Opportunities for Growth, Healing and Changing the World

I firmly believe the revolution starts with us. With you and me, working to become the most amazing you and me we can be. Doing the hard work of healing ourselves helps toheal the world. Finding our own light, letting it shine out and spread light to another – that is how the world will heal, that is how we will create the revolution – by loving ourselves and letting that love glow out into the world.

How do we do it though? How do we heal ourselves? Therapy is one answer (and one I recommend!) and there are as many approaches to therapy as there are people in the world it seems. I am in search of a new therapist myself, and am looking for one certified inLevine’s Somatic Experiencing or the Ogden’s Sensorimotor ApproachTrauma lives in the body and these two approaches are focused on guiding you to letting your body reset itself. Each of the sites have a link to find certified practitioners in your area. If you are looking to do some deep trauma healing I really recommend finding a therapist certified in one of these approaches.

There are other paths to healing too. Read more at my new home…

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My daughter is my greatest teacher. I’ve said it a million times by now and will likely say it a million more. While I know this truth in my soul, I’m always surprised how those life lessons from her come through and how I have changed and grown over the years, thanks to her existence.

This year we are making gifts for each other. Money is extremely tight and while gifts from Santa are covered (thank you Gram!), we all agreed that we would only be exchanging homemade gifts from each other. Our daughter requested a peace sign pillow from me a few weeks ago and so yesterday I went to my dear friend’s (and her godmother) home and we made a pattern and made the bulk of the pillow together.

The pillow isn’t perfect. It isn’t what I visioned it to be and I’m sure not what she had in mind.

A year ago I would have been in tears and having a minor rage about how awful the pillow was, how I suck at sewing, how I can’t even make a simple pillow for my daughter, how I’m such a failure as a mother, a human.

The surprise is, that hasn’t happened.

I look at this pillow and I know all the love both I and her godmama have put into it. I know that I will continue to work on it and it will have its flaws and that will be okay. She may or may not notice those flaws. She may hate the pillow, she may love it. And it’s all okay.

My personal growth in the last year is what is amazing and beautiful. My acceptance that I’m not perfect. My acceptance that I do not need to be perfect. My acceptance that my love is enough. My best effort is enough. I am enough.

I’m not a perfect mom. Read more…

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This morning, on our way to a friend’s home, where I was to drop of my daughter before I went to work, she said to me “Mama, we haven’t had any you and me time lately. I miss you.”

My heart stopped. My throat closed. Tears welled up in my eyes.

I just finished the semester – the last two weeks I have been focused on writing papers, on school. Not on my girl or husband. It is the ebb and flow of our life.

It’s the holidays and this coming weekend is particularly jam-packed with a wedding, an extended family gathering and then Sunday is baking with a dear family friend. I work again on Monday. Tuesday I’m off to spend time with another friend and to work on my daughter’s Christmas present from me. Wednesday is a play date with dear friends who we won’t see for almost a month after because of the holidays and my school. Thursday, almost a week away is the soonest we’ll have a whole day to just focus on her and me.

I took a deep breath and said “We’ve got a busy week ahead of us, honey. We’re going to have to get our times together in-between it all as much as we can.”

When I got to work I heard the news of the horrifying events in Connecticut. I can’t even begin to imagine.

For my job I’m the supervisor for supervised parental visits with a young child. It’s actually a very rewarding job, getting to witness a parent connect with her or his child. And so I sat in the library, watching this parent and child play and connect, my heart breaking for the families in Connecticut who won’t get that chance to connect with their children tonight, wanting with all my soul to pick up my child in those moments and hold her so close.

Read more…

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Ebb and Flow

It’s the end of the semester for me, which means I spend the evenings holed up reading and writing academic papers and do the same for whole days on my husband’s weekend. Monday and Tuesday will be the last two days of being hidden away, deep in my academic ventures and then I will be able to focus on other things, like reconnecting with my family.

Connection is hard for me. Not because I don’t crave it, I do. Yet it’s so vulnerable, it can be terrifying. In the past I’d often use school or later work as an excuse not to connect with those close to me. I could easily dive into academic pursuits or my career and no one would notice that I was using them as a shield to keep people away. To keep my soul safe. In fact, people would often applaud how “dedicated” I was to my career, what a great employee I was and how my success was just proof of how hard work will get you far.

The hard work did get me far. It got me far away from feeling whole. It got me far away from the people I love. It got me far away from me.

It’s taken me a while to get to a place of understanding that connection can ebb and flow. Read more at http://gwynnraimondi.com/2012/12/10/ebb-and-flow/

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New home…

I’ve moved to a new online home and I’d love for you to come visit me…


I’ll continue to update here when I update over there for a while… I just posted a new post that can be found at: http://gwynnraimondi.com/2012/11/30/beginnings/

I truly hope each one of you follows my new site, I’ve enjoyed your comments and support.❤ *hugs*❤

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Grounding and Painted Toes

A side-effect of having a (or several) traumatic experiences is a tendency to live out-of-body. I have this tendency, and I truly have worked to be in my body – to recognize that something is starting to trigger me, to notice those little body cues that something isn’t quite right for me, and to then act and make it right. Sometimes that action is simply to take some breathes, or to shift my body. I know I have a lot of triggers, and so noticing when I start to react, taking in my body cues and getting my mind and body into the present has been a huge blessing for me and my family. It’s a practice. I work at it daily and some days go more smoothly than others.

Since my surgery I’ve really neglected my body in a lot of ways. I’ve stayed aware of it’s reactions and I’ve acknowledged when things are off and done the bare minimum to get myself back to center. And I hadn’t gotten back to my yoga practice. I hadn’t gotten back to my meditation practice. I hadn’t been doing my body scans and check-ins. I hadn’t actually felt my body since September 19.

And truth be told I’ve been a bit angry at my body too. I have what feels like a kazillion food sensitivities. Of course, it’s all my comfort foods that I shouldn’t eat, that my body and mind react most negatively to, but my emotions crave. The fact that I needed surgery pissed me off and the fact that I wasn’t healing as quickly as I thought I should post surgery pissed me off. My body failed me. I was mad. When I get mad I eat corn chips and drink cola. I eat potatoes. Anything salty and starchy or fizzy and sugary – that’s my comfort food. That’s the food that my body rejects and rebels against.  Post surgery I was eating a lot of these foods. My body reacted in her usual ways: rashes, itching underneath my skin, eczema. My feet seem to rebel the most and my poor toes end up looking like they’ve been through a battle field barefoot.

I stopped eating all the bad for me foods a couple weeks ago and my body has started to calm down. I realized a week ago though I really wasn’t grounded. Not like I had been before surgery and while I was making half-hearted attempts at centering myself, I wasn’t doing the work I knew I needed to do.

Three days ago I started my twice daily yoga practice again. Two days ago I started my body scans. I hope to start meditating again tonight.

What I noticed in the last three days is my feet. While my feet have continued to do what they are supposed to do – carry my body from point A to point B with the help of my legs and hips – I couldn’t feel them touching the ground. I literally could not feel my feet. At all.

Today during my morning yoga I paid extra attention to my feet and feeling them connect to the ground. Feeling the weight of my body through my feet and the pressure of my feet into the floor. Touching them, massaging them as I was in forward bends. By the end of my morning practice I could actually feel my feet on the ground, I could feel the floor pressing back against my feet and my feet supporting my whole body. It was an amazing feeling.

I decided to give my feet some extra love for all they do, all they endure. I gave myself (and my daughter too of course) a pedicure: scruffed off the dead skin, trimmed and painted my nails. I gave love to my feet. I gave love my daughter’s precious fee too. Massaged them to warm them up, painted her perfect toes with some sparkly blue polish. We had a beautiful time together, picking out our nail polishes, admiring our handy work. She even helped me paint my toes.

I happily looked down at my toes all day today, with their pretty colors, feeling the warmth of the recent connection with my daughter, smiling at the memory. I’d remember to feel my feet, to feel them touching the floor to be in my body and stay connected to me and the earth and to not float away.

Practice. Constant practice.

Perfectly timed, as it turns out. One of the side-effects of the treatment I’m on for my endometriosis is anxiety attacks. I’ve had mini-attacks building up for the last two weeks, and today could have been disastrous if I hadn’t been practicing grounding and centering, feeling the earth, connecting myself to the present. I would feel the attack start to build and would breath through it and then remember to connect my feet to the ground. Keeping me connected; keeping me present. It would take time, and slowly the more I focused on my feet connecting to the earth, the less my heart would race, the less my mind would race, the more in my body I would feel and the more in the present moment I would become.

I’m grateful I’ve found my practices to help keep me in the present, to keep me connected to the here and now and not let myself just float away. I’m grateful I’m able to experience the joy of being in the moment; learning to let myself play, to let myself relax. I’m not great at it, I practice constantly.

Constant practice. Someday it will come more easily and I’ll have something else that requires practice. It’s all worth it. To experience the joy that is my life, to experience the beautiful moments, like giving my daughter and myself pedicures, in the moment. Being present, that is the present – for my daughter, my husband and most importantly, for me. 

Painted toes, star pajamas.

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Warrior Heart

Trauma sucks. It sucks our life energy. It sucks our joy. It sucks our soul. It sucks us away from our community.

It’s not fair. Experiencing trauma, especially as child, at the hands of an adult who is supposed to love and protect and care for you – it’s not fair. It’s not fair that the impacts of trauma lasts for decades. It’s not fair that even if our minds forget the events, our bodies won’t. It’s not fair that we have to pay the price of what others have done to us, pay that price for years, for decades. Pay that price with our mental, physical and spiritual health.

I had surgery in September. It was to remove some endometriosis. I also have adenomyosis and we’ve been tracking down some auto-immune issues too. I’ve been researching how childhood trauma and cumulative trauma can impact our health as an adult. I wrote a paper on it. I’m working on writing an ebook. The idea of how the pain endured over three decades ago at the hands of people who were supposed to love me, who were supposed to protect me, people who I trusted with my life – literally – how that pain has manifested itself as illness is as much a part of me now as the illness and the trauma itself.

I’m not the only person on the planet who has suffered at the hands of people who were supposed to care for me. I’m not the only person on a path to healing, holistic healing, searching for release, searching for joy. I’m not the only person who comes to places in my life where I think I’ve finally let it all go, only be pushed back with the reality that there is more work to do, more play to do, more healing.

Peter Levine says: “Trauma is a fact of life. It is not however, a life sentence.” I believe him. I believe we can heal. I believe I can heal. I believe in joy, love and hope. I believe in grace. I believe in you and me. I believe in the beauty of helping each other, holding space for each other. I believe in healing in community.

I have battle scars. Scars from a surgery when I was 18. Recent scars from my surgery a few months ago. They are battle scars. They are reminders of how I have fought to take back my body, to take back me. They remind me that I am a Warrior. They remind me that I could have given up, oh so many times I could have given up, and I didn’t. They remind me of the work I have done and have yet to do.

I am grateful for these scars. I am grateful for every single event in my life – the good, the glorious, the icky, the horrifying. I’m grateful because without the accumulation of all these events I would not be who I am today. Without the ick, I could not appreciate the beauty and joy. Without the pain I could not appreciate the healing release and relief. Without grieving I could not have found hope.

I am lucky I can wear my scars on the outside, on my skin. I am blessed to have the visual reminder that with every act of violence inflicted upon me, I can heal.

When I had my first surgery at 18 my only concern for the surgeon was whether I would have any scars. At 18 I didn’t see the beauty in scars. At 18 I didn’t fully appreciate or understand the life long fight of taking back me. I had two little scars from that surgery – one faded long ago, the second now wiped away by the recent surgery.

Twenty-two years later my greatest concern about the surgery was that it be scheduled as quickly as possible, so the ick could be physically removed from my body, so I could heal. The surgery itself was a traumatic event – planned, wanted, and still traumatic. My body reacted with night terrors and anxiety. Once I gave my body love, once literally touched it and said, “This is my body. I am safe. I will heal.” the night terrors and anxiety practically disappeared.

I’m thankful my body calls out to me, tells me it needs love. I’m thankful I can hear my body’s cries, screams, and even more grateful I am able to come running to it and give it love, reassure it, give it what it needs to help all of me heal.

I have four scars from this recent surgery. I should have a fifth, however that fifth one – the one that is really two scars from two surgeries, is invisible. It has healed completely. This lack of scar gives me hope I can heal the rest of me completely. 

I am who I am today because of all I have experienced – from the moment of conception (or possibly before) to this very moment. I am thankful for all of the moments. I am grateful for my healing journey. I am grateful to all those who have hurt and all those who have loved me. I am grateful for all the Warrior Hearts who helped show me the way. I am grateful for all the Warrior Hearts who let me be a part of their healing journey. In community we will heal, we will overcome, we will find ourselves again.

Sending so much love to all the Warrior Hearts of the World❤❤❤

(I am dedicating this post to Red Zorah, who is a Warrior, who has a Warrior Heart, who has, since I was 16, taught me how to access my own Warrior Heart. This post is dedicated to all the Warrior Women out there, each one of us fighting and releasing and finding our healing and our joy. I love you all so much. <3)

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