Tag Archives: healing

What is Shadow Work and why is it necessary for trauma?

Shadow work is working with your unconscious mind to uncover parts of yourself that you may have repressed or hide from yourself. This could include past traumas, hurts, or negative aspects of the shadow self, that we all possess.


What is our shadow self?

Our shadow self is thought to be the parts of ourselves that make us undesirable to others. Or parts of ourselves that hold us back from success or happiness. Our shadows can represent things like anger, sadness or depression, anxiety, self-doubt or self-loathing. It can have an impact on your overall well-being and cause blockages with your spiritual beliefs and practices.

Giving in for far too long to our shadow self, can result in struggling in relationships or connections in general. When you suffer from chronic anxiety and depression, it can really make it hard to sustain relationships with others who seem more positive or can shrug off challenges more easily. I am not one of those people.

This was the first time I really dived into shadow work, and it was a draining and exhausting process. It was also lonely as hell. But it’s something I will work continue to work on to help heal.


How to recognize your shadow self

A good way to test yourself, is to gauge how you interact and react towards others. How do you respond when people become aggressive towards you? What about those who do not respect your boundaries?

Are you firm in telling them to stop? Are you firm in sticking to your core values and principles? Or are you the type of person who avoids conflict or difficult situations and tend to ignore your selfcare because you are a people pleaser?

There’s nothing wrong with being a people pleaser, as long as you don’t dismiss your own values in the process.


Consequences of shadow work

When you do shadow work, you get a better sense of what those core values in relationships might look like for you. This can change your entire outlook on current connections in your life. You might lose friends or even your primary relationships.

People who aren’t ready to face their trauma or do shadow work themselves, will often revolt or shy away from those that do.

Shadow work can also reveal trauma you may have suppressed for years and this can open a flood gate of feelings you aren’t prepared for. I do suggest working with trained professionals in counseling or therapy. Or find a support group that you can trust.

You may find yourself becoming emotional for no reason even on those good days. Crying is a big part of it. You may also find you want to sleep more. Pain might surface. Same with tension headaches. If you struggle with any of these new symptoms, please check in with your primary care provider.

Your intuition will peak during this process. You will notice toxic behaviors more and people that you considered to be close friends, will not look the same.

You will go through it. The stages of grief are real. I’m kind of in between I’m ready to let it all go, I’m mad at the world, and I just want to have fun again.

Thankfully, the crying myself to sleep daily has stopped.


Setting intentions with shadow work

One of your intentions with shadow work might be to help heal from trauma or hurt that triggered something from the past. For me, it was an abrupt ending to a relationship. Being made to feel like I was a terrible person when in reality, I wasn’t. Unresolved conflict led me to an anxiety spiral and a serious depressive episode. This led to being ghosted.

This experience brought out a lot of insecurities and resentment from past partners. It also triggered my abandonment anxiety and I went into a bad spiral.

Intentions can be anything you want to work on. I find bullet journaling, writing here in this block and working with Tarot cards really helps to pick things I should focus on. Ideas will often come to me while meditating or working on crafts as well.

You can read more about intention setting here.


Lessons learned during my shadow work

  • Make sure you have clear intentions and an outcome for your work.
  • You will need breaks in between to remember the good things in life.
  • Give yourself a deadline for the hardest parts.
  • Surround yourself with people who are on similar paths that you can learn from. Be wary of those who are “leaders” and stick to ones you get good vibes from. Trust your intuition.
  • Your intuition will peak during this process.
  • You will feel things you’ve never felt before and these can manifest into physical symptoms.
  • You will want to isolate yourself. That’s fine. But don’t isolate too long. You will need friends to help you.

Most importantly: you will lose people. Those who are false friends will reveal their masks once you start taking care of you. It will hurt you more. But you are better off without these people. This will open new doors for new people to come in.

You will discover who your real friends are. The ones who are happy with you as you are and accept you fully despite your faults.


It’s a lifelong healing process

Shadow work can be rewarding and can speed up your healing process from recent hurts. That said, the more trauma you unpack, the more you connect it to your early memories. This can be a lifelong process and you may have to relearn coping mechanism along the way.

The point of shadow work isn’t to stay in the darkness forever. The point of it is to learn to let go of that darkness that hides your shine. You WILL find your inner light again. You will get your spark back.

You just have to keep working at it.


Also, this song came on while I was writing this and I thought I’d share the video. It’s fitting.

Discussion Prompt

Have you ever done shadow work? If so, what were your biggest lessons? What methods worked for you? Did you have a support group? Let me know in the comments.


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Saying goodbye to a community I once loved (kink edition)

It’s Saturday afternoon and I slept in late today, sipping my first cup of coffee for the day and watching witchy videos on YouTube. This is my happy place. This is how I start off most of my days.

It’s been a while since I did an update post and I thought it was about time. Things have changed. Heck, I have changed – I’m not the same person I was last year, let alone six weeks ago.

Having two relationships that meant a lot to me end around the same time after exploring the poly-am world (multiple partners who were aware of each other), it forced me to take a step back from dating and kink in general. I needed to heal and learn to let go of things that were no longer working for me.

Unfortunately in this process, I noticed that some of my friends were starting to distance themselves from me. Some things I’ve heard recently: “you need to move on, get out there and date” or from others, “positive vibes only.” It seems like if you don’t heal within a specific timeline, you aren’t a stable person to be around.

Depression and anxiety isn’t something you can just shut off and hearing these comments hurt. I realized that the common denominator here was that I was just with the wrong people. Other than kink, we had nothing in common.

While I realize, that I made some mistakes – and could have handled things differently, telling someone they need to “get over it” – isn’t cool either. People need to heal in their own time, in their own way.

And I realized a few things.

Writing out all my thoughts or struggles for all to see in a journal entry – not a good move. People talk. People blocked. And some people refuse to have anything to do with me. Which makes me question their motives even more. Writing is something I’ve ALWAYS done on that site. It’s how most of them MET me. And now it’s a problem? It wasn’t a problem before with other relationships. Hell, they encouraged me to write about those relationships. So, that’s why I’m focusing on my books and this blog. Pouring out my frustration here in the form of spreading information about healing and spiritual vibes.

And so, I realized – the problem was me and the community as a whole. I realized there are way too many rules and expectations that people have of you. People often tend to mirror you and put on a false charade early on. But once you see and recognize patterns, you can’t unsee them. And even pillars of the community, you find out are nothing more than predators. And all the things you were warned of early on – turns out – were actually the GOOD people that I should have gone with initially.

People often cry: “you crossed a boundary” when you really didn’t. Or you didn’t know there WAS a boundary to cross. The responsibility falls on both parties. Boundaries must be clearly communicated. And if they are crossed, then the appropriate thing to do is tell that person. Don’t shy around it. Just tell them.

How can they right a wrong, they didn’t know they committed? So, I call bullshit on that. “Boundaries” is feeling more like a buzzword in that community and thrown around too much. While boundaries are healthy, people should be able to talk freely about them.

Things I learned:

Some things I learned recently, that I wish I could unlearn. But now having seen patterns, I know better. This is the same in many smaller communities.

  • Predators are in leadership roles and they will groom newcomers to the scene. They will try and play with you. And once they are finished or problems arise, you are easily discarded and replaced.
  • People will play with as many people as they want to. They won’t bother to inform you of when they add new play partners to the mix because you aren’t “committed” to them. And they will talk about you to other play partners, but expect you not to talk about them.
  • There is so much secrecy around who is playing with who. You are discouraged from approaching other partners or even attending the same events. And forget being listed on their profile as a primary partner. You won’t ever be.
  • Once you spot the patterns of an abuser or predator — you can’t UNSEE them. You try and warn the next person? You get ousted as being the problem person, trying to stir up drama.
  • Don’t ever go through depression or a bad spell. People will drop you if your healing doesn’t happen within their timeline.
  • Don’t sacrifice your boundaries because you are a people pleaser or natural submissive. Fuck that. Fuck them. Stick to your boundaries. Look after you – because NO one will.
  • You WILL be branded as a trouble maker or problem person because you refuse to conform to their rules or cultish ways. I am no longer their vessel for them to use and abuse. And that pisses them off the most.

These are not just things I’ve learned for myself – but through observations in general. Talking to friends and hearing about their experiences. Having friends call me and cry to me on the phone about being treated like crap by their play partners. And yet…you speak up about it, or try and talk about the abusive situations, and you’re told NOT to write anymore.

Just writing this could land me in hot water, but I no longer care. I’ll make my own groups. Stick with my own friends. Play long-distance if I have to. The community has far too many predators and I speak from experience as someone who was physically assaulted by more than one over the years.

So, that’s where I am this Saturday. Single. Finally in a good head space. Feeling STRONGER than ever. And doing my own damned thing and starting to thrive and shine.

The thing they don’t tell you:

The ones who really love you for who you are will stand by you, no matter what you go through. Those are the friends you hold dear. They don’t enforce timelines. They don’t gaslight you. They don’t manipulate you. And they certainly, don’t use you. And you will lose them (the players), as you start to heal yourself.

How to incorporate mindfulness to your daily routine

Mindfulness is described as being the state of being aware or a state that keeps you in the present moment – instead of dwelling on the past, or worrying about future events that you have no control over.

As someone who struggles with anxiety, this is difficult for me but also a necessary part of healing and moving forward in life. In addition to incorporating daily spiritual practices, I thought I would share some ideas and tips on how you can practice mindfulness in your daily life.

These are things you can do from anywhere – even if you’re on the road or traveling. It won’t cost you anything and you only need minimal supplies.

My spiritual workings involve a lot of meditation, journaling and doing a lot of these things already – so, don’t be surprised if some of my advice is overlapping in some areas.


Start your day with intent

Something I’ve always done as an anxious person, is wake up in the morning and run through a list of things that I need to get done for the day. I keep calendars and sticky notes with reminders of important tasks or appointments that I can’t miss. I run through plans multiple times in my head to make sure that I won’t be late or miss anything I need to do.

Now that I’m not working, my to do list is a lot shorter. So, it’s important for me to find things to do during the day that fill up the time and give me a sense of purpose (as health and symptoms allow for). Some days, all I can do is sleep if I have a migraine or in a lot of pain. On those good days, like today – I feel motivated and try to be productive where I can.

  • Take some time after you wake up, or during your morning routine to think about what you want to accomplish that day. Whether it’s finding time for yourself to meditate. Or get that workout in. Or go for a walk. Visit with a friend. Whatever it may be – set an intention for you that brings you joy. Even if it’s something like buying a coffee and drinking it while listening to music.
  • Check in with yourself during the day. Make adjustments if necessary to fit it in with your schedule. Remind yourself why this is important to you and why it is needed. The more you do this, the easier it will become a habit for you.
  • Rinse and repeat – every day, until this becomes second nature to you. Soon, you won’t even need a journal or to write things down. You’ll train yourself to be able to just follow through. The important thing is not to give up on those down days when you’re feeling low. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And don’t set unrealistic intentions. Start small and work your way up.

Mindful Eating and Exercise

Too often, I find myself eating meals at my computer while watching my favorite YouTube channels or binge watching shows in the evening. Sometimes, I eat so fast, that I feel hungry within an hour or two, and then crave junk food which always makes me feel worse.

One thing that can help with weight loss and improving eating habits in general, is to be more mindful of how you eat – now just what you eat.

  • Take a few deep breaths before eating. Calm your mind. This works better if you eat meals alone or on your breaks. Eat slower, chew slowly. Enjoy every bite you take.
  • Eat the foods you love – don’t force yourself to eat foods you’re not a fan of. Eating should be pleasurable. If weight loss is your goal. do research into healthy meals – there are lots of foods out there that can help you meet your goals, you just have to put a little time and effort into them.
  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to how hungry you are. If your stomach is getting full, don’t force yourself to eat all the food in front of you. Package some of it up for later. Or eat smaller meals throughout the day. This will depend greatly on any medical conditions you have or special diet requirements. Eat to sustain your energy, not because you are bored or feeling sad.
  • Look at your relationship with food – do you have healthy eating habits? Do you often forget to eat or skip meals? Do you eat out of boredom or to help with grief or strong feelings? Once you recognize your eating patterns, you can work on your relationship with food. You may need to recruit a professional therapist or counsellor if you really struggle with it.
  • Move a little every day – You don’t have to get an expensive gym membership or build a full gym at home to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Start small. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk on your break. Go to the mall and walk the halls in winter months. You can do things like yoga or pilates at home. As long as you move at least 15-20 minutes daily, you’ll notice a shift in how you feel overall.

Meditation to strengthen your focus

As someone with undiagnosed ADD, I struggle a lot with focusing on specific intentions or tasks. I easily get distracted or become disinterested in things the moment I get started on. Even with this article, I started on it five hours ago – and have worked out, cooked dinner and completed other tasks that I could have waited on.

Meditation can really help strengthen your focus. This can be done by focusing on your breathing, listening to music, or doing something physical like yoga. For me, music is my meditation. Or I have to force myself to lie down and try and clear out thoughts that are running a mile a minute in my busy and anxious brain.

Here are some types of meditations you can do, to help “slow your roll” and that may help to strengthen your focus.

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Body scan meditation (lay down, relax, focus on breathing)
  • Sitting meditation (with intent)
  • Walking meditation (connect with nature)
  • Music meditations – binaural beats, alpha, or theta (I’ll write another article on this)

Bullet journaling or practicing or writing

This is something that is new to me and I have a private journal I write in often, especially on those low days where I want to keep thoughts to myself. On good days, I’ll write a post here or share with my friends.

Using a daily bullet style journal is a very useful tool for practicing the art of mindfulness. It’s about self-exploration, writing down thoughts that come to you or questions that might come up. You can jot down your feelings about certain events or situations. Or you can create lists of intentions and things you want to accomplish.

You can do this the old fashioned way, on pen and paper. Or you can download journals from sites like Etsy and use on your tablets. Journaling has come a long way and you can tailor something to help meet your bulleting needs.

I try and write a little every day. Whether in this blog, my private journals, or working on my short stories and books. This is a hobby for me, and helps me relax.


Why is mindfulness is important?

If you’re a person like me that struggles with anxiety, adding these practices to my daily life can not only give me something positive to focus on, but also can greatly reduce the number of panic attacks or anxiety attacks I might have in a given day.

Living with chronic pain and a disability can be difficult to manage – especially on those days where it seems like just getting out of a bed can be a chore. I felt a lot of guilt for not being able to work, and now, I’m accepting this is life now. And I’m making the most of the time I have here. This blog is a hobby for me and I’m writing about issues that bring me joy.

Mindfulness can help manage illnesses like generalized anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that you might struggle with. If you live with daily pain like I do, it might even help boost your serotonin (the happy hormone) or dopamine, and give you energy needed to get your daily tasks done.

You may even find over time, that your relationships become easier to manage as you learn new coping techniques for stressful events. You learn what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth letting go of – even if it hurts.

Learning to work with things you can control, and letting go of what you cannot control, is honestly a game changer when it comes to mindfulness. Knowing that you’re doing the best you can, in extraordinary circumstances, focusing on what you can do, while letting the universe take the wheel for the rest.


What are some ways that you incorporate mindfulness into your busy routine?

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The thing about shadow work they don’t tell you

For the past month or so, I’ve mostly kept to myself. Focusing on healing and shadow work. Trying to let go of outdated patterns that no longer serve me well. Also, trying to move on from this depression.

But the more time that goes on, while I feel less hurt, and I’m not crying on a daily basis – it still stings.

Shadow work can be draining in itself. When you’re forced to face your trauma head on, especially if it’s the reason for a relationship ended or failing – you’re also forced to look inside yourself to figure out why these relationships fail.

In asking for space and time to heal, I lost some friends that I used to talk to often. I think that’s the hardest part of a breakup, especially when you see your ex’s out in the same community. It’s one of the reasons why I left the alt community in the first place. Too many ex’s and everyone seemed to play or hook up with each other. To the point where it gets “icky” for me to think about.

Something I have learned recently, is that when you do the work on yourself to heal and grow – and you share your experiences – it can scare friends away. And not for the reasons you would think.

I think in some cases, maybe those people aren’t ready to face their inner demons or work on their trauma. Yes, they acknowledge they have issues, and pain, but they continue to move through life without doing anything to help overcome it. And trust me when I say, there comes a point where you recognize your patterns can be hurtful, and you want to make changes. Well, maybe not for everyone.

There are some people that have stood by me through this and are noticing the growth and changes I’ve made. I’m not writing daily – at least not on social media for friends to see. I’m more working on artwork, and getting back into editing and rewriting my book series. It’s distracting. In between sleeping and naps. I cannot seem to get enough sleep – another side effect of shadow work. It drains you.

I think the lesson here for me, and something my Tik-Tok feed keeps telling me is this:

People come and go into your life for reasons and seasons. Some are there to teach you karmic lessons. And others, will stay by your side, and support you on your journey, no matter what it looks like.

For me, I’m grateful for those friends I’ve had for years who have stuck by me. They’re the ones I can rely on. Some read this blog. They’re the people I can visit with, after months of not seeing each other, and we just pick up like no time has passed. Or we can sit in comfortable silence, watch a movie, or a concert and just enjoy each other’s company.

I’m really trying to let go of those people that don’t want to be in my life. But it’s hard when it’s a small community. There are some that I love dearly, and want to keep in touch with. Even though there is hurt there.

I wonder if part of the thing with shadow work – does healing and letting go of trauma, make you rethink those connections and friendships you thought were right for you? Were they really friends, or were they just hanging onto you for whatever reasons? Maybe you provided a service to them. Or maybe you made them feel good with attention.

Or maybe.

Part of healing is recognizing to see the bullshit that others put into the world. You catch on more easily to who the players are. You’re moving into a new phase of your life, where you’re just tired and don’t have the energy to put up with the crap.

You re-evaluate your core values and boundaries. And when you enforce those boundaries, you’re called an asshole and ungrateful. At least, that’s what I learned from family. And so, I just disengage. Remove myself from those conversations and people.

There’s a lot I’m feeling right now. And mostly, I want to be alone. I want to write. I want to share my thoughts and ideas. I want to heal. I want to let go of everything and that will happen eventually.

The resentment? Yes, it’s still there.

But deep down, I know I’m on the right path. That these lessons had to happen for a reason, so that I could start this healing journey and unlearn responses to trauma that are from generations of trauma.

So, if you feel like you need to do work – do the work. You don’t have to go it alone, sometimes it’s just better to. Just be careful when you get started.

You won’t look at people in your life the same way again.

And oddly enough. The one person I really want to talk to, is one that I left behind, because I was told he wasn’t good for my mental health. And yet, I miss our nightly chats and flirting the most.


How can shadow work be so therapeutic, rewarding, needed, and yet so fucking lonely at the same time?

Working with intentions instead of resolutions

I’m not a fan of making resolutions at the start of a new year. Resolutions are easy to forget and give up on. Many people often make goals or lists that are unattainable or unrealistic. Or they lose momentum and motivation within the first month of the year.

A good example of this, is how many people buy gym memberships in January and start training, only to quit after a month or two. As someone who prefers home workouts, I’ve never understood this mentality. It just sets you up for failure.

A few years ago, I started off the new year by making a list of goals that I want to achieve. Sometimes, I’ll break the goals down from month to month or I’ll assign deadlines which help keep me motivated.

This year – I’m trying something new and letting go of old habits. Instead, I want to focus on INTENTION – and what that means for me.


What does the word intention mean?

That’s a good question. Intention is one with cause and effect. It determines the outcome of any situation. If you’re stuck, and not moving forward in life, you need to check the thought and action that created your current situation.

Creating a list of intentions for you to focus on – may help you get “unstuck”.

As part of mindfulness and healing, I sat down and asked myself some hard questions this past week. This is part of shadow work – something I’ll write more about later. It’s a form of deep healing that some people do to let go of trauma bonds and emotional grief or disappointments.

Some questions that came up for me were:

  • What are some things I want to accomplish this year?
  • What are things that will help improve the quality of my life?
  • What are things that bring me the most joy?
  • What are some areas that I can improve on?
  • What did I learn last year, that I can carry on to this year?

These questions will help me determine goals that I want to set for myself and aspire to. Instead of focusing on negative, I’m looking at things (even small things) that will help improve the quality of my life.


What are my intentions for the year?

Now, that’s a very good question. My first intention, is to focus on improving my current state of depression and learning to let go of past hurts. Moving forward with lessons learned from what went wrong last year. The year wasn’t all bad. I made some great new friends and had some amazing first experiences. But – there was also a lot of heartache that I’m still recovering from.

The key is to take lessons from those experiences, so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.


Education and spiritual practices

My main goal this year is education. I want to learn as much as I can, and absorb as much knowledge as I can so that I can share these learnings with you. Areas of focus will include: spiritual practices, languages, arts and crafts and learning more about my ancestry – the Nordic roots.

This means getting back into reading. I’d like to read at least ONE book per month. I think that is a pretty attainable goal.

Improving overall health and wellness

This will happen in various stages through the year. Since Christmas, I’ve mostly been catching up on sleep after months of serious sleep deprivation. It means, trying to regulate my sleep patterns.

This means continuing to eat healthy, cook more meals and stock up the freezer for summer months with meals that can be reheated. This means sitting outside more on warmer days and using the balcony daily in warmer months. This means going for nature walks as my knees allow for it. Going for coffee with friends. Attending workshops and events that will help me connect with likeminded people and make new friends.

Practicing daily mindfulness

This means writing more – here in this blog and in my journals. Researching new topics to cover and track my moods. Practice daily gratitude and mindfulness techniques so that I can appreciate the here and now -and what I do have, rather than focusing on what was lost.

Working with my hands

Part of the issue of not working, is that I have a lot of time on my hands. I’m not able to hold down a job due to physical disabilities. The pain is too much at times from arthritis and fractures that I live with. On those good days where I have good energy, I intend to keep my hands busy. Work on bracelets, artwork and create digital products for Etsy. This is a hobby for now. It brings me joy and keeps the mind distracted.

Learning new skills would be helpful so that I can expand my current capabilities in jewelry making. I’d love to make necklaces and sell them to friends.

Staying connected

This is a hard one for me. When I hit depression, or low periods, as I call them, I just do not have the energy or stamina to be around people. I need time on my own to recharge. This often means losing friends and or unintentionally pushing people away.

Something I need to work on is repairing those connections that went awry – and that are meaningful to me. Staying in touch with friends that I want in my life. And – opening up my heart again to the possibility of new friends. This might be the most challenging thought of ALL.


Live with intent and follow up on actions

I think that’s a pretty good list. I try and keep intentions or goals to 3-5 for the year. I tend to revisit my list each month and create a progress report for friends to read if they’re interested.

My main goal is to live with intention. Follow up on promised actions. Make amends. And heal. However that looks from month to month, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes up this year.

One thing I do believe in is – the energy you put out there, often comes back at you. The three fold rule of attraction. I’m working on hard on trying to attract only good things and people in my life. While not tearing down those who may be struggling as well.

What are your intentions for the upcoming year? Let me know in the comments!


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Wolf Moon rituals and healing practices

This coming Friday, January 6th, is a significant day for spiritual folk as we will shift into a new moon cycle. But it isn’t just the first full moon of the year – this moon is also called Wolf Moon.

What is a Wolf Moon you might ask?

The Wolf Moon is named after the wolves that howl during long winter nights. Howls are wolves way of communicating with each other. The moon takes a more northerly trek across the night sky. It appears opposite to the sun and will be above the horizon longer than any month of the year.

Spiritually speaking, it is thought that the Wolf Moon is a time for deep self-reflection and retrospect. But. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. Almost too much. And so for me, I’m going to use this time to focus on healing energies, boosting up my lacking energy, and thinking about what I want out of the coming year.

Reflect on those in your life who are part of your pack. Those you wish to remain close to. Work on healing those relationships that need mending. Check in on those friends who may be struggling.

It’s a time to focus on yourself. If life is chaotic as it often is, find a peaceful spot in nature or in your home that brings you peace. Spend some time alone and meditate. Reconnect with natural elements. Find a spot, if you’re lucky enough to, near water. Collect a jar of water and leave it out in the moon. Have a bath with it to help recharge your soul.

The Wolf Moon also falls on a Friday which is a good day to focus on beauty, love, sex, friendships and connections. Friday is ruled by Freya, the Nordic Venus, the Goddess of Love.

If you’re an artist or crafter, make something. Work with your hands. If you’re a singer or musician, sing, play or dance.

It is believed that full moons can have effects on humans. People report having difficulties sleeping, increased REM and “crazy” dream experiences. Those in retail or emergency services will be the first to tell you that on nights of the full moon, hospitals and places of business can become chaotic.

In some cases, it can bring on or exasperate symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Which is why meditating and grounding yourself can be so helpful on these nights.

Colors: aqua, light greens, cyan blue and pink (think pastels)
Elements: Libra, Taurus
Crystals: rose quartz, jade, malachite, emerald

Go be one with nature if you can. Reconnect with your natural surroundings. And howl at the moon if you must.

Self-care: why crying is good for you

The other week, I responded to a question in Ask Reddit and for once, it was a really good question. I’ve lost track of it now, buried far deep in dozens of comments and replies. But the gist of the question was this:

I can’t cry. I want to cry. I know I should cry. But I can’t cry. How can I teach myself to cry?

My response was fairly short, as I was on my phone. If I’m commenting using my phone, responses are short because I’m all thumbs when it comes to texting. It’s legitimately painful. I’m better at a computer with a keyboard. And so, I kept my response to short, but to the point. And then, like many other comments, I walked away from it and forgot about it until the next day.

Well, my phone had blown up with over 30 comment responses overnight. I had received a couple of rewards and over 1000 upvotes. It’s crazy how fast those things can add up over comments you don’t think are important.

What fueled my response was thinking back to my mother’s death. The days leading up to her death, spent with the family curled up in her hospital room – I was comfortably numb. To coin a phrase. I didn’t cry on the day she died. I teared up. But the tears dried quickly. They were more like dry sobs. If that’s a thing.

The funeral came. I let out one heavy sob when my dad started crying. And then nothing. For weeks, no tears would come. I remember chatting with Greg about it one night and I said, “I think there’s something wrong with me, I can’t cry.”

Greg had known me during my worst years, when I could cry over dropping a glass of milk. That was due to a hormonal imbalance. I know that now. I remember he called me and said, “They will come. Just be kind to yourself. They will come. And when they do, I’m here for you.”

It was – one of the sweeter moments of our relationship.

So, what was my comment that received so many upvotes?

Crying is therapeutic. It’s a healthy thing to do that helps to release emotions. Just pop in a feel good movie and have a good, ugly cry.”

I had no idea the comments section would spark so much – healthy discussion about crying. I received so many suggestions for movies that made other people cry. There was a good amount of Pixar movies in the mix and people were shocked when I mentioned Toy Story.

I’m telling you – as an older person, that movie hits hard at times. Especially the last installment. Or maybe it’s the soundtrack.

This discussion left me with lots of thoughts about crying. Why is crying so good for us? Why does it feel so good to finally cry after a long period of not being able to?

Crying is cathartic. If you see someone crying sit by them pat their back  or leave them alone. When you ask th… | Romantic quotes, Inspirational  quotes, Life quotes
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Crying is a cathartic release

Crying is a way to release emotions through a healthy and natural response. It’s a way to purge ourselves clean of emotional baggage that may bog us down. Whether it’s a response to emotional or physical trauma, grief, loss of a loved one, or just an extremely stressful day – crying can be a good way to release those feelings that you weren’t even aware you had.

A more scientific mind would tell you that crying releases endorphins. These are feel-good chemicals that can help with lessening of emotional or physical pain.


But men aren’t supposed to cry

My father was one of those proud men that never seemed to show his emotions in front of us. He rarely got angry and the few times he did shout – you knew you were in real trouble. I’ve only seen my dad in his younger years, cry twice. Once was at his mother’s funeral. Later, it was his sister’s funeral. That was hard to watch. My mother couldn’t be with us that day, and I had to be his “rock” or shoulder to cry on. It was a position I gladly accepted, for he had held my hand many times when I cried. Now with late stages of Parkinsons, he can become very over emotional and cry at a memory. It doesn’t take much with him. It’s really hard to watch.

Dad grew up in the era that “real men weren’t supposed to cry” and we got used to not seeing men cry. I’ve only seen my brother cry a couple of times too. One of those days was when my mom died.

(please continue reading…before commenting).


“I know a man ain’t supposed to cry,”

“but these tears I can’t hold inside.”

– Marvin Gaye

It’s okay to cry

What I’ve come to learn as an adult, is that it’s okay for people to cry. No matter what age, gender, or what the reason might be – we should ALL be able to tear up or cry without judgment from others. I mean, if anything, holding in all those emotions for all those years, can’t be good for a body. If crying releases endorphins, then just imagine 50-60 years of emotional trauma trapped inside.

I used to be one of those people. I found it hard to talk about my emotions or feelings without getting angry about them. This blog has helped so much with that. It is my therapy. My cathartic release. And sometimes, reading comments can even make me cry. But that is a very rare thing.


How can I learn to cry

For me, these days, with anxiety and dealing with health issues, I find crying easy to do. Maybe a little too easy. All I have to do is think about my mom. Or my dad. Or anyone I’ve lost over the years. Sometimes it’s a good romance movie like PS I Love You or While You Were Sleeping. Or Disney movies like Lion King and Wall-E get me every damn time.

If that doesn’t work, try listening to music. I have entire playlists dedicated to those rainy days. I have songs that remind me of my mom or another special moment in my life. Songs like “Say Something” or the one that I played at my mother’s funeral, “Wind Beneath my Wings,” or the Danish song, “Day by Day” – these are all songs that evoke emotion in me and make me tear up.

Find that one song that makes you think of that moment in your life. Whether it was the loss of a friendship, the loss of a pet, loss of a loved one. Or just a really bad day that you had. Sometimes stress can make us feel over emotional, and crying can be a good release for that.

If those methods don’t work, then meditate. Think of what makes you really emotional. Clear out all other thoughts and just focus on those memories. Think of other people that you care about.

Just be still with your emotions.

The tears will come. When they’re meant to.

And if none of these tricks work, then this one almost always does it for me too. Eight years later, still makes me cry.


DISCLAIMER:

It would be irresponsible of me to post a disclaimer. While crying is a healthy release, crying every day – might be an indicator that something is wrong. If you are grieving, consider talking to a healthcare professional. Grief comes in many forms. I’ve written about this before. If you think you are crying more than usual, please consider seeking professional help.


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Living Well: Self care for anxiety, depression or stress

Reposting this. I think it’s a good reminder on how we can care for ourselves during this difficult time.

At work today, I caught up with a co-worker I hadn’t seen in a few days. We chatted a bit about my new schedule and how it’s really making a difference in my life. We went on to talk about things we want to do, but can’t do.

She mentioned how tired she was after work and by the time she got home, she didn’t feel like working out. Eating healthy had become a chore. She said she was stuck in a rut but didn’t know how to make the changes necessary to “get healthy.”

Seeing an opportunity to offer her some advice, we went onto to discuss the importance of self-care.

She said to me, “I don’t even know how to do that. No one else will do it for me. So, where do you even start?”

I’ve said this many times before. Part of getting healthy and being fit, includes being mentally and spiritually healthy. It’s all about the body, mind and heart. I’d like to take a moment and share some tips about self-care with you. I passed these onto my co-worker and I hope she finds value in them.

Eat Well – Food is Fuel

When it comes to eating well, people are often confused as to what type of foods our bodies need and how much food we should be eating. Think of your body, and compare it to a well-oiled machine.

When you think of a well-oiled machine, what does your mind automatically go to? I know mine thinks of a car. What do cars need to keep running?

Fuel. And an oil change every now and then.

Food is our fuel. 

Image result for food is fuel

Eating too much food can result in weight gain and cause you to feel bloated. Eating too little can make you feel fatigued. Starving your body of the basic nutrients that it needs to survive is much like driving your car when the fuel tank is hovering near empty.

Eventually, your car will sputter and stall. It will quit working until you fill up the tank again.  Your body, if it doesn’t receive the right amount of nutrients that food provides – will eventually tire out and quit on you.

Sounds complicated right? It isn’t really. According to research from various resources, women should aim for between 1200-1500 calories daily to lose weight. The daily intake for men is typically higher between 1800-2200 calories. This will all depend of course on how high your activity levels are.

I won’t go too much into detail on the different kinds of lifestyle diets you can choose from. The key is to make lifestyle changes in the kitchen. Eat a well rounded diet that provides your body with the nutrients it needs.

 

Get some fresh air – go for a walk or run

We’ve all heard that exercise is key to maintaining a healthy weight. But exercise does so much for more for us. It’s a mood enhancer. It’s good for our bones and joint health. It gives us energy. And it helps us to sleep at night time.

If you can’t afford a gym or pool membership, go out for a walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take up a sport like tennis, volleyball, or hockey to name a few. Take a dance class. Do yoga, or pilates or strength training. Lift weights.

The key is to find something you enjoy doing – and go out there and do it. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be painful to be effective. You don’t have to train for three hours a day if you don’t want to.

A ten minute walk in the fresh air every day will help brighten your mood and give you some of the sunshine vitamin D that your body needs to keep moving.

Now that summer is here – it’s the best time to get active and enjoy the weather.

Recharge your batteries – sleep well

To continue with the vehicle analogy, cars run on batteries. Batteries need to be charged every now and then to work well. Just like cars, our body needs to recharge.

It is said by most health professionals that I’ve spoken with, that most people require eight hours of sleep each night. Take it from me, someone who suffers from chronic insomnia – if you don’t get enough sleep, your body will crash and burn on you.

For me, I tend to do well on six solid hours of sleep. Any less than that and I’m tired. Any more than that – and I’m still tired and often wake up with a headache.

How to sleep better at night time? Here are a few tips.

  • Don’t go to bed on a full stomach
  • Don’t drink caffeine past 7 pm
  • No screen time at least one hour before bed
  • Have a warm bath before bed

Check out my post here for more tips on the importance of sleep.

 

Be Social – make new friends

This is a difficult one for me. I’m introverted and need more down time than most people. I go through spurts. There will be weeks where I don’t want to see anyone. And then I get to the point that I feel cut-off and need to reconnect with others. Winter is a bad time for this. This summer – my main goal is to make new friends and get my life back.

But there is more to being social than just being social. It’s about spending your time with the right kind of people. People who are supportive of you and bring a positive influence to your life – those are the type of people you want to surround yourself with.

Join a meetup or group based on your interests. Take a cooking class or go to a paint night. Hop on Facebook and find groups in your area to join. Just get out there and start meeting people.

Meeting people can be hard but it’s not impossible. If you’re stuck in a rut or want to change things up a bit – joining a new group and introducing new people in your life can make all the difference in the world.

Meeting like-minded people who share the same passions and interests as you – can open you up to new possibilities and adventures.

If I can meet new people at my age – so can you!

 

Down Time – Look after You

Down time is important to me. I need a lot of downtime to recharge and maintain my individuality. This is a huge reason why I don’t date. I’m actually terrified of losing myself in a relationship again. It can happen if you’re not careful.

Finding the right balance in life can seem like an impossible feat. But to look after you and in practicing the art of self-care, you will need to make the time for yourself.

Even if it’s just for twenty or thirty minutes a day, try to find time for you. Just to be on your own and lost in your own thoughts.

If you work full time – go out for a walk at lunch time. Or find a quiet spot to read a book instead of sitting at the computer all day.

My older brother has four kids. We got talking about Netflix one day and I asked him where he finds time or the energy to watch his favorite shows. What he told me was quite surprising.

My quiet time is early in the morning. I’m usually the first one up. My favorite part of the day is that hour I have to myself. Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal while watching a documentary.

This might be the one thing we actually have in common. Our love of documentaries. I don’t think he gets to do this much now that he has a baby in the house. But even my brother knew the importance of self-care and finding time just for him.

I carpool to work every day with another friend of mine. He has three kids and his wife works part-time. I asked him how he finds time for himself.

It’s when the kids are in bed and after I’ve picked up my wife. I stay up too late and watch whatever show I’m watching on my Ipad with headphones. They’re noise cancelling headphones so my wife can watch the television if she wants to. It’s the only time I really have to myself.

My girlfriend Montana and I reconnected on the weekend and went for brunch. She works full time, has a house to run and is caring for her partner who has cancer. When I asked her how she finds time for herself – this is what she told me.

I don’t. At least right now I don’t. It’s why I went on that trip with my partner. Even though I couldn’t afford it. We both needed it. We needed to be with family and we needed to get away from everything. And it was worth it. 

Downtime might be the most important part of self-care.

Eating well, getting enough exercise, and sleeping well, are all things that we can do to maintain a healthy body. But downtime, and surrounding ourselves with positive influences – these are things we can do for our minds and sense of well-being.

Whether it’s twenty minutes a day, or two hours – find something that you enjoy doing. Do it just for you and no one else.

For me – it’s writing, reading, doing research, listening to music on Spotify and making playlists. It’s creating art. Being social – it’s about being with my friends and going for lunch. Or visiting my dad. Or grabbing a drink with a new friend.

These are all things I’m doing to improve the quality of my life. These are things that help a little with self-care. These are all things I’m striving to be better at. Because I know I deserve it. And I deserve to be happy.

And most importantly – so do you.

I hope you enjoyed this article. What do you do in your downtime? What is your idea of self-care?


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Mostly Single Quarterly Update & Changes!

Good morning everyone. How are you doing this fine Sunday? It’s Saturday evening as I’m typing this. But I am going to start scheduling posts so you have something to start your day with!

I’m so proud to say that I’ve finally come up with a great theme for this website and gave it a complete overhaul. I’ve found a way to combine all my loves into one site – and I hope you continue to share this journey with me.

What’s changed? A lot! Have a look around. I’ve updated the menu tabs, added new categories and am going through deleted posts to update them and share interesting and unique content with you.

This blog isn’t all about fitness and weight loss – though that’s my main focus right now. I have a lot of interests to share with you.

Check out all the new tabs below!


What’s Cooking & Fitness Tips

I’ve reorganized my What’s Cooking and Fitness tabs. I’ve included all relevant posts here for you to enjoy. I’ll be updating these often. I have so many recipes I could have a website just based on that. The fitness tab includes posts on fitness goals, challenges, how to tips and resources.

What’s Cooking

Fitness Tips


Meditation and Self-Care

In these tabs, you’ll find videos and tips on how to meditate and master the art of self-care. Fitness isn’t just about diet and exercise. There is so much more to caring for yourself. Being healthy includes taking care of your body, mind, heart and most of all – your spirit. These are the principles of what’s called The Medicine Wheel.

I’ll be sharing some of my learnings from my job working in Indigenous engagement – one that I sadly had to leave due to health issues. I will miss the Elders that I worked with and learned a lot from.

Meditation

Self-Care


Women’s Health

Long-time followers of this blog will know that like many women out there, I suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I’ve done a lot of research over the years into this disease and will share my learnings here in this blog. If you suffer from PCOS, then please follow this blog and know that you are not alone out there.

Photo by Anna Kanifatova on Pexels.com

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of all sizes, age and race. Symptoms of PCOS range from hair loss or thinning, adult acne, or weight gain. If you think you have PCOS, please feel free to reach out and subscribe to this blog.

Continue reading here.


Going Forward

I am dedicated more than ever to continue to improve this blog and focus on putting content out there to help others. I’m in a transition phase of my life. I’m thinking about a different career and am looking into courses I can take over the summer. I’m working on healing and getting rid of anxiety. Yes, I have help through all of this.

While I miss my old job and the Elders I worked with, I can take away what I learned from them and will be sharing some of those learnings and values with you. I think we can all learn from the “Old Ways” and make them “new” again.

I have removed my artwork from this blog. Taking a bit of a break to focus back on music and health. Too many interests and distractions make it hard to really accomplish anything.

Please follow this blog – I’m aiming for 1,000 followers by the end of summer. I’m almost at 450 – almost half way there. Thank you all for being here.

And lastly….

Donations

I know times are tough for many of you out there. But in order to keep this blog ad-free, which means a loss of potential revenue, I need your help with donations to keep it running. Even just $5 will help to cover costs of renewal. Or just buy me a coffee to show me appreciation!

This blog is ad-free – and there are ZERO annoying pop-ups. Something I hate more than than anything! You will never receive spam from me.


Grief: if ye love me

In my line of volunteer work with the church, I’ve play music for a lot of funerals. And because I’ve been at the church as long as I have, I’ve come to know many of the church members and they have become an extended family.

I’ve never been a highly religious person. I’m obsessed with subjects that would be looked down upon in any church – magic, supernatural, divination, alternative healing methods. I was raised Catholic but never paid much attention to it.

The church for me, is about family, food, and learning about my heritage. It’s about making new friends. And it’s pretty much my social activity for the week other than seeing my dad. It’s something that is familiar and has been my home of nearly fifteen years.

Plus, I get to play music once a week. So, that’s a bonus.

A good friend of mine at the church lost her daughter last year and a grandson. We have bonded for years over Sunday morning coffee and chat about all things in life. There are six of us – regulars who are there almost every Sunday no matter what. Even mid winter snowstorms wouldn’t keep these folks away.

But as my friends reach the ages of 80 and even 92, like my beautiful red headed friend, I’m reminded of how precious life is and how short life can be.

After she lost her daughter she said one day on Facebook, and this sentence has really stuck with me since.

“Grief, is love. It really just has no place to go.”

Image result for grief
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Everyone says that grief eventually fades over time. But I find the older I get, that’s a lie. The more time that goes on, I seem to miss my mother more than ever. There are definitely days that are harder than others. There are days when it feels like she is right next to me watching me while I work on some project or in the kitchen – which was her favorite place to be.

Sometimes, I hear her voice in my head and go to pick up the phone and call her. Then I remember she’s gone and so I call my dad instead.

It’s been five years almost – and I don’t think gets easier. I think it gets harder as time goes on.

Younger people must have a harder time with loss. Especially children. Over time, you forget what people look or sound like. Thank goodness there are pictures and now videos to remind us of our loved ones. But what about the people we lost before technology came along?

We had a video camera in the 90s which my mum used a lot. But she used it to take videos of family. The grandkids. My sister. She rarely appeared on camera.

And that got me thinking about me. That’s me. I’m usually the one behind the camera taking pictures and I’m fine with that. But then I realized one day – hey. I don’t have kids. I don’t have a family of my very own. I don’t have something to leave behind.

I don’t have an imprint to leave on this world like my mother did with her 5 children and 9 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. That’s a pretty impressive resume, don’t you think? For one person? Creating a legacy that big?

And so, that’s where the inspiration behind “In Her Eyes” came from. My latest album release. It’s a 7 track album with original piano music.

On days where it seems I’m drowning in sorrow or grief, I turn to music for comfort. I sit in quiet contemplation until I hear a song that is so upbeat it gets my toes tapping and I can’t help but smile.

But for moments like this in the morning. When the world is mostly quiet and I’m sitting down with my coffee, wondering what to write about. It’s those moments that I think of my mother. It’s those moments I turn to music to quiet the ever busy mind.

It’s those moments that I get lost in the sounds of violins, cellos, classical guitar, piano and elegant choir voices that sound like angels. It’s these moments that I realize that grief will eventually pass and lead to something — more.

Music is magical. Music has healing powers. Music speaks to the soul. Music – like this. Sacred music shakes you to the core and makes you think about everything you’ve ever done in your life.

This music doesn’t just speak to your soul. It comes from the inner soul. It comes from the heart. It’s the music of angels.


Sacred Music on Spotify