August 8, 2019 marked one year since my mother passed. I gave myself intentional space of solitude from October 2018 to February 2019, to do as minimal as possible. I utilized my energy for work, rest, and self care activities. Self care included weekly and monthly involvement in dance, paint, therapy, life coaching, acupuncture, personal training and travel. In this time of stillness, I spent a lot of time in introspection. I allowed myself to feel the depth of my sorrow, and at times despair.
As a big believer in the therapeutic art of journaling, I constantly wrote about mental, emotional and spiritual experiences thru this time. It was necessary for me to constantly process what I was experiencing, in order to not be completely consumed by grief with an onset of depression on top of my normal depression experience.
As all types of fears, insecurities, and trauma based responses arose, I was intentional of asking myself, what can I learn from this? I was extremely emotionally fragile during this time, and I allowed myself the space and gave myself the permission to honor my emotional experience. I feel like most of what I will share can be applicable to anyone, but I must preface these reflections, by mentioning that much of the inner work I’ve done, has been centered on processing traumatic experiences, and relieving symptoms related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a mental health practitioner and community healer, I have to constantly keep self care, self awareness, and wellness in the forefront of my life.
There’s many roles and responsibilities that I carry, and I take them all seriously. Self actualization and self love are very important to me, therefore as I’ve increasing became a more conscious and spiritually grounded person, challenging and removing anything that’s an internal or external that's a threat to my peace, freedom, or purpose, must be assessed.
So much has transpired in the last year, both externally and internally. I have grown immensely, releasing many unhealthy thought and behavior patterns, while also acquiring acceptance and courage in many ways that I found difficult before. In light of this growth, and in honor of the gift that loss brings, I wanted to share major lessons experienced since my mother passed.
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When I think of how truly connected everything in life is, I joyfully think about the song and opening scene of Disney's The Lion King, in which all the animals from the pride lands came to the birthing ceremony of Simba. In the background, we hear a story about the Circle of Life.
I mean, really dissect the lyrics.
"From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life"
The circle of life, the food chain, destiny, serendipity, and "everything happens for a reason" are
all very similar notions to me. Every thing and every being has a purpose. All that is orchestrated naturally in our lives, is testament that life happens full circle. Birth and death. Loss and gain. Joy and sadness.
The opposition of life is so important to understand and embrace because it shapes you to be stronger, more resilient, and of greater gratitude, if you choose to look at life's opportunities in such a way. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond.
Well, if we embark on the journey of life with an open mind and spirit, knowing for sure that every person, lesson, and experience is working together, life's blows can be taken standing straight up. To be simple, I suggest for to just believe that one day, it will all make sense because it will! I promise. Well, if you're open to connecting the dots.
When you're experiencing whatever you're experiencing, sometimes you can wonder to yourself, Why? Why is this happening? You might even go so far as to wonder, why is this happening to me?
Well ...why not you? Why not now? Why not? Are you so special and unique that you should be exempt from the difficulty and challenging times of the human experience? I think not. But as you ask those questions, consider your role in the plot of life. See we have thoughts and actions that often bring certain occurrences in our lives, but in a grander scheme, we also are just containers for God's greater plans. Our influence and control only goes so far.
So in understanding that there's a grander scheme than we can imagine or create, we can choose to look at life differently. Honoring the journey, the confusion, the timing, and the seemingly incongruity. When things just don't make sense, I think that's a sign!
It's the beginning of a beautiful week, and I want you to choose the attitude," something great is in store and this is serving a great purpose! "
"This" can be the day, week, interaction with a stranger, coworker, family member, traffic, or even the time in your life. Shift your relationship with time, expectations, and development.
BE Open. BE Hopeful~
By: Tiffany W.
Happy #selflovesunday BEautiful BEings! Its the day of spiritual revival and I myself and feeling renewed. Good things always happen to our souls on Sundays. Its the beginning of the week and I want to share something special with you.
Today I got the most empowering text from a good friend and sister like figure in my life. She said, "Have you been posting anything? the last post I could see is the Valentine's day one, I think something may be wrong with my browser. Let me know."
Do you know why that was empowering? Because I wanted to quit blogging. I knew I wasn't going to quit but I considered, what do I need to do differently to make an impact? I truly want to create content that the average gen y woman can relate to and to be honest when people don't comment, like, repost or even acknowledge what you do, it's easy to think, well maybe it's not good. It's good enough for me because it's my truth, but I have to consider as to whether it resonates with others...
That text let me know, that even if it's just 1 person, someone cares.
I'm going to have a truth moment with you:
I have been frozen for literally 1 week. No writing (until last night). Little feeling. Little exposure. Little interaction. I've confined myself to my room for the most part. Laying in bed, praying, meditating and watching movies I've seen 100 plus times. As I've felt emotionally dead, mentally I've driven myself insane 100 plus times.
Feelings of failure, despair, confusion, dissapointment, and dare I say doubt. About what? The path I'm on. See, from a place of faith and spirituality, I can see the future, but the present leaves me in total confusion sometimes. One thing I know for sure is that when you get a vision from God several times in your life, that vision is showing you whats possible. I believe divine sight, inspiration and vision is real. Whatever God shows you, will always take place. I've seen my life. I've seen the impact, the joy, the love, the abundance, the family, the philanthropy, and the legacy.
The problem with having such clarity while being a typical millennial and someone with depression, is that I become an enemy of time. With visions and goals there comes action. With action, there's not only expected outcomes, but expected outcomes on my timeline. Certain times of the year falling on my face is no problem, I get that happens in life. Other times, the times in which I'm most prone to experiencing a depressive episode, my failed Great Expectations become a problem.
The reality that I know: Life is NEVER as bad as it SEEMS. If you can find gratitude in having shelter, food, health, clothing and love, you're doing better than about 2/3rds of the world. In the end, the world never really knows what might have been done (in light of failure) they just remember you're impact (whether negative or positive). The reality that my well self knows: I am enough.
Well reality has almost nothing to do with the mind of someone in a depressive state. A different darker dimmer reality exists. It's the one that says, " What I'm doing isn't working. I don't matter. No one pays attention to me. I want to give up." (If you believe "depression is a choice" or don't really understand it, I suggest you visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml).
I fall victim to my own great expectations. No matter what I do or what I say, the judge in me can easily choose to nullify everything; every step, every effort and every piece of "success."
The truth is that true acceptance and perfect self love is hard for anyone. That's why its a journey of fascination for me. Not just on a personal level, but on a psychological level. In fields like Positive Psychology and Personality Psychology, looking at all measures of self concept are the most compelling stories of human behavior. Self acceptance is hard for anyone, but especially those with the most critical, heart and mind.
Naturally, I'm critical and I overthink, but when you take account of my brain chemistry at times (the depression) I become anxious. I become obsessed. I become inundated with thoughts that counter what I KNOW to be my true being. My advantage: I'm extremely cognizant of the mental and at times spiritual battle going on inside of me, which is why I know what I need to do to recalibrate my internal state.
There is beauty in learning about yourself. There is beauty in accepting your own journey, your own truths, your own limited limitations, and the possibilities that exists. There is beauty in timing. There is beauty in special relationships. There is beauty in darkness. There is beauty in life.
Sometimes life gets hard and overwhelming but we must just pray and surrender, and continue to love on ourselves.
No matter what, I still chose to love on myself (even though my mind didn't connect to it) I worked out, prayed, meditated, burned my incense/sage, watched what would make me laugh, listened to my sermons and read uplifting messages.
I knew I'd come around. ..eventually. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing . I'm glad to say I'm back.
Do you have a story of triumph? Would you like to share something from your own self love journey. I and the world want you to share your story. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be featured as a guest blogger.
By: Tiffany W.
Who doesn't love Fridays! It's the day that most people get relinquish a little responsibility and just BE! You may take some time to think about the week and usually say, Dang Its been a Hell of A Week! Well what if you took the same approach to life and reflecting on past decisions? Because even though the week has been hell, you're not harboring shame, anger or guilt from it...
Well like you love Fridays, I love moments that lead to reflection and growth! Whenever I'm deep in the presence of an epiphany or realization, I say, " Oh yes. The shift is real." Growth is all about the shifts that happen throughout life. A shift in understanding, leads to a shift in perspective, which often times (if you're focused on transformation) leads to a shift in behavior patterns.
When the shift is real, it feels oh so good. But would you like to know the sacrifice that must come before a shift?
Releasing self judgment of any decision or action as a mistake or bad. Now, that's not an exit for one to escape the law of self accountability because if you caused physical, emotional, or mental damge to a person or situation then you need to take responsibility for that and realize there were some more appropriate choices that could have been made, but it's not mistake. In truth, you did what you did because you wanted to do it. Regardless if you ignored your center when it told you to stop, walk away or you shouldn't be doing this. The execution of a decision or behavior taught you something about yourself, taught someone else something about you, and added to the overall colorful story of the human experience.
What we deem as mistakes are really paths to transformation. We all need a reason to transform, and often times its our dishonorable patterns that leads us to those changes. I often say, its at the point, when a women realizes how she dishonor her body and spirit that she begins to explore a path of mindfulness. After too many unhealthy relationships do women realize they need to reassess why they go after or attract the mates they do. Its after issues with eating disorders, physical health, not taking pictures due to Shame, or hearing how negative their self talk is about their bodies that women realize they need to improve their relationship with their bodies.
One of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of Eat, Pray, Love is, " Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation. " Above all, it's absolutely true. First Commandment of Self Love is Honor Thyself, and that is a commitment to accepting all the decisions you've made in your life. Let them lead you to a beautiful freedom or going higher in your BEing; becoming stronger and wiser.
Upon intitial reflection, it's easy to say that certain decisions we frown upon our mistakes, but the more time you take to think about them, the more you realize what you've learned and how they really did open your eyes to understanding the world much different. Who you were when you made those decisions is not who you have to be when you're reflecting on them. You choose what you want to be while embracing all that you are and have been because it's all one.
By: Tiffany W.
Isnt it funny that when you're experiencing growing pains it just feels really painful? You want the pain to end and you just want to get that rough patch over with? Well maybe the funny part isn't really the pain, but its the realization you get when you find yourself maturely reflecting on an experience and you can sit back and laugh or really just speak from an objective space.
Its kind of the sentiment that occurs when you go through the stages of grief from a serious or hoped to be serious relationship which ended. At first your angry, then confused, then you miss them, and then maybe hurt, sad and you finally get over it. One day, youre even able to speak about your ex without being passive agressive or sharp tongued. But did you ever think you'd see the day where you could joyfully function without and be totally ok speaking about them?
Well it happens and so does time for all matters of life. One recent lesson God has shown me and completely confirmed with a conversation from a man I met weeks ago is that all of life comes full circle. The circle of life isn't just a memorable line and sentiment from The Lion King. Its a true reflection of the total Earthly experience of our
BEing. No matter how something occured in your life, nothing is an accident or coincidence. Everything will always connect, including your connection to the lessons you've learned throughout life. Your lessons in trust, love, platonic relationships, career, faith, finance, leadership, socialization, etc.
Therefore when you go through non-ideal times in life, remember that you will GROW through whatever you're experiencing. More than that, beyond anything you can see, those times will make sense, eventually. Just like you can Honor Yourself and all that you've gone through, know that during those tough moments Honoring Your Spirit, and allowing it to lead you to your next step is pretty important on the journey of self love.
Faith will carry places that your mind cannot conceive. There is always a greater force than you, thus there will always be a greater purpose than what you can see. Celebrate life as much as you can, even when it doesn't seem worth it.
By: Tiffany W.
Do you know how amazing you are and your life is?
Granted, you may or may not have everything you want or desire. You may even be going through a rough season. You may have recently lost someone. You may be one of the millions of people fighting through a seasonal episode of depression. Despite all of that, you and your life is amazing.
Sometimes it's really hard to the light at the end of the tunnel, but I think that's because we're paying more attention to the tunnel then the light. Staying focused on not only what we're grateful for in the moment, but also on whats at the end of any season keeps you motivated.
Stay encouraged. People and situations seem powerful enough to take our joy and smile, but we have the power to choose how we want to respond to the world.
If you feel like you are in a deep funk or experiencing a depressive episode its even more important for you to have a Self Love tool kit available. What should be in your tool kit? Poems, affirmations, intentions, declarative statements, uplifting songs, encouraging spiritual scriptures, fitness, eating clean (yes this dramatically effects your mood), comedic films/shows/text, a creative process (writing, singing, dancing, painting, etc.), deep breathing, random moments of forced smiles, and the most important, daily actions that uplift another.
Yes these are all tools you can use to stay encouraged. Of course choose whatever resonates with you, but whatever you do, remember you and your life is amazing.
By: Tiffany W.
I love Sundays! For me, I participate in faith filled worship everyday through song, word and prayer, so Sundays are not set aside for just that purpose. Sundays represent rejuvenation and energy of spiritual reset that I feel all around me.
This year, I'm setting aside Sunday for you! Yes You! Any followers or supporters I have who want to share their stories, send me a Selfie (with no makeup on), or who want to honor others in their lives.
#selflovesunday is all about sitting extra in that love, sharing, giving, ans reflecting the God and Divine within you.
So today, partake in extra reflection. Devote yourself to extra affirmation. Honor thy self and honor the spirit. Fill yourself up for the week. If your feeling bold, let me celebrate you!
Connect with me on my social media
or send an email: email@example.com
Anyone out there get caught up in the fantasies of their own perfect visions? Somehow you envision a day, a moment, an event, or an interaction to be a certain way, then life says, who do you think you are?
Some days can seem so heavenly and others, not so much. Some days you can seem so centered and other days, not so much. Somewhere in you lies the perfect storm of grace, peace, joy, love, rigidness, confusion, hurt and sorrow. Embrace it all. Just do and be your best at all times. Know that your best changes moment by moment and day by day. Even in the change, being blessed with centering thoughts or support systems who can lend words of encouragement, “It’s going to be ok,” “don’t worry” can make such a difference!
Every day and every moment looks different. Your mind, body and spirit are in a constant revolution. Some days feel better than others. Some days, YOU or I feel better than others. The day in and of itself is perfect. It in itself, is not good or bad; how we perceive it, how we react in differing moments, how we take advantage of it, is what changes. Stepping away from judgement and allowing ourselves to just embrace it all is a rather empowering stance and mindset to be in.
Change is a part of life.
That reflection in itself gives proof to the fact that nothing will always be the same. You won’t always be happy or sad. You won’t always win or lose. You won’t always feel great or less than. When you have challenging days or moments, consider what lessons you can pull from whatever is or is not going on. You can also consider how any time that seems advantageous or even disadvantageous has some aspect in which you can express gratitude.
Next time you’re in a rut, make sure to practice deep breathing, express affirmations that brighten your day, meditate on the thought that everything works out for me, smile, and know that whatever is going on, in the grander scheme of life, is temporary.
Embracing whatever your being is going through, is honoring yourself. Implementing a practice to help you get and stay centered is honoring your mind and spirit. Stay focused on your Commandments of Self Love™.
Every day and every moment is new! Embrace it!
By: Tiffany W.
According to traditional psychology, we are wired with 5 basic emotions: fear, anger, disgust, joy and sadness. Since the 70's psychologists have come to find that these are basic emotions which are often associated with more complex experiences.
In knowing that we have these emotions essentially hard wired in us, it is no secret that these emotions, and all emotions in general serve a purpose. Emotions are how we express or can identify our experiences. They allow us to relate and communicate with others.
No emotion is "bad" in itself because it is merely a natural reaction. But what happens when some of the emotions that typically are negative occur too much? What if we choose to hold on to them?
Furthermore, what happens to someone who is described by a predominant emotion? She's a "sad", "joyful", or "scared" person?
Wellness and Natural Medicine practitioners both modern and ancient, as well as Spirtual leaders of many beliefs, know one thing to be very true: our mind, body and spirit are very connected. Therefore anything positive or negative that occurs in one sphere will be reflected in another.
Case and point: our bodies are affected by emotions.
Are you aware that under stress, your body holds that experience throughout your body? You might feel it in the form of pain, discomfort, soreness, or inflammation.
What about emotions like anger or unforgiveness? Did you know this could effect your joints, certain organs or your sleep?
Negative emotions have a place in your life. They are triggers for what makes you uncomfortable. They are flags for even areas you can stand to have more patience and understanding in. Beyond that, holding on to negative emotions does way more harm than good.
So how do you release them? You must explore that journey. First thing first is recognition. Write down what you've been holding on to and why. Also write how you feel holding onto such emotions has affected you. Read this list or letter (whatever form you decide to write it in) to yourself. Once you're finished, take 3 very deep breaths, counting in 6 seconds and breathing out 6 seconds. Then say aloud: I release you. After that, I suggest burning or ripping up and throwing away that paper.
An activity like I'm describing speaks to 2 Commandments of Self Love: Honor Thyself and Forgiveness.
I guarantee you, releasing negative energy is a part of a lifelong healing process. It's ok to not be upbeat all the time or even get a long or agree with everyone. But what we choose to experience within that spectrum of emotion and understanding, is up to us.
By: Tiffany W.