What Those who are Suicidal Need you to Know.

You don’t know me, but if you did you would know how easily my heart breaks—at the sound of a baby crying, a wolf howling, a deer fighting for its life.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would know how much I cared that I never fit in, no matter how hard as I tried. You would know that I wanted to be something big, but I was given a mind that kept me small. You would know that I loved deeply and fell hard when that love was not given in return.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would see that I am not like most people, and that bothered me. That I cared too much about what you thought of me—the way I dressed, the sound of my voice, how I walked.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would see that I could not understand why I was not loved or cherished, why nobody believed in me. And that made me try more, but also, fall harder.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would know that my heart was fragile, like glass. And how I hid that weakness, even from myself.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would have asked how my day was and how it felt to be me. You would have wanted to know about my hopes and dreams, and why I liked chocolate ice cream, and how I always wondered why the sky turned orange when the sun set. You would have wanted to know why I hated the movies, but loved television. Why my phone screen always hurt my eyes, and how the ground felt powerful beneath my bare feet.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would know that I hated to be touched, but longed to be included. That I had so many words inside of me, but could not find my voice. That I worried about the trash piling up and destroying our earth, and sometimes this would cause me not to eat for days.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would know that I was afraid of the very thing that would help me—to be known, to be touched, to be understood.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would know to look me in the eye as you passed me in the street so I would no longer feel invisible.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would have known that I was  planning to leave this earth if things did not get better. You would have tried to stop me, but it would not have worked.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would have known the voices in my head would tell me things that were wrong about me, and right about you. How much I hated being smart, and yet there was so much about the world I did not understand. How algebra came easy, but talking at lunch was difficult.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would see that our differences are what made me stand out, and how I thought this was a curse, not a blessing. How I knew how to make friends, but did not know how to keep them.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you would have known that nobody could touch that place inside of me that felt broken—not even me.

You don’t know me, but I am your son, your father, your friend, your pastor, your waiter, your aunt, your boyfriend, your banker, your husband, your teacher, your UPS driver, yourself.

This post was channeled from a soul that left the earth at a young age through suicide. For more information on channeled souls, healing, and grief, please visit http://www.thesacredletters.com.

Dedicated to all those who have left this earth too soon. We wish we knew you just a little better.

Thank you Elephant Journal for publishing this blog post .

It’s About Time We All Begin to Get a Little Angry.

I believe in anger. I also believe in fighting. Not fighting with our fists up, spewing words of hatred, creating resistance, defensiveness and separation. Not fighting against someone or something, but fighting for what we know is possible. Fighting for a better way, a better life and a better world. Fighting for what we believe is beautiful when we are conscious, and tapping into our anger is the first step. 

Anger means our boundary, our rights, our safety or our future has been violated or threatened.

Anger, a human emotion, is not wrong or bad. Demanding that justice be served or speaking out against the abuse of power stems from the beauty of anger. Using anger to pull our self up after another knocks us down, is healing. There is nothing more powerful than channeling our anger into what we believe. 

We need to allow our anger to rise to the top, so it does not come out sideways on an unsuspecting innocent victim or take a U-turn, where we may use it against our self. It is the stuffing down or denying that creates the explosive anger that is harmful, giving anger a bad rap.

Anger is a beautiful emotion giving us the fuel to fight for our rights, our dignity and our honor.

Fighting means we have hope. We have not given up. We know that change is possible. We need to tap into our anger and take action. We need to find our voice that urges us to leave that abusive relationship, make that phone call, demand that meeting, write that email or grab that picket sign. 

Fighting means we have the courage to say no. Not on my watch.

Fighting begins with anger and continues with passion. Fighting with respect and honor, helps us figure out with a clear head what needs to be done to make permanent changes in our life and our world.

We are all connected, and when we fight for our self, we fight for another. When we fight for another, we fight for our world.

Yet, we need to fight for, not against. We don’t want to fight a war on drugs, we want to fight for recovery, where we people feel safe enough to heal their addictions. We don’t want to fight a war against cancer, we want to fight for prevention and health.

When I feel into the world, I am blessed to see fighting happening at all corners of our earth. 

I see a boy in a coma fighting for his life after being hit by a drunk driver.

I see a mother fighting for her child who is being bullied in school.

I see a couple fighting for their marriage, creating new patterns of communication.

I see a store owner fighting for his livelihood.

I see a professional soccer player fighting for her right for equal pay. 

I see a survivor fighting for those who have not yet found their voice. 

I see a courageous girl fighting for the world to take notice about the seriousness of our current climate crisis.

I see a soldier fighting for the freedom of others.

I see a teen fighting for her self-worth within the lure of peer pressure.

I see an addict fighting for recovery. 

I see a protestor fighting for the rights to control her own body.

I see a husband fighting to keep his home from going into foreclosure.

I see a football player fighting for the rights of shelter pets.  

I see patients fighting for their health.

I see a homeless man fighting to stay alive one more day.

Our world is not hopeless, even when we seem to be dragging our feet.  Don’t stop fighting. In fact, when we up the ante, we encourage others there is hope. That our life, our families, our country and our world know better. That we can do better.

It’s about time we all begin to get a little angry. Our world depends on it.

What is Happiness?

Happiness comes in moments, each and every day.

Happiness is also the most misunderstood state of being. It is not outside experiences or getting what we want that creates true happiness. It is not about what job we do, or how much money we have. True happiness occurs when we are deep in feeling and connection. When we express emotion. When we put down our defenses, and open our heart.

We can feel happy while tears are falling, and we can feel happy sitting and looking out upon a field of wildflowers. We can feel happy playing a game of basketball or knitting a sweater. We can feel happy listening to music, dancing or cooking. Happiness is not the experience, but an inner state that is created by the opening of our heart.

Whatever opens your heart, do that. When life feels overwhelming, do that. When challenges arise, do that. Do what makes your heart smile. And you will see that a happy life is created by the moments where we felt most alive and connected, when we took a risk and opened our hearts.

It is not about how much time we have on this earth, but how often we have opened our hearts.

To purchase our book filled with inspirational messages from the afterlife, visit us at:
www.thesacredletters.com

Grief has its own Timeline & that’s Beautiful.

When I lost my son in 2004, I hid myself from the world.

There were days I did not get dressed. I did not want to face anyone who would mistakenly ask, “How are you doing?” The answer was too long, horrifying. It felt like agony to even think about how I was doing.

I don’t hide any longer, but I still go it alone. My grief likes to be by itself, without company. And I allow it to take as long as it likes.

As an empath and intuitive healer, I’ve been tapping into a collective grief. Whether you are reacting to the devastation of the Australian fires or facing the loss of a loved one, grief is one of the deepest human emotions we experience.

I also feel an opening around the energy of grief, an invitation for people to process it on their own terms, which has not always been the case: Grief has been put on a timeline—either by ourselves or another. Grief has been an inconvenience, a feeling we would prefer not to feel.

But when we open to it fully, grief doesn’t need to be scheduled or inconvenient. To allow ourselves to feel whatever is coming up is actually a relief.

Grief comes in waves, and passes when we allow it to come and go, much like ocean waves. At times, the current of grief is so strong that it pulls us away from shore, leaving us treading water. Do not panic. We will find our way back when the waters are calm.

Whether grief lingers for a moment or a year does not matter. We jump back into life when we are ready. There is no shame in feeling like we are too sad to take part in life.

And even when we allow ourselves to feel grief outright, it can also burrow itself into our body. For me, I feel it as an ache in my heart, which is why the term “heartache” feels so appropriate.

Although my son passed away 16 years ago, I unearthed more grief around his loss a few months ago, unexpectedly.

On my way to the mall, I drove past a turtle trying to cross the road. Wanting to help, I turned my car around. By the time I got back to the turtle, it was too late. Another car unknowingly ran it over.

I was devastated and began sobbing. I sobbed for the turtle, who simply wanted to cross the road. I sobbed for myself, who witnessed life and death so up-close-and-personal—it burned a hole straight into my soul.

I also sobbed for my son.

It appears, even after all this time, I still had some grieving to do. There is no better time to heal past grief that we unknowingly push aside than when life gives us the opportunity to do so without asking.

I feel we all have an opportunity to process our grief, both obvious and hidden, within the chaos we are confronted with these days.

Do not underestimate the effect life has on us. We live in a chaotic world that seems to play with people’s lives like a casual game of tag. Taking time each day to care for ourselves helps. When we release what we take in, we breathe easier.

Our world is changing, shifting. We are taking off the masks we used to hide behind and walking toward truth and humility. The time is now.

We can wake up kicking and screaming, or we can take someone’s hand and walk away from the past’s brilliant disguises toward a future that is more authentically us. The energy is right.

Let’s welcome our grief and come face-to-face with the unconditional love within our hearts.

Feeling stuck? As an intuitive healer and certified Reiki Level II practitioner with a Masters in Psychology and Wellness Coaching Certificate, I offer one on one Intuitive Healing Sessions.

Follow me on Facebook for daily inspirational posts.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Previously published on Elephant Journal: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2020/01/grief-has-its-own-timeline-and-thats-beautiful-beth-mund/

The Light of Hope

Through hope, we find the strength to climb from the hole we call grief. When facing loss, we have no choice but to let go, discovering both humility and faith within the pain of a shattered heart. Humility helps us fall to our knees and admit we are powerless over what shows up in life, and faith carries us through our pain to the other side. We cannot know what awaits us, but we must have the faith that we can face whatever arises.

It is for us to someday rejoice. Not in the struggle we endured, but in the knowing that we had the strength to climb out of the hole, walk through the dark, and emerge into the light of hope.

Should we have loved at all? Why risk the pain of loss?

It is why we are here. To feel deeply. To love deeply. And yes, to lose deeply.

For the family who loses their son to suicide. For the mother who loses her sister to illness. For the daughter who loses her father to addiction. For the child who loses his friend to an accident.

We may blame God. We may blame our self. We may blame life. We have a right to our anger. We have a right to our sadness. We are entitled to grieve, and to heal. We will one day smile again. We will know that sadness is as much a part of life, as laughter. And when we embrace both equally, we do not resist what life brings. We welcome it all though our sorrow and joy, ease and challenges. We move beyond the stories, we feel the depth of grief, knowing it is a part of life.

Someday our scars, made of gold, will be shining for all to see. We will know we made it through our darkest moments. Step by step. Tear by tear. Heart by heart.

We are never alone, for grief touches us all.

If we continue searching, we will see that although we have lost, we have also loved beyond what is safe, or comfortable. When we allow our hearts to burst open in sadness and joy, we know that the love within us never dies. It gently guides us forward towards hope.

No matter how our story ends, we would not change a thing. For we know, to have loved is to have lived.

-For the families in our community, and those around the world that are facing unimaginable grief at the loss of a loved one.

#hope #grief #loss #love

How to know if you are a Lightworker.

According to Google, a lightworker is “a special person with almost psychic ability to intuit what other people are thinking, feeling, or need in order to heal.”

Wrong!

We do not need psychic abilities to be a lightworker. I have seen lightworkers busy doing their thing, everywhere, every day.

My son is a lightworker when he snuggles up to me and utters, “I love you, mommy.”

My dog is a lightworker when she wags her tail and licks a stranger’s hand.

The man who pumps my gas who asks me a question instead of staring at his phone is a lightworker. The stranger who passes me on the street, meeting my eyes, followed by his warm smile, is a lightworker.

Children are lightworkers, bringing their vulnerability and openness to everyone they meet.

A lightworker is someone who wants to yell back at her Facebook friend for the post about a political candidate of the opposing political party, but instead writes, “Thanks for sharing,” and takes a walk instead.

A lightworker takes a moment before lashing out at Verizon for charging so much for service. A lightworker is the one who lashes out before apologizing for taking out their money frustrations on a stranger.

A lightworker connects us to the feelings of regret or sadness through the words of a song, and is the one who listens in the quiet of their bedroom, weeping alone.

The man who stands in the freezing temperatures directing traffic away from the road construction is a lightworker, as well as the one who puts her hands upon a man’s leg, healing his tumor.

Deer grazing and birds flying in unison are lightworkers, as is the homeless man who tugs at our heartstrings, reminding us to have gratitude for all we have been given in life.

The grief-stricken man who forgives the police officer who shot his unarmed brother and the woman who bakes homemade chocolate chip cookies, spreading sweetness in the world, are lightworkers.

The young woman who stands up in court, speaking her anger and grief to her perpetrator, is a lightworker.

We do not have to have a profession as a spiritual teacher or become Instagram famous to be a lightworker. Handing another a blanket when they are cold, letting a car pass in front even when we are in a rush, texting a friend whose radio silence could be a sign of her struggles, and saying “I am sorry” are all signs of lightworkers doing our job.

Getting out of bed when we feel like hiding and standing in front of an audience speaking about “shame and vulnerability” are the actions of a lightworker. Sharing our story so others feel less alone and listening to a friend with all our attention are signs of lightworkers doing our thing.

Lightworkers fall down and break apart. We also get back up. We remember it is our mission to walk away when our soul is waking up, and then to help another do the same.

We stop in the road to help a deer who has wandered out into traffic, and put a hot meal on the table for our family. We take our children out for ice cream, and laugh when we see their face covered in chocolate. We get our hands dirty, and clean up our messes when we make a mistake. We work long hours so our family can go on vacation at the beach. We collect clothing for those who are in need and send cards to our elderly grandmother who feels alone in the world.

All lightworkers are angels, their wings hidden beneath their human facade.

We all came here to be lightworkers. We just need to get on to how we are to use our gifts in the world. We may become a comedian creating laughter, or we may be willing to pick up everyone’s trash each Monday. We may organize rides for those without cars, or give temporary jobs to the unemployed.

We connect one another by running support groups, networking lunches, and book clubs. We share what is on our mind and in our hearts.

Lightworkers are agents of change, bringing light into the darkness.

The whistleblower. The mother who allows her son, the addict, to become lost and hit rock bottom so that he can find his way back. These are lightworkers.

A lightworker is even the person who takes the time to put on a new roll of toilet paper for the next person.

Lightworkers reach out, cry, laugh, lend a hand, say no, speak the truth, face their fears, fetch the newspaper, create beautiful bows, cook, clean, love, share, respond, walk away, and connect. They are healing our world.

The next time you pass someone on the street, look them in the eye, smile, and say silently or aloud, “Thank you.” And then give yourself the same gratitude.

For more inspirational and heartwarming messages, please visit my website at www.thesacredletters.com

 

What is Healing?

We hear the word healing so often in life. In the doctor’s office, on the therapist’s couch, in the spiritual community. Healing can be seen by a surgeon cutting us open or felt by a child whose mother kisses his skinned knee. We know our bodies, minds and souls can heal from many things in life. But what is healing really?

Healing is messy, as well as beautiful. It is heart wrenching and uncomfortable. Healing takes courage and strength. Healing is moving from feeling like a victim to knowing we are a survivor. Healing is finding our voice, even after it was stuffed down for so many years.

Healing is taking a risk to change jobs, move our home or stand up to the person who has been bullying us, no matter how afraid we feel. Healing is reliving our worst nightmare and taking a stab at our grandest daydream. Healing is facing our demons and feeling what it brings up for us. Healing is walking away from a relationship that hurts us, no matter how much we still love them.

Healing is going to the store for a gallon of milk and having a meltdown because the size we want is not available. Healing is also realizing that a half gallon would have been fine, under normal circumstances. Healing is looking inward at our self and asking what makes us happy? What we can do better? How are we really feeling?

Healing as doing what we came here to do in this life, no matter how distracting life becomes. Healing is following our gut, and pushing through our doubt and fear. Healing is changing the way we have always thought because it simply is not working anymore. Healing is taking care of our self, giving our self what we need for the first time. Healing is saying yes to what we want and no to what we don’t. Healing is taking a chance and asking someone to be there for us, risking rejection.

Healing is asking for that raise, knowing we are worth more. Healing is knowing we will find strength in overcoming adversity. Healing is doing as we say. Healing is putting down that drink, or other addiction that is wreaking havoc on our life and asking for help in doing so.

Healing is walking through vulnerability and showing our true self to the world. Healing is knowing the shame that comes from this raw exposure is temporary and we can do it all again. Healing is putting away our technology and looking in the eye of the person sitting across from us. Healing is simply being alive.

Healing is not reacting to another who triggers us on social media, nor blindly following a politician who is leading us astray. Healing is no longer separating the message from the messenger knowing this never works. Healing is addressing someone’s character even if it affects your bottom line.

Healing is putting away those negative thoughts, the ones that come time and again, because they are not who we really are. Healing is doing something different, than we did the day before. Healing is cursing, screaming, running, journaling, walking, painting, gardening, noticing, exploring, meditating, listening, adoring and inviting.

Healing is learning something new, even if we are afraid to fail. Healing is making a mistake, losing our job, or experiencing divorce, death, illness or injury. Healing is seeing our anxiety as trying to reveal something to us that we have stuffed down, and understanding our depression is the space we are given to breathe, feel, change our thinking, our behavior and our life. Healing is addressing our past and choosing our future.

Healing is moving one inch to the left and seeing the bigger picture of a traumatic event. Healing is forgiving our self and another, when we are ready. Healing is showing up at court and doing our community service. Healing is taking a class at sixty years old and taking time off before college at eighteen.

Healing is breathing, sleeping, smiling, laughing and loving. Healing is a bear hug, when we feel like frightened fawn. Healing is speaking the truth, finding our voice, and calling out injustice for what it is. Healing is knowing we are not our zip code, the numbers in our bank account, our our children’s achievements.

Healing is saying no to a tyrant, a racist, a perpetrator, a bully, a dictator for another, who does not have the courage or strength to speak out for him self. Healing is manning up when we are caught, finding the courage to admit to unconscious behavior even when it affects your popularity, pocketbook or freedom. Healing is recognizing an agent of change, no matter what he looks, acts or seems to be.

Healing is protecting our children at all costs from unclean conditions, dirty water, abuse, neglect, and harm. Healing is hearing the screams within the sounds of silence. Healing is taking risks to believe the first victim that comes forward, not waiting for more to collaborate the story.

Healing is nonviolent protests and open conversations across cities, states, countries and continents. Healing is entertaining another viewpoint, for the sake of respect. Healing is no longer putting entertainers, politicians, musicians, the wealthy, the white, the educated, above the law, and on pedestals.

Healing is knowing that nothing is wrong or right in our life, but everything is here to help us.

Nothing is a coincidence and we are never alone. To take in the beauty of a flower, and the movement of a poem is to know healing. There is a bigger picture, and healing is stopping for a moment each day to look just below the surface, knowing that we are all part of something bigger than our self.

Healing is happening in every moment when we choose to live from our soul, and to become guided by our heart. Life will always lead us where we need to be. We never have to look too far for healing.

For more inspirational messages on healing, please visit our website at www.thesacredletters.com

Living Your Best Life

My husband says I think too much. Perhaps he is right. I remember sitting in forth grade, the teacher scribbling math equations upon the blackboard. I don’t remember the lesson, as I was not paying attention. I was too busy thinking about life. I was asking myself questions: Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? I was also thinking about how I was late that day because I stopped to pet the cutest dogs, and was not unhappy about being tardy, even if the teacher reprimanded me.

Most of us do not have a clue about life, let alone what it means to live a great one. Some of us do not care. Living each day, doing what we are asked, is what matters. We are each on our own journey, which is perfect.

But I care. I cared in 4th grade and I care now. When looking up quotes about examining our life, I came across this beauty.

“Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?” 
― Kurt Vonnegut

What does it mean to live your best life?

Does it mean spending your summers surrounded by 300 plus girls, running an overnight camp and ensuring they are all happy, safe and fulfilled? Becoming the CEO of a multi-million dollar company or opening that restaurant you have always wanted to do? Maybe living your best life involves traveling the world, obtaining odd jobs in various places, or choosing to stay at home, raising your children. Becoming a lawyer, doctor, landscaper or politician.

Living our best life is all of these, and none of these things. Whatever is in our path, we need to follow it. But this list, even if we added thousands more to it would be incomplete. For living our best life is not about what we do, but how we do it. Are we happy? Or are we in pain? Do we hop out of bed in the morning, ready to start our day or come home from the greatest job yet drink ourself into oblivion each night when we come home? Are we controlling, unhappy and abusive or open, compassionate and unconditionally loving?

Do we serve our customers with a smile or scowl?

Life is stressful, for almost all of us. We have bills to pay, a family to care for, relationships to navigate, rules to follow, teenagers to worry about, and then we have all the baggage we take with us from childhood. All of us, even those that come from the happiest and most loving of families have baggage.

The ones that travel light, with only a carry on, can sling it over their shoulder, go about their life, feeling satisfied and loving to most people. Their bag easily fits beneath the seat in front of them and they move about the cabin spreading their good cheer. Sure there are a few things in their backpacks. That awful teacher that embarrassed her in the 7th grade. That girlfriend that cheated on him in college. For the most part, life is good, and a person who travels light can manage the ups and downs in life, and are living a good life.

The ones that have a set of luggage, matching nonetheless, but heavy, bulky, with zippers threatening to break, will find it more difficult to travel, move effortlessly through life. They always have to pay for each bag, and need to put more thought into moving from place to place. Often frustrated, sometimes angry at the weight of all the stuff they are carrying around, they look around with envy at those with carry ons. Perhaps they should ask for help with all their bags, they are thinking, but everyone else is too busy, carrying their own bags, managing their own life. For the most part, life is difficult, and this person with additional baggage finds it hard to manage the ups and downs of life, and often do not feel like they are living a good life.

No matter what we are carrying around, in order to feel lighter, less weighed down, we must open our bags. We need to take out the pieces, ask ourself if we need all that we are blindly lugging around each and every day. All of us carry around items we no longer need, although mostly, we don’t remember what we even packed.

What do we do about our baggage?

We cannot just drop its contents in the street, hoping someone will throw it out for us. And we cannot force someone to carry our bags, for that is like throwing our pain on someone else. Then without thinking, we are online, cursing at someone we don’t know, or worse, taking it out on someone we are meant to love. We may even hurt ourself, the weight of our baggage too much to carry. Our shoulders droop, our back hurts and our legs weaken.

We can do it ourself, unzip that first bag, no matter how much we dread looking inside, or better yet, ask for help from someone with a carry on. Asking another person, lugging their 5 pieces of matching luggage will not work, as they are too burdened.

Once we open our bags, and see what’s inside, there are many, many things we may have forgotten we packed. Slowly, we take out our first item, hold in our hands for a few minutes, or longer if necessary. Then we toss it. That was not too bad as our items on top feel easiest to let go of. Our next item may bring us to tears, and the ones buried deeply, we may not want to let go of at all.

Within out bags, we may find lost love, missed opportunities, failures, mistakes, disappointments and losses. Or we may find toxic people, coupled with abuse and trauma. We may feel doubt and fear as we go through our bags. Denial will arise as we tell ourself it is better to just zip this back up. We may even realize that we never even packed our bags. Someone else put their stuff in our bags! It takes courage and strength to go through our baggage, to reach for that lightness and greatness that is all of ours to live, feel and know. We will become uncomfortable, once we begin lightening our load. We may want to run back and stuff our bags, as it was heavy, but it was familiar. But we cannot. Once we unload our bags, we cannot put our things back inside. We simply won’t want to.

Knowing peacefulness, joy, gratitude; finding enlightenment, living a great life, feeling unconditionally loving to all, does not mean we do not have a carry on. We are human, and we all have something that we carry with us through life. It is far easier to rest a backpack nearby as we drink in the beauty of a sunset or a wildflower than a five piece set of matching luggage.

Don’t wait. Go through your bags now. Feel your pain. Air out your grief, shame, guilt and anger. You will feel lighter, freer, and able to travel light. You will be able to release your need for control, rigidity. Anxiety will lessen and depression, the spaces you may feel as you lighten your load will allow you the breaks you need to process. Your envy will become gratitude. And your inner knowing will blossom. You will lose weight and release that addiction. Spontaneity will emerge along with a balance of well thought out planning. You will laugh harder and longer. You will find love in another, walking side by side, supporting each other through the challenges and joys of your days, without being triggered by past wounds. You will forgive yourself for carrying so much luggage around in the first place.

You are now, living your best life. Where you will be going, you can never imagine. Just know, it will be beautiful whether it is raining or sunny. Whether you sit in first class or coach, you will feel grateful.

Although the gifted Kurt Vonnegut fears the clunker life, I believe the only “klunker life” is the unexamined life I believe we must continue moving forward, get on to our purpose and do that. For all of us to know why we are here, what we are meant to do and become, to live our best life, we must lose our baggage.

If you like Alternative Perspective, you will love my co-authored book, Living Beyond Fear, coming soon to Amazon, and fine book stores. These Sacred Letters, stories about life and death, will take you on a journey that is healing and inspiring.

Feeling Triggered? Stop Reacting and Start Healing in 6 Simple Steps.

Feeling triggered means something unresolved from the past has come calling. An invoice that is left unpaid from an earlier transaction. An old injury that aches whenever it rains. Loose ends that need tying up. A trigger always feels unpleasant, and always lingers. 

My latest triggered happened unexpectedly, and lasted a few days.

I have co-authored a book and what a project it’s been! It has been worthwhile, demanding, exciting, frustrating, exhausting, amazing, fun and now, I can add, disappointing. In writing these words, I realize this describes most things we encounter in life.

Life for me, is one big classroom, and what is most important is what we learn and how we grow. Do we make the same mistakes over and over, hanging around middle school like a relentless case of acne, or are we able to learn over time, moving on to college, even graduate school (this has nothing to do with book smarts or actual educational achievement, but what we set out to learn in this life). It would even seem, if we stopped judging ourself, in reality, our failures and challenges, along with our triggers are what helps us move forward, grow up, and graduate, or at least move on to the next level of life school.

When we move out of our comfort zone, get off the couch, write a book, start a new relationship, move to a different town, sell our business, we take risks. And unlike a romantic comedy, we never know how it will turn out. This discomfort zone of writing a book, has brought on many small successes and failures, and is also where my latest trigger occurred. 

In hopes of receiving a testimonial for our book, I had sent the manuscript off to a well- known spiritual teacher, one who enjoys a hefty following of devotees. Although I do not follow him as closely as I used to, his words can still bring my body to a state of blissful relaxation, and the rush of insights within my mind.

I received a “no” when it came to his testimonial. He was too busy to read the manuscript with his third book in the works, plus his hectic schedule of speaking engagements.

I got it. I did. But still, an unpleasant feeling emerged, and then lingered. I knew I was triggered.

I have grown accustomed to rejection, as it is part of the writing process. And a part of life. Yet, this felt different. It felt more personal. The feeling was unpleasant, and was not going away. I needed to resolve it.

In the past, I had always gone to my head when triggered. I would try to reason myself out of it, which would only lead to ruminating, lack of sleep and the repetition of the incident to anyone who would listen. It was like banging my head against the wall to get rid of a headache. It did nothing; in fact it makes it worse.

Breaking through old patterns, often feels like I am busting down thirty year-old kitchen back splash with a hammer. It’s gratifying, and hard work. Yet, it takes time, and effort. In the end, not only can we rewire our brain, but we have brand new tile as a reward. The more we admire and look at the new tile, the less we remember the old. But we must stay awake.

It appears, in dealing with this past trigger, I fell asleep, and went back to old patterns.

I told three people about the teacher’s “no” and each had a different response. One uttered, “What as ass!” Another said, “Oh well, keep in touch, you never know.” A third replied, “Maybe you can offer to endorse his book!”

I nodded. I pondered. I laughed.

We do need others to share our unhappy moments, to feel less alone. This can soften the blow, yet, this does not make a feeling go away. If we avoid the feeling when triggered, it will fester, and settle into our being, only to arise again at another moment. Feelings can even become stuck in our bodies leading to imbalances and dis-ease. Once I realized I did not want to lose sleep, to go another round in the ring, I stopped. I knew what I needed to do.

I knew the only way to resolve this feeling, was to get out of my head. I knew I had to let my heart win.

Once I stopped banging my head, I asked what I needed to feel better. These 6 steps emerged:

  1. Prepare or regroup. Since life is one big school, what better place to do that, then going back to Kindergarten. In this first step, I enjoy snacking, napping, getting my hands dirty. (and of course, binging on Netflix). Especially when we are in the throws of a higher education term paper. I not only feel it is necessary, but good for my soul. For me, it is the reward before the work. 
  2. Move. In order to get out of our head, it helps to move our body, change our state. We can go for a run, garden, walk, or go outside and get the mail. Do a load of laundry or go to the store. Create some distance so you can do the next four steps. We often need this space in order to work through a feeling.
  3. Locate the trigger. It may be obvious what triggered us. As in the case of the testimonial, the news, or if we are cut off in traffic. We also may need to search for what set us off. It could be an off-handed comment by our significant other or we may wake feeling irritated, having dreamt something unpleasant.
  4. Name the feeling. Knowing what we are feeling is not as easy as it sounds. For me, it can be obvious, but not always. Irritation can feel the same as anger, but with closer observation, irritation happens when I am not listening to myself and my needs. Anger occurs when I feel betrayed by another person. One feeling may even be a cover up for another. We can start feeling anger, and then realize underneath the anger is sadness. Be patient, you will know sooner or later.
  5. Pin Point where this feeling is in our body. Once you know what you are feeling, see if you can figure out where you are feeling it. Our hearts are inside our bodies, and a feeling can lodge itself many different areas of our body. I often feel fear in my gut, grief in my chest. Stress can give me stomachache, and change can result in a headache.
  6. Focus our attention on this area. When we put our attention on a feeling in our body, a number of things can happen. We help move it through, which may bring forth tears, insights, a memory, or all three. 

These steps may need to be done once through, or repeated, depending on how deep the trigger. You may be able to jump right in, or take a detour first. Do whatever you need to gather the courage, as this work is not easy. If it were, none of us would ever become lost in our minds.

Here is what happened with me, when I took on these 6 steps. 

  1. In preparation, I watched a few shows on Netflix (okay, maybe more like 10). Afterward, I felt ready to look at why I was triggered.

  2. I took my dog for a walk to get space.
  3. I knew the trigger was about the “no” I received for the testimonial, and didn’t need to linger on this step.
  4. As it turned out, the feeling of rejection, morphed into disappointment. 
  5. Surprisingly, I felt the disappointment in my throat, the feeling lodged itself there like a bad case of strep. No coincidence, I used to get Strep all the time as a child.
  6. When I focused my attention on it, I realized the disappointment came from an earlier time in my life when the adults were too busy, too wounded, too self involved to help me. To even see me. Over time, this stifled my voice.

As I moved through the steps, I became depressed momentarily, which is simply the space for healing, then felt sadness. I was now in the heat of the trigger, the fire that needed quenching. Here I stayed, until the feeling passed.

For every tear shed, we will enjoy a deeper moment of joy.

Don’t let your scars fool you. It seems if we ignore an old wound, it always comes back. Life always gives us another chance. Like a seed planted in the soil that innately moves towards the sun, we are always growing, moving towards healing.

All triggers are gifts, and all challenges, rejections or failures, are opportunities for healing. 

My co-authored book, Living Beyond Fear, will be available soon from amazon, and in fine book stores. These 37 letters, stories about life and death, will take you on a journey that is both healing and inspiring. Details to follow!

 

 

 

Why We Should All Stop Feeling Guilty.

Our son was barely two years old, when our rescued dog bit him, barely missing his eye. Charlie, our mixed breed yellow lab, was never ok. The first time I saw the hackles on his back stand straight up, he was only six months old. During the second week of puppy training, he began attacking other puppies in an aggressive way.

At the time, I had been volunteering with a rescue group for years, fostering dogs, screening prospective families and working at adoption events. Charlie was a puppy we had been fostering, the only one that we decided would become ours. These hours I spent volunteering, were exhausting, yet satisfying. I loved being around the most kind, compassionate and giving people. I loved making a difference.

Until the day, I needed help. And then nobody was there.

Charlie’s aggressiveness was fear based, and he was afraid of other dogs and small children. We began to realize, he not only became volatile around dogs, but was not to be trusted with young children. We watched him, closely, walked him where dogs were less likely to be around, and did the best we could. Still, when a dog bites, it happens in a second. And when my son, reached to pet him, in the moment I turned my back, Charlie went for it.

Five stitches later, along with complete honesty, we found Charlie another home. The rescue group offered no help except that I could bring Charlie to one of their events and stand by his crate. I did try it. I was desperate, but, Charlie did not do well in a crate, barking and growling when anyone approached. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, and I did. I found a family, with no small children. They knew everything about Charlie, and still decided to adopt. We bid a tearful goodbye, as the wonderful couple with grown daughters loaded Charlie into their car. It was hard, watching your family pet drive away. I took solace in knowing it was better for Charlie and for us.

A year later, I was ready to search for another dog. I wanted to believe Charlie was not the norm, that adopting from a rescue was not only admirable but a perfectly reasonable way to bring a dog into a home. After all I knew the numbers of how many “very good dogs” are put to sleep each year because of overcrowding. In some small way, I wanted there to be one less dog, because of me. With my son along for the ride, we went to the pet store where we knew there would be rescue dogs up for adoption. I inquired about a dog, and was instantly remembered by one of the volunteers.”We do not know if you should adopt from us,” she uttered. “You put an ad on Craig’s List. Don’t you know you are supposed to return a dog that is not a good fit?”

I was shocked, and hurt. Never mind the hours I had put in for them. Never mind, I had put ads everywhere, hoping to find the perfect family for Charlie. Never mind my job for them was to screen families, and that is what I did with Charlie. Never mind, I had received no help from the rescue, and my pleas went unanswered. Never mind, I knew if I simply gave him back, he would never have been adopted in the methods they use. Never mind, dogs are so near and dear to my heart, I would never have just dumped him anywhere, with anyone. Dogs were always a part of our family, even our fosters, no matter how long they spent with us. I had cleaned up more poop then I want to remember, and had chased dogs down the street without a bra that had gotten loose.

I was not one of them, the ones that dump dogs at the pound when they are older, less cute. When they are moving, or are having a new baby. And yet, that is what they were insinuating. They then uttered, “Well you can adopt, but we just want you know how we felt.” My response was, “No thank you. Have a nice day.”

This was a wake up call, and I never went back to rescuing dogs. And not because of a few sour apples, or because of the judgement on their part, but because I realized an important lesson.

In the end, the snubbing did me a favor. It woke me up. No amount of guilt was worth putting my son in danger. And no amount of guilt was worth the stress that I often felt volunteering for a rescue group, even if I was doing good. It was not a fair exchange, and never is. Doing anything out of guilt creates more stress, not less. It is not good for anyone. Once I began applying this to my life, in a bigger way, I knew those women’s comments gave me a gift. I knew I had to learn to stop doing things out of guilt.

Many rescue dogs are amazing, and most rescue groups do incredible work. The time and attention needed to fix this problem of homeless animals is abundant and overwhelming. And yes, I still weep uncontrollably at the videos where the dog is dirty, living in the junkyard and is rescued, now living happily ever after in her new home. She is clean, healthy and has no issues. At least on the video. That is not reality. Most rescue dogs have issues. Often, purposely, this is left out of the video. Normally, you need an abundance of time, resources and desire to work with rescue dogs. It can be rewarding to both help out a rescue group and adopt a rescue dog. If it works for you.

Are there exceptions? Yes. There are always exceptions. I know families that have had a wonderful experience adopting a rescue. This just has not been my experience. I know the saying, “Adopt. Don’t shop.” How awful it is to not adopt a rescue, to adopt from a breeder.

Do you know what is also awful? If you keep a rescue that is tearing apart your family and your walls with separation anxiety. To not be able to walk comfortable with your dog, because you are afraid another dog will approach, and your dog will attack. To not be able to have other children over to play and relax.

This attitude, this adhering to “shoulds” never works in life. Just as happiness creates waves outward, so does misery.

While I would never adopt from a puppy mill, as they are abusive and neglectful, I would also never again adopt from a rescue. For the simple fact that it does not work for me and my family.

We need to pick our battles. Martyrdom never works, and just keeps us on the hook for a crime we never committed.

I still hold on to this fantasy of working on a task force, one that raids puppy mills, or hoarders, rescuing hundreds of animals at a time. I admire those that do engage in this kind of work, but also know I will never be doing this. My life and home will never again be turned upside down by a rescue animal. And I will never do this type of volunteer work again. As this is not what my life’s purpose is about.

If we want to make this world better, we first need to do what makes us happy. Then, we can reflect outward and see how we can help. There are those meant to march on Washington, and those meant to help another cross the street. Devoting yourself to others, while you are secretly miserable, makes no sense. It wears you down, leaving you drained and empty. Staying in toxic relationships because of some obligation or thinking you can help, change them, and then turning around and drinking yourself blind every night or worse, yelling at your children for making a mess, creates more misery for yourself, and leads to more chaos in our world.

Learning the difference between codependency and compassion has changed my life. Knowing where the line is drawn between obligation and self-care has been eye-opening. Learning to check in with myself, using my intuition on how I am meant to help others has been incredibly rewarding. I now use discernment, and feedback, not guilt.

If we listen more, and ask what we are to do, we can choose to help where we are meant, and we find our path. We will need to stop, listen and open up our awareness. We will need to say no, often.

Looking back on that interaction with that rescue group, I can still feel the hurt I had felt. I can still remember calling my friends in disbelief. The words, “After all I did for them?” leaving my lips. And yet, I now know, they were doing me a huge favor.

Sometimes, especially when we act out of guilt, we need a little push in a different direction. And if we can read between the lines, what appears as rejection, is simply life saying, Back away. This is not your path. You are not listening so we are going to give you a gentle shove, even a good slap in the face.

As it turns out, after I left the pet store that afternoon, I found a breeder, and we adopted our amazing yellow lab, Bella. She has been the love of our life, bringing incredible joy, unconditional love and laughter to our family. So full of love, she helps all of us to smile a little deeper, and she is always there when one of us needs a hug, or a laugh.

I pray someday, that all dogs and all animals are treated with respect, love and compassion. I applaud all those working endlessly to help all animals and species. And then I go home and snuggle with Bella, knowing she is the perfect dog for us.

My love for storytelling, is one way, I hope to help our world. Through my words, I hope to help others feel, laugh, cry, and know they are not alone. As much as I still want to go on that task force, and personally right the wrongs that are done to animals, that is not my path in this life.

Life is meant to be a series of learning experiences. We are not meant to know exactly what to do, but it is important to understand why we are here, and how we can grow, evolve and change. I am still learning. I still feel guilty many times for saying no, for doing what is best for me. But I have learned that self-love, self-care and what is right for my immediate family come first. That is what I agreed to, and that is what I will strive to do for as long as I am living this life.

And of course, I hope to continue learning and overcoming, the failures and successes, the codependency and compassion, all the while, snuggling with Bella. 

My first co-authored book, Living Beyond Fear, will be available soon from both amazon, and fine book stores. These 37 letters, stories about life and death, will take you on a journey that is both healing and inspiring. Details to follow!