Tag Archives: healing

Are We Broken?

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Are We Broken?

Remember that time when you thought your cancer would break you? Your divorce? Your child’s crisis? The death of a loved one? That rape? That abusive relationship? What if this presidential outcome is America’s cancer? What if it is an opportunity to go through chemo and radiation and hair loss and find ourselves again – individually and collectively?

Do you remember the day when you realized you had survived? And then the day that you could finally say you were thriving? Perhaps even finding appreciation for the lessons learned in the space of pain?

To move to a place of surviving and thriving, you had to find a source of strength that you didn’t even know you owned. You had to rely on the love and support of friends and family. You had to own the feeling of broken to find whole again.

Somewhere in that process you gave yourself permission to be different than you were before. More of YOU emerged. You were more honest, more forthright, more authentic, more empowered, more mindful, and more compassionate. You chose to take more risks, more adventures, and have more fun.

Those around you have said things like, “She is different now. Ever since the ______, she is living life more fully. Sometimes I think she is crazy, but she is incredibly happy.”

I know. I have done this many times in my life, just like you.

This time is no different. Dig deep, find the strength that you know is there for these times. I find a simple strength in the rising of the sun. No matter what has happened, she rises, gloriously to face another day. Her consistency reminds me that I can rise each day and be fierce and resilient while shining brightly. Remind yourself of what feeds your determination.

Give yourself permission to volunteer with any population that may feel unsupported today. Give yourself permission to start up a non-profit helping to meet the needs of an underserved population in your area.

Find YOUR fierceness that will keep your fires burning for the changes that must happen in America. Be part of the solution and don’t give up hope. Press forward with determination that LOVE MATTERS and will prevail.

Attacking the institution, the process, the President elect really does not serve the greater good. Have your temper tantrum and MOVE ON to being your best self. Ghandi said it so well, of course, “Be the change you wish to see.”

Rise Up and Be Love. Step Into Kindness with Each Step. Bring In Strength and Purpose with Every Breath.

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Yes, Samantha, You Are In The Flow

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Yes, Samantha, You Are In The Flow

I hope you get on this site soon Samantha. We met last night in a serendipitous turn of events and had a lengthy conversation covering so many topics. I want you to know that you are in the flow of life and more importantly, you are the flow. And, you inspired my flow here on my blog.

I have been where you are and when so many doors close then it is easy to reach out and close more of them – making the assumption that this is the outcome that will happen anyway, so let’s just get it over with. It becomes an instinct to hesitate walking through another door, fearful that it will close on our nose too.

You are resilient and strong. Just from a 2 hour conversation, I know this about you. Be bold. Put yourself out there again with your voice and your musical gifts and say Yes when doors begin to open.

We talked about Efforting vs. Being. Efforting is when we struggle to make things happen, exhausting ourselves, and sometimes others, in the process. Being is allowing action steps to be inspired and intentional that feel good rather than heavy and burdensome. Our to-do list comes from our mental mind more than our heart when we are full of efforting – and we feel weary when we think about doing these things. When we shift into having our heart engaged, we shift into inspired actions that leave us feeling excited and hopeful.

You are a beautiful being that I am happy to have met you in the alley behind Goodwill on a lovely Friday night in Boulder, CO. Start asking yourself, what if I am doing everything right? What if I am right where I am supposed to be all the time? What if this experience is to help me learn more about me and about the world around me? What if this is to help me grow and stretch myself in ways that I cannot imagine?

Stay tuned, Samantha for posts about other things that we spoke of that I feel compelled to share here –  neoroplasticity, pain and letting go, movement and stillness, there are no guarantees, why did this happen to me?, travel and serendipity of events, and more. Thank YOU for showing up and getting my voice rolling again – YOU inspired me to publish some shit!

You are having a Great Life Samantha. Enjoy.

Love, Angela

 

Forgiving the Unforgivable

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

My grandpa sold me for sex when I was a child. There is a poem here.

It is okay. Really. This story will show you how I am more than okay.

My grandpa also sexually assaulted me many times before he sold me. In navigating my healing, I found a level of compassion for him that was beyond my human capacity. I wrote about that here. But in early 2014 I realized my forgiveness had hit a wall. I saw his act of selling me as:

U n f o r g i v a b l e.

My journal says: “Grandpa, my forgiveness will not extend that far. I am pissed that I have so much damage to navigate from your evil-ness. If you were still alive, I would send you to jail. I want to feel safe and you stole that from me. I hate that I cannot still the voice that says I am less than the other people in the world. I hate that my worth, my value was put into dollars. Will I ever be able to forgive you? My anger is so huge, it feels like the Earth will shake and buildings will crumble if I let it out. I cannot imagine this rage being replaced with forgiveness.”

Even thought it seemed impossible, I wanted forgiveness for what it had to offer ME even though I had no idea of what it would feel like or look like. I did not know how unforgiveness was holding me back because I had carried it with me since I was 5 in an unconscious way. Now, I was willing to let go. But I needed help.

This was the condition of my heart and mind when I went to a Dances of Universal Peace Retreat in May of 2014 with a simple prayer, “Let this retreat serve my highest good.”

The first morning I was up with the sun writing, singing, and praying by the stream. Once the morning dance was about to begin I entered the lodge and a friend of mine greeted me by falling on the floor and kissing my bare feet. This took my words away – I had not ever been greeted like this before. He said, “Isn’t that how we are to greet Goddesses?” I mumbled something, unsure of how to be gracious about such a gesture. He smiled and asked that I take it in. I said I would work on it.

One of the dances was about Mitakoye Oyasin, A Lakota phrase meaning All My Relations. Mitakoye: All beings in all levels of creation. Oyasin: Call you & draw you closer to the deepest love of your soul. Somewhere in the course of the song, God pricked my heart and asked if I could bring my grandfather front and center to sing this song with him.

After a few tearful rounds of the song, I told God I would extend the olive branch and take one small step toward my grandfather. That was all I could manage in that moment. The edges of my heart started to ache. I was completely okay with taking my time navigating forgiveness. I had deep compassion for myself first. After all, this was a biggie.

After that song we had a silent meditation time and I opened my journal to write and God asked, “Could you kiss the feet of your grandfather and call him Beloved?” Then I wrote: “God prepare my heart. I want to run away right now.” And then I did – I ran to the stream and sobbed. Sobs that shook my being on every level, loosening the roots of unforgiveness.

All day my prayer was, “Prepare my heart.” I could not fathom how forgiveness might occur. My grandfather was dead so how would I know I had truly forgiven him? And because he was dead, a small voice said, “Well, you don’t have to really kiss his feet.” Part of me was relieved.

I also was being incredible gentle with myself with messages like:

“I might not find forgiveness until the last breath I take, and that is ok.”

“It might take 20 or 40 years to figure out how to forgive him, and that is ok.”

At the end of the first day I was exhausted.

Day 2: My heart chakra literally ached – it was being opened and stretched and expanded.

My prayer by late morning was, “Oh God, Sustainer of my Soul.” I felt the weight of my anger in my being and it was heavy and frightening. Once again I ran to the stream, dropped to my knees, and this time I threw rocks in water yelling “FUCK YOU!” over and over – covering all the reasons I was angry with him. My anger spilled out into the quick moving stream and she carried it away.

Then I climbed on some huge trees that had been pulled up by the floods of the previous fall. I wrapped my arms and legs around the trunk of one and cried into the tree:

I am sorry for
my little girl inside,
all 5 year old children with out love,
what you did to yourself grandpa,
what you did to humanity,
the beautiful trees that are dead now from the flood,
the space in me that seemed dead for 41 years,
the effort it has taken to resurrect that space, to learn to breathe in that space,
all the physical pain that I feel,
the land torn apart by the flood water,
my little girl that has felt uprooted and lost since that very first time of being sold,
my Self having felt displaced, not valued, unloved, and unlovable.

Then I said “I LOVE YOU” to all these aspects. This emotionally laden process just kept unfolding. Yes, it was painful – and beautiful. I was surrounded by God’s love and Mother Earth, offering infinite support. God was totally leading the way to forgiveness – these sure weren’t my ideas!

Then I had a picture enter my minds eye: a ceremony where my friend stands in as my grandfather and I kiss his feet and I hug him and call him Beloved Grandfather. I immediately gave myself permission for this ceremony to be many months, if not years away from happening. And perhaps, the first time it is done, I call it practice.

By the end of day 2 I asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather. He said he would be honored. I explain that I have no desire to rush this process, it could be the next day or many years away.

Day 3 I woke with a headache from all the emotional processing. The dances that morning were soothing and I continued my prayers, “God, prepare my heart, sustain my soul.” During the silent meditation time I wrote out my Healing Intentions:

1. Heal ME. This is for me and only me. I feel the ache and the weight of unforgiveness and I am tired of dragging it around. Fill up that space where unforgiveness has lived with love and wisdom.
2. Reach across TIME and extend the choice of healing to my grandfather, because it is never just about me and my healing.
3. Let my forgiveness ripple out into the WORLD to further heal all crimes against humanity in this spectrum.
4. Allow me to remember this was a crime against himself and all of humanity as much as it was a crime against me.

At the end of the morning, we were seated in a circle sharing our retreat experiences. There was a silence and God prompted me. I shared that my grandfather had committed crimes against me as a child and God had prepared me to forgive him. I had asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather and I invited anyone to witness this ceremony. My friend started removing his socks as one of the leaders said, “How about now?” My reply was, “I am ready.” My heart really was ready – I was not forcing anything to happen, it was completely ready in all ways. It was miraculous.

I kneeled, kissed his feet, and called him “Beloved Grandfather” in an embrace. I felt infinitely lighter immediately.

I went deep inside and stretched my heart so much it felt like the sun had taken up residence. I am still in awe at the way God supported me in this process. It was not practice. It was, and is, forgiveness – the real thing.

Forgiveness is freedom. I took a chance, I said yes, I want this healed. I trusted the process and stepped into the opportunity that God provided, and I found JOY.

Keep reading: Part 2 What Forgiveness Meant to Me, Literally

Read more about who the heck I am: https://iamangela.org/about/

Day 7: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 7: The Yoga of Self-Care

Self-care for the blogger begins with hitting the draft button regularly or a completely done amazing post goes down the vortex of the web. And sucks my beautiful words and tender heart with it. It is amazing how my energy plummets when this happens. I was done except for my image. A nice person at WordPress even conspired to find my words but to no avail. Why isn’t the new post page defaulted on draft where it is in save mode instead of publish immediately where it does not save text?

I am grateful for the Your Turn Challenge team led by Winnie Kao and Seth Godin. It has been a remarkable week. I can’t wait to spend more time on the blog reading amazing material by other participants.

I can ship. Lots more than I thought I could. And I had FUN doing it. My self-care will be to ship way more frequently and stop hiding who I am and what I think and where I have been and where I am going.

I had a nice long note here about the sun and my daily celebration of her steadfastness. Of how much this comforts me and gives me strength and perseverance in my own life. How by spending time in the natural world, I am more devoted and compelled to be steadfast in my personal self-care. I watched her rise this morning and she took my breath away. I even wrote her a letter. And then I wrote you, the readers of this blog a letter about honoring your self-care rituals that help you grow and heal. We are all different and it takes respecting your self enough to take care of you. No matter what kind of crap another might throw at you. We all clean up our shit storms our own way.

That beautifully written post will have to be drafted tomorrow because my body is yelling at me to go to bed. And tonight I am going to listen. I hiked in the Rocky Mountains today and celebrated the Earth’s magnificent brilliance, played an outdoor xylophone and had my picture taken with a snowman. So all in all, it was an awesome day. My words will come tomorrow as sure as the sun rises.

This is part 7 of a 7 part series on self-care.

Day 5: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 5: The Yoga of Self-Care
1. Remember to notice your breath and how it changes with situations, emotions, triggers, people.
2. Add an intention that includes something that feels miraculous to you right now. Miracles happen.
3. Nothing ever gets resolved with out ACTION. Run, walk, dance, jig or two-step your way into movement.
4. Being willing to seek out the root of your shit-storm is HUGE. Give yourself a big hug and eat some ice cream. Call on a friend and professionals.
5. This self-help method can be used anywhere with any problem.
Massage therapists always say: The issues are in the tissues. I agree – our body holds much wisdom and has a memory far more powerful than we probably know. It is incredibly important to honor, honor, honor what the body has to say during any healing process. This is one method I use in my 1 on 1 healing sessions frequently. There are many methods – use what works for you. I do encourage folks to do this on their own and when receiving care from a chiropractor, acupuncturist, yoga class, meditation time, massage therapist, dancing, etc. There are a gazillion ways to heal and this can be used and adapted for just about any modality.
Sit quietly and note where in the body you feel pain, discomfort, soreness, tightness, etc.
Set intention to be able to hear the message(s) your body has for you and make a clear direct statement that you are seeking wisdom from your body and are willing to hear what it has to say. Do your best to empty your mind and create space for the message(s) to come in without judgement. Use your breath to clear and absorb several times throughout the process.
You can hold, tap, or massage the sensitive point you have identified. As you begin to do this, see what situations, people, relationships, thoughts come to mind.  Allow the tears, anger, frustration, jealousy, etc. anything that surfaces, to flow. Each emotion needs to be honored. Once you think you have the emotional root, thank your body for holding space for this to be honored. Reassure the body that you are committed to resolving the issue and ask if your body would like to have you check in again. If yes, ask when. Send a huge dose of love to this part of your body. Then imagine wrapping yourself in a beautiful soft blanket soaked in love. Give your body permission to absorb the healing of love.
Then do some art, writing or whatever process feels good to you to absorb the new information. Process with a friend or professional if needed.
I suggest ending with a positive mantra/statement (or several) to tap into whatever part of the body feels natural to be tapped on (or massaged or held) and do that until you feel peace in all ways. Mantra suggestions: I am grateful for my innate wisdom. I love my body and our memories. I am grateful for being open to discover a layer of myself that deserves healing. I am committed to healing this wound completely. I honor this wound as a part of who I am and I know that I am whole, even with wounds waiting to be healed. My body is a gift. This knowledge is a gift. I am a gift.
Yoga helps me appreciate my body. And it helps my body release old wounds that I do not want to carry around anymore. Regular yoga practice, in a class or by yourself, is a gift to yourself. Stretch gently into healing. Give yourself loving-kindness and freedom from the past. These women inspire me. I am grateful they gift themselves yoga. http://www.rebelcircus.com/blog/curvy-girls-nailed-yoga-poses/
This is part 5 of a 7 part series on self-care.

Day 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Keep up the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath work to connect you with your body. Use calming mantras to help bring balance into your body and mind. Practice yoga.

2. Define your intentions using Contrast and Clarity statements. Let these begin to saturate your awareness and open up your energy to a new way of living and being. More yoga.

3. Take action.

Whatever your situation is, chances are that you have some literal action steps to take to find resolution. Make a list of all the things you can think of to help resolve the mess and create a desirable outcome. If you don’t know literally what to do to solve your problem, gather information. Google it – we have so much information at our fingertips. Read up on the topic if it is foreign to you. Call professionals.

I once took advantage of a legal firms free consultation only to have the attorney tell me I didn’t need to hire him because I had done the action steps needed and just needed to continue on the path I had started. I went to see him because I had let self-doubt creep in and decided I should use a pro. I love the integrity of that attorney!

Now that you have your ACTION LIST we are going to use a simple green light, yellow light, and red light system to get them done. Is there one or two that are time sensitive? Prioritize and tackle these first. (Don’t worry if one of these is a red light item, I cover that in the next post.)

Go through the list and highlight or circle all the actions items that are EASY for you literally, emotionally, and mentally. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for them to be completed. Do one of these items today to experience success.

Go through the list and highlight or star all the actions items that require a measure of RESOLVE for you to complete. With each item note what the obstacle is: logistical, emotional, mental. Sometimes success on our EASY items make this set of items seem more do-able. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for these to be completed.

I know, there are still items on your list. We cover the IMPOSSIBLE tomorrow. For today, stay focused on what you can accomplish.

As you talk to folks that you need to talk to, such as, the banker, the lawyer, the social worker, etc. Be polite, kind, humble, grateful, courteous, and NOT a VICTIM. Lots of situations in life make us feel victimized and I am here to challenge you to not be a victim in the way you to talk to people. Listen to yourself as you talk, be mindful of statements that blame others or lead you to shift responsibility. You will recognize it when you hear it.

You are not a victim anymore. You are taking charge of the situation. Also, do not be self-condemning in your statements, nor shame-based in your language. You are being pro-active now – you deserve to hold your head up during this clean-up process. Intimidation is often projected in shit-storms and you can choose to not be intimidated. Shake it off – don’t allow someone’s judgment of you to enter your head. I will cover strategies that will help you let all of these things go in future posts.

Last, but not least, before you make these phone calls, I am going to suggest you set the intention to forgive yourself for being in this shit-storm. Begin thinking that this is all going to work out and release yourself from those harsh judgments that just cause headaches, stomach upset, inflammation, and a host of other dis-eases.

My experiences with shit-storms have taught me alot about myself and how I grab onto responsibility that is not mine and how I carried shame and guilt with me everywhere. I learned how to allow my fear to just exist and found it helpful to acknowledge it when talking to the person that is assisting me, when appropriate. I way over apologized too – I had so many regrets, but regrets are the contrast – let them go.

I allowed myself to be in the shit-storms of bankruptcy and foreclosure. I say allowed, because I believe that I could have chosen differently and had different outcomes. In the end, neither killed me. In fact, I sold my house and got a bit of the equity. The stress was overwhelming at times, but I would pull back and make a list and do what was EASY to work up the energy to do the IMPOSSIBLE. (We cover the IMPOSSIBLE in the next post.)

Did you find a yoga class yet? Yes? Fantastic! Go again. No? Seriously, get on it. Today is a great day to connect with your Self in the practice of yoga. There are so many types of yoga and thousands of teachers. Did you try it once and not like it? Try it again! A different teacher and a different type can make all the difference. Let yoga be part of your new life.

This is part 3 of a 7 part series on Self-Care. #yourturnchallenge

I Remember

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I Remember

I remember, damn you, I remember

You stripped away my innocence

My joy

My freedom

My power

My 3 year old light was extinguished

You marked me with the scent of easy – easy prey.

Others were delighted to find the sign: Dine often, silence guaranteed.

How do I bathe enough to rid myself of that odor?

Unconsciously I have been striving to be better than easy

Perfection = Less Detection

My small, fragile body was used to bring empty relief to your pain, your anger, your rage.

You kept searching for liberation, release

I was not that savior for you

How many did you damage in your search? How many?

You did not know how to stop and I don’t know how you could have ever started.

You had a choice, many choices, and you chose to perpetuate your pain.

I loved you, trusted you – as your title mandated.

Grandpa, I remember now – I remember that you raped me over and over and over.

Maybe death is your savior, your release. Or maybe it is your Hell.

Firefighter

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Firefighter

Rape creates fire
Deep within
Bubbles like lava
Searches for air

Escape

Eruption

My friend
At the tender age of 5
Used a match
On her parent’s bed
Fighting for innocence
Burning for justice
Fight fire with fire

Pull ALL the alarms
Let the fire trucks scream with you
Save your Self
We need (s)heroes like you

Water and Air

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Water and Air

My friend looks thirsty
I offer
water
No thanks wooshes out with a breath of
air

She dislikes
water
she drinks
air
carbonated and sweetened

When she was 3 and 4 her grandfather
held her head under
water
her eyes wide open begging for
air

Shitty game pappy
rape me, drown me
terror to silence
too much water
not enough air

Grown up now
learning to drink
water
learning to breathe
air

Remembering and healing
the elements of Earth
vital to life
water
air

The other “F” word

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Forgiveness is a difficult topic for many people. We just don’t want to go there – it seems too hard and what does it really do for us anyway? We have all heard how it is something we do for ourselves more than the other person. But, really, what does it do for us? In the end we don’t do anything without recognizing how we will benefit, right? Well, here are some what ifs to consider:

What if some of our body pain was rooted in un-forgiveness? What if some of our shitty mental tapes that we keep hearing (perhaps even listening to) were rooted in un-forgiveness? What if our capacity to love and connect with others was limited because of our un-forgiveness? What if our ability to love and accept ourselves was limited due to our un-forgiveness?

I know that the concept of forgiveness feels like we are saying:

“It was ok that you hurt me.”   and/or   “You can keep causing pain and I will keep forgiving you.”

On a subconscious level, we may be super attached to that particular story of pain. And if we forgive, then the story isn’t as appealing. BUT, what if the story becomes MORE appealing because of our capacity to forgive? What if we started a super-hero like tidal wave of forgiveness? Sounds good, but how do we get there? What are the basic tools of forgiveness?

The BEST tool is WILLINGNESS. Just be open to experience forgiveness. Each path is different. We cannot begin to tell each other how to forgive. There are many stages and processes that we might need to travel through. The first stage is planting the seed of WILLINGNESS to arrive at Forgiveness as a whole-heart experience.

Just begin to ask yourself a few questions:

What might forgiveness of this person or situation feel like in my body?

What might it taste like on my tongue?

How might it shift my capacity to breath?

What might it sound like?

How might it create space in my mind? My heart?

I can only share that FREEDOM is on the other side of forgiveness. I know this from personal experience and witnessing the release of pain in others. Freedom to be more, to live more, to experience more.

Keep it simple today and plant the seed. Start rolling the “F” word around on your tongue and hearing it in your head. And continue to express willingness.