Noticed It, Named It, Felt It, Let It Go – Number 18

   I got to a section in the WE book that explained how in order to heal we need to notice what is hurting us, call it out, feel it, and then let it go. This was life changing for me because I have spent my life avoiding all of those things. My behavior instead would be out of control as I tried to hold in my feelings. I wanted to believe that if you ignored or avoided something long enough it would just go away…FYI, it doesn’t. 

   I would stuff the feelings, numb the feelings with food or distraction, or sometimes completely dissociate from the feelings and pretend they didn’t exist. These avoidant behaviors usually caused me physical pain in some area of my body and they certainly caused me to have anxiety and act out. I recognized that my crutches were most likely hurting me more than the actual feelings would so the next time I was triggered by something I stopped and got quiet and focused on it. 

   I figured out what it was and then let the feelings come and then I released it. As terrified as I was at the time to actually challenge these beliefs, I survived and I actually felt better. No erratic behavior. No acting out. No chaos. No losing days, or longer, to a game addiction or whatever I could throw myself into to distract me. In a matter of a few minutes, I felt better. I went and shared what had been bothering me with Rob and Molly like an actual adult. I trusted the process enough to try it and it worked. Not that I wouldn’t regress a million times going forward, but I’m so much better at it now and am building the muscle memory so that I process as it comes and I’m not holding onto pain. Notice that something is bothering you. Name what it is. Feel it. And let that shit go. Sometimes bravery is facing what you’re avoiding.



If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Didn’t Get Sucked In – Number 17

   I was raised in a Catholic home and went to a Catholic school for 8 years. I was steeped in guilt. I was also taught to believe that any conflict was my fault. By that I mean that if someone was upset with me for any reason, for instance if I said no to someone and they got upset, it was my fault. I should keep the peace at all cost whether or not the other person is wrong. Because of that I got a warped view of relationships. I’ve got catholic guilt, an unrealistic sense that I can’t have any conflict in a relationship, and then there’s “obligation.” We were obligated to go to events, participate, whatever whether we wanted to or not. Whether it was convenient, healthy, something we wanted to do or not. It didn’t matter. 

   The only thing that mattered was whether or not I was expected to be there. Have plans with friends? Why would you do that? We have a family party. For the twelfth time this year. Not going causes guilt, conflict, and a barrage of “but you have to be there.” conversations. It was just easier to go. Until it wasn’t. Eventually, it was far more damaging to go and the weeks of recovery from an event was no longer worth it. So I said no. Over and over. And I hated it every time. And I wanted to throw up and I wanted to cry and I wanted to run back and say, “Ok, I’ll go.” But I knew I couldn’t go back.

   I sat in the guilt and the fear of conflict and the overwhelming sense of obligation and I stayed out of it all except sometimes I forgot and would emotionally get sucked back in. But not this day. This day I recognized it and reminded myself of the truth. This day I remembered that I don’t have to carry the guilt. I remembered that conflict is healthy and that it’s not my responsibility to make peace with people who are unkind or unhealthy. I remembered that my only real obligation is to my husband and my daughter. They come first and not anyone else. That I have an obligation to my health and well-being and that as soon as something threatens those things, I am no longer obligated to participate. The guilt subsided, the fear of saying no subsided and my sense of obligation switched over to the rightful place…my daughter, husband and myself. I released myself from anything else placed on me that day and didn’t get sucked in. That was a big, brave, scary day. Sometimes bravery is saying no.



If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Accepted Praise – Number 16

   One of the hardest things for me to learn in my life was to accept praise. To say that I was not praised as a child is an understatement. I am an expert at self-deprecation, as well, so it became part of my DNA to think of myself as a disaster and voice all negative opinions of myself whenever the opportunity arose. If anyone tried to compliment me, I would give them the 500 reasons why they were wrong in their opinion of me. 

   It was embarrassing for them and for myself. After the keynote address, I received some messages. One said that she wanted me to be the keynote speaker every year. My gut reaction was to respond by calling her crazy and list every single thing wrong with me, but I’d been doing the work. I’d been challenging these beliefs about myself. I’d been rewiring the messages in my brain. Therefore, on this day I responded back, “Thank you so much.” And sat in the feelings someone thinking I did a good job brought up. 

   Who was I to tell her that her experience of my talk was wrong? Who was I to tell her that her reality is not reality? I was freaking brave. I had a message that needed to be heard. I fought through and delivered said message. It may not have been pretty, but it was effective. Isn’t that enough? That event gave me so many opportunities to practice accepting praise. Just say thank you. It is that simple. 

Sometimes bravery is getting your message out no matter what.



If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Hosted An Event – Number 15

   I not only did the keynote address at the Women in Podcasting festival, I also acted as host. I normally hide in the shadows at our events and let Rob handle things, but I knew this was a huge opportunity to add to my list. I was the person who introduced each podcast and it was challenging. Getting up in front of everyone and speaking did not get easier the more I did it. It actually got harder for me, but I hung in there and kept trying even though I was awkward and uncomfortable.

   There were many aspects of emceeing that were difficult for me. One is obviously that I struggle to be on display in front of an audience. Another is my attention span or lack thereof. It’s really hard for me to focus and remember cues so remembering to get up to announce the next show or remembering my script caused me great anxiety. The repetition was especially challenging because I couldn’t just power through and then be finished for the day. I had to keep going back up.

   Every time felt like the first time and so I really tried to use my tools to keep myself somewhat grounded and present. At any point I could have quit and there were people there who would have taken over for me. I didn’t. I stayed and I persevered and I didn’t get better or more comfortable and I survived.  Sometimes bravery is persevering when it’s easier to quit.


If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

28 years!!

It’s our 28th wedding anniversary today. We started dating when we were 18 years old. I never thought I would live past 30 so it’s quite surreal for me to be sitting here today writing this at 52, healed in so many ways, surrounded (figuratively, of course, because Covid) by loving and supportive people, and so grateful to be quarantined with my two favorite humans. Rob has born the brunt of my trauma. If there’s a thing called “secondary trauma,” he experienced that. If there’s not, then I’m coining the phrase now. More than anyone else, he has had to witness the destruction and the pain that abuse inflicted on my soul. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that must be on a daily basis. There were periods of time, early in our marriage, where he thought he would come home to find me dead. He’s picked up my pieces and held them for me until I could find the strength to hold them myself again. When I couldn’t find anything good about myself he asked me to listen to the song Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars every day until the message got through…by the way, it took almost a year. He’s laughed with me, cried with me, carried me, distracted me, supported me, challenged me, fought with me, and loved me in a way that no one else has. He is the best dad I could have ever imagined for our daughter. He is my person. He will always be my greatest gift and I am so grateful that he was able to, ever so patiently, knock down every wall I had erected and find his way to me.💗

Gave a Keynote Address – Number 14

   I have a friend who has a camper that she keeps permanently in a really nice campground in Wisconsin. She has been letting us use it whenever we want. It has become my little sanctuary and my place of healing. I journal, pray, meditate, read, walk, and just get quiet when I am there. One night I went for a walk and I got the message that I was to be the keynote speaker at our upcoming Women in Podcasting festival. I don’t do public speaking. When I’ve tried, I’ve cried. I just knew that this was something that I was going to have to push through. I needed to do this. I called Rob and asked him to come meet me. When I told him he just looked at me in amazement and said, “I’ve been praying you’d realize.” I told him not to talk to me about it. I was so afraid that I would change my mind. I wrote the talk, asked friends for advice on how to push through the fear the day of the event, and listened to two songs on repeat that gave me courage. Brave by Sara Bareilles and Brave by Nicole Nordeman.  

   I was beyond terrified to tell the parts of my story that I was planning on sharing. I had never used my voice in such a public way. This was personal. This wasn’t me talking about a TV show on a podcast. This was real and intimate and raw. I got up there and told the truth and stumbled and struggled, but I got up there and I did it and it was terrifying and didn’t get easier as I went along. I never got comfortable. I never felt like I was in flow or in the zone. I simply endured it.

   I’m not cut out to be a public speaker in that way. I love to be interviewed and I can do public speaking like this on a podcast where there’s a buffer between me and the faces watching me, but I don’t ever want to do a keynote address ever again. Do I regret it? No way. It’s important to try things and figure out if it’s fear that’s blocking you or maybe it’s just how you’re wired. Rob can get up in front of any size audience and talk about most topics without any prep or warning. He is absolutely wired to be a teacher and a public speaker and game show host. I’m absolutely not. I can write. I can talk. I cannot eloquently express myself on stage in front of an audience. I can’t memorize even one line of anything. It’s ok to try things and learn that you aren’t wired that way. It’s ok to say, “I appreciate you inviting me to speak at —-, but I prefer interview style. Would someone be willing to interview me, instead?” It’s ok to know what your skillset is and to ask for the ways that would help you be the most successful at getting your message out. Regardless of my stumbling, I got the words out and I survived. 

Sometimes bravery is using your voice for the first time.




If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Attempted to Host a Game Show – Number 13

   Rob and I have done live podcasts for several years. Most of those were done at a Doctor Who café where we performed every Saturday for three hours. We treated it like experimental theater and created three hours of original content every week. One of those shows was a trivia game show called Trivia Mayhem. I have played it as a contestant, but I never dared to try to host it myself. One night, I felt that Rob was doing a particularly horrible job at hosting and I was heckling him. He asked me if I wanted to get up and try to host.    Normally, I would never have gone up there, but because I am now becoming this ridiculous person who acts before they think I jumped up there and tried. And failed. Miserably. It is so much harder than it looks. I didn’t know what to say to keep the show momentum going. I stumbled over my words. I made a total fool of myself, but I didn’t care. I failed publically. I put myself out there and tried in front of a room full of people. I won’t say that I would do it again, but I’m not sorry I did. Sometimes bravery is trying and failing without regret.  


My husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave

Peace

I received this in an email today…

Dear Friend,Left Quote MarksRealigning Your Point of Attraction: The Art of BecomingHere’s one of my favorite quotes from my teacher in India, Nisargadatta Maharaj:
There is nothing to do. Just be.
Do nothing. Be.
No climbing mountains and sitting in caves.
I do not even say “be yourself” since you do not know yourself.
Just be.
This idea may contradict everything you’ve been taught and how you’ve lived so far, but let it sink in anyway. If your lifetime inventory of ideas and rules has contributed to your being one of those 112 million who use medication to handle non-existent stress, you can certainly afford to entertain this thought. As you begin practicing the principles to realign with a vibration that matches your desire for a tranquil, peaceful life, you’ll become more conscious of your thoughts. These thoughts of yours literally determine who you are. And the fact that you’re reading these words suggests that you’re interested in becoming more conscious of your thoughts.

Being and becoming are used synonymously here. In order to restore a sense of balance between your desire for tranquility and your desire to meet the requirements of your life, you must practice becoming, and being the vibration that you desire. 

— Being peace: Peace isn’t something that you ultimately receive when you slow down the pace of your life. Peace is what you’re capable of being and bringing to every encounter and event in the waking moments of your life. Most of us are waging a nonstop internal mental skirmish with everyone we encounter. Being peaceful is an inner attitude that you can enjoy when you’ve learned to silence your incessant inner dialogue. Being peaceful isn’t dependent on what your surroundings look like. It seldom has anything to do with what the people around you think, say, or do. A noiseless environment isn’t a requirement.

St. Francis’s famous prayer states it better than I can: “Make me an instrument of thy peace.” In other words, St. Francis wasn’t asking God to provide him with peace. He was asking for guidance to be more like the peace he trusted was his Source. Being peace is different from looking for peace. 

This principle isn’t about merely choosing tranquil thoughts when you’re feeling frayed and anxious. I suggest picturing a container deep within yourself out of which all your thoughts flow. Inside of this container, at its very center, imagine a candle flame. You need to make a commitment that this flame in the center of the container holding all of your thoughts will never, ever even flicker, although the very worst may go before you. This is your container of peace, and only peaceful thoughts can fuel the burning candle. You don’t need to change your thoughts as much as you need to learn to be an energy of fuel the burning candle. You don’t need to change your thoughts as much as you need to learn to be an energy of peace lighting the way and attracting serene, harmonious thoughts and beings. In this way, you’ll become a being of peace.Right Quote MarksExcerpt taken from…
Being in Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires

Found Beauty In All Things – Number 12

   I was doing more and more work, doing the exercises and focusing on feeling my feelings and being grateful. I started to search for beauty everywhere I looked. Ugly sidewalks might have a tiny flower growing through the cracks. Trees. The sky. Architecture. Moments. Whatever. Wherever. I posted them on my facebook page. It forced me to engage with my facebook friends on a more intimate level. This was the inside of my head. This was personal. I wasn’t hiding behind Molly or Rob or their events. I was saying that something moved me. This may not sound like a big deal to many of you and to be honest it sounds a little crazy to me too, now. 

   

When I see how far I’ve come since then I can barely remember what I was like before. I’m telling you this was a big deal in finding my voice. In putting myself on display. On fighting like crazy for my health and well-being. I couldn’t see beauty when I started my list. I was sad and done and afraid and feeling very much like there was not much point to existing. 

   Finding beauty in my day to day was a brave act. It was that very small part of me that was hidden away that was saying, “I want to stay. There’s more to see here. There’s still something good. And if that flower can grow in a cracked, ugly sidewalk what are am I capable of? Maybe there’s still hope.” Sometimes allowing yourself to hope in the midst of grief and despair is the bravest thing you could ever do. 



My husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave