Monthly Archives: November 2016

Truthing

“…the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” It’s the oath we make when we’re in court. But what about everyday truth? Who do I bear allegiance to then? Usually it’s me! We all have different versions of truth. When I’m talking about something and someone absolutely cannot see it happening or refuses to believe it, it doesn’t change my truth and I don’t change it to make them feel better! Or do I?

Many times, I’ve watered down something to help someone accept what I’m trying to say because they just could not hear it! However, I found this to eat away at my core. It bothered my conscience. I would feel empty inside and misunderstood. I couldn’t tell the whole truth! It’s very uncomfortable. It’s not authentic. I have learned to be careful with who I’m sharing my truth with. I don’t just tell anyone because not all are ready for it. It’s okay. It’s not for everyone either.

Everyone all around the world have different versions of truth. I believe everyone has the innate ability to hear, discern, and know truth. There’s an internal guidance system called our intuition. It really depends upon our early teachings, our impressions, and what we personally believe that leads to interpretations of truth. This is an undeniable fact. So many people hear the exact same story, but based on their filters and personal beliefs will interpret it in their own way that makes sense to them. Whatever you hear me NOT saying or between the lines has more to do with you than me! Think about it…

It is good for your mental health to question truth every now and then!  What are you believing or telling yourself?  Is it really true?  Is it true today, right now, or is it something from the past?  Is it your belief or someone else’s?  Do you water it down for  someone else?  Do you exaggerate it?   It is written, “the truth will set you free.”  What is truth?

My blog posts, and my book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself, are primer’s to get people to start thinking about issues differently. To look at them from a different perspective to learn, grow, or change mindset. They are especially written to spark an “aha” moment! It’s works for me! Comments are always welcome.

Government bullying

This morning, sitting around the kitchen table, we were all discussing the silly laws our government has created. Not too long ago, a guest, from out of state, was fined for falling asleep at the bus stop! There are serious abuses of power within the government, who believes what they’re doing is to serve and protect. However, some of the very laws created to protect one group of people ends up hurting another.

We all have numerous examples of government bullying. Laws were created to establish order and keep people safe, yet all too often, ordinary human behavior becomes defined as criminal activity. An organization wanted to feed the homeless at a park but were fined because they didn’t have the proper permits. It’s a very sad state. Why doesn’t the government feed the people, then? They have the permission to give the permits, then they should do it, right? I’m not here to bash the government or to rile up anyone, but we do need revolution.

We shouldn’t have to jump through government hoops to feed people. I believe people have also become too dependent upon the government for help and direction. Everyday citizens can lend a hand to someone in need. We live in this great country of abundance and yet so many are barely getting by. In my own case, many times, I’ve been afraid to ask anyone for help. I was afraid of being judged, or turned down. I didn’t risk asking for help, and then the government had to step in to take care of me. The government may have programs to help people, but it’s the compassion from our neighbors, or family that makes a huge difference.

I believe we all want the same thing. We want to live in peace, safety, and harmony with everyone. We want a safe place to live, jobs, and healthy food to eat. We want what the constitution offers which is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, everyone has different ideas of what that means for them and how to accomplish it. Therefore, if we want to see change, we each must get involved in changing the way the government operates. We are the government because we elect those in power.

Call or send your letters of concern to your representatives. And while we’re at it, let’s write them about what they’re doing right as well as what can be improved upon or needs a major overhaul. Let’s thank them for their service. Appreciation for the little things go a very long way. Be the change. We are all responsible for our lives, and our future, take back your power, and speak up for what is right, decent, and humane. Love and peace.

Sing A Song

The last couple of days, I’ve written about bullying, today I’m switching it a little bit. My biggest point in writing about it has been to empower yourself, speak up for yourself or someone else. Use your voice, your actions, and compassion to overcome the effects of bullying. So today, I will briefly share what I have done and am doing to help myself. I believe I was healed in order to heal others, to share my stories of healing and lead the way for someone else to rise up out of despair, depression, anxiety, and on.

An important aspect of my healing was talk therapy, lots of journaling, writing, and basically communicating. It’s important to have the right person though. Let’s be honest, not everyone is prepared to hear our sad stories, or to deal with depression and anger. Sometimes people just don’t want to talk about difficult subjects. You notice in many social circles the rule is to not talk about religion nor politics. Okay, I’m getting off the subject for a second. The reason is because the subjects can be heated since everyone passionately believes in their stance. Sometimes, anger arises, frustration and sadness. People don’t always know how to deal with these so called negative emotions. However, these are common feelings which everyone has! Why are we uncomfortable with them? It’s perfectly human to get angry, frustrated, sad and depressed over the state of the world or our inner turmoil. It’s what we do with these emotions that counts.  We don’t hurt anyone with our words or actions when we’re feeling angry and frustrated.

This is where compassion and patience comes into play. When we are discussing difficult subjects such as bullying, it gets uncomfortable because in many situations we’re told not to talk about it We’re told not to talk about the family business. The alcoholic uncle, addicted sister, molestation, incest and mental illnesses. However, I’m here to tell you that in order for our society to heal collectively and individually is to come out of our comfort zones and speak it or write about it. It’s the way through and up. Do not shove it under the covers and hide in guilt or shame. Shine a light upon it and in time you will see your healing. It’s scary at first, but with each baby step, next thing you know, you are running towards release, freedom and healing. You are no longer carrying that heavy burden. I highly recommend a compassionate therapist, friend, family member, or support group to get help and healing.

One way to strengthen your voice, and to feel confident is to sing. If you can’t sing, then hum a song. Eventually, just sing your heart out. I had to take back my voice. I used to speak in a very soft voice, and I didn’t enunciate my words very well, or I spoke too fast due to nervousness. I still struggle sometimes, but I’m much more confident now. I sing my favorite songs, one is Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All. I can’t reach her vocal range, but as I strive to, it helps me to exercise my own vocal chords.

When you are singing and working those chords, and you think you can’t get them to get any further, go just a little bit more. I feel empowered, strong, and courageous to share my stories as I learn to use my voice or just writing. The other thing it does, is you are less effected by criticism and I don’t fear judgment so much when I have confidence in speaking. Look into laughter clubs, too. Just google “laughter club.” It’s good to have a nice laugh every now and then, and you learn to relax in social situations. Love yourself!!

Parental Bullies

I’ve been agonizing over what to write about parental bullying. There is no simple way to say it. Included in the parental bullying are: grandparents, caregivers, uncles, aunts, foster parents, or those in authority over a child and adult children. I’m just going to briefly state different types of bullying:

Verbal berating, criticizing, teasing and belittling.

Physically beating the child with an object, hands, feet, etc..leaving cuts and bruises.

Sexually assaulting a child.

Insisting children share your religious beliefs.

Rejecting the children/adult children based on their career, lifestyle, partner choices.

Threatening to cause harm to a child for disobedience or noncompliance.

Withholding food, clothing, shelter, and emotional support.

I could go on and on but I really don’t want to. My intention of writing this post about parental bullying is to talk about what this type of bullying does to someone. For me, I grew up feeling like I didn’t matter. I felt like I had no say over what happened to me. I felt very disempowered. I felt robbed of my right to life and safety. I didn’t feel safe growing up. Grownups weren’t safe people, neither were some of the kids, but mostly it was the adults who were supposed to keep me safe. I was in a constant state of anxiety and fear. I didn’t know what would happen from one minute to the next. I did not dare speak to anyone of what took place at home due to being threatened. I want to reiterate that I did not dare to speak. Some people will ask, “Why didn’t you speak up?” It was beaten into me that I better not say anything. I had my voice stripped away. Lots of people feel powerless due to not being able to talk about it.

Many people have been bullied in their lives and if you wonder why they don’t speak up, it’s not because they agree or condone with someone’s bad behavior, but it’s because they were taught to be quiet while witnessing horrific events upon themselves or someone else. Many just silently weep in the middle of the night, wishing it will stop. These children grow up to be very depressed, angry, anxious,fighters, feeling inferior, have personality disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We are the walking wounded, and sometimes we go over the top fighting the system or just being compliant. Sometimes afraid to make the wrong choice or go along with someone else’s plan for our lives instead of what we really wanted. However, some simply don’t know what we want because someone else decided for us and think we’re too stupid to make our own choices. You’re not stupid, you get to decide from now on!

Since I have healed from depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and PTSD now I am here to encourage those who have experienced parental bullying to speak up. Take back your voice. Find your power. Get help from a friend, counselor, coach, or healer. You are worth it. You don’t deserve to live in fear of using your voice. You are allowed to speak your truth. You are allowed to tell your stories. You are allowed to heal from all manner of bullying and abuse. Love yourself!  You are worthy!  One final note, I have forgiven the people who bullied me.  I do not hold any anger or ill will towards any of them.  I wish them love, peace, and healing.  Many bullies were given poor examples of parenting, which is why I can easily choose to forgive with grace and ease.

Spiritual Bullies

This week, I’m going to focus my posts on bullies. This one is about spiritual bullies. I’ve had many encounters with bullies but this one I find notorious. Many spiritual bullies do it with good intention, but it’s way off. I do not like being told God loves me, but if I don’t obey Him, then I’m going to hell someday. I do not like being judged by other people who claim to speak for God, or use the Bible, and other texts to fear monger. I’m not anti-Bible, nor anti-Christian, but I am not for people who have used the name of God to abuse people, and cause pain.

In my own life, I had to leave the church in order to realize that God, Goddess, or Universe actually does love me. I do believe God or someone created the world. However, I do not believe in all the interpretations people have for the bible and other sacred texts. I do not believe the dogmatic doctrine many churches insist upon.

In my early 20s, I was teaching a bible study about the holy spirit from a book I got from a book store. A person came up to me and told me I was teaching false doctrine. I had bought the book at a Christian book store. I was using the Bible, what’s the problem? Apparently, many pastors didn’t believe in this particular doctrine. How was I supposed to know? It was in a Christian book store! This is one of my points. There are many interpretations for scriptures and the people do not agree upon what is truth. Not only that, but some judged me as a nonChristian because I didn’t have certain spiritual gifts. This made me very sad.

So after years of being in the church, one day, I just decided, I must not be one of them! I don’t think like them. I don’t believe like them. I don’t see God as they do. I must not be one of them! Aha! No wonder I don’t belong there! There are many people in the United States and around the world who absolutely do not agree with the church’s stance on issues, yet, the church continues to act like they have some sort of spiritual authority over other people’s lives.

People are allowed to live their lives and not agree with your interpretations. They are allowed to make their own choices even if you don’t like them! And let’s be clear, I don’t mind believers having their beliefs, but I do mind someone insisting I believe as they do. I love my life. I strive everyday to live in peace with every person, every living creature, and the planet. I love myself. I love other people. I believe in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. I do not attempt to thwart someone else’s beliefs.

The most heartbreaking aspect of this, is that people are afraid to speak up. They don’t want to be ostracized, judged, or shamed and so they suffer in silence. They don’t dare disagree with their pastor or make waves. Meanwhile, they’re very unhappy with their church or simply go somewhere else, never finding what they’re looking for because the doctrine or something is always a little bit off. They know what will happen if they speak up because it’s been done before. This type of behavior, of not allowing people to speak up and question things, causes people to live passive and disempowered lives. People go along with the mainstream because they don’t want to be judged. They follow the masses not realizing it’s leading to their destruction.

In my own life, the answer was just to come away from it all. I was very sad at first, but now I feel free and liberated. I don’t miss going to church hearing messages of hell and eternal damnation. I don’t miss being judged or misunderstood. I don’t miss gossip, hypocrisy, and pretending everyone is “happy in Jesus” when they’re not. I’m happy living in the world where people celebrate one another instead of separating because of differences. I believe the Universe loves all people equally, and does not judge our lives. Love is love. Love is the greatest power in the Universe. The bullies in church would have us believe otherwise. Nope, I don’t think so. I have a right to believe what I choose to believe. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I approve of me! I love me!! Love and peace.

Happiness

In times of trouble and unrest, it’s hard to think about happiness, yet, that’s exactly what I’m blogging about today. Because, in life, we go through a myriad of emotions and states of being, and it’s important to know nothing strange is happening to you. It’s simply life! When I used to be clinically depressed, I thought I would never ever be happy again. Boy was I wrong! However, once I got over the depression and other symptoms, if I ever felt down, I thought I must be slipping back into it. It’s simply not true! There will be events in our lives that brings elation and there will be others that will bring us down. And here’s another point, I learned to make peace with the waves of emotions that I feel each day. Peace is similar to happiness but you can have peace even if you’re sad for a reason.

Happiness is a state where you feel elated, free and light. You’re on top of the world. If you’ve ever had a runner’s high, you’ve got endorphins bringing you into a state of ecstasy running through your body. Laughing brings on a steady stream of happiness. Happiness is in a hug, a kiss, a smile, a job well done, a new birth, a new beginning, an ending, and so much more! Happiness is different for everyone and an inside job. However, surrounding yourself with happy and positive people will generally help you to feel good inside.

I am big believer in living life authentically and within my power by looking on the positive side. I strive to see each day as a brand new one to live fully, explore life, and look for the good. My childhood and much of my adulthood were some my worst days, and now it’s my mission to live the rest of days as my best days. I put the past in the past by confronting it, feeling it, processing it, releasing it, and moving on. I had many reasons for depression and now I have discovered even more to be happy. In order to be happy, I engage with life, do things that matter to me, I speak up, sing, dance, sleep, show compassion, experience and express all of my emotions in a healthy manner. See, it’s being authentic and not suppressing so called “bad feelings.”

I do my work with happiness. I can see work as drudgery or embrace it as a means to eat and live. I can sing and listen to upbeat music or be angry and complain while doing it. It’s all a matter of choice and perspective. Happiness is unique for each one and everyone has different things that brings in more happiness. These are some of the things that I do:

Attend laughter club

Meditate

Sing

Dance

Exercise: bicycling, walking, hiking

Read

Writing/blogging

Play with my grandkids

Crossword puzzles, sudoku, cross sums, anacrostic

Jigsaw puzzles

Listen to music

Spending time with others

Collect crystals

Hospitality

Watching birds

Daydreaming

Watching favorite TV shows

Think about what makes you happy, and do it. Make time for it. It’s the best way to balance out the chaotic lives we live. If there’s not enough happiness in your life, you may need to cut out some activities that are draining you or ask for help with it, like if you’re grieving. Let’s not be lone rangers when there’s a hard job to do or situation you’re dealing with. Life is meant to be easy and done within community of others. Find a group of people who mutually lift one another up, to share positive energy and bring more peace and happiness in our lives.

Some good books I’ve read about happiness:

Happiness Is A Choice by Barry Neil Kaufman

Happiness For No Reason by Marci Shimoff

Life Is Short, Wear Your Party Pants by Loretta LaRoche

The Healing Power of Humor by Allen Klein

Depression

It’s been a long time since I was diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features. I also had PTSD which amplified the depression. I am very far removed from the disorder and this in itself is quite the description. It is very insidious, you don’t feel like yourself, a dark cloud has covered over you and there is no escape. Many days, it was a struggle to just get out of bed and participate in life. I became a shell of a person that I no longer recognized. I certainly didn’t want friends or family to see me this way. Then the haze with medication and feeling like a zombie who can’t feel a thing. I went from feeling everything and deep sadness to numbness and apathy about anything and everything. It was hard to even look at myself in the mirror. I’d see someone who I barely recognized.

People went on with their lives. They had to keep going. Not many people knew what to do or how to help. Even the professionals would ask me out of courtesy, “What do you need?” Gee, if I knew that, I’d not be here, now would I? I can look back now and laugh but at the time, it scared me because I really hoped they had the answer for me. There is not a simple answer for those who struggle with depression or any mental illness because people get it for different reasons. However, there are some ways to lessen it’s impact:

Talk about it
Spend time with loved ones
Do the things you enjoy
Laugh
Sing
Dance
Exercise
Eat healthy
Watch silly shows
Lighten up
Attend support group
Attend laughter clubs
Be authentic
Show up for life
Be thankful
Spend time in nature
Meditate

My biggest mistake was allowing the mental illness label to define me. I wore it like the finest dress. I didn’t realize it took more than just taking meds and talk therapy to get out of it. I had to do some deep thinking about why I had gotten here in the first place. Life is a great balancer. Sometimes we take on too much stress and it stops us in our tracks to get our attention. It’s just temporary stop though, like a red light, it’s not meant to stay parked there long term. Find out what’s missing in your life to bring it into balance.

Some of my suggestions will seem very difficult because at times it feels like you’re wearing weighted boots. It can be hard to get moving. However, it’s one baby step at a time. Be grateful for each one. Also, practice gratitude for the people in your life and the opportunities that come way. By all means, let go of toxic people who bring you down. Above all, love yourself! Honor your life, be true to you and keep believing in you! You are worth it.  There really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

My next blog post is going to be on happiness and what’s on the other side of that tunnel!