A Full-Week’s Work On Codependency

God, I’m exhausted. What a crazy ride. I’m grateful I’m now writing this post surrounded by a warm, fluffy blanket. I can feel the tiredness deep in my bones, but I also feel my body’s tight muscles starting to relax. Slowly, very slowly, I’m entering in that state of connection where time becomes elastic and breathing the most fantastic human experience. Breathe with me…

Continue reading “A Full-Week’s Work On Codependency”

Going Off The Wagon: Whose Fault Was It? Rethinking Motherhood.

I love my mom and my dad. I think no matter what they have done or didn’t do will never stop me from caring and tolerating them. I have to myself that they did the best they could and both of them had little to work with when I was born. I keep that in mind and therefore I guess I never truly judged or blamed them for anything.

I do know, however, that they were negligent. Being massively trained in Psychology it is impossible for me not to state it or hide it. Their parenting style consisted in giving me food to make me content – and even though they are not aware of it they also hoped that food would fix any of my emotions or mood, because they didn’t know how to deal with them. That’s how they loved and comforted me, they gave me a lot of food, because they couldn’t give me what they didn’t have.

Later on, their parenting style led me to a diagnosis of morbid obesity at the age of 15. My doctor scared me and she made sure I understood that I could die at the age of 30, if I didn’t change. I got really scared. Then the fear got mixed with anger and I began to workout and eat well everyday. My parents didn’t really believe I would make it and since then people’s uncertainty became one of my biggest driving force, which is not entirely healthy, but I will leave that for another time.

I managed to take off 50Kg (110 pounds) from my body between the age of 15 and 17. However, I didn’t manage to take off the anger, the frustration, and the anxiety of not knowing how to deal with my emotions and life decisions. I never really recovered from my eating disorder, because food was the only solution I was ever taught as a child. I didn’t learn any life skills and my parents were never able to offer me life advice. That always hurt me and I don’t think my parents will ever understand that what I needed, and still need, is someone to put their hands over my heart and say that it is ok, that I am ok.

I will turn 30 next Spring and I think I reached far by myself, even without my parents’ guidance. Luckily, or not, I grew up sensitive, instead of numb, but the program I have had inside for years is one that reproduces my parents’ neglect: I’m great at giving to others, but I still have a lot of work to do in matters of giving to myself and passively receiving from others. I’m better now at receiving compliments and I’ve been doing an incredible progress at keeping away from people who have narcissist tendencies and who replicate, somehow, the dynamic I was exposed to during childhood.

This past week I had a relapse though, and the trigger was the fact that my mother did not call me as she said she would. She actually seldom calls; she might have called 3 times maximum over the past 3 years that I have been living abroad.  I have already discussed that with her and I know she has her own version why she doesn’t call. I already told her, or at least I think I have, how the lack of spontaneous contact through a call makes me feel. However, she didn’t call as she said she would. She called one week later and I didn’t get it because I was taking a nap.

I didn’t proceed as I used to: I would call her back immediately. Instead, I waited for her to try again. It has been 4 days ever since and there hasn’t been no call or text. As a grown up maybe I shouldn’t be bothered, but the truth is that I went off the wagon. I turned to food again. In fact, I must have spent at least a week only eating fast food and indulging in ice-cream and biscuits late at night. I cried. I ate some more. I checked my inbox. I ate some more.

Again, I love my mom and dad. However… I really think it is time for me to stop waiting to receive the kind of love I thought I should have received from them. I think it is time to realise that they are who they are and I am who I am. It does indeed hurt. It is probably one of the most painful lessons, because all the other lessons regarding failed and abusive relationships… they all derived from this wound which food can’t heal. I think I’m consciously stepping out today as the loving and caring mother of myself. That includes guiding myself with love and compassion… it implies reassuring myself that I am ok and things can now start to settle down.

My heart is expanding, my womb is turning alive, and my eyes are watery. I feel that I’m tearing down the shield I had built around me, which blocked me from creating and using my own female energy. Maybe that’s part of motherhood, maybe motherhood is not just to make sure that your child is fed and quiet. I’m sure that motherhood is also about nurturing, creating, and supporting your own energy as a human being, so that you can then become an adult who is ok with just being and who knows for sure that everything is meant to flow compassionately, despite life’s ups and downs.

Edit: My mom gave me a call at the end of the day 🙂

The Powerful Healing Effects of Color

In this post you will learn about what color therapy is, what is the therapeutic effect of primary colors, and how I’m using this knowledge to help my clients and myself.

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I guess it all started when ‘color therapy’ started to come to my head almost every day. Then I also started to follow someone on YouTube whose work is partly related to the use of colors as a healing method. Next I bumped into someone in my department who was wearing a beautiful and colorful headband. It was yellow, orange, pink, and a little bit of blue and green here and there – it definitely caught my eye and, more importantly, it made me smile! And while I was telling my colleague how beautiful her headband was, my mind also whirled around with thoughts:

Isn’t that interesting, the power of colors? I should explore that. It’s such a beautiful way to even positively influence other people’s mood. If that headband made me smile and feel playful, I wonder what other effects colors could have.

So I started doing research. There’s a lot of things on about the psychology of colors, which has been used in Marketing to elicit a specific action from you. I was more interested however on how color could influence our mood and psychological states. Here are some of the things I discovered, for instances, about primary colors:

  • yellow – helps with memory, encourages communication, boosts confidence, and stimulates the nervous system. It is associated with happiness, energy, and optimism;
  • red – elevates blood pressure, stimulates the libido, boosts metabolism, and increases your level of enthusiasm, energy, and confidence;
  • blue – helps you relax and deal with stressful situations, boosts open-heart communication, and enhances your intelligence and intuition

From here I began studying other colors and different tones of color, and I decided to apply this knowledge first in myself, because based on my research I realised I had been unconsciously picking clothes whose colors clearly mirrored and reinforced my low mood. For instances, some of the colors I was wearing everyday included black, dark grey, and dark olive green which are associated with less positive feelings and sensations such as depression and fogginess. Hence, my outside window was a clear reflection of what was going on inside. So I thought I should find a way to reverse this by changing the colors I was choosing to put on myself.

Buying new clothes at this point in time, however, was out of question. Instead I decided to recycle some t-shirts, transform them into fashionable scarfs, and color them based on what I studied about colors and their therapeutic effect. I first created a scarf in blue tones, because I needed to relax and reduce my anxiety levels. Guess what, it worked! Then I decided to create another scarf to induce some calmness allied with some playfulness as well. And guess what, it worked just as I intended, and now I can’t stop making experiments!

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Healing mood disturbances such as anxiety, depression, and sadness with colourful scarfs this Winter, hurray!🌈 This one is called “Strawberry-Mint Delight” and it has the healing vibrations of teal and red-orange🧚🏼‍♀️ Teal promotes analytical thinking (great to let go unhelpful thoughts) and reduces anxiety. Red-orange promotes friendliness, boosts your emotional wellbeing, and induces a general feeling of joy and creativity. Using this scarf will then allow to balance both your creative and analytical brain, while also boosting your sense of joy and wellbeing🧚🏼‍♀️ I used mine today and this is exactly how I felt! As a creative, sometimes it is hard to have the right balance between being creative and analytical. I need this balance in order to get work done✨ If you would like to get one for yourself, send me a PM🧡 . . #healing #anxiety #joy #creative #analytical #mind #balance #wellbeing #chromotherapy #mentalhealth #colorpsychology #style #scarfdesign #hygge #mindthecolor #colortherapy #handmade

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I’m super excited about this creative spur because I believe other people might feel empowered too through connecting with the magic properties of color. The next batch of scarfs will be in pink tones. As October is fast approaching I feel impelled to create some pinkish scarfs not only to raise awareness of breast cancer but also to invite women to accept and re-acknowledge their feminine divine energy. In the meantime, and if you are curious, you can have a look on the scarves that are available so far by clicking here.

Moonlight Makeup (4)

 

How to Heal from Past Relationships

In this blog post I’m sharing with you what I believe to be the most effective way to heal from past relationships.

Lately I have worked with clients who have been dealing with rejection or have decided to heal from a past relationship for good. That gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my own personal experiences and to make a quick search to see what experts usually recommend.

Based on the research I did, I realised that most suggestions invite people to focus on the ‘outside’ rather than the ‘inside’ where the problem is rooted. I came across suggestions such as:

  • “do exercise”
  • “go out with friends”, or
  • “go to the movies”

Despite well-intentioned and positive, these activities are mere bandaids, because they move people’s attention to what is outside of them and therefore they only work as temporary distractions from what’s boiling inside. This might be useful as a starting point, to create some space and distance, but it’s not a strategy to keep in the long-term if you want to heal.

In order to heal, the most effective strategy is to sit down with yourself and face the truth. The truth is that you are hurt and that you feel pain, because what you once knew as reality has drastically changed. The good news is that pain always brings some lesson with it. However, to learn that lesson we really need to sit down and listen to it. We need to get in touch with that space inside of us that aches and ask ourselves what is the meaning of the pain we are going through.

Now I know this is really hard to do, because no one likes to be in pain. That’s why so many of us have some sort of addiction – the role of any addiction is to set us free, even though temporarily, from pain and the need for thoughtful reflection. The only way to heal from the pain and other negative emotions though is to feel them inch by inch. The more you indulge in distractions, the more you postpone the moment in which you will have to face the truth. The downside of that is that… the more you postpone, the more you will suffer later.

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Sitting With Pain: Psychospiritual Meanings of Neck & Lower Back Pain

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For two days in a row, I have been sitting at my desk with a very spacey mind and a very achy body. While trying to relax yesterday in the office by doing some stretches, I managed to get a stiff neck. Coupled with my inflamed sciatic nerve, I can say I’m having the time of my life.

I can’t turn my head to the left and I can’t sit for long hours without a painful reminder on the right side of my lower back. I have been taking pain killers, which I don’t like at all, and instead of getting better it seems that my body is showing me the consequences of treating myself so poorly.

As spiritual as you might know I am, I dived deep into the web and searched for potential spiritual meanings of pain. I wasn’t very surprised when I read that pain might be a result of accumulated unhealed emotions and unforgiven hurts. I narrowed down my research to “neck pain” and “lower back pain”. In a nutshell, here is what I found out:

  • neck pain: it is usually related to taking too many responsibilities (check), having a hard time making decisions (check), and going in the wrong direction (check?)
  • lower back pain: fear for my survival (check), fear of losing freedom (check), fear of material loss (double check), feelings of not being supported enough (check), the belief that one has to “have it all” and not wanting to admit it (check!)

Now I’m indeed surprised with how all of these “symptoms” match with what I have been feeling over the last month. I believe that if the symptoms persist and the painkillers are not working, then I’m probably not doing a great job on managing the way I perceive and live life right now.

The astonishing truth is that deep inside I know I haven’t. There is still a lot of work to be done within. There is still a lot to learn – perhaps not so much intellectually but practically. I already know that prolonged negative emotions lead to dysfunction and physical manifestations. I guess what I don’t know yet is how to tame my own beliefs, emotions, and actions when everything becomes overwhelmingly confusing.

Relationships That Hurt: What I Have Learned From Narcissistic Abuse

I’m a dreamer and my nature is impulsive. I’m the type of person that easily builds castles in the sky and who prefers to keep herself busy instead of checking-in with reality. When I usually meet someone, I’m not seeing the person for who she is in the present moment but for who she might become.

All this, coupled with an extensive historial of wanting to be nice to people and taking care of everyone else but me, makes me a great target to narcissistic abuse. A narcissistic is pretty good at showing you a fantastic image of him/herself. If you’re a dreamer, you will immediately fall for their seductive presence and talk. Overall, they seem perfect – they look great, confident and they seem very in tune with you.

It took me many awful experiences to learn about the red flags and to become aware of my own relationship patterns. Relationships plagued by narcissistic abuse are extremely hurtful. Becoming aware of that made me realise that I had been, in fact, the main responsible for allowing so much hurt into my heart. And one of the things that has helped me dealing with recovery from narcissistic abusive is to acknowledge that there is a certain pattern or cycle that repeats itself every time I get involved with a narcissistic person. Here are the three main steps that I found to be true:

Love Bombing

This is the first step in the “relationship ritual” between a narcissistic and an empath. It can, nonetheless, repeat itself later in the life of the relationship – that’s why it’s a cycle. In the love bombing stage everything is perfect. The other person acts with extreme kindness towards you and gives you a lot of attention. They will be always texting or calling you to establish a (fake) deep connection with you. They will always be there to “like”, “comment” or give you a little bit more of encouragement and reinforcement at the end of a bad day. And of course, since you are so used to be taking care of others, such attention feels strange and good at the same time. The funny thing is that they are aware of your tiny bit of resistance to let them in and therefore they will keep carrying you like a precious diamond, love bombing you, just until the moment they finally feel they “got” you.

Devaluation 

As soon as you let him or her in completely, the narcissistic will lose interest in you and you will realise, almost from night to day, that all the love seems to be gone. No more sweet texts, no more calls during the day, no nothing. However, the narcissistic is very good at what he/she does and he knows your weaknesses. He or she knows that you usually avoid conflict and that you have no sense of boundaries. As a result, the narcissistic will easily discredit any negative comment from you about their sudden behavioural change. In fact, they will do that and worse just to mine your self-esteem and confidence to the point that you will feel helpless. You want and crave the attention you once had, but now you are stonewalled.

The Discard

Now there are two options: either you discard the narcissistic or the narcissistic discards you. In the first option, you will probably buy yourself a hard time of harassment and/or stalking. The narcissistic will resent you and do whatever he or she can to make sure that you know they are still out there, looking at you closely. In the second option, you will probably feel devastated, because after all you still see yourself in the relationship and suddenly you start seeing that the other person was long gone. Plus, you will see how quickly the narcissistic replaces you with someone else and how they seem so in love and caring towards the new person. Some narcissistic people may even try to punish you directly by sharing their most recent love story through social media and close friends. But don’t fool yourself: they are just repeating all the wrong things they did with you.

Healing Tiredness With The Four Elements

More often than not, whenever I sit on a bus I grab my smartphone and I go on Pinterest. So after reading this article here on screen time, I plead guilty. Nonetheless, I found something very interesting while I was searching for “tired” – and yes, lately I have been constantly tired and experiencing “brain fog” a lot.

What I found was one those images with a bunch of words in it which altogether make us have an ‘a-Ha!’ moment. It basically mentioned how the soil, water, air, and heat could “heal” and empower us. From there, I associated the saying with the four elements and I realised how it actually looked like a very clever way or system to reboot ourselves – especially when we are feeling tired.

The image said the following:

“Place your hands into soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect with that fire to heal your own immense power.” (Victoria Erickson)

Wasn’t this lady intelligent?

The soil is the Earth. Water is water and air is air, of course. Heat is the Fire. The four elements, right there. And the most interesting thing – or at least I find it so – is that I have noticed each of these benefits in myself. Let me offer you a couple of examples:

Earth

One of the best memories I have when I was a kid is being at my grandfather’s garden and sitting directly on the ground next to my cousin. We would play with the reddish soil around us and contemplate the big world from that lovely seat that nature provided us with. The feelings I recall from that experience are safety and security.

Water

In the last 9 months I spent in Portugal, I started to realise the great impact that diving in the sea had on my mood and energy. Since then, I am always waiting for summertime and the chance to immerse myself in the sea (plus, I love the salty taste afterwards).

Air

Another thing that deeply changes my mood and disposition is seeing myself in an open space – the greener, the better. Last week I went for a walk in the fields around our university and afterwards I felt so much at ease with myself and my whole life!

Fire

Ok, I’m a suspicious person to talk about this one, because I come from the land of the sun (Portugal) and I’m pretty much like a lizard – whenever the sun is out, I love being outside feeling it on my skin. And I love being tanned (who doesn’t, right?). But the great thing about being exposed to sunlight is the feeling of being somehow “recharged” or “reenergised”.

 

 

What about you? Have you experienced any of these “healing” properties of the four elements? I would love to hear your thoughts!