Braving the Past & Telling Your Story

 

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I have a slight obsession with freedom. My tattoos speak for it. I have five tattoos all of which symbolize freedom.

 

One is a tattoo on my right wrist of the word Moksha in cursive with pink autumn leaves, the moon and stars around it.

 

I got this right before I moved to New York after I got out of the military.

I was a photojournalist for the Navy and while on deployment I took a class on religions.  In Hinduism they have many ideas and one is moksha; freedom from suffering.

 

This reminds me that I am immortal. That I can be free any moment from suffering, from the past and from the cycle of pain.

 

The other tattoo is of a heart with wings and a banner in the middle with the words Set Free.

 

I got this when I was seventeen right before I joined the Navy. I remember sitting on a small stool for hours for this tattoo.

 

It was so important to me to have this tattoo. It symbolized my journey forward from the past.

 

There was a man beside me that I looked up to and saw as a Father.

 

He was a born again Christian. With tattoo sleeves of Jesus Christ on his arms.

 

He was also a former drug addict. And biker gang member.

 

His name was Glenn. Glenn Johnson.

 

He was a father of two that he knew of. I lived with him and his family for two years until I joined the Navy.

 

They adopted me when I was sixteen.

 

I remember sitting at the dinner table doing my homework while he made dinner.

 

He paused from his meal-making and said, “Emily, what if I told you that I wish I had you years ago before my wife?”

 

I laughed.

He couldn’t be serious.

 

Could he?

 

How could this happen to me again?

 

Is there something wrong with me? Did I ask for this?

 

No thought really could make sense of his question. No thought could give me answer that made me feel better.

 

My Set Free tattoo was a symbol of freedom.  

 

A celebration of me finally being free from them.

 

From him. From the past. From memory.

 

The thing about freedom from the past is not that we never remember it.

 

Or that we forget.

 

I tried to forget what happened to me.

 

Even now I am still recollecting fragments of memories.

 

We can never be truly free from the past because it always is a part of us. But we can be free from the power it can carry in the present and in the future.

 

I have a sparrow tattoo on my left wrist. I love birds. They also symbolize freedom.

 

Down my left forearm are the words Fortitude; courage in the midst of adversity.

 

A reminder that even in my darkest moments, in remembering, in sadness I can still be courageous. I can still find the silver linings to every storm.

 

Get the picture?

 

Tattoos tell the story of memory. Of time.

 

Of what I have overcome. And also what I must remember.

 

Remembering gives us information.

 

Here we can go back in time like magicians and manipulate experiences.

 

Say what we always wanted to say. Visualize the conversation we always wanted to have.

 

Overcome the fears, heal the past, write a new story for the future.

 

Remembering also gives us the truth. There are no lies in facts.

 

It gives us grief, joy, happiness, laughter,  anger, rage.

 

It gives us moments of softness. Tenderness.

 

Forgiveness and acceptance.

 

When we remember we have the power to see life from a 360 degree view. That is how powerful the mind can be.

 

Remembering gives us insight into growth. Into who we were.

 

In my journey of healing from trauma there have been many times that I didn’t want to remember. My brain tried to keep my safe from seeing, feeling or experiencing memory again.

 

It is only now in the journey of being brave to face it again in a new light that I can sit with the memories that once were terrifying to feel again.

 

A tool that has been an anchor in my healing and writing process that I would love to share with you is from the book Wild Mind.

 

The author shares a writing prompt: “I remember. I don’t remember”.

 

I practiced writing my story using this writing prompt and uncovered so much more.

 

My invitation to you is to brave your story. To go where your mind may fear to go.

 

To ask for support in the process of remembering and to gather all the tools you need for this quest.

From Confused to Clear: Letting Go of the Relationships that Bind You

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After a week of processing some pretty grey areas of my life with my relationships to my parents and family, I finally feel clear.

I went to therapy and shared how my week went. From the heavy discussion with my mother and intense banter with my father I knew what the path was for me.

To simply not have relationships with these people. Not because I don’t care for them. But because I care more for myself and my own well-being.

I had a discussion with my mother a few days ago about our past. I asked her a question.

“Have you ever thought about why Dad did what he did to me?” or “Why did you team up with him to hurt me? Why did you put a towel in my mouth?”

I paused after I asked her that.

My mind questioned me in the same way.

Why did she put a towel in my mouth? And matter of fact, why am I even talking to her? 

If it weren’t for the label “family” I wouldn’t have a relationship with this woman.

Or anyone who hurt me in such a destructive way.

But because of our biological tie and emotional connection a part of me was confused and hopeful.

That she and I would grow together in a healthy way.

She never gave me any answers which only showed me that she really hasn’t put much thought into her actions as a mother.

In my pregnancy my past has become VERY CLEAR. There is no hiding the truth. No living in the shadows or in false ideas of hope, happiness or healing.

I think there is a sadness to the loss of them. That I really don’t have a close relationship with my parents and I never will in a healthy way.

That they lose the chance to be a part of my life. And of their grandkid’s life.

Pregnancy has shown me how I could never imagine my own child experiencing horrific acts of treatment.

In therapy today I shared all of this.

I realized how much more clear the path with them has become.

And how much more clear I feel about my choices.

Who gets to go in my tribe and who doesn’t.

I am so impressed with how much I have grown as a woman.

From a dark place of once suicide to a thriving woman making healthy choices, creating healthy relationships and most importantly one with myself.

Cheers to resiliency. May it show us the truth.

19 questions on life to find one answer.

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This morning I answered 19 questions.

19 questions life to reconnect to my new vision. My sense of purpose.

I found that as I connected to my future self there wasn’t much of a change in my answers.

Only more clarity.

Only one macro shift.

I am going to be a mother.

This macro shift has changed my lens of the world.

My lens of myself.

These 19 questions led to me back to my safe place inside.

Truth.

No matter what I am doing in the future. How I am living.

I want to live a full life. With ease and grace.

I want to create a impact in the world of healing from trauma and loss.

Because there is enough suffering in the world.

I want to be a great Mother. I know I will be.

To give and receive love.

To trust.

While we can tap into the dream picture… I have realized that I am okay with the simple things.

With waking up and breathing.

With writing.

With being a mom.

Motherhood is a gift that only some get to experience.

What a great responsibility and gift for all.

 

Speak Your Voice even if it F*cking Shakes

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The process of sharing my voice has been an uphill battle.

As a child and young adult I never truly felt safe in sharing my voice.

I didn’t know the rage it could carry when angry.

I didn’t know the gentle grace it has when soft.

I didn’t know how powerful it was to move crowds.

It has been in the last few years that I have given my voice a chance to be FREE. To say what it has never said. To feel the tremble of anxiety in front of crowds.

To be on Facebook live and teach webinars, do mediumship messages in front of strangers and liberate myself from the fears of judgment, rejection and disapproval.

Or worse.

My little girl is slowly leaving and my woman voice is rising.

She is firm. Stern. Soft. gentle. nurturing. compassionate, resilient as fuck.

She loves unconditionally.

She holds space with sacredness.

She gives because she just fucking wants to.

And… she curses. Because it feels good.

And these days I am all about doing whatever I can to feel better.

The goal isn’t 100% going to be to feel good. But I can make it a goal to feel better.

So I am giving myself permission to be FREE as fuck. In my communication.

In my message. In my loudness. In my softness.

I still am learning boundaries. To give and to receive.

TO SAY NO.

NO is still hard. It is safe for me to say no now with grace and ease.

For those who are not sure what their voice is or are stepping into the power of the voice here are some tools that have helped me:

  1. Scream. Find a mountain. Find a room. Your car. And scream as loud as you want to. Scream all the things that your heart hurts from! Scream all the things you want! Shout it into the universe! What are you deserving of? What are you healing from? Who do you want to curse out? DO IT! And don’t hold back.
  2. Sing. Sing in the shower. Sing strange sounds. Make up new words. Play with sound.
  3. Speak up. Be the first to speak up in a crowd of people. Raise your hand. Everyone else is probably too scared to speak their truth. Do it and be the source of change.

These are a few tools I practice to help me release, transform and hear what I want to say, what I need to say, and what I MUST say.

It doesn’t always have to make sense. It is an experiment with you finding, hearing, soothing your voice.

Be free voice, be free.

How My Intuition Became My Home

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“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda

Our intuition manifests in different ways. Often times we experience intuitive phenomena with our families, loved ones, dreams and the paranormal. Sometimes our intuition may peak during transitions or after loss and trauma.

For me, my experience of discovering my spiritual gifts was a little different than some of the common stories you hear of people seeing spirits growing up or things of sort.

I grew up in an extremely challenging and abusive home where my parents weren’t the safest nor healthiest role models to guide or show me the way.

My natural response to the constant emotional distress was to turn inward to my inner voice and imagination. I discovered my gifts of creativity, writing, and intuition. I found safety, refuge and a home in these gifts and spent many nights journaling and praying to the Universe.

I often consulted with my intuition and looked for signs in my daily environment as answers. If I couldn’t change my outside circumstances I could most definitely change the little world that I lived in within.

I didn’t know at the time that I had spiritual gifts. I only knew I was unique and had a story I wanted to share to help someone else find their way through a dark time. You see, I always had this resilient spirit and I never let my circumstances bring me down for too long.

I just knew that I was given a story that I could possibly help save someone else’s life with. I knew that my childhood and teen years of trauma and pain didn’t happen for nothing.

I wasn’t going to leave behind a war zone with just scars. I knew that the universe had a special plan for me so I surrendered and let my soul guide me.

After I moved away from home, I vowed I would leave it all behind, start fresh and forget about all of it. However, no matter how far we try to run from the past it always does seem to find us.

I realized I couldn’t run, forget or bury it so I allowed it to transform my life. My intuitive and spiritual gifts began to blossom and I found a passion in healing myself not just through therapy but with spirituality.

I started to meditate and attended workshops on every type of spiritual art out there including psychic development, mediumship, crystal healing and hypnotherapy. With every class I took I discovered a real passion in spirituality. My soul began to heal and release parts of my past that still haunted me.

My nightmares and night terrors went away. I got over a lot of anxiety with public speaking and speaking in general. I stopped being afraid of people and started looking them in the eye again. I gave the world a chance and opened up to building more intimate connections despite my fears.

In this journey I discovered, healed and released so much. I realized I really did have a gift of helping people and not just any gift but an array of spiritual and intuitive gifts.

Now I teach spiritual mentorship and work with people privately. I help them see their light when they have lost their way.

I let my intuition guide me to a home that is sacred and only mine, my spiritual home.

We are so much more than stories and what has happened to us.

We are miracles. Allow yours to take place.

*this article was also published on Huffington Post, Read Here.*