Embodied Heart

Questing After Validation: Refreshing an Unquenchable Need for Approval

Are my blog statistics improving? How many likes did I get on Instagram? What can I do to increase my Twitter follower count? As of late, I’ve found myself desiring more validation from other people: more likes, more followers, more engagement. Every time I get positive feedback, however, it feels like it only increases rather than slakes my thirst. As I contemplate the unmet needs I am experiencing, I perceive myself as lacking two forms of validation and compassionate witnessing. For today’s #EmbodiedHeart post, I’ll be describing how I am being called to more fully provide necessary care and attention to myself as well as to go deeper in my sharing with others.

Self-Validation

There are parts of myself with whom I struggle to empathize; I conceptualize them to be needy children and rebellious teenagers. The children have often cried as they express fear or boredom. They’ve whine for attention and clung to me in moments where my focus was elsewhere. They have desperately searched for compassion in my eyes and have often found it absent. I’ve parented them in the ways I was parented: screaming, stifling and shaming them into submission.

My interactions with my dog, more than any other experience, have taught me how to respond to the needs of my inner little selves with more kindness. On the rare occasions where I yell at him, seething with rage in my voice, he physically shakes and appears frightened. Within seconds, I am brought to my knees with tears in my eyes, able to see in his reaction the reflection of my inner children who hide from me in terror as I did when I veiled my vulnerabilities from my own parents. He and I reconcile and another layer of compassion covers and soothes the disemboweled heart I was left with as a childhood trauma survivor. I still have much to do, however, to improve my inner gaze of compassionate witnessing when life becomes overwhelming.

The teenagers are my strongest critics. They see where I am flawed and delight in reminding me of these gaps in my façade. They act as protectors, silencing me through their mocking smirks lest I attract outward derision. Their contempt for me is paper-thin; it serves to cover their own insecurities and wounds. The more I allow them to have their ridicule and carry on anyway, the less effective it becomes in blanketing them from the inner work of healing in which I am engaged. Many of my talents lie with them; they have both the passion of youth and the eagerness of young learners necessary to engage inwardly and outwardly in reforming and mending the fractures of my heart. When I praise them instead of rejecting them, I see bright faces shining in pride, their cloaks of scorn tattering as they select capes of strength and hope.

Naked Validation

One of my most finely-honed skills as an individual is being able to appear to be both deep and open in how I connect with others without genuinely risking very much. Most people who meet me would describe me as authentic and direct in my communication. These are hard-won characteristics that stand in contrast to my experience in my family of origin. Although true, they belie the shrouds with which I cloak myself to avoid true detection and validation of the weaker and more child-like parts of self whom I conceal from onlookers.

In service of shadowing my scars, I have carefully crafted my blog to be general in ways that allow me to remain relatively anonymous and have avoided topics such as sex that are particularly difficult for me to discuss. I find that parts of myself are craving being seen through and through, although most of me is aware of the potential fallout of mingling, for instance, my professional and personal lives. I strongly suspect that my drive to stack up accomplishments in terms of readers and replies is a call to go deeper, rather than to cast a wider net.

My intention in terms of how I will address this need is to begin a new project, one in which I play at the layering of garments with which I hold myself secure. I have started writing a full-length non-fiction book in which I anticipate increases in vulnerability and fewer generalities in my sharing. I have discerned a clear message from Goddess that the purpose of the book is simply to create it; in other words, it is not about scribing a tailored and easily marketable product. Rather, it is meant to be an act of gifting of myself, including contributions by the little selves from whom I typically hide, as an offering for whomever She intends as its recipients.

There is a garden growing of my spiritual leadership. Some of the shoots will inevitably die off. Others may produce flowers or fruit. A particular tree or shrub may gain a long-lasting foothold. My traditional method of care-taking the products of my soul has been to over-plan, over-weed and to stand over each plant obsessively shielding it from any potential threats; these acts unintentionally block out the sun and the rain and pluck out potential growth at the bud. My relationship with Goddess is enabling me to settle myself at garden’s edge, intervening as minimally as needed and allowing to come to full bloom all that She has seeded.

Regarding the ways in which you share of yourself publicly, how vulnerable are you, and how does the level of vulnerability you reach square with your inner needs? What are the advantages and disadvantages of withholding aspects of who you are from scrutiny? What activities are you undertaking that may require more of you to surface in ways that allow others to see through your normal shields? Lastly, how do you direct your seeking of inner and outer validation?

Embodied Heart

Releasing the Narrative

Everything was planned out. Flying high in an aerial yoga class. Sporting a new haircut, shopping and hitting the town. Sacred ritual and intuitive creativity time. My vacation was going to be epic! About 48 hours into it, “disaster” hit in the form of a positive flu test. Based on the myriad of bodily dysfunction which ensued for the next week and counting, I can safely say I’ve never come down with the actual flu before. All the good times I was going to have, the stories I was going to write into my life experiences, had to be tossed or at least postponed into choppy, disjointed future moments. Building from this experience of having to rewrite the script, for today’s #EmbodiedHeart post, I want to spend some time with the themes of how we narrate our lives, and, in doing so, will focus on telling the story as it is, rather than as it should have been or should be.

I feel confident, likely too confident, that I know the story I would like to tell of my life. The one that would wrap up the loose ends and redeem the broken parts of myself. I feel shame and a desire to hide though, when I start to consider the content of the real story. Not solely because of failures on my part, but also because the deep wounds of my childhood are still ragged and visible to anyone with an eye for such things. I am not healed and all is not forgiven. Justice has not been served.

What harm it does a person, when betrayal throws off any veneer of civility and cracks any illusion of someone being in charge. Especially when the soul-shattering betrayal comes first, not after a long string of snapshots filled with love and protection to build up one’s defenses. I knew from a very young age that no one was going to shield me from pain, and that terrible things happen in the dark.

The themes of my life—meagerness of love, betrayal, self-preservation and reinvention—seem to lend themselves to a never-ending cast of characters. I dig into a relationship, hopeful that it will meet my deeper needs. The inadequacy of it to do so eventually starts to make itself known in the majority of cases. In time, I choose myself over the relationship, and we are on to the next casting session. I will always choose myself in the end, because I have seen time and again the destruction that results from favoring the relationship over one’s wellbeing.

The parts of the chapters I want to highlight and foot-note and dog-ear are the ones where I don’t have to choose; the person with whom I’m in relationship and I are well-suited enough for both of our needs to be met to a substantial degree. For some reason, I continue to expect every new entry, each new buildup of an individual with whom I think there could be a connection, to be worthy of reading and re-reading. But life doesn’t work like that. Sometimes we spend years writing and crossing out the same few lines, thinking that if we just say it right or pause at the correct moment, it will flow perfectly, when in fact that particular association was never going to be worthy of more than a passing mention.

It seems easy in hindsight to want to edit, to go though and delete or redirect entire storylines, but the only way the story can ebb and flow and has any chance of building to a moral or crescendo or at least a worthy conclusion is to recount it as honestly and promptly as we can. In my case, I have fallen far short on this account. I denied the abuse I suffered for a few decades, burying it in the recesses of my mind while attempting to keep my family as a part of my lived experience. I always knew the story wasn’t a pleasant one, but the degree to which there were skeletons in the closet proved quite significant. And, at least at this point, I am the only one interested in cataloging the bones.

Many of my interactions hold this thread. Whether it is (on my part) intellectual arrogance or intuition or both, I tend to believe I can see right through most people I meet to perceive the cracks in the façade they present. The unpressed seam or askewed collar of their narrative glares at me, begging to be noticed. I then wish in earnest for them to tell the story as it actually is, not as their defenses would have it rehearsed, and feel like my efforts are wasted when they repetitively turn the same three pages they’ve convinced themselves are worth reading.

Denial of the nature I faced in my family and through which I had to pierce, once deflated, has proven intolerable. These are the people I want in my storyline—people who see themselves and their situation for what it is, and whose acceptance of it spurs them, as it does me, to both tell the truest story possible of their past and to write into being the most hopeful and evolved version of themselves. To what extent does the metaphor of a narrative connect with how you conceptualize your life experiences? Whose narrative are you proud to recite? What signs let you know someone belongs as a central character in your story? How do you respond with compassion to your own or other’s denial?

Embodied Heart

Liebster Award 2018!

fullsizeoutput_f2e

Goddessing From the Heart has been nominated for the Liebster Award. Thanks to Josephine from Above the Storm for her nomination! She has an informative and innovative blog about mental health including topics related to anxiety and depression.

 

Nominee rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog in your post.
  2. Answer the questions provided for you, and come up with 5-10 more questions for your nominations.
  3. Give the award to 5-10 other bloggers who you appreciate.
  4. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them for the award.
  5. Link to this blog post https://theglobalaussie.com/liebster-award-2018/ by the Global Aussie in your Liebster Award blog post.
  6. Head back to https://theglobalaussie.com/liebster-award-2018/ and leave a comment with your Liebster Award blog post link.

 

Josephine’s questions for me:

  • Why did you create your blog?
    I wanted to be able to inspire and support trauma survivors. As a practitioner of Earth-based Goddess spirituality, I wanted to incorporate spirituality and healthy living practices into my reflections on trauma and mental health.
  • What other talents or hobbies do you have? I enjoy photography and nature observation. I love to cook. I’ve attempted ceramics and cake decorating classes as well.
  • What are your 3 favourite movies? I love anything by Wes Anderson. I am also a fan of the LOTR series.
  • What is the best thing about being you? I’m always exploring new ideas and growing as a person.
  • If you could do anything with your life, regardless of money or life circumstance, it would be… I’ve just started to dig into the concept of permaculture and homesteading. So, I’ve been spending far too much time on Zillow looking at 100 acre plots of land in the country to which I wish I could move. Ultimately, I would love to be able to live a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle while hosting retreats for women that incorporate spirituality and healing and writing non-fiction books.

I nominate:

Spiritsong Dreamweaver

The EcoFeminist

A happy organic vegetarian journey

The Life of a Raven

High Noon Journal

Questions for nominated bloggers to answer:

  • What has been the most surprising aspect of blogging for you?
  • How do you find inspiration for your blog?
  • What is something new you are learning about or interested in lately?
  • How central is being a blogger to who you are as a person? Is it a hobby, a lifestyle, or a career for you?
  • What is a goal that you have for yourself in 2018, either as a blogger or personally?
Embodied Heart

Blogger Recognition Award

Thanks to Riya at High Noon Journal for nominating me for my first blogging award! I love the energy of her blog and the honesty she brings to her life experiences. Her writings include reflections on being in her 20’s, spirituality, travel, personal growth and lots more! She’s also quite active as a blogger which inspires me to write more often.

award

This award is the most widely used and very popular among bloggers, both new and old. This award is all about fostering growth and recognition, community feeling and prosperity. It encourages new bloggers to showcase their blogs and to support and share fellow bloggers’ creations as well, to get valuable advice from experienced bloggers and share their own experiences. Thus everyone nominated are encouraged to participate in it, though the choice to participate or not lies solely with individuals. This is a lovely initiative to foster community feeling among fellow bloggers.

The Purpose of My Blog

I’ve shared my blog’s purpose previously. I haven’t shared as much about why I chose to start it when I did. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I’ve spent a lot of my life staying quiet about what happened to me. In the last few years, I’ve grown in my spiritual practice and found my home within Goddess Spirituality. This development created a desire within me to connect with others who have had traumatic experiences and who are interested in spirituality, psychology, personal growth, creativity and nature. I’ve been blogging for about 5 months and have found it to be a rich and rewarding experience.

Reflections on Blogging and Blogging Advice

My Goddessing from the Heart and my Sagewoman blogs are the first blogs I’ve ever written. I never anticipated the positive, encouraging community that I would find on WordPress. It has definitely motivated me to continue to write. Contributing to my blog here has motivated me to make personal changes in other areas of my life; I’ve laid plans to decrease how much overtime I am working in order to achieve a healthier balance.

In terms of advice to bloggers who are starting out, I would definitely recommend pacing yourself. I had a stretch where I was writing each day and I knew I couldn’t produce quality work if I kept up at that intensity. I also think that taking time to read other blogs and write feedback to fellow writers is key; the more my work on my blog feels like a conversation, the more motivated I become. Lastly, something you may relate to if you’ve been blogging for a while is that I’ve found blogging to be a therapeutic experience when negative events happen to me. I think I’ve had some personal growth because the nature of my blog is personal but not particularly specific; I don’t share where I went today or the specific people with whom I interacted. When I have a stressor and blog about it, it pushes me to move beyond complaining about what happened to get to the root of what is driving my thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Real life holds a lot of inspiration!

My Award Nominees

1. Bird Flight: I’ve enjoyed reading about updownflight’s mental health recovery and viewing her nature photography.

2. Toni-Ann La-Crette: I’ve learned a lot from Toni-Ann; she’s an intuitive Tarot reader with a great sense of humor.

3. Inner Journey Events Blog: Della has been an inspirational source of witchy wisdom for me.

4. My Pretty Sydney: Maadz has an awesome lifestyle blog with beautiful nature photography.

5. Amanda’s Diary Pages: I take virtual tours of Northern England with Amanda’s travel writing.

6. Penny Heiple, Transformational Healing Facilitator: Penny does a fabulous job integrating science and bodywork.

7. Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver: She has become one of my go-to sources of guidance on pagan practices.

8. Surviving Childhood Trauma: I’ve been inspired as I read Shanon’s work journaling her recovery from CSA.

9. Where Spirit Stops: She writes about trauma recovery, pagan practice and has lots of cute Esty shop creations.

10. The Purple Hermit: Nikita shares great poetry and personal reflections on solitude.

To all who have been nominated, you may accept the award and write a post about it if you wish to do so. To all my readers, thanks for your readership and I hope you’ll take a moment to check out these blogs!

Award Rules

  1. Write a thank you section for the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Write briefly on what this award is all about.
  3. Give a brief description and your thoughts on how you started your blog and what’s it all about.
  4. Share your experiences in your blogging journey for fellow bloggers both new and experienced, to give valuable insights about your blogging efforts.
  5. And finally, nominate 10 of your favorite bloggers for the same and let them know by commenting in each of their blogs about their getting nominated by you.