connective elements healing

honoring creativity - restoring balance - embracing wholeness

By observing nature, ancient traditions explained all of existence through five elements.  

Connective Elements Healing aims to restore you to your true nature through five healing offerings -

BodyTalk, Coaching, Meditation, Reiki and Yoga. 

Filtering by Tag: Reflection

Blog #50: Turning the Page

Four and a half years ago, I set out to blog to cast the net of healing far and wide. Writing would serve as a medium to connect with folks unable to schedule a healing session with me. I intended to spotlight some of my best photographs emblazoned with inspirational quotes. An opportunity to share insights on mindful living and the healing modalities in which I’d been trained, I approached my blog with the firm boundaries I’d cultivated as a Social Worker. I thought I’d shy away from the personal. I was wrong.

To prepare for the milestone 50th entry that your eyes are now feasting on, I reread through the last 49 pieces. I was struck by my courage. It felt like reading the writing of a stranger. My process surprised me.

Brené Brown encourages that “owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do”. A cathartic release, these last 49 entries detail my unraveling, the process of owning my story and learning, bit by bit, to love myself more. This bold set of writing cast light upon many shadows. I wrote through transitions galore from a major surgery to the deterioration of my longest partnership to the loss of my mom from resolutions and retreats to travel through 11 countries. Aspects of my self and my life hidden away for so long were unveiled.

Highlights from my favorite compositions include:

♥    Layers Healed, Layers Revealed which represents a turning point and brings me to tears anytime I

reread it. The tenderness and ownership here cut to the core.

♥     Code Blue for the sheer vulnerability it took to share and the exercise at the end that promotes the

realization of our unbound nature.

 

♥    Soul Cry that stands out as my favorite poem.

 

♥     I ♥ CAMBODIA which contains my most beloved pictures.

 

♥     Three Years Ago Today that I relish as one of the rawest of the many pieces about my mom.

 

♥     Sawubona – I See You, my most insightful post from Peace Corps service in South Africa, that

encourages self reflection and mirror work.

 

♥     My only recorded meditation to date, a lovingkindness practice, shared in Kindness is a Bridge.

 

♥    My first blog, How you Start Matters, which outlines practical intentionality for our every day lives. 

 

♥     The power of Krav Maga and tapping into your own Fighting Spirit.

 

♥     The recognition of growth in Holding Patterns which resonated with many people.

 

♥     Wisdom Within: Reflections on Silence, my third entry, the first in which I dipped my toe into the

vulnerability of telling my story.

 

♥     Winding my way through New Years’ practices in Illuminate 2016!

 

♥     Untangling fear and a prayer for ancestral forgiveness in I Saw the Light.

 

♥     Dissolution in the Desert which offers an awesome reflection on Vipassana retreats.

 

♥    My first writing in South Africa, Early Reflections, that unknowingly foreshadowed themes that

replayed throughout my Peace Corps service.

 

♥    Lessons in Receiving one of my most love-filled posts from South Africa.

 

♥    A representation of the full circle nature of life, The Gift of the Breath, which describes my feelings

on being accepted into the Peace Corps. I describe how I set out to “help” others and end up

being worked, much like this blogging process and my entire Peace Corps service.

 

The Other Side:  Connect with the Photo: Taken right at the end of a visit to Victoria Falls. Shot from the Zambia side looking towards Zimbabwe.

The Other Side: Connect with the Photo: Taken right at the end of a visit to Victoria Falls. Shot from the Zambia side looking towards Zimbabwe.

I’m heartened to recognize the healing that needed to happen in order to tell and share my story. I’m incredibly proud of this body of work.


I’m heartened by the healing that has happened which invites me to release the story.

 

I’m now ready for the next chapter. I’m open to crafting a new story. I’m honored to turn the page.

 

With the recent passing of Mary Oliver, many of her beautiful word have been shared. This poem, “The Journey,” invited me to pause. It feels like a fitting conclusion to Blog #50 and inspiration to truly turn the page:

 

The Journey

 One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.

 

 Thank you for walking with me as I create the closing chapters of my journey as a Peace Corps Volunteer here in South Africa and learn to tell a new story. ♥

 

The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the South African Government.

 

On BEing

2018 was complicated. In the first few weeks of the year, several of my friends passed away, others struggled with major illnesses and still others with catastrophic relationship issues. After a security incident, I was removed from my village at 3am one day at the end of January and facing my own set of medical challenges shortly after and another series three months later. As the months of 2018 passed, I felt a sort of anger building as the losses continued among people in my circle. Adding to the external experiences in which I felt like I was increasingly losing parts of myself, the resulting medication I was provided in June distanced me from positive emotions and prevented me from feeling joy for the remainder of the year. 2019 is the first year in the past 8 in which I haven’t started with a word or theme.

It wasn’t until three days ago, when I finally finished the 2018 portion of Unravel your Year that I realized the feelings I was grappling with and the difficulties I was having in letting go. Interestingly, when I reflected further on 2018, a different story was told.

In looking at my day planner at the events of the year, I recognized a bit more of the light 2018 had to offer including assimilating into a new community, a myriad of successful projects from Roots Tribe Yoga, Mother Bear, aerobics classes, a World AIDS Day event, gardening, a poultry project, trips that included travel to 4 new countries – Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique and visiting so much of South Africa. I suppose my 2018 Word of the Year, spacious, had one more gift to impart, to encourage me to take a step back. By making space, I was able to gain perspective and give myself, and 2018, a little grace and breathing room.

Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year and Find your Word are insightful tools I’ve used for the last four years. They’ve been a cathartic way to reflect, let go and intentionally step forward into the new energy of each new year. When I selected spacious as my word for 2018, I said, “I want[ed] to make space for the brave woman who is slowly rediscovering herself, her value and her place in the world.” Spacious was like a helpful friend reminding me I had choices, options and tools throughout these last twelve months.

In my 2017 writing about present, my word of that year, I unknowingly connected my words of 2017, 2018 and 2019 and provided sound advice that bears repeating: “I must allow myself to let go of the past to make space for the gifts of the present. I must stop clinging to the stories, to past achievements, hurts, relationships, traumas and histories to truly empty my cup and make room for the present. I must allow the feelings and emotions from the past to dissipate in order to be present for what’s here, in the present. It is so much more than mindfulness. It’s so much more than awareness of the present. It is about the ability to be, to truly be in the moment – to truly be present - to surrender to what is without expectation, without stories, without clinging to the past, without obsessively planning for the future. There is ease here, in its purest form. Once we empty ourselves of the clinging, of the constant energy of doing, of the gripping, the striving, the proving, we can truly rest, I can truly rest, and be open to the present.”

Illuminate served as “a beacon, inspiring my decision-making, casting light upon shadow and encouraging massive healing and release” in 2016, the first year I engaged in Susannah Conway’s Word of the Year.

The previous two years, Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map coached me to identify courageous, ease and happy as my core desired feelings inspiring healing and uprooting my entire life to travel through South East Asia. In 2013, balance and harmony encouraged my self care and provided me with necessary grounding through the unexpected loss of my mom, a scary diagnosis and the preparation for surgery the next year. 2012 was the first year I selected a theme for my year. I stretched physically and emotionally as I explored sewing, creative writing, photography, glass blowing, hip hop, aerial yoga and African drumming classes during the Year of Creativity. Choosing a theme or word for the year has been a powerful practice that I’m eager to continue.

BE : Connect with the photo - Susannah Conway’s Find your Word provides this mandala as an effort to commit to your word. I needed it ;)

BE: Connect with the photo - Susannah Conway’s Find your Word provides this mandala as an effort to commit to your word. I needed it ;)

As this next year will be one of transition in navigating my return to the States in a few short weeks, I crave many things from homemade pierogies to poke bowls, but what I crave most is to exist. I want to consciously reclaim lost parts of myself and construct new facets of me. Though the energy upon return to the US will be very yang and focused on doing, I just want to BE. My word for 2019 is BE.

I am excited to witness the ways in which this simple word works me and the means by which I will embody her. Susannah asks in Unravel your Year, “What could you do this year to bring more of your Word into your world?” I answered, “breathe more Ÿ pause more Ÿ trust.” Here’s to breathing, pausing, trusting and BEing more in 2019 ♥

 

Thank you for joining me as I write the closing chapters of this journey as a Peace Corps Volunteer here in South Africa.

 

 

 

The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the South African Government.