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 Sunday.

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

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Making Someone Else Happy is a Simple but Essential Practice of Self Love Self Care First


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

The term Self Love Self Care First  encompasses much more than taking care of ourselves first.

Many a times, the act of doing something for someone else is the way we are taking care of ourselves. Because acts of love for others make us feel good.

It bolster our relationships, and communicates our love for those who are important to us.

When we have taken care of ourselves, we have the energy and desire to do so, selflessly for others. Our mind is settled and clear so we are able to use it creatively. We discover opportunities to put our loving thoughts into a tangible form for our loved ones to experience.

Such an opportunity presented itself to me this week. Baking a cookie care package for my daughter, who is far away was what I chose to do to send her my love.

This act of love for others is been performed by millions of moms, grandmothers, aunts, friends, and I'm sure many dads and grandfathers as well. That's because it brings about such pleasure to them while they bake. Their joy continues on through the process of packaging the delights they make, and then in the act of imagining the pleasure with which they are enjoyed, when received.


I felt like I had visited Nina while I was baking. Many memories of past Christmas seasons floated through my mind. Happy times, fun times, festive times. I felt her presence as I packed the Pecan Short Bread (Barefoot Contessea's recipe) and Swedish Ginger Cookies (family recipe) for her. I could hear her telling me a hysterically funny story about something mundane, in a way that only she can. All of a sudden, she felt close to me, not thousands of miles away. It did my heart good to bake for Nina. And I hope it does her heart good to receive her care package. It is my wish and hope that she feels waves of my love wash over her as she bites into the little pockets of love in her package. Because that will make it pure gold for me.


Once you make a commitment to honoring your relationships by being attentive to them, there are millions of ways you can do that. A few simple ideas to share your love in a way that makes someone else happy are,

  • Write a letter to them
  • Send a postcard to them while travelling
  • Read to them
  • Send flowers to them
  • Making a surprise visit to see them
  • Volunteer with them for a cause they believe in
  • Cook for them
  • And then, there is always the act of picking up the phone to say you love them

The main thing is to focus on what makes them happy- not you. Their happiness makes you feel happy and good about yourself. That is an act of Self Love Self Care First on your part. And a win-win!

SLSCF is an immense concept that has many dimensions and practices. Making someone else happy is one of it's simplest and sweetest one.

Wishing you a week of SLSCF, and perhaps baking a care package?
Love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#baking#daughters#love#joy#selfcare#practices#relationships#connection#barefootcontessa#pecanshortbread#foodnetwork

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Why The Practice of Self Love Self Care First is Neither Selfish Nor Self Indulgent


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

We live in an amazing time where we can access the latest research on pretty much any opinion, belief or statement we read. Blogs directly link us to articles that support their content.

This is not such a blog.

This is an article based on lived experience.

I became acquainted with Self Love Self Care First (SLSCF) in my journey of healing from trauma. It was a very uncomfortable relationship, as until then, I had looked at SLSCF as a sin. I felt a tremendous amount of guilt when I even thought of putting myself first. But I slowly learned that my beliefs had not much to do with the truth, but more to do with what I had understood to be the truth.

Read on if you have thought of SLSCF as self indulgence and selfishness.

I will explain SLSCF in the simplest terms possible so you can see how it is not what you think it is.

SLSCF is about boundaries.

SLSCF boundaries do not keep others out. (Selfish, self indulgent, self defeating, self sabotage, self punishment)

SLSCF boundaries exist to protect and nourish you. (Healthy, mature, smart)

SLSCF is about your mind and your inner life, before any focus on your outward existence.

SLSCF is a commitment to act lovingly towards yourself in your thoughts. It is about not judging your feelings. It is about growing your ability and capacity to show compassion to yourself for your failings. It is about having forgiveness and mercy for yourself when you come up short. (Being human, strength to bear your weaknesses, humility and acceptance of all parts of you)

SLSCF does not give you the right to justify hurting or harming others, even if they have done you wrong. (you are still responsible for your behavior and it's consequences, even if you feel rightfully angry or hurt by someone else's behavior or actions)

SLSCF is about taking care of your body, mind and soul before any one else's.


SLSCF is a practice of taking care of yourself first so you can take care of those who depend on you. It is about cultivating vibrancy and joy inside you. It is about having the energy to tackle the many roles you have. Running on empty will get you sick, a nervous breakdown, angry, unhappy and resentful. None of these states are going to help you help others. (Giving, healthy, joyful, generous, smart)

SLSCF is not about neglecting others while you indulge in acts that you can pass off as self love. For instance, leaving a critically sick family member's bedside to go on a spur of the moment vacation. Not to be confused with the need for a caregiver of a chronically ill family member to get a break. (selfish, manipulative, neglectful)

Self Love Self Care First is about honoring your presence in the Universe. 
You deserve it.
And you are entitled to it.



The world will be a better place if you choose to practice Self Love Self Care First because you will spread love, exude joy, share enthusiasm, maximize your potential, invite curiosity, ignite imagination, promote peace and inspire others to do the same.

So the next time someone says Self Love is selfish, I hope you will set the record straight.

And in case you still feel the need of a research article or source that supports my lived experience, here's one, courtesy someone you may be familiar with. (credit: taluskie.com)


Wishing you a journey full of SLSCF,
Love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#selflove#selfcare#trauma#mentalhealth#buddha#selfish#selfless#joy#boundaries#health#wellness


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Why Reassuring the Most Important Person in Your Life That You Love Them Must be An Intentional Act


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

Valentine's Day is around the corner.

We have an opportunity to express our love and appreciation for the most important people in our lives. What a wonderful day!

But what if you don't have someone who exclusively loves you? What if you are alone and lonely? Valentine's Day can turn out to be a challenging day for you.

But the fact is that none of us are alone, regardless of our relationship status. 

We always have someone who is our constant companion. This person sees us through every occasion and event of our lives. Cheering us on from the sidelines when we tackle big challenges, disappearing into the background when we are being celebrated by others, and comforting us when we are deserted by those whom we trusted and relied upon.

So this Valentine's Day, I will choose to reassure this person of my love and devotion to them as well. I will commit to being there for them at all times. I will make sure that I visit with them every day and treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve. Because I have been guilty of being cruel to them, and of taking them for granted on more occasions than was fair. I'm embarrassed when I recall all the times that I ignored them, and put others above them.

But I've been doing a lot of work to make this relationship right. 

You can too.

This Valentine's Day, I will send myself this note. It is my intentional act of reassuring the most important person in my life that I love them and am fully committed to them.




And I will share this poem with myself. It is a beautiful and wise message for me on how to be in this world. It is also a reminder for me to continue to practice Self Love Self Care First. 

DESIDERATA

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself to others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals, 
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

By Max Ehrmann 
Copyright 1927


I dedicate this weeks blog to Dr. Liana Harper. 

Liana was my very first BFF. We met in Lethbridge (a small town then in Alberta, Canada where we were both born) and shared our early childhood together. Life took us on different paths, and through different places, but when we reconnected, we both found ourselves at the same 'heart place' as we were decades ago. So we are truly BFFs and prove that love is a live, dynamic energy. Liana shared 'Desiderata' with me recently and I am delighted to bring it to you.

Wishing you a Valentine's week full of love,
Warmly,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#valentine'sday#love#selflove#selfcare#Desiderata#maxehrmann#intentionalacts

Sunday, February 2, 2020

What Healing From Trauma Looks and Feels Like


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

When I sought treatment for symptoms that had brought great challenges into my life, I had no goals or expectations of what I wanted as my end result.

All I wanted was for the pain and the voices that were ravaging my mind to stop! 

This pain had also gained entry into my body in a variety of nefarious ways.
I felt like there was a screech machine in my head that ran around the clock, and, on top of that, mercilessly played the same bad tune all the time. Attachment and complex childhood trauma had reached every cell of my body. It had invaded my brain in a way that my experience of myself, and, of my environment was distorted and broken. (You can read the poetic expression of my journey in my book 'Stripping : My Fight to Find Me'.)

As therapy progressed, I began to experience relief from many of my readily obvious symptoms. But the damage from my trauma was deep and repressed, so it was a while before I started to reacquaint myself with my true inner self, and was able to successfully break deeply ingrained behaviors and beliefs.

At this point, I still did not have a clue of what the end of treatment would look or feel like. Nor did I understand the time table of healing. But I do now.

There is no end to healing.
Healing is a direction. 
Healing is not a destination. 

The next question I had was what makes for a healthy mind? Because I wanted one.

Pain and suffering is a part of our lives- whether we have had trauma or not. We are all presented with challenges and situations from which we must rise in order to create a joyful existence. 

We are wired to connect with others. So our relationship capacities and our ability to co exist with others is the key to how enriched, fulfilling and happy our lives will be.

How we think and adapt to change is the key to living our best life.

Mind- A journey To The Heart of Being Human by Dr. Dan Siegel is a must read for anyone who is searching for their highest being. You can learn more about his back ground and  the Mindsight Institute and his background by following the links.

If you have suffered from any kind of trauma in the past, or are currently still suffering from trauma, then your journey towards health is especially hard. "Individuals who have experienced trauma that remains unresolved, those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be seen as filled with both chaos (intrusive bodily sensations, images, emotions, memories) and rigidity (avoidance behaviors, numbing, amnesia)", writes Dr. Siegel in 'Mind'. But there is hope because there is clarity of who you can be, beyond even the elimination of symptoms. You can grow as a human being to be integrated.


Healing is Integration.

I find the following description of what an integrated, healthy human looks and feels like to be the most clear and comprehensive that I have come across in my quest to understand what a healthy mind is.

FACES and COHERENCE

F     Flexible
A    Adaptive
C    Coherent
E    Energized
S    Stable

Dr. Siegel explains, "A FACES flow of integration creates harmony, like a choir singing together by differentiating their voices and linking together with harmonic intervals. You may know the feeling of hearing or singing a song in harmony- it's exhilarating and full of life... Integration feels connected, open, harmonious, emergent, receptive, engaged, noetic (a sense of knowing), compassionate and empathic."

C    Connected
O    Open
H    Harmonious
E     Engaged
R     Receptive
E     Emergent
N     Noetic
C     Compassionate
E     Empathetic

I have found that healing is a lifelong process. Even after therapy, or other forms of help ends, we continue to build on our new selves. Our new forms are an amalgamation of our previous selves, but with new meanings attached to them. Our new form is capable of dealing with change, loss and failure in a new, and different way than how we responded before. We can only do that if we are in a state of FACES. 

Integration of all the dimensions of our existence is what a healthy mind is. The ability to adapt and move forward after, and in response to change is the work of an integrated mind. Of course, even with this integration, we feel pain, grief, stress, anger, worry and all the other negative emotions that are a part of life. But we don't get stuck there with them.

And that is the goal of healing. For us to be able to flow like a river that calmly navigates it's rocky bed, caresses boulders near it's banks, and curls around bends along it's way.

Wishing you integration this week and beyond!
With love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#drdansiegel#mind#mindsightinstitute#health#wellness#integration#trauma#depression#anxiety#flow