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, 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

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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.