Piece by piece, the puzzle of ourselves starts to come together. For many, it doesn’t begin until mid-life. For the lucky, it happens much sooner. Although I don’t believe it’s luck—instead, several things like awareness, a desire, and synchronicities that unfold in perfect timing.
Personal growth and development have been a life-long mission of mine. It wasn’t until the last couple of years, where I’ve sought personal development as a means to function at a higher level in my life. Up until a couple of years ago, the driving force was to gain an understanding of what was wrong, needed fixing, or just written into the D.N.A. of who I am. In truth, I have been on a quest to know myself since I was a child when I had an interest in understanding and researched the lines on my palms (I have a single palmar crease on both hands if you’re wondering what had me so intrigued about my hands).
If you’re like me and are kind of like a personal development junkie, do you seek knowledge to fix, or do you seek knowledge to grow? The goal will definitely change the process. Why? Because, if also like me, you intended to fix what you believe to be wrong with you, then you’ll always be spinning your wheels. You’ll never arrive at this all-knowing place and meet a level of satisfaction with what you’ve learned. That is until you pursue knowledge to grow and follow it up with action.
In full transparency, and as I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been hitting personal development hard since 2012 – about a year into having my first business. Entrepreneurship, it seems, brings a lot of ghosts out of the woodwork. I started to see the shadow-side of me coming out around 2014. And, that’s when the unraveling began.
And truthfully, it wasn’t until today that I connected some dots for myself in why I’ve struggled with consistent creation in my life (of what I want my life to look like). Coincidentally or not, I don’t know, but while pregnant with me, my mother drank. Back then, it wasn’t unusual, I guess (?), to put 2 oz. of beer in the bottle to get me to sleep. I am told, “it’s what we did back then.” Not surprisingly, I had to stay in the hospital after I was born for several days because I was jaundice. I also was apparently due on February 14th, and didn’t arrive until March 5th and still only weighed a little over 6 1/2 pounds. Again, obstetrics were not then what they are now. But, it helps to paint a picture that, before I was born, I was suffering. And that’s the dot I connected today. It’s all I’ve seemed to know. It’s the one emotion I have been working to transmute my entire life into something meaningful, which brings me to today and the continual unraveling. Like Patsy said in this podcast interview (and I’m paraphrasing) when you start to pull one thread, the unraveling begins. And so it does.
I pulled my thread of unraveling in 2014. However, it wasn’t until I went through the grief recovery program where I started to see the impact of that pulling I began five years earlier.
The process of unraveling continues for me, and it’s led to so many beautiful experiences and connections in my life. It led me to Reiki, which serves my curiosity and inspires me to continue to learn about energy (and whoah, have my eyes opened). I’ve continued to look for opportunities to continue to grow and expand my healing around relationships and complete education that will help me to serve others on a bigger scale (Online, One-on-One Grief Recovery, and Helping Children with Loss programs). And, I’ve found some incredible support along the way, too. These opportunities and people didn’t magically appear in my life. It all started with a strong desire to, like I said, transmute my suffering into meaning and serve a greater purpose in my life.
What I’ve also been learning is where I’ve been standing in my own way, which brings me back to the single palmar creases on both of my hands (which, by the way, one of my children also has and makes total sense to me #icanrelate) and what a palm reader once told me. She said these are gift lines. Yes, they have their challenges, but the gift is in intense focus and (along with my other “gift marker”) my ability to “deep dive” with people into their own emotions. In a nutshell, I was made for the work that I do. And, on days where I’m feeling discouraged, it’s been easy to forget that. On days where I feel like doing this work full-time is so far away on the horizon, I have to remind myself. Keep grinding. Keep showing up.
There is no one standing my way – but me. And, for whatever reason, I’ve felt this hard today. Ironically, I had not written this week’s blog post in advance, as I’ve always done. Perhaps this message is divine timing for you. That you, too, are the single denominator standing in your way. It’s not your circumstances (trust me; I live through my version of “suffering” each day). It’s not your physical health. We create these circumstances long before they become “problems.”
I have so much more to write on this, but I’m still unpacking this big a-ha I had for myself today. So, I’ll leave you with some wise words I came across today that struck me (because I’m in the work of feelings):
When feelings become the means of thinking or if we cannot think greater than how we feel, we can never change. To change is to think greater than how we feel. To change is to act greater than the familiar feelings of the memorized self.
Stay tuned to the unraveling taking place – in our world, our communities, homes, and within our hearts. There has never been a more keen awareness in recent years, for this collective understanding of what isn’t working, what we desire to change, and where we need healing.
You can look at the current times as a life sentence for more suffering or an opportunity to set your inner-most self free. I’m choosing the latter. You, too?
Have a wonderful weekend, and thank you for reading. If this resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you in the comments, on social, or via email. 🙂
When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. – Matthew 5:39
It’s a sorrowful time. I have tried to tune out the news and, instead, turn inward. Fortunately, this week offered a lot of road time and, for me, that’s thinking/reflecting time. I also enjoy listening to various types of podcasts when I’m traveling as well. This week, one podcast interview arrived in my inbox with the title: “Racism, white privilege, and healing America.” It was this conversation between Reverend Michael Beckwith and Lewis Howes. There is one stat that Reverend Michael Beckwith mentions that I did find to be false. Beckwith stated a staggering statistic that 80-90% of the prison population in the U.S. is Black. I had to know if this was true. Indeed, it was a false statement. Instead, 33% of the prison population is Black, whereas 30% is White. However, Blacks are incarcerated more than 5X the rate of Whites. A far cry from 80-90% but none the less, the rate at which Blacks are incarcerated is significantly imbalanced.
Since childhood, I’ve always been a cheerleader for the underdog, likely because I viewed myself as an underdog. I love a good triumph story. I believe we all do. There isn’t a whole lot of diversity living in the midwest, as there is in other parts of the country. I only knew of one Black person that lived in my entire county growing up. Imagine being the only Black person in a whole county of White people!? I don’t know for sure, but of the few Black individuals I know of from growing up, and in recent years, from my perspective, I didn’t see them treated any differently. They were maybe safer living here, in German country, than in larger metropolitan areas.
I didn’t grow up with much racial talk in my home. I have a half-brother that is half Puerto Rican, nieces, and nephews who are half Puerto Rican-Native American. And I only recently learned in the past year that the only reason I am alive today is that, while in Vietnam, a Black man took a bullet for my dad. And, although my dad grew up in a racially prejudiced home, my dad didn’t follow the ideology of his parents. Perhaps because his faith was important to him? I can only imagine he often asked himself: “What would Jesus do?” For that, I am grateful.
Growing up, I had the understanding that people were people. We all bleed the same. However, recently while in a meeting, a White individual remarked about the protests and riots using derogatory language, I did not agree with, and I did and said nothing. Days later, I still feel an unsettled feeling and guilt around this. I did not agree with the statements made, and I remained silent. I believe what stopped me was the feeling that this person has their emotions that they are equally entitled to and, it’s not my place to say his feelings have less value than my own. And, nothing I would ever say will make this person believe otherwise, anyway. Or, perhaps I’m wrong. I don’t know. And, I’ll never know because I remained silent in the situation.
If you’re not having a conversation with your kids about the current events, I encourage you to do so. Today, I asked all three of my kids if they had seen the video and, if so, how they felt about it. They all had, of course, it’s everywhere online. And, when I asked them directly what they thought or felt about Black people, my middle replied: “We’re all the same. We’re all people.” They all agreed that we are all the same. I then shared the story above about mixed ethnicities within our family and my dad’s experience in Vietnam. This conversation was long overdue.
I want to share a passage of writing I came across today (published in 2016), such a timely piece I thought I would share.
In first-century Palestine, left-handedness was seen as evil. People never used their left hands for any public task, even slapping a person. The only way to strike a person the right cheek, using the right hand, is with a backhand. One could only strike “inferiors” back-handed: slaves, women, and children. Striking an equal, a free man, with a backhand could incur legal punishment. Hence, Jesus’ message: if someone treats you as an inferior by backhanding you on the right cheek, turn the other cheek to them and challenge them to treat you as an equal, a form of nonviolent resistance. It is an instruction about using inner strength in a noble way.
This call to respond with dignity is greatly needed in this time when verbal backhanding erupts in every forum. We need Jesus’ call to stand up to contemptuousness not by striking back, but by fostering respect. – Patricial Livingston
Respect. There it is.
Respect for ourselves, others, and for life itself. And, we bring about respect when we come from a place of love. Society sends all sorts of messages that love is something to be obtained. But, it is in giving love away that we experience it. If we give love to ourselves, we receive love. If we give love to our neighbors, we receive love.
Love is anything but an easy call to action. We have our inner demons, sorrows, and shadow-sides to fight before it can beam from us freely. We have years of stories blocking us, with learned beliefs and ideology, to discern what is right for ourselves independent of what we’ve been taught. And, here’s the thing – we’re not meant to soldier on in our lives alone. We heal ourselves and help others heal when we are in community with others.
Like Reverend Beckwith states towards the end of the interview, when asked about a mantra we can all adopt during this time: “Make me an instrument of PEACE.”
Peace. It starts with intention. And, it begins within.
We all have that thing; a horrible experience, a needling feeling in our heart, a painful itch you can’t ever seem to scratch.
If you took a drone and hovered it over your life, it might look like days not showering, angry outbursts toward loved ones; hours spent binge-watching reality tv, or hours lying in bed – your mind filled with worry, anxiousness, or fear.
It might also look like “productivity:” hours of exercise, baking, reading fantasy, getting a new pet (which requires countless hours of training), obsessive cleaning/organizing, etc..
Emotional dis-ease manifests differently in our lives for every one of us.
For me, it looked like a mom who felt anxious daily; frazzled and torn between obligation, responsibility and what my heart truly needed – healing. As a parent, I know the struggle with the relationship to time to not only be there for those around you but also create time and space for yourself to look inward.
I feel like there is a massive gap in our culture of self-work and the obligations of being a parent. How do we bridge that gap? How do we create the time and space our hearts need when we’re bombarded by life daily?
Back in 2014, things were coming to a head for me. I was faced with this very dilemma of wanting to figure my shit out so I could finally be content with myself and my life and compartmentalizing all of that so I could be present for my children.
I look back on that time now, and I know I wasn’t present. I know there are gaps in my memory that go far back to my childhood. Whether there are blocks of time I’ve consciously or subconsciously blocked out from my awareness (even as an adult), I’ve yet to discover; however, it’s what I’m currently exploring.
Trauma has a way of creeping up on us after the fact. Often, we don’t recognize it as such either. Instead, it manifests in ways I’ve previously described. But it’s there, like an undercurrent of a flowing river, just going along until it finds its way out. Eventually, it does find a way out.
Making Time and Creating Space for Healing
Self-healing is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Every time we remove one layer, another emerges. Unprocessed emotions have a way of making their presence known when we least expect them to appear, too. We must find a way and the time, even if it means going away for an overnight one day per month. That’s where a program, based on a time-frame was most beneficial for me. I could leave my obligations and responsibilities behind, so I could focus on healing and healing alone. It took years to make it a priority for myself. But, I do feel that what I needed, found its way to me in perfect timing. All the stuff I did leading up to it, stacked up, preparing me for what was to come. So, never discount the little actions, the small things you do daily to nurture healing. It’s often the micro-actions that build the foundation for major emotional shifts and breakthroughs.
The One Thing that Changed My Life
The one thing that has changed my life, above anything else, was beginning to peel back the onion and doing the inner work. Layer by layer, I’m discovering where my heart and soul need healing (even now; it’s a work-in-progress without an “I’ve arrived” date).
Our best selves go into hiding when our brains use logic to make sense of emotionally dangerous situations. All the while, our hearts put up a wall and armor up to the world around us.
Self-discovery is a marathon. There’s no one way to awareness and enlightenment. However, just like in training for a marathon, we are required to take action. And not just action for the sake of taking action. I’m talking intentional and intuitive, hearts-desire action.
I’m partial to The Grief Recovery Method; however, I know it’s the only way. Do I feel it’s the best way to get a good start on your “heart onion?” Absolutely. It’s a guided and safe process that creates a massive dent in the emotional dis-ease we all carry in a set timeframe (i.e. there is something to look forward to – there is hope). Combining it with conventional therapy (which isn’t a requirement) is an even better scenario, depending on your situation. But, I also rely on other means of doing my own “heart-onion” work, too. Reiki has been the hands around my heart, offering support exactly where I need it, as I work through processing the emotional gunk.
And here’s the thing, my gut intuition and a deep desire to live my best life has led to this post I’m writing today. If someone would have told me in 2014 when I was sitting at my kitchen table, not having showered for three days, pouring over self-help content for hours – that I’d be where I’m at today. I would have said, “Amen, Hallelujah – there is hope.”
My Wish for You Today
If you receive anything from today’s blog post, my goal is that you feel a sense of hope come wash over you. Use hope as your guide-post, affirming that better days are ahead. Allow hope to take root in the deepest crevice of your heart today and allow it to lift your spirits.
This is Easter weekend and nothing about it neither looks nor feels like Easter – on television, anyway. So, for the weekend, tune out the television and tune into your heart. Take in the songs of the birds, the smell of orchids, and the sights of new life. And, take a moment to look into your heart; asking God, the Archangels, or universe (whomever you choose) to guide you to whatever it is your heart is calling you to heal using whatever methods feel good to you.
Never lose hope; it is the one thing that keeps, at very least, one foot out of despair.
Sending you so much love and many blessings this Easter weekend.
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin
P.S. Begining mid-May, I will be certified as an advanced grief recovery method specialist. This will enable me to offer grief recovery one-on-one to anyone, anywhere. If you would like to be in the loop as to when this becomes available (and other applicable info), enter your details HERE. You will also be given the option to receive my weekly newsletter, where I include all news, promotions, and content not shared anywhere else.
Who misses their own business anniversary? This gal.
Who got to celebrate with a great group of ladies two days late over the inter-webs? This gal.
It’s all good.
I feel as though I’ve walked a thousand miles this past year. Nothing near what Jesus accomplished, but hey, it was totally worth it. I’m sure Jesus felt his 7,300 miles (20 miles per day, on average – I Googled it) was worth it, too.
Anything challenging is often what we most need and, also, what we find is most worth it to us in the end. Isn’t that the truth?!
I launched The Unleashed Heart, LLC January 8th, 2019. So, my business is officially no longer a baby and is now a toddler! Lol! Hopefully, there aren’t too many temper tantrums on the horizon, but I expect some along the way. If I think about her (my business) as a toddler, resistance is bound to happen. But, if 2019 prepared me for anything, it laid the foundation for allowing. There doesn’t have to be a tug-of-war, power struggle always going on. I get to choose to be proactive and allow, or armor up and resist.
At the time of the launch, I had created Living Unleashed™ and launched it simultaneously with the website. Two months later, I would set out on an emotional and spiritual experience that I couldn’t have fathomed would’ve changed my life as it has.
This past year has led to some fantastic experiences, opportunities, and friendships that have felt so timely. My heart was cracked wide open in 2019.
Booked and took a solo trip (to Austin, TX) for the first time
Connected more fully to my heart
Experienced spirituality in a way I had never before (maybe even for me – for the first time)
Fully believed and embraced that we are physical beings here on earth, having a spiritual experience. I had heard/read this many times before, but this year was the year I feel like I felt it for the first time.
Helped other hurting hearts navigate their grief and feeling what fulfillment felt like for the first time.
Felt alignment for the first time – in who I am and what I am here to do
Experienced Reiki for the first time. Mind-blown. All I gotta say is you have to experience it, and you’ll get a sense of what I mean. It’s bizarre, the most relaxed I had felt in ages, and it’s healing that can’t be seen – only felt.
Forged new friendships
Got out of my comfort zone and started speaking in front of people (I hadn’t done that since speech competition in high school).
Gave up alcohol. So far, so good.
Felt like I became a wiser parent (Grief Recovery & inner-work helped with this).
Started a daily meditation practice – 26 days and counting.
Gave up on running. I’ve narrowed down my daily preferred body movements to either yoga or a 2-mile incline power walk (and, I swear I burn more calories doing this than I ever did running 2 miles flat).
Signed up for Usui Reiki Master Certification (I can teach with this certification)
Had an amazing (first, big) family vacation with those I love dearly
I could probably think of more if I sat here a bit longer, but, for the sake of finishing this post, I’ll stop there.
We don’t celebrate our lives enough.The past year was amazing, extremely challenging, and rewarding. And I honestly cannot wait to see what I can write for my 2nd Anniversary blog post!
So, enough about me. How about you? Have you reflected on 2019, celebrating, and finding the light – even in the darkness?
Growth, for me, won’t stop just because the calendar flipped, and we entered a new decade. I have a feeling this is only the beginning.
There is one thing we can do, that can be challenging to find (especially working parents), but is always available to us if we make it a priority – silence.
If we consider how much time we spend watching television, on our phones, or listening to and taking in other media (podcasts, audiobooks, or music) – we can likely find ten minutes to find some silence.
Silence is one of my favorite things. During the day, if I’m working from home, I rarely have the television on, and, if I have music, it’s music for concentration.
We don’t need to practice meditation to discover solutions to our most pressing problems (although it is beneficial for that). We don’t need to ask every other person in our life for advice. All we need to do is get quiet, silently ask ourselves what our hut (heart + gut) is trying to tell us, and bring awareness to how our bodies respond to the situation at hand that is keeping us stuck.
This concept may sound simplistic, but I feel like I complicated making decisions for much of my life. I struggled with making the wrong decision; thereby, indecision became the natural thing to do. The one thing that changed was I started getting intentionally quiet and started asking myself better questions – digging more deeply into my heart to find the answers.
So, how do we tap into our inner-knowing (our hut)?
There are many resources out there and various ways of tapping into our hearts. Tapping (no pun intended), for example, is one way. Journaling is another way to free-write your way to answers to your most pressing questions. There are lots of journal options out there with journal prompts, if free-writing isn’t your thing. You could also check out the app, Jour: Journal for Mindfulness, if digitally, at your fingertips is a preference.
The main point is to ask, get quiet, and allow what comes to you, being open to receiving guidance from your inner-knowing.
Does this all sound woo-woo to you? Before 2014, I would’ve probably blown this off. But, I was also very disconnected from my heart, too. There is so much wisdom within us that we rarely (if ever) need to look to outside sources. Sure, an in-depth conversation with a friend can spark a thought, idea, or solution. But, nothing replaces connecting to our own heart. That is where our truth is – and no one knows that better than we do ourselves.
Do you know how kids tend to have no filters? Well, maybe it’s about time we adults remove the filters we have around our grief.
Notice how I didn’t say feelings? Yes, all emotions are valid and have value; however, the one I am most concerned about is the feeling of grief. I mean, I am the grief lady, after all! Lol!
In all seriousness, though, this phrase has almost felt like a mantra for me this week. Such as, when I felt myself cower and shrivel a little when I felt my values and integrity were being challenged. Respectfully, I stated my case, stuck to my values, and slept well that night.
Or, in conversation with my accountability group that consists of a beautiful, supportive group of women from all walks of life. This theme popped up for me again as women shared how particular challenges were arising and causing them feelings of grief. Although grief was not the word used, grief is what we feel of relationships that we wish would be/had been different, better, or more.
Also, the courage the women in my current 8-week grief recovery, showed when they shared the truth of their sorrow and pain.
Speak your truth, to me, is not some modern, new personal-development phrase to throw around. When I say it to someone else or when you say it to someone and ask the other person to share their truth with you, you must mean it. Because what is shared back is their truth. And, if you’re not a heart with ears, prepared to hear it, and know what to do with what’s said, then please don’t ask them to share it. And, when someone does speak their truth, thank them for sharing – that’s all you need to do. Don’t analyze, criticize, judge, and by all means, do not compare your story to theirs. Honor their truth with a thank you for sharing and ask if they accept hugs. Hugs are good for the soul; they release the good chemicals in the brain, as do tears. Allow those healing droplets to flow.
Care to speak your truth and need a heart with ears? Speak your truth in recorded audio and email it to me at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com. This idea isn’t a challenge or anything, and neither the audio nor the email address attached to it will be used in any other way. Sometimes, we need to give our truth a voice and need someone to hear it – and nothing else. If this applies to you, I’m all ears.
P.S. I shared in this social post that I would share what’s next for me this next year in this week’s blog post. Between the time of that social share and sitting down to write this week’s blog post, I felt this topic was what I needed to write, rather than a reflection-of-the-year post that I thought I would write. At any rate, know that I will share a blog post probably next month, I think, where I will do a recap of the year and what I see for 2020. We will soon enter an entirely new decade – are you ready for it? I personally can’t wait! xx