A Path to Healing

IMG_8066.jpg


The path to self-growth is not linear. It is a meandering journey through mountains and valleys, and occasionally there are more lows than highs. But it is a journey ever onward, and it is our light—that same light that exists in every one of us—that guides the way, if only we allow it to shine. -Rachel Grayczyk

It feels like often it takes something big happening in my life to point out the areas that need to be addressed. The areas within me that I’ve been running from or that seem too painful to really stop and take a good look at and heal.

A breakup or divorce, losing a job, losing a friend, getting sick. I’ve experienced all of these things and what I know now is that they are all messengers. They come with profound knowledge and insight. But they also come with a lot of heavy emotion that I often like to dust under the rug. Pain, sadness, heartbreak, anger, regret, resentment, fear, abandonment, betrayal — these emotions aren’t pleasant. At times they can feel like the most painful thing in the world. Who hasn’t experienced a heartbreak we thought we’d never recover from?

But what I also know now is that THOSE are the golden nuggets. Those are the moments and experiences that gain the wisdom. Those emotions are the messages waiting to be peeled back and dove into deeper. Those nuggets are actually the path to true peace and happiness.

We are all incredibly intuitive beings and already have the answers to the questions we seek within. Who said that originally? Rumi? Buddha? Whoever it was, I fully believe it to be the truth.

Recently I developed a massive rash all over my face. To some, it’s just a rash. To me, it means something more.

It looks a lot like acne but it’s not. I know it’s not. It is hot, very inflamed and itches. And that it seemed to get inflamed when I eat certain things like coconut. And I know enough, I’m intuitive enough, to know that it means something.

This rash, to me, is a message. I know, that sounds a little woowoo for some but I really believe that our bodies are incredibly smart and so many of our ailments are messages from something deeper within. Wake up calls trying desperately to get us to address the deeper issues that are in a way, holding us back.

I know on a deeper level there are several reasons for my rash. One, I’m consuming something my body doesn’t like and I need to pay closer attention to what I eat and drink and how i feel after. Do I experience a reaction right away or is it delayed? I’ll get into this more in another blog post.

Two, there is a huge emotional component. I’ve been hiding from some things in my life that need to be addressed and my body seems to like to get me to wake up through body ailments.

The traumas of my past are finally speaking up and asking to be dealt with. All that hurt, resentment, anger, it’s been bubbling up quickly the last few months and I feel my body is asking me to look at it for real this time.

I was also dating someone for the last six months whom I adore and love. However, I knew he and I were in different places and wanted different things but fought against that inner knowing and tried to fit this square peg in a round hole.

These things combined created a toxic environment inside of me, always questioning, always frustrated, always sad or questioning, “what’s wrong with me?” This triggered the only way I would listen — a horrible skin rash on my face.

And this is why I love the body. Because it never lies to us. It’s always seeking to show us the truth, get us to listen, get us to show up for ourselves, through messages.

I believe we can heal ourselves in a multitude of ways if we just stop, get really still and listen for the answers. Listen to those little pings, those nuggets of truth, those whispers that say, “he’s not good for you, or don’t eat that, don’t take the job, don’t say yes to the thing even though it “looks” good on paper — just wait.”

I would like to point out that that’s not to say I don’t believe in taking action. We have to take action. But maybe we need to pause a bit more, give ourselves space and time before we react? At least I know I sure do.

I also believe in western medicine. I do. 100%. I thank it daily because if not for it I would be dead. I know this. But I believe too many of us use it as a bandaid. A quick fix. At times, myself included. But sometimes if not most of the time a headache simple means you are dehydrated and need more water. Sometimes it is signaling you need rest or to actually look at something you’ve been avoiding. Taking a pill is a quick and easy fix but often we are reacting with the quick fix instead of addressing the issue. What would happen if we pause and just ask ourselves what we need instead?

If we just took the time to explore more of what our body, our heart and our soul are trying to tell us, what would happen in our lives?

This is what I’ve been thinking a lot about since the last time I wrote. Writing has always been incredibly therapeutic for me. It’s been a catalyst for discovery, exploration and ultimately, what paves the path to my own growth and ultimately, my healing.

Lately I’ve been called to share where I’m at in a different way. Cancer took a toll on me physically, mentally and definitely emotionally.

The last two years have been extremely challenging in a multitude of ways for me but the amazing thing is, I’m finally at a point in my growth where I can look at challenge in my life and see the parts that are getting me to stretch beyond my comfort zone and grow.

The dance for me is and always has been to learn to balance my emotions, to not be so reactionary, to let go of all the stories I took on for years, and honestly, find my voice and figure out who the heck I am and fully embody that. Even if it means others in my life may disapprove.

Developing my tumor two years ago has been the greatest teacher so far. I think I’ll have to tell that story sometime because it was one of the most frustrating and terrifying experiences of my life. Yet, looking back it’s taught me so much. Getting a rare and confusing cancer diagnoses, the whole process of learning about that, surgery, treatment, and recovery from that has felt like one big uphill climb and I just couldn’t catch my breath. My normal disposition is to keep pushing on. To do all the things in the same way I always have. What I’m learning now is I just can’t. I’m not that person anymore. Or, maybe I never was.

I actually need a lot of downtime. I need a lot of rest and relaxation. I need quiet. I need to not over schedule myself or have very many plans throughout the week. I function better on more spontaneity and I definitely need to allow myself the space to make a decision instead of saying yes to everything out of fear of missing out like I normally do.

So, I’ve spent the last few weeks sitting with that and trying my best to get really honest with myself. I’ve been asking myself some really tough questions.

But it’s always when I feel like I’ve hit a bottom that God (ie: Universe, Source, Life) steps in to remind me of the very thing I’m not addressing and if I did, it would change everything. Rashes, breakups, anger and resentments rising to the surface, massive hormonal chaos. All huge messages right now for me.

I find myself in a place I’ve never been before. I’m excited. Almost giddy about what is to come. It feels like the calm before a storm but not a destructive storm like in the past. A tranSTORMation is what I’m calling it. A big one. One that will allow me to peel back even more layers and show up as the real me even more.

So what is next?

Trauma, whether emotional, mental or physically (usually it’s all three combined), doesn’t look the same for everyone thus healing can’t look the same for everyone either. We all have the opportunity to embark on our own healing journey. And that is exactly what I am doing.

As I said to my therapist via text the other day, “It’s time. It’s time to go deeper.”

So that is what I’m doing. I’m investing in me in a way I never have. I’m taking this whole healing thing a few steps deeper. It’s not a one size fits all plan. It’s tailored just for me. I’m looking at all areas of my life and getting very honest and I plan on sharing what I’m doing for myself to heal along the way. I plan to really show up in this space consistently and offer you an experience that may open a few doors of curiosity for you as well.

But please remember, this is MY path and it may not feel right for you. It may trigger you or cause uncomfortable feelings to arise in you. May I invite you to explore that more deeply? It’s just an invitation for you to possibly look at your life differently too. You have to go on your own exploration. Your own journey. You have to try things on, listen to those little nudges and find the courage to step forward on your own path. .

So raise your glass of organic green celery juice (that’s all I’m drinking these days) and cheers with me. Because t’s time to really heal.

My Ted Talk

F93AD370-79BF-4488-8E36-9FD5151947FF.jpg

Sometimes, when I'm in the shower, I like to pretend I am giving a Ted Talk. It’s one of those secret dreams of mine I haven’t shared with anyone.

Yes, one day I want to give a Ted Talk and I often practice in the shower. It goes a little something like this. 

I’m introduced and eloquently float out and take my spot center stage. I stand before an audience of hundreds waiting for me to speak. To bare my soul, share my truth and change their lives in some way.

Then maybe all the pain I've experienced in mine will finally have meaning. 

I pause and scan the audience as the nerves settle in my belly. And then I begin. Words flow gracefully from my lips as I deliberately and meticulously speak. 

Line after line, I stand before the audience with grace and ease and pure poetry escapes from my mouth and I feel alive. As if I am finally living in full alignment with my purpose.

And this is what I would say:

When I was a little girl I was desperate to be accepted and loved by everyone. 

I learned early on that if I said and did the right things, molding myself to every person in my life, I would always feel a sense of ease and acceptance. 

I would always feel, loved. 

But that really wasn't the case. 

As I grew older, trying to create that sense of peace started to be become like draping individual chains over my shoulders. Eventually the stories and facade became too heavy. I hit a wall and could no longer continue carrying that weight around. 

This was about the time I stumbled across my first personal development book. It was a few months after I turned twenty and I had just made my very first big life decision all on my own. And I was scared as hell to go down this new path. 

I had made the decision to drop out of college. 

This decision proceeded a massive nervous breakdown in the middle of a raging frat party. My friends found me sobbing uncontrollably, wrapped in a tiny ball sitting on a bed in the basement. They couldn't console me. I was unconsolable. In shock.

They took me home and called my mom. It was 2 am. The next weekend I was driving back to Seattle to tell my family I was leaving school and in that one decision, I felt one of the weights release and fall to the ground. 

This decision changed the course of my life. It sparked something deep within me that would take years to turn into a full fledge fire. 

You see, it was the first moment I realize that I am not going to be for everyone and neither would my decisions and I had to be okay with that. It sparked the courage to finally explore what  I really wanted and ask some really big questions. 

Years later I stand before you with one message and one message only. I truly hope you take it in. 

Under no circumstances, whatsoever, are you going to be for everyone either. And that is okay. 

It's easy to get caught up in what other's think of our lives and it's really easy to paint a pretty picture that we have it all figured out and that our lives are picture perfect.

We do this because we are all longing for the same thing; to be loved and accepted. 

But here is the thing, no matter how hard you try, I promise you, there will always be someone who is just itching to find your flaws. To point out your mistakes, bring you down to 'reality,' burst your bubble and keep you feeling small. 

Certain individuals will look your life and criticize and judge no matter how perfect you paint it.

So drop the act. Lighten up your load a little. 

There are always going to be people who have so many opinions about YOUR life because they are too afraid to step back and address the areas they are unhappy with in their own.  

Caring too much what family and friends, acquaintances, and strangers think is a paralyzing behavior. It will prevent you from serving your purpose and doing those things that your heart desires. 

I've realized that when I get caught up in thinking about what I should say and do with each and every person in my life I’m actually deeply neglecting my own needs, wants and desires. I'm completely out of alignment and in some place in my life I am not giving myself the love I deserve but rather, judging myself in some way. 

As cliché as it may sound, it took a year of dealing with a rare cancer diagnoses to get some real clarity into the trajectory of my life and accept this one very crucial and important thing; I will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be for everyone.

I may not even be for people in my very own family and I'm learning to be okay with this too. 

Every single day I have to fight the urge to crawl back under the covers where it is safe and warm. Where people can't see me. Where I can play as small and feel as safe as I want to. 

Why? All because I'm scared of what other's think? 

I’m not perfect. I’m a work in progress and I still find myself grasping for acceptance and the idea that to be loved, I have to say and do everything in accordance with everyone else.

 I still fall short of my best self every single day.

However, I often think about those who conquered great things in their lives didn't do so by playing small or spending too much time caring about how they looked to others. If they had, they would have never done the thing that helped the person that changed the lives. Now would they?

And in the great words of Oprah, this is what I know to for sure:

You will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be for everyone.

You will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be accepted by all.

And you will absolutely, under no circumstance whatsoever, be able to make everyone happy.

And you will absolutely, under no circumstance whatsoever, be able to fit a square peg in a round hole. So stop trying.

So please, I ask this of you with so much love in my heart, just be you. Every single beautiful part of you. 

If we continue living our lives for everyone else, we will never truly know what we are capable of creating. Your purpose is in no way shape or forms the same as any other person's in this lifetime. When you step back and look at it that way, maybe you can find the strength to act in accordance with your own self, your own desires, your own needs. 

I want to leave you with just one more thing before I go.

Before you open your mouth to speak to anyone, pause for just a moment and ask yourself this, "Is what I am about to say imparting my own judgments onto them? If so, don't say it.  

When I have nothing more to say I turn off the water and dry myself off. 

Then I go back to my life and leave my dream in the shower for another day. 

How to Find More Color with a Black and White Perception

12e75d390b5288205a38d94f1f0d97b3

The first time I realized that I viewed the world with a perception of black and white was when my husband and I were in the middle of an argument and he told me I was 'so black and white.'

I brushed it off and continued to try to argue my point all the while this comment lingered in the back of my mind.

When the argument finished, my frustration with my husband's claims didn't. I'm not black and white, I'm a VERY colorful person. I make him laugh out loud all the time. I'm goofy, sassy, and I see so much color in the world. How dare he!

As the days went on I couldn't shake what he had said. I pondered my views of the world and slowly but surely, I started to realize that I AM very black and white.

____________________________________________________________

A black and white perception could mean many things. You may, like me, be a rule follower and wouldn't even think of breaking said rules. Or, maybe (also like me) the thought of drawing outside of the lines makes you cringe and recoil just a tiny bit inside. Or how about when you are following a recipe, does the idea of using a different ingredient then what is on the ingredient list send you into a fit of panic? These are all just some examples of living in a black and white world.

The list goes on and on but the truth is, it's all about perception and why we've created them.

For me, I was a very insecure child, adolescent and am still struggling with it to this day. I grew up in a home that, at times, was confusing. I knew my parents love me and they told me so often but as time went by my little protected world of having both a loving mother and father  started to crumble. We learned that my father had a mental illness and with that came a great deal of anger, outbursts, and a broken little girl. My mom did everything she could to protect, overcompensating for a father who was sick but when you are a child, your environment and the words that are said to you greatly shape the way you view the world as you get older. And even my mom couldn't protect me from that.

As I grew up, I started to build my shield, my black and white bubble that would protect me from the meanness and unpredictability of the world. It wasn't until my husband brought this to the forefront of my mind that I started to realize I had create this perception as coping mechanism, a way to compartmentalize life. If something fit into my 12x12 box then all was right in the world. If it didn't, then my world was turned upside down.

There is a point however, as you become an adult, that we need to realize we are not our past. That the things that were said to us, things that happened to us, they do not define who we are. I grew up with an unpredictable father so I developed a way of making my life predictable. I found ways to sort through life's ups and downs in a way that I understood, even something as simple as veering off from a recipe would cause me to panic, so I rarely did.

It wasn't until David, my husband brought this to my attention that I started to really think about the way it affects my life. The way it can hold me back from living from a deeply authentic place and living life to the fullest.

It's still hard. I still try to throw things into their particular compartment but I've developed a set of tools that have helped me see the world in more color. Tools that help me step outside my comfort zone and think about people, situations, and even cooking differently.

If you struggle with something similar, I invite you to follow these simple steps and see if  it encourages you to see the world, yourself, and situations differently.

Four Simple Tools to Change Your Perceptions

Forgive yourself - Many of us have had things in our past that have affected how we perceive the future. Things that were beyond our control and we handled them the best we could at the time. As we grow as people, we learn more and have a wider range of resources to pull from to handle  similar or new situations but before we can fully make the changes needed, we need to forgive ourselves.

It took me a long time to realize that I was angry at myself for not handling certain situations differently over the years and I beat myself up constantly because of it. We need to forgive to move on. We need to forgive to grow. We need to forgive to love ourselves fully. And we need to understand that so much of that was beyond our control.

Forgive yourself and realize that you did the best you could with what you had at the time. Moving forward you have the tools to handle situations differently and view life in more colors.

Breathe - Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? We all breathe automatically throughout the day but how often to you stop and just notice your breathe? Feel how it organically moves in and out of your body. How natural it is to take the surrounding air in and then moments later release it back out. If you find yourself in a situation where the familiar panic feeling starts to set in, the one that causes you to through situations, people, and everything else into differing compartments, then stop and breathe. Ask yourself if you can see this too differently.

Learn to Laugh at Yourself - This has been a huge one for me. I grew up taking life way too seriously because I was afraid that if I laughed, it meant that didn't really hurt or affect me. If something didn't fit into my bubble I could barely handle it and would have a fit. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I learned to just relax and laugh at myself and once I realized that I was so black and white, I've been able to use this tool as a way of finding more humor in situations and looking at it differently.

Laughing is therapeutic and it brings a smile to your face. See if you can look at whatever you are faced with and laugh at it. Find some way to smile even though it seems huge and daunting or you feel like you need to stuff it in a compartment.

And even more, laugh at yourself when you feel those old habits starting to control your perception. Then pause and breathe again.

Try One New Thing a Week- For someone who see in black and white, trying new things can be challenging because is disrupts your way of handling the world in a concise and peaceful way. Trying something new, even if it is small, will open up your mind to new ways of seeing and feeling. For example, I am a morning person. I like to get up early because I've always told myself  that this is when I do my best work, feel the most clear-headed, and I've told myself that repetitively over the years. This prevented me from doing a lot of things that involved staying up late because then I'd either sleep in or feel sleep deprived and not be able to work well. I created this little world where I thought I could only work well in the morning and if I couldn't do it at that time then I just wouldn't do it at all. Recently I realized that this was just another compartment or another story that I had created and I have been challenging myself to sit down in the afternoon and work, even for fifteen minutes. And guess what, it's been totally working.

By giving myself small little goals, like fifteen minutes, I'm able to see that I can actually work well throughout the day, regardless of the time. So start small but try one new thing a week.

____________________________________________________________

By seeing the world in black and white you are really only making room for two viewpoints but by seeing with color, anything is possible. It wont happen over night but by following the simple steps I've laid our for you, small changes will start to happen and new opportunities will come your way. Before you know it, you see the world in color and your need to compartmentalize with slowly start to diminish.

I'd love to hear from you. Have you ever been told you are have a black and white perception? Do you want to try to see the world in more color? Share in the comments below or email me personally.

Don't forget to sign up for The Savoury Soul newsletter! You can SIGN UP HERE to get exclusive tips and trick for living a healthier life and incredible plant-based, whole food recipes delivered directly to your inbox!