Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Silent Presence

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh


Just letting someone know that you are there for them by holding a safe and sacred space around them is, sometimes, all that they need. This is called silent presence. However, this can be difficult for many of us. We, typically, don't like silence. Just think about when you had your last conversation with someone. Whenever there is a pause in the conversation, someone starts to feel a bit anxious and 'has to' say something. The void feels like it has to be filled. So we fix this by speaking to avoid that space. When you fill in this space by giving advice or making comments, you take away "their" moment to feel the emotions and to heal. Instead, they move out of their body, their feeling and emotions, to hear and think what you are saying. It is a form of distraction and avoidance.

There is a time and place to distract or avoid, but when someone is grieving or sifting through confusing emotions that arise from the memories of a traumatic event, it is, sometimes, best just to listen and give them your silent presence. Remember, it is about them; it is not  about you and your anxiousness or uncomfortable feelings in this moment.

In the end, when someone is going through a storm, your silent presence is more powerful than a million empty words.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What Is No Longer Serving You?

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

As time goes by, some things may not serve you anymore. Do you need to close some doors to serve you better or even to help you heal? xo

Closing doors is a tough thing to do especially with people that we care for, but to salvage our sanity, safety, and spirituality, we may need to close the door to the people that suck the living energy out of us in order to rise higher than we are now--to be who we are intended to be. 

If you want to elevate yourself to the next level, you cannot hang with others that are always bickering and complaining or belittling and harassing. No matter how much you try, eventually, this lower level energy will get to you. You will not be able to sustain your higher energy source. 

Time-and-again, I have heard the words that "no one can make you feel bad; only you can do this to yourself." These individuals state that "you must take responsibility for your own happiness." Yes, this is true, but it's much more easier said than done. Controlling your way of being around people that are constantly griping may not always be the solution. This takes tremendous effort and energy which can leave you feeling exhausted. If people are constantly complaining, you may want to reconsider who you are hanging out with. Otherwise, you will need to have a conversation around this topic and then set some boundaries. 

You can protect yourself with the energy bubble surrounding you. You can cut the cords that are pulling at you on a daily basis, but when you live or work with others everyday that are sucking the living daylights out of you, eventually, you cannot sustain this, and you will falter.

Definitely, there are exceptions to this. I mean ending relationships and moving on. For instance, perhaps you have an ill parent or child. You cannot walk away from the heavy energy of hardship when it is someone you care deeply for. Then you need to take a different route to sustain your higher energy level. You must find avenues in your life that you are grateful for. Sometimes they are difficult to conjure up in a time of grief and pain, but they are there. Look for them, as small as they may seem.

Different routes need different tactics.  Do you need to close some doors to serve you better or to help you heal? Do you need to set boundaries? Or do you need to foster a heart of gratefulness?

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Woman Are Amazing Nurturers

Just a reminder to let you know how frigging amazing you are, and don't you forget that, because us over-givers tend to do that.

Women are nurturers and caregivers by nature. We love to give. We support and encourage. We love to make others happy, but, sometimes, we over-give to the point of exhaustion or resentment and sacrifice our own happiness.

On the flip-side, as nurturers and caregivers, we have a unique ability to make the world a better place for everyone to live. We empathize and inspire. Nevertheless, there are times when we need to schedule time-out and nurture ourselves.

Foster self-care, first. Give yourself the energy you need to continue to be a strong and healthy nurturer, connector, teacher, warrior, lover, and/or a leader. However you are contributing to your higher purpose through your greater self, take responsibility for your energy. Nurture yourself before you nurture others so you can stay strong and enduring.

You are amazing. Remember that, but, first foster daily self-care to be your strong self.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Steps You Need to Take to Reclaim Your Self-Worth

Reclaim Your Self-Worth

Wake Up to Live by Desiree Leigh

Damaged Child Attachment
When a child grows up in a life filled with chronic emotional and sexual abuse in which even the mother or caregiver doesn't believe the cries for help, the child begins to withdraw from life. A child may first become clingy and whiny, crying for attention. When no one responds, the child gets distressed, and this, at some point, damages the relational attachment between mother or caregiver and the child. Eventually, without a response from the mother or caregiver, the child stops responding all together. The child withdraws from life.

Desire for Love
When I look back, I remember well that I was a very clingy and whiny child as a toddler and preschooler. Everywhere my mother went, I tried my hardest to get her attention. This behavior obviously made my mother frustrated, as it would any mother. I could see it in her eyes: her frustration, irritation, indignation, and rejection. I could feel it in her energy and body language. My behavior never drew her towards me. My behavior only pushed her away from me. In retrospect, I believe I merely was looking for love and attention. Someone to listen to me. Someone to hold me. Someone to make me feel safe. Someone to love me unconditionally.

The problem with this is that I was a child. Whether or not she got frustrated with my behavior is not my, or any other child's, fault. She was the responsible adult that could have used mere love and affection or critical inquiry to ask why her child was behaving in such a manner. Or, perhaps, she could have just listened to the child and believed her when she said "........ comes into bed with me." Rather than scream and go into denial saying "how dare you say that about your .......! He is your .........! You respect him!"

Condoning Irresponsibility
The defense I hear is "your mother was probably abused (by this same person), too, and, yes, I agree. She could have been. Although, I asked her, about 10 years ago, and she denied it. Even if she was sexually molested by this relative, does that give her the right to not act responsibly and do something in regards to the sexual abuse that occurred with me or perhaps her other children? I disagree completely. This is the problem with society. This way of thinking breeds irresponsibility and continued child abuse. She did not take a stand for what was wrong and what was criminal. She did not protect her child. Instead, she, her husband, and the entire extended family continued to protect the perpetrators, and with a hush did everything in their power to silence the talk. The talk was me.

Pain Buried Deep In My Gut
I stayed shut down for years. When I realized that my emotions were erratic and I couldn't live with myself anymore, I started my personal development journey. With spirituality, life coaching, counselling, and academic studies, I began to feel the flood gates from deep inside my gut open. My vocal chords were so closed off, I couldn't even scream. Yell, get mad and freak out about a lot of things, I did, but never could I or would I scream the truth. The truth was so deeply hidden inside, buried under an immense weight like stones, that even when I wanted to yell out the truth, there was nothing. There was always this huge lump in my throat.

Spirituality Is Where I Began
Spirituality is a wonderful thing when life is hell. It was the teachings and readings about spirituality that supported the directional growth into self-love. Spirituality loved me for who I was, every flaw, and even when spirituality could see the truth when I couldn't, spirituality never condemned, bullied, or attacked. There was full acceptance. My spiritual groups, one in particular at the University of Sedona, loved me completely and wholely. That, I will always cherish.

My self-worth, however, did not arise through the discipline of spirituality or meditation. It was the beginning, for sure. However, it was the amalgamation of all the disciplines as aforementioned. It was my steady and courageous walk through the bowels of hell where I continued to shed the various layers of lies, deceit, abandonment, and neglect. As I forged ahead, I also considered my why to life. I needed to have something to hang onto. It was not easy being a warrior, moving through the darkness. I wanted to give up so many times. I had so much hate and sadness within me. It took energy and discipline to stay focused on the path of healing. It was easy to give up, rather than work through the sickening emotions that consumed my body and soul. It was with this continued persistent work in which I finally came to realize my self-worth and earned confidence.

The Quick-Fix Society
Everyone is looking for an easy recovery from chronic childhood abuse, sexual assault, trauma, loss, or whatever, but there is no easy way to heal. Too many are looking for the quick-fix. It's the drive-through mentality. "If I don't see results now, it does not work." If you want to heal, you need to do the work. You will falter. There is no doubt about that, but don't stay there for long. Pick yourself up and get going again. The work has taken me 10 years, and I am still healing. I will not stop until my message is heard. That means I still have much to do.

Healing Is A Discipline 
I did not read one book and apply seven easy steps to get where I am today. This is a marketing tactic by so many large corporate online magazines! If it were that easy, we would all be healed. I didn't need to follow a guru. I did not join a group of survivors. I didn't have to go to group therapy. I did not follow one discipline. Meditation did not heal, but I still do it for the connection and self-understanding. I read dozens and dozens of books on different topics. I went to dozens of seminars and workshops. I researched incessantly about everything. I read many stories of how and what others did to heal taking what I needed and throwing out the rest. I finished a ministerial degree and recorded a spiritual CD. I meditated, and I prayed. I got certified in coaching and counselling. I was interviewed by a radio host. I journaled. I blogged. I went to therapy. I connected with nature; I became still. All these steps, and more, allowed me to heal myself as well as heal my family: my sons.

Reclaim Your Self-Worth By Doing
To reclaim your self-worth, there is no seven or eleven step process that will work. To reclaim your self-worth, engage in life by opening your heart and inviting several things in that intrigue you. Don't get caught up by the sales tactics by others that claim their way is the only way, or that they learned it from the professionals and now they have the key to life or how to heal your life. Listen to your heart, first. The important thing to do is to be persistent in your healing process. If therapy works for a few months, great. If you need a change, do it. Then go back if you need to. Meditate or do yoga. Do you love it? Awesome. Then continue. If it's not working for you, change it up. Don't get stuck in something you think you have to do because it works for someone else or someone has a great sales technique. It's your life. To reclaim your self-worth, it takes self-reflection and action. With these two aspects, you will gain inner power and confidence and your  will self-worth.

Speak Your Truth to Release the Shame
Lastly, you will never reclaim your self-worth by remaining silent about the abuse you endured and survived. Secrecy breeds shame. But remember, when you do speak the truth, you will get backlash. Be ready for it. To be ready to take it on, you need grit. You gain this by mastering the art of healing.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Saturday, May 6, 2017

There Will Always be Haters and Hecklers

Image result for haters and hecklers quotes

Haters and Hecklers
There will always be haters and hecklers. The more you stand out, the more you make a difference,  and the more you make a change, the more opposition you will attract, no matter what. The stronger your belief and the stronger your advocacy, the stronger the opposition and the oppressors. The one's that oppose and the one's that oppress feel as though they are losing control, and hating, heckling and shaming may be the only way they feel they can hold onto their opinion or way of being (or so they believe it to be).

"You may shoot me with your words. You may cut me with your eyes. You may kill me with your hatefulness. But still, like air, I'll rise." ~Maya Angelou

A Shaming Comment
I've been very busy with academic studies and so I haven't had time to post articles to Wake Up to Live blog site. However, I have been able to re-post and share some of my older articles. Some in particular are about childhood sexual abuse and assault. These are the one's that are close to my heart and the area that I want to make a difference in. Many of my earlier articles and posts are about my own experiences, and sharing with others is my way to support others, hopefully allowing others to open up and share their story. Sharing--speaking up about the criminal offence--is very difficult for people that have been sexually victimized. They are shamed during the heinous crime and then they are shamed again by many that do not understand, do not want to understand, or feel that this crime is okay.

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Maya Angelou

I grew up in a highly dysfunctional family that kept the childhood sexual abuse silent. The family protected the perpetrators, and, to this day, they still protect the perpetrators even though a couple of them are already dead. One family member protected one of the perpetrators to the extent of publicly writing in an ancestry website touting how great this person was. Quite sickening, really, and that is why I will never trust this ancestry website, or others. Anyone can document what they choose whether it is the truth or not. Anyways, I finally disconnected myself from the entire family. To stay with the family, I had to stop speaking about the abuse, and, basically, deny anything occurred. Yet, when I remained in the family circle, I was still being abused both verbally and physically. For many years I stayed. Abuse was considered love, so I stayed to feel loved until I couldn't take it anymore emotionally and mentally. In order for me to heal my life and my children's life, I chose to speak up. As a result, I had to leave the circle. When I spoke up, all hell broke lose with the family about how 'bad' I was at being a daughter, a sister, and a niece. It was difficult, for sure, letting go of the family paradigm that many of us long for, but as years past, it became easier and easier in letting go of these unhealthy connections. Letting go made me a stronger woman in the sense that I now stand up for what I believe in. I stand up for injustices. I advocate for what is right. You just have to talk to the faculty at the School of Nursing at UBC Okanagan. They are an amazing group of women and some men that listen and support me. They may not agree with my arguments all the time, but they respect me and my voice and encourage me to continue speaking my voice. An amazing thing also happened after letting go of the unhealthy connections. I began to make healthy connections with others that accepted me for who I am--a strong, feisty, fearless fighter that does not accept shamers.

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still   come out of it." ~Maya Angelou

This is a segue for the shaming blog post comment I received. As many of you bloggers know, you get all kinds of comments. Typically, they are supportive and positive. When the reader does not agree, she/he will make their claim with respect and reasoning to why they believe what they believe. I expect with over seven billion people in this world, we will not all agree, but I always like to hear the reasons to others and I will only listen if there is respect in the dialogue.

"I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them." ~Maya Angelou

Listen to All that Respect You
It is important to listen to other voices, for sure. There are many voices in the world, and I feel it is extremely important to listen carefully to what others have to say. Some may not express it clearly or even logically, but if you listen to the words (and body language when you are with them), you can hear what they are saying whether or not you agree. Agreeing is not the point. It is about listening and respecting the other while they express themselves. What I will not tolerate in my life anymore is when another voice is determined to shame or ridicule me in their most subtle or not subtle ways. Instead of  discussing things respectfully and maturely, they abuse or threaten me in their words and tone. I am no longer the person I was when I tolerated abuse from others. I have no time for people like this and neither should you. Individuals that shame, verbally abuse, or threaten will throw a ton of jargon and information at you that is meaningless but also incorrect. When you stand up for injustices, make sure you know the evidence as well so that no one can draw you into their amiss information.

"I can be changed by what happened to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it." ~Maya Angelou

Walk Away from the Shamers and Oppressors
I had a life time of abuse, oppression, assault, and ignorance. I have no time in my life to listen to these ignorant characters. In school this year, one thing that I told the students I was among was that if you want to make a complaint, if you want to make a difference or a change in something that you believe in, stop complaining incessantly. Instead, gather the evidence, dates, time, interviews and statistics, and then make your argument. Don't just outright complain without trying to resolve something. The changers or leaders will not listen to constant whining. They don't have time for that. They need hard facts. They need reasoning, and they need you to be respectful and professional.

"Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women." ~Maya Angelou

Your Wisdom
Walk away from people that shame you, people that try to control you. Discussing differences is an important aspect to change, but when these individuals try to oppress you or try to shame you, you don't need any more reason to stay. Leave. Walk away. Do not respond to haters and hecklers.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh