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Birthdays, Triggers, and Self Care

thumbnailI celebrated my birthday last week. Birthdays have always been important to me. I don’t connect them to getting older or aging. For me, they are a celebration of life and our existence here on earth. Celebrating became even more important as each of my children were born and I experienced the euphoria of bringing a little life into the world, whom God entrusted me to nurture, teach, guide and most importantly love. It has always been essential, to me, to make sure my kids knew how blessed I am they are a part of my life.

My birthday is on Halloween. I love that it is always a celebration day. I have always enjoyed having my birthday on Halloween. I consider my own birthday to be a time of reflection. I check in with myself and ask how am I doing on my goals for the year, am I where I expected to be at this time and what is better or worse than what I expected. I reflect on what I can do different or adjust, in order to achieve my goals, and what do I need to let go of, have faith and turn over to a higher power. Having those questions in mind this birthday was unique for me. At 54, I am faced with being way off from where I thought I would be and having to really redefine myself, my life and my relationships.

So this birthday came with many highs and lows. Navigating my way through the separation and impending divorce caused me to be in a bit of a fragile place. The day started out awesome. I had already had a couple of early celebration dinners with my kids and family. I was receiving texts and posts of birthday wishes. Gifts were left on my front porch and back door. I had a lovely lunch with two of my awesome friends. It was a great celebration.

I marvel at how quickly the day turned, as night came and several seemingly insignificant things occurred that triggered me into the depths of despair. That is the thing about trauma triggers they can sometimes appear out of nowhere. Even with all of the healing work I have done over the last few years I still run into a trigger now and then that throws me back into the past and reliving a painful event. For the last few years I have worked on many triggers and thankfully these come fewer and farther between. Things that used to trigger me don’t any longer. But when I feel vulnerable and am not practicing the regular self care I need to, I can get hit and go down hard.

One of my favorite things to do for fun is art journal. I am not an artist but I like taking a concept, a belief, an event or something important to me and adding a page in my art journal to represent it. Below is my course correct page.

Course Correct

I made the background for this page a map, because this is my guide to follow when I get stressed, triggered, or run off course. At the bottom of the page are the things I need to do on a regular basis to help me stay the course so I don’t need to course correct as often. As was the case on my Birthday I had been very busy during the days leading up to that day and had slipped on doing many of the key items listed at the bottom.

The course correct starts at the top right where it says “mess up” and following the arrows and shapes works me through helpful tools to get back on track. Each of these items deserves a blog post all their own. It starts with repenting, then moves to reaffirming, then using a couple of NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming) cues, then tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), then deep breathing with my hand over my heart and my tongue relaxed, then ask four questions (Byron Katie’s “The Work”), then walk away, and lastly there is a more personal and private tip under the globe if I lift the butterfly’s wing. The nice thing about the course correct is it is a cycle I can repeat as often as needed. Many of the techniques are quick, easy, and help reduce harmful beliefs or triggers on a long term and even permanent basis.

Thankfully, I had some loving friends and family and a good course correction plan to help me out on my birthday. I thought this was important to blog about because it is good, when you are going through hard things, to have a course correction plan. It is also OK to need and use a course correction plan when necessary. Update your plan as you grow and learn about new things. I recently learned about a new app called Mind Warrior that I have started using.

As I continue to work my way through challenging times, I marvel at the gifts, the growth, and the blessings that come my way. I am looking forward to the coming year and new challenges and learning in store.

I will talk more about each of these tools in future blogs and in the mean time try art journaling, and creating a correction plan of your own. 🙂

Much Love,

Kim

 

 

 

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De-cluttering My Life

 

 

I have spent some time de-cluttering this summer. At one point I decided to tackle one of the most challenging areas, I stepped into the garage and started looking around trying to figure out where to start. It wasn’t long before I grew overwhelmed and sad. I also grew angry. How could I have allowed such a mess? Admittedly, I began feeling sorry for myself and thinking I just cant do this! I pulled my wagon up to the door and told myself “Snap out of it. Just start with throwing away one wagon full at a time.” I filled my wagon and as I pulled it through my patio. I was struck by the contrast of the beauty in my small herb garden area just on the other side of the wall from that humongous mess. I thought what a great analogy for life. So often we have areas that need work and other areas that are going great. Whether it is in our physical, emotional, or spiritual lives we more than likely have some cleaning up to do somewhere.

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For me I had some emotional messes that required my attention. For many years I thought I could overcome some of these messy areas of my emotional life by looking away and focusing only on the positive. I spent my efforts investing in building a life by only focusing on happiness, joy, paying attention to the good, and staying positive.

I lived many years with the belief that time heals all wounds, until the last few years when I hit some extremely challenging circumstances. During this time the messes from my past had built up and they became roadblocks preventing me from overcoming my challenges. Many of these old beliefs about myself, life, and others had perhaps served me at the time. Now they were getting in my way. So going back to the analogy, I was no longer able to shut the doors of the garage and park my cars outside, sit on my lovely patio just on the other side, pretending things were fine.

Focusing on the positive is often a good thing. But, it was time for me to be more courageous and begin the process of healing past traumas and pains one wagon full at a time. Like it or not I was going to have to clean out the garage. This type of emotional cleansing is hard and takes a lot of work. Because our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies are so tightly integrated this has profoundly impacted my entire being. I believe it has helped me build a closer relationship to my Heavenly Father. It has also helped me improve my physical health. Clearing out the trash through healing has opened up space in my heart for greater love, confidence, joy and true peace.

Shawn Achor, who wrote the book The Happiness Advantage, says happiness is “the joy one feels striving for one’s potential.” I love this definition because it means we can be going through really painful things but still experiencing joy if we are moving toward our full potential. Many can go through life never investing in clearing out the garbage. But, in order for me to reach my full potential I had to invest in cleaning out the filth to increase my capacity for growth.  I had to face those limiting beliefs holding me back.

This is the journey I have embarked on. As I said, it is hard and uncomfortable. Elder Stanley G. Ellis gave a talk in the October 2017 conference entitled “Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good”. He reminds us that “Regardless of the issue, hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the lord and His plan.” As I have taken a step back and looked at each trauma or pain I have come to realize Heavenly Father continues to hand me the same lesson again and again until I truly learn and act on the learning. As I learn I have come to see the gift in every hardship. As I have enlisted the help of my Heavenly Father to take action and began to trust Him and myself, I have began to grow a greater capacity to forgive, to love others, to live authentically and to feel joy in striving toward my full potential.  As I share parts of my healing journey and the tools and techniques I used, it is my hearts deepest desire to help others to grow, thrive, feel joy, and move toward their full potential.

Much Love,

Kim

 

 

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My 35th Wedding Anniversary

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Today is my 35th wedding anniversary and I thought it was a good time to take a step back and reflect on my 35 years and moving into the next phase of Life. I am so blessed and thankful for my life and the amazing gifts and lessons it has brought me. I don’t have any regrets. I’m deeply grateful for a 35 year marriage and the life lessons it taught me. I had the luxury of bringing three amazing children into the world, who all have unique and amazing gifts and talents. I have many happy memories. It was a marriage of great times and rough times. In the really tough times of the last few years, I tried to build something new but couldn’t. I had  my eyes opened to who I was, how I had been treated and what I was enabling. As sometimes you have to do, I hit rock bottom and had to really begin being truthful with myself. I changed in that experience and can’t ever go back to a place less enlightened. So I am moving forward. I have grieved the loss of many beliefs and concepts like having an ideal marriage, or a marriage until death do us part, or a best friend, or a true partnership.

Through it all my persistent investment in trying so hard to be recognized and worthy of love resulted in: possibly reading way too many self help books 😂, running 5 marathons, and completing 3 triathlon sprints. I landed a great job with a great company,  a six figure income, a master’s degree, and lots of things and assets. Some may say I earned success. But I never earned the golden ticket of true peace and happiness. I was often stressed and full of anxiety, until I finally took a step back and created some distance to truly discover me.

Over the course of the last few years, I re-established my relationship with my Heavenly Father and learned of His love. I rebuilt a deep and meaningful understanding of the atonement and the sacrifice my Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ made for me. Now I know peace & love don’t come from the action and words of others. They come from within and through my divinity and the connection to the Divine love of my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost.

I now know that putting my needs aside on a regular and consistent basis allows people to take advantage and can end in depletion, poor physical and emotional health, and eventually having nothing left to give. ( I learned this particular lesson way too many times at home and at work. 😀)

I know that the desire to please others and keep the peace at all costs, can end in losing your authentic self and your voice no longer being heard.

I have learned that free agency is for everyone, and as much as I wanted to believe my actions can make others give me the results I desire, it is not true.

I learned it is not my job to protect the ones I love from pain and be a safety net when they act irresponsibly or make bad choices, that is Satan’s plan not free agency.

I have learned my job is to be loving and kind to myself and others. My  job is to love, guide and direct my children, keep them safe, cared for and yet, still allow them to have free agency, to build faith and resilience on their own by going through hard things and making their own decisions.

I learned it is my job to establish and enforce my own boundaries and to respect others’ boundaries.

I learned it is my job to love people unconditionally. Unconditional love is a divine right of being sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. It is my job to allow people to be who they are but I don’t have to like or love their behavior, and trusting people is not unconditional.

So I move on to the next chapter of my life with gratitude and a greater sense of peace and happiness, with a willingness to be courageous and do hard things, like speak up for myself and my needs.  I know it is OK to make mistakes and it doesn’t make me unlovable. I will not pander for the love and acceptance of others by pleasing them at the cost of sacrificing self. I will learn to lovingly accept, others will disagree with me and it doesn’t diminish my value or my self worth.

I’m forging ahead. Learning to be my authentic self and build healthy relationships that support mutual growth, happiness, laughter, health and love. Knowing there will be hard times and disagreements that will make me stronger and build my faith and resilience.

While some say I tried too hard and stayed too long, others say I didn’t try hard enough or stay long enough.  I know my truth. I know I am doing what is right for me right now.

I will be forever thankful for the last 35 Years, the loving family, and intrinsic gifts and lessons it provided to support the next part of my life. As my patriarchal blessing says “there is work for you to do. You have much to give, much talent, and will be an influence for good throughout your life.”

It is my time. Time to heal, time to move forward, time to give back, time to support my children in loving and different ways, time to be an example to my beautiful granddaughter of courage, strength, and living life to the fullest with authenticity and joy, and time to help others who need love, self confidence and support.

This is the place I will blog my journey.