Catch & Release

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Why is that we contradict ourselves over and over again? We know better. We’ve already determined that life is a full on roller coaster ride with its ups and downs. We’ve learned from our mistakes and we know that fire burns if you put your hand to it. We are seasoned and yet we continue to try to control the outcome of our lives. I tell you it’s is as pointless as trying to catch the fading sunset in your hand.

Man plans and God laughs. – Yiddish Proverb

If I were a superhero I might just be Anxiety Girl because I can shoulder an incredible weight of it every single day. What I deal with daily might just cause another to keel over. Although I am getting better at juggling and quelling it, it doesn’t mean that the anxiety is lessening.  I am getting better at backing away from it so that I don’t add more to the pile. My anxiety is a result of extended intense stress I lived with for over 15 years. It’s PTSD, adrenal fatigue, and generalized anxiety all rolled up into one big massive package that has a tag marked “f*ck you” on it.

I understand that my brain chemistry has been altered. I have tried just about every combination of medicinal cocktails prescribed and self prescribed. I try to meditate. Well, I do it the best way I know how which is walking on the beach. I walk and walk until my thoughts just fall into a linear projection of all that I am. I stop trying to figure things out and I just fall into pace with the crashing of the waves. Picturing me in a mediation class or on a retreat makes me start to itch and laugh a little. Let’s face it we all can’t be the same, and meditation is one of those things that must be tailored to the individual. Don’t get me wrong because I believe in its benefits, I really do. For people like me though trying to control my thoughts by not controlling them is just another word for PANIC!

Calm your mind and catch your aggressive thoughts then cast them out into the ether. You are not required to carve them all in stone and own them all. In fact, your attempts to try to nullify them will only create a bigger issue. That is why I turn to my practice of Catch & Release. As you feel yourself adding more and more crap to your pile of things that you need to do, people you need to respond to, calls you need to make, household chores, work, relationships, etc., etc., etc., STOP yourself in your tracks. Breathe in and out a few deep times and be present in knowing that you caught the ball before it got thrown into play. This is where discipline comes in handy. I like to give myself a gentle talking to about not overdoing it. I remind myself that none of these things are an emergency and I try to prioritize. (Sometimes I have to lay down in a dark room for a few minutes to reset even). Never underestimate the power of a list or a nap…they really help!

In the end we are all constantly adapting to our surroundings. Only we know what is best for ourselves so boundaries are a brilliant idea. Just KNOW that you do not have to be tied to all of the baggage that you are carrying around, but you might have to work pretty damned hard to unload it. It’s worth it…don’t you think that the freedom that comes from a job well done is priceless?! Keep working at catching the negative shit and releasing it before you allow it to permeate your life.
You deserve so much better than that.

Buckle up and grab the wheel for it is up to you to figure out the best way to deal with your shortcomings. We all have them and I am sure there are plenty around that have the same ones as you. Seek them out for they are the wise ones who can give you other ideas for dealing with the same crap you have to carry. They are also a great source of inspiration for how you want to live your life. Catch the good and release the crap…it’s not brain surgery…it’s discipline.

xo Ella

It Did Not Ruin Her

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“Never allow your loyalty to become slavery. You only live once.”             – Author Unknown

While sitting on the beach the other day with a dear we talked about writing. Why do we write what we write? I admitted that I am sick of my story. I am sick of being a poster girl for domestic violence. Many people suffer abuse, exit, and then move on. In fact, I help facilitate this process for them. The abuse becomes a chapter in their book of life. Somewhere along the line I found my calling in the aftermath of this monster (abuse) and so my chapter is becoming my book. I admit for a moment I was having a bit of a pity party. I have a desire to write about lots other things, but when I sit down here at my computer I inevitably find myself writing about overcoming abuse. I have this compulsion to reach out to those who are still in an abusive situation and might be questioning their own sanity. Yes, this is a common occurrence when you live with an abusive lunatic. I write to those who need a roadmap out. I suppose I find my strength here, and the comfort of knowing that I didn’t live those dark years in vain. I get frustrated, but I know that it is here, in my writing that I learned to thrive again. I want to direct this to all of you who are reading these words. I write for you. I am writing to help you find your way. I am writing to be a shining light and example to those of you who are still trapped in that dark place where you see no way out. I am here to give you HOPE for if I can make it out and I can turn my life around then so can you.

It did not ruin me.

I possess a deep strength that came from battling my ex-husband. I would not be the woman that I am today if it weren’t for this experience. In my darkest moments I held out hope for I knew that I wasn’t done here on this earth. There were many nights that I literally stared death in the face (I don’t mean to be a drama queen) and I had no other option but to surrendered to it. Somehow that spark of HOPE never extinguished. That in itself is one of my many miracles.

There are a lot of things that I don’t know, but what I do know is that there are so many other women (and men) out there that can relate to me. My inbox is full of your messages. I hear you when you write to me with thanks for giving your struggles a voice. I know that you find comfort in knowing that you are not alone and the simple fact that someone else out there can understand you. No, my darling girl you are not crazy. You are valid and you are so very worthy of everything good that this life has to offer.

The world needs more survivors to speak up. In telling our stories we make ourselves approachable. We enable others to step forward to be brave enough to speak up and out about what is really happening in their lives. Domestic violence has a long reach. It doesn’t just end when the abuser is removed from the situation. There are years of recovery that are needed and that is the hardest part to navigate. This is where the shelters and local support groups tend to fall off in my opinion. They are great when you are bleeding out and need triage, but in the long term aftermath survivors need other survivors to help them get back to the business of living.

I was told once that I wasn’t schooled enough to help counsel survivors of domestic violence. Well, I have earned the equivalent of a Phd in Domestic Violence through living this shit, and I have proved them all wrong. I have helped many women exit abusive situations and move on. It’s not work for the faint of heart I must say. I have learned over the years that I am good at helping survivors reclaim themselves after they are able to exit the situation. I am good at what I do because I understand the psychology of the aftermath of abuse. I live it every single day. So, I have accepted this truth into my life.

I am stronger than he was . He tried his hardest, but he couldn’t break me. I am stand taller because the struggles, and I am wiser. The help I can offer doesn’t come with a college degree but with years of deep personal work, and a burning desire to help others (and a proven track record). Never discount yourself, and don’t allow yourself to get lost in the aftermath. There is always a way out because HE DID NOT RUIN YOU. You are alive and capable of growth and pruning. It is in this process that you will bloom and become a new you…the person you are destined to be. Don’t you dare give up, not now, not ever. Be brave.

xo Ella

Far Far…

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FAR FAR

Far far, there was this little girl
She was praying for something to happen to her
Everyday she writes words and more words
Just to speak out the thoughts that keep floating inside

And she’s strong when the dreams come
‘Cause they take her, cover her, they are all over
The reality looks far now, but don’t go

How can you stay outside?
There’s a beautiful mess inside
How can you stay outside?
There’s a beautiful mess inside, oh

Far, far there was this little girl
She was praying for something good to happen to her
From time to time there are colors and shapes
Dazzling her eyes, tickling her hands

They invent her a new world with
Oil skies and aquarel rivers
But don’t you run away already
Please don’t go

How can you stay outside?
There’s a beautiful mess inside
How can you stay outside?
There’s a beautiful mess inside

Take a deep breath and dive
There’s a beautiful mess inside
How can you stay outside?
There’s a beautiful mess, beautiful mess inside

Beautiful, beautiful

Far far, there was this little girl
She was praying for something big to happen to her
Every night she ears beautiful strange music
It’s everywhere, there’s nowhere to hide

But if it fades she begs, “Oh Lord, don’t take it from me
Don’t take it yourselves”
I guess I’ll have to give it birth, to give it birth
I guess, I guess I have to give it birth
I guess I have to, have to give it birth
There’s a beautiful mess inside and it’s everywhere

So shake it yourself now deep inside
Deeper than you ever dared
Deeper than you ever dared
There’s a beautiful mess inside
Beautiful mess inside

Songwriters
YAEL NAIM/ DAVID DONATIEN

Try a Little Tenderness

“I have learned that the most important things are tenderness and kindness. I can’t do without them.” – Brigitte Bardot

Tenderness and kindness are a necessity in the work that I do, as are empathy and compassion. It’s something that you learn especially if you have been kicked in the gut and to the floor as many times as I have. When a person is hurting its heart wrenching for me and I focus on trying to help them see that there is a way through the pain. The pain will end. This is best shown through a gentle spirit.

I am taking a class that my friend Samantha is giving. When she asked me if I would like to join, my first thought was that I am already spread out too thin. Something though told me that I needed to do this for my own growth. When I got her workbook I quickly realized that this was going to kick my ass. The course is called Tender to My Soul. This journey is about focusing on showing myself a little bit of tenderness. What did I sign up for? I don’t have time for this. I have way too much to do!

Tenderness, (noun).
1. A tendency to express warm, compassionate feelings. (check)
2. Concern for the feelings or welfare of others. (check)
3. Gentleness, kindness, compassion. (check)

Am I tender with others? Absolutely, but with myself not so much. What does it mean to be tender with yourself and whats the best way to go about it? The thing I love about my friend Samantha is that she is a wordsmith in the most gentle of ways. Instead of giving us a traditional workbook to trudge through she gave us a beautiful work of art that is a place to sit, ponder, listen, and understand. Most importantly is has given me the message to SLOW DOWN. What is the rush for any way?

How can we see to be tender to ourselves if we are constantly rushing around. We are so over scheduled and working towards the next best thing that we think a 5 minute meditation in the morning is going to be fuel enough to get us through. Not quite so true. When you think about it we give much more time and tenderness to other people. How can we be our best if we aren’t taking the time to lavish ourselves with a little tenderness as well?

“You don’t blast a heart open. You coax it and nurture it open like the sun does to a rose.” – Melody Beattie

I just finished writing an article on finding clarity. I state that you don’t seek clarity you become it. It goes hand in hand with tenderness, don’t you see? In order to truly evolve you must be tender to your own soul. This means taking a holistic approach to your life. You must learn to slow down. Create healthy boundaries and learn to say “no”. You must clear out some of the static that prevents you from having your personal time. Hey, this is really important. You are really important.

For me tenderness for myself is a new concept. I have worked on a lot of other things, but not this or at least not from this perspective. I am just starting out on this journey, but the first thing that I have noticed is the freedom I am giving myself to carve out time for joy me. Constructive time and a safe space to really dig deep to my soul. I am tired of short-changing myself while giving my best to others. In truth, I will serve better if I am in tune with myself. I am ready to stop the inner battles, name calling, and the wicked critic. I am ready to learn to love all the part of me that I haven’t given myself space to do yet. This is the year that I learn to be tender to my soul and I would love to invite you to do the same.  xo Ella

“There isn’t an agony in the world more powerful than tenderness.”                   – Marlena De Blasi

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