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“One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ~Bob Marley

There is no doubt what a healing agent music is. The instant I play my favorite music, my mood is elevated and I am instantly motivated to tackle the worst of chores or problems. I often want to share my favorite songs but then I talk my self out of it as music is such a personal experience. One song can bring joy to one, yet trigger another to despair or anger. As I am on a mission to heal and not harm, I err on the side of caution.

Very early in my relationship with my partner, we would debate on what is good music. He was big on the technicality and diversity of music where as I strongly felt that no one has the right to judge what music is good or bad for another. I believe that what ever music moves you, gets you to sing, dance, smile, or at the very least, get you to forget your suffering for a few moments, then that is good music.  With all the suffering we have in the world, the last thing I want to do is judge another for something that brings them joy. We need more safe places to process and express negative thoughts and feelings and music is the ultimate medium.

Music has kept people alive and given hope through out civilizations and horrendous periods of time like the during the Holocaust and slavery. I have started a YouTube station of all my favorite songs throughout my life  and my son asked why so many of my songs were depressing. I told him because I was suffering from depression and those songs saved me. To know that someone else could express how I was feeling, validated my pain and made me feel I was not alone. As I healed, I discovered the moments I would break out in song and dance are my purest expressions of happiness…

Happiness is

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2013/12/17/health-benefits-music/4053401/

 

#ChildAbusePrevention #SexualAssaultAwareness *Trigger Warning*
It seems on a regular basis, there are certain sexual abuse and molestation stories that make headlines, one’s that finally get people’s attention. Truth be known that every 107 seconds, someone in the US is sexually assaulted (see https://www.rainn.org/statistics). The statistics are worse worldwide. These statistics do not surprise me, I am actually more alarmed that many others are surprised. Our society is a petri dish for sexual abuse. Sex is a basic physiological need. Healthy sexual development begins at day one of life. Our society tends to shame and repress our natural desires of sexual expression. So what do we do when we are not allowed to find healthy ways to express ourselves, we hide it and seek out any opportunity we can get no matter how wrong it may be. Next, we will take advantage of vulnerable people to get our needs met. On top of this, we have a double edge sword in our society where we “train” children, our most precious and vulnerable, that they must obey authority figures and they have no rights to say “No.” Then we neglect to teach children how to tune in and listen to their gut/intuition/heart/inner voice, let alone the skills to assert themselves in any context.

For more examples of this, check out: http://everydayfeminism.com/2017/04/ways-we-ignore-childrens-agency/#.WO-xaW7ZzO0.facebook

Sexual expression is a very complex and sensitive issue because even though we have been trained to feel mentally or morally wrong in most situations, it is fundamentally a physiological need so it still feels good physically. It is not enough to have the one ‘big talk’ or random assertion that “You should have no one touch you” and “to tell mom or dad if someone does”. It is a constant open dialogue in small teachable moments throughout life. It is in the subtle messages you send via your choice of words, clothes, media, and so on. Although it angers me how ignorant people are to these messages or that children are having sex and that trusted adults are molesting children everywhere, I understand why we ignore the signs. To accept that this is going on in your city, your school, and even worse, your family would mean that you have to accept the responsibility that this went on without your awareness. Of course, it is easier to be in denial, it is a natural defense mechanism as who would want to take any responsibility for suffering.
And the common reactions of when these stories of sexual abuse make headlines, “Yay, let’s string ’em by their balls and make them suffer” or “They should rot in jail!” make me feel sadder. For me, those reactions are just as violent as the crimes themselves, ignore the root problems, and no one can heal. I was given inappropriate attention since I can first remember, I was molested by a neighbor and sexually harassed on a regular basis whilst attending a catholic school. These events had led to traumatic consequences and emotional scars that I am still healing. Yet, I forgive every one of the boys and men who used me as an object and no longer wish ill on them. I know that they were doing the best with the resources they had. I do not blame them as we live in a culture that promotes sexual abuse. I choose to be part of the solution. I empower, educate, and support people to find healthy, respectful, and non-violent ways to get their needs met.
Here are a few links to get you started:

http://birdsandbeesandkids.com/

http://somesecrets.info/blog/2013/12/29/how-to-educate-your-child-in-body-safety

http://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/

http://coreparentingpdx.com/2013/sex-can-your-kids-really-talk-to-you/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joyce-mcfadden/things-little-girls-need-from-their-fathers_b_3348956.html

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/parents/resources-for-parents

Books

Talking with Your Child About Sex: Questions and Answers for Children from Birth to Puberty by Mary S. Calderone and James W. Ramey

Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs about Sexuality, Love, and Relationships: Everything YOU Need To Know Before Middle School! by Amy Lang

10 Conversations to Have with your Teen about Sex, Dating & Relationships by Dr. Pepper Schwartz

Would you purposely hit your car’s engine with a hammer?

Would you throw your Ipad out the window?

Would you shake your working TV till it breaks?

Would you rip up your holy books?

We have all probably hit (or at the very least clenched our fists to) some inanimate object.  Whether it be the vending machine that ate our money, or the car because it stopped working, or the classic “punching the wall” scenario for just about anything.

There is a common denominator in all these situations: something did not work the way we expected it to. This disappointment quickly turns to fear that this will never work again or give us what we need, then frustration hits us, anger settles, rage takes over and flooding the rational part of our brain. We the unconsciously react with a fight response, as if our livelihood is being threatened.

It is against the law to destroy the American Flag and blasphemous to destroy the Bible. If you strike another human being you are arrested for an assault. Yet parents have the right to hit their child, our most vulnerable and precious gift, from God none the less. People even cite the Bible to defend this so-called disciplinarian approach.

I guess if the definition of discipline is to teach like Jesus did to his disciples, “spanking,” is teaching children. It is teaching them…teaching that when you feel out of control (i.e. people not behaving how you want them to or think they should be) that you can hit them to do what you want them to do.  Then magically they are supposed to learn not to hit, or they will get punished for hitting the person who has more power and control. Ironically, “hitting” is the lack of control of one’s physical, mental, and emotional capabilities.

I can see how spanking seems to “work” as the child will eventually submit and comply out of fear and desperation. Yet spanking destroys so much more than eyes can see as well as significantly impacts brain development and relational integrity. I also understand that anyone who spanks is really doing the best they can with the resources they have. We must consider the resources that were given (or beat in-) to them, and so on. If we react with blame, shame, and punishment, then we continue to strengthen the fear-based brain connections. We must find more resources to respond with love and trust as well as reduce toxic stress for all humankind to transcend the grips of fear and violence. Fortunately, the easiest and most effective tools are free to everyone: DEEP BREATHS, ears to LISTEN, arms to HUG.

Now, I can barely scratch the surface of this issue in this post but hopefully, empathy, compassion, and love will prevail.  If you are interested in some non-violent information or research on how physical punishment harms, here are some links:

http://acestoohigh.com/

stopspanking.org/research

https://www.cnvc.org/

http://www.childtrauma.org/index.php/articles

http://www.beyondconsequences.com/

http://www.nopunish.net/pwp-ch1.htm

http://www.wavetrust.org/

http://alvaradoconsultinggroup.com/

http://www.teach-through-love.com/

http://www.nospank.net/

http://www.kindredcommunity.com/2006/11/how-culture-shapes-the-developing-brain-and-the-future-of-humanity/

Oh, and my hunch is no one one would purposely (consciously) hit or break their working technological devices nor destroy their patriotic and religious artifacts they believe in.  We lose control when we are under stress and do not know what to do. Maybe we can empathize with children’s stress when they are acting out.  What are we really afraid of…our children’s future?… failing as a parent?…losing control?

Would you please be open to seeing life through your child’s’ eyes or remember how you felt when you were a child?

Would you please become conscious of your reactions and learn some new resources or skills so our children can learn respectful, healthy ways to communicate needs and process negativity or stress?

Would you please let go of fears and control for how you think things should be and just BE (a) PRESENT?

Our children’s minds, bodies, and souls are always working, very hard in fact. Would you please believe in and nurture them?

 “I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heals our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other.”          ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

This quote soothes my insecurities, yet I continue to have an internal conflict… You see for me, EVERYONE matters: every thought, feeling, action has meaning and is valid. I care tremendously about the well-being of others. The slightest glare, ambivalent gesture, negative vibration, or discomfort feels like a punch to the gut as well as triggers fears and defense mechanisms. The mere thought of any soul suffering from my negligence, pains me.

So everyday, I walk a fine line of taking full responsibility for my actions, thoughts, and feelings whilst mindfully observing how they may filter out onto others. I realize now that I do not deserve to suffer as much as I do and by no means am I responsible for all the pain that occurs in my world. Sadly, it took me decades to figure this out, as I felt cursed much of my  life. Faithfully, I now know I am blessed with great awareness, sensitivity, and empathy, and these gifts are in a sense, my super powers .

I still get pulled under by the waves of emotion, other’s influences, and flooded with negative tapes and reactions. I take deep breaths and filter the negative thoughts through positive, healing ones. I usually read from one of my bibles like the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Here is  my most comforting chapter:

Those on the Way of Tao, like water
need to accept where they find themselves;
and that may often be where water goes to the lowest places, and that is right.

Like a lake the heart must be calm and quiet
having great depth beneath it.

the sage rules with compassion,
and his word needs to be trusted.

the sage needs to know like water
how to flow around the blocks
and how to find the way through without violence.

Like water, the sage should wait
for the moment to ripen and be right:

water, you know, never fights 

it flows around without harm.

I am water. I will flow with all the emotions and circumstances without violence. I understand that just as my negative behaviors are a sign of internal stress and negativity for me to process, I accept that everyone else’s negativity is a reflection of where they are on their journey.  I am a medium for processing suffering and experiencing  joy and peace. I empower other’s innate resources. I trust the divine in you and me to see this as an opportunity for growth and connection. I will do my best to respond with unconditional love and respect because EVERYONE MATTERS, including myself.


Click on Everyone Matters… to read beautiful words by Bruce Scott of http://www.brucescott.rg 

The energy we choose to direct at our children (and all living things) will be absorbed and reflect back out. This process is dynamics and rapid especially when you consider the following:

  • Children are processing most information using theta and alpha brain waves which allows all data coming into all senses to enter the brain unconsciously like in an hypnotic trance see http://www.renewal.ca/nlp55.html
  • Our bodies our comprised of 75-85% water and water has been shone to crystallized into beautiful flowing shapes when messages of love are expressed toward it or disjointed and darkened when messages of hate are expressed  http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/aug1/consciouswater.html
The saddest part for me is that much of  our systems (e.g. schools, legal, medical, families) are based on fear and power to negatively control individuals to obey a higher, authoritarian figure (hence not God/Tao/Spirit i.e.). The punishments, deprivations, and negative labels create victims, abusers, dis-ease, and conflict whilst inhibiting our innate resources and unique talents.
Many of the so called negative behaviors we are trying to stop are actually qualities we would want in our leaders, our bosses, our partners, or of by-standers of a crime…don’t we want people to share their feelings and stand up for what they believe in? If we believe in humanity, our country, our family, our selves then wouldn’t we be standing up for each other? Wouldn’t shining a light on everyone’s behaviors cultivate positivity and prosperity for all?
Look at the positive side of a negative behavior
                                                   * Believe good intentions * Avoid criticism and blame * Appreciate something, anything

 You’ will be amazed what shines.

Here’s an awesome list to get you started:

Thank you DARE to be You and Dr David MacPhee for giving me this handout a decade ago before I had kids;-)

I can handle anything.

Everything that needs to be done will get done

             …when it needs to be.

Let go, fear less, and LOVE more.

Today is a present, open it with curiosity and joy.

I am acutely aware of the toxins that run through my cells. I am hyper-sensitive to suffering and tension. I can feel pain a generation away. I can sense dissention in the most subtle expression.

I use to absorb all this negative energy. It made me hate myself and everything I touched. I was terrified to share my true thoughts and feelings. I condemned myself and built a wall. Silence was my defence.

Thank God, Tao, Mother Nature and Loving Touch that I have found my voice. I can now speak for the voiceless. I am a weaver of  love, hope, and faith. I have found a way to share the pain, stir conscience and reflect brilliance. In all chaos awaits beauty.

With all my research on brain development, I have learned that I do not have as many “filters”/templates within my brain chemistry to block out all the stimuli (i.e sounds, smells, feelings). I am constantly taking in so much data in any given moment. So a few years ago, I came up with a few affirmation statements to filter my thoughts, behaviors, and feelings through. My son had drawn a rainbow that I had hanging on our refrigerator and I took it down to proclaim the following:

I can handle anything.

Everything that needs to be done will get done

             …when it needs to be.

Let go, fear less, and LOVE more.

Today is a present, open it with curiosity and joy.

I put it back on my fridge and read it every time my chest tightens, my voice raises, the negative tape overrides, or when my kids act out. I refuse to pass on anymore negative energy onto my children. There is enough suffering in the world to endure. I choose to give them a safe space to express all their thoughts, feelings, and emotions so the sun’s warmth may be appreciated and a rainbow, their light have the opportunity to  manifest.

Here is what this random creation looks like which now rests in my binder as I travel. I periodically added new messages that my body, mind, and soul needed to hear when I get triggered.

I thank a past therapist who listened to my ramblings and gave me many resources, one being a website for a highly sensitive person: http://www.hsperson.com/

I have had a unique relationship with Anxiety my whole life. Anxiety affects just about every facet of life, especially sleeping. For as long as I could remember, I had trouble falling asleep. I would lie awake for hours worrying, and replays of my past experiences and decisions taunted me. In 2005, it got even worse; I would wake up in the middle of night and could not fall back to sleep. I complained that it was my stressful job and my partner watching TV at bed time. I desperately needed to sleep and wanted my job and my partner to change.  Anxiety continued to sabotage my sleep.

Step 1: I had to accept that my job is stressful and that I cannot control other people’s reactions/behaviors.

Step 2: I had to take responsibility for getting my own needs met.

I finally dragged myself back into therapy and my therapist recommended listening to an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing; cick here to learn more: http://www.emdr.com/briefdes.htm) CD which plays soothing sounds that alternate playing in each ear to mimic REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Guess what I told her? … “I tried that, it didn’t work.” I did try it two times about a year before. I had put my boom box on my bed (very uncomfortable) and then the CD started skipping at song 4. She said she’d make me a new copy of the CD and I could go buy a portable CD player.

Easy solution right?

Step 3: TRUST

Well, I am a frugal person so I mulled over buying a portable CD player for a couple weeks. My husband didn’t think it was necessary purchase. I thought of all the things he buys that seem frivolous to me and decided to trust my therapist’s suggestion to buy one. Suffering from anxiety of course, I stood in front of the CD players for 20 minutes and still couldn’t decide. I even had to call my sister for advice on which player to get (I am 30 year woman at this point).

Step 4: Put my words into action and implement plans.

I finally bought one for $30, which of course I felt guilty about. I put in the batteries and new EMDR CD to go to bed only to find out that the CD is not working properly; the music was not alternating between ears. I complained to my husband and he suggested maybe the headphones are not in stereo. So he finds me another pair from around the house. It worked!!! I had to listen to the CD twice but I did fall asleep peacefully. When I woke up in the middle of the night and listened to it, and it soothed me again but then I ran into another hurdle…because I was using batteries, the player ran out of power right as I was falling asleep. A few days later, I had no more batteries to replace with. I kept buying more and more batteries but they ran out so quickly. I was so irritated and ready to give up…

Step 5: Love myself through trial and error!!! Give myself permission to feel exasperated and believe in success.

So I told myself: That I can work through this. I know this will work. I have to keep trying.

For a couple weeks I kept trying different power adaptors around the house. On my 4th attempt about 2 weeks later, I found a working adaptor. Eureka!!! I was able to fall asleep …except the bulkiness of the headphones limited my sleeping positions. I complained again. My husband found me a pair ear buds.

Finally, after 20 years I was able to fall asleep with no problems and sleep through the night. The progress was gradual and rocky. I needed to listen to the entire CD a couple times to fall asleep and would still awake in the middle of the night. Then I got to fall asleep after one time through the CD and didn’t wake up in the middle of the night. Eventually, it got to where I’d fall asleep during the first song. After about 3 weeks of listening to the CD every night, I could fall asleep with out it. I changed a problematic behavior and situation in two months with no drugs. Now, I only use it once in a while. It took a heavy dose of: acceptance, taking responsibility, trust; commitment to act with perseverance, unconditional love, and support from people who genuinely care about my needs.

Whilst my son and I worked on a Christmas gift for his dad, I had to take a break to help my daughter to sleep. My son waited patiently and his mind began to reflect in the silence. I heard him start to cry and whimpered, “I’m afraid of what will happen to me when I die…I hope I die in my sleep.” I began to cry with him as I validated his worries and explained that up til a few years ago, I was afraid of dying too and that most people have the same fear. I described that the death of his sister really helped me to face my fears as well as realise that my greatest fear was leaving him and his sister in a world of pain and misery, that they’d be robbed of a mother’s unconditional love. It was during this awareness that I decided to dedicate my life to creating peace and love in the world so in the time of my death, my children would be surrounded in the love and light I had cultivated.

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Symbolically, on the same day of this conversation with my son, we received word that our dear friend on the other side of the world had chosen to end his life. The waves of grief were upon my family that holiday. A picture, a memory, a song triggered a wave. Sometimes the waves came fast and others slow.  Sometimes the wave felt in the hue of disbelief, or in sadness, and even in anger. All the waves validate the loss of a life source; the giddy laugh and bear hugs we miss.

Even more symbolically, about 2 months before this loss, my son was starting a new adventure: an experiential bio-dynamic farming and life learning group atop the island we live on. It had 360 degree views of the ocean, seemingly endless fields and bush country.  It is a Maori custom to give a gift to the land that you will work. This is done by choosing a treasured item and burying it in the land.  On separate occasions, both my partner and I thought of giving one of the heart-shaped, rose-quartz stones our dear friend gave to us as a wedding gift in 1999. When the day came to bury the stone, I felt a bit of sadness separating the hearts. I had read another Maori tradition is to hold a specific stone, put all your worries into it and bury it. My son and I held the heart stone and unloaded our worries. I wept as I handed my son stone to take.

When the waves of grief hit, parts of me wished I would have called our friend to share the story of the stone so just maybe we could have given his worries to the stone and buried his pain instead of him…What if his landlord would have allowed dogs so my sweet dog could have been his best friend…What if we connected with him when I ran across the envelope he sent 7 music CDs in… I know as the what if’s go on and on, that this fate was already dealt into the cards and his poker face we enjoyed too much. I have learned another painful lesson of how important it is to listen to my gut and risk reaching out, no matter how far or disconnected you may be.

I understand that an accumulation of many toxins played together to fuse this tragedy. Having personally considered this same end many times, I can also see that sadly this could have be the most “gratifying” end from his perspective as it ended the pain, the mental and emotional torment and he could feel in control, his fate in his hands. May he finally be able to see his brilliant reflection in all the tears and thoughtful actions of his loved ones. May everyone with breath left find the courage to share the pain, discover the inherent value we all have regardless of what life gives us, and use our  power to chose love instead of fear.

I am grateful my son is sharing his fears with me and continually processing his thoughts on pain and death. Every painful exchange with my children is a gift and opportunity to practice sharing negative feelings and grow together.

On Pain from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

source http://www.katsandogz.com/onpain.html

Benjamin-Pinterest-waves-872x675

Here are some links of grief:

http://helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

http://www.childrensgrief.net/info%20-%20helping%20children%20with%20grief%20issues.htm

“there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, of humanity itself, till philosophers are kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands, while the many natures now content to follow either to the exclusion of the other are forcibly debarred from doing so. This is what I have hesitated to say so long, knowing what a paradox it would sound; for it is not easy to see that there is no other road to happiness, either for society or the individual.” ~Plato

A form of this quote appeared in the documentary, The Philosopher Kings which is described as an “an exploration of wisdom in the heart of America’s most prestigious universities. Wisdom is found in the most unlikely places.”  I had no expectations of this movie and was  blown away. I knew I was in for it when I started to cry at the sight of a grown man having created an exact replica of the Mystery Machine.

The picture that will forever be in my heart was toddlers in Haiti having to eat dirt cookies to satisfy their hunger pains. Yes, cookies made of dirt. Now sadly, these may be more nutritious than the processed cookies found in most super markets but still dirt cookies. And they even had to pay five cents for one because they couldn’t even afford rice. I tried explaining this to my seven year old and he couldn’t understand not affording rice. He said, “But rice is so cheap!” On top of this, a man had moved to US to work 2 full time jobs to support his family in Haiti. This man breaks down in tears because he feels he isn’t doing enough to help his people. I could feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and blown away by how much one man can do.

This film came from a Spiritual Cinema movie. I highly recommend checking out their service: http://www.spiritualcinemacircle.com/our-inspirational-movies

When I first saw this slide it was titled “Love based parenting vs Fear based parenting.” It displayed vividly the continuum I have felt in my heart, the dichotomy that exists in our society, and the constant conflict I face when I show others love based interventions. It is impossible to believe they truly work when you are in the grips of fear and perpetually stressed. One is constantly being triggered into a reactionary state when our stress buckets are full and our vital needs are neglected. Taking deep breaths and becoming mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and actions helps us slow down and choose an appropriate loving and respectful RESPONSE to relieve stress and get every one’s needs met. Feeling safe is VITAL for optimal growth and connection. Choose LOVE, please.

click link for full webinar from Dr Bryan Post and Helen Timpone: http://www.postinstitute.com/PostU/webinar.pdf

Read book From Fear to Love http://postinstitute.com/hope.php?p=DW1&w=feartolove

For more about ocytocin read: http://www.amazon.com/Oxytocin-Factor-Tapping-Hormone-Healing/dp/0738207489

https://compassiondw.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/relieve-stress-with-oxytocin/

 

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