"My soul is a mixtape but no one owns a cassette player anymore."
I saw this quote and it inspired me to finally share something for the first time in awhile. Ridiculous, right? I am the corniest sap I know. And I am okay with this.
Anyways, I have been silent for awhile. Internally digesting all the bullsh*t I have put myself through over the last handful of years. I can truthfully say, I am still working on it. It being me. I mean, if we aren't continuously working on ourselves, are we even growing as individuals? Unfortunately, for me, I've made it a habit to put myself on the back burner, as many of us do, and dug this deep hole and catapulted myself into it.
For awhile, I made a home in this hole. Wallowing in misery, alone. There were times I managed to climb out, but only temporarily until the next obstacle kicked me back down. Needless to say, I've stood stagnant for far too long. So, I'm back again, strategically working on climbing back out, and praying this time I can fill this depression with fresh soil and grow something beautiful out of it instead.
You see, while I was down there, lying in defeat, I lost my spark, my purpose, and my drive. I started to question if my experiences were worthy of sharing and if I had what it took to stick out from the rest.
How did I get myself here? Where did all this doubt stem from? I used to believe it was important to be understood, especially by those whom I cared about. However, I realized I was only hurting myself by trying so hard to control how others viewed me. I knew this much to be true: We can only control our thoughts, our feelings, our own actions, and nobody else's. Yet it still hurt me to think that even those who I once held at such high regards may never get it, may never get me. I started to lose friends unexpectedly. Friends who I imagined I'd always have by my side; friends who, in the past, helped pull me out from under my darkest of spells, who I thought I knew but soon realized I did not. I felt betrayed, unworthy, and confused. Deeply hurt and confused.
Everything was one vast question mark. Thoughts overwhelmed my mind as I began to wonder if I was worthy, if I was capable, and if I would ever be good enough. As I am still working on loving me again, I am constantly reassuring myself that another's opinion on who I am, and who I am not, does not equate my worth. Not even those who were once pillars in my world. Through time, renovations are in order. And it is up to us to acknowledge what no longer works and needs fixing, and put in the work to rebuild, or revamp. We must learn when to let go, how to heal from every type of heartache, and not judge ourselves for the time it takes to do so.
"You want release, not resentment. Elevation requires separation." - Mama Vida / The Almighty Pineapple @readingsbyvida
"The most difficult part of a healing journey is something few people talk about: the ending of relationships that weren't meant for you." - Dr. Nicole LePera @the.holistic.psychologist
The friendships we lose, and relationships that have inevitably ended, teach us that nothing is permanent. People come and go, and we must let them. Though I may have an old soul and often feel misunderstood, I accept that this makes me stand out from the rest, and that it is not my soul purpose to prove myself to anyone, but myself. I know my purpose is valid. My life is worth living. My pain is worth sharing. And for as long as I know this, that is all that matters.
The following post is about mental health disorders and suicide. Please, read with caution as it is very descriptive and can possibly be triggering.
I think I often get the "eye roll" when I talk about these serious and controversial topics. I think that is partly why I enjoy talking about them. In my opinion, the topic of mental health disorders should be openly accepted and talked about more. Not only in your therapist’s office, but at home, with friends, and with each other. But how do you explain something, like depression, anxiety, or even thoughts of suicide, to someone who has no idea what it’s like to live through it? To someone who has no grasp on the reality of this hyper negative world? Especially during this day and age of social media running the world, and bullying leading those who are deeply hurting inside to end their lives because of it.
With sensitive topics such as this one, it is important to choose your audience wisely. You could be opening up to the wrong people and this could lead you into a deeper spiral. I think most who are suffering are afraid to open up and to be vulnerable enough to express their feelings on this level for good reason. However, for me, it’s a way to shed skin, share insight, to release, and maybe even save a life.. maybe even save my own.
I will only speak on my own demons, though I have openly had discussions with many others who also suffer with their own. It is important to know that everyone’s lows are all different. Mine? Over time, my lows had greatly formed into an evil much bigger and stronger than myself. I’d say, at the point I realized it’s highest capacity, I was ready to throw my hands up and give myself away to its grueling force. The pain I felt, mixed with the anxiety I suffer from, in those excruciating times is something most don’t usually get to fully express. These demons that can take over are so dark and so heavy, they can easily suffocate you with sadness, anger, confusion, and despair, making it often impossible to breathe. In fact, at times, it is just that; impossible to breathe. Impossible to think of having to. After years of battling my demons and finding myself in agony on the floor time and time again, eventually my depression shifted into thoughts of suicide.
I have struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life. And when the thought of breathing and living another day became so painful that I just wanted it to end, I knew I was in trouble. In my heart and mind, no one could understand the unmeasurable pain that I was going through. I cried out to all the right and wrong people: friends, family, strangers, ex-lovers, doctors, and even suicide hotlines. There were days I desperately wanted to save myself, but there were also days I did not.
For some of us who suffer from these thoughts and feelings, the last thing we want to do is put our burden onto someone else. Or maybe we try to. We try to cry out, and instead of a compassionate heart, we reach for the wrong hand. Or maybe, we have the right tools and support system, we're just stuck on repeat and don’t know why. Maybe, we don't have access to the proper help and care we need (proper healthcare, resources, and even trying to find a doctor who actually cares, all can be a major disappointment for many of us across the globe). Personally, I knew I had to make a decision. And these were my options:
Continue to suffer in agony
Make a change, which would lead to more agony
I never agreed with, nor fully understood, people who committed suicide until I reached my all-time low. When you reach the point where your chest is closing in and the pain feels like a lifetime of addiction that you are trying to withdrawal from before your heart stops, all you want to feel is relief. This is why many of us who make it this far end it here. We can’t bare another day or another moment feeling like we’re drowning in an endless wave of suffocating emotions. The pain is simply too much.
You may feel worthless. Alone. Broken. Rejected. The selfish, ungodly act of ending it all seems like the only way to peace. But it’s not. It is not the only way. Sure, choosing option one or two may seem grueling and unbearable, but as the poet Rupi Kaur once said, “what is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives?”— anything is possible.
I pushed through. Despite the days I could barely do anything but cry and sleep, I made a decision to live. I knew healing was going to take time and effort. I knew there would be more pain along the way, but I also knew I had a purpose in life and dying at the feet of my own demons was not one of them.
I share this with those of you who are still reading, who may care, who may need a reason to keep pushing forward, because every day I choose to wake up, but not every day do I make a solid effort to live. Living with mental health disorders is not easy. For those of us who suffer with them, it may be because of unhealed past trauma(s) or because it is hereditary and was passed down to us. Regardless, living with (a) mental health disorder(s) requires the desire and action to heal from within. And healing does not happen overnight. It takes time, patience, consistency, and vulnerability. It requires guidance (I personally believe talking to someone, ideally a therapist, is absolutely necessary). Often, we need some sort of medication to break the barrier. It is not an easy task to face our demons and find the will power to push forward, but you would not been given this life if you did not have a purpose.
I am incredibly grateful and lucky to be surrounded by a great support system, but not everyone is. That is why I open my heart up to those who feel alone because they are alone, and may be at their wit’s end. I hear you. I see you. I feel you. I love you. If you have the option to choose; please choose to heal and to live, because not everyone is so lucky to have that choice.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (for youth and adults): 1 (800) 273-8255
Suicide Hotlines in the US can be found here. International Suicide Hotlines can be found here.
*Though I am not a licensed health advisor of any sort, I open my heart up to anyone who may need someone to talk to. No judgement. No pressure. All love.*
The fact that this movement is even a debate, a question, a controversial issue, is mind blowing to me. It's no secret this year has pushed us all to the edge. It's no secret that the world, never mind America, was NEVER great, and will never be great until we come together in unity and LOVE.
I am beyond disappointed and disgusted with humankind. For centuries we have allowed the ego to rule and hate to take over. Fear has been passed down time and time again as an excuse for our ill behavior, allowing the privileged to bask in the comfort of their skin color and ignorance. Honestly, I'm not even sure I can refer to the ill actions and lack of effort of others as ignorance at this point, because we all have what we need in order to better understand and sympathize with others right at the tips of our fingers. Knowledge is power. And we no longer can use “inaccessibility” or “lack of resources” as an excuse to not stand up beside those who need the support. As a white female, I was raised to believe racism wasn’t a real issue. I watched my family racially stereotype, as they fed into fear and left me the scraps.
For so long, we were programmed to sweep racism under the rug, as if after slavery was abolished, our hands were wiped clean. As if racism and white privilege didn’t continue to live on in front of our very own eyes; as if we didn’t let it. Pretending like we don’t live in this corrupt system that picks and chooses what our children learn instead of teaching them ways to shatter glass ceilings and prosper with love is how they keep us contained. They want us to believe that segregation is necessary. As a country, we run on power and greed. And as long as we’re not personally being affected, it doesn’t matter, right?
To the white people who continue to let the 1% control you all, you are capable of stepping outside of your bubble and standing beside your black brothers and sisters. You do have a choice. Put yourselves in their shoes and imagine how they might be feeling. Is it not blatantly obvious as to why the senseless, violent murders over the countless years have caused an uproar? Enough is enough. We were not meant to live this way. In hate. In shame. In fear. I am so embarrassed of the color of my skin. I am so embarrassed of my ancestors. I am so incredibly embarrassed of the world we still live in. I cannot stress this enough, love is so much more powerful than hate. That is why people still choose fear. Because they are scared of fully letting go of what doesn’t actually serve their higher good and fail to understand the true purpose of life. The bottom line is this, we all bleed red. We can break the barrier that we allow to keep us segregated. The good we can accomplish together instead of selfishly continuing to try to outsmart our neighbor, while the government continues to outsmart us, is possible. But only through compassion. Only through change. Only through knowledge. Only by shattering our egos. Only through love. It’s okay to admit your wrongs and to make a choice to change for the better. It’s okay to put your friends and family in their place, to take a stand against racism and rise above fear. It's okay to cut people out of your life who choose to live in hate vs. love. You are not alone in this shift. Do not allow black people to suffer the consequences created by recycled habits built from the comfort of white privilege.
“You speak of justice, yet you are cruel to those most in need of your help.” – The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Peace is not the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice. We must assume responsibility for disturbing a false peace in order to establish a true justice.” – @CoryBooker “You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.” – Eliezar Yudkowsky “Unlearning white supremacy is deeply personal, existential, and difficult work. It often feels horrible.. It will shatter your ego and your belief system. Do it anyway.” – Sonia Gupta
Black Lives Matter does not mean that all lives don’t. But all lives won’t matter until black lives do.
I created a list of what I've found to be the most helpful ways to remove myself from stagnation. Speaking from experience, somethings are easier said than done, of course. Alas, if there is a will, there is a way. At least, that's what my mom always said..
Ways to un-stick yourself:
Take a deep breath in. & out
Talk to a nonjudgemental friend
Have a conversation with a stranger
Take some psychedelics
Visit somewhere new
Listen to your gut
Let's start from the bottom, up. When I say move I don't necessarily mean your location. I mean, get up and move your body. In whatever way you can. Whatever way feels best. Yoga, biking, hiking, working out, going for walk, a simple stretch, etc. What about those times we can't move because we're feeling too stuck? For those of you who suffer through mental illness, take depression for example, I know this can sometimes seem like an impossible task. I know because I suffer through this time and time again. So what then? I pray.
I don't need to pray to someone specifically. I just need to express my feelings as if I was talking to someone who didn't have the ability to verbally talk back. This was not something that came naturally to me, even being raised Catholic. However, I've found my voice through desperate times. I've found the most relief when asking for strength and clarity when I felt hopeless and stuck. You don't have to believe in a God, you just have to trust yourself and let go.
Letting go is something I sincerely struggle with. When I'm feeling super stuck, it's usually because I'm having a hard time with letting something or someone go specifically; A repetitive thought. A nostalgic feeling. A shitty idea. A comforting soul. Letting go is not easy for some, but if you can find just one thing that you might be holding onto that no longer serves you and just set yourself free from it, I promise, it makes a world of a difference and you'll find yourself wondering why you didn't do it sooner.
Journaling is my guilty pleasure. I don't have to write several pages or even one. I don't even have to write something that makes sense. But there's something about putting a pen to a blank page that helps me loosen up and frees my mind from any clutter.
Sometimes, I just need a good cry. A good laugh. A good scream. Breaking down my walls by being vulnerable at times when I feel stuck can go one of two ways: Feeling less stuck or more stuck. Be careful with which emotion you choose to express, how you choose to express it, and try not to let it control you.
A good way to humble myself is by putting matters into a different perspective. Realizing it could always be worse and expressing gratitude for all that I have always helps shake me from any shitty feeling. Ask yourself, "what's something I have that not everyone else does?" Even the simple things count and matter.
I express myself in so many ways and I've already touched on a few here. I feel expressing myself through my passions can be difficult when I'm feeling stuck, but when I'm not feeling a heavy resistance and can allow my creativity to roam free, it usually helps me take my mind off any unnecessary thoughts. I like to express myself through drawing, writing, poetry, yoga, cooking, this blog! I find at times when I am feeling stuck it is because I've pushed my passions to the sideline. Trust me, it never helps to deny yourself from your soul purpose.
Listening to my gut, aka my intuition, is the most important thing I can do. I have had to learn how to understand this over the years and am still learning how to properly navigate my higher self. However, I think it is the most essential thing to learn and follow in life. Don't fret, this is usually easier said than done and takes practice. The more you master your instincts, however, the easier it becomes. Usually this is hard for me to do when I'm feeling stuck. That's when I turn to something else on this list before trying to tune in.
I started traveling at the young age of 4 years old. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with leaving home and visiting new places. It takes me out of my comfort zone and allows me that breath of fresh air that I might be missing and that my soul might be yearning for.
You have to really be open and vulnerable to allow a psychedelic trip to help dig you out of whatever hole you might have dug yourself into. I know people who have taken mushrooms/ayuascha and have had a positive, eye opening experience. I also know people who did not. Do your research. A little trippy fun can help take you to that next level.. but only if you're ready to explore..
Oddly enough, I've been given some of the best advice from strangers when I least expected it. I'm not saying you should unleash your soul to just any stranger on the street, but you never know when you may be given some wise words from an unfamiliar voice. Also, therapists can be the best strangers.
I'll speak for myself when I say this.. I can't just go to any one of my friends and ask for advice or bare my soul in hopes that they won't look at me with judgmental eyes or give me some of the worse biased advice possible. If you can have at least one friend who you can speak openly and honestly to, hold them close.
When I'm feeling stuck, sometimes all I need to do is BREATHE. Take a few seconds to step back and breathe it out. It helps. I promise.
Nature may not be for everyone.. So maybe you're someone who needs the noisy city to unstick you from your rut (weird). However, nature always helps soothe my soul. Being around different trees, plants, flowers, animals.. It's a magical thing.
Meditating for me doesn't always come easily but it does come in many, many forms. Yes, there is the traditional type of yoga meditation that most of us think of when we hear the word. But did you know you can mediate even while going for a walk/drive, while cleaning the house, watering your plants, cooking, smoking weed, etc.? Meditation doesn't have to feel like pulling teeth. You're "simply" acknowledging your thoughts and setting them free by letting the next thought walk on through so that you can do the same over and over again. Learn how to better navigate your breath and use that as your tool. After lots of practice you may then find yourself unstuck and at peace with nothing but silence. For me, guided meditations or listening to seminars from influential people like Alan Watts or Abraham Hicks always helps.
All in all, when I'm feeling stuck, the main goal for me is to find a way to soothe the resistance.
Ease yourself out of resistance and into acceptance. Cheers friends. Soothe away.
I want to speak on my experience living in Europe thus far, but I genuinely find it inappropriate. I have been writing everyday but haven’t been able to share any of it. Then, today I came to the conclusion, “why do I have to?”
Part of me wants to share every success and every defeat along my journey, but the other half of me believes it’d be best to make moves quietly. I will say this... These past few months have been stressful as f*ck. Sprinkled throughout this “Lynda leaps herself out of America and into Europe” experience, I have had many ups and downs. I am learning to embrace each as great writing material, all while learning about my excuses I’ve created along the years. Here’s the thing, I am growing. A lot. And it doesn’t necessarily feel good.
I have noticed that I have been trying to prevent this growth for many years. And with each resistant push comes more pain. And for some reason I have continued this vicious cycle since I can remember. But I’ve also learned, for many of us, this is natural. Yes, I have many dreams and goals, but I know damn well I can’t just expect those to *poof* magically be achieved overnight. And you most definitely cannot expect anything, but disappointment, from not putting in any work at all.
How many of you come up with beautiful goals for yourself but watch another day, another month, another year, pass by with what seems like no progression? Either because you didn’t actually put in any work to make it happen, or because it seems your efforts didn’t get you very far. Here’s the thing, you can’t blame anyone but yourself for not doing what it takes to fulfill your goals. If you are one of those people who have self-sabotaged at some point in your life, trust you are not alone. It’s normal to fall back when shit gets difficult. To be discouraged when things don’t necessarily go as planned. But continuing this pattern won’t get you very far in life. And giving up just because you feel your work hasn’t gotten you to the top YET, is a huge mistake.
You see, I have been putting myself down heavily lately because I felt like I hadn’t accomplished much with where I’m at so far. Part of this is true. I have allowed myself to stand in my own way with many things. But then I also remembered, I’ve been building towards this move for a few years now. Yes, plans have changed shape along the way. Regardless, here I am. And I don’t think I have given myself enough credit for that until now. I am proud of how far I’ve come. Because I know most wouldn’t have the balls to do something (this stupid... just kidding) this difficult. For me, it has been EXTRA difficult because I battle with anxiety and depression. Sometimes, the simplest tasks can be the most difficult..
Getting out of bed. Eating breakfast. Having a simple conversation. Going outdoors.
However, through the moments of despair I have found it even more of a feat to overcome and accomplish. In the end, it’s so much more rewarding once I do make it over each obstacle. This is something I remind myself each time I’ve found myself glued to my bed, feeling incapable of living. I know some people who can’t relate to such feelings, but I also know MANY people who can.
For those of you reading who resonate, applaud yourself. Be kind to yourself for all your efforts. Don’t be ashamed when you fail, because it’s impossible to grow, or succeed, without failure. Failure is a part of the process. You will find yourself down before you can pick yourself up. If you think about it, the REAL failure is giving up. The rest is just growth. You can always decide to change your mind along the way. Deciding something isn't for you along the way is OK too! We are humans after all. In life, there is always room for improvement and change. You just have to believe in yourself and your worth. For some of us, some days just seem impossible. But if you can remember that you are not alone. That you do have a purpose. That you are important. Then you WILL succeed.
My mom always said, “if there's a will, there's a way” Well, I'm taking that will and making a f*cking way!
*side note* I have had many people reach out to me about their anxiety and depression. I am no therapist but it always helps to have one, or at least someone to listen. Even if you don't suffer from mental illness, having someone to talk to helps greatly. And it is nothing to be ashamed of. I always leave myself open for people who feel like they need someone to talk to, someone to confide in, whatever the reason. If someone approaches you needing to talk because they are hurting, don't put them down because of it. Be kind. And if you don't feel you are the right person to give any advice, be honest. Find compassion in your heart to help others in whatever way you can. Don't be so quick to judge or ridicule. You don't know what that person might be going through in their life. Love is so much more powerful than hate, remember that.