Does this describe you? You’re beginning to wake up to some long hidden sides of yourself that you didn’t realize affected you, or the way you do life. Now what? You ask questions. And you scrutinize those questions with a fine-toothed comb.
As you begin to explore the depths of your soul’s desires, and maybe even your purpose for this sudden awareness, you will need to build in some structure and some organization to your process.
What I have found is most people identify with concepts, but they don’t actually attempt the work behind turning the concept into something real and tangible for themselves.
I invite you to explore your personal beliefs, and determine what consciousness work will do for you. Each of us behave from beliefs, habits, mechanisms, and patterns that we have adopted from our relationships. We also carry with us what has been handed down to us from our ancestors. There is a lot in this lifetime alone that you could explore – like issues around social stigmatizing, family dynamics, environmental and cultural influences, and more.
There are places inside all of us that stir up struggle. If you find yourself asking big questions when you’re hurting, then this is a class for you. I invite you to join me for my new class, Consciousness Mapping, where we will address your personal traumatic imprint, provide positive exercises for you to identify what it is ready to be healed, and learn how you can turn your heart’s desires into a positive healing journey.
About the class:
The process of Consciousness Mapping helps you to understand on a deep level why you make the decisions you do, uncover the roots of your “triggers,” and helps you shift to a powerful, aligned state of being.
Develop and nurture your personal experience by connecting to your authentic truth and purpose. Healing, and overcoming limiting beliefs are mindfully conscious practices that will align you positively with your soul’s deepest desires.
In this class you will:
Learn how life events create a map for how you act, be, and do in life
Identify how the unspoken dynamics of your relationships affect your ability to live authentically
Develop personal strategies for mindfulness and how to apply them
Mapping your conscious awareness provides focus for and more deeply tunes you in to all that is possible.
I’m not usually the type of person to step into someone else’s beef, but yesterday I did. And I don’t regret it.
I was out with my friend yesterday taking in a quiet afternoon of peace by calming water. We took a respite to center ourselves, to find stillness for a few hours and to connect with our aching hearts amid this world of uncertainty and mass confusion. At some point as we stood on the beach with our toes digging in the sand and the water coming up onto our feet and ankles, my black friend told me she always feels comfortable in my home. She told me my parents are nice and welcoming. I’m not sure I responded to her with more than a nod of acknowledgement because I was relieved my black friend could say this to me freely and honestly. The statement stands out in the middle of the afternoon for me. She returned me home and walked in the house with me, helping me carry in the bags and chair I had brought. And before getting back on the road, she asked to use our bathroom.
We walked out of my house together, saying our goodbyes when we noticed there was a mess of a snowball, a red syrupy snowball all over my front door, steps, sidewalk, and my father. He had been sitting out front with the dogs. Sitting out on your front stoop after dinner as the sun sets is a very Baltimore thing to do. Many of my neighbors were out on their front stoops too.
As my friend got in her car and drove away, I asked “What’s all this?” A few neighbors and my father proceeded to tell me how someone walking down the street was frightened by my dog and they threw their snowball at him.
My father’s no saint. Let me just say it now. But none of us are.
He’s also 70 and has no filter. He’s not very different from others his age who grew up and had it rough. I grew up with this man, I know how he is. And I do know that yes, he has a very sharp tongue. I’ve been warning him for years that he needs to check himself. But this time there is the blood-red ice of evidence all over my home and father, along with the discarded cup. And it’s fallen on us to clean it up.
I grabbed my phone and I jumped on Facebook, not my norm btw, on to our neighborhood community page and I wrote a post. “Never have I ever in my 47 years living here …” The post had comments rolling in faster than I could read them. And then the person who threw the snowball private messaged me. He went on to tell me that he and his family (including his children and dogs) were walking down the street and my father called him a name. He told me he asked my father not to call him names. He went on to write that he did nothing more than that. (It was not the “N” word, btw, the snowball slinger is not black).
But he did do something more than that. He threw a messy cup of red, sticky, syrupy ice at my home and at my father.
Mind you, the entire event happened in the amount of time it took for me and my friend to carry a bag and a chair into the house, and use the bathroom to pee.
I was wowed.
So something’s not quite adding up. And the three neighbors who were standing with my father explaining to me what happened, that’s not what they said either.
I believe the snowball slinger. But. I also KNOW this: My father does not say such things unless he is provoked.
So even though I did not actually witness the event, here is my surmisation. My 13 mo puppy, who is very much attached to me, was chained to our front stoop, became extremely hyper and excited to see me (as he always does) and was jumping around and barking to get at me. But like we do, I passed him to drop the bags in the house and get my friend ready to leave. My ignoring him only made him more excited.
People mistake my dog for what he is because of his size — he’s a 110lb. puppy. They see his size and they assume he’s an adult dog. But he’s only 13 months old and he is very much a puppy! That’s a lot of energy behind that size and strength. Trust me, we know! He’s jumping on us all the time and knocking us about. We deal with him constantly. He’s a lot of dog. A lot of puppy! And when he’s that excited, it’s very hard to manage him. And that is what my neighbors and my father told me he was trying very hard to do, manage the puppy.
I’m guessing Mr. snowball slinger told my father to control the dog when he walked by, instead of crossing or walking in the street like most everyone else does who walks past our house. THAT would be the ONLY reason my father would say something to someone he doesn’t know. No one can tell my father what he can or cannot do, or should or should not do. On his property. Period.
Another thing about my father is, he tells it like it is. Yeah, he can be an asshole, but it’s never unwarranted. His fault lies in not being good at being passive. He’s not a teacher or a Zen master. He’s not book smart or college educated. He grew up in a rough era in a big city. He was a blue-collar worker who loyally held the same labor-intensive job for 53 years, and he recently retired. His tongue is sharp, but he doesn’t fabricate anything, either. And he’s definitely not a bully. His world is very real to him. He’s lived a hard life being bullied himself, shut down again and again by the other blue collars, and my father has spent his life on his defense.
Hurt people hurt people.
Now there’s a goddamned sticky red snowball all over my house and father, and it’s staining his white shirt.
This morning, I chose to delete the post on Facebook. Not because I want it to go away, but because I needed to do better than that.
The reactions and the comments to the post and against my father were all over the place — from neighbors who have unhealthy obsessions with us because they can’t control us — like the woman who snapped her fingers in my face on more than one occasion and demanded something of me, and I said no. Others who chimed in were neighbors who we’ve had to complain about for partying in the alley, or on their rooftop decks at full volume until all hours of the night when we were trying to sleep and had to be up in the next few hours for work. All they want is their right to party at 2am and be obnoxiously drunk. Neighbors with righteous attitudes who just moved in and think they’re better than everyone else because their homes are sterile environments and their cars are more expensive. Joining in the comments was the neighbor who watched my black friend as she parked her car on my street — they looked her in the eye and then proceeded to hit her car. And the neighbor who yelled at me when I was standing in front of my house, watched me as I hooked my dog’s leash to his collar, and then threatened me with words and told me about leash laws. And then there’s the neighbor who three days after I broke my wrist and had a fresh cast on and still extremely sore and swollen, who looked at me and reminded me that I still had two hands when I asked him if he could lift the trash can lid so that I could discard my dog’s poop bag (which he didn’t do). Then there’s the neighbor who transferred blamed to me at the dog park for leaving the gate open, because they assumed I was going in there when I wasn’t, so they left the gate open. The neighbors who drive down the street at full speed like they’re on the autobahn — um we live on a small peninsula and literally every street ends at the next block. Where are you rushing to?! Who are you trying to impress? There are families walking across the streets with their small children and pets. Do you know how many times I’ve almost been hit because you don’t believe that stop sign should apply to you? This is just in the recent few months. Do you want me to go on?
My father is no saint, but while all of you liquor lovers sleep it off in the morning, he walks the neighborhood and he cleans the gutters of all the leaves and trash. He pulls the weeds in the sidewalk and repairs cracks in your bricks. He trims the trees. And my father collects the discarded beer cans and bottles and snack bags that you left all over our park and in the grass. Do you think there is a trash fairy? Every day you return to the park and leave a trail and every morning that trash is gone. That trash fairy would be my father. He collects an extra two cans of trash a week that the city doesn’t pick up, and he drives it to the dump himself. My father respects his environment and prefers to enjoy a clean park and have clean, well kept streets. How about you give him a thank you the next time you see him.
All of the lost and left behind sunglasses, hats, balls and bikes are collected, and it’s my father who collects them and sets them on the corners and the tree boxes for you to find. No one is aware of my fathers actions because he doesn’t need attention or recognition for a good deed done. He’s more than happy to do it. He does it because he takes pride in where he lives, where he was born and raised.
Everyone fought to have the city build a public toilet in our park. It was built, we paid for it, but the doors never opened. My father calls the city and asks why, because he’s sick of watching you all pee on the trees and footpaths.
For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with where I live, it is a prominent neighborhood built on a peninsula. It is small, only a few blocks wide and a few blocks deep. A neighborhood that’s a mix of traditional rowhomes built around 1900 to new homes just built in the last few years as we progressed away from a more industrial setting and into a more intended affluence. Homes in this neighborhood range from $350K to $1M., and the home for a few professional NFL and MLB players. This is not a low income community. It is a community of people who are considered average or more financially.
We’ve never thrown anything at you, damaged any of your property, or hurt any of you physically. All my father is guilty of is speaking his truth. You’re the one who showed your child it’s okay to throw things at people when you disagree with them. You’re the one who chose to create a spectacle. Last week you were telling me how much of a sweetheart my father is, and yesterday you were calling him a racist. Joking or not, how many times do you refer to others as Bitches?
Both men were right. Both men were wrong.
Yes, I wish my father would find a better way to express himself, it’s more than awful. But it’s time you do too. What again made it ok for you to throw a snowball at someone? Instead of finding compassion in his struggle, you added to it. You chose to throw a snowball at him because you don’t understand that you have emotional baggage that needs healing. Neither man in this story understands this. We all need to understand this. We all need to find compassion for each other, and act neighborly. And we need to begin the process of forgiveness and healing, and become the type of people who respond instead of react. We all want change, but no one dares to acknowledge their responsibilities or their contributing behaviors. It’s always someone else’s fault. NO. It’s not! Be a part of the solution, not the problem.
All I ask is that as you read this, you do so with the compassion and awareness that I had to grasp as I experienced these events. What I am about to say has never left my brain, has never been admitted, or spoken out loud, until now.
What I’m about to share are the types of things we keep to ourselves. They are our highly personal feelings of shame, and the stories we want to bury forever.
When I was in the beginnings of my healing journey my body physiology was so fucked up that I lost control of my bowels and my bladder. I was so devastatingly stressed out that for a long period of time – like a year or two or three – I needed adult diapers. I had nothing medically wrong with me, it was literally the level of stress I was holding.
At first I wasn’t prepared, and I had to be on alert – scanning the streets and sidewalk for other people, so they wouldn’t see when I peed or messed my pants. I layered, so I could tie a shirt or sweater around my waist. My poor dog, so many walks were cut short.
I always – I’m talking every hour, every day, for a few years – felt like I had to go. But I couldn’t recognize when it would come. I would try to go before I left the house, even if it was just to walk my dog around the block. But it didn’t matter, we’d be just far enough that I couldn’t jaunt back, just far enough that he was ready and going. Just far enough that even if I turned around right there and then, home was too far away for me to make it. I was just as vulnerable and exposed out on the street as he was. My shame was heavy.
My whole body was upset all the time – like for the full 24 hours, day after day after day. My stomach was always knotted, my lungs always pumping, and my heart always pounding. I was constantly trying to calm myself down – with breathing, counting, stilling myself, and endless compassionate self-nurturing conversations.
I hated leaving the house.
Even though I was at that point safe, I was still suffering from the trauma, and I had a very difficult time letting go. I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD.
It all came about as a result of what I had lived through. I was forced back home, to live with my parents; I was in my early forties. The pressure I put on myself around that, and the inabilities to take care of myself in every way, only added to my stress, and I created a whole new paradigm of toxic cause and affect.
I just couldn’t hold myself together.
All of the things required to make a healthy human were missing for me – sleep, routine, menstrual cycles, people, something to look forward to – all missing.
I was a mess. And added to everything, I lived with pain from breaking my back.
My cognitivity was so suppressed, productivity was absent, and any kind of motivation felt like I was hanging from an insanely high cliff. My fingertips were scraping the edge, and I was slipping, slowly.
That edge made for a dangerously distorted sense of reality, and I was unable to be a nice person. I slapped my mother across her face. I screamed into the face of my 7 year old niece to fuck off. I was perpetually on a rant with everyone, and I honestly did not think it was possible to overcome any of this.
Every time I had to throw away my underwear, and take another shower, I cried. Every conversation that I pleaded, screamed, and demanded – they each made me cry. No matter how hard I apologized, I couldn’t take it back. I couldn’t erase what I had done. Together we have these memories to live with, I cannot lie. I cried because I recognized I was a horrible person. I isolated myself because I was a monster.
I hated this version of me.
The hate I felt for myself was strong enough to want change. I didn’t want to always have to cry. I wanted to know if I was stuck to live with such a fucked up and broken body. I truly wanted healthy relationships in my life. I wanted a life. And I knew I deserved one – I knew I had done nothing wrong.
It took me years to get what I wanted, but I did it. As the swell of desire rose in me, the more shift I felt. There were so many ways I tested and tried to find me, and I eventually stopped the need to cry. I had to learn how to be me, the me I wanted to be. I am forever grateful for the strength I had, I honestly couldn’t tell you how I found it some days.
When I tell people I used to live from a place of anger it’s hard for them to believe.
I know now that some of that anger was learned, and transferred behavior – I was reflecting back how I was treated, and showing myself what I didn’t like. I didn’t want to be doing to others what was done to me. The rest of the anger was what I was holding inside, I was no longer willing to suffer in silence – it was my cry for help.
I was able to get through so many events, so many days, that were absolutely devastating and disgraceful, because I had compassion. Without compassion in each of my situations, I wouldn’t have made it. Thankfully I had enough to want more.
That me that I used to be, she’s gone. I did the work to move past all of that anger with the help of many.
There I was in the shower, completely exhausted. I’m not gonna make it I thought. I had zero energy left in me.
My arm is in a cast, and my cast is inside a waterproof cover for the shower. The cast is heavy, and my arm is just hanging there. I don’t have the energy to hold it against my belly. My good arm is also heavy. It’s tired and sore. It’s exhausted.
“Limb fatigue is a real thing“ Laura explained to me. She’s a PT, and was explaining to me that the arm I’m using is exhausted from using it so much.
I have limited range of motion. And it’s feeling like dead weight. It’s so sore I don’t even want to try to move it.
It’s been a few days and I need this shower. Since the cast has been on I’ve only had a few. While each one of those were welcomed and a relief, this one is not. I’m talking myself out of exiting the shower. I’m forcing myself to stand under the shower. I try to relax. Try to enjoy it, it’s a treat, I say. I think about a renowned meditation and awareness practice of allowing the water to wash away my stress and let it go down the drain. I don’t need my stress to go down the drain because I’m not feeling stress. What I’m feeling is exhaustion. I feel a century old, and as though not a minute of it has been spent asleep.
But I have slept. I’ve slept a lot. My body is healing.
I don’t want to but I make myself take soap to my skin. The soap feels like it’s 20 pounds heavy. I feel as though I’m pushing 5000 tons of machinery across a field. Usually I finish my showers with two minutes of cold to balance my nervous system and to draw my energy back in. I seriously consider skipping it. I just want out.
When I was done I just stood there. My head was hung low and I made absolutely no attempt. In a whisper I said to my mother “I can’t dry myself. You have to do it.”
She put my hair in the turban, and then she dried my body. We took the precautions of removing the cast cover and I returned to my bed.
I’m not weak. I just don’t have any strength.
And so I am reminded that I am mortal. I am reminded that our bodies get worn. Today, I am not independent. No matter what my calendar says, no matter what my responsibilities and commitments are, or what my agenda is, I must rest myself.
It takes great courage to be one with this process of being human, and not fight it. To see yourself so vulnerable, to feel yourself so vulnerable. It takes courage to be in your truth and to be in your reality. To be sober, and not numb. To accept fully what it’s like to be in your body. To surrender.
I promise you that when you go through the exercise of being in your courage, each time it gets easier and easier. Eventually the need to be courageous dwindles. Like breathing, it becomes something you can just do. You will even get to a point where you’ll notice how you respond, and that turns into inspiration. Then, you’re living as you’re meant to.
11am – 4pm at Nourishing Journey 8975 Guilford Road, Columbia MD
I began volunteering for Araminta a few years ago. It is very important to me to help you understand how truly amazing this organization is. Most causes are dedicated to recovering individuals from their situations. Araminta goes beyond, and above that call. They provide all things a survivor may need once they have left their situation. They pair the survivors with mentors and make sure every single one of their critical needs are met – for them and their children. Every single thing from medical care, therapy, clothing, housing, and schooling and care for their children. Survivors are provided food, transportation for their appointments, support in every place imaginable – courts, etc. We help them build their lives from a stable point.
Araminta is a volunteer based organization and they are in need of so much, all of the time.
On February 15th the practitioners at Nourishing Journey are donating their time and their talents to raise money that Araminta needs to continue their mission. In addition to services there will also be an education room with speakers on different subjects throughout the event.
Here’s what you can do: Share this information Attend the eventPay $20 for one (20 minute) service OR Pay $50 for 3 (20 minute) servicesBring others with you to the event.
All of the proceeds from the day will be given to Araminta.
If you cannot attend, but would still like to donate, please click on the button below.