Self Love. Self Care. Inspiration

My book of poetry, "Stripping- My fight to find Me" is a story of the triumph of the human spirit. It is a story of our deep need for connection and the infinite power of love to heal.

Hello,
It’s Sunita here.

I am a poet, an author, a wife, a mother, a clinician and a childhood trauma survivor. I healed when I understood that I was broken,
not a victim. I learnt that everything I needed was within me. And that my mental health and my inner life was the essence and driving force of my existence.

I now want to challenge and inspire you to move beyond your old stories so you can embrace possibility and fulfill your potential. So, if that is where you are in your life, I invite you to come visit with me every Friday.

The conversation is honest, the topics are varied, the perspectives are from many angles, but the bottom line is always
Self Love Self Care First. I hope you will join me in a journey of discovery, wonder, growth and a celebration of our truth.

And love

Because what else is there to talk about?

Be well, Do well, Live well,
Warmly,
Sunita

Friday, August 16, 2019

Where to Start to Be Kind


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

"Be kind". I see this sign every day. It hangs between my writing sanctuary and my work space. I spotted it a few months ago while browsing at a store that sells cute stuff. And inspirational sayings, in all forms. Pillows, signs, wall hangings, stationary, mugs and sundries.

What does it mean to be kind.  Kind is an adjective. The definition of kind is
1 a : of a sympathetic or helpful nature (was helped by a kind neighbor)
   b : of a forbearing nature : Gentle (kind treatment of animals)
   c : arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance ( a kind act)
2    : of a kind to give pleasure or relief (cooled by a kind breeze)
3   Chiefly dialectal : Affectionate, loving
Source: Merriam Webster dictionary

We are taught to be kind to others from an early age. It feels great when we are the recipient of kindness from another person. But now, looking through my lens of Self Love Self Care First, I note how I was never encouraged to be kind to myself. By anyone. Not by my parents, not by my teachers, not by my friends. I always thought of kindness as something that I was supposed to offer to others.

I am down with that. I love being kind. I feel awful about myself when I am not. But being kind has always been in relationship to others. Never has kindness been about being kind to myself.

Until recently.




Now, having the understanding that I do, I practice self love first. Such a basic concept has changed my life. And that of everyone around me. Because I am a much better person when I treat myself with love, consideration and kindness.


When I see the sign Be Kind as I move about my work space, I am instantly reminded to be kind to myself. Instead of getting frustrated and down on myself when I don't succeed at something, I consciously decide to appreciate my determination to get it right. I give myself kudos for having the motivation to overcome the barriers to accomplishing what I want to. 

That instantly relieves the pressure of judgment and disapproval. And it gives me patience to work through what I have to, without resorting to being miserable to be around. 

It has simply changed the game for me.

I stuck this note on my door so that every time I enter my room, I read it. My brain registers the message of self love first and I am reminded to be kind to me. That leads me to a state of calm, optimism and creativity which spreads to my environment. And makes me want to be more kind to others.


It now makes no sense to me to offer kindness to others while I viciously tear myself down. When I suffered from the ravages of the effects of trauma, I routinely neglected myself in ways that were invisible. Not offering myself kindness was one of the more commonly used methods of self punishment.

So to answer the question- Where to start to Be Kind?

With yourself! 

If you need to put up reminders to show compassion and love for yourself, do it. Eventually, you will become a pro at Self Love and will know when you are out of sync with yourself and be able to find a way to get back into a Self Love Self Care First mode.

Good luck :)

Wishing you a week full of kindness,
With love,
Sunita
#selfloveselcarefirst#kindness#selflove#selfcompassion







Friday, August 9, 2019

Toni Morrison and Language- How She Inspires Us to Use this Instrument


Hello,
It's Sunita.

We lost a towering human being this week. Toni Morrison died on August 5th, 2019 after a brief illness. Ms. Morrison, a celebrated writer , influenced and touched millions of people in her lifetime. Tributes poured in and continue to, describing the effect she had on individuals.

Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while.- President Barack Obama

In the beginning was the Word. Toni Morrison took the word and turned it into a Song…of Solomon, of Sula, Beloved, Mercy, Paradise Love, and more. 
She was our conscience. Our seer. Our truth-teller. 
She was a magician with language, who understood the Power of words. She used them to roil us, to wake us, to educate us and help us grapple with our deepest wounds and try to comprehend them. 
It is exhilarating and life-enhancing every time I read and share her work.
This pic was her first appearance on the Oprah Show.
She was Empress-Supreme among writers. Long may her WORDS reign!- Oprah Winfrey


Toni Morrison's talent and courage made her contributions to humanity so vast and deep that eulogizing her in a way that would reflect any resemblance of her impact on us would be impossible. So I won't even attempt to do that. Instead, I would like to share the words of this incredible woman that made a deep impression on me and serve as a guide to how I aspire to use words.

On December 7th, 1993, Ms. Morrison delivered her Noble Lecture on the occasion of her receiving the Noble Prize in Literature. You can hear Toni Morrison's Nobel Lecture too.

"...She's worried about how the language she dreams in, given to her at birth is handled, put into service, even withheld from her for certain nefarious purposes. Being a writer, she thinks of language partly as a system, partly as a living thing over which one has control- but mostly as agency..." Toni Morrison.

Most of us cannot be Toni. Neither should we aspire to be her.

We should aspire to be the very highest form of who we are.

That is enough. And that is much more than who we usually live as. So I take Ms. Morrison's words about language as an inspiration to use words to speak my truth and to speak out against what I know is the opposite of truth.

If we all did that, to the best of our abilities, then we can together, unveil and expose the tyranny, injustice and cruelty that exists, unchallenged in our world. If we did that, to the best of our abilities, then we would also, collectively create a narrative that gives words to the beauty and power of our truths and illustrates the infinite possibilities for connection with each other through love.

That is what Ms. Morrison did with everything she wrote. She used language as a vehicle of agency.

We can too.

How do you use language? I challenge you to ponder this question and furthermore, see how you can you be inspired by the work of Toni Morrison to be the voice of our collective conscious in the trying times of today.

I wish you a week of language,
Use it wisely and deliberately.
Our voices have power!
With my love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#tonimorrison#nobelprize#literature#RIP#respect#words#barckobama#oprahwinfrey#language#truth#authenticity#power

Photo Credit- Noble Foundation, Photo Boo Jonsson


Friday, August 2, 2019

Our Intuition Recognizes 'Strangers' as Our Soul Friends - The Story of The Zen Bowl




Hello,
It's Sunita here.

It was the summer of 2014. 
We were in Seattle on the last day of vacation. Our flight back to Newark was not until 11 pm that night. We were slightly at odds on how to spend the day. Having energetically and enthusiastically checked off many tourist musts in the Pacific Northwest over the past couple of weeks, we were in a place of 'now ready to get back home'. Something ambitious was not appealing. However, the thought of doing nothing and spending the day resting in our hotel room was not what we had in mind either. So we found a comfortable middle ground. After breakfast, we decided to leisurely explore Seattle's First Avenue.

As we walked down the vibrant, bustling artery of Seattle's urban landscape, we dipped in and out of shops, visited the Seattle Art Museum and ate our share of creative fare offered by the gourmet eateries along the way. And of course, drank coffee. Lots of it. It was now approaching the time to get to the airport.

As we were walking back to our hotel, I noticed a store. I passed it, but could not ignore something that was buzzing around me. I went back and looked at the display. It was an art gallery named Ventri. 

It looked expensive. I did not need anything from there. We had no time to waste as we had a flight to catch. My husband and daughters were certainly not interested in going into one more store at this point. Let alone an art gallery...

I walked away. My common sense and logic prevailed. Yet, I somehow felt uneasy about my decision. Feeling guilty about holding everyone up and possibly causing a delay, I hesitated a bit but then decided to turn back and enter the world of Ventri. As I had suspected, it was full of exquisite art, mostly glass, and wildly beyond any budget I would have had for a 'parting gift' from our trip. I wandered upstairs to the Chihuly Exhibit. In contemplation, I quietly admired the artistry and imagination of this great artist.

But I still felt a pull to something unknown, somewhere else in the store. As I was making my way to exit the store, my eyes landed on a glass bowl. I stopped. This was it! It was what I was meant to see. An instantaneous purchase was made, paid for and packed for the flight back home. Somehow, unexplainably, in that moment, I felt a clear calmness.

It was weeks after getting home that I found time to read the information that Ventri had enclosed with my glass bowl. I learned that it was the art of Scott Fitzel from Hawaii. And that there was an entire line of Zen glass bowls that he made, based on the chakras that we inhabit. All, very much in synergy with my interest in meditation and energy fields. I reached out to Scott directly and started to collect his Zen Bowls. I would also gift them to friends and family on special occasions. Scott and I would email back and forth. Pleasant enough and cordial.

Until last year when he learned about my poetry and my journey of healing. That is when we both realized that we had met before. 

Aloha Sunita,
... 
I was compelled to put off all the crazy busyness of this Friday morning and watch and absorb completely the conversation of you speaking of your work. I felt almost as if we were in the same room and you were in conversation with me and I was answering back to you
 ... 
Thank you for living for truth, growth and sharing and thank you for finding me all those years ago-otherwise I likely would not have found you now...
Me ke aloha
Mahalo nui loa
Scott

The fact is that Scott had found me years ago. When his soul whispered to me as I walked the streets of Seattle. I am so grateful that I paid attention to my intuition and surrendered to it, allowing me to be led to something unknown.Trusting that it was part of a plan. And in that, I reconnected to a soul friend. Even after this connection was made, it took me awhile to recognize Scott.

Now, Scott and I catch up ever so often in a manner that is deep, meaningful and familiar. I see him through his sculptures and his words and I feel he sees me through my poetry and words.Our creativity was the bridge that brought us back together. We recognize each other from before. Our communication is without pretense. It is full of vulnerability and share. 

We are still to meet in person but don't feel the compulsion or urgency to do so in order to solidify our friendship. It is already there. It existed before we knew each other. It will remain after we are gone.

I share a photograph of a sculpture that Scott and his partner KC Grennan recently designed, and his words that describe their vision and intent. 



"Here is a photo of a piece that Kc and I finished recently for the Hapuna Hotel on Hawaii Island. It's called Ao Lani Wai Lani. Translates closely but not heaven in the Bible context to 'Pure light from heaven, sacred water from heaven'. The gathering bowl below is alo a place to gather, sit and look up and out at the sunset and endless blue."

Have you felt such an intuition? Did you listen to your inner voice and follow it's track to discover a soul friend? Did you ignore your intuition and regret it?

I'd love to hear from you about your experiences.

We have a guide inside us who is wiser than our conscious awareness. But to be able to hear it, we must do the work to cut down on the noise, doubt and fear that we collect along the way of our journey. Only then can we connect to the infinity that we inhabit. And be led to our soul friends.The joy of discovering our souls companions, connecting to their energy and inspiration and being in harmony with them is what our journey is all about.

There is no one who writes about this more exquisitely and tenderly than John O' Donohue. I encourage you to read Anam Cara. You will quickly see how it becomes a companion book that you will want to keep with you at all times and gift to your loved ones.

I thank you Scott- for being a soul friend to me and bringing great beauty to my life through your art, your words and your spirit. I look forward to seeing you in Hawaii someday in the near future!

Wishing everyone a week of light,
Aloha,
Sunita


#selfloveselfcarefirst#scottfitzel#glass#sculpture#seattle#ventri#soul#zenbowls#chakras#hawaii#johnodonohue#anamcara#meditation#mindfulness#poetry#anamcara#hapunahotel



Friday, July 26, 2019

Attachment Trauma is Not a Life Sentence- I Know That For a Fact

Hello,
It's Sunita here.

Addicted

I walk on sand.
My sand shifts with the wind.
It runs after the outlying horizon.
Carelessly leaving me groundless.
I walk on sand.
Loyal to its invariable whimsies,
Longing for its fickle love,
Accepting of its infinite, illicit transgressions.

I walk on sand,
Even as it brutally blinds me.
Blasting my bare, trusting face,
When propelled by a cruel, stormy gale.

I walk on sand,
Crippled by my craving of its wayward flights,
Shackled by the bottomless pit that it conceals,
Imprisoned by my fear of solid ground.


#32 in the collection
'Stripping : My Fight to Find Me'

We are social creatures and are born to connect with others. We are biologically wired for relationships and from the moment we are conceived we need others for our survival. This survival goes way beyond food and shelter. For us to be able to thrive, we need human emotional connection. That connection and safe interactions first start with our primary caregivers and lay the foundation of our 'relationship template'. We learn about ourselves and our place in the world through what we see and experience with our caregiver. Their responsiveness to our emotional needs is key to the healthy development of our inner world.
The connections we have as infants to our primary care givers and those close to us can in many ways be compared to our internet connection. If it is not working, you can't connect to any of the sites you need to in order to do work, play, be entertained, reach out to your friends, connect to new people, create new work and much more.

When attachment bonds are patchy, interrupted, destroyed or damaged, our lives take a turn for the worse. This trauma is called Attachment Trauma and it leads to many variations of hell on earth.


Attachment theory in psychology originates with the seminal work of John Bowlby (1958).Bowlby defined attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (1969, p. 194). Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). See Attachment Theory and In depth discussion of Attachment.


Dr. Beatrice Beebe, a Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University studies the baby's non verbal language at Columbia University. The level of responsiveness of infants and their ability to communicate with us is amazingly higher than formerly understood or even believed to exist.

Millions of adults suffer from depression, anxiety, isolation, lack of self, addictions, relationship problems and unexplained medical symptoms and much more debilitating conditions. And yet, they may function and be successful in many other ways, so this damage and inner world fragmentation may be totally invisible and unnoticed on the outside- by others and most unfortunate of all, even by themselves.


But deep inside, you know something is not right. If you are one of such people, get help! Science has come far and there are predictable treatments for Attachment Trauma/ Developmental Trauma that work to help people claim their unlived life and find joy.
There is hope!

Walk out of the darkness. Fight to find who you truly are. Fight to move towards your light. Fight to reclaim your life. Fight to rebuild your life. Fight to find joy.

Stay tuned,
Our conversation will continue.

With my love and hope for you,

Until next time,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#attachment#attachmenttrauma#depression#istdp#davanloo#dynamicpsychotherapy#poetry#words#creativity#healing#connection#brain#light#beatricebeebe#johnbowlby#reaching throughresistance#allanabbass

Friday, July 19, 2019

Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken and the Pioneers Need for Self Love and Self Care First


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

The year was 1916. The poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost was published in the collection Mountain Interval.



...
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Who cannot be moved by these words of the famous poet?  Like with any poem, its interpretation is personal. I understand these words to be a call to create a life that is of our choice and not common . These words inspire the reader to take a path that leads to an unknown destination. Implied in following that advice is a promise that it will be a journey worth taking. 

What did Frost mean by "And that made all the difference?" What is the 'difference' that he refers to?

I believe the path that he wrote about to be the journey that we say yes to when we follow our truth. It is lit by the brightness of our intuition and is guided by our inner voice. We become pioneers of our destiny.
pi·o·neer
/ˌpīəˈnir/
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.
    synonyms:settlercolonistcolonizer, frontiersman/frontierswoman, explorertrailblazerdiscoverer
    "the pioneers of the Wild West"

The year is 2019. The blog Ahead of the Curve by Seth Godin gives you an idea of what a journey that most others have not yet taken looks like. He paints a picture of turbulence, uncertainty, challenges and danger.

Ahead of the Curve
When you’re traveling ahead of the curve, it’s silly to imagine that the road will be straight and flat. It’s actually more like a cliff. With bumps.
That’s all part of the deal. That’s why it’s not called the curve. You’re in the void, uncharted, ahead of what’s behind.
In fact, ahead of the curve, the weather is pretty lousy too. Often with catastrophic lightning storms.

So why would anyone in their right mind choose to be ahead of the curve, on a road less travelled ? Because, as Seth explains, "you get the thrill of finding a new path instead of merely following the old one."

There are countless examples in history of individuals who spent their lives honoring their truth in the life choices they made. Many a times they changed the course of history. Mahatma Gandhi made a stand and chose non violent civil disobedience over the raging fire, violence and mayhem of political and religious conflict that existed at the end of the British Colonial rule of India. It may seem like an easy choice today, but at that time, he was going against the grain of his countrymen and considered a traitor by many. But he wasn't deterred by what others thought of him and was steadfast in his message of non-violence in the pursuit of India's independence and to this day, is held as an inspiring example of moral leadership.

Gandhi took the road less travelled and was certainly ahead of the curve.

If you want to design your life around your truth, it will be worth it. But it will not be easy. Because 'worth it' does not equate to 'simple, safe and pain free.' So Self Love Self Care First becomes even more urgent and necessary when you are a pioneer of your life. 

Here are some fundamental SLSCF tips for you if you are a Pioneer.

  1. Pioneers are incredible human beings so treat yourself like precious cargo. 
  2. Pioneers have doubters so make sure you surround yourself with those who believe in you, cheer you on and support you.
  3. Pioneers confuse many with their ahead of the curve vision. These people respond to the discomfort of their inability to comprehend and see your vision by shooting it down and discrediting it. Let them. Don't stop to try to bring them along.
  4. Pioneers are often lonely because of the bigness of the nature of the task they have taken on. Make friends with yourself.
I leave you with good advice from Ellen, who I admire greatly, as an exception to the rule that Robert Frost alludes to.

"Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. By all means, you should follow that."

Until next time,
With my best for you and your unique journey,
Love,
Sunita
#selfloveselfcarefirst#RobertFrost#poetry#theroadnottaken#sethgodin#mahatmagandhi#ellendegeneres#pioneer