I was thinking about you today and so wanted to send a little note to see how you're doing. I can see you now, sitting on the front porch steps, watching the kids playing in the park, staring off into space.
I remember how you used to love singing as you soaked in the afternoon sun. Your round cheeks and bright red hair that couldn't decide if it wanted to be curly or straight. Your strong legs from all of those hours on the soccer field. Youre goofiness and playfulness and quick sense of humor that always had people laughing.
I know some of that is feeling harder to be these days. Life has become very confusing ... a simple thing like walking in your front door now carries with it a heaviness because he's there.
It breaks my heart that you don't feel safe, and I know you are wondering if there's ever going to be a way to escape this.
I wish I could wrap you up and carry you away from there. If I could, I would create a space with all of your favorite things - peanut butter, card games, books, music from all around the world, and plenty of room to dance.
I know it's not much help to you right now and you most likely won't even believe me, but I promise -- something amazing is going to happen to you.
Right now when someone says there is a meaning or a purpose you want to punch them in the face - and rightly so. Who wants to hear there is power in the pain, our pain is our purpose, when they are hurting!?
But what I most want you to know is this pain is not a gift, it is not to be treasured -- but it is going to be transformed into something that will blow your mind!
And I know - without a doubt - that life is going to become a wild journey that amazes you and that you are so grateful to be a part of.
With all my love,
Watchthis video and get in touch with the power of your voice! Here's to living out loud.
Life with My Idiot Family: A True Story of Survival, Courage, and Justice Over Childhood Sexual Abuse by Kathy & Gary Picard
Abusers get away with their crimes because the thought of confronting them—even through legitimate legal channels—can be a terrifying prospect for a victim. Yes, Kathy’s story as a victim is filled with years of sexual abuse and threats, but there are many more years filled with personal and professional triumphs as her life progressed beyond the physical and emotional reach of her abuser. Kathy is inspirational proof that good people can win, and that speaking out and fighting for what you truly believe in can help make this world a better place to live.
Susan Yockey, my friend and fellow Transformation & Mindset Coach & Radio Host, will be hosting a FREE summit with 21 top experts, including myselfwho will be sharing with you the strategies and the exact “How To’s” for living the abundant life you desire, how to finally BREAKTHROUGH the limiting beliefs, self-doubts and fears that are hidden or blocked in your unconscious mind and keeping you from achieving your goals in 2018.
Today, I’ve been thinking a lot about beginnings and childhood. I was chatting with some friends the other night about parenthood, and it spurred on these reminiscences I suppose. Now, none of us have children of our own (though one has a baby on the way!), but I worked as a nanny for many years and a teacher before that.
They have their own experiences with little ones in their family. We were tossing ideas around about what types of parents we would want to be – lenient or strict, open or cautious, etc. – but my thoughts became focused more on my own parents and childhood than about what I might do if I had my own children. I began thinking about what I most cherished about my childhood, despite the trauma I experienced and the following very difficult years. What about my beginnings had most shaped me? Then I came across this poem I wrote many years ago, and I thought it said it best:
Stinging summer sweat
oozing from my pores,
wetting the back of my
Limbs, not yet proportional,
moving me towards my goal.
Fresh cut grass –
smells of periwinkle blues
mixed with jasmine flavored wine.
Honeysuckle flavors mixing
with thorny, rosy vines.
Shimmering breezes cooling
my unwrinkled brow.
pulsing with youthful energy.
The different shades racing past,
blending into one calming palette.
An expanse of opportunity –
to play, to run, to sleep, even to write.
I've left my footprints all over
this childhood field.
Sleeping beneath a bed of stars.
Thinking of the me that
was, is, and will be.
Thank God for the wide open space
that surrounded my home.
I was never confined,
never forced to resign
to thinking, to living
Whatever faults my parents may have had, the one gift they gave me was space to roam, to explore, to reject being boxed in.
At times, when I feel life or my perspective or my dreams becoming small – I return to those times when I had a full sky above me and wide open space around me. I remember that limitations are so often there because of my own small thinking or fears – and that, the reality is, I have all sorts of freedom to stretch, expand, and go big.
Read about 10 Things to Say (and 10 Not to Say) to Someone With Depression
What positive beginnings most shaped you?
BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke
Through storytelling that delivers both scientific insight and moving stories of personal impact, Burke Harris illuminates her journey of discovery, from research labs nationwide to her own pediatric practice in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in The Deepest Well will represent vitally important hope for change
For most survivors of abuse, we have at least one harsh critic in our heads commenting on our every move, and some of us have a whole committee of critics repeating a variety of negative messages we heard from a variety of people growing up. This month, we’ll explore the process of finding self-acceptance as survivors, what gets in the way and what helps us eventually get there. Learn More & Register Here
Okay, so I know Mister Rogers may strike many of us as quaint, yesterday, trite, or maybe even scary (eek! those sweaters!), but when I read his book, I found many little nuggets that I thought many of you might find inspiring or fun as well. Here ya go:
1. A life of spiritual wholeness is represented by looking inward with our hearts (inner disciplines affect how we see others), looking outward with our eyes (how we see others affects how we treat others), and using what we've learned practically, with our hands (serving).
2. Slow down. -Hurriedness causes the soul to be hard and resistant. But taking time and going slow nurtures the soul. -Taking one's time, especially in relationships, allows the other person to know he or she is worth the time. -If we can learn to wait through the "natural silences" of life, we will be surprised by what awaits us on the other side.
3. Be vulnerable. -Be willing to try new things and keep trying new things even if you aren't good at them. -Vulnerability is an important quality because it gives others access to our complexity.
4. Feelings are okay. -You don't have to hide them and there are ways to say how you feel that aren't going to hurt you or anybody else.
5. Be a good neighbor. -Your neighbor is simply the person you happen to be with at the moment.
6. Forgive. -Undesirable feelings or behaviors can be rerouted and released into excellence.
7. Hold onto your innocence. -Appreciate life's mysteries through the eyes of a child - never lose the ability to look at the world through your child's eye.
Here are a few of his favorite quotes:
Gerald Sittser, A Grace Disguised: We live life as if it were a motion picture. Loss turns life into a snapshot. The movement stops; everything freezes.
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time: If someone knows who he is, really knows, then he doesn't need to hate.
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wind in the Door: Love. That's what makes persons know who they are.
If any of these strikes a chord, then I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on how you can actually integrate the lesson into your day to day life. If this became a value or idea that you held in high esteem, how would your actions, words, or thoughts need to shift in order to honor that?
Watchthis video to watch a beautiful exploration of facing, overcoming, or succumbing to fear
Read about how self-control is really just empathy for your future self
How could you be a good neighbor today?
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix
Originally published in 1988, Getting the Love You Want has helped millions of couples attain more loving, supportive, and deeply satisfying relationships. The 20th anniversary edition contains extensive revisions to this groundbreaking book, with a new chapter, new exercises, and a foreword detailing Dr. Hendrix’s updated philosophy for eliminating allnegativity from couples’ daily interactions, allowing readers of the 2008 edition to benefit from his ongoing discoveries during his last two decades of work. Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., in partnership with his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD., originated Imago Relationship Therapy, a unique healing process for couples, prospective couples, and parents.
Attention Bay Area Women Art of Feminine Intuition & Manifestation The Power of Focus March 12th, 6:30p Berkeley, CA
I am so excited to be presenting my workshop on "The Power of Focus: What Are You Manifesting" at this upcoming event. During this workshop, we will:
* Explore the impact that focus has on our ability to manifest your desires. * Discover the #1 point of focus that is keeping you stick and frustrated. * Learn how to use the power of the brain to shift your focus and manifest exactly what you want.
Anger is a healthy and natural response to abuse and exploitation. Our anger as survivors is justified and we need to be allowed to be angry for as long as it takes. Unfortunately, others may want us to “get over it” and “move on” from anger to forgiveness.
Many, many years ago, during a session with my therapist, I found myself sitting slumped down, defeated, exhausted --- I was so close to the end of my rope that he was concerned enough to ask me if I'd create a safety plan with him before leaving his office.
Begrudgingly I agreed, internally thinking, "Yeah right, like that's going to help."
We began putting together a plan that would keep me tied and tethered to this earth. After a few of the usual to be expected questions, "Who can you call if you feel like harming yourself? What is something you could do to self-soothe?" -- my therapist asked, "Would you be willing to spend 5 minutes a day practicing gratitude."
Not in the mood for any of is "woo" nonsense, I replied, "F*** off. You've got to be kidding me. What in the world do you think I have to feel grateful for? Sometimes I wonder if you even know what you're doing." (ouch! right? -- not one of my shining moments)
As he often did when I would lash out in this way, he took a deep breath and just sat, looking at me, letting me be, not rejecting or shaming or judging or correcting. And in that space, I felt my heart soften, and I said, "Okay, okay. If you think it will help."
For the next two weeks, I spent 5 minutes at the end of my day reflecting on the things I felt grateful for. And I have to tell you, I was really stretching in the beginning -- like, all I could connect to was feeling grateful for sleep, a funny TV show, being able to get out of bed.
But as the days passed, my sense of gratitude expanded, deepened, and I started noticing so much that I had in my life that I just hadn't been able to even seen because I was so consumed by depression and anger.
This gratitude practice saved my life.
Fast forward many, many years, and I'm now studying neuroscience and developing the Beyond Surviving program. I knew that this practice needed to be a part of my program, but I wanted it to be backed up by research -- add a little science to the woo. :)
In my studies, I came to learn that gratitude is amazing, because it ignites the brain stem and causes the release of dopamine, can boost serotonin levels, and ultimately creates a positive feedback loop that further heals the brain!
So today, I want to encourage you to incorporate a gratitude practice into your day to day. And I know you might be feeling just like I did - like there isn't anything to be grateful for. So I encourage you to start small, whatever feels doable -- and hey, maybe this email can be the first thing on your list!
Watchthis video narrated by Louie Schwartzberg on how to cultivate gratitude
Read about four practices that lead to more happiness (including gratitude!)
What do you feel grateful for today?
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Becoming a Man in the Shadowlands: Surviving Rape, Abuse, and Incest by Dennis Randall
This story of survival is a book by a survivor for survivors. Never a victim and always a survivor, journey inside the mind of a child overcoming sexual abuse while navigating a pathway through the social insecurities of adolescence. Becoming a Man in the Shadowlands is a beautifully written saga about an ugly subject. It is an inspiring survival story and a book worth reading.
FOR MEN ONLY Join Me for This Live Master Class! February 27th, 3:30p PT / 6:30p ET
Are you sick and tired of feeling stuck and paralyzed because of self-doubt?
For survivors of sexual abuse, our self-esteem and confidence are so depleted that we often find ourselves struggling with self-defeating thoughts, plagued by a fear of making mistakes, and exhausted from trying to constantly keep up a façade, afraid that any day we’ll be “found out”.
So it's no wonder that we struggle with confidence, feeling motivated, and relationships. For many of my male clients, they additionally feel inadequate and battle a sense of not being "man enough".
And while I'm not a guy, I have had my own struggles resulting from a lack of confidence! And I can't wait to share with you what helped me put an end to feeling worthless and not good enoughso I could finally stand up for myself, pursue my dreams, and achieve the success and relationships I always dreamed of.
As survivors of childhood sexual abuse, mothers are often one of our most complicated and painful issues. This month, we’ll explore what our relationships are like today with our mothers and what we might need to do to experience healing in this area.