Living Deeper

Below is my mental health article published in The Volk, Spring 2019

Mental Health: Living Deeper

By Nikki DiVirgillo, MSW, LGSW

When I was young, I looked through a telescope and viewed the stars in the sky. The expansive night sky with its twinkling lights told me I was special: connected to a great force and intelligence.  In my early twenties I lived my life from this acknowledgment and my desires manifested effortlessly. Then, one night as I wrote in my journal, I made a profound connection. It brought a vital link from childhood experiences to what I was beginning to experience internally, which was anxiety. This discovery led to the opening of my Pandora’s Box where I made one childhood connection after another, throwing me in to what some have called a dark night of the soul. The details of this long, dark, night are irrelevant in light of the lessons I learned and the growth that followed.

Photography by: Will Miles
Photography by: Will Miles

The main lesson, from which all the other lessons fall under, is that if we want to become more of who we really are, if we want to “live our best life,” and experience calm within ourselves, then we must live deeper, and then once we do, live deeper still. Many of us work at the surface of life; we are conditioned this way. We begin in a family, however that looks, with adults who are often existing at the surface of life. Then we fit our tiny bodies into a school desk with bodies taller than us telling us what they think we need to know to live a successful, fulfilling life. We move on to a job to pay for the lifestyle we think we should have. Through all of these stages who asks what we want? What we think? What we feel? At what point do we wonder, where are we? Who are we? And, is this all there is? If we don’t, at any point, stop and ask ourselves these questions or listen to those who might be asking us, we will continue to work at the surface level until our bodies and minds break down. Sure, some will earn what we see as success working at the surface, but will they be fulfilled? Will they be living an authentic life?

What we know is there is a mental health issue (more likely a crisis) in our country. According to the NAMI website (National Alliance on Mental Illness) “1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.” What is also clear is that mental illness is on the rise for our younger population as well. There is no truer sign of a culture’s overall well-being than how its children are doing. According to the 2018 Children’s Mental Health Report from the Child Mind Institute, anxiety disorders have increased 17% in the past ten years. From my professional perspective, I have also seen an increase of students in school diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Something is not right.

My personal theory of what’s not right is that we’ve lost touch with who we really are because we primarily work and function at the surface of life and the surface of ourselves. When I looked up at that star-filled, night sky I was tapping into expansiveness, into space, into mystery, truth, and cosmic order. When I wrote in my journal and made childhood connections, I was digging in beyond the surface to a deeper part of myself, an unconscious part, just as vast and mysterious as the night sky. This space was filled with beliefs, memories, trauma, and emotions stemming from my upbringing. This “stuff” has to be processed, and often our first que that we are ready for this inner work is the experience of anxiety and/or depression.

To listen to our emotions, seeing them as a signal to slow down and check in with our selves, is not something that comes naturally to many of us. We weren’t taught this. Further, to listen and be curious enough about what’s happening inside of us, will open us to change. And, change is frightening, especially at first, because we have only known the surface of ourselves. The surface can lure us with its comfort and safety, but the real value is going beneath our surface. We are more than what we experienced as children, and more than what the culture tells us now. Therefore, when something prompts us to live deeper, like the stars in the night sky, there are points of light within ourselves that we must, and can follow to help us along this journey.

Here are my points of light for you- if you are going through a dark night, if you are experiencing anxiety, if you are feeling an urge to step into something more:

Photography by: Will Miles
Photography by: Will Miles

                 Find Space: this can be anything from looking up into the night sky, taking notice of the stars and the moon, and during the day, the clouds or shades of blue to clearing out a cluttered corner, closet or drawer. Space bring perspective and perspective helps us start to see possibilities and pathways that can bring depth and more internal satisfaction. Meditation is another way to find space.

                 Be curious: Once you’ve created space, it’s time to get curious- curious about you. This is time to self-reflect, be mindful and ask questions. Beginning this deeper work requires resources to support us. This is important because we may be processing traumas and feeling feelings we haven’t consciously connected with. Consider a journal and seeing a therapist as useful resources as you explore yourself and books!

                 Seek connection: What I have come to trust and understand is all of us, every single one of us, is looking for connection. We long for deeper connections with ourselves, with our experiences and within our relationships. One of the most important lessons I learned has to do with attachment theory. This theory states the importance of having a secure physical and emotional attachment to a primary caregiver. These attachment needs are present as soon as we are born and continue as we develop and grow. However, it is in our earliest stages that attachment matters most as this will shape our future relationships. If our physical and emotional needs are not met consistently, we will develop insecure attachment. Being insecurely attached will cause anxiety and create difficulties in relationships, along with a disconnection with ourselves. I recommend exploring attachment theory through books or the internet. You will find the four types of attachment and perhaps understand which one best describes yours.  Through the process of understanding ourselves, and evolving from greater understanding we will find our relationships change too. Deeper connections with ourselves and others is possible!

These points of light begin the process of deeper work, the work that will eventually guide us to more clarity, wisdom, connection and peace.

Today I Praise….Coming out on my Spiritual Path

Today I Praise…

Today I do not sit in a church

Today I walk on a path and I praise….

The coolness of the breeze 
The sun shining between clouds 
The still barren trees 
The ones sprouting buds 
The cardinal I could not catch 
The camouflaged deer 
The still swollen river 

And….

Finally, Me. 

Today, I arrive in a clear open space after a long fought journey. 

I have risen- again. 

Today, I praise Life Itself. 
Today, I praise the Life I AM 🙏🏼

My parents grew up Catholic. They did not bring me to church. They did not have me confirmed. The closest I came to anything religious was baptism. 

This, other than their bodies and intentions that brought me here, is their greatest gift to me. 

Without a religion to follow and adhere to, which I knew quite young, when my very religious aunt made me go to church, that it was not for me. My entire little body recoiled sitting there amongst praisers of Jesus. 

How did I know at such a young age this was not my way? What did I know instead? 

The answers to these questions have unfolded as a journey to mySelf. In this journey I have found who I am and most importantly, who I am not. That proved to be the hardest part. It’s an excavation of Soul and it leads to our Self- our higher self.  At least this is my truth and journey. 

In so stating my spiritual path, I am fully aware that it is unpopular. I feel this and have experienced this- especially with Christians, and even those who do not attend church regularly call themselves this. I have been judged and isolated by them and others. 

A Jehovah Witness friend would not break bread with me, yet asked me to lunch- telling me if I wanted to see her she’ll be at the Kingdom Hall. I had a cousin- a born again Christian- tell me following any other religion is following Satan- after I explained to her what Namaste meant. Never heard from her again. As a young girl, Christian parents forbid their children to hang out with me saying I was a bad influence. 

More generally, from what I understand, Christianity does not condone a path that believes that salvation lies within. It believes only salvation lies with accepting Jesus. Where does that leave the rest of us? Not saved, of course. Fortunately, I’m secure in my journey and I am fine being left to it. 

At this time, when so many of us are coming out of our shame surrounding who we are and stepping into our truth- it’s
Important for me to come out with what I just shared about a topic we are told not to talk about but infiltrates everything. And what a better day than on Easter!

It’s always been my least favorite holiday. When my kids were young I made the most of it with colored eggs and hiding Easter baskets. Until this morning I still dreaded it. There’s an assumption in this country that most of us are Christian. It can be triggering to those that are not. 

But today, I claimed the spiritual  path I’ve always been on. It’s an ever expanding one where I rise and fall a lot but I always learn and grow when I do. Salvation, for me, lies within and that is my journey. Namaste.

This Week’s Self-Reflective Practice: Seeking Validation Part II

Validation: “recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile”

Two weeks ago I gave general and personal examples of validation seeking, and explored potential roots of this need for validation

This week I’d like to start by sharing a poem I wrote while in the midst of some buried trauma and pain around validation seeking.

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

I wonder if this is how children feel…

Who is listening? And who is there to talk to? 

Who is there that isn’t too drunk? Too high? Too distracted? Too wounded? Too insane? Too selfish? 

This deprivation turns to desperation. And then to rage. 

Who is listening? Who is there to talk to? Who has space for me? 

We are all in the same boat. Violently rocking. Or barely hanging on. Or with a stiff drink in our own hand thinking: this is the life. 

But is it? 

Do I need you to see me to know I exist? To know my experience matters? Do I need you to hold my space?

Where am I in this? Can I do it without you? 

Is it too much to ask a wounded mother and father to do this? 

Is it appropriate for that same wounded mother or father to ask their child to do this?

Who is listening? Who is there to talk to? 

This poem could go further. I thought it might. But, turns out I had to live it through a little deeper in my own life in order to finish this piece on validation.

What I now understand is that poem is from the old story. Old does not make in now invalid. Instead this story is valuable, essential and leads me to where I am now where it is old enough to gain perspective and understanding in order to let it go and make room for a new story. 

I cannot proclaim to know all the pieces of the new story yet. The new story is unfolding. But here are some pieces that I have gathered so far….

Piece One, The Repair Journey: On my walk this afternoon, I listened to a Super Soul podcast of Elizabeth Lesser. She spoke about her book, Marrow: A Love Story and the work she and her sister did together to repair their relationship. She posed the question: Who do we need to clean up space with so we can truly connect? Who have we hurt? And, then ask and listen. 

We hurt people in many ways, often stemming from our wounds of neglect and trauma. One of the ways we hurt people is by expecting them to meet our needs and to validate us.

Piece Two, The Spirit & Soul Journey: Maya Angelou said, beware of the naked man who gives you his shirt. She also said she doesn’t trust anyone that says I love you when they don’t love themselves. I remember my mother telling me to look in the mirror and say: I love myself. And, my mother didn’t, and doesn’t love herself. It has been a strained relationship, but in many ways I took her words to heart. It framed a life, my life. I have been on the self-love journey this entire time. 

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Self-Reflective Action

To begin Repair: As we step into our reflective practice on seeking validation, let’s be curious about which relationships in our lives need some tidying up. Who can we do some repair work with? Who have we hurt, and then ask and listen, defenses down. Also, consider is this person safe, willing and ready to begin the process. There are some people who, at this time, are far too wounded and therefore will be too defensive to clear space with.

To begin the Conscious Spirit & Soul Journey: Consider that you are on a self-love journey, no matter how low or how badly you feel about yourself. Do you believe this to be true? Then, where do you think you are on this journey? Are you the kind of person who is naked, but giving your shirt away? Or do you have so many shirts and won’t consider sharing one? Either behavior shows there is an imbalance within the relationship with yourself. What if you looked in the mirror and said: I love myself? Notice what you feel. What you think. Do you believe it?

Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash

Which brings me to the next piece…..

The New Story

This weekend, while journaling, I understood that a new rhythm unfolds inside of me. The Voice Inside says to me gently: let it happen. No need to figure it out, alter it, halt it. Let it occur. 

This new rhythm is of my own making. I no longer beat to the drum of my old childhood wounds and buried trauma. There is a new sound coming forth. 

Here is the poem of this new sound: 

There is a new rhythm coming forth. 

It is of my own making. 

Why would I do anything to disrupt and disturb it. 

It is coming together to create a new dance in all of my relationships. In the relationship with myself.

It comes with a trust toward my eternal and steadfast vision of the person I want to be, the person I know I am. 

It is not a head path or the old wounded way.

It is a soul path, a heart path. 

And it is unfolding, and I am watching, noticing and gratefully looking forward to what is transpiring. 

In this new rhythm I begin to understand I am fully nourished by Spirit, by my Soul’s Journey. My my very own Self.

As always, I am here to help you investigate this topic because sometimes it’s a lot to do this on our own. If you have questions about this week’s practice or have insights to share, please contact me. For deeper, more concentrated work, I am available for tele-therapy.

To learn more about me and my services, click here. To reach me for questions or to share, click here or email me at thesoulreporter@gmail.com 

Connect with me on Social Media: Facebook Twitter Instagram

Next week’s Self-Reflective Post will be about eating and noticing our thoughts around it. 

~The Soul Reporter

This Week’s Self-Reflective Practice: Seeking Validation

Validation: “recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile”

A child is sitting alone at home after school. The dad comes home from work and doesn’t say hello or ask, “How was your day?” The dad doesn’t even make eye contact with the child.

A new employee has just been hired. The boss takes her around the first day, introduces her to people and shows her to her desk. The boss then leaves her alone indefinitely.

A husband and wife lie in bed. The wife stares at the ceiling. Her husband is on his phone.

Photo by Chen YiChun on Unsplash

I often hear people say, mostly women— particularly younger women, that they need validation. I’ve never thought: me too. In fact, I’ve thought validation does not matter to me.

Until recently, when it occurred to me that I received so little validation as a child that how could I know to want something I didn’t know existed. This occurrence uncovered a deep wound of deprivation— deprivation of words, of energy and attention, of presence and acknowledgement from the caregivers and other taller people around me.

Instead of wanting something I could not have, it made sense to push that need deep, deep into the darkness— into a dark room and shut the door. But, the door to the dark room wasn’t sealed. Over time, the stench of that need for validation, created a belief: I am not worthy. I do not matter. It may have even gone so deep that I wondered: did I even exist?

Most things, I am finding, are on a spectrum. I believe the vast majority of us were neglected as children, of at least one fundamental need, and that experience of neglect lies on a spectrum. I was bathed, fed, read to. I have memories of my father rubbing my temples after a hard week with mom. I have fewer memories of my mother’s validation.

I also remember my grandmother Lillian. We sat on her gold sofa playing Uno. She handed me $20 bills. Her eyes lit up when she saw me. I called her my pal. I remember my Aunt Flo who lived in Chicago, where I visited at least once a year. Walking through her door was immediate love and acceptance by her pinch of my cheeks and the twinkle in her eyes. I cling to the memory of these two women. They saw me. They showed me I existed and more, could be loved.

Photo by Kyle Nieber on Unsplash

Can I venture to say, we all carry the deep wound of neglect somewhere inside of us….?

Sadly, when the stench of unworthiness takes up space in our being, we attract all the people and experiences that show us we are not worthy. More sad, if we do not see these experiences as opportunities to heal, we create a story and our unworthiness sets in like a stone corpse. It’s concreted now: we do not matter.

I write this today because I don’t want any of us to concrete the belief: I don’t matter. If we have, there’s still time to break it apart to the point where it becomes dust and can be blown away by our own breath.

We matter. And depending on where we are on the spectrum of neglect, it can take many years of uncovering this wound, allowing it to heal, and recreating a life, not of the stench of unworthiness, but of the fragrance of mercy and the pure delight of our existence.

Self-Reflective Action

The self-reflective practice for this week is to do some investigative journaling and mindful reflection. Notice if you seek validation. To help, notice where you have a story about something or someone. For instance, in the example I gave above about the new employee and the boss: he may have had complete confidence in her abilities and that is why, after showing her around, he let her be. However, if she isn’t sure about herself and her own abilities, she might start looking for him to validate her. She won’t ask him to- because who does that, right- especially with a boss? Then, she might start creating stories, talking to her co-workers, and eventually might become paranoid of her position or resentful of what she perceives as neglect from her boss.

As we can see, this can get very complicated. When really, it is quite simple. But I won’t get into that for this week. First, we need to notice where we are on the spectrum of seeking validation. Where we are on that spectrum will point to where we are on the spectrum of neglect, often from childhood.

I am here to help you investigate this topic because sometimes it’s a lot to do this on our own. If you have questions about this week’s practice or have insights to share, please contact me. For deeper, more concentrated work, I am available for tele-therapy.

To learn more about me and my services, click here. To reach me for questions or to share, click here or email me at thesoulreporter@gmail.com

Next week, I will unravel this complicated validation journey and share ways toward self-validation and ultimately, self-love.

~The Soul Reporter

This Week’s Self-Reflective Practice: Projection Part II~ Take Action

Projection: “Psychological projection is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.” (Everyday Health, https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/psychological-projection-dealing-with-undesirable-emotions/, 11/15/17)

Are you aware of projection? Do you know what it feels like when it happens to you? Do you know when you are doing it to someone else? 

It is important that we understand what projection is, what it feels like when it happens to us, and when we are doing it to someone else. It is also important to note that we project, not only our emotions, but also our thoughts, beliefs and expectations. 

Last week on The Soul Reporter Blog, was Part I of being self-reflective about projection. There, I used the metaphor of a blank billboard in order to bring awareness to what might be projected onto ourselves by others and what we project onto others. I asked: “What words, images, beliefs, thoughts and feelings might be covering that highway sign?”

Today, I thought I’d give an example to help move the reflection forward with intention and action…..

Last week, I talked about a heated discussion with a family member, where big emotions, along with thoughts and beliefs were projected at me. Although, as I mentioned, this is a common occurrence, this time, I noticed a different response from myself. In the past, when projection is happening, I’d immediately react and defend myself. If I were really triggered, I’d project my own stuff. However, this time, instead of projecting my thoughts and emotions, I stayed steady. 

What I mean by staying steady is I stayed present in the experience and in my body. I kept my emotions regulated. In this steady space, I observed instead of reacted. I was aware of the physical sensations in my body: nervousness in my chest and belly and frustration in my head space. I was intentional about my breath, and feeling my feet upon the ground. I noticed that what was coming at me, even when I felt triggered, was not mine AND that I did not have to make it mine. 

In this steady space, a couple things were clear: I have grown and there is so much valuable information in the space when we slow down and stay steady. 

This week, I’d like to propose another self-reflective practice for us. 

Self-Reflective Action

The challenge is to stay steady in experiences that are triggering for us. Maybe you’ll be watching something on the news and feel triggered. Maybe, from your practice from last week, you’ll notice someone projecting their thoughts and feelings onto you. See if you can slow this all down. It might help to even say to yourself: slow it down. Then, what are you noticing. Do you notice a space between you and what is triggering for you. What is in that space? What knowledge and possibilities exist? 

Once the moment passes, reflect. Do you notice you made a different response? What can you recall from that space in between you and the experience? 

This week is still about noticing, and also being intentional about seeing if there is another possibility in an experience that triggers stress and agitations. Once this occurs, be intentional about reflecting upon the change. You can do this by journaling. By sharing with someone you trust. By self-talk. This will help to integrate the new change, if it is welcomed by you, into your life. 

I’d love to hear of your experiences this week. Having somewhere or someone to share your personal growth learnings can be therapeutic and continue you on a self-reflective journey. Leave your comments here or email me @ thesoulreporter@gmail.com. Also, follow me on Facebook, Instgram and Twitter and share your experiences there. 

Next week will be a new topic: open to your suggestions…..

~The Soul Reporter  

This Week’s Self-Reflective Practice: Notice Projection

Projection: “Psychological projection is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.” (Everyday Health, https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/psychological-projection-dealing-with-undesirable-emotions/, 11/15/17)

Are you aware of projection? Do you know what it feels like when it happens to you? Do you know when you are doing it to someone else? 

It is important to understand what projection is, what it feels like when it happens to us, and when we are doing it to someone else. It is also important to note that we project, not only our emotions, but also our thoughts, beliefs and expectations. 

Photo by Gavin Allanwood on Unsplash

This is important because projection is painful. It hurts others. It stagnates our personal growth. It destabilizes relationships. The image above—a blank billboard—is a metaphor for projection. Any and everything can be projected onto it. And, whatever is projected belongs to the one projecting, not the billboard.

What if we could see all the projections on that billboard that have been thrown onto us? What would we see? What would we see on that billboard from our own projections onto others? What words, images, beliefs, thoughts and feelings might be covering that highway sign?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This morning, in a heated discussion with a family member, big emotions, along with thoughts and beliefs were projected at me. This is unfortunately a common occurrence. When it was over, as I processed the experience while making my bed, I felt sadness, and thought: projections are traumatic occurrences. They come at us, perhaps constantly, in subtle and not so subtle ways, both consciously and unconsciously. It made me wonder: how do all of these projections impact our overall wellbeing……?

Self-Reflective Practice

This week, I’d like to propose a self-reflective practice for us. This practice seems timely, as I notice the current events, political and as the many shifts occurring on our planet and within our selves. 

The practice is to notice projections. Notice if you see it happening from people in the news, celebrities and politicians. Notice if you see it happening by friends and family. Notice if it is happening to you. What do you notice in your body when it happens? What thoughts do you notice? What do you notice about the person doing the projecting? And finally, notice if you are projecting onto others. What is covering the billboard?

This week is only about noticing. That’s it. Next week, we can go deeper. I’d love to hear what you notice this week. Share with me in comments.  

~The Soul Reporter

Know the Soul ~ Know Thyself

Yesterday morning I stayed in bed until 1pm. I wasn’t in a state of rumination. I wasn’t in a state of worry. Mostly, I just was. Inside of me there was lots of space.

This wasn’t always the case. I was filled up with worry, anxiety, unprocessed traumas, emotions and experiences. The space I experience now is still somewhat foreign, sometimes bordering on what seems like boredom–– but, I welcome it. Truly, I earned it.

For nearly 30 years I have been consciously doing what I now call Soul Work. It’s a lot of internal digging and discovery. It takes curiosity, presence and commitment. It caused many dark nights of the soul and countless internal shifts. This has brought me a life of continuous growth and change.

Today, with the new moon, I am launching my new business. The vision of this venture is to provide a space for growth and transformation through soul work. In doing so, I would work as guide/coach.

I am also a licensed social worker, working toward my clinical license. Through my education and work experience I have gained skills in assessing and knowledge of interventions and theories. 

These two elements have aligned with my strong desire to be a helper in the areas of self-discovery and growth. Not much matters to me more than this because when we know our selves, we know everything. Further, in knowing ourselves, we push our human evolution as a whole, forward. In light of the times, THIS IS NEEDED. 

Knowing ourselves is a process. The help I offer is not gimmicky or for most of us, quick. If this is something of interest to you, if you find yourself in a consistent state of anxiety, worry and overwhelm, perhaps it is time to tip- toe toward the soul and find what’s there.

Go to this link to learn more. After looking, if you have questions, please let me know. This will help me clarify my service for people. After looking, if you are interested, fill out the form or send me an email and we can begin.

~The Soul Reporter

Guest Post: an investigation on unity and destiny

The whole world is knitted together in an absolute web of unity and destiny.

Take time to wrap your head around the title of this blog.  The whole world is knitted together in an absolute web of unity and destiny.  The idea that unity and destiny are ultimately coupled together in a causative relationship, should come as no surprise.  However, at first glance, they seem to be contrary to one another.  The meaning of “unity” is that there is a common thread, an absolute inclusiveness, that is a connecting component to the idea of “unity.”  Whereas, “destiny” seems to have a mystic, causative component surrounding it’s meaning.  It is difficult for us conceptually, to blend these two ideas together.  What are the obstacles that block our ability to see the causal relationship between unity and destiny?

The obstacles are of perception, and in not being able to extend or modify our preconceived truths.  We perceive mostly, through our senses, and because of our material based encounter of our senses, our reality of our perception is based on material forms.  Thus, our reality that we live by and trust as real, are things with material bodies; objects, that we can see, feel, touch, smell, hear.  If this objective, material reality is the one and only true reality, why then aren’t we humans more foundationally stable, more joyful, more united, instead of reeking of anxiety, fear, and trauma?  To continue reading click here.

The Helpers

Who are the helpers in your life right now?

These are the obvious people and the not so obvious. They are the ones who give you medicine or herbs when you’re off balance and the ones who cut your hair. They are the ones who provide you a place to sleep or food to share. Helpers are everywhere. And, we are all helpers.

My present helpers

The helpers coming into my life right now are what I’ll call energy companions. They have shown up after a good twenty-seven years of countless dark nights of the soul. They arrive to restore my soul, replenish my mind and body, and repair what has been unhealthy relationship dynamics. I’m so excited about these helpers that I am going to list a few of them:

Energy Worker Ed: I met with Ed in December 2018 after an intense time that began in mid-October. After our session, I was grounded and my aura was attached again. Although this may sound woo-woo to some, it has made a tremendous impact. Irregular behavioral and thought patterns, along with codependent relationship dynamics, ones I’ve been struggling with for many years, have totally untangled. There is now space within myself where I experience discernment and wisdom. Also, I am more attuned to energy that I pick up from people and environment. Plus, my intution is coming back after being buried in internal conflict and stress.

Social Work Supervisor & Friend: Had it not been for this special person in my life, I would not have met Ed or read this book (which I highly recommend as it sheds light on our deep, unconscious patterns): Astrology for the Soul. Not only has she been a light toward much needed resources on my reparative journey, she has provided an experience of relational repair. In my past I’ve had dissatisfying friendships and a lack of a supportive people. She calls herself my cheerleader, and I feel it and grow to accept this from her more and more everyday.

Caitlin: She is the new stylist I found, recommended to me by my mother-in-law (if you’d like to read my interview with my mother-in-law, who is a style expert and consultant, click on this link). Between hormonal changes, stress, and who knows what environmental toxins, my hair has been beaten up. I once had a head full of healthy, vibrant curls. Now, in my mid-40’s it hardly curls at all. But Caitlin is here to help me repair the hair. Accordingly, she says she has been meeting more and more women that are having the same concerns. She not only takes her time with a cut, she educates and is another cheerleader— but one encouraging another round of vibrant hair. Not to mention, the products she recommends: fabulous, and pricey, but pure magic.

Graduation 1990
Before haircut w/ Caitlin
After

My job and co-workers: Now out of grad school, and no longer a social work temp, I’ve a permanent position as a school social worker. This job is unique and offers a kind of flexibility and space I’ve not had before. The needs are great among students, and because of its structure, there are opportunities to create student curriculum, groups and psychoeducation topics. The environment is nearly stress free and the staff are friendly, supportive and fun. It’s a gift.

And, tomorrow I meet with an Ayruvedic practitioner whom I trust will provide me with even more pathways toward restoration and re-balance. M

Prior to these companions were energy vampires. These people are helpers, but that is not their intention. These people are often the most wounded and lost among us and need the energy of others to feel whole and secure.

In our current “live your best life” phenomenon, we are told by “the experts” to remove these toxic people from our lives. To some extent, I do agree. However, they have a lot to teach us. They teach us how to set boundaries. They encourage us to dig deeper within ourselves and ask: what in me has attracted this person right now?

In this new year, I sense more integration and unity and less compartmentalizing and separating. I hope for more clarity and thoughtfulness, and a slowing down of what has become a high paced and distracting reaction for many of us. For example, if we want to rid ourselves of a person, place or thing- before we toss what does not bring joy, let us slow down and check-in: have we learned what we need to learn?Have we allowed this person/place/thing to make us a wiser person?

We often rush to our joy, but we miss the process that will actually and eventually bring us to it.

Before I close, since I’ve mentioned energy- we are energy beings. We are more than flesh, blood and bone. We are more than our thoughts. In order to fully grow, evolve and change we have to move beyond our thoughts. To think (intellectualize) through change is not enough. I have learned we must also feel our way to change, and then move into our energy body where energetic shifts (you know like being grounded and having your aura attached ;)) occur. These many layers, which make us a human being, must all be integrated for true change to occur. And gratefully, look at all our helpers!

Namaste, The Soul Reporter

Guest post: Who do you want to be?

My dad wrote a piece on his blog recently. He’s asking: who do you want to be, and shares a story about me as a young girl, wearing a Cinderella mask for Halloween. As we approached the first house for candy, I took off my mask and said, “Dad, I don’t want to be Cinderella. I just want to be myself.” I love that I knew this at such a young age and have been following that path my entire life. Enjoy his post! Click here to read.