A letter to you

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Young and naive, confused and alone, the cycle would go on for years. Absorbing my surroundings like a sponge, memorizing words of hate to use decades later in my own personal attacks of those whom I cherished. The chaos continued and here began my addiction of escape and coping mechanisms that allowed me to merely exist in this world- floating through my constant cloud of depression that became so normalized that I had a full out battle with my ego when I later tried to give it up. The safe haven of darkness that was so familiar and cozy- ripped out from under me was enough to give me my first of many mental breakdowns.

It wasn’t until I chose to start doing this increasingly difficult work, that I was able to finally begin to make sense of it all. The process of questioning, unlearning, rewiring and digging up the roots that ran so deep within me and had grown into enormously miserable yet thriving plants of despair and flowers of hopelessness flipped it all around for me. The new self-awareness and hyper sensitivity of becoming a completely different person gave me the much-needed perspective to make sense of it all.

They say that at birth we come into this world having the cumulative trauma of four generations embedded into our DNA, a shockingly simple realization for me now. At the almost age of 30, I squeeze the murky water from my childhood sponge to see its contents spilled out in front of me. Even as adult children it’s difficult for us to remember that our parents are merely humans, like the rest of us. We create unreachable expectations for those around us and collapse to the ground when they aren’t met. I understand that you came from different backgrounds and generations. I understand that you had good intentions all along, but they never matched your expectations because they didn’t align with your values that you had inherited from someone else without question. I see how you did your best, even if it meant showing up empty- because no one ever modeled self-care to you. I know that the invisible line between love and co-dependency is easy to cross- and I’m even more familiar with how that mindset sends you spiraling into the darkness of a victim mentality. It’s easy to be a victim; to be miserable, to blame the world and everyone in it for your mood swings, depression, resentment, self-loathing and failures. That style of life is a much more instinctual pick versus the one where we take responsibility for our problems, reflect and question ourselves and what we put out in this world. The ego is here to protect us and keep us alive, but it also loves labels and identities and it works overtime to construct the resilient pride that refuses to let go of what no longer is working, for fear of its necessary ego-death. Many of us will never be able to admit that we get what we put out.

It’s one thing to finally look in the mirror and realize what you’ve been projecting onto others; seeing the damage you’ve caused and the effect it had on everyone around you- but it’s a much more difficult road to learn the healthy way to behave and think- let alone apply it in real life. Many of us choose the long road of denial- something I had difficulty finding my way out of thanks to those coping mechanisms I mentioned earlier. Material things, escaping with drugs and an exploding social calendar, even romantic comedies were a way to keep my head in the clouds- not noticing how it would bring about the crumbling of many un-sturdy foundations when they didn’t match the fluffy Disney-like happy endings I fantasized my codependency would lead to.

I know that it seems much easier to keep pointing the finger, stonewall and run away than to do what seems impossible- heal. But the healing is exactly what you will be preventing from yourselves if you don’t use this experience wisely- Spirit will only give you so many opportunities for growth before you can no longer live with the regret. Blaming will only lead to worse problems that never get fixed because you are denying yourself the opportunity to take responsibility and make necessary changes. Criticizing, judging and using hate filled words to air out the pressure of pent up resentment is just a mere projection of what is inside- anger and sadness. It’s hard to let go of the entitlement that comes from refusing to accept, or even fathom the idea, that other possible perspectives exist or the fact that other people having opinions and feelings too. The incessant pain that you try to squash with distractions will never dissipate because deep down you know that acknowledging it means admitting defeat and the fact that you can never take back the hurt you caused others.

I close my eyes; my mind’s eye settles in the darkness and I fixate my sight on a little girl-myself. She’s small and seems helpless, with tear-filled eyes she looks up at me. Her hand in mine, trembling with fear and sadness. She is hurt but she knows she will be ok. We walk together to the other side of the room, where two other children are standing. My mother, young and frail looking- scared to death. Her only known purpose is the family she raises- the struggles of motherhood and not knowing how to express her love raveled in a nest of depression and loneliness. My father is thin, with a sad boyish face. His eyes long for more, yet he fears he will never reach it so he constantly and subconsciously does just that. Neither of them feels worthy or deserving- the affection they received only showed glimpses of what true and unconditional love was, so together they would struggle, blindly, until they could learn to love themselves first. My younger self and I forgive you; we understand and we accept what has happened and what is happening. Regardless of the immense pain and trauma that it has caused to resurface, I am grateful for this because it is making me look at what I was running away from for two decades. As Freud said “one day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” That is the only thing I am certain of.

I am the daughter of you two beautiful beings and I will never stop being that, I am not here to choose sides- I see the pain behind both of your experiences. I just wish you the best of luck and I hope you find your way back home-wherever that may be.

 

Love always,

Mabelyn

 

 

 

 

 

avoiding burnout

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Burnout, also known as long term exhaustion, is a result of chronic stress and has been shown to be affected by many factors. Stress is inevitable but our reaction to is completely in our control. Read below for some ways to help diminish your chances of crashing and burning.

Know your stress triggers.

Make a list of everything that comes to mind that you know of that triggers your stress- it can be things such as being overbooked at work, miscommunication, skipping meals, or neglecting yourself. It is very important to know what grinds your gears and stresses you out so that you can begin to take control of everything that is in your power and learn to work with or release things that are not. Being aware will help you to plan ahead when you see something coming versus getting sucker punched by something you never realized was rushing at you full force.

Know when to relax.

For women, we have 4 cycles throughout the month; “autumn,” “winter,” “spring,” and “summer” apply to us. The end of autumn occurs after the harvest, where we are beginning to slow down. We are in our “PMS” state and getting ready to transition into “winter” or our menstrual cycle. Afterwards, the “spring” is the end of our menstrual cycle, and we are slowly coming out of hibernation- these seasons are best spent slowing down, embracing solitude, and exerting less of our energy. “Summer” is when we feel most creative, passionate, energized, and social. I make sure to schedule most of my business during this time and slow down accordingly thereafter.

Practice daily self-care.

Remember that we can only show up in this world to the extent that we show up for ourselves. Giving until we are completely depleted and not giving to ourselves is a complete disservice to everyone, especially everyone in our life. This is why it is important to cultivate a list of self-care practices that we can do on a daily basis- and be adamant about them when we are stressed. Some of the practices that I incorporate into my daily routine include chanting, meditation and time in nature. Other times it can be journaling, vedging out on rom coms, treating myself to a solo date, or pampering myself at home. Be sure to take time to make your list so that you are always armed with your bag of tricks when cortisol levels spike.

Tap into your feminine energy.

All humans have masculine and feminine energy. The masculine helps you to be a go getter, a boss, a leader, a provider etc. while the feminine is about flow, being not doing, and getting in tune with your sensual and nurturing side. It is extremely vital to transition out of your masculine energy that you may tap into while at work- and transition into your feminine state when you leave the work place, especially if your innate nature is feminine and you have a partner at home who has a dominant masculine energy. The two of you will always butt heads- and can even deteriorate your relationship- when you are both inhabiting the same masculine energy. Allow your self to feel intuitive, to receive, and be flexible once you get home. Slip into something sexy, get creative and give yourself permission to wind down.

Work hard but play harder.

I recently listened to a podcast episode about how it is proven that you can release stress and anxiety through play. Charlie Hoehn, author of Play It Away and Play for a Living, talks about how he was on the verge of burnout, depression, and anxiety for a long time despite having “made it” in the career world. He tried everything and was always prescribed medications to “get better” but nothing worked until he started to incorporate play into his life and everything transformed from there. This episode inspired me to create a jar of “play date ideas for couples” and it contains playful dates such as creating a fort in our living room, star gazing, night time tag and playing racket ball. I am truly blessed to have a partner who is as playful as I am, and it is definitely one of the secrets to keeping a relationship feeling young and fresh in my opinion. Another option I learned from this episode is to list all of the things you used to love spending your time doing as a child; it could be nature, playing games with friends, or alone time creating art or building something. Then, try to slowly incorporate these ideas back into your life as an adult and watch your stress melt away!

Release pent up energy.

Sometimes when our cortisol spikes and stressors overwhelm us it can quickly turn us into a red eyed raging monster full of anger and easily irritable. It’s important to have an exercise routine- and making at least one of those options something high intensity to release aggressive energy. You can do sprints, hit a tennis ball with all your might into a wall, learn martial arts, dance to heal the lower chakras, and even have sex. All of these can help you to let go of anger and dissolve stress so that it doesn’t begin to blind you and melt into the other areas of your life.

Have a supportive network.

Relationships in my opinion are the most important facet to our lives as human beings. We thrive on connection and community- and it is imperative to learn how to positively communicate with one another in order to make relationships work. Whether it is our mother, our partner or our best friends- having support can make a tremendous difference in our stress levels. Sometimes we just need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, other times we need to hear ourselves vent and say everything out loud before we can (with the help of a loved one) put a situation into perspective or make a decision. Other times we just need some love and affection or a night out with friends to help us get out of our heads. Regardless of what the situation calls for, make sure that you are always working to establish good relationships where you can depend on each other for support when the time comes and be sure to thank them when it does.

Thank you for reading! Let's all take care of ourselves so that we can show up in this world as the greatest versions of ourselves. Be sure to leave your specific tips below.

 

Love always,

Mabes