The Hazards of the Holidays

I felt relieved that the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in limited physical contacts with family and friends. It is already such traumatic times with the pandemic for everyone. But to my surprise, the trials and tribulations with family and friends still exist even if they are not in our physical presence.

On Christmas day, a friend texted me about getting together after the holidays. With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing, I have no intentions of gathering with family or friends until most people, including myself, have been inoculated with the vaccine, so I kindly reminded her of the pandemic and explained that the vaccine is soon on its way to us. Then, it would be wonderful to see her.

Unfortunately, instead of texting me directly, she group texted my entire contact list from my earlier group text three years ago when I shared my then new telephone number. Throughout the Christmas day, I receive puzzled and perplex texts from my other friends about her text. I wrote to my friend requesting that she text me directly and to please delete my three year old group text, so she doesn’t inadvertently text my entire contact list again. I explained that the list included my ex-husband and a close friend and her husband who are going through a contentious divorce that caused some upset. The group text included both the husband and wife.

After my friend initiated this group text, she went on radio silence when group text members responded to her text. I finally asked everyone to please delete the group text so we can stop this futile exercise taking time away from everyone’s Christmas day activities. Not once did my friend apologize about inadvertently initiating this group text, which in retrospective, I find it all somewhat amusing and funny. She could have notify the group text members of this error to end the multitude of subsequent responses. Instead, my friend felt I mistreated her by requesting that she please text me directly, and deleting my three year old group text message so as to avoid similar situations.

This just goes to show that drama with family and friends continue whether you are seeing them in person or not. During this pandemic, nerves are frayed and tempers are short, so I decided to take a step back. In situations of conflict, we can fuel the fire or let the flames die down. I have opted to let the flames die down, and hope bruised egos will mend. Then, I will try again another day. May you find peace with the hazards of the holidays. (Copyright 2020 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)

The Face of Mental Illness

I grew up with a mother who is paranoid delusional. Her mental illness permeated the entire family dynamics on every level. My family lived in fear of her violence and emotional abuse. She accused family members of attempting to kill/hurt her, and we were subjected to flying objects and physical violence from her almost daily. My mother was and is completely out of control, and refuses any mental health treatment as she does not believe she is ill. I have not had any one-on-one contacts with her since 1991.

As an adult, I have attracted countless mentally ill women into my life. I had several seriously mentally ill female supervisors, and many female friends with mental illness who refuse mental health treatment. I, myself suffered from PTSD, depression and general anxiety prior to 2011, but through therapy and counseling since I was 20 years old, and my intensive spiritual/emotional healing work since 2011, my mental conditions appear to have dissipated and healed. However, I continue to attract mentally ill women into my life who refuse to acknowledge their mental illness and refuse treatment which is worrisome.

I have begun to analyze my own behaviors around mental illness and specifically my childhood dynamics with my mother. As a child, my father convinced me that the family must somehow “fix” my mother. When I cut off contact with my parents in 1991 with the help of one of my therapists, my father said “you can’t leave us alone with your mother.” When I left my parents, my answer to my father was, “mom’s mental illness is not my responsibility.”

When I left my parents in 1991, a huge relief came over me because the responsibilities that I shouldered was finally gone. However, I continue to exhibit behaviors with other women of trying to “fix” or “save” them. It is ironic that leaving my mother did not “cure” me of my savior complex. Now, it is up to me to fix me.

Particularly with women, I exhibit the savior complex and behave overly responsible, but I also understand that I do not have the power to “fix” others. Now, with every female in my life, I am very conscious of my thoughts and actions around them. Am I trying to save her? Is it my responsibility to save her? Why am I trying to save her?

Because of my savior complex and overly responsible behaviors, I continue to attract mentally ill women into my life. I believe it is my own belief, thoughts and behaviors that is attracting these women. In my Reiki Therapy practice, I also practiced Spiritual Counseling, but decided that I am not prepared to do this work right now. Instead, I have pursued acupressure and reflexology to deal with physical ailments of my clients instead.

Hopefully, by living very consciously around this issue, mentally ill women will no longer find my behaviors attractive to them. It is not that I don’t support people with mental illness, but the manipulation, chaos, drama, conflict, and violence by those with untreated mental illness is too debilitating to and unhealthy for my life. May you find your path on your spiritual journey forward. (Copyright 2020 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)

Observing the Insidious Ego: the Reactions of the Mind and Body

In spiritual practice, we observe and control our thoughts within our Ego mind. Many practice meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. The Ego mind can be sneaky, and can operate unconsciously outside of our control. This is particularly true during this unprecedented viral pandemic within our lifetime that is completely outside of our control.

What I have observed within myself is the neurobiology of the brain that unconsciously controls our physical responses within our bodies when we experience fear. Within the past five months, I have felt agitation, anxiety, insomnia, sleep disturbances, lethargy, malaise, fatigue, and roller coaster of emotions. When the Ego mind experiences fear, the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated unconsciously within our bodies when adrenaline, and cortisol stress hormones are released, also known as “Fight or Flight” . The brain’s emotional center, the Amygdala also is activated, and we no longer operate within the Prefrontal Cortex where rational thought, decision making, and moderation of social behavior occurs. For these reasons, I have experienced these recent symptoms.

In addition to these neurobiological responses, the Ego mind also comes into play. The Ego mind deals with fear and trauma through suppression, repression, or expression. Suppression is the conscious pushing down of feelings. Repression is the unconscious pushing down of feelings due to guilt, shame, or fear over these feelings. Expression is the vented, verbalized, stated in body language, group demonstrations, or dumping of negative feelings onto others.

The Ego mind uses denial and projection as part of suppression, repression, and expression. Denial is used to avoid reality because it is outside of our control and too difficult to face. Projection is believing feelings we experience belong to others. The Ego mind then finds justifications to reinforce these projections. Blame is then placed on people, events, things, political and social conditions, etc. I have observed this within myself, that the fear I experience is the fault of the government, politicians, the media, and justify this by pointing to the poor job of our government, and inconsistent media coverage, etc.

In fact, this fear is within me caused by repressed and suppressed fears from earlier in my life, and the current viral pandemic is merely a trigger of this fear within. One way of determining where the fear or negative emotion lies is by observing who is reacting to the situation. For example, if a disagreement arises between two people, observe who is upset, yelling, melting down, and acting out. Whoever is reacting negatively, the fear or other negative emotions lies within them. The disagreement is only a trigger and that individual Ego mind’s justification to release these negative emotions.

This is why spiritual and emotional healing work is so critical during this viral pandemic, and why we must be vigilant in observing our Ego mind and its reactions to what is happening in our world. Please see Observing Ego Practice to help you with your spiritual practice. Healing begins with us, and when we become aware of what is really happening, we can help our world heal its divisions and conflicts. May you find healing and peace within during these difficult times. (Copyright 2020 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)

Explaining Fear and Denial During the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic

I am not a specialist in psychology, neurobiology, epidemiology, infectious disease, or virology, but I earned a bachelor’s degree in general science and biology, and am constantly learning from experts who have devoted their lives to these subjects. Many Americans deny there is a Coronavirus pandemic occurring, many deny this virus can kill humans (we recently lost a parent to Covid-19), many deny that face masks and social distancing can prevent contracting this virus, and many claim there is a conspiracy by the government and/or media about this virus.

However, other countries who are well prepared for this pandemic are beginning to return to a normal life, such as Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Uruguay, Switzerland, just to name a few. Why is that? Why are Americans focusing on denial while other countries are moving forward to recovery?

Firstly, the U.S. government was unprepared for this pandemic while other countries after earlier SARS and MERS virus outbreaks began preparing for this foreseeable novel Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Secondly, when the pandemic spread to the U.S., the government did not provide a consistent message and accurate information to Americans because the novel Coronavirus is new and unknown about its effects on humans. Now, the American public in fear and trepidation are coming up with their own brand of denial and conspiracy.

Why is denial and conspiracy theories happening in the U.S.? Fear caused by the Coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis unconsciously stimulates the sympathetic nervous system causing “fight or flight” response within our bodies, including increased adrenaline, cortisol stress hormones, and blood to the muscles. The Amygdala, the emotional center of the brain is activated, instead of the Prefrontal Cortex, where rational thought, decision making and moderating social behavior occurs.

While within the Amygdala of the brain, the brain responds emotionally without rational thought, reasonable decision making, or moderating social behaviors. At this point, the human mind can unconsciously repress traumatic events or consciously suppress feelings of fear through denial and projection.

Denial is the way the mind copes with events outside of our control, and projection is believing feelings we are experiencing belong to others. During projection, others become the enemy, and blame is place on people, events, things, weather, political and social conditions, ethnic groups, foreigners, etc. For example, If I feel afraid, it is because others are doing this to me, or I am not afraid, only others are scared. The mind also finds justifications to reinforce this projection, such as conspiracies.

Once we understand why we are denying and creating conspiracies about the reality before us, and we begin to let go of this repression or suppression of our feelings from fear. We begin to directly address the fear within us, instead of blaming the fear caused or created by others outside of us. Meditation, Reiki therapy, yoga, acupuncture, spiritual work and counseling can help to ameliorate the body and mind’s responses to fear, and then true healing may begin. May you find healing during the Coronavirus/Covid-10 Pandemic. (Copyright 2020 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)

Grief and Loss during the Coronavirus Crisis

Grief and loss is a human response to attachment to people and things, and it is a natural response for all humans. During the Coronavirus crisis, this is particularly true when our loved ones may become ill or die from Covid-19. Rituals are created in each culture to help humans mourn our losses. However, during the Coronavirus crisis, funerals are not permitted or advised, so we must individually mourn our losses in isolation.

During this crisis, because the spread is common among family members with whom we interact, more than one member of the family may become ill or die during this crisis. We had a death of a parent in our family, and I could not physically attend the burial and no funeral service took place. This means no cultural mourning was available to allow us to grieve as a family.

This grieving has triggered my past losses, as well as the loss of friends from no contacts with them. Two close friends never returned my calls or texts for over four months, even after I texted them about the loss of a family member. I have decided to cease following up with them. Letting go is a difficult process and I must grieve now for this loss too.

This week has been a week of grieving for me. When I set the intention to let go, and cried deeply, I felt this amazing release in my body. My shoulders, back, and neck were very sore and achy from holding in all the pain and loss. I know I must release this pain, because long term grief can harm the immune system, and cause heart attacks, cancer, tumors, ulcers, anxiety, depression, and suicide. I believe I suffered from grief and loss that I never released as a child.

Another helpful action I took this week was to get off Facebook. I informed my FB friends to contact me alternatively if they need to reach me. This has had a wonderful effect on my overall well being. Drama, gossip, and chaos on FB is not intimacy or friendship. It is a false sense of closeness with virtual strangers, and this dynamic creates extremely toxic energy. We can feel and absorb others’ rage, anger, pain, distress, fear, and judgments. I am cleansing myself from this toxicity now.

Instead, I have been spending time nurturing my Hummingbird and Bee Zen garden, creating a new vegetable garden, and hiking in nature. Grounding with the earth, creating new life, and spending time in nature is the beginning of my cleansing process! May you find peace and harmony during the Coronavirus crisis. (Copyright 2020 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)

Flowers from my Zen Garden

Letting Go of Expectations

Letting go has always been difficult for me. I have a tenacious personality where I persevere to the end. This can be good and bad! I can accomplish many tasks and goals, but I don’t know when to quit. Because I also am an empath, I want to save people from harm and themselves, also known as the “Savior Complex”. These are my expectations of myself.

Despite that, I now am making very conscious efforts to let go of these expectations. This is particularly difficult now during the Coronavirus pandemic. There are many refusing to acknowledge this pandemic claiming it is fabricated or exaggerated; some of these people are my friends. Part of me wants to save them from becoming very ill with Covid-19, becoming hospitalized alone, possibly losing their jobs, and then their health insurance. They will lose everything they know and have now.

However, I also know that we cannot save others, but we only can save ourselves. The decision not to wear a face mask, and attending crowded bars, restaurants and events may result in devastating karmic outcomes. Nevertheless, these are their decisions, and not mine to make. I send prayers and positive thoughts to these friends, while I let go of trying to save them. I feel very sad, but it is a necessary path on my journey forward. (Copyright 2020 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved).