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 sleep doctor, 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 when I write. 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®.

Where did SLSCF® come from? I realized that I needed to find meaning in my suffering. I kept thinking, “What did I come out of this journey with? How can I convey what I now know other than what is in my poetry? What is the simplest, most fundamental, basic understanding of human nature that I discovered? And that is where Self Love Self Care First® comes from. I discovered that If we do not love ourselves, we do not care for ourselves. The pain of our lives and the messages we receive go deep to cause us at times to not pay attention to ourselves, and at times even hate ourselves. It is a difficult journey. And these feelings and beliefs come from the deepest parts of our unconscious. Self Love Self Care First® is a journey of learning we are all on. This is The Journey. To find compassion for ourselves. To find acceptance for ourselves. To find love for ourselves.

Find your light. Because we are not moving towards any light. There is no light out there. It is inside. We must move inwards- not outward to look for the light. The light is inside you.

And when you find yours, you light up the world!
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



Saturday, May 1, 2021

Princeton's Public Library's Local Author Day 2021: Dr. Sunita Merriman reading "Stripping: My Fight to Find Me"


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

I am very grateful to Princeton Public Library for selecting my book, "Stripping- My Fight to Find Me" as part of their 2021 Local Author Day. 

A special shout out goes to Nora Walsh, Adult Services Librarian at PPL who was instrumental in coordinating this event.

Please enjoy this reading of poems from "Stripping". I hope you will visit this virtual event and support other local authors.

Until next time,
Sunita

#poetry #princeton public library #local author day

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Vulnerability is Non- Negotiable if We Want to Be Loved


 Hello,
It is Sunita here.

Last year was a sad year in my family's pet companion arena. Our dog Thor had been aging and showing signs of decline for some months. In the spring and summer of the COVID stay at home orders, despite us all being around to care for him, he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, leaving us heartbroken. He had been the first pet my children ever had in their life, and to say he was an exceptionally gentle and loving big dog is not giving him enough credit for who he was. 

I used to joke that Thor was a dog who really needed to be introduced to all babies so they could have a positive introduction to a dog. We were so used to being stopped by children of our neighborhood who had to pet him and talk to him while we walked him that we would schedule an extra few minutes when we would take him out. He would greet his friends with an enthusiastic wave of his tail and a smile of such joy that it was infectious!

So losing him, however prepared we thought we were was hard. But, as we started to make peace with his absence, we found out that our cat Loki was ill. I wish I could tell you that he ended up healthy and healed after being admitted to the Animal Hospital, and undergoing treatment for his condition. Unfortunately, he also crossed the Rainbow Bridge just a mere three months after Thor did. These big, successive losses were devastating to us and left us grief stricken, but I think even more to our sole remaining pet, our cat Runa, who was buddies with both Thor and Loki. 

In our sadness, we had to find the focus to make sure we were taking care of her emotional needs and giving her the special attention that she needed to be able to find the resilience to get through this rough patch. Being a Siberian Forest Cat, Runa is a very affectionate, intelligent, and social animal who thrives on being an active and integral part of the family. So, having another kitten for her to bond with, play with, and be a companion to was important. We also realized that we all would do well eventually with a new furry addition to our family. 

After a reasonable waiting period, we are now delighted to welcome baby Cara to our home.

The photograph above shows us introducing Runa to Cara through a glass partition. They will be learning about each other from a distance, and through a graded level of separation until they can tolerate each other’s presence with the end goal of becoming loving friends and companions. We follow the professional guidelines of how to introduce a new cat to your resident cat to the last detail With the help of those suggestions, Baby Cara, who is an energetic and enthusiastic kitten has shown an amazing ability to adapt to her new environment.
We humans are also social animals and we thrive when we are connected to others. But we are now deluged with loneliness, and disconnected from each other, which has led to the rise of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, physical illnesses, and mental illnesses.
Our souls are hurting.
We must reconnect to our vulnerability. Only then will we be able to open the glass partitions we have between ourselves and others. We are so afraid of being hurt...
Sometimes, our inability to ask for, and work towards emotional closeness with someone who we like is due to defenses we may have (they are usually unconscious) because of trauma or mental illness. In that case, the barriers we face to connecting with others must be dealt with the assistance of professionals because we are not capable of treating ourselves- just like you would not do surgery on yourself!

Vulnerability is Strength.
Vulnerability is Confidence.
Vulnerability is Sexy.
Vulnerability is Attractive.
Vulnerability is Courage.
Vulnerability is Scary.

But, Vulnerability is our Superpower!

Feeling loved, secure, hopeful, and thriving is all the end result of being open to connection.

I’ll continue to keep you posted on how Runa and Cara are moving towards each other.

In the meantime, I hope you move towards someone you have wanted to, but have hesitated.

The payoffs of pushing past the sheer terror of being vulnerable are huge- ❤️❤️❤️

Until next time, 
With a hope that you will consider being vulnerable, however much that scares you,
Sunita




Saturday, April 17, 2021

I Have Stopped Going Everywhere Yet Being Nowhere


 Hello,

It's Sunita here.

After I was treated for the symptoms and the results of my ACEs and complex childhood trauma, my mind was available to me.

I found my inherent, and innate spiritual and emotional spaciousness.

That gave me a freedom that I had been incapable of experiencing, but unconsciously always knew that I possessed. A calmness set in and guided me towards an awareness that is often called meditation. That decreased my anxious and adaptive habit of being in many places in my mind, just to avoid the pain, aloneness, shame, darkness, and despair of my childhood.

I used to feel the urge to go to these many places just so I could escape what was going on inside my mind, brain, heart, and soul. I would feel so fragmented and distracted by this survival tactic.

With an unwavering commitment to the practice of focusing on developing an awareness of my now liberated mind, giving it an intentional direction, and having control, I am able to stay in my chosen places in a deep and meaningful way.

And when I can’t, ( which is often- the mind is not something that likes to be tamed. And our habitual patterns of thinking help it to remain elusive to us) it is looked at by me as part of the process. I just continue focusing on observing my intrusive or incidental thoughts, and eventually they pass, leaving me to come back to my meditative state.

It is from this place of peaceful solitude that I am able to Just Be.

It is from this stationary, but hugely dynamic place that I now love, experience, learn, dream, imagine, and create.

If you have suffered from ACEs, trauma, depression, anxiety, mental illness or mental injury, there is treatment for you.

If you are overwhelmed and stressed, there is a better way to live.

But the desire to be better and live as a whole you must come from deep within you.

I hope you will say YES to YOU! 
❤️🦋💕

Until next time,
With my love,
Sunita

*I hope you will share this article and follow my blog if it is of value to you.*

#selfloveselfcarefirst #ACEs #aces #mind #mentalhealth #davanloo #ISTDP #intensive short term dynamic therapy  #childhoodtrauma #depression #anxiety #hope #meditation #mindfulness #peace #calm #creative #poetry #poet #love #selflove #selflovejourney #self-compassion



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Be Gentle with Yourself- A Gentle Reminder to Myself


 Hello,

It's Sunita here.

Waking up and being grateful for the miracle of my body sometimes takes a little work. It is so easy for me to focus on all that I perceive as ‘not good’, ‘needs to be better’, ‘will be better when I ...’ instead of celebrating the fact that I am served so well and earnestly by this amazing home to my soul and mind as it is, right now.

If you fight the same battle, I encourage you to find acceptance of your body exactly the way it is right now. That is the only way I have found the love and healthy motivation to work on things that can enhance its efficiency and form.

Being grateful and gracefully accepting where we are right now does not mean that we must not strive for improvement. It is just a different mindset from wanting to change things because we cannot stand who we are right now. I discuss the way I planned to lose the Quarantine 15 last year. I have stuck to the plan I outlined in that article. 

The times when I took a break from following this plan were not occasions for me to berate myself, nor did I look at those times as failures. Rather than my old way of processing events, such occasions were seen by me as opportunities to enjoy life in a way that was free from guilt. 

Setting unachievable, unrealistic, and inflexible goals are one more way of punishing ourselves. I refuse to play that game anymore.
If I eat well, move, and sleep enough, I am happy with myself. And in my opinion, what is life without a few indulgences thrown in? Such breaks from my daily routine actually fuel me to work out with more enthusiasm the next day. 
Self Love Self Care First® flows best when it’s not another ‘chore’ in our long list of to do’s. It must be a labor of love and devotion in celebration of the miracle that we all are.

I hope you will be gentle with yourself too. 

After all, you is all you got. And you are a divine miracle!

With my love,

Sunita

*If you have enjoyed this post, please do not forget to share it, and follow www.selfloveselfcarefirst.com- Thank you! *

#selfloveselfcarefirst #morning thoughts #love your body #love yourself #be gentle with you #acceptance #divine you


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Renew- Rejoice- Family


Hello,

It's Sunita here.

As we all delight in the various forms of Spring celebrations around the world, and amongst many cultures, my very best to you, and whoever you call your ‘family’!

We are all feeling the burden of COVID in so many shared, and individual ways, so can use this time of season change towards more light, and hope at this moment.

But eventually, every season can bring us hope if we use our mind to help us navigate the dark times. It is our mind's eye that gives us perspective and direction in tough times.

The external world, in it’s glory does help us, as do our families. 
So let’s rejoice!

Until next time,
Warmly,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst #refresh #family #rejoice #hope #happy Easter #spring #celebrate #passover #baisakhi #all spring celebrations #we are one #mind’seye #innerworld

*If you have enjoyed this post, please do not forget to share it with another person who may also find value in it, and do follow www.selfloveselfcarefirst.com- Thank you! *

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Open Road Beckons You


 Hello,

It's Sunita here.

For the past 25 years, I have driven by this tree at least once a week. I have seen it so many times that it became invisible to me. 

Until this morning. 

The sight of it, bent and broken, wrapped around the pole, and fearlessly intertwined with the surging electric wires brought me to tears. Such an act of courage, vulnerability, and faith! 

It's as if this tree said to the pole,


I trust you will not hurt me, so I will wrap around you, and give you everything I have in this world. Even though I am now bare and naked, having lost all my leaves and supple branches to this winter, I will offer you what I have left. I love you and will not shy away from telling you that. I am all in with you.

 

I kept wondering why this sight had moved me so much. What did it bring to the surface of my consciousness? Why did I feel such intense emotions?

What do you see in this picture?

A wide open road that is waiting to take you anywhere you want to go? Or a dried up tree, broken and bent, wrapped around a wire surging with electricity, that can destroy it at any time?

The sun rising, and inviting you to stop dreaming, and make your dreams come true? Or a dreary day again, amongst many others in this pandemic, that have limited you from doing what you think you should have or could have done?

A famous Henry Ford quote, 


“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.”


What you see in this early morning picture is a direct manifestation of your attitude. What is it going to be?

I see myself becoming someone better than I am right now by the end of this day. I see a few laughs coming my way. I see connecting with people I care about. I see perhaps meeting someone new to me. I see a few problems to be solved. I see a few surprises popping up. I see learning some new things. I see some frustrations over things I will have no control over.

But overall, I see possibilities.

I realize that I had a surge of emotions when I 'saw' the tree this morning because it reminded me that for so long, I was a broken, bent, and denuded tree that was too scared to be vulnerable, and take a chance on  life.

 

But now, I am like the tree that boldly wraps itself around electric poles, offering myself to fate. I am no longer limited by my fear of rejection, or failure. I boldly follow my dreams, and do everything I possibly can to turn them into realities. 

I love seeing my efforts bring me success. But I do not make that a condition of my happiness. I have learnt that to be happy is a choice. And more importantly, to be happy is not the end goal anyway. 

My victory is in getting up every time I am beaten down by my circumstances. My prize is finding the courage to get back on the open road once again. 

So I always look for the rising sun to guide me there. I am all in. Just like my friend, the inspiring tree.

I hope you will be too.

Until next time,

With my love,

Sunita


#selfloveselfcarefirst #possibility #ideas #opportunities #attitude #henryford #openroad #sunrise #gratitude #mindset #happiness #choice #keepmovingforward #hope#create #mindset #inspiration


Sunday, March 21, 2021

What Should you Say to a Child Who Has Lost a Parent- Tell Them How Brave They Are.




Hello,

It's Sunita here.

Losing a parent is devastating at all ages, but to a child, it is absolutely unbearable. How the grief of a child is handled by their family is a major factor in how well, and how soon they can heal. 

If it is complicated by family strife, poverty, mental illness of the surviving parent, lack of resources, and many other limiting and debilitating factors, the grief of such children can be prolonged into pathological grieving and childhood trauma (ACEs) that has lifelong effects. 

Pathological grieving is defined as grief that extends beyond an average time of 2 years before the loss becomes a bearable event. At that point we resume taking an interest in our lives in a more normal manner. 

Resilience can be developed through connection with an adult who shows genuine care and concern for a bereaved child. 

So, if you know such a family or child, don’t hesitate to offer your support. It’s always better to say something- anything- from your heart, than not to. Don't let your fear that you may say the wrong thing stop you from reaching out with your sympathy, love, and understanding. Your caring will come through, even if awkwardly expressed. 

  • Don’t second guess yourself, and just say what’s in your heart. 
  • Offer to listen to them and don't take it personally if they don't talk to you about their feelings at first. Just be patient. They will, when they are ready.
  • Spend time with them. 
  • Make them feel like they matter, and that you are there for them. 
  • Encourage them to talk about their feelings of sadness, confusion and loss. 
  • Help them look towards the future in a positive way.
  • Try your best to be consistent with your efforts and companionship.

 

Tell them how brave they are to feel their pain- and that they will be ok! 

I’m so glad Prince Harry is speaking out about his grief on losing his mom, and is sharing his feelings. It will be healing for him, and very helpful for the children and adults who hear his heartfelt words.

Until next time,
With my thanks to Prince Harry,
And with love for him, and for all those of us who have had this hole in our hearts,
Sunita


Photograph of Prince Harry credit- BEN STANSALL / AFP/Getty Images

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Rumi's Exquisite Insight on the Apparent Duality of Love as a Self Love Self Care First Practice




Hello,

It's Sunita here.

Self Love Self Care First sounds straightforward as a concept. However, there are many layers of complexity to it's practice, which can often be obscured in an attempt to simplify this powerful and empowering mantra.


"If I love myself, I love you.
If I love you, I love myself"



In this couplet, Rumi has perfectly captured love as a practice of Self Love Self Care First. Self love is the first step, and mandatory requirement to be able to develop the capacity to love another.

The practice of Self Love Self Care First at times must be all about nurturing ourselves, by excluding everyone else from our space (mental, physical, or both) with the purpose of recharging, and regrouping with, and within ourselves. 

However, because we are wired for connection as social animals, we also crave to love others, and to be loved by others. That is why there is another piece, and equally important component of love as a practice of Self Love Self Care First.  

The other component of loving, as a practice of Self Love Self Care First is of extending ourselves in an outward way to embrace others. Caring about them, and being loved by them in return boosts our wellness systems, and provides us with the connection we need to survive and thrive. 

To know which form of love as SLSCF is necessary for us at a given time, we must intimately be acquainted with ourselves. Only then we can become our own healers. We must learn to tap into what we instinctively and intimately know we need, to be our best and most joyful selves. From this mindfulness comes knowledge that helps create a place of self compassion within. It is from here that we find our innate wisdom that helps us make the choice to either retreat within, or reach out to connect.

We cannot offer love that we don't feel inside, or have within us. It's as simple as that. If we don't feel worthy enough to receive our own love, how can we ever feel good enough to allow others to shower us with their love. 



LOVE
Love is madness.
Love is hallucination.
Love is warmth.
Love is exhilaration.
Love is awe.
Love is meditation.
Love is understanding.
Love is creation.
Love is passion.
Love is an endless celebration. 


-Sunita Merriman



Rumi, the mystic poet and teacher knew that love is the most powerful force in this universe. So he showed us the path to love.

"If I love myself, I love you.
If I love you, I love myself"


We enjoy the illumination and fragrance of a candle until the wax burns off and extinguishes the flame. We don't keep trying to light a candle once the wax is gone because we know that the wick cannot carry a flame without any wax. But we have no such self awareness, and keep pushing ourselves to do, and give, long after our depletion, ignoring the fact that we cannot offer to others what we don't have.

Why?

Until next time,
Wishing you the ecstasy of love,
Sunita

*If you have enjoyed this post, please do not forget to share it, and follow www.selfloveselfcarefirst.com- Thank you! *