day, I pull myself out of the dark, acknowledge my fears, put my healing hat on and inch forward.

Some days, it takes a little push, others a brave leap, and then there are the days I just can’t move, and that’s okay too. 

Where every you are on your journey, hang in there! Know that all of those baby steps add up and you ARE moving forward. You ARE healing.

One deep breath and baby step at a time!!

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Purging the Old/Creating the New

pic credit; Purge by SteakAndUnicorns

Happy Fall everyone! I unintentionally abandoned my blog through the summer. Alas, summer jobs and projects have come to an end and I find myself in transition.

I begin to reflect not only what summer’s bountiful lessons have taught me; but, I also am reviewing the whole year thus far, as the New Year quickly approaches.

Astrologically it has been a year of retrogrades. This summer there were six planets and Chiron in retrograde at the same time! Retrogrades can make you feel you are in reverse, as old patterns surface to be healed. Anxiety, change, eruptions of what no longer serves you, are all part of the process.

I felt all of the above. My year started out with no car and in turmoil. Early spring brought, The Teal Swan event that produced an ongoing healing and transformative experience. Then my 50th birthday which marked an intense milestone with much reflection, and my party that became a free for all for suppressed feelings my family was holding, which we are all presently healing and learning from. Then, Summer was a friggin’ rollercoaster ride! I mentioned in my Healing in Progress post, I began to shed old ways and in between nourished myself as much as possible before the next big wave came. Somehow, in addition, I managed my summer work, volunteered at the herbal school’s gardens, launched my herbal lotion site, aaaand, worked on my social life and relationships.

Wheeeeee!!!🤣

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It was not without a toll. I had my days of breakdowns and relapsed on smoking cigarettes almost all year. I am on my second week of quitting….again. At first I beat myself up, another old coping way. Then I gave myself a break and learned more about the part of me that needed to smoke. How she is afraid of all the growth and change and needs some sort of habit to make her feel safe. If I could, I would still be smoking; but, the effects on my health are undeniable and not conduit to my path of self love and healing.

I also had to learn to step away from relationships that were hurting me. I finally have begun to recognize that my self worth has been so low my entire life. Coming from trauma and abuse, I developed relationships that matched the internal scars I had. I let people treat me badly and held on just to be loved. This is a lesson I am still learning and practicing.

From the beginning of the year, I began to practice changing my reactions to crisis’s, such as losing my car,  My post Carless not Homeless was a realization for me. Growing up poor and witnessing the stress it took on my mother, I naturally took on the same reactions she used to have when something went wrong. For example, if the car broke down, sure enough my poor mom would too, crying out, “What else is going to go wrong!?”, “Why us!?”, “We can never get ahead!” These are all understandable reactions but they only perpetuate the feeling of despair and depression. I finally learned to let go of the old reactions and find gratitude and peace in the moment. Mind you, this is not without struggle and tears; but, it began a new way of life for me. Letting go of old thought forms makes way for new thoughts and life.

While purging the old, I have begun to create space for a new healthy mind, body spirit. I have created confidence in myself with work and volunteering. I am creating new friendships and relationships. I am creating health and core strength with yoga and a mostly vegan diet. I created an herbal lotion line and blog, which I will share here soon. I am creating the life I was once too afraid of.

Fall is the season of change. For me it is a bittersweet transition. I am always sad to see summer go, and begin dreading winter. This year, I am learning to be present in the moment and appreciate Fall’s magic, because it goes as quickly as summer does.

I created goals for winter that will hopefully keep me focused and motivated. I plan to build my lotion site and work on a book. I share that here to hold myself accountable. I also have shared these goals with people in my life, something I never do. That’s how I know I am serious!

In between seasons, I stop and take a breath first. Rest, restore, and then reboot.

I continue purging and transmuting old energies into life giving breath. I breathe in the life that awaits me. The life of highest potential. The life I deserve. It is a constant process with triggers, insights, tears and smiles along the way. I continue to heal myself so I can in return help heal others. 

Healing in Progress

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When I ran my mom’s shop with her, we came up with a little sign that read, “Gone to Meditate, Be back soon.” Whenever we needed a break, we put the sign up and went for a walk, or sat and looked at the ocean. We talked, laughed, meditated, or sometimes went for a bite and beer. 

That little sign gave us the freedom to  “meditate” in any form we saw fit.

I wish at times I could hang a sign on myself that warned oncomers of my present state. Maybe, “Approach with Caution, Feeling Unstable”, or “Under Construction, Enter at your own risk!” Just to give them an idea of what to expect before engaging with me.

If I could hang a sign right now, it would read “Healing in Progress.” Summer is a time for rapid growth. Blooming and Blossoming, with the occasional thunderstorm to break the tension and cleanse.

I have been working on cleansing. Shedding old forms of thoughts and reactions. Letting go of what no longer serves my highest potential. This is an ultimate self love exercise. To know I am no longer keeping myself at a lower vibration, to know I am worth better, brighter and bigger. This is huge progress! 

In between these growth spurts lie moments of quiet comfort and nourishment for self, body, mind and spirit. Sitting with nature or in a cool scented bath.

I have  noticed some bloggers take the summer off and post a sign on their blog saying so. I am not taking the summer off; but, I have noticed that I find it hard to find time and focus to write more. I am simply allowing myself to be swept up in the moment. I am participating in my own healing. Therefore, if you have noticed my absence, fear not, I am a healing in progress.

Hope you are having a healing and blessed summer!!! ❤

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Contraction

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“With any great expansion, it is only natural to have a contraction that follows,” this is what my therapist told me a few weeks ago. It had been a week since Teal Swan’s workshop, The Mirror. I had been feeling nauseous, dizzy and slightly depressed. The whole experience left me in a surreal state. My therapist continued to explain while holding her arms out as if around a giant beach ball. “Your expansion has you feeling way out here, and as you contract back, it’s only natural to have these symptoms; but, know you aren’t contracting all the way back to where you were.”

The next week, I thought we had bedbugs again. I’d been waking up with bites a month before. I researched natural methods to keep them at bay and told myself I would only contact management if it escalated; because their treatments haven’t proved successful either. When we returned from our workshop, Serenity crashed in my bed. The next morning I picked a bug stuck on her ankle off. I thought it was a bedbug and didn’t want to sleep in my room that night. We both slept in the living room and Serenity picked a tiny bug from her the next morning. I naturally thought our situation indeed escalated, and notified management. Meanwhile, we knew the drill. Launder everything. Bag everything. Clean everything. It as a familiar nightmare. We were exhausted but still remaining aligned with our new healing, while questioning why would this happen. More contraction? We decided maybe it was a sign to move. Then the exterminator did her inspection late last week. I showed her the samples and much to our surprise, it was a tick I had picked off my daughter and the other bug wasn’t a bedbug. The exterminator did not feel a treatment was necessary at this time, and told me to just keep up what I was doing and keep things bagged if I can.

Moments after the exterminator left, my daughter broke down and cried. Tears of relief. We sat and reflected. We learned in our workshop that everything is a reflection of us. So, we thought that because we had went into panic mode, maybe we need more inner calmness. More meditation and checking in with ourselves. While this is true, I contemplated more and shared with her that I don’t think we even have to judge our reactions. I think the experience taught us that while we thought we were in a crisis, we still remained calm. We saw higher perspectives and possible reasons. We worked as a team, which we hadn’t last time. Last time we had bedbugs, she ended up in the hospital and I not far behind. We also learned to take a break from the work as we attended an art show and fed our spirits. These were all important lessons learned.

My entire being has been spinning for awhile. Since my birthday, turning 50, the family brawl, the intense workshop of healing and reflection, then the bedbug scare….I was finding it hard to redirect. I have been exhausted, drained on all levels. Today in therapy, I did some grounding. After grounding, I realized parts of me are stirred. Those parts gripping to old coping skills and old forms of thought.

My therapist said, “It’s as if a new self is emerging but looking through an old self’s eyes.”

Now that I have expanded and contracted, I feel like a worn out balloon. I am going to regroup, get back on my routine, rest and nourish myself. Then I have to look at the parts of me that have been resisting change and growth. I have some work ahead of me.

It is a painful metamorphosis.

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Update: Expansion

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Every so often a lapse of time goes by and I haven’t posted. During these times, there are events happening that swoop me up in a tornado of energy. They are usually painful, and sometimes explosive; but, when I land after the storm, I recognize it’s beauty and try to reap the lessons. I acknowledge this as a growth spurt, growing pains and all,

During these storms, it takes all of my focus and strength to find my way back to self again. It is only after the dust settles, that I can sit and share here on this blog, with with you, out loud as an update.

This last growth spurt felt like an explosion into expansion. It was a period of time that I can only now reflect and see clearer. While I was going through it, I tried my best to stay grounded and know it was all for a reason, even if I couldn’t see that reason yet.

In one month’s time a series of events occurred, propelling me into this new growth, beginning when a friend of mine was diagnosed with leukemia and not given much time to live. Her daughter is also a friend of mine. I found it triggering, knowing what it is like to have a mother terminally ill. Despite my triggers, I offered to be of assistance any way I could. When she took me up on it, I pushed through my panic and was there for her. I am grateful to have had the courage to visit my friend in the hospital, because it was the last time I saw her. I went to the service alone and paid my respects. A few weeks later, a mutual friend brought over  some essential oils and scarves that belonged to my friend, and we bonded, feeling she was with us. I could see that my friend’s passing brought other us together. I was sad; but glad she didn’t suffer long. I miss her positivism and her light.

While this was going on, my daughter and I were fighting. She had made a decision that I strongly disagreed with and I feared for her safety. I could barely speak to her. We don’t argue much, so when we do, it is extremely painful. I asked to put things on hold while I got through my friend’s service. After the service we sat and talked some. I believed her decision was an extreme effort to gain some independence from me. She put the decision she made aside and we talked about being codependent and agreed to take it to her therapist. There we worked through some stuff and are now more aware of and working on our patterns. My mother and I were pretty codependent, it feels good to be breaking the cycle.

After we celebrated a quiet Orthodox Easter, we prepared for my 50th birthday! 50!!! What a milestone! Months before I had struggled with anxiety over it; but, now I had reached acceptance and I felt incredibly grateful to be here for 50 years. A younger self would never have believed it. My sister had rented cottages and my family came to celebrate. I hung pictures of my entire life on the walls. Reflecting on the years was emotional to say the least. My theme was Happy Hippie@50. We all bathed in love, joy and laughter for many hours. Unfortunately, it ended abruptly when a few family members started fighting. It was obvious there were buried emotions never expressed, and alcohol forced them to be purged. When it got physical I tried to get in the middle of it to stop it and I ended up in the hospital on my birthday with bruised ribs. The horror of everyone’s faces yelling, bleeding and separating, echoed in my mind. It was traumatizing. It wasn’t until later that I realized the need for those emotions to come up for healing. I wished it had been in a different way and pray that our family continues to grow, heal and talk to each other in a healthy manner.

The very next week my daughter and I were in NYC for Teal Swan’s The Mirror Event. A three day workshop intended to see our reflection in others. I was in physical pain and terrified to see my emotional pain; but, I knew it was necessary to continue to heal. There are hardly words to describe what took place over the next few days; but, intense healing is a good start. The intention of the workshop is to heal fragmented parts of us. As Teal explains, starting in childhood, when a trauma happens, or we are shamed, we then fragment and develop another part of us and leave that part there. She talks about The Completion Process, healing and integrating all of our parts. Having been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, this healing modality appealed to me immensely. I am still processing all that happened and will probably have to write a separate post.

On April 22, Pluto went retrograde and will be until Sept 30th. I learned in a recent Astrology class  that Pluto is the planet of expansion. When it is retrograde, it has a habit of creating an explosion if necessary for your growth and learning. It is a good time to work with shadow selves and to be prepared for rude awakenings.

It has been a week since the workshop. I have been weeping, dizzy, nauseous, and exhausted. It feels like there are swirls of energy whirling around me waiting to settle in to my being. I have been earthing and resting and slowly integrating it all.

Sometimes it feels the Universe is against you when things blow up in your face, when you are in so much pain and don’t understand; but if we look at it all from a higher perspective, we can realize that the Universe is only answering our call, our call for expansion.

 

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