May your heart fill up with compassion, joy and appreciation as you read her pearls of insight and wisdom.
What personal qualities have helped you carry on and move in a positive direction?
My desire for joy. I grew up believing it wasn’t possible because I was born with SED, a type of dwarfism associated with degenerative arthritis. I felt I had several strikes against me. What kept me moving me forward was this hope that maybe I was wrong. I think deep down our soul does know that we are in fact all love, all joy. What also kept me going was my connection to my spirit. It felt small for a while because I was so immersed in challenges and difficulties.
I didn’t realize I had a choice of how to see my challenges. When I turned it around to see those challenges as adventures or as mountains to climb so that I could see a fantastic view, my attitude changed; that shift in perspective would change all of it. I realized I did have more of this inner divine power than I had realized in the past.
It’s a universal quality that keeps us moving forward. It’s that desire to be our own truth, to be our whole self. We are all born into these different handicaps, visible or invisible, and they are the catalyst to wake us up and remind us that we came here for growth and awareness.
Our hardship and struggles are that springboard to appreciate what we can have here if we look at it differently or if we experience it with new senses; like jumping into a pool after a horribly hot day is ten times better than jumping into a pool everyday when you’ve never really gotten hot. As humans we have these catalysts to keep prodding us forward and to keep remembering there’s a greater and more beautiful truth than maybe what we’re living.
Did you go through a period of self-pity? If so, what helped lift you out?
Oh my goodness, yes and I still have these times. I wouldn’t have labeled it as self-pity as a youngster because I thought life was against me; I thought I was born either an accident or a punishment or some kind of genetic mutation, and therefore others pitied me, and I should as well. I felt I had no choice, and of course that’s never true. But as a kid and as an adult, there have been times when pity seemed to be my only option to feel what I was feeling.
In our family, as in many families, we didn’t talk about our negative emotions – sadness, anger. We just didn’t bring them up. Although my mom was open to that; she used to say it’s good to cry. My dad wasn’t. I think we all wanted to honor my parents by not showing them that there was anything wrong with us. We wanted to only show the positive side. It was this unspoken rule that you keep smiling through the pain and let it roll off your shoulders. I found myself in that pity party because I had nowhere else to direct the pain.
Pity leads to depression because if there’s no place for that kind of voltage, which we all have known and felt, if there’s no place to express it, then it goes inside and starts to detonate. There are days when my old habits about myself come up and I wonder, am I enough, am I doing enough, am I giving enough.
I considered myself less-than the rest of the population for so many years. I still have that habit but fortunately it lasts for a few hours or a day.
Emotions need expression; they don’t need judgement. Once they’re expressed they move, transform and change .
But I held them in. I repressed them. I shoved them under the bed. I did whatever I could so no one would see my humanness. Since my body was different and it was this billboard of negative attraction, I thought I certainly couldn’t show any other vulnerability.
I had no idea that to express these vulnerabilities that we all have, actually connects us and gives us strength to share instead of hide.
Was there a specific moment, thought or epiphany that helped guide you to a better place mentally and psychologically, or did it evolve?
It’s been both and of course it continues to evolve as we are all masterpieces in the work. But there was a specific time in my early 20’s when I moved to Boston. Boston had been the place where my parents had taken me for medical check-ups because it was on the leading edge of genetics. It was really traumatic for me. I felt like a specimen. I felt like I was the description of my body. The doctors called it a birth defect. They pointed to things and said, ‘abnormal, deformed’. That became the definition of me. I didn’t realize then that they were speaking about a condition. As a child, I thought the doctors were against me.
So when I moved to Boston it was this beautiful full circle. First it had been the place of incredible heartache; even the name Boston used to get my adrenaline running. Then it became this place of awakening. I found a bookstore that was packed with self-help books and books on inspiration and motivation. I started reading themes like, the power was within us, that our reaction to the outside world was the internal triggers, that we could change. It was just negative programming.
This really resonated with me because I knew I was responding in a negative way. I thought it was because of my reality. But instead they were saying (the books) it’s really your perspective. And when you are able to claim that, take responsibility for that, and say, ‘I can undo this’, you’ll see the progress and the change.
With fingers crossed and hope eternal, I did see changes. I read and read and read. I wasn’t able to speak to my friends and share these things yet. It was very scary to show people who I really was. I had such rage built up, wanting to scream at the doctors, at the bullies, at my parents, all of it. It was just boiling; and it was released and relieved and comforted by these writers. I wasn’t a writer then – that would be 20 years in the future.
I used to be afraid to just go out into the world in the morning because I didn’t know if someone would be there laughing at me or asking me questions I couldn’t answer. A lot of people have that, that anxiety, to step outside their door and not feel enough, or be afraid of failure. I would take Wayne Dyer’s tapes in my walkman and instead of listening to my own criticism I would listen to his tapes. His wisdom became part of my every step.
Those writers changed and opened my heart and my mind. I thought at that time it was an epiphany, a moment of ultimate change and transformation. Little did I know the path is long and there’s a lot more that needs to happen than just an intellectual understanding or a relief from the pain of childhood or our past wounds. There is this continual climb. It’s not supposed to be a punishment as I thought it was. Now it’s more of an excitement. When something seems negative my first instinct is to think, something good can come of this because I’ve seen it now. I’ve seen it in the biggest way where my dwarfism was the ultimate negative in my life and now it’s become the ultimate teacher of how I really want to live.
What are your day-to-day coping skills that keep you afloat?
It’s become an important habit for me to sit, close my eyes and breathe. Somewhere in that silence I start to see the craziness of my thoughts or that I need to feel something that I’m not feeling. Sometimes my busyness will eclipse what has built up over time and I just need to cry or write and express some rage that I know is mine; it’s not really anybody’s fault. It’s that I’ve been plugging up the hole of expression. That moment of silence is really important.
While I drive I do deep breathing. There’s something incredible about it. As I breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly, the relaxation in the body causes a relaxation of my mind and my heart. I can then see what I am still holding onto that isn’t serving me well or see how I’m looking at something that’s causing pain or even causing me to move too quickly. What’s the big hurry we’re all in that’s causing us to forget who we love, to not see the beauty on the side of the road.
When I take in that silence, I remember to tap into the shifts I need to make, the perspective that may be a little off. If we present ourselves differently in our world, then our response back is going to be more positive and more helpful.
I’ve learned not to take the world so personally. I see it as a place I’m trying to help, instead of that knee-jerk reaction toward a world that isn’t taking care of me. That’s a switch in my consciousness. For many years I was always looking for how I can be helped because I thought I needed help. Instead I realized I had something to give; it was me and my experience and my heart, and that was enough.
When we start to share who we are in that authentic place, others want to share too. So often it’s communication that’s the problem, not the issue; not my dwarfism, not lack of money. It’s our response to it, and that can be changed, thank goodness.
What advice would you offer someone going through a difficult situation?
Ultimately our limitations really are self-imposed. It sounds like blame but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to be empowerment; it’s meant to be a catylst to help us move forward. There is help everywhere, like the writers who I found, the authors who were like friends to me. What they said spoke to me so deeply. With technology there’s no limit to the mentors we can find or the advice we can find. It’s there when we’re ready, it’s waiting.
The incredible limitation leads to incredible freedom. There’s always this light that comes out of darkness. I’m astounded that our life is about these extremes. But if we go from this place of heartache, we can be catapulted forward into the wholeness.
The silence I lived with as a child led me to understanding the power of communication. My differences that I felt isolated me, led me to a more true understanding of connection. The surface stuff – our bodies or finances or security- these things we are so distracted by are not who we are deep down. We have the seeds of opportunity within us that act like a slingshot forward so that we can transform that pain and be a billboard that shows it is possible. That’s a really exciting place to be.
To then be able to inspire someone who’s been in your shoes and to know and really see them and say, ‘I know it hurts but it’s going to get better.’
It’s really important to examine what we believe. I thought my beliefs were reality. I thought they were factual. I started to examine them and realized how many of them were negative toward myself and the world. I looked at the response in my life; my world was negative. I thought that was reality.
There was that crack in the armor where I said, ‘I’ve had enough of this and I may be a reason for why it got so negative.’ And that’s hard to admit. It’s an incredible strength to say, ‘so I was the one shoveling the dirt on myself.’ I’m going to start to dig myself out and see that I have this inner power that’s going to keep blossoming because now I see I do have responsibility and I do have the strength to lift myself out of this.’
We can see that beliefs are a magnet for more of the same.
If we have a lot of negative beliefs, we’re going to see a lot of drama and negativity around us. We can change it by changing our beliefs. We don’t have to force the outside world to change; or in my case I couldn’t change my body, there was no cure for that. I had to go inside and find out what else I could change; otherwise I felt hopeless. Discovering that power was huge for me.
I can be the one to transform my beliefs so that I can be a magnet for what I want, not what I fear or what I have already experienced.
Start to envision what we want to experience and then that will grow and bloom in our life.
Thank you for reading. Comments are appreciated. Please share on facebook and twitter. And please subscribe so you receive these postings automatically.