Your Support System

Who is in your support system? Who are the people you can call on in need or in joy? It’s important to know who these people are, and to connect with them as often as needed. In the beginning, I had no idea such a thing mattered or was important. I did not always know how to have friends, or to let people in enough to realize they cared about me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had friends, but I didn’t let it sink in all the way that these people cared about me, because I had put up so many protections around my heart. 

The first time I learned about the concept of a support system I was in an inpatient treatment program for survivors of trauma. We had to draw a big circle, and inside of the big circle were smaller circles. We were asked to put a name of someone in our support system in each of the small circles. It was a hard exercise for me, admitting that other people mattered to me and could care about me. I was eventually able to think of four friends whom I considered to be in my support system. This exercise opened my mind and heart to the value of positive relationships. I realized that it was good to have people care about me, and that I could reach out to people with whom I felt safe. It was beautiful to begin to recognize those friendships that sustained me.

Who would you put in your circle? What qualities do each of these people have? Cherish these people and continue to cultivate your relationship with them by also showing them how much you care about them. It can be hard to remember to reach out to our friends and family when the world gets busy and stressful or we’re experiencing something difficult, but it’s so important for your heart, and for theirs. No one should be alone. As the quote by Ram Dass goes, “We’re all just walking each other home.” 

Sending you blessings and good friends for your journey.

The shift from external to internal knowing

Moving from sensing on the outside to sensing on the inside has been one of the most healing and difficult things I learned to do on my journey to healing. I struggled with it for years because it wasn’t something I was taught. I often thought it might not be important or meaningful. I’ve eventually learned that approaching life from a place of internal knowing and guidance is one of the most important things I can do in my life.

Learning to approach life from your internal compass can be a big shift, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Like anything, it gets easier with practice. I first began noticing my internal knowingness when I needed to heal. Even though everything in my external life seemed fine, I was completely miserable and depressed with insomnia and anxiety. And yet my life on the outside was just fine. I knew there was a disconnect. I finally started listening to my internal guidance after having a bit of a breakdown, which forced me to stop avoiding my inner world. 

Once I started following the thread of my inner guidance, it became easier and easier over time. It’s like I had to search for that thread in the dark, but once I got hold of it, my world got lighter and lighter, and I could hold onto it more and more easily. Of course, it took time for me to decide that it was real and worth it. Again, nothing in my life, nothing in school, and no one in my family (except for my stepdad later in life) had taught me that listening to my internal compass was something worthwhile or important. Now I believe that learning to live life from the inside has been one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done.

So, how do you start? Well, you get to know yourself. You get quiet and start to listen to yourself. You will know your inner voice because you won’t be able to ignore it. Ask for guidance and grace as you embark on this journey. I believe it’s the most important trip you will ever take.

Being Still

Can you find times in your day to be still? It can be an enormous undertaking when you are living in the modern world. Being still allows peace to enter. Being still allows you to hear the “still, small voice.” Being still means putting away your smart phone and screens and televisions and distractions. Being still means being brave enough to sit in silence and accept the truth of who you are. 

Pre-healing Rebecca ran and ran and ran. I joined things and did things and added many things to my schedule and life. I was afraid to be still. I was afraid to know myself. And yet, when I finally gave myself the space to be still and truly heal, I learned there was nothing to be afraid of. I didn’t have to be so scared. I thought the world would end if I was still enough to honor my true self, and yet the world didn’t end – it truly began.

Being still doesn’t mean you have stop doing all the things you need to do in your life. I know that in times of financial hardship I’ve had to work extremely hard to make ends meet and pay bills, and that didn’t really lend itself to being still very often. Neither does being a mother, a working mother, or any other kind of human. And yet, there is still time. Is there one minute in your day to be still? Stop running and doing and being all things to all people. Meet yourself in the stillness. Meet yourself in the peace. Give yourself the gift of being still. Being still will let you know who you are. 

Being with Trees

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved trees. I’m sure many of you reading this have memories of favorite trees from your childhood. Though I grew up in a city, we had a beloved tree we used to climb in the front yard, and another tree we loved to run circles around at school. Though I don’t remember thinking about it much at the time, so many of my childhood memories are tied to these trees. Sadly, we were told we couldn’t keep climbing the tree in the front yard due to several electrical wires running through it, and they eventually cut the tree in the playground down. Thankfully, as an adult I live in a neighborhood with many trees still standing. 

Trees are powerful beings. Not only do they help us breathe by exchanging carbon for oxygen, they provide shade and shelter for many creatures. We can also connect to trees for grounding and healing. Sitting under a tree or with your back to a tree can provide regeneration and deep peace. There’s a practice in Japan you may have heard of called forest bathing. The benefits of forest bathing include increased immunity, reduced stress, and improved mood, among many others. 

I don’t really understand how it works, but I know from my own life that trees are powerful healers. I always feel better when I’m around trees. Do you have a tree you can sit with, in your yard or in a public park nearby? Spend some time with your tree and see how you feel afterwards. It’s powerful medicine.

Making Sense of an Experience of the Divine

Before I had my experience, my life was pretty ok. I had done a lot of healing and while things weren’t perfect, I wasn’t really doing anything “wrong” in my life. I was in graduate school. I studied. I had friends. And then I had this beautiful and heart-opening experience of God that really changed my perspective, my heart and my life. It took me a long time to make sense of that experience. I struggled with it. I ignored it. I pretended it hadn’t happened. I got angry at God. 

It wasn’t easy to make sense of an experience that is not talked or taught about in my culture. Not only was it not talked about, in my household I had been conditioned to believe that it was a sign of insanity. Experiencing so much beauty in a world that seemed to struggle so much was also extremely tough because it didn’t match up. Making sense of such an experience has taken years.

I found trusted confidants to talk about my experience with, which helped me to feel safer and to learn to accept the truth of what I felt and saw. I also spent a long time reasoning out what made sense about my experience and thinking about what it meant. I reasoned that my experience made me a better and happier person, and that could only be good. Unfortunately, but maybe predictably, I did spend a long time pretending it hadn’t happened, ignoring it because it seemed so out of touch with my regular life. I also got really angry at God for letting me have such an amazing experience and then leaving me on this planet that could seem so far from peace, love, and joy. 

It’s taken a long time, but I’ve made some sense of it. I’ve accepted that God is real and that it’s ok to have these kinds of experiences, especially when they make a person happier and more whole. I’ve also realized that our world is and can be beautiful, when seen the right way. We just have to work together and help each other, with love. And I’ve realized that God is right here with us, we need only to get in touch with God in our hearts. I still have a lot of moments of doubt and struggle, but I’m making peace with them. 

Have you had an experience of the Divine? I’d love to hear your perspective. Share in the comments! 

Healing the Heart

What does it mean to listen to one’s heart? I write about listening to my heart often because it’s a huge part of how I healed. It can be very hard to listen to your heart in this world. Since we were children, many people taught us not to listen to our hearts. Adults around us – teachers, parents, babysitters –  nudged or pushed us to conform to this world and stop following our natural inclinations. How can we learn to listen to our hearts again when we’ve been so conditioned to ignore them? 

An important first step is getting quiet and still for more than just a few moments. It helps to sit still for a while, if you can. Eventually, you will begin to feel the still, small voice within. At first it may seem faint, and you may not be sure if it’s really your heart or not, but if you keep listening, it will grow, and it will guide and heal you. Alternately, in times of great need and even crisis, without having to get still, you will also find guidance there.

What if you’re not sure which one is your inner voice? I’ve been unsure about my true inner voice many, many, many times. It can be so hard and confusing sometimes! Your inner voice, or your heart, will lead you to love and peace and oneness with others. It will not guide you to do anything that will harm yourself or anyone else. It will guide you towards healing yourself. When I’m having a difficult time discerning which one my inner voice is, it helps to practice getting still and meditating even more than normal. It also helps me to practice writing. Everyone will have their own tool, and you have to just experiment to find out which one is right. Of course, it also helps to pray and ask God and your angels for help.

Healing your heart is the most exciting journey you will ever take. It will bring you to truth and to peace, and will lead you to finding fulfillment and joy just by being yourself. Trust in the greatness of God and in your holy creation, and you will heal. Follow the thread of your heart to true healing and lasting love. Don’t give up!

Learning to Love

In the years after my trauma, I did not know how to love myself or other people. I surrounded my heart with protective steel walls. No one could hurt me if I couldn’t feel anything. It felt safe, but it led to me hurting other people, and to me feeling sad and emotionally numb. I was still myself, but I wasn’t connected to the world or people around me. To look at pictures of me from that time, I still seem like myself, and I’m sure if you asked my friends from that time if I seemed cold, numb or depressed, they may not have noticed. But I noticed. It was a learned way of being that I’ve thankfully mostly unlearned.

How did I learn to love? It’s taken a long time and it’s happened in many ways over many years. My biggest shift occurred when I began healing myself by trying to feel my heart. I began listening as closely as possible to my internal guidance. I felt my heart guiding me and I started really listening to it. After my trauma, I did not listen to my heart. My heart was hurting so much, and I had been told it was my fault. I did everything I could not to listen to myself. It helped me to do well at school and succeed in the physical world around me, but it did not help me heal or feel happy.

It also helped me to learn about alternative modes of healing. Finding a trusted healer helped me immensely. I also learned about the spiritual side of life, and the concept of God, angels, and unseen helpers that are with us throughout our lives. Once I opened the door a little bit, I received so much help from the other side.

It also helped to have my family structure shift. My parents, who had been in an unhappy relationship for years, finally divorced, and my mom remarried my stepdad. He saw the good side in me, one my parents had never been able to see until then, and it really changed my life.

To sum it up, the main things that have helped me learn to feel love again have been (1) listening closely to my heart, (2) opening my life up to God & the angels, and (3) having supportive people in my life. If you’re not sure how to open your life up to God, it’s ok. I didn’t really believe in that when I started. You can just say a small prayer and ask God and your angels for help. I really believe it works.

Learning to love is a journey that is unique to you. I hope some of the things I’ve learned along the way can help you find some ideas for your own path. It is possible to love again. Wishing you love today and always.