Saying Goodbye, Part 3: The Danger of Wishful Thinking

Lines Hold the Memories” by Silvia Pelissero

Sunday morning arrived, and my father was still silent. despite his increased strength the day before, he began to show subtle signs of decline. He needed more time and help moving from the bed. His ate less, and had more difficulty drinking. because of this he was unable to take most of his medications.

A Hospice nurse came by to take my dad’s vitals and give us some suggestions of how to help my father with these new challenges. Now, I was a bit surprised to hear that Hospice was providing services for my father. I know Hospice provides end of life support, but, my father wasn’t at the end of his life. He was just diagnosed with dementia and, and had a UTI which caused delirium. The UTI and delirium are treatable, so what is Hospice doing here?

My sister (who lives with, and cares for, our dad) informed me that my father’s primary care physician connected her with home support services to care for my dad and his growing needs. These support services provided the hospital bed, bedding, bathroom modification supplies, nurse visits, bathing, and 24/7 access to a nurse. This made sense to me because one person can only do so much. Since my father’s primary care physician connected my sister with home support to care fro my dad, and this support showed up as Hospice, I assumed that Hospice also provided support care in addition to support fro end of life. If this sounds confusing and illogical, that’s because it is.

That night my father began to cough. His cough became louder and gurgled as the night went on, so we called the nurse who provided a machine to help suction my father’s phlegm. Although it helped some, the cough continued throughout the night.

Without much food, hydration, or medication, I began to worry and mentioned taking him to the emergency room. After talking with my sister’s we decided to se if he got better in the morning, and if not, then we would take him to the ER. Our hope turned to wishful thinking.


Saying Goodbye, Part 2: Hope



know hope

artist: Know Hope

I could feel my nervousness as I approached my father’s home. Based on what I was told, I expected to see my father less verbal, but mobile. I arrived with photos I planned on looking at with him, and hoped to listen to music together.

However when I walked into his bedroom, I was surprised to see him sitting up in a hospital bed, and not reacting to the people around him, including myself.

“Hi dad!” Nothing. No look of recognition. No eye contact. In that moment my soul must have slipped out of me because my emotions shut down and my practical self took over. In an instant I thought to myself: “Okay, so this is the situation now. Adjust to it and meet him where he is at.”

If I was sad or scared, I must have shoved it far behind me because I easily sat next to him and tried again, “Hey dad. It’s me.” Still nothing. I looked as his hands, and was shocked to see them so thin and bruised. I put my hand on his shoulder and felt his bones. I ran my hand down his arms, and they were so thin. What happened??

I held his hand, talk with my sisters in the room, and looked into his eyes, which seemed to be staring at nothing. I fed him slowly and he ate slowly. John Wayne’s “The Searchers” played in the background. I stroked his hair and studied his face, wondering if he knew I was there.

It took three people to get him up and out of bed. One to steady the wheelchair, and two to maneuver him. It was a slow process as we gave him time to gather his strength for each move. It was noticeable when his strength was there. I could feel his legs, arms, and hands getting stronger as he used the walker, then eventually getting into his wheelchair.

He was still able to use the toilet as long as we helped him onto it. I sat next to him and talked with him. Telling him it was okay. That I love him. He would look up at me with a questioning expression, and fold his hands across her sternum. This became a common position for him over the next few days, as if he was in deep thought. Then he’d look up at me again with eyes that seemed so lost and sad. As if asking me”why?”

That afternoon he sat in the wheelchair in the kitchen and ate lunch and dinner. The fact that he ate all his meals, and took all his medications, was a good sign. HIs brother was there and I could see the familiar attention my dad set on him as he spoke. My dad’s strength began to show as he held a glass, squeezed a tension ball, and walked two laps around the living room with his walker. We were hopeful that his health would progress.

It was Saturday and I planned to stay until Sunday evening. But now, I just couldn’t leave. Not with him like this. How much better does he have to get before I felt okay enough to go back home? My ignorance believed he would get better, because he always got better when faced with debilitating set-backs. Even with the dementia, he would still get back on his feet right?

Saying Goodbye, Part 1: Assumed Beginning



Eva Maria Toker: Cold Hands

This series of posts is going to cover my recent experience with several topics including: dementia, choosing between treatment and comfort care, hospice, and death. As most of my posts go, I share this experience, not only for my own healing, but for anyone else who is, or has, gone through a similar experience.

When this series of events began in early February, I knew that I wanted to document it, however, I also wanted to spend as much time with my father as possible. So it is now, after his passing, that I am putting words to this experience.


This winter brought a cold snap to several California areas. Because of this, my 84 year-old father was spending more time in bed, saying he was too cold to do his normal activities. This worried me as I know that, minimal activity can wreck havoc on the body and mind (especially in the elderly). I live 3 hours away, so my options to help get him out and mobile were very limited. My sister who lives with him, also reported that he was very resistant to getting out of bed, and grudgingly stepped out for doctor appointments.

Assumed Beginning

On Saturday February 6th, I received a call from my sister (who lives with my father). She informed me that our dad was exhibiting strange behavior over the last few days such as: withdrawing, low appetite, not talking, bowel incontinence, and wandering. She thought he was really depressed. I said “Take him to the Emergency Room.” My father had a TIA (mini stroke) almost 10 years ago, and I worried that he was possibly having another stroke.

I spoke to him by phone as he sat in the Emergency Room, and I did not recognize the person on the other line. My father is talkative and a great storyteller, but this time, he only responded with “yes” and “no”. It was as if someone had zapped my father’s personality out of him.

After several hours at the Emergency Room, it turned out that my father had a Urinary Tract Infection that caused delirium.

When I heard this I was confused. A UTI seemed like such a minor thing to have caused such a significant change in my father. When I spoke with  my sisters, I realized we could no longer avoid the “A” or “D” words:  and Dementia.

His Monday morning appointment with his primary care physician confirmed our fears, yet I still wasn’t prepared to hear that my father had Dementia.

A dark ball of fear rolled down into my belly. My father, as I knew him, was gone. In that moment I knew that I would never talk to him like before, that I would never hear his spirited voice recall stories from his past. I thought about his decline and worried about his care. How bad will this get for him? For us?

That week I kept in touch with my dad, my sister, and her sons who were providing round the clock care for him. His wandering resulted in him being found in the back yard at 5 a.m., or sleeping in the spare room he never uses, or standing in random places for prolonged amounts of time. The worry of him walking out the front door, or falling into his backyard pool was very real, so changes were made to help reduce this worry.

As for myself, I was in shock. I went to work as usual, but felt like I was a shell of a person. I worried, and cried, and collected myself just enough to do what I need. I swayed between healthy eating and drowning in junk food; I would “toughen up” and fall apart; I took charge as a grown up and was a  scared little girl.

I decided to visit him on the weekend, and tried to prepared myself to see my father in his new reality. I felt like I couldn’t get there fast enough as I made the 3-hour drive to his home in the early hours of Saturday morning.


Edvard Munch: “Death and the Child”

Most people say “When my time comes, I don’t want to be hooked up to machines! Pull the plug, just let me die!” Oh, but it is not that easy when you, as the family member, have to make the decision for your loved one. In my case, my father.

To treat or not to treat? It is a gut-wrenching, sleep-depriving, desperation grasping, doubt-filled, guilt-ridden nightmare. It’s the Serenity Prayer incarnate.

Sometimes, death doesn’t stare you in the face and take charge. Sometimes death dares you to dig deep down beyond your own existence, beyond everything you thought you knew. Sometimes death calls bullshit on your spiritual capacity to allow, surrender, and trust. Sometimes death turns you into a terrified child lost at the department store, worried she will never-ever go home again or see her parent’s face, or feel their embrace. Sometimes, death just sits back, and watches you writhe, like an earthworm in the dry daylight, as you wrestle with your humanness.

And then there is the one who breathes an inconsistent breath, whose fate is in your hands. And all you can offer is the the most tender mercy that arises from a place beyond the psyche and without words.


The Gifts of Darkness: An Invitation for Self-Care and Connection


Image by: Catherine Hyde

During the Winter Solstice we experience the shortest day and longest night of the year. This time of extended darkness (the longest of the year) can bring about mixed feelings depending on your situation. For some, having longer nights brings about little disruption to daily life. However for others, this time can brings discomfort on many levels.  In either case, the Winter Solstice can serve as a time to ground and honor where we have been, and where we would like to go.

 Darkness of all sorts serves a purpose. Seasonally, the darkness allows for rest and rejuvenation. Emotionally, the darkness can facilitate a stillness we can harness to turn inwards, dream, connect, and reflect. Like the plants that feed on the sun’s energy, so do we need a break from the light. This break brings about balance, rest, and an opportunity for deep connection to ourselves. Dreams are born here in this place of darkness. The Winter Solstice becomes an invitation to access these gifts that darkness brings by taking a pause, turning inward, reflecting on what is, and birthing dreams of what can be.

 The day after the Winter Solstice, we begin to see longer days, and shorter nights. We slowly begin to feel more of the sun’s light and energy allowing us to move forward from our dream state. In these days after the Winter Solstice, we can be in the planning stage of manifesting our newborn dreams, and begin to take action on bringing them to light.

 I also like to think of this time as a reminder that, no matter how dark our days, there is the promise of light. When in the darkness, it can be hard to imagine anything different. However nature always serves as a living example of how life works.

 If time allows, I invite you to take this opportunity to connect with yourself, especially if you are about to step into holiday festivities where you will be surrounded by family and/or friends. A moment of connection in any manner (prayer, mediation, silence, journaling, etc.) is a beautiful way to practice self-care as it can really help ground you before stepping into relationships with others. The added bonus is: others then get the best you available.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, this year’s Winter Solstice will be on December21 or 22 (for your exact day/time go to:

Here are some suggestions on ways to acknowledge the Winter Solstice and connect with yourself:

 Simple Activities:

  • Make a big pot of soup rich with grounding vegetables (i.e. potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables) and warm spices. If possible, eat early

  • Drink warm liquids, ideally something sweet, spicy and grounding like chai

  • If you have a fireplace, light a fire and spend time in prayer, mediation, or silence

  • Light those special candles you have been saving (use fire-safe precautions)

  • Spend time in contemplation through journaling, drawing, or other creative outlet. Explore your year and write down what you’d like to see in the new year.

  • Hang an evergreen wreath on your door (evergreens are a symbol of protection, prosperity, renewal, and the continuation of life)


Intention Setting Ritual:

  1. Clear the space by smudging sage, or by noise through clapping or ringing a bell 3 times.

  2. In silence, settle into your body by taking a deep breath in and exhale slowly.

  3. Allow yourself to let go of the day’s thoughts and worries.

  4. Ask yourself, “What do I want to manifest in the next six months?”

  5. When you have several intentions, write them down on small pieces of paper.

  6. As these intentions come into being, place them into a container. In 6 months, open your container to review what dreams you manifested.

You can also do this ritual at every New Moon and collect manifested dreams throughout the year. At the end of the year, open your container to review what dreams you manifested.

 Releasing Ceremony:

This ceremony is best done out doors, or indoors using a fireplace. An indoor option is also offered in the instructions.

  1. Light a fire outdoors in a grill or fire pit, or use an indoor fireplace.

  2. Light candles and clear the space by smudging sage, or by noise through clapping or ringing a bell 3 times.

  3. In silence, settle into your body by taking a deep breath in and exhale slowly.

  4. Allow yourself to let go of the day’s thoughts and worries.

  5. Ask yourself, “What do I want to release? What does not serve me?” This can include habits or patterns that get in the way of manifesting your intentions.

  6. On small pieces of paper write down what you want to release. At the end of each item write “Be Gone!”

  7. Read each item out loud (or to yourself silently) and toss them, one by one, into the fire. If indoors you can use a fireplace, use s shredder, or cut into small pieces using scissors.

  8. Give gratitude for new beginnings and the light that is on its way.

 Welcoming the Light Ceremony:

  1. Place one large unlit candle at the center of the table, and several smaller unit candles (such a tea light candles) near you.

  2. Turn off all the lights and spend a moment in darkness, as a symbol of honoring the gifts of darkness and welcoming the light.

  3. Light the large candle and offer a blessing.

  4. One by one, light each small candle from the main flame and place each one in a circle or spiral around the main one.

  5. When all candles are lit, give gratitude for new beginnings and the light that is on its way.

Are you a woman who would you like deeper, more personalized guidance in letting go of what no longer serves you, and bringing in more of what you do want into your life? I offer 1:1 coaching programs designed to help women release emotional blocks, and step into their power and voice. To apply go to:!strategy-session-request/s57j1

A New Edeavor

It has been a long, strange, and winding path to here. Here being the place where I step out of many comfort zones to birth my coaching practice.

I live in Santa Cruz, which is basically the land of people who work for themselves. Masseuses, Consultants, Dietitians, Trainers, and, oh yes, COACHES!!

I am in my second year of earning my hours towards state licensure as a therapist, and although I could start doing the work of finding private practice clients as an intern, I decided to shift things a bit into the coaching field.

In coaching there is  more freedom in what I want to offer and how I offer it. Freedom is something that is essential to me, so coaching feels like the perfect fit to finally putting together all the experiences I have gained in my own healing journey.

This is what I am offering, a 4-month women’s program “Radiant Self-Care for Self Trust and Loving Relationships” where we work 1-1 to identify and clear limiting beliefs, deepen your self awareness, love for self-, and self-worth, identify what you want for your life, the needs that need to be met in order to move towards that life, and finally, the skills needed to take action!

The program incorporates assertive communication skills, transformational self-care practices, art and other forms of creativity, and tapping into natures rhythms for deep support.

For more information, check out my coaching website:

If you are on Facebook, you can find me there at:

Much Love!



You are More Than Your Experiences, Feelings, and Thoughts


It took approximately 41 years for me to understand that I am not my experiences, my feelings, or my thoughts.

Up until then, I truly believed that my experiences revealed to me, and everyone around me, the essence of who I was. Failed endeavors proved that I was a failure. Broken relationship proved that I was unlovable. Poor decisions proved that I was incompetent.

This belief system primed me for believing that everything I thought and felt was also a description of me. “I’m a loser”, “I suck at __________”, “I will never be able to ___________”. Everything was a muddled mess of negative thoughts and perceptions about seemingly negative experiences. The process of pulling them apart was gradual, painful, and untimely liberating.

Psychologically speaking, I was living from a place of Cognitive Distortion aka Unhealthy Thinking Patterns. There are several common Cognitive Distortions, that most people use. For example: “Blaming” others (“You hurt my feelings”), and thinking in “Shoulds” (I really should go to the gym”) are super common, however, living from these places in a chronic way that impairs your happiness and/or relationships, is sign that you may need support in breaking out of these thinking patterns (see above).

Other common Cognitive Distortions are:

Seeing only the negative and can include magnifying the negative.

“Black and White” Thinking
Seeing thing as either/or, for example: good or bad, worthy or not worthy, fair or unfair.

Making a general conclusion based on a single piece of evidence.

Jumping to Conclusions
Assuming we know what someone is thinking, or going to do. Assuming we know hat is going to happen. Usually doing so based on past experience or from a place of fear.

Believing that what others do or say is a reaction to them. For example: A friend is in a bad mood and you think it has something to do with you. Personalization can also be compare ourselves to others trying to determine self worth.

Emotional Reasoning
Believing what we feel must be true. “I feel stupid, so I must be stupid.”

Being able to identify what kind of Cognitive Distortion you are having is the first step in changing the habit. How can you change what you can’t even name, right? Knowing that my funky thinking actually had a name helped me understand that it was a common enough pattern to be categorized and written about. In other words, it wasn’t just me.

Simply challenging these Cognitive Distortions was’t enough for me thought. I had to dig deep, and do a lot of emotional healing through re-parenting. Although I still have these thoughts from time to time (as I said, most people do), they are no longer behind the wheel, driving my life into a pit every change it could get.

For more more examples of Cognitive Distortions: visit:

If you are finding that these thinking styles are negatively impacting your life. I highly encourage you to hire a counselor, or purchase any workbook for depression, self-esteem, or anxiety, or do an online search for: “challenging cognitive distortions” to yield several resources. One I really find helpful is:

Shame Relapse


It’s safe to say that most of my life has been lived from a pessimistic viewpoint.  Glass half-full was my default and Murphy’s Law governed my outlook. I strongly believed that optimistic people were living in a fantasy world and sorely needing a swift kick in the ass from reality. My ever increasing depression and anxiety further supported these ways of thinking. After going through a significant amount of emotional healing, I found myself slowly growing out of my pessimism. My growing belief in possibility and increased sense of trust are traits I could never have imaged having. From time to time I am surprised at how optimism has grown on me, or, how I have grown into it.

Then came last weekend.

I received a huge reminder that emotional healing and being optimistic does not mean that life suddenly ceases to have it’s pains and discomforts. Nor does it mean that depression and anxiety never come ‘round for a visit. Although I have experienced this at relatively mild and manageable levels, last weekend truly threw me into a pit I haven’t sat in for quite some time.

I was over-my-head deep in what Brené Brown calls a shame (shit) storm. Early Sunday morning, someone offered to fix a dent in my car. It was very unexpected and I suddenly found myself paralyzed with uncertainly and the inability to say “no”. I didn’t feel a big bad “NO!” but I felt icky in my stomach. There were three men, and the main guy talked fast and didn’t fully hear what I was saying. I was worried about being mean to these strange men who were offering to do something “nice”. I was simultaneously scared of how they would react if I said “no”. When all was said and done, the “work” they did resulted in my car being worse off than when they touched it. I was mortified.

For the rest of the day I oscillated between absolute shame and self-punishment, to acceptance and letting go. In my deepest shame I berated myself for being a stupid idiot who deserved what happened and can’t be trusted with her own life. I was dumb, a sucker, a jackass, and much much worse. These thoughts seeped into other parts of my life where I doubted my ability to do my job and feared I had lost everything I worked so hard for. I was certain I fucked up my whole life – again!

Then a slight wave of my optimism would glide through. Like a wisp of smoke I could hear and feel “You’re okay now, this will pass”. Then I’d plunge into complete self-hate again.

I reached out to a safe friend, and as we talked I wept like I haven’t wept in a few years. It was scary to cry at this depth. I feared for my life, and my emotional health.  I thought this was the beginning of the end, and here is where my emotional and physical life would unravel.

After processing it with my friend that day, and further processing this with my therapist today, I came to find enough ground to feel like myself again. My therapist gave me a reality check that con artists are good at what they do and that many intelligent people get scammed. Although I hate having been scammed, the reality is, what she said is true. Their use of fast talk and positive demeanor are weapons they are skilled at using to manipulate others.

I also learned that my childhood experiences of being silenced when scared and uncertain were repeated that Sunday morning. My mother often reacted to my fears and uncertainty as: inconvenient, embarrassing, a sign of weakness, a sign of stupidity, and intolerable. When scared or uncertain, she would abandon me emotionally by either ignoring me, yelling at me, or hitting me. I understand now that she was too emotionally fragile herself to handle my emotional needs. But as a kid, I learned to believe that being scared and uncertain was a personal flaw that yielded punishment.

Last Sunday my inner kid was uncertain, and wanted more time to think about the situation. Instead of stepping up like an adult to handle the situation, I did to myself what my mother often did to me when I was scared and/or uncertain. I abandoned her and left her there to deal with grown up stuff. How could she possibly be skilled enough to deal with three grown con-men?

In my counseling session, I made amends to my little girl and acknowledged her wisdom in needing things slowed down when I’m uncertain about making decisions. I told her that I can listen to her needs, because she knows my needs best.

I also came to realize that I really need my inner bitch in my life more. In an earlier post I wrote about understanding how she helps me make time for myself. My bitch is my protector who is loving, strong, and bold.She is the mother bear I never had and the mother bear to my little girl.  In making an agreement between my little girl, protector (bitch), and myself, to show up, listen, and take action, I am re-parenting myself and continuing to heal old dysfunctional family patterns.

Does this mean I will never be scammed again, or be taken advantage of? Probably not. Con artists are good at what they do, and continue to become more sophisticated in their skills. What will be different is I will be more integrated, more attuned to myself, and more loving and forgiving of myself. I will also continue to reach out to safe people because i can;t do this alone.

Although I would not want to repeat the depths of the darkness I was in this weekend, I realize that my friend was right about this unfortunate event being an opportunity to heal a deep core belief that no longer serves me. I have certainly paid more for “transformational workshops” that yielded less results, so I suppose it all works out.

After some more ground settled under me today, I posted this on my Facebook page as a reminder of the importance of listening to that little girl who knows so much more than I gave her credit for.

I cannot say it enough. How you treat kids is how they will treat themselves in adulthood. Not just the nice parts, but the not very nice parts too. ALL OF IT!!!

In our childhood, we hold the clearest awareness of our needs. Because we ARE children, we don’t have the adult capacity to communicate these needs in a way adults always understand. All too often, adults criticize and/or shut down kids when they are trying (in their kid ways) to communicate their needs. Kids often hear: “You’re crazy!”, “What’s wrong with you?!?”, “What do you want?!”, “Stop bothering me!”, “That’s dumb/stupid!”, “You’re not scared/angry/sad/etc.!”. Get the picture?

Over time, with these words hurled at us along the way, we learn to doubt our needs, and our intuition becomes muffled. As adults, we try to do what’s “right” instead of what we need. We criticize ourselves for even having needs! We may even judge others for having needs. To twist it even further, we judge ourselves harshly when we fuck up, because we didn’t listen to our intuition or attend to what we needed. How could we when the adults who raised us taught us that our intuition was: crazy, wrong, inconvenient, a problem, embarrassing, etc.

I know I’m not just talking about myself here. Right?

Yeah, so, listen to that kid inside you. They have wisdom you have long forgotten. Stop trying to be so grown up, and let’s grow in. Grow into ourselves, and into our lives.

Growing Edges and Traps

Image Source:

Image Source:

Over the last few weeks, I have been sitting with and working through a growing edge about my subconscious set-up where, no mater what I do, I always end up wrong. At first, I knew it’s was a growing edge because I didn’t have the words to describe what I was facing. I get fleeting clarity, but as quick as it arrives, it dissipates. In short, I get confused about what I’m trying to process.

Having gone through this before, I know enough to just be aware of it, be with it, and let it unfold in it’s own time. I also know that it is a rooted and core issue, so I have some ego resistance to seeing it. My ego survival depends on the construct I am trying to work with, so I have a very subconscious resistance that blows confusion into my brain when I try to look at it.

As the days passed, I sat with the slight understanding of my confusion. I kept my feelers out for experiences that might make things clearer. Last week, I was at work and sat on the arm of the couch looking at my books on the shelf. My eyes set on the book “There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate“, by Cheri Huber. Now, I bought this book in 2010 but never read it. For whatever reason, on this day in 2015, it just felt right to thumb through it. As I did, I stumbled on something that shook me and brought more clarity to this growing edge I’m on.

“We learned behaviors when we were very young in order to survive. We were taught to hate those behaviors and to see them as signs of our badness. Yet we must keep doing them because they still mean survival to us. And we hate ourselves for doing them.”
The Trap:
I believe I must be this way to survive.
I hate myself for being this way.
self hate = survival
survival = self-hate

I brought this reading to my counseling session today, and found myself in tears as I read it out loud. I began to feel more clarity in just how scared I was to step into this new awareness. The awareness that, when I want something more, something that matches my deepest needs, I feel like an ungrateful spoiled brat.

As a kid, all my material needs were met, but I recall having  a deep longing for emotional connection, being seen, accepted, and understood. I learned that what I wanted was too much, and I was ungrateful for all the things my parents worked and sacrificed for. Of course, as a child I did not have the words for this, so I learned to stuff these needs and feel bad that I even wanted them.

Now, as a grown woman, when I experience this need for emotional connection, being seen, accepted, and/or understood, I immediately make myself wrong, even though a part of me knows I deserve what I want. This fires up especially bright when what I have is good on the surface, but lacks a deeper need. Then I make myself wrong for not wanting to settle for the good that I do have.

This is my growing edge, and it feels like all the healing that has come before this has been leading me to this moment. At this moment, I want and need more, specifically emotional connection, emotional safety, and being understood. I also feel like a ungrateful spoiled brat for wanting this.

As I left my counseling session, feeling lighter having unpacked some deep family shit, I was reminded that I need not do anything right now. I simply need to be present with this duality of wanting more, then feeling like shit because i want more, and look it in the face. At least now, I can see it more clearly.

Day 3: Bitch Explored

bitch 2

During Day 3 of the “Rise Up Break Through – Blast Off 2015” workshop, we practiced Circling, “an organic, in-the-moment interpersonal process“. During one of our Circling exercises, a few people reflected to me that I have a very grounding presence. I found this curious as, during the weeks leading up to the event, a few people also mentioned this about me as well. Although I very consciously ground myself when I am in groups so that I can offer this to others when they are deep in emotion, a different part of me always feels a bit surprised that it is felt by others. For the most part I am surprised as I feel like a bitch on most days.

Bleeaachhh! I hate that word, but in being honest, I must say that I usually feel like a bitch because I like to spend time alone, can be very impatient, and can be very judgmental or critical when stressed. When I mentioned this during the Circling exercise, the people in our circle were really surprised. Their impression of me was “grounded”, my impression of me was “bitch”, even though my grounding was intentional. Something about being quiet and not extroverted feels stand-off-ish, and triggers my sense of feeling like a bitch.

Initially it felt strange to be so honest. Is this really what I am choosing strangers to know about me? That I am secretly a bitch? However, I was a bit surprised that most of me felt relieved to say it out loud. Maybe it was a relief to bring it out into the light instead of hiding it out of fear that others may discover that part the hard way.

Afterwards, I was reflecting on how the bitch shows up in my life. I have kept her in the shadows for so long, that letting her be known put me in a place to wonder what her role is in my life. In questioning this I realized that, on the downside, I can use presence, grounding, and  holding space, to mask my bitch. On the positive end, the bitch helps me hold space for myself, in the same way that I hold space for others. She protects what I need and makes sure I practice self-care.

Although she can be impatient and judging, I appreciate her strength and ability to help me stand up for myself, and give myself what I need. In accepting this part of myself, I now realize that I truly want the bitch to be redefined and renamed. Sure I could keep the word bitch and redefine it. However, I want her to be truly integrated and transformed. I think she deserves it.

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