Healing

This piece I came across inspired me to write this post.

They asked her,

“What is the key to saving the world?”

She answered,

“You. You are they key. Heal yourself, know yourself, make yourself whole and free. Release all limits so that your love can flow unconditionally for yourself, and the world, this will open the heaven of your heart completely and it will guide you without fail.” Yung Pueblo, you are the answer

I feel as though I have been on this path for a while now. I am challenged by loving myself. I have an auto immune disorder because I am so hard on myself and my body is literally attacking itself. That simple statement makes me sad.

Your thoughts have tremendous power. They cause feelings which can cause health or dis ease. It’s important to be mindful.

I teach positive psychology for a reason, because it’s what I most need to learn and apply to my own life.

I tell my clients I am no goddess on a mountain top and have it all figured out. I am a work in progress. Imperfectly perfect. Human. I do believe we are spiritual beings living a human existence and it is our paths that makes the difference.

I grew up in a family with addiction. My father has a disease. My family is sick as well. All of us have been affected by the family disease of alcoholism which goes back generations.

My brother is an addict. My father is an alcoholic. My mother is a co dependent. I am an adult child of an alcoholic and a co dependent in recovery.

My family denies there is a problem and I am the only one in recovery.

My drugs of choice since I have been a kid have been numbing and escaping.

I did this through many things good and not so great: reading, school, sport, the military, relationships, alcohol, spending and sex.

Now being full bent on succeeding in school, sport and life are great, however, there is a shadow side to everything, especially when it comes to addiction.

After I was raped in the military and my career ended it took me a year to reintegrate back into civilian life. When you have a lot done for you, coming back to the real world takes time.

My addictive behaviors came out in the form of sex. You see, I wanted to have power over men after it was taken from me without my consent. They could have my body for a brief amount of time but they couldn’t have my heart or my mind. I played Russian roulette with my life. I didn’t care. Maybe it was being in my twenties that made me feel invincible or stupid.

When I share my story in the rooms of program, I share this part because it shows the presence of a Higher Power watching over me. The situations I put myself in, consumed with a need to fill the void, should have left me for dead.

I had an abortion because of my actions. I was a married man’s mistress for four years. Yet I never, not once, picked up a sexually transmitted infection or was sexually assaulted again. In my self-harm, to a certain degree, I was kept safe.

The damage I did to myself, however, is another story.

I abandoned myself over and over again to countless people. I felt abandoned as a child. I grew up in a family not feeling loved. Love was conditional in my house on being the perfect daughter. A hero child. I thought if I was a good enough, excelled in school and in ski racing then I’d be told I was loved. That never happened.

I’ve come to understand through recovery and therapy that my parents are human and the way they show me love is through acts of service. Seldom words of praise, touch, gifts or quality time.

As a kid I felt abandoned and questioned my worth.

That little girl is still there inside me. She’s growing up through program.

I am an adult child which means I grew up uber responsible only to become incredibly irresponsible. The disease of alcoholism is a progressive one which means that I need to keep coming back to meetings, working my program, connecting with my sponsor and helping others. Otherwise I get worse. Fast.

The 12 step program I belong to is the key to my freedom and my life.

Freedom from self seeking, self sabotaging and self hatred.

My program makes me a better human. Make no mistake, I am a good person regardless of what I did to myself and others, however, I can safely say I am a better one now.

The program gives me tools to live my life on a day to day basis. It’s the cheapest therapy in town.

My program is an anonymous one. It’s that way so we can feel safe sharing our experience, strength and hope and lifting one another up.

My sponsor keeps me real. I want what she has and I am willing to do the work it takes to get it. She tells me I have grown so much in the past year.  I believe her.

A newcomer to our program asked me to be her sponsor this week.

That’s huge. What an honor. She wants what I have. I’m blown away.

Our program teaches us that to keep it we have to give it away. I guess my time has come to play a bigger role and in so doing I know I’ll grow too.

Let the healing continue and with it, let more love and more freedom come.

 

 

 

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Truth

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

This blog is where I come to reflect, where I am fully myself and share my life experiences in the hopes of helping others whether it be at a personal, spiritual or professional level.

My silence here has been a product of going inward. I started seeing a counselor in June at a friend’s gentle suggestion. I was in a self sabotaging pattern again and my friend was able to see that I needed help. There’s a reason I do sports psychology, I often teach what I most need to learn.

In speaking with my counselor about my pattern of self sabotaging at a personal and professional level, a bigger issue emerged. Something that happened a very long time ago. It’s a part of my history, I had no idea how much it was influencing my present and robbing me of my future. My counselor believes it’s the linchpin to the pattern.

It’s not something I speak of. Unless I’m in the safety of the rooms of my program. It takes a tremendous amount of courage for me to speak of it here, however, I am on a path of truth, of bringing to light what happened and taking a stand.

Twenty two years ago I was raped while I was in the military.

He was a sexual predator who stalked me for two years before it happened. He would knock on my door at night when he knew I was alone. That feeling of fear, of holding my breath and going still, of freezing and wanting to disappear has stayed with me since. I can never forget it.

One night he came and knocked, I was in a deep sleep and woke up and opened the door. I don’t remember much of what happened. He didn’t physically overpower me because I would have fought back but the next thing I knew I was floating above my body. I remember crying in the shower afterwards. That’s all I remember. I don’t remember what he said to me or what happened.

I know there’s a reason why I don’t remember. Possibly because I don’t want to. I’ve thought about doing regression therapy and going back. I know my mind is strong and is obviously protecting me.

In the military the culture is one of silence. As a woman in the military, you had to be so careful. I protected my reputation fiercely. Had I said something, I would have been labelled. So I stayed quiet.

I remember going to the base hospital to get the morning after pill and being sick afterwards in my room alone. I remember telling the doctor what happened and being shuffled off to therapy where I was told that I was indeed raped.

Then I buried it. Because I couldn’t do anything about it. The worse part is he still came knocking. I had to go a trusted mentor and ask him to make it stop repeatedly. I never spoke of what happened. The reason it stopped is because he graduated and moved on.

So here I sit twenty two years later. A fresh diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder because of what happened and a life that has definitely been a struggle. The event ended my career in the military before it even really began.

He’s still in the military. He’s also a published author. I can’t imagine how many other women he’s done this to because that’s his nature.

This is no longer about him. It’s about me.

I’m a runner, I’ve run from most things in my life. It was and still is my coping mechanism of choice. I learned to take a stand in my last relationship. That was the gift my former partner gave me.

I am going to take a stand now and report what happened all those years ago.

I want my side of the street to be clean. I want to take my power back. I lost something that night that I will never be able to get back. It has affected my whole life. My relationships with men, my personal and professional lives. Everything has been tainted by this incident.

I will find my voice and speak my truth.

I have an amazing support team around me. I know I’m going to be alright. I also know it’s going to be a long drawn out process. I have no expectations of what will happen. The most important part is telling my story. I will let the Universe take care of the rest so I can finally let it go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart break and healing

This blog originally started as a dating blog. It morphed into a relationship blog and is now mostly a blog on my personal life and my adventures in sports psychology.

I haven’t spoken of the relationship I was in, in some shape or form, for eight years in a long time. I’ve kept that part of my life private after exposing some of it here with not so great results.

I’m choosing to talk about it today because it’s been affecting me and has caused my silence here. We are no longer together, nor do we have any contact anymore, however, the night before Valentine’s Day a call from him sent me into a tail spin that lasted for two weeks.

I made the decision back in November that we couldn’t be friends anymore because I wasn’t strong enough not to be affected by him or to slide right back into a relationship and lose myself again as I’ve done time and again over the years.

I grew up in alcoholism and one of the side effects resulted in me being a very good codependent. I’m in recovery now and am learning to be my own person through program.

It’s easy for me to turn myself inside out to please a man. I’m a great chameleon, I’ll be whatever you want or need me to be. I’ll throw myself under the bus to make you happy. Whatever activities I enjoy will slowly disappear and I’ll stop seeing my friends. It’ll be all about you and I to the exclusion of everything else. I’ll look to you to make me happy. Not very healthy is it? Well that was me.

I’m happy to say I’ve changed but it’s still very easy for me to slip into old ways of thinking and behaving. I’ll be in program for the rest of my life as a result. It’s the only way for me to be the best version of myself.

Eight years. Eight. Years.

It’s a long time to be with someone as a partner or friend. We raised his daughter together. Being her step mom is the single best thing I’ve ever done with my life and I’m so very grateful for the opportunity.

I tell a brief version of our story in the rooms of my program when I am asked to speak. It goes something like this. We were both adult children of alcoholics and neither one of us were in program at the time. We both had trust and commitment issues and it was drama all the time. We tried so hard to make it work. I grew up with a mom who stood by my dad no matter what so that’s what I did.

So many people tried to reason with us, including our families, to try and make us see the light but we were stubbornly trying to make something work that just couldn’t.

I was watching a series on Netflix last night. One of the characters said something about a love so intense yet bringing out the worse in each other. I teared up because that was us. Love was never the issue between us, we were.

I thought I had grieved when things ended between us in November. I went around in an unconscious miserable coma for weeks. I’d go to work. Come home, cry, go to bed and start all over the next day. Then all of a sudden the fog lifted and I started feeling moments of happiness and peace.

Then after three months of silence, I got a three minute phone call from him inviting me on a ski trip. As soon as I hung up, I burst into tears and called my sponsor. I cried for three days. The depth of my emotion scared me. I had no idea where all this sadness was coming from. Turns out I wasn’t done grieving.

I turned to old coping mechanisms and became a little hermit. I hid in bed and did what I needed to get by. I did make it out to program meetings but I was a shell of my former self. It took time but I’m happy to say I’m back.

I’ve come to realize an eight year relationship isn’t something I’m going to get over quickly. It’s going to take time to heal and that’s alright. Program has taught me I am right where I need to be. Dating other men in the interim isn’t the solution either. It’s a good codependent idea but not a very viable one. Besides which, until I’ve sorted myself out, what good am I to anyone else?

So I sit here with a smile on my face, knowing I’m doing better emotionally and that lightness always comes after darkness.

 

 

Recovery

Where to begin?

This is the most honest, soul bearing post I have yet to write.

My parents have come and gone on their annual visit. For most, this is likely a happy event. Not so much for me.

You see I grew up in alcoholism.

In a high functioning family, very driven and accomplished. From the outside everything looked good. On the inside, not so much.

I knew from a very young age that something was very wrong.

I won’t go into details here but suffice it to say that it’s a miracle I’m still here. What I have been through and then later in life, done to myself is horrific, painful and sad.

I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon. It’s a 12 step program for families and friends of alcoholics. I’ll be in recovery for the rest of my life because I know how dangerous it is to stray away from the fold, my program and my sponsor.

I had a slip this winter. I went back to old coping mechanisms and come spring realized the power of my self-destruction. I rarely do things in half measures. It’s a hallmark of this dis-ease.

I’m picking up the pieces now yet again.

I thought when I had walked through the doors of Al-Anon three years ago that I had hit rock bottom. Little did I know that I would be hitting several more rock bottoms. The fellowship and my program saw me through all these moments.

I’m there once again. I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m heading off to a treatment program for codependency and family of origin issues. I’ve been in therapy in some shape or form for a large part of my life and from a very young age.

I believe in the healing power of therapy and especially group therapy. There’s something magical that happens when strangers come together and listen to each other’s stories and pain. There’s validation that I’m not crazy. That I’m simply a spiritual being living a human existence. As we all are.

There’s a letting go. A normalization happens. Secrets come out. Monsters fade away. Light is shed on the most painful topics of this very human existence we all share.

There is laughter and tears. Joy and pain. Exhilaration and suffering.

This is a great big gift and a reminder to place the focus on me and my healing.

I’d like to say that the visit I had with my parents was a good one. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There were a lot of good parts, however, there were some truly awful pieces that have left me gutted and gasping for air.

The level of denial, manipulation, control and abuse in my family is staggering.

I feel like a martian because I’m the only one in recovery.

I have yet to find the gratitude that others in the fellowship have for the disease of alcoholism because all I can see is what it’s taken from my family and my life.

I hate the disease. I’ve been ripped open again by it and I despise it. I hate the toll it’s taken on my parents, my brother and our estranged family.

My friends see courage and strength when they look at me. Right now I’m a mess as I type these words. All I can do is breathe.

All I can do is go back to basics and practice self-care. Sleep has been elusive again and I know that doesn’t help whatsoever. It makes things so much worse.

I’m trying really hard not to isolate and hide. I’m bumping up my meetings, making sure I get exercise, eat well and get out. I connect with my sponsors and touch stones and I am working the snot out of my program right now.

It’s all I can do until this heaviness lifts and lightness comes back.

I was reminded in readings today to act as if, to stick to a routine until it becomes more comfortable and normal again. Whatever normal is.

It’s huge to share this piece of me so publicly. This dis-ease has impacted every facet of my life and my business.

It is my greatest hope that as I progress through the step work that things somehow become easier. That there are less roller coaster rides, huge highs and devastating lows. Less darkness and much, much more light.

In sharing this story, I hope to impact others’ lives in some small way.

I hesitate to push the publish button.

Please be kind.

Thank you.

 

 

Pain

Pain.

How does it manifest in your body?

A long time client had a bad fall ski racing. Here is her list of injuries: dislocated shoulder, fractured humerus, pulled ligament off the bone. Sprained medial collateral ligament and a bad bone contusion.

Thankfully there will be no surgery. In two weeks, once the swelling diminishes, she’ll start physiotherapy.

I’ll be with her every step of the way.

We are working on healing imagery together, visualizing herself healthy and whole.

Your body speaks your mind. It’ll make you pay attention if you’re not. The good news is you can also heal your life.

Pay attention to what your body is saying to you. There are reasons behind everything. Louise Hay has done ground breaking work in this area. I highly recommend checking her out.

No one is immune to imbalances. Take care of yourselves. Listen to your bodies. Pay attention. Love yourself into the parts that need compassion. Your body will shift and so will you.

 

 

Injury

Injury.

It’s heart shattering for athletes isn’t it?

Having been through a severed achilles that sidelined me for the better part of a year, I know exactly how it feels.

I was speaking to one of my clients the other day who was playing through injury. He’s a tennis player and has a rotator cuff injury from overuse.

He’s had to cut back on playing significantly, however, he is playing in a tournament this weekend.

My question was: “Why are you still playing?”

He had done a camp the week before and played 35 hours of tennis. 35 HOURS with an injured rotator cuff. Um hello?

This is a kid who pushes himself to the extremes.

He told me a story where he had sprained not just one but both ankles on the court and refused to get off even though he was injured. An official begged him to get off, saying he’d happily refund him his money.

I was laughing so hard as he told me this story because I could just picture it.

We had a conversation around managing himself. About strategies to deal with the pain when it does come when he’s on the court in a match. To stop. To listen to his body. To give it the time it needs to heal.

I taught him how to do healing imagery to help his shoulder.

I reminded him of his breath, his court rituals and that he’s got this.

Sometimes that’s all you need isn’t it?

Someone to hear you, give you some strategies if needed and to believe in you.

How do you handle injury?

Remembering

I lost a best friend 2 years ago, this post is in his honor.

James I want you to know I spent the day you died doing what I love.  I worked in the morning on my burgeoning business and had a great afternoon running in the woods.  I also went back to painting in studio that night after a year long hiatus.

My partner gave me an idea to remember you by.  I think I’m going to plant a tree.  I know you’d like that, we spent lots of time together surrounded by them and the peace they brought.  We now have a home and I can do this to honor your memory.

I miss you.  I talk to you on my walks sometimes.  I cry, share and inevitably smile. You had that effect on me and still do.  I know you’d want me to be happy and to remember to play. 

I try and remember to play.  It’s easy with an eight year old.  My partner and I are doing a better job of playing too.  Date nights, laughing and playing with his daughter.  Life is good.

I want you to know I carry your spirit wherever I go. I know you’re looking out for me and laughing at me up there.  I need to do a better job of laughing at myself.

Thank you my friend for your love, the lessons you taught me and the impact you still have on my life.

You may be gone but most definitely not forgotten.

I love you.