This is the way you think, imagine, interpret, remember, and perceive yourself and your world. It can include thinking styles such as: all-or-nothing - you see the world as black and white. Emotional reasoning - you get trapped in assuming that your emotions are facts.
Healing is like going through seasons. When you’re in a season of pain, it may be hard to see the internal shifts happening leading you to the next season of growth. This is how personal evolution happens. We don’t talk enough about post-traumatic growth, wisdom, and the unexpected benefits of healing. I think partly because, as a collective, we have been on a quest to find cures for the trauma we’ve been carrying and the pain that continues to be created from adverse life experiences and events. This is to the hopefuls - the ones who engage actively in their healing process and growth journey. To the ones getting to know themselves anew.
When you think about the holiday season, what is the first feeling that comes to mind? Joy? Sadness? Stress? Loneliness? Togetherness? Peace? All of the above?! The truth is, the holidays can bring up many mixed emotions for us. Regardless of your age, race, culture, what you celebrate (if anything), and who you celebrate with, this time of year's general hustle and bustle environment can be incredibly overwhelming. The holiday season in particular can be rife with outdated traditions, long lines at the mall, crowded airports, loud parties, and travel delays that can add up to one word: havoc. As we approach the end of the year, this period is also a reminder that new beginnings are on the horizon- which can be both exciting and daunting. So, today we want to focus on slowing down amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, challenging and changing outdated traditions, and through this, finding your heavenly peace.
When was the last time you were asked, “what’s your zodiac sign?!” Zodiac signs (also known as astrological signs) refer to one of twelve constellations that the sun passes through; these signs are classified by the four basic elements of earth, water, fire, and air. Astrology is a useful tool that aids in our understanding of spiritual and holistic wellness and why we are the way we are. Individuals can utilize astrology to understand their personality traits, qualities, quirks, and weaknesses. Overall, understanding your zodiac sign and embracing astrology can help to alleviate stress, uncertainty, and promote self-discovery. So, join me today as we explore an overall mental health picture and related personality traits of each zodiac sign along with a “quick win” or hack you can practice based on your sign that will boost your mental wellness and help to alleviate stress!
When you really look at the fall season, it really represents life and death. Although the falling leaves look beautiful, we’re actually witnessing their death. It sounds strange, to see beauty in something involving death. But it also makes sense. Because, this ending is followed by a season of renewal, a new start, or a rebirth. Today, I’m sharing with you Rachel’s journey with grief, and how it was a catalyst for healing generational trauma, not just for herself, but for her mom as well. And, how it has inspired her life’s work and passion.
Forgiveness is tricky - as a CONCEPT and a PRACTICE. This is particularly true for trauma survivors. Especially if your trauma occurred in childhood, and involved rejection, abandonment, punishment, and neglect. Culturally and socially, forgiveness is often linked to other beliefs like generosity, kindness, and love. Being forgiving is perceived as the desired quality. It implies “you’re a good person.” If you’re a trauma survivor, there’s a good chance you’re already struggling with core negative beliefs about yourself (you can read more about this here). And then, society tells you, you’re unkind if you don’t forgive. This perception adds to the skewed untrue negative beliefs you already have about yourself. So, you might lean into forgiveness so much that it overrides your healing. You can get so absorbed in it that you forget to factor yourself in.
One of the many things untreated trauma impacts is your ability to tolerate making mistakes. This reaction happens because past trauma can cloud you, so mistakes and failures FEEL scary, unsafe, and catastrophic (even when they FACTUALLY aren’t). In essence, you don’t feel ok with making an error because it feels threatening. You are more likely to experience strong, rigid reactions that keep you stuck when you do make one. Trauma short-circuits your process and affects your ability to learn from these errors.
Commemoration days, like Juneteenth and National Indigenous Day, are about resilience, empowerment, and celebration. Their cornerstone is reclaiming your power through your cultural identity. Generational and ancestral trauma can make this difficult because one of its results on a personal individual level is to lean away from being yourself and connecting. This experience can be a shared one in underrepresented communities. Generational wounds can show up as fear of rejection, abandonment, and insecurity about oneself. And you may find yourself compensating in various ways such as being what you think other people need you to be. This week, I invite you to celebrate yourself by practicing showing up in your life from a place of freedom, joy, and self-confidence rather than fear. So you can be yourself anytime, anywhere, with anyone.
In last week’s post, we talked about three ways to cultivate your courage: Try, Trust, and Tell. We’re delving more deeply into Trying: How Trying is a core part of courage through being spontaneous, having fun, and trying new things. Why Trying might be more challenging if you’re someone stuck in trauma survival, and What you can do today to move through this to support your wellness and healing, and start to trust yourself. To refresh your memory… Trying is about the courage to take action, trying something new or different, “first attempts,” having initiative, leading, and stepping up.
You’ve heard it before: “Don’t be judgemental. Judgements are bad”. You’d be surprised to know that this isn’t necessarily always true. In fact, you need judgments. It’s how your brain works. Judgements are essentially shortcuts. Your brain processes a lot of information all at once. Judgements come in handy sometimes. For example, your brain needs to make a decision in a split second when you’re trying to cross the street or when you’re driving. It needs to act quickly to determine what’s safe and what’s not, then act or execute. Your brain is judging very quickly if something is safe to do. This is when judgments are helpful and why we can’t eliminate them.
While there are many aspects of healing from trauma that are painful, overwhelming, difficult, and challenging; there are aspects that lead us to ask: What matters? What helps? Practicing gratitude while you’re in pain and struggling is one of those things that matter and help. I know it sounds like a contradiction. Because when you’re in pain, gratitude can feel like the last thing you want to do. It seems impossible. Gratitude can be defined in a variety of ways spiritually, philosophically, and scientifically. In my eyes, it is often an undermined spiritual intentional practice that you could engage in to build connection with yourself and others. Building connection supports your recovery, your well-being, and your health. It’s a cornerstone of your self care and your satisfaction in relationships. To commemorate October as Global Diversity Awareness Month, we’re bringing the spotlight to the spiritual practice of gratitude as a way to strengthen connection and appreciation with one another in a culturally-aware way.
In the spirit of change that comes with the fall season, we spoke with Rakshanda - A South Asian Art Therapist living in Canada, who graciously shared her story of courage that helped her move through times of transition and change. Join our conversation on how telling the truth has set her free and her personal wisdom on what helped her persevere through difficult times.
The fall season brings on the warmth of new layers, just like transition and change does. In reflecting about the nature of change, I often see this - change doesn’t come all at once. It happens in steps and stages that add up to bigger change. The bigger change gets people’s attention, and they go “wow, how did you do that?!” They are amazed. What they miss seeing is everything that led up to that. But don’t let that fool you. Change happens in layers just like the season we’re in. This week, we talked to Mo, about transition and change in the context of immigrating to Canada, starting a new life, and building a sense of community and belonging while remaining true to yourself.
I’ve been recently hearing from various people that they’re feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders, and thinking they lack strength. I believe the fall season is here to remind us to re-calibrate, take a pause, rest, find grace and ease, and transition into what feels true to us for the next cycle.
I remember being put on diets by my parents as young as 10 or 12 years old. There’s a vivid picture in my mind: I’m in my mid-teens, standing in the bathroom, secretly measuring how my skirt fits specifically around my waist. I still recall that skirt so clearly - it had small white flowers against a red backdrop. Long, flowy, and brushing softly against my ankle. Why couldn’t I just enjoy how the skirt felt? Why was I preoccupied with how my body fit in it? I could feel the shame creeping in my body at the idea of the skirt not fitting. Measuring exactly how much self-deprecation and guilt I would put myself through if it was too tight. AND, the relief that washed over me when it fit loosely!
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can have trouble getting yourself to turn your mind, and to be open. You want to do it, but your mind isn’t turning. It’s stuck. Or you want to do it, but you find yourself feeling willful. Willfullness is when we dig our heels in or throw our hands up in the air. When this happens, you can try half-smiling and a willing open posture. This is willingness (with your body). Willingness is an opposite action to willfullness. You can cultivate willingness purposely and intentionally. This is why Buddha smiles!