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 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, April 26, 2020

In the New World of COVID-19 We are Seeking This with a Desperate Sense of Urgency


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

There has been no let up of the tragic loss of life and devastation that COVID-19 has brought us. What's even more troubling is that we still do not have a clear picture of what life is going to look like in 1, 3, 6, 12 or more months from now. This uncertainty makes for dark times.

Dr. Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh in a recent article in The Guardian writes, "... there are huge gaps in what we know about this virus, including about immunity, about the possibility and timeline for a vaccine or antiviral therapy, about who exactly is vulnerable, and about long-term health implications. In this uncertainty, countries that are actively working to contain this virus and keep numbers as low as possible are buying time to build a more informed policy response while also protecting their economies and societies. Others, by letting the virus spread slowly through their populations (only flattening the curve instead of completely stopping the spread), are just gambling with people’s lives, and will be caught in cycles of lock down/release that will destroy the economy and cause social unrest, as well as increased Covid-19- and non-Covid-19-related deaths."

What can one take from all of this? Should we open up our businesses? Should we not? What is the best way to keep our families and ourselves safe? Will staying shut down and at home for another few months help, or not? How does that impact our economy? What about my job? Can we travel? How am I going to make it in the new economy that is unknown at this time? Will I need to retrain, switch jobs or even change professions? What about my mortgage/health insurance payments/car payment/utilities/kid's college tuition/school loan payment/etc., etc.? Can we afford that anymore?


There are infinite questions, but very few answers at this time. 
But there is certainty of one thing. 

There is a major change in our world, and our lives. 

We have been shaken to our core and now find ourselves totally displaced in our previously known scheme of things. Just like the roots of the uprooted tree laying transplanted in the water in the picture above...

We are responding in different ways to the fears that we all have in response to this sudden change and uncertainty. Despite our varying behaviors and responses, we are asking ourselves the same question.


What is my relevance in this unknown world? How will I fit in? 

It is terrifying to find ourselves on a make shift stage, in the middle of nowhere, without a script of any kind. Or a director. The performance we had rehearsed with a well known group of fellow actors, innumerable times, and together, presented with ease, delight and confidence is no longer on the playbill. On top of this confusion, incertitude and havoc, we are now joined on this stage by almost every other human being on this planet. That's about 7.5 billion people...

We are responding to this crisis in many ways. Usually we are having a mix of reactions and feelings at different times. They may come and go in waves. A few of them are being, and feeling
  • Worried
  • Helpful
  • Overwhelmed
  • Lonely
  • Contemplative
  • Reflective
  • Energized
  • Hopeless
  • Useful
  • Scared
  • Productive
  • Isolated 
  • Foggy
  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Helpless
  • Sad

There has been a burst of posts and articles on social media in this COVID-19 pandemic time. Many of them are not only useful and helpful, but down right necessary. Information about the virus, tracking it's effect, healthcare responses, related social issues, humor, inspiration and efforts to help those who need assistance are critically important in this unprecedented time. 




But we have also seen some amplified cries for attention in social media by people who may be reeling from the gravity of the question above. Their fear of now being irrelevant may be driving them to post things just to be noticed. In that, they may be finding some form of fabricated, self satisfying relevance.






There will be no short cut to finding relevance of any kind in the new order that is emerging from the chaos and destruction of this dark and difficult time. It will demand reflection, honesty and courage to see a new path going forward.


We must stop to pause, and go to the core of who we believe we are. Those beliefs about ourselves will be the driving force of the creation of our new reality. The word I want to stress here is New
It is a new beginning. It is a shift of our consciousness. It is a new era. I believe this time offers us a chance to rephrase the questions we are asking ourselves. (You can learn more about the process of rephrasing in this recent Blog of mine.) It is time to see the abundant and ubiquitous opportunities to transform and transcend in this time.


I leave you with this poem of mine from "Stripping : My Fight to Find Me"

DEBRIS

The storm
Has now passed.
But it’s fury,
Has taken its toll.

The debris,
Spreads for miles on end.

The beach
Lies in shocked silence.
Home now 
To the washed-up destruction.

The inky sky,
A witness,
To this ruination.
Grief stricken,
In its stillness

I plead with the dawn,
"Can you wait in the wings,
A little bit longer,
While I make peace
With this night?"

Call off,
Relief and assistance.
Clean up and rebuild
Can wait.

For now
Just let 
The fading darkness
Hold me.


For now just let the fading darkness hold you...
Be kind to yourself in this difficult time. 
But know that you have the capability to rise, and create a new relevance of yourself in the times to come.

With my love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#covid19#uncertainty#darkness#relevance#rephrasing#change#fear#transformation#transcendence#newbeginnings#reflection#introspection#devisridhar#TheGuardian






Sunday, April 19, 2020

Why Your Post COVID-19 Pandemic Health and Wellness Must be Your Focus Today


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

It is impossible to predict what our life will look like in the years to come but one thing is certain. If we do not deal with the full gamut of emotions that have come along with the COVID pandemic and its impact on us, then we are certain to see a wave of physical and mental illnesses plague us in the future.

Let me explain.

Right now we are in the middle of coping with the immediate effects of the assault of Coronavirus. This has involved us to respond to the threat of COVID 19 to our health and our lives and taking actions that are designed to protect us.

Extreme and sudden changes in our patterns of living and movement in the world have taken a tremendous amount of energy from us. Staying home, social distancing and limited physical contact with others are measures that have been imposed on us, and for the most part, voluntarily followed by most.

Support for the front line workers in health care systems and essential businesses that are the backbone of our supply chains and economy has become the focus of citizens. Organizing events and fundraisers to collect money and resources for those in our society who have been left jobless, and without means to support their families is ongoing.

We are all looking to do something to help out in some way. Big or small, it is all important and meaningful and has been the way we have found some control over this invisible, but menacing foe.

The ability to become selfless helping heroes and creative and collaborative problem solvers is the need of the hour.
That is the only way we will find a way to survive this threat to our very existence. This is what will pull us through this dark and trying time.

But what will happen if we don't deal with the full gamut of our emotions during this period of collective trauma? What follows repression of our most painful and darkest of emotions? 

Anger, rage, worry, anxiety, helplessness, grief and sadness are the tip of the iceberg of the COVID 19 darkness. All of these emotions must not only be felt by us, but dealt by us in order for us to heal and move forward. Only then do we have a future of possibility and potential. If we put all our focus on being positive and charged up to overcome, we will neglect to sit with our  feelings of loss and grief. That is a recipe for disaster in the years to come.

Because with the fundamental understanding that the mind can affect the body's physiology, what will follow will encompass not only depression and anxiety, but actual physical illnesses and chronic conditions.

It's simple.

  1. The mind and body are intimately connected.
  2. Stress, trauma and repressed emotions can cause real physical symptoms.
  3. Understanding this connection and educating yourself is a key component in relieving symptoms.


is an article in the Globe and Mail by journalist Erin Anderssen on the work of Dr. Allan Abass and his team at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. It is an excellent introduction to learn how traumatic events in our past can lead to debilitation of both our body, and our mind. These deficits and defenses cripple us and leave us unable to live a healthy and full life.

As we charge ahead into the world of tomorrow, there are many unknowns. But there is one thing that is a fact- our health and well being will remain instrumental, and the most important resource we have in helping us navigate the task of creating a future full of success, happiness, meaning and hope. For that to happen, we must acknowledge and process the feelings that have come along with this trauma in our life.

So as a critical practice of Self Love Self Care First, we must focus on our post COVID-19 health today by feeling, dealing and healing!


Wishing you a day of reflection of your pain, loss and grief,
With love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#covid19#pandemic#mindbodyconnection#trauma#health#wellness#healing#erinanderssen#allanabbass#davanloo#ISTDP





Sunday, April 12, 2020

Why You Must Be Your Own First Responder During the COVID -19 Pandemic


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

Here in New Jersey where I live, like many other parts of the US, and around the world, we have been under 'Stay Home' orders since mid March, with no concrete end date in sight. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our lives.

We may desperately want to be the person who can become superwoman or superman in response to the Coronavirus pandemic but we cannot, if we don't take care of ourselves first. And right now there are many barriers that we all face to practicing Self Love Self Care First.

The desire to help and do something is deep and genuine. Adrenaline surges will allow us to fight by becoming larger than life, and taking actions to assist in this very trying time. This can go on for a while, but in the end it will burn us out.

The shut down and necessary modifications in our work patterns and social systems have jolted us out of our familiar rhythms. That can take us down a rabbit hole. And this meandering never leads to a good place.

Worry about our jobs, families, colleagues, staff, finances and our future weigh heavily on us. The uncertainty of how our lives will be after this pandemic can quickly become an overwhelming preoccupation of our minds. A never ending loop of ruminations can lead to mental fatigue and depression.




If we do not mindfully nourish, rest and replenish ourselves, we will crash.

Our immune systems are already on overload in response to the change and challenges of this difficult time. Physical and mental exhaustion, and stress will further deplete our health and result in decreased productivity, poor decision making, relationship problems, anxiety and even serious illness.

For trauma survivors and those who suffer from mental illness, social distancing and isolation can also open the door to past and present demons that haunt us. We must slow down and focus on our hard earned freedom from mental illness, depression, addictions and anxiety. Our work to be healthy, whole and free must remain our top priority.

So what can we do to be the superheroes we want to be right now?

How can we help during this unprecedented time in our history?

By making sure our bodies and minds are well rested, calm, serene and ready for high level performance.

For that to happen, we must take care of ourselves first. We must love ourselves to be able to care for ourselves in a loving, compassionate and kind way.

By loving ourselves first, we stock up on love and have enough to share and spread to others. Humans have always needed love, but now, the world desperately need it.


We can only love others by loving ourselves first.


" Everything needs food to live, even love. If we don't know how to nurture our love, it withers. When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That's why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness". says Thich Nhat Hanh in How to Love.

Where can you begin?

How can you love yourself. Once again, I have found Thay's answer to be one of the most clear, simple, and practical ways to understand how to start loving ourselves. It has been illuminating for me. So I share it with you.

Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing of the human body

Breathe in.
Go home to your body.
Breathe mindfully.
Your body is a wonder.

I urge you to take 15 minutes to learn how to do that by watching How Do I Love Myself. You will become your own first responder by doing what Thay teaches in this short video. And that will enable you to be a superhero for others.




Connecting deeply to yourself, and loving yourself is Step 1 of being able to be of use to someone else. I hope you will join me next time to learn some simple, but very effective ways to cultivate calm, peace, direction, energy, purpose, acceptance and most importantly, hope during this pandemic.

In the meantime, stay in, stay safe and be well!
Wishing you much self love,
Sunita

#selfloveselfcarefirst#selflove#covid-10#pandemic#stress#anxiety#worry#overwhelmed#davinci#mindfulbreathing#howtolove#thichnahthanh#peace#calm#purpose#wellness#optimal#firstresponder