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




Friday, July 12, 2019

Self Love is Not What You May Think it is - Let me Explain


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

I am often amazed at how indulgent the concept of Self Love seems to have become. The images and posts I see depicting Self Love are usually more about self gratification than what I have learnt about Self Love. 

We are living in an age of instant visual stimuli which elicits our immediate response. Many people dream of their 'bit' going viral to capture fame and notoriety. Hence, some outlandish and sometimes outrageous presentations of a concept or idea are easily found floating around the web. In this, there is an inherent risk of simplifying and diluting a complicated issue.

Self love is the biggest challenge we face as human beings. Thinkers, philosophers, poets, saints and mere mortals have been struggling with this for centuries. Its pursuit demands that we dig deep and look at the 360 of us as a dynamic human being. And observe ourselves as far as we can see. If we are unable to see ourselves fully, we must seek the help of those who can objectively and lovingly (as much as humanly possible) give us feedback about our blind spots.

It means that we must sit in stillness and reflect on all that we will never become. It signifies that we know that we will continuously and constantly fail as an individual and will have to get up and try again. It means that we have discovered the painful truths of our character. It indicates that we have grappled with the concept of our inherent limitations. And most of all, it requires us carefully sifting through what we carry that others have projected upon us. And reject it...

Self Love without these painful realizations and reckonings is not self love. It is a poorly drawn caricature of Self Love. It is a tepid rendering of something infinitely complex and deep.

Self Love is about loving ourselves in spite of our shortcomings as a human being. It's about finding compassion for our imperfect selves. It's about recognizing our shadow and acknowledging  it's presence and accepting it as a part of who we are.

Self Love is about accepting the reality of who we are, not who we wish we were. And then, loving that version of ourselves fully. 

Embracing our true selves is the most powerful staring point to become who we wish to be. Because it's a place of authenticity and truth. 

It is also a place from where we find compassion for others.

Helen Keller, one of the people I admire very much said, "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow." I don't know what the context is that she said these words but I would have to say that such advice will not get you to a place of Self Love. 

Only facing and examining your shadow will get you there.

Once you have done that, you are welcomed into a world of Infinite Love. I know, because I have done it and now share this truth with you.

I also share my poem Permission, which is # 38 in the collection of poems in my book Stripping : My Fight to Find Me.



You can hear me recite it by clicking on this link PERMISSION and listening till 1:50 of the video.

Wishing you a week of discovery and Self Love,
As always,
With my love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#selflove#examine#unveil#shadows#accept




Wednesday, July 3, 2019

July 4th, Yellow Balloons, Sober Bars, Healthy Fun and Self Love

Hello,
It's Sunita here.

Let's get right into this Friday's Self Love Self Care First topic as we celebrate July 4th across the country. A holiday where there will be countless home and community barbecues to celebrate our Independence and this long weekend.

Sunny skies, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad... And a cold beer! This time of the year brings to mind the numerous memories we all have of such events. And also, of the alcohol that was served.

Unfortunately for many, it's not just 'a beer' or just 'one day'. Do you know the definition of a binge drinker? I did not until I read Jayne O'Donnell and Laura Ungar's article Fun without alcohol? Sober bars offer social connections without peer pressure to drink in USA Today this week.

Jayne was interviewed on CBS This Morning and along with Dr.Tara Narula, gave startling statistics on how alcohol is a socially permissive addiction. Not only does peer permissiveness prevail in encouraging alcohol consumption at social occasions, but it is challenging for those who wish to abstain to do so.CBS : This Morning- What's behind the trend of booze free bars.




What leads someone to binge drink to a point of health concerns, violence and aggression towards others, black outs and depression ? What causes alcoholism? Why would someone put their life in such disarray and harm? Not to mention them taking their family and loved one's down a path of misery, destruction and pain. This is a very complex question that science is now slowly revealing answers to include  one's environment and biology to be a part of the answer. Addiction ruins lives and is passed on to our next generations. So the tragedy doesn't just end with the person who is addicted to alcohol.

What about our culture? What role does it play in the promotion of alcohol as a harmless social lubricant? How many times do we hear comments like , "Let's have fun" with the invitation to have a drink- or drinks. The list of such casual comments that are a part of our everyday conversation is endless! Sadly and especially, among our youth.

Alcohol consumption is far from 'harmless social fun'. According to the CDC, last year there were 88,000 alcohol related deaths in the US compared to 70,000 deaths from deaths from all drugs, combined.
                                 
You can learn more about the facts about alcohol use by visiting this link Fact Sheets - Alcohol Use and Your Health

So what can one do to avoid alcohol. Or better still, find places where sobriety is supported and alcohol is not part of the fun equation? Looking for sober friends at a concert? Find the Deadheads with a yellow balloon gives you a snapshot view of a way that music festivals have started a trend of the 'yellow balloon'. The balloon signifies that this area is an alcohol free zone and supports those in recovery. Alcohol free 'Sober bars' and other events are now gaining popularity and growing in number. Many of them are run by people who have successfully navigated addiction and want to give back by helping others by offering them a choice of socializing in a alcohol free environment.

And it is not only those who have a problem with alcohol consumption who are flocking to these places. It's anyone who desires to have a healthy and good time while being fully in the conscious moment.

So this weekend, why not try tying a yellow balloon at your front door when entertaining and see how it feels!

Wishing you a week of safe fun!
Love,
Sunita
#selfloveselfcarefirst#yellowballoon#alcoholfree#jayneodonnell#usatoday#taranarula#cbsthismorning#gayleking#soberbars




Friday, June 28, 2019

Pause to Party! A Self Love Self Care First Essential Edict


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

If you've ever had a goal and were working towards it, you may relate to this. It goes something like this.

You have an idea. Or a wish. Or a dream. Or a goal. It doesn't matter which one of these. They are just different words used for the same thing- what we desire.

You think about it. This phase may take days, months or even years. Or it may be an instantaneous decision. (That's not the important part of this blog however.)

You make a plan. At least, I hope you do...

You take action.

Next thing you know, you are on your way to accomplishing what you set out to do.

The problem is that we forget to pause and acknowledge all the small successes we have along the way. We focus on getting to the finish line, thinking that once we do, we will stop and celebrate. There are many things that are wrong with this.

First of all, by the time we get to the finish line, we will have thought of another goal. This new endeavor will take up our time and energy and eclipse any celebration of what we were originally working towards. Having accomplished what we set out to do may also actually seem anti-climatic, with feelings of disappointment flooding us. I often experienced this and wondered at such moments, "Was this all it was supposed to feel like?" Worse still, we may not feel worthy of a celebration of our success...

So I have changed how I go about my life, with of course, Self Love Self Care First as my filter.

I PAUSE TO PARTY!

I consciously stop periodically to recognize that I am working hard on something that I chose to pursue. Instead of celebrating the results I get, I acknowledge the effort I am making and commend myself on my resolve to stick with my plan. I congratulate myself on getting through patches of doubt, weakness, boredom, distractions, fear, laziness, disinterest, hater voices, and anything else that pops its ugly head up and tries to dissuade me from forging ahead on my journey. These obstacles are real and fighting them successfully takes a lot of courage, effort and determination. And finally, and most importantly, I pause so I may acknowledge and celebrate the people who are helping me achieve my goals. 

So I pause to party!

A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to make my mental and physical strength and resilience my priority. So I joined a gym near my home. The picture above is of me with my dedicated Fitness Coaches. Paulette Smithwrick took me in as a 'dough girl' who was scared to go beyond the check in desk at the gym. She trained me, gradually to become someone who actually started to feel comfortable in the free weights area. aka where all the bodybuilders hang :). Ronald Tucker tag teamed with Paulette to push me to challenge myself beyond what I thought I could do. He is the king of deadlift form and guess what? I love to deadlift now thanks to his expert coaching and encouragement. They are responsible for me being injury free. And they are the reason why I continue to progress.

Before you think I'm ready to enter any fitness competitions, I want to stop you right there. I am a work in progress and can at the drop of a hat list many things about my body that I haven't even begun to address in my workouts yet. 

So why do I the pause to party?

For many reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly, because I'm still at the gym. Not only that, I love to get there and work out. It has become a habit. I don't care what the results of my efforts are. I'm proud that I have stuck with my goal. I celebrate the joy that I get after a workout. I am proud that I devote this time to myself. I am grateful for the relationships that I now have with Paulette and Ron and everyone else at the gym. And yes, I won't deny that I do love seeing the results of my efforts.

But I have a ways to go before I am even close to accomplishing my goals. I wonder now if those goals are not changing and evolving. I think they are. 

So I refuse to wait to get to an arbitrary end point to celebrate. I now pause to party along the way.

I hope you do too!

Wishing you a week of Pause to Party!
Be well Do well Live well,
With love,
Sunita
#selfloveselfcarefirst#pausetoparty#goals#journey#fitness#coaches#relationships#celebrate



Friday, June 21, 2019

Be Fearless in The Pursuit of What Sets Your Soul on Fire- Not Reckless


Hi,
It's Sunita here.

A friend of mine had been talking about opening his own business for some time. We would periodically discuss his desire to make a difference in the world.  His current corporate employment, while enjoyable had become limiting in what he could offer his clients. He felt that he had a mission and in order to 'live it', he needed to have the autonomy to set up things in a manner that would allow him and support him to function according to his values, not someone else's.

I personally know him to be very capable and knowledgeable about his field so have never had any reservations about encouraging him to 'go for it'. Of course, that comes with a caveat.

There are hundreds of quotes, blogs, memes, posters, cards, speeches and books written about being Fearless in the pursuit of what sets our soul on fire. This message is not only critical but is essential if we desire to live our best life and fulfill our potential to the maximum possibility.

But, it must be received as such.

Be Fearless in the Pursuit of What Sets your Soul on Fire
But
Don't be Reckless.

Let me explain this with the help of my friend's example.

Last week I was thrilled with the news that he had taken the first step in his journey to establish his own business by registering it as a legal entity. I could see how excited and proud he was. I was delighted for him. As he was sharing how it was a 'sudden' decision on his part, I couldn't help but disagree. We had spent months talking about his vision. What would make him say that I wondered...

He told me that he had gone to his lawyers office for some other matter and once there decided that "I might as well take the leap and be fearless and do the paperwork for my business idea". But in reality, he had done the due diligence required before taking such a step. He had researched his business idea from many practical dimensions and had a very good understanding of the local market from the point of view of opportunity and competition. So in other words, he was prepared. Not reckless...

When I reminded him of this, he realized that he had actually made his decision to register his business not hastily, as he initially felt, but in reality as a sound move after doing his homework. It was certainly a leap of faith. But not an impulsive, risky move.

Our souls work is still work. We must come to it from a place of preparedness. Even if we are dead certain of where our purpose is leading us, it behooves us to look at all the practical considerations that must be accounted for before leaping onto the path of our calling.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author says it beautifully when she encourages people to be their creative selves, but not at the cost of a day job in her book Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear.

Being reckless and blindly following your soul is not an act of 
Self Love Self Care First. 

It can bring tremendous stress and hardship to you instead of taking you to a place of personal joy, meaningful success and transformation.

So stop and listen to your soul in stillness. Hear what it has to say to you. Then get to work and plan to create a life of meaning for yourself. Prepare to do the most meaningful work of your life that will not only bring you joy, make the world a better place but will also live on as your legacy.

And as for my friend, I have no doubts that if he continues on his path of prepared fearlessness, he will be successful beyond his wildest dreams!

Wishing you a week of fearlessness,
Until next time,
Sunita
#selfloveselfcarefirst#fearlessness#living beyond fear#lizgilbert#soul#purpose#meaning

Please be Sociable and Share

Friday, June 14, 2019

Dr. Edward Tronick, The Still Face Experiment and Stripping : My Fight to Find Me- It's Personal.


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

In this picture of a baby, I see beauty, innocence, curiosity, openness, trust, love, playfulness, confidence, eagerness...

What do you see?

How does one go from this state of purity and security to a place of darkness and endless despair? Look around and the mental anguish our society finds itself in is hard to miss.

Early childhood trauma is a major player in the etiology of depression and anxiety, inability to form healthy social relationships, poor or absent emotional regulation and a constant fight or flight state, even in the absence of an actual threat. And this list most certainly does not cover all the consequences of such trauma. Advances in scientific findings now connects childhood trauma as a common factor in the history of those who suffer from addictions.

Brain research has shown that child abuse and neglect not only changes the way a child's developing brain functions but it also causes it to suffer actual structural damage. Such trauma is called Developmental Trauma and its  effect on the brain is different than that on an adult brain.

 The Still Face Experiment is very hard to watch but it demonstrates a critical point in our current understanding of how early in our development we are socially receptive. This video shows the work of Dr. Edward Tronick, one of the pioneers of research on attachment and mother-infant bonding and the originator of the “still-face paradigm,” He is Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Director of its Child Development Unit. 

Dr. Tronick explains it like this, "It's a little like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The good is that normal stuff that goes on, which we all do with our kids. The bad is when something bad happens, but the infant can overcome it. After all, when you stop the ‘Still Face,’ the mother and the baby start to play again. The ugly is when you don't give the child any chance to get back to the good; there's no reparation and they're stuck in that really ugly situation."

One of the prominent risk factors for child abuse and neglect is a history of transgenerational trauma. That is, if a parent or primary childcare provider was abused or neglected themselves, there is an increased risk of them doing the same to their children.

That is why there needs to be more awareness of Childhood Trauma, it's risk factors, it's effects on the abused and neglected child and the perpetual suffering that it causes not only to that child in their lifetime but also to the generations that follow. 

With education and awareness, this cycle can be broken. 


There is treatment for childhood trauma that works. I know that first hand. Because I suffered deeply and for most of my life due to childhood trauma.
The process of Davanloo’s ISTDP  (Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy) transformed my experience of myself and of the world. It also re- connected me to the creative process of writing and expressing myself. My poetry in Stripping : My Fight to Find Me came about as my unconscious was activated and many poems came into existence way before I had accessed those experiences and parts of my life’s narrative in my therapy sessions.

My poems give a raw and honest account of how dark and lonely the world of attachment and transgenerational trauma is. And how resistant depression, anxiety and our defenses can be to our desire to get better. 
My poetry takes you through the fight that I had to fight to be free and whole . 

But there is success at the end. And that is why I share my poems. So, others can find hope in my story. And seek treatment.

By being open about my struggles, it is my goal to encourage others who maybe suffering in silence due to the shame and stigma attached to mental illness to come forward and seek the care they desperately need, deserve and are entitled to. 

And lastly, it is my hope that those who do not suffer from mental illness will read my book and get a better understanding of the pain and suffering of those who do. In that understanding lies compassion. 

Join me in breaking the cycle. Please share this blog with anyone that you know may be suffering from the effects of childhood trauma. They may be adults and may even be in their advanced years of life. This trauma does not leave you unless treated. And living whole, unfrightened and consciously is a reward that is worth everything it takes to break free.

With education and awareness, this cycle can be broken. 

I end with this poem from my book, Stripping : My Fight to Find Me.


AROUSAL

My slumber went unnoticed
No reason for detection
No cause for concern
No need to wake up from this deep sleep

I opened the door
To a gentle tremor
Innocently
Unsuspecting
Of this avalanche that I was hiding

#17 in the collection

Until next time,
May you have a week of love and connection,
Be well, Do well, Live well.
Sunita
#selfloveselfcarefirst
#edtronick#stillfaceexperiment#childhoodtrauma#depression#anxiety#ISTDP
photo on top thanks to generosity of Regina Zulauf.