Reflections and 10 Skills for Healing Body Shame

This blog is intended for women. I am not excluding men, gender fluid or non-gendered identifying people from the topic if it resonates with your experience. No matter what, we all experience body shame and my focus on women is purely due to feeling called to be specific in this blog. Apologies in advance for any unconscious generalizations that could show up in these words. I do make conscious general commentary regarding women, based upon history.

The truth is, I don’t know one women who does not feel shame for her body on some level from severe to mild. I don’t know one woman who does not criticize her fat this or that, her wrinkled this or that, the sagging neck or jaw, the ass that isn’t there, the boobs that are no longer perky, the aging body, the fat body, the misshaped body, on and on…

Me included and I have worked hard to heal. My intention is to weave my personal commentary into this collective epidemic of body shame.

Shame rises up for the body for being too much, not enough, aging, and flawed for every woman I know because women have long been expected to be beautiful, sexual objects for a very long time. If women are not expected to show their beauty or flaunt sexuality than they are expected to hide it. This blog is not intended to be a history lesson. Just a quick summary of what we are all aware of…

The mind grabs hold of shame and turns it into different stories.

Some minds put off happiness, relationships, sex, or self love until the weight is lost, the health is fixed, the cleanse is complete, and until the body looks good according to the expectations we have been conditioned to believe are sexy, pretty, appropriate, and healthy.

This is not to say that there isn’t any truth in health and beauty expectations stemming from some root of reality. Perhaps some eyes like sinewy lines. Perhaps some excess fat creates health issues sometimes. But not for every pair of eyes or every body. Some bodies are perfectly healthy in a larger size than the expectation. Some shapes appear sexier when not conforming to the hour glass or twiggy versions. The variety is lost on us when expectations turn into rigid belief systems that constantly are conditioned generation after generation.

Another aspect is that women are conditioned to find the bulk of our self worth in what a man thinks of our value as a sexual and beautiful woman. This may not be the case as much in the LGBTQIA community though I imagine it runs through every community and may be less prominent in communities where people have been forced to break free from conditioned ideas of what is right and good, in order to survive. Being outcasted and treated unjustly, as in the LGBTQIA community, usually leads the soul to more depth, compassion, and openness in all ways.

I also want to mention that many men feel body shame too but their conditioned standards are much more forgiving on the whole from a collective perspective. A man can look distinguished with wrinkles and cute with a belly. Most men don’t wear make up to accentuate their face. Their handsomeness and sexual attractiveness has more leeway to be connected to their actions, mind, and presence, especially as they age. Just to give a picture here, imagine society with men dressed as women and women dressed and as men. You can get the point when you see this in your mind.

I like to think of famous awards ceremonies where the women are stuffed into dresses like beautifully wrapped Christmas presents hugging their curves up on stilts for heels sucking in their tummies while the men walk around in the same natural fitting tuxedo outfit and comfortable shoes like a bunch of penguins. I don’t mean to say anything negative about anyone walking down a red carpet. My commentary is purely on the social expectations of beauty and worth.

This isn’t to say men and women don’t have differences either. We do and it’s great. Differences are wonderful and needed. It’s ok to honor differences and not try to make every human being the exact same prototype. Variety is important and spices up life. I am only calling out where the balance has been lost between men and women. Where women are so conditioned to be pretty sexy objects that look like the female magazine model and men are given the grace to stray from the male magazine model and be handsome for a variety of physical expressions and his inner qualities too.

We are so conditioned that we have become the judge of ourselves, holding ourselves to impossible and rigid body expectations. Even if you don’t care about how you appear to others, you may still care how you appear to yourself without understanding that your preferences are not your own. You may be heavily conditioned by your mother, father, and friends as well by society, since birth and through the bloodline. The conditioning is everywhere and has been going on for thousands of years even if the specifics have changed a little through the generations.

Another way the mind can grab onto shame is to avoid the body. Many of us live dissociated from the body. We can’t feel the negative effects of shame hurting the body. We do not sense the toxic effects of putting too much or the wrong food and drink into the body or the negative effects of not getting the right nourishment and movement for the body. Avoidance can look like wearing only sweats and baggy clothes when really you would love to dress differently deep down. Sexual avoidance is very real and this can be conscious or unconscious. You can think you want sexual intimacy but unconsciously push it away at the same time.

Sexual expression is a fundamental human need and pleasure that has been exploited completely by religion and the media in a highly contrasted fashion. Either you should feel ashamed of your sexual body or you should look like Marylin Monroe and be a sexual kitten. The former is more about shaming your desires and the latter is more about shaming what you look like. The former is more about putting the moral soul above the amoral body and the latter is more about needing to fit into one very strict prototype of a body that is impossible for most people. Whether it be the Marylin body, the yoga body, the model body, the strict prototype is that we must be thin and either have curves or no fat.

I want to share that I know body shame more than any other shame. I have been obese in my lifetime and grew up the chubby kid who was always teased.  I put on a lot of extra weight due to coping with childhood trauma. I healed through the years and let the excess weight go and I am still many sizes above the expected beauty norm in our society. My body has been the place where psychological pain has expressed the most. Food addiction became my escape hatch and this is another method to avoid shame. Addiction is the number one way for the mind to escape shame.

You can be addicted to food and put on too much weight than what is balanced for your body or be addicted to dieting/working out and have just as much shame being a size four. Eating disorders are rampant in our culture as a result. Truth is, every body has a natural size and shape it wants to be from teeny to huge. We don’t need to glorify thin and shame fat. We don’t need to heal by glorying fat and shaming thin. Healing is allowing the variety to return and self-sovereignty over one’s body to be restored.

I am not afraid to share my story anymore but I used to be. I have worked hard on myself to heal body shame and I have approached healing from two angles, internal and external. From the internal angle I have found self love for exactly how my body looks in the present, flaws, fat, sags, wrinkles, and all. I also have an autoimmune disease that presents in very ugly skin eruptions. I found much acceptance and love for the way this disease attacks my body.

From the external angle, I have healed shame by losing weight, getting in shape, and being committed to my yoga practice. I was carrying more weight than what was right for my body due to food addiction, which is why losing weight was healing for me though losing weight may not be needed for every body to heal. Getting in shape brings me a lot of joy which is healing. My yoga practice connects me to my body each day and this is the crux of body healing for me. I do think every body benefits from mind body connection as it is our birthright to be whole and connected creatures.

I have made friends with shame along the way. I am not free of it but shame is greatly reduced and when I do feel it, I bring love and radical acceptance to the shame knowing that if I do so it will leave my body. Shame is a passing chemical storm. It is not who you are. And you can feel just as much shame being the body society promotes all the way to being the body society rejects. Doesn’t matter. Shame is not logical and it is not rooted in reality.

Learning how to meet shame with love and release shame from the body is the key to health, balance, and self love. True beauty is making peace with all of who you are body, mind, heart, and soul. But it’s hard because we are hooked on comparing ourselves, feeling bad about our bodies, and trying to meet society’s beauty expectations again and again. What has been most conditioned is the hardest to change.

To overcome body shame and feel self love for the body requires a commitment. Kind of like a marriage commitment. The reason why I say this is because it’s too alluring to slip into body shame and believe it, again and again. It only takes a moment to slip and fall into a shame spiral that acts like quick sand once in. Healing from shame sometimes requires a fight but more than often requires skill and dedication.

One skill is to utilize love and not confuse love with like. I may not like the skin eruptions I can get with my autoimmune disease but I can love the eruptions. Using the marriage metaphor, you can learn to accept your partner’s traits that irritate you because you love them unconditionally even though you may not like certain things about them. Love your body the same way. Just like a relationship, every body has its pretty and ugly parts or parts you like and do not like. This is ok.

Love is not about liking all the time. Love often loves what is does not like. This is hard to understand or put into words because love is a felt experience and not a logical equation. Body love is felt and the feeling grows with skill and dedication. This love versus like skill applies to body size and shape too. You may not like your body size or shape but you can love your body size and shape.

Some people carry more weight than the beauty standard and enjoy how they look and some don’t. You can work on your size and shape if you want to change it but are you doing it from a place of love or as a way to avoid feeling shame? This difference is important because if changing your body is motivated by shame you will never love your body no matter what you look like.

Changing from a place of love is the healthy route. This goes for any aspect of the body’s appearance. Sometimes accepting what you don’t like about your body’s appearance, that you could change, is the healthiest and most loving route. But to even have the choice between changing and not changing your body requires self love. If you do not love your body you will feel like you do not have a choice. You will feel victim to shame or your mind will tell a story that you must lose weight (or whatever it is) to be healthy, pretty, good, or valued.

So it gets complicated…

Having an autoimmune disease has taught me a lot about accepting my body when I don’t like aspects of it. Nothing screams shame like horrifying and unsightly skin eruptions. In my most noble moments, I feel this condition is in service to my work as a therapist because I have been forced to learn how to love and release shame to the extreme.

If you live with acceptance and love for your body you will live in the present, stay connected to body, and you will be more inclined to move and feed your body in the way your specific body truly needs. You will be more likely to let an intimate partner into your life, you will be more motivated to dress in a way you enjoy, you will be less judgmental of others, and you will experience more peace.

I feel that it is the responsibility of every woman to try to love and accept her body more so that we can change the beauty expectations and society’s conditioning over time. It’s not just for yourself you are healing for, it is for every women and every child. It is to bring more equality to women in this world. It is to bring more equality to everyone in this world.

Women can look refined with wrinkles too. Our bellies can be cute. We can be large or thin, flat or big chested, have a butt or no butt, wear make up or not, on and on, and we can be valued by society as healthy and beautiful if we make it a responsibility to own our self worth and body love within, first.

One thing I have learned on my path of healing is that even though it’s not my fault for what happened to me or how I got conditioned, it is still up to me to heal. This is the harsh truth of life for us as humans. Even if you have been truly victimized by another, by society, or in the world, you are the only one who can heal yourself. When you heal yourself, you heal everyone.

I want to share what I did to release shame and love my body because maybe it will help you too.

  1. I made the commitment to myself. I did this by creating a ritual on the new moon, calling in the directions and to the transpersonal forces in my own way, I asked for help and said my vows out loud. This was my marriage ceremony to my body.
  2. I began doing yoga naked in front of a full length mirror. This was very hard! I had so much shame in the beginning but I kept doing it anyway and asking the transpersonal to help me see my shape and size with loving eyes. Wouldn’t you know it, it worked. I began to see myself with authentic loving eyes and to have acceptance around parts I did not like. I still do naked yoga because it has become very enjoyable connecting to my body this way. Our society tends to over-sexualize the naked body but let us break that mold. The naked body is our innocence and creature self in raw form. You can try a practice of looking into a full length mirror naked once a day for a few minutes. I recommend asking spirit to help you see with loving eyes. Stick with it. This took me a few months before my perception shifted and shame lifted.
  3. I began mindful eating no matter what that looks like, meaning I can mindfully eat quickly with robust vigor as much as I might eat mindfully slow and methodical but the point is to be aware I am eating and enjoy the food. Thank the food. Thank my robust appetite. Thank my belly for digesting my food which is really number four.
  4. Giving gratitude to the body for it’s functioning. Thank you body for digesting my food, for my walking legs, my eyes that see…you get the idea. Take some time to think about all your body is doing for you and give it thanks. Give thanks for your body allowing you to be here alive on this planet.
  5. Radical acceptance. This one simple skill is hard to achieve and all you need to meet shame with love. I learned how to move through the shame by giving it space to express itself without fear. Learn to not fear shame. When shame rises up know that it is nothing more than a chemical storm coursing through your body. It is not who you are. When it rises up, notice shame as a sensation in the body and radically accept its existence just like you might accept a storm passing through your town. Shame will pass. Shame will leave the body when it is given non-resistance.
  6. Find the movement you love. I found yoga. I love doing ashtanga yoga. When I do it, I feel like myself. I feel open, free, peaceful. It’s not fun per se, but it makes me feel whole and balanced. I also found fun body movement in walking and other random activities such as swimming and being on a boat feeling the water move my body ever so slightly. It’s not just movement, it’s how your body feels. I love the way my body feels when the sun shines on bare skin, when I step into a hot shower, when I slide into clean sheets. Find all the little body joys. Every day.
  7. Stop looking at triggers like fashion mags or anything that seduces you into the comparing mind. I refused to pic up fashion magazines in the beginning stages of my healing journey because they made me feel not good enough. Now I can flip through them without being triggered but it took time. Know your limits. Honor your limits. Reduce triggers as much as you can until love starts to take over and shame is released enough. You will get stronger, I promise. It isn’t weak to know and honor your limits. It is smart and healthy.
  8. Be consistent with your practices. This is the hardest lesson of all but absolutely necessary. I have this skill down with ease now but it took a few years of pushing myself to do what I don’t feel like doing over and over. You can not listen to your feelings and do the thing anyway. Get on the mat. Go for a walk. Say the gratitudes. Eat mindfully. Look into the mirror naked. Do the things.
  9. Always call the transpersonal for help. Every morning I say my invocation and ask for spirit to take my body shame and bring me body healing. The transpersonal is real. You can surrender to your higher power. This is not weakness. We are only human. We are not superheroes and this is ok. Our wills are stronger when they are knitted to the whole, to the transpersonal larger forces however you relate to them, religious, spiritual, or nature.
  10. Get into therapy! Of course I say this as therapist, I believe in it. If therapy isn’t your thing than have therapeutic dialogue through diary writing, talking with friends, seeing energy healers to get support, there are many ways. I keep a diary, talk to my spirit guides, and have my support system. Body shame is a big deal and usually very chronic and life long in women. Be patient with yourself. The healing takes time but results are real.

May you find your way to release shame and love your body. I share my experience because maybe I can be of help or inspiration. We are all in this together and the more each one of us heals the more society will reflect balance, love, and true sovereign individualized health. Beauty’s natural variety will return and we will all feel more free, more peaceful and more content.

 

 

5 Skills on the Path of Transformation KO

This blog is addressing five skills you can build when doing the hard work of creating new neural pathways in your brain on your path of transformation. These skills will make you more peaceful, less anxious, more graceful, less self-doubting, more fulfilled, less chasing the dangling carrot, more present, less stuck in the past or future, more equanimous, less victim to the natural dark and light waves that life presents.

These skills may or may not lessen the ebb and flow of intensity in your psyche because a lot of how we roll is our temperament. Some of us roll more passionate, expressive, up and down, reactive and sensitive. This it is not wrong or bad. We all have our natures. Do not waste your energy judging yourself. As a friend just reminded me during one of my own internal storms, it is important be on your own team and treat yourself kindly.  As a former teacher put it poetically, who you are is not a design flaw.

Happiness is a feeling always in flux depending on circumstances. Peace is more sustainable and brings a certain contentment through dark and light times. Grace is learning how to traverse life’s dark and light times with more fluidity and ease. Fulfillment is being aligned with your true self in all your choices. Equanimity is the ability to have distance from your thoughts and feelings and to not identify with them, creating inner balance. Becoming present happens when the inner witness is strong inside.

The following five skills will help you achieve more peace, equanimity, grace, presence, and fulfillment on your path of healing, in service to true self and self growth…

1) Resilience. The reality is that the feelings you try to avoid and run away from inside will never go away. You will either repress them or feel them. You may repress them by being really angry or hurt by another and blaming them so you can avoid taking responsibility for your emotional experience. You may repress them through the spectrum of addiction/enjoyment/distraction with food, shopping, working, looking good, getting attention, drinking, drugging, etc. But when you are on the path of transforming, you face your addictions/dependencies/distractions and feelings start to rise up.

When you stop projecting onto others you also face all the feelings in the shadow rising up to be felt. And not just feelings. Also, the dark personality that copes with the feelings. Such as your super sarcastic bitchy inner queen, or your lazy nihilistic asshole, we all have our shitty personality that helps us cope and repress the feelings in order to survive. These dark personalities may be in the shadow or not. Mine is not in the shadow but I only show her to my close friends. It’s different for everybody but your dark personality has a bunch of beliefs that are false, such as love is not real, life is meaningless, this type of thing…beliefs that help you cope with what hurts or what you do not have.

To build the skill of resilience is to radically accept the dark personality who has helped you cope with life and then to radically accept all the intense hurt and feelings that are hard and scary to feel that the dark personality protects you from feeling. Radical  acceptance of everything you experience will create resilience and resilience gives you the capability to handle life in the dark and light times and especially long periods of darkness such as the dark nights of the soul we all go through.

2) Non-identification: This skill is connected to the practice of mindfulness. The key is to witness the dark personality and all the hard feelings without thinking you are the dark personality or the hard feelings. You may feel like the queen of bitchy sarcastic rage, for instance, but in your mind say, “this is not me”. You may feel extreme anxiety but in your mind you say, “I am not this anxiety”. You need a practice to be able to say these things to yourself and believe it over time.

You can meditate a few different ways. You can sit and do it. You can do it with yoga by connecting breath with movement. You can chant. You can color, draw, or do something with your hands that is repetitive while you witness your thoughts. Or you can do walking meditation.

The key is to be able to witness your thoughts and feelings, not to make them vanish. This builds the witness muscle. Just like building any muscle you get stronger with consistent practice. As you build the witness you can get stronger and better at not identifying with the constant stream of thoughts and feelings coursing through you as well as the many parts of self. We have the dark personality that protects the vulnerable inner kid, we have all the archetypes connecting to self, we have the family system traits, so many parts inside!

To build the skill of non-identification you need to commit to a consistent meditative practice. It is that simple. When you build the witness inside you can stop thinking you are your thoughts and feelings. You begin to free yourself as you grow more resilient to the darkness as you stop identifying with thoughts and feelings.

3) Mind-Body connection. This skill is also rooted in a meditative practice as well but also you connect mind to body through what you consume. We are supposed to be mind-body connected but the split occurs due to the broken world we are born into and our bloodline’s wounds lighting up in the DNA mixed with how we are raised and what we endure. Long story short, we have to find our way back to the natural mind-body connection that is our birthright.

When mind-body are reconnected we feel our feelings in the body and release feelings as they rise up. This keeps us healthy just like pooping out the excess food we eat each day.

When we are mind-body connected we can’t over eat or drink without it hurting and therefor we can’t escape the moment through food, drink, and drugs…we can only use them moderately because body requires balance. When we are connected to body overdoing it feels like crap physically. When we are disconnected from body we can drink five beers or eat a whole bag of chips and not feel any physical discomfort and in fact we may feel great because we are satiating the void. Numbness, dissociation, and de-personalization are all real deals. Connecting mind to body brings the us back into feeling the body’s responses to what we consume and what we truly need in the physical.

It seems by default we all identify with self in the mind and the mind bullies the body.

To build the skill of mind-body connection you need to have the boring practice that you force yourself to do each day. Find your way to the practice right for you. Is it alone or with others? Is it with a video or an app or just creating some space alone?

The other vital way to connect is through food, drink, and everything you put in your body. How much do our minds bully the body? We say, “I love beer,” and identify with being a beer drinker. We say, “I am a chocolate lover” and identify with eating sweets on a regular basis. These are examples. The body may be saying, “ouch my liver,” or “my intestines are growing bacteria and throwing us into disease” and the mind never listens or cares because the self identifies with the things is it consuming while ignoring the body’s needs.

Every body has its own requirements for a diet right for that particular body. Same goes for movement and self-care. What happens if you challenge your mind to listen to body and use that as a practice? Can you notice the cravings instead of giving in to them? Can you tune into your body and take the long road of discovering its best diet and way to stay healthy? Can you release identifying the self with what you consume, radically accept the crappy feelings that rise up when you use restraint and bring the witness to your practice? This will reconnect your mind to your body.

4) Unconditional love. This skill is built through the transpersonal path of connecting self to the divine. The divine does not have to be God, Goddess, or any version of spiritual belief from religious to non-religious. Thoreau connected to nature as his transpersonal force. You can call the transpersonal and see the transpersonal however feels right to you. The understanding is that you are never a disconnected self living in a disconnected word. There is a larger force than you and this larger force can take your burden, your cravings, your confusion, your anger….this force can bring you peace and what you long for deeply, can provide miracle moments, can open doors, make connections, and open up your heart.

You can keep the force as a natural mystery in your mind or hold the force as a God in heaven or a pantheon, it does not matter…but when you cultivate this connection you can begin to access the feeling of unconditional love. This is a natural feeling every human is capable of experiencing. When you feel it you let go of the hurt connected to others and to the self. Letting go does not mean not feeling hurt anymore, it just means that you accept the hurt and you accept those that hurt you, including yourself.

Once you accept the hurt and those who hurt you unconditional love rises up naturally and helps to wash the past away enough to make peace with unfairness, loss and all the vicissitudes of life.  Feeling unconditional is a process. To build the skill of feeling unconditional love is to cultivate your transpersonal relationship just as you would cultivate any relationship in your life. The more intimate you become with the transpersonal the greater your capacity to feel unconditional love and release the suffering in the heart.

Mindfulness helps you distance yourself from suffering. Connecting to the transpersonal transmutes the suffering.

5) Courage. I know it sounds simple but it’s an invaluable skill that takes time to build unless you are one of those naturally courageous people. Most of us aren’t and judge ourselves for it. Instead, let’s radically accept the lack of courage and not identify with this lack.

With courage we can face what we tend to avoid. What we resist persists. If you don’t face your fear of being vulnerable you will continue to hurt others close to you and yourself with your avoidance. If you don’t face your fear of the broken messed up world you will continue to escape reality and grow stagnant and angry. If you don’t face your failing relationship you will continue to endure with a stiff upper lip and false hope while the sensitive one in the relationship or family system will unconsciously feel all of the anxiety you avoid and they will suffer and not understand they are feeling your feelings too. These are just a few examples.

Courage is key. We all avoid pain, doubt. and vulnerability because we are all scared. Courage gives us the quality to face what we fear. You don’t need to have confidence in yourself to have courage either. Courage is not high self esteem. Courage is simply a willingness. If you are willing you can walk through what you fear and show up aligned with your true self.

You can ask the transpersonal to give you courage and it will work. You can also take a pragmatic path to building courage by telling yourself you will do one small scary thing a day and build tolerance in increments. I know for myself, I have a lot of weakness in this area. On my own path to building the skill of courage, I find that asking spirit to give me courage while meeting spirit half way and doing small scary things is the best recipe.

Courage is incredibly transforming because when we face what we avoid we become who we truly are and this sense of fulfillment opens up many new doors within and in the world.

Resilience, Non-identification, Mind-body connection, Unconditional love, and Courage I capitalize in honor of these powerful skills on the path of transformation and healing. These are not easy skills to build nor are they the only skills that matter but they are five potent keys that will change your life and awaken your true self.

Reflection on Past Lives

It doesn’t matter if past lives literally happened or if they are mythological and archetypal stories informing us of the soul’s life. What is real versus what is not real, in terms of esoteric information, cannot be solved by the human mind and empirical means. Our ability to know what constitutes the whole of reality is limited and always will be.

Different pathways of knowing are designed for different knowings. Science, empiricism, logic and reason has its place. Intuition, feelings, imagination, and belief has its place. Both are needed and valid. Knowledge may be discovered in many different ways.

When it comes to spiritual knowledge, people tend to either go on blind faith or felt experience. I always recommend the latter as blind faith tends to create enslaved minds because it is often fear based and a way to give power up to a larger external institution. But felt faith is different. Felt faith is a lived experience of faith and full bodied, placing the power source within.

I believe in past lives because I have remembered many of my own. The memories feel like memories I remember in this life. Ever notice how memory has its own specific feeling?  My memories have come through past life journeys, dreams, and instantaneous sudden awareness. I have been shown signs. I have vomited and cried upon first meeting somebody in this life I have known from past lives. And all the lives I have recalled have all helped me heal.

I could deconstruct every past life I have recalled to sift out the major psychological themes happening in my present life. Meaning, I can turn any past life into a metaphor. Which one is true? Is the past life a metaphor or literal? It doesn’t matter to me. I hold both as true. I have a critical thinker and an esoteric priestess in me. The latter is more my true self and knows past lives are literal. The critical thinker in me is always humbling the priestess by saying, “this may be all in your mind.”

I like to be humbled by the critical mind. Nothing is more falsely seductive and bypassing as a spiritual guru type claiming to have all the answers in their new book, class, technique. The real gurus are the ones hardly saying a word and living off the grid without materialism at all in pure service to humanity. All the rest of us may be wise, psychic, and intuitive healers but we are very human with egos and desires that constantly want to feel needed, valued, and empowered.

Let go of trying to prove something right and as my friend said the other night, “bring it back from the dead with the power of belief.” Belief activates what is in the collective unconscious. Think of it like a vast place as big as space that we all psychically spring from. In this vast space everything exists in essence. The infinite void contains all, contains the multitudes. When you believe in something you resurrect it from dormancy by pulling it up from the collective unconscious infinite void into your waking self where life is lived out loud.

We are supposed to believe in myth. Stories inspire, guide, and heal. Our ancestors pass down their stories through the collective unconscious through patterns of behavior we exhibit, through feelings and desires bigger than our own, and through dreams. Each ancestral life lived a particular story with particular wounds and longings unmet that travel through the DNA hoping to be lived out by the next generation. This is a form of past life too. Our ancestors are our past lives.

The way I see it in my mind is in two axises. The vertical ancestry and the horizontal ancestry. The vertical is the soul’s journey from group soul to individual soul, from starseed to human, from lifetime to lifetime, and from dimension to dimension. The horizontal ancestry is who you are in your earth bloodline of ancestors. Where the two intersect is where the true self roots. We are a verb not a noun. True self is an expression of the vertical and horizontal ancestries living in the present moment.

We are never a separate being plucked from the collective. We are an expression of both ancestries at all times. You have your great great great great grandparents in you, your star home in you, your past lives in you, on and on. You are history living in the now. You are the future living in the now too but let’s not get too trippy in this blog. Who you are is a collective pretending to be an individual. This pretend game is very serious in that spirit aches to express, evolve, grow, and play all the time. Spirit is always alive in the present moment, always dancing. You are spirit dancing.

There are many ways to recover past lives. You can go see a past life regression therapist. I have guided many people into past lives. The guidance is very simple and the basic technique is relaxation of the body to go deep into the unconscious self to recover the life through imagination. The hard part is trusting the imagination. Many people think regressions are where you are not conscious while “going under” but you are conscious. You must trust what your imagination reveals to you because the imagination is the movie showing you the life.

Dreams can reveal a past life too. You may not be literally told in the dream that it is a past life but the scene, the people, and the scenarios may all feel very familiar, vivid, and important. Both journeying/regressing and dreams require trust in the self. This is where I see the most blocks in others. Self doubt. We are so conditioned to only put validity in science and empirical knowing that the intuition and imagination muscles may be weak.

The only way to increase psychic skills is through practice. Practice journeying, practice imagining, practice listening to your feelings and intuitions. Meditate a little bit every day. It takes work and effort like anything else. In our society, the gym and making money hold much more importance because we put more value in the body’s health and appearance and in the status and comfort level of the ego. There’s a grave imbalance. On the other end of the spectrum you have people going on blind faith and believing with no lived experience, no critical thinking, ignoring the body completely and living all for a future place in an after world.

I diatribe but just want to make the point that balance is key. What you focus on grows and what you ignore atrophies. Simple as that. If you want to remember your past lives you need to practice developing your journeying, intuitive, and imaginative skills. Although some people go deep right away when being guided by somebody or self guiding. You might already be gifted and just need to create the space and time to go within and take a journey to remember.

Past lives may be felt when reading or watching something on the screen too. You might be watching a period piece and find yourself crying for no reason. You may be obsessed with a period in history because it is a life you lived. You might detest a period in history. Clues surface all the time when coming into contact with history through entertainment, school, stories from elders, walking through a museum or a library. Trust the feelings. Listen to the feelings. Follow the feelings and allow your imagination to unfurl.

I have uncovered past lives with clients when pulling tarot cards. This happens when the client is already somewhat skilled in using intuition and imagination. Through talking, pulling cards and our mutual intuition, out pours the lifetime. Sometimes I see past lives in others suddenly. When I see the past life of a client I share what I see but I never want to hold more power than they have to know the self. I share with humbleness. Back to the top of this blog, what I see can be used as a healing metaphor only.

This is why I travel back and forth between literal and metaphor, spirit and psychology, the esoteric and critical thinking. Keeps it real. Keeps the ego from inflating and soul from deflating. Keeps the balance. Feel free to share what you see. We are not performing surgery when we share, it’s ok to be wrong or off and to stay playful about the vision. Sharing what you see may be a gift for the other person.

Getting out of the glamor of the esoteric is important because if you sink into the glamor you bypass the healing work. If you are all ablaze with importance because you remembered you were the king of a country, you will bypass the feeling of being insignificant that needs out of the shadow. You can as easily be ego inflamed from a horrifying and sad past life if the ego over-identifies with the wounds it carries, bypassing empowerment trapped in the shadow.

Just like somebody with a beautiful physique may live fully in the attention they receive for their outward appearance, ignoring their inner life, a psychic maven may ignore her lower chakra creature life and live in an inflated sense of importance with her intuitive gifts, the attention this gives her, and the power she feels from helping others. We all have gifts and we all have areas of weakness and the human ego loves to inflate the gift to repress the weakness in order to feel loved, needed, validated, and seen. Not one of us is above the craving for attention and the hunger to be loved and needed.

In astrology you can find your past lives in your south node and Chiron. Some schools find it in Pluto and Saturn too. In my own channels, I find Chiron to reveal the deepest wound carried from past lives, the south node to reveal the past life character wishing to be integrated but not identified with, Pluto to show where the soul feels the most loss from past lives and Saturn to show where the soul feels most limited and challenged due to past life influences.

There are a few lifetimes I have recovered that transformed me through remembering them. They involved meeting the souls I share this life with too. Soulmates are not just romantic. They are siblings, friends, parents, teachers, anyone. Romantic soulmates are very intense because lovers are intense and most closely mirror attachment with parents or caretakers.

The key to healing from past lives is to understand that all feelings that were not let go of and made peace with before death travel with the soul into the next life. This is karma. Guilt, for example, may be traveling with your soul through the vertical ancestry from life to life and be traveling down the horizontal ancestry through the bloodline from the first Grandmother who was oppressed by the patriarchal system. Until guilt is released it will travel with you.

If guilt is traveling with you, the unconscious will create relationships that will make the guilt rise up to the surface to be felt because feeling is healing. To let go we first must feel what needs to be released. If you feel the guilt and choose to accept it without judgement and let it go by not believing the story around it, you set guilt free from the soul. You no longer carry it. You release the karma. This is the key to karmic healing and the point of remembering past lives.

There are many paths to the same place. You can not believe in past lives and never talk about it once and still heal as deeply as somebody doing past life work. Through accessing your feelings in this life you can release all karma and understand yourself fully. It’s all a matter of choice, belief and individual expression.

 

 

 

The Journey of Grief

The inspiration for this blog comes from wanting my journey of grief to inspire and help you on your journey of grief. I want to pioneer more therapists sharing their own life stories and reflections because those of us who have been through it to be a guide for others have much to offer from our personal experience. We can speak in a universal way in order to connect with others on the healing path and to release muck from the collective unconscious.

On January 9th it will be one year since my mother passed away. The experience of her death is a treasure in my memory as my sisters and I sent my mother into death with our words and comforting presence. A rare opportunity. This was my first experience of sending a human into death. I did this with a doggie and the feeling was similar. Peaceful. My mother was not scared to die. She was ready and trusting. She felt spirit and soul to be real, not in a religious way, in a way she could feel on a personal level. Her felt experience gave her inner peace. She was only scared of the actual passing moment and she called her daughters to be witness and help her transition.

Although the few days she was in a coma prior to dying were two of the hardest days of my life, I am beyond grateful to have been a death guide for my mother. I asked her in the hospital, days before her death, how she wanted to die. She said with certainty, “at home, surrounded by my family.” I told her we would make that happen and the conviction in my body was so fixed nothing could stop me. I learned a lot about that feeling of fixed conviction. I learned that it is a transpersonal and archetypal force that rose into my ego to make my mother’s death be as she wanted. We have help from the transpersonal/archetypal realms whenever we need it.

Her year and half battle with cancer was brutal toward the last six months. I have thought a lot about it since her death. I have thought a lot about my behavior. I worked very hard to accept her battle and accept how she wanted to proceed through it. I remember distinctly learning the lesson of letting go of trying to control her in order to make myself feel better. The lesson of surrender is deep and life long. I did the best I could and I don’t harp on myself. I showed up with a lot of presence. I also recall all the times I was irritated with her, angry with her, wishing she made different choices and all the ways I reacted without presence and surrender. Part of grief for me has been going through each memory and forgiving myself for every time. It’s a process.

I also have needed to go through the awful memories of her vomiting and in pain with me as witness. I have felt so much pity and pain for her when these memories rise up. I then hear my mother in my head say, “I am free of that now, don’t dwell on the pain,” and I know she is right. This is a hard lesson for me because I feel so strongly how she did not deserve to go through all of the pain she went through. The anger for her having to endure cancer and the battle to kill it,  flares up strongly in my heart. I then tell myself all the crone wisdom: life is unfair for everybody, life is suffering, life is dark and light… and it helps. I make the intention to release the anger. Again, this a process and it just takes time.

What is important about grieving is that every step is treated as important. You cannot rush grief. Everybody grieves differently and for different amounts of time too. I cannot control my father’s grief and my sisters and I grieve each in our own way. Grief control us, we don’t control grief. You must let grief have its way with you and not judge others for how they grieve. Grief will teach you to endure loss, surrender and become much more aware of time and the shortness of life if you let it do its magic. If you resist grief you will become more addicted to the things you are addicted to: shopping, hustling, working, drinking, eating, controlling, whatever it is. People resist grief all the time and dive into doing all the things and escaping in all the various ways.

I have learned that grief comes in waves. I have cried the hardest for missing my mom about ten months after her death. In the beginning, the tears were more violent and deluging storms of shock. Once I accepted my mom’s death (stages of grief) about six-seven months later, the tears have become about missing her versus being shocked she is gone. I did not think about it until these new “missing her” tears…about how the longer the loved one is dead the more you miss them because the longer time passes without them. A very logical thought that I did not consider. Grief is not logical. I miss her presence so much.

I miss my mother’s voice, her scent, her sayings, her mannerisms. Grief has taught me that love for others is much more about their particular essence and much less about compatibility or beliefs. My mother and I were very opposite personalities but we found connection when shopping, watching television, having morning coffee, sharing our love of animals….but it’s not the connecting I miss about her. I miss her. Vivian. I miss her being in this world. The lesson this teaches me is so potent. I realize that love really is about love. It’s not about what I get or give. Sure, I miss how she nurtured us with her domestic ways and I miss giving her my love too but what I really miss is literally her presence as a living human being existing in this world.

I come from my share of abuse, dysfunction, and trauma like most of us do. Yet I am also very lucky that my family knows and gives unconditional love. I got very close to my mother over the last twenty years and we healed our stuff. I know me being a healer had much to do with it as I stubbornly pushed for healing in the early years. Yet also, my mother was open and healthy enough in her psyche to go through the healing journey. Many mothers do not have the capacity to heal or even relate. Many loved ones are so mentally ill that their children and siblings need continual distance and hard boundaries at all times. Grief may be very complex with the pain and mental illness involved in family systems. This still does not tell you how you will grieve though. Grief will surprise you.

Grief transforms you, a friend and fellow therapist told me. He has been through a lot of death. That sentence sticks with me. I have witnessed myself transform over this past year. Solitude is something I need much more of since my mother’s passing. It may not always be this way but for now, I don’t feel like being very social like I used to be. I have become a ghost friend. I know those who love me and are closest accept me for my ghost phase and those who cannot accept me, I let them go. I need a lot of space around me and a lot of time to go within. I don’t feel like doing much of the “fun” things either. I don’t want to go out much. I go to bed early. I am more serious, somber, and internal. I am sure this will balance out over time but for now, I need what I need.

One of the biggest transformations is that I no longer care what other people think of me, for the most part. I used to be much more concerned, as many of us are, about being liked and accepted by others. Now, I don’t care. I have an attitude that feels like, “if you don’t like me that’s fine, whatever.” All shame about being me has vanished. I feel a major increase of self love. I also feel more shit cutting, pragmatic, and honest with myself and everybody. I am not trying to people-please and any ideals carried over from my twenties have dissolved in the grief journey. I want to continue to dream, grow, and live with fulfillment but it comes from a much more grounded place inside now.

Again, my friends who are close honor this change in me. The people who count allow me to change as I give the same allowance to them. If we need to grow apart, that’s ok too. Those who needed me as I was before, I release. It feels really wonderful to be free of needing to be liked or to hold on to relationships that don’t serve me or them anymore. The self love increase is nourishing too. I am so much more gentle with myself. It feels as if my mother’s soul went into me and is helping me to become more gentle and balanced.

I feel that when the soul leaves the body, a piece of it enters those who were close. I feel the piece of my mom that went into me is her dignity, her shit cutting attitude, her grace, her pragmatism, and her love for fashion. Not all of these traits lived in the conscious world of my mother’s personality but all these traits lived in her being nevertheless. I feel these traits mix with my own and make me new. I have worn more make-up since her passing, feeling her love for make-up and being lady-like in that New York city way. I feel her quiet grace and earthy poise become a part of my former stormy celestial sparky self. I feel her shit cutting wisdom permeate my ethereal attitude. This makes me feel close to her too as I transform.

As we approach the year marker of her death, I feel a sense of joy. I feel joy that she is free of her body and her life here. I have connected with her on the other side. She is actively becoming a spirit guide and very happy with her life choosing to not reincarnate but to be a soul guide for the incarnated. Not every soul gets this choice. You have to die with enough peace in your heart to see the choice in the first place. How we live in this body continues after we leave it, with the same continuity of emerging into unknown possibilities and choices whether we are human, in another kind of body, or not in a body. But I will save the esoteric for another blog. I feel joyful for my mother’s happiness.

At the same time, I feel sorrow for my father being left without her. This is the dark side of love. Somebody will grieve the other when you get into these long partnerships. The lesson returns of not controlling. I cannot control his grief. I cannot control his life. I have learned so much about how we want control others when they are hurting because it hurts so much to feel their pain. Through my mom’s cancer battle, her death, and my father’s journey now, I see how much I want to take away the pain of those I love with my solutions, my way of seeing things, my way of healing. The lesson is to let it go. Allow others to experience life as they need to and only show up to help as asked. Pain is not bad and pain should not be avoided. Surrender.

Surrender means making peace with what is. Making peace with what is means making space for what is. Making space for what is means not saying or believing things like, “this should not have happened” or “this is wrong and unfair.” To make space means to allow all of it. ALL. I have discovered how to allow life to be grief, pain, hurt, and loss just as much as growth, pleasure, gain, and expansion. It means letting all of life express itself, the good, the bad, the ugly as they say. It means letting go of controlling the cycles. Paradoxically, you must put effort forth to self-care, heal and grow to allow yourself to let go of controlling the natural vicissitudes of life.

I always recommend the book, “Dark Nights of the Soul,” by Thomas Moore. He inspires me to find the richness in the dark night, whatever it may be. What bothers me is the collective ignorance of “turning the frown upside down” or bypassing the stages of grief (denial, bartering, anger, depression, acceptance) with sayings such as, ” don’t be sad, she’s with you in spirit.” These sayings are so the sayer can control your pain so they don’t feel afraid of it. It is vital to go through the grief journey with all the frowns, tears, stages, and for as long as you need. The difference between getting stuck and moving through the stages is that the former comes from resisting the stages of grief and the latter happens when you surrender to the stages and allow them to pass through you.

 

 

Reflections on Fear…

Fear is the inspiration for this blog. Good old human creature fear and how it effects the psyche, the body, and the human experience. My intention for this blog is simply to reflect. I want to honor the process of contemplating, intuiting, and understanding in service of allowing the unconscious to unravel in the moment…

When fear is pushed deeply into the shadow of the psyche, going unfelt and unseen, it manifests as physical ailments. Digestive issues. Constipation if the human body retracts and tries to protect itself. Or diarrhea, the other direction, if the temperament of the creature tends to run more anxious than withholding…

Attachment wounds reveal themselves inwardly as much as outwardly. When we are not securely attached (most of us) we tend toward avoidance or anxiousness, the former being anxious too but withholds/hides/avoids and so it doesn’t seem to present emphatically.

It’s not just how we are raised that determines our attachment style and wounding, it’s the temperament of the body which has everything to do with the multigenerational family system. Avoidance style (the island) or anxiousness style (the wave) may be a pattern running down the DNA line. Digestive issues may run in the family through the female or male bloodline with each creature carrying fear that gets pushed into the shadow.

Feelings have to be felt to be released. Healing is feeling. Must fear be felt to be released?

How hard might it be to feel fear if you are wired to push it into the shadow and present with digestive issues and probably a neurotic mind. Usually when fear is hiding in the shadow the mind is defensive, controlling, and fanatical or extreme in certain ways to compensate for the unseen fear.

Fear is big. The country is big with fear. The family system is big with fear. The creature if big with fear because living a human existence is scary. We are not given any guarantee of safety, control, or happy endings. People experience undeserved tragedy all the time.

I think about animals that experience tragedy and how they are not conscious of themselves with a cognitive mind so they don’t have the ability to think, “why did this happen to me,” or “I am not good enough” or “this person is bad and I am a victim of evil,” or any such conclusion that only a self aware cognitive mind could come up with through the thinking process.

Fear is not the summation the mind makes. Fear is present in the body and then leaves. In animals, it presents and leaves if the animal gets to live a healthy life but trauma from abuse or neglect will collect just as much in their bodies, proving that the consequences of trauma live in the body first and foremost. The human mind only makes it worse.

The body collects what is not processed and this is a region of the shadow. I am thinking of an abused or neglected doggie living on the street that presents as mean and vicious (the wave) or through slinking and hiding away (the island) if anyone approaches to bring love. The doggie’s body is filled with fear from the trauma of being abused or neglected.

The only way to heal the doggie is exposure therapy to love.. First the doggie must be tricked into being caught (maybe a piece of food in a cage). Next the doggie must slowly be introduced to loving care, allowing her body to slowly release the fear and accept love. This proves that love is the healer of fear.

Humans are the same. Fear collects in the body from trauma, abuse, or maybe there is no abuse/trauma but there is the multigenerational absence of affection, attunement and acknowledgment of being seen, heard, and loved without conditions (the feminine side of the psyche).  Only love can release the fear the body holds.

Not some parlor trick for the mind. Ok, I have a bit of irreverence for certain modalities of therapy I think trick the mind into “feeling better” by changing the chemicals but I don’t think this is healing. I think it is temporal band-aid. I feel true healing is always rooted in the experience of being loved, listened to, and acknowledged.

The feminine aspect of life knows this. Knows that love heals all. And what is love? Love is how we behave. It is not a concept. It is not an ideal. It is how we care for the self, others, and life. How we show up. How we tend to fear. Fear, like with the doggie, will leave the body with love. It just will.

Self love is a start and usually the base of love. Self love releases fear beginning with not listening to self-sabotaging neural pathways, the well worn path, the shitty narrative in the mind that says, “I am not good enough, who do I think I am” etc….or the other direction of, “they are ruining my existence, they are to blame for how I feel,” etc.

Ignoring the sabotaging narrative is key and the base of self love but then what? It is it truly different for everyone. For me, self love is practicing mindfulness so I don’t listen to the narrative of doom, keeping up with my exercise and creativity practices that make me feel balanced, inspired, and confident, and being nurturing and easy on myself.

I truly believe in being easy on the self. Sure, there is a time to face fear with a wand of courage and determination. But back to the doggie, if you push him he will fall apart. If you give him time, patience, understanding and slowly expose him to love and new life, he will heal.

I am somebody who needs to go very easy on myself in order to heal, maybe more so than the average person (is there an average person?) and so I attest to this path as being pertinent in healing because I have been healing with great results over time. I speak from my own lived experience and find that the gentle path brings proven results.

Fear needs to be handled with skill and fear is attachment. We fear because are attached to security, health, love, and success….as we should be. Nothing wrong with being human! Yet in this messed up world with broken bloodlines riddled with too much suffering, we need major skill to bring healing to fear.

Like the doggie, learning to let more love in is an exposure process. Love will dissolve fear but it’s so scary to let love in. Letting love in may feel scarier than the fear. What a paradox.

Unfortunately the doggie cannot respond to humor but I think for humans, humor is a major healing tool for exposing the self to the fear of letting love in.

My god can we laugh at life for a second? I say this with emphasis because my own typical tendency to take life too seriously. You could say it is a privilege to have a light heart…and…it is also temperament. There are those who seem to have a light heart even when enduring the worst of circumstances.

But don’t beat yourself up if you have a heavy heart. I have a fairly heavy heart and I love my heavy heart because it allows me to sit with people in their deepest pain and give love, it allows me to analyze the psyche and discover new territory, it allows me to sit for hours and write about big ideas. I would not want to be romping around like a Pixie but more power to the Pixie.

Honor your temperament is what I am getting at here. You can heal from fear with a heavy or light heart but even heavy hearts can heal from humor. Laughing is vital. Laughing at the self releases the grip of those pesky narratives that shadow the fears.

Life is unsafe. We can create as much safety as possible by living in sheltered homes and communities with organized cultural institutions that allow us to experience more of the light and less of the pain. We can learn to love more so that we don’t have to feel unsafe with each other too.

At the same time, life is unsafe, suffering exists and it always will. People will cause violence and tyranny over others. Nature can wipe out a community in one cataclysm. Illness strikes even the most healthy. The dark side of life is not evil and cannot be eradicated. We can reduce suffering and achieve balance but we cannot be rid of darkness. Dark and light are equal forces of nature.

Fear will rise again and again, Fear is as natural as love.

All this being said, learning how to deal with fear is more pragmatic than trying to get rid of fear forever in the mind by demanding reassurance of continual safety (the wave) or through avoiding fear by living in one safe routined rut forever (the island).

I am all about living a fulfilling life where we get to keep growing and evolving each day and this is rooted in healing.

There is no healing arrival point where all fear is banished. Yet results are real. Healing the psyche brings more peace, love, fulfillment, ease, and all the other desired adjectives that balance out fear that will rise again and again.

I radically accept fear. I radically accept life not being safe. I radically accept the dark and light aspects of being human. I radically accept the patient process, the gentle path, love, and humor as medicine. This is my deepest reflection…

The more there is acceptance around fear the more body can stop expressing fear through digestive problems or other ailments, the more heart can let in love, the more mind can let go of self sabotaging narratives and the more soul or true self can rise out of the shadow and express in this world.

 

 

 

A Psychological Reflection on Autoimmune Disease’s Effects on the Body and Psyche

That’s a long title up there and living with autoimmune disease feels like a long road. I am writing this blog in the spirit of sharing my personal journey to inspire you if you are also on the path of living with autoimmune disease.

I have lived with an AD since I was eleven but I did not know it was an AD until three years ago when a doctor causally said, “Oh you have Hidradenitis Suppurativa,” while giving me an exam. Before that, I only knew that I had some skin curse with no cure. I lived with it by ignoring it even though I was always dealing with it. Denial is strong.

My particular disease is ugly, insidious, painful, and a fucking cross to bear. I have immense compassion for anyone bearing the cross of AD because whichever one you have tends to be incurable and wreaks havoc on the body and psyche.

My disease caused me to feel shame my entire life. I have worked through shame by feeling it with love and letting it go. I am free of it now and it wasn’t easy to release but I did it.

In my mind, I tell myself that we all bear our crosses, all bodies are imperfect, ugliness is an aspect of life, and that being a brave advocate who knows my beauty is what can bring myself and others inspiration. I rewrote the shame story into a story of empowerment and acceptance.

I could not release shame and rewrite the story of living with AD until I got mostly in remission. Remission of my symptoms led the way for the healing of my psyche.

I say mostly in remission because I still go in and out of remission but overall I would say I am in 90% remission and it is completely connected to food and going on the AIP and ketogenic diets as a lifestyle for the long term.

I am no longer a “normie”, a term addicts use to classify those who can use alcohol or drugs in moderation without being addicted. I feel there is a big of a distinction when living with AD.

The first year I knew I had HS, I ignored it. Denial is powerful. I was in grad school and my mom was battling the cancer that would kill her a year and half later. I had no room in my psyche to face my disease. But then I did have room. I was ready in the summer of 2018.

I looked up HS online and found blogs, forums and a lot of people finding remission by going on the autoimmune paleo diet or AIP for short. I started this diet the very next day. I was desperate because my flares were so bad I was willing to try anything.

The AIP diet eliminates all sugar, grains/rice, nightshades, caffeine, seeds, nuts, alcohol, and dairy. Basically everything but organic meat (grass fed and free range), fruit, and vegetables. I switched my diet in one day, eating only chicken breast, apples, carrots, greens, and a fruit smoothie to start me off the first week.

Being a genuine food addict my entire life, I battled not having “my foods” on very deep levels, much deeper than somebody who is not addicted to food. Every day for a year I felt despair, anger, and every uncomfortable emotion yummy food had been stuffing down. I also felt isolated from my friends because I could no longer eat out or have a few drinks and I was used to doing that most days of the week.

What gave me strength to stick with it was that I went into immediate remission within weeks of staring the diet. It was a sheer miracle!

The remission did not last and new flares appeared but far less flares cropped up and they were far less severe. Remission from the severity began and has stayed with me since I began the diet and so began my journey of figuring out all of my trigger foods.

I went to a naturopath to get some help and started the journey of learning I have a huge yeast allergy and needed Vitamin D, along with other aspects I won’t get into that have helped me to deepen remission with healing the gut.

To make a very long year and a half journey short, I learned that yeast, nuts, seeds, grains, dairy, sugar, beans, fruit and many vegetables are trigger foods. I learned that I need to not only do AIP but I need to go ketogenic because insulin is a trigger. I need to cut out all fruit completely and keto adapt so my body uses fat instead of glucose as fuel. This has greatly improved remission.

I reintroduced alcohol the night my mother died in the beginning of 2019. I learned I can drink hard spirits with nothing added but I cannot touch beer or wine. I learned I can eat eggs (so far). I can also have coffee in moderation.

I tried nuts and bacon but after a few months they became triggers. This happened with avocado and broccoli. Some foods cause immediate flares while other foods build up and then cause flares. The journey is constant and never ending.

I learned that lectins, phytates, and oxalates are poison to my body and this is why vegan foods harm me which is another aspect I have had to grieve. I have the heart of a vegan. I spent many years of my life eating vegan and vegetarian unknowing of how sick it was making me. Now I am a carnivore. I had to let go of my treasured belief system so my body could be healthy.

I have grieved and continue to grieve the loss of food as addiction, celebration, and comfort. Emotional eating is over. Eating out with friends is over. Eating to “treat myself” is over. Normies say that all the time, “treat yourself”. But if I treat myself with food I get a huge flare and it’s just not worth it. The treat is poison.

Those of us with AD who go AIP, keto or both to heal cannot treat ourselves with food because it makes us feel like complete shit. I tell myself that food is fuel and nothing else. This is my new story.

Don’t count me in when you make celebratory food plans. I have no desire to celebrate Thanksgiving because I can’t eat the food and from now on, I am done thinking I need to partake of any holiday with food. When I travel food will not be part of the adventure. When a partner comes into my life he will have to live with food being only fuel for me too.

I like the foods I can eat. I like eggs in the morning, salmon, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, chicken breast, coconut milk, burgers, steak, and arugula. I am satisfied when I eat even though not a day goes by I don’t crave cheese, bread, hot pepper, beer, tacos….I mean, the grief is real and the loss is daily. I compare myself to an addict in sobriety taking it one day at a time.

What feels amazing is being mostly in remission all of the time. My body is healing on deep levels too, beyond just remission of symptoms. I am healing my organs, gut, skin, bones, losing weight, and all anxiety is completely gone. Within a month of the AIP diet all anxiety left my psyche as anxiety truly does live in the body. Within a month of being keto and AIP my ability to focus greatly increased and my energy levels began to even out. The healing continues.

I love that I eat like my ancestors. I feel that how I eat connects me to them. I feel more rooted to the earth. My sleep is pristine and I no longer suffer from insomnia. I have become strong and disciplined in every aspect of my life. I exercise five to six days a week. I do what I say I will do in terms of my daily and long term goals. I can handle anything, is what it feels like.

I have no anxiety, no procrastination, no split in the psyche where what I want and how I behave are out of alignment. I have come into a much more profound sense of self love, ease, and integrity. My psyche has never been healthier and more at peace.

Funny, how each day I feel loss and cravings but each day I feel at peace with myself.

I no longer respond to loss and cravings with fear or resistance. I have learned the power of surrender. I accept loss, pain, and my AD. Grief is not something I need to avoid anymore. I am no longer in denial of the dark side of life. I am at peace with my limitations, the ugly, and all that is hard.

For now, I have whisky, mezcal, and coffee with coconut milk as pleasures I can still indulge in. I cannot overdo it so I drink in moderation and I am also willing to let these drinks go the moment my health needs it.

I have become so emotionally strong that I no longer depend on any food, drink, or substance to keep me feeling ok or to enjoy life. I cannot stress what a big deal this is as I have been a food addict and hedonist my entire life, always using food as comfort and enjoying the party. Now, I can find comfort and enjoy the party in a new way.

I am in the process of learning how be a hedonist in new ways that are good for my health. Sexual expression is something most people never explore fully and is one of our greatest gifts as human beings. No shame. What possibilities exist to explore and merge with another soul on a sexual level and experience deeper levels of pleasure, replenishment, and love?

How can my body express through any form of movement that brings heightened pleasure? Dance, hiking, sky diving, fire walking, floating, strolling….

There are many possibilities.

I find hedonistic pleasure in essential oils, incense, crystals, flowers, the beauty of nature, fashion, putting on make-up and dressing up. I find hedonistic pleasure in gazing at art, listening to music, and reading books. There is so much to imbibe and indulge in that is not food and drink. I also feel immense satisfaction when I paint, write, sing, and express myself creatively.

AD has transformed me for the better.

I know in my heart of hearts that AD is connected to multigenerational trauma. Interesting that my mother and father both had the same AD as me.

My mother had it killed with near lethal amounts of antibiotics from a certain doctor in Vegas who had his theory. I believe this treatment destroyed her gut and led to many health issues to follow. She eventually got colon cancer. I do not follow in her footsteps with my AD and for very few has antibiotic treatment worked. My father said he stopped having flares in his fifties and that it just went away. I can only hope for such a healing to happen to me. I cannot count on it.

For now, I must eat keto/AIP to stay in remission but I am thankful for this diet beyond being in remission because I am healing my body completely, healing multigenerational trauma, healing completely from anxiety, and healing food addiction all while transforming into a stronger, more centered, disciplined, equanimous, and poised individual who is no longer dependent on “the cookie”.

It has taken a year and half to get to this place of love, strength, balance and health that is not static or fixed. Like I said, I still get flares and have to figure out why. I still feel loss for food and cravings rise up all the time (though going keto took away 80% of all food cravings). There’s always work to be done and progress to be made in body and mind. Just like in a yoga pose, you need a constant focus to stay balanced.

If you are reading this and have AD, I hope to provide you with some inspiration from sharing my story. Food truly is the biggest culprit of many if not most of AD symptoms.

AD seems to be rooted in generational trauma passed down through the DNA and from diet. The AIP diet works and for some of you, keto will also work.

Western medicine still looks down upon all holistic routes but go ahead and let them. If you dedicate yourself to trying the diet for 30-90 days you will experience the results for yourself. You can reintroduce certain foods after the initial period and begin cultivating the exact diet that works for you.

Will power gets easier over time as you adapt and your body feels better as it adjusts too. Anxiety will diminish and you will become more disciplined and emotionally independent.

Grief is real for no longer being a normie and getting to eat what you want but there is liberation in no longer fearing grief. Life is suffering, Buddha said. If we face the suffering with an open heart, willingness, and a mindful approach that does not resist limitation, pain and loss then suffering will transform your soul from a mud ball into a pearl and your body will be a sanctuary living with illness.

 

 

 

 

You are not Crazy and Three Skillful Steps

This blog is inspired by strong feelings rising in me to protect who you are. There are many types of people in this world and yet some types are more glorified or seen as normal while other types are marginalized and seen as abnormal. Plenty of judgment exists for all kinds of humans, unfortunately. This blog is for the sensitive healer types who feel everything at volume level ten and often doubt themselves. “Am I crazy?” is often uttered in the mind or from the lips. I am here to tell you that you are not crazy and you are not too much. You are a valid gifted type of human being needed in this world and you are very misunderstood.

Usually one sensitive healer is born into any given family. You are the one who absorbs all of the pain of the other family members and this happens unconsciously. Most people don’t know how to feel their feelings. Our messed up culture promotes the repression of difficult feelings as if feeling anything not positive or happy or on top of your game is bad and wrong. This is unfortunate because it makes almost everyone stuff all of the difficult painful and weak emotions down into the shadow and lose feeling connection with self and others. Feelings are what connect us.

Stuffing down feelings requires distraction, dependance or addiction on some level. Doesn’t have to be eating, drinking, drugging, partying, or losing self in another person. It can be working, exercising, losing weight, or trying to be the best all the time. Over focus and dependance on getting the “cookie” (food, booze, drug, sex, relationship, attention, shopping, working, exercising, screen time, etc) keeps the mind distracted until the feelings are stuffed far out of awareness.

But you, sensitive healer type, cannot stuff your feelings away. You just can’t. You feel it all. What makes it worse is that you are not only feeling your own feelings but you are feeling the feelings of everyone around you that cannot feel their own feelings. This just happens because of systems theory. Humans function in systems and feelings travel. What your family members can’t feel, you feel along with your own feelings. You don’t know what feelings are your own and what are others, unaware there is a mix of both you are feeling. You grow up this way and then turn into an adult that absorbs the feelings of your partner, your friends, your co-workers, everyone around you. You feel everyone’s feelings inside of you and cannot tell the difference whose feelings are whose. You develop acute anxiety and perhaps depression too if you survived a difficult childhood. You think you are crazy and too much and you suffer more.

You are not crazy. You are a sensitive healer type meant to feel everything so that you can bring healing to yourself and everyone. It’s just the way it is. Not everyone is a healer. You are and when you heal yourself, you also heal those whose feelings you feel inside of you. Not all the way but to a certain extent. You heal seven generations backwards and forwards. You heal self and others too when you use the skills I am going to mention below. If you don’t become skillful with your natural healing abilities, which is your destiny, you will suffer all the suffering of your own life and those around you. It’s not worth it, trust me. You want to get yourself into therapy and any other version of healing you are drawn to.

You want to heal yourself, which is essentially rooted in differentiating your true self from everyone else and allowing your true self to live in the world, to love your true self and to honor your destiny as a sensitive healer type.

To the extent you heal others depends on the others but you clear feelings out of them that are stuffed down when you absorb their feelings and you release them from your own body. Eventually you will learn to not absorb other’s feelings as much and this will release you from a great deal of constant emotional overwhelm but just know while you are healing and growing, it’s ok that you cannot help but absorb the feelings of everyone around you.

You are meant to be you. You are meant to feel everything. You are meant to process these feelings. You are meant to be ultra sensitive. Don’t let anyone tell you different. You just need to learn how to be who you are skillfully. You need to heal your own traumas and psyche first. This blog isn’t going to tell you how to do that but self healing comes first. It is preliminary and brings real results.

What I want to share are three simple steps to help you with your feelings when you are a sensitive healer type.

  1. Know you are not crazy and own your skill of being a healer here to help humanity process all of the repressed feelings in the collective shadow. Allow your feelings to come out. Do not reframe them with a positive story. Do not reframe them with a negative story. Feel without the mind getting involved at all. If anyone tries to tell you to focus on the positive or gratitude go ahead and pour water in their face. Just kidding. But don’t listen. They do not understand that scientifically speaking feelings need to be felt to leave the body and the worse thing you can do is to stuff the feelings into the body further with some sugar coated platitude. Most people are not skilled and terrified to feel their feelings. You are not. As a sensitive healer type you have a natural skill and courage to feel the hard feelings, you just doubt yourself because the world tells you that you are crazy or too much or too sensitive. Don’t believe the majority. Don’t tell yourself that you are bad, wrong, not good enough or anything negative. Feel everything you feel fully. Fully.
  2. Express the feelings you feel creatively. If you are a naturally creative person, which as sensitive healer type you probably are, get it out through painting, singing, dancing, cooking, sewing, acting, writing, gardening, whatever your outlet is or whatever outlet you are drawn toward. Get messy and raw with this. Do not try to create a master piece, you can save that form of art making for another time. When feelings need out, get raw and messy and let it out without edit. You may need to prep for this because you have been told your whole life that you should not feel all you feel and that creativity should be polished and pretty. You probably have some perfectionist narrative. You may need to meditate for a bit to get outside of your head and into you heart. Maybe you need to blast music or stay up late or get up early. Find your path to releasing the feelings creatively and get them out. This assures full processing as feelings speak through the creative outlet or the body outlet not the mind. Cry and paint. Scream and sing. Weep and garden. Or maybe there is no body outlet such as tears or sounds. Maybe you cook or write or sew and are just deeply in the creative expression itself. This will release the feelings fully. Also, receiving other creative expressions may initiate the same release such as listening to music, watching a movie, looking at art, reading a story, etc.
  3. Protect your energy. Find your way. Call Archangel Michael (a very powerful being much older than the Judeo-Christian religion that appropriated the angels) and say, “Michael, put a bubble of light around me, any feelings not my own keep out of my body so that I only feel my own feelings one hundred percent of the time.” Wear a red string around your wrist. Do something magical or make a witch potion or spell if this is your thing. Imagine a bubble of light around you at all times. Wear protective stones (all the black stones, also pyrite). It takes effort, ritual, prayer and intention to not absorb the pain of those around you. Some of you may be so sensitive that you absorb the feelings of people around that you are not close to you. In fact, many of you do this. You get on the bus and you absorb everyone’s pain. You walk into a store and absorb everyone’s pain. You must learn to have more control over this power. It is a gift but the curse is when you don’t harness it and you collect too much from others and feel like crap and confused all the time. Find the protection rituals that work for you and do them morning and night and perhaps more. Consider it as vital as teeth cleaning. For as yucky as your teeth get missing one brushing your psyche gets missing one protection ritual. Feelings live in the body literally, like poop and need to constantly be cleansed out of the body. Protection rituals really do protect you from taking too much from others. Michael and other beings really do help you when you need daily support.

If you continually follow these three steps you will stay emotionally balanced and be well on the path of healing but of course it’s not so simple or easy. You will battle the narrative that you are too much, too sensitive and think you are crazy, especially when other people try to make you not feel your feelings with platitudes or tell you negative stories that you are too this or that. You need to get strong with this.

The one tough skin you need is to put a big wall up when other people’s words try to get you to not feel whether in judgment or caring. Understand that they only want you to “feel better” because they love you or they are so uncomfortable feeling their own pain that they cannot handle you feeling pain. They may not know what to say or how to handle you. Be kind with people because they are doing the best they can. Only healer types know how to feel fully and attune so keenly to the feelings. Most people are way too scared and uncertain and this is ok. They are really good at other stuff that you suck at. We are all supposed to balance each other out with our strengths and weaknesses.

Other people you are close with may be great at being the rock of stability, making money, doing practical things, being light hearted, etc. You are the one who is good at healing and creating intimacy by tuning into feelings, being nonjudgemental and compassionate. It’s meant to be this way. We are meant to be symbiotic with one another but due to all the untended wounds and tangled mess of the human psyche, people wind up comparing themselves to each other and expecting those they love to be just like them. People also think everyone should be equally skillful at everything. On and on the comparison, judgment and negative stories build. It’s all crap.

Truth is, you are gifted at feeling and healing and you are meant to be the one healer in your family system, with your partner, in your profession, or even all by yourself as you heal the self. Learning to trust who you are, heal, and become more skillful is a process.