In Lack of Control & The Miracles that Followed

One primary persona of mine is to walk with confidence and appear to be “calm and under control;” the emotions pour out later. In this “mode,” I can hear my father’s mantra to be “calm, cool and collected” reverberating in my cranium. Recently, that persona broke wide the eff open for me. While it’s been an ongoing process of chipping away at this persona, on this particular day I had a very significant breakthrough.

My son was having an escalating series of temper tantrums. My attempt to control the situation and de-escalate it was only causing further … escalation. Based on a recent read of the book, Dark Side of the Light Chasers, by Debbie Ford, I saw where my need to seem in control was a direct result of my feeling that I lacked control. Literally, a light went off in one of the deepest (and darkest?) recesses of my mind. Once I affirmed that I was, indeed, not in control, I surrendered to my higher power and asked for guidance. I spoke to this event in the post Learning to be Secure.

The M.O. from the Past

In trying to prove to myself and to the world that Tiffany had it under control, I hid where I was not under control. Or tried to. I have had an emotional eating addiction for … probably my whole life. This is one of the ways that I both punish myself for my feelings (eating ’til it hurts) and then hide my feelings by stuffing my emotions down, down, down…

In trying to prove to the world that I had it under control, I learned to smile and put on a good game face; well kinda. One practitioner poignantly described me as being “zippered up.” Yet the muscles of my body reveal my guarded and “under control” tendency. Even with regular massages, I have held onto a great deal of tension; more than most.

In trying to prove to the world that I had it under control, I would attempt to control myself, my environment and … even those in it. Wow! That last one is a challenge to admit. Yet, as a physical therapist I develop (and control) treatment plans everyday. What a great profession to be in for someone who secretly wants to control everything and everyone… understand, I believed it was an act of self-preservation, not mind-control.

Where & why the control most likely started

This control is not so much about power for the sake of power, it’s more about my feeling safe. As a child, I was in situations where I was abused by “trusting” adults who manipulated and controlled me. From this, I believed that my body was not safe, that I had to control others – and myself – to be safe. From this abuse, I also didn’t believe I could trust people; especially those who were meant to protect me. Further more, I felt effing powerless, and hence the cycle starts over, feeding into itself. So for me, being in control has meant that it was harder for someone else to harm me.

Back to the Breakthrough

Yet on this fateful day, I chose differently. In recognizing my lack of control and giving up control to my higher power, I received greater clarity in everyday things. This has helped me to make wiser choices. The irony! Instead of being ruled by my fear of loss of control, I’m seeing that I have little control outside of my own choices, and now my choices are more clear, thus giving me …. more control! Yet in a different way, in that the control factor is no longer based in fear.

It is my hope that in sharing, you will find a greater understanding about yourself or perhaps a “control freak” that is in your life. The more we can understand and have compassion, the less turbulence we each create in our world.

May we each find a greater sense of peace in better understanding ourselves and others. 

Namaste

Celebrating a New Path

This was originally scheduled to post yesterday on 6/1. However, in light of the events in Virginia Beach the day before I felt it was not the time to celebrate. Overnight, I had some breakthroughs and recognized it’s even more important to celebrate life at this time. We must each choose to be the light and celebrate life while we honor the tragic deaths of others, this is what leads to healing. #VirginiaBeachStrong

Have you ever looked back on your life and seen how one new opportunities arose based on prior choices; ones previously unseen or unimaginable? Perhaps the first one was a choice you were afraid to take… yet you took it anyway… then more and more pathways opened up.

Well, in looking back over the last five years, I can see where new opportunities and choices that arose after a seemingly simple career path change. However, little did I know at the time how that one change would lead to a cascade of changes; literally, so much of my life today is very different than it was on 6/1/2014.

The first step was when I moved out of the field and back into the clinic. In doing so, I freed up more time and energy for life, living and seeing… Almost immediately, I changed my diet (at the time to Vegan) which lead to my spurt with running.

Since 2014, I’ve removed over 60 pounds from my frame. Yes! I said 60 (and no, removed does not mean surgery!). Though this has taken me most of the 5 years to accomplish, the final 10 or so has been through intermittent fasting; not running nor being Vegan, although I’ve given both a go now, twice each…

Within a few months of my job change, the shifts also lead me to see that my nearly 15-year-old marriage was failing; miserably. Had I stayed in “the field” of home health, I would not have had the energy nor emotional capacity to go through such an upheaval as the divorce required. The running I mentioned earlier lead me to meet many friends who were supportive during this time of separation & divorce, as many had endured or were enduring the same! It’s still amazing to look back and to see all of the support I had all along; though I often felt lonely…

The separation and subsequent divorce lead me to start blogging (just passed the 4 year blogiversary in April). Blogging has pushed me to explore greater depths of understanding and it has introduced me to new concepts through being able to see life through the eyes of others, too. I’ve also made some interesting and supportive connections over the years.

Five years later and  my work has expanded to include 2 clinics, mentoring of 4 other therapists, numerous public health and physician education events and acquiring my certification as a pelvic rehab specialist. When I started, I worked part-time in pelvic health and part-time in general orthopedics. Now, my caseload is nearly 100% pelvic health. It’s an amazing journey to summarize in one quick paragraph.

During this time, I’ve also moved twice and changed cars twice. Before this, I had never lived “alone” meaning without another adult in the house, much less purchased nor leased a car on my own. Needless to say, these years have taught me a great deal about myself and much of this learning has been chronicled in the 688 blog posts to date. So today I celebrate the many changes. And wonder what the next 5 years will hold. Even as I have set some personal goals, I’m confident surprises are in store.

5 years from now, I’d like to look back and see where I have:

  • Published a book or two giving guidance to others on their journey.
  • Given TED Talks (or similar) on navigating through change.
  • Reduced my hours in health care to 20/week or less.
  • Paid off consumer debt.
  • Maintained my weight loss, my meditation practice and increased my consistency with working out.
  • Continued to actively expand how I support my children in their growth and development.
  • Improved my relationship with my parents.
  • Settled into a deeper relationship with myself.
  • Invited a compatible partner along for the journey.

So stay tuned! Who really knows what tomorrow will bring?!

May we each follow our natural curiosities, discovering new opportunities as we travel through life. May we each give ourselves the freedom to choose change, even when at the time it may seem tough or a mistake, knowing more chances await …

Namaste

In the Presence of Beauty

She was stunningly beautiful. Like someone you’d see on a magazine cover, except this was real life, without fancy camera angles, perfect lighting and airbrushing. Even though I am hetero, I had a difficult time keeping my eyes off of her. She was poised, beautiful and exuded a sense of calm. Yet, her proximity to me triggered my sense of ugly, unworthy and it frustrated me to some degree, showing me where I still felt incomplete.

While I am the most comfortable that I’ve ever been “in my own skin,” this woman rattled my own sense of self. It was curious more than alarming, as I understood that the trigger was the symptom of an unloved part within showing up to be loved. This was a new tac for me; prevailing curiosity over alarm.

It was also somewhat humorous, given that I felt as if I were in one of those awkward teen movies set in the 80’s. “Pretty in Pink” comes to mind, maybe because of the title; although neither of us was wearing pink. While I didn’t have braces, I did have those awkward teeth straightening trays that I needed to remove and replace… more ugly! (Don’t worry friends, there’s a plot twist up ahead…)

Later that evening, I was reading through a chapter in The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford which helped explain to me what I had experienced. I was “light shadow projecting.” By focusing on the stunning beauty of this woman, I was giving away my own right to be beautiful. I was then able to see where I was disowning my “light” and projecting it onto her. Anything we suppress or disown in ourselves we keep in our shadows; whether the trait is considered positive or negative. 

In reading further, I uncovered 80 (yes, 80) positive traits that I have not been able to accept about myself. Over the next 27 days, I have chosen to affirm and use EFT Tapping on 3 traits/day (am doing beautiful twice, for good measure). I’ve set reminders in my calendar to help keep me focused and on track (now just to be sure I stick to it and follow through…).

In case you’re curious, these were the 80 traits I found difficult to accept about myself:

connected, alive, satisfied, powerful, cherished, secure, affluent, gentle, supported, enlightened, wanted, loved, realized, extravagant, lovable, brilliant, decisive, sensual, successful, irresistible, radiant, worthy, calm, delicious, open, carefree, cheerful, compassionate, easy going, joyful, peaceful, patient, sexy, famous, just, forgiving, disciplined, acknowledged, alive, responsible, adored, fulfilled, happy, content, energetic, desirable, playful, confident, beautiful, credible, accepting, blissful, vivacious, flexible, courageous, fearless, whole, precious, wonderful, healthy, vulnerable, superstar, talented, radiant, choice-maker, capable, magnificent, rich, wise, attractive, simple, honored, whole, adored, venerated, complete, talented, holy, centered, poised.

So if I ever see her again, I’ll be more accepting of myself and the beauty within my own skin.

May we each find peace within the fullness of our own light; avoiding projecting our best (and worst) onto others. May we see our own unique qualities as the gifts they are, and the gifts that we are, to this World – and in so doing, may we make the world a better place by accepting our own unique greatness; expressing it freely gives others the freedom to do the same.

Namaste

New Series & Cleaning House for Clarity with Tiffany’s Epiphanies

The dark night was showing me where I did not love myself and where I was repeatedly choosing suffering over my own happiness and joy.

Prologue
Just for a moment, I encourage you to reflect on the course of your life over the past few years. We can have such a strong tendency to jump from one life event to the next that we forget how far we’ve traveled. Right now, I am seeing how this has been such an amazing journey; yet there’s still so much to experience and explore.

Today (Tuesday) I’m also launching a series called “Tiffany’s Epiphanies,” a term that has been coined by several people who have worked closely with me over the years. My goal is to post these epiphanies on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at least once a week. We’ll see how well my creativity will flow with this goal! 

Spiritually-Cleaning-House: The Dark Night of the Soul and The Breakdown
Sunday night, I was deeply triggered by something I saw that lead to what I now consider to be one of my toughest “dark nights of the soul.” These dark nights feel like death as the emotions feel physically eviscerating. There can be grief like no other.

In fact, I believe it is a mourning process for there is a sort of death for the part of us that needs to be let go, much like the caterpillar must die for the butterfly to be born. Think, too, of how many life transformations have ceremonies… it is to recognize the movement of life from one form to another. So this dark night of the soul is the death of what no longer serves us and, if allowed, it is the movement out of the darkness and into a new light. Which again brings to mind the caterpillar and the butterfly.

Overnight, I was incredibly restless and easily awakened by visceral pangs as the energy shifted (and no, it wasn’t food poisoning). My solace? Self-love meditations (via Insight Timer app) and The Ho’Oponopono Prayer: “I Love You. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” The person I was saying this to? Myself. The dark night was showing me where I did not love myself and where I was repeatedly choosing suffering over my own happiness and joy. I repeated this prayer overnight and into the next day whenever my emotions rose up. Also, as I typed notes at work, I listened to Heart Chakra Crystal Bowls on the Insight Timer App to support being more heart-centered and calm.

Physically-Cleaning-House: The breakdown leads to the breakthrough.
Once back at home, I literally cleaned house with a new fervor. As I scrubbed the tub, and the baseboards (don’t ask how long it’s been for either), an epiphany hit me square in the face (well, not literally). “If another human had treated your children the way this person had treated you, you’d be mother-bear furious. You’d support your child in getting the eff away. So why are you still entertaining these thoughts about this person?!” BOOM! Done. Mission: Accomplished. Heart UNbroken. AND WHOA! All that self-love really paid off!

There is another tool that I used this day, after I listened to this TED Talk about getting over heartbreak. The speaker, Guy Winch, suggests writing out a list of all of the things that someone you’re heartbroken over did not do well, and referring to that list when we begin to pine over that person. This is important for breaking the cycle of idolizing the person and our relationship with them so that we may heal. 

Epilogue
This week marks 3 years since my divorce was final; always a little bittersweet, especially in the midst of the winter holidays. Yet it also marks for me the beginning of a new journey, through self-discovery, self-love and sharing my experiences to help others through blogging; that journey being well over 4 years long now. 

Namaste

Keep Going

When in the shadows 

All can seem lost. 

Just as the sun rises,

There is light beyond the dark.

Keep stepping. 

Keep going.

Allow the dark to show you

Your courage,

Your strength,

Your truth.

For it is in the darkness

That we can learn the most. 

Namaste 

(C) 2017 Tiffany Cara

Accepting Others

It is within our ability to accept all aspects of ourselves, the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly, that allows us to more fully accept and appreciate others. Compassion begins within. 

(C) 2017 Tiffany Cara

For How Long Do You Suffer?

The keys to our freedom are in our hands. Yet so often we ignore them, brush them off, put them to the side or outright deny them. The keys to our freedom rest in our willingness to walk into and sit with the paradox of our dilemmas. We have been taught to avoid our own shadows, our fears, the things that go bump in the night and wake us up. Yet it is in the darkness that we have the potential for growth. Seeds sprout and take root in the dark. Our creativity is also borne out of our willingness to take a walk on our own dark sides.

So for how long will you suffer your fears? Carrying them around on your back, on your chest, weighing you down and keeping you from your greatness?

It is through walking into the pain that releases it and allows us to grow into something greater. The release is in the surrender; in the trust that we will survive our emotions, our inner conflicts and paradoxes.

One of the great cosmic jokes is that in embracing our pain, we are finally able to be free of it.

Images: google

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The Holy Grail Hidden Within Duality

 

The Vesica Pisces is a common visual presence across many world religions. In Italian it is called a mandalora (almond), similar to the Indian Mandala. Within the center of each of these religious symbols balance is achieved. Most importantly, one reaches this center through the synthesis of the two edges of Duality. It is in this space that a new consciousness is born. 


This concept is so simple that it may just be unbelievable and thus easily dismissed. At the same time, the work required is not always so easy as it may initially sound. For how does one merge two opposites? 


Yet the key to our release from suffering is found by allowing without judgment the simultaneous existence of two opposites. It is in the center of these two overlapping circles that we can transcend Duality. This is not a compromise. Instead it is a synthesis and if permitted to fully unfold, it is transcendent.  I call this moment of synthesis The God Moment.

The journey to the God moment can be a most painful process when we walk through the valleys of the shadows of death. Yet at other times such as during sex, the joining of two opposites can be incredibly erotic…and hopefully pleasurable. 


It now makes so much sense as to why many of us seek these edges. In seeking the highs, and often unintentially the lows, we are seeking something greater than ourselves. Yet it is often during these times that we turn to distractions and addictions that prevent us from fully experiencing and marrying the edges of Duality. Thus we miss the God moment and we miss the opportunity to become transcendent.

Allowing the dual existence of two opposites is the key to our release from our suffering, yet this surrender can seem to tear us apart and is why so many of us stop the process just prior to its full fruition. It is our faith and our ability to breathe through the process that allows us to pass through the valley – and transcend it. We must believe that our thoughts, beliefs and emotions cannot kill us. Yet we have been taught to fear our shadow and the baggage that it brings, so it can be challenging to walk with these aspects and this prevents us from being able to transcend them. Walking with our shadows means we must acknowledge them; things we were taught to avoid at all costs.

On a very basic level, transcendence is sexual. The merging of two opposite energies is how new life can be created. For with each aspect of Duality that we transcend, we are born again and see life in a new way. Are you excited yet?!  

Furthermore it is in these moments of synthesis that we touch and are touched by something greater than ourselves: God. The more we can merge these edges, the more we merge heaven and earth. 

Sadly, just as with sex, eventually we also return to our experience of Duality. With each action of life we produce both light and shadow. Thus the shadow emerges to give us repeated opportunities to heal and transcend through another synthesis and another rebirth. No wonder the Vesica Pisces has such a vulvar look to it, or maybe it’s just me? 

An intentionally repeated image. The other images I’d like to have used here would be considered pornographic…sadly

Now I plan to investigate the use of Sex as a means of transcendence. I have a strong sense that this use of sexual energies requires foundational work that goes beyond casual sex. I’ve read some about tantra and have a feeling I’ll find more answers there…if you’ve read anything along these lines, feel free to share sources in the comments section or gmail me at tiffanybeingfree. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with various images of the Vesica Pisces or mandalora. 

Mother Mary depicted within the Mandalora, the space between Duality.

The fish symbol of Christianity is a variation of the Vesica Pisces.
The Vesica Pisces is also the basic pattern for the seed -, tree – and flower of life. 

The flower of life

While I’ve written about this synthesis of duality within the Owning Your Own Shadow series, based on readings from the book by Robert A. Johnson, today brings an entirely new level of understanding. Healing is about sex: the merging of two opposites.  

More on Sacred Geometry 

A mandala my children recently helped me to color.

Namaste 

Shake It Out

It can be a real struggle to move out of grief during this time of year when the overarching myth is that everyone should be happy and celebrating. 
Wednesday, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, changes the tide from outgoing to incoming light. Today, we have the opportunity to look into our own darkness to find our lights, for it is only in the darkness that we can most fully appreciate the stars.

Personally, the holidays have become a reminder for me of what was. Interesting to look back and see where I have painted Pre-divorce winter holidays in a golden light that is only partial truth. In elevating the past, I devalue the present. Now I’m changing the tide by allowing myself to feel gratitude for all of the beauty I do have in my life. This gives the present moment a greater sense of wholeness.

So please join me, “shake it out” so that we can all more fully appreciate who we are and what we do have, even when we believe more is never enough, when we celebrate what we do have we open ourselves more and more to love. In the presence of gratitude the closed heart opens what grief has “stolen.” Let’s shake it out! 

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