Triggering & How to Get Back in Control

30 November 2015


I did a group therapy class awhile back through Addo Recovery.  It's a program geared for those who have suffered betrayal trauma.  It was amazing.  Just the support and voices that I needed to hear.  Recently, I have been affected by my betrayal trauma again, so I accessed Addo's online courses.  I just finished a course by Dr. Skinner again about what to do when you are flooded with all those emotions.  Below are my notes:

Dr. Skinner -

When triggered, we have an emergency response. We flood with emotions, and we either run away, freeze up, or we aggressively fight back.  Chemicals are released into our bloodstream, and we are surging with fear.

In the moment you are aware that you are flooded, you need to take a timeout.  The heart, brain, and body need to slow down in order to think clearly.  Think, "I've been triggered, slooooow down."

Reaction sequence allows you to slow down and have more awareness.  Then, you can send a clear message and communicate with more compassion.  You can have more control over your beliefs and behaviors.

It's a process of learning to respond intentionally rather than reactively.  Difference - thinking before saying things.  Know how to communicate with the most intent and clear message that you can.

In order to slow down and gain control again:

(1)  Deep breaths.

(2) Then say STOP.  (Trying to get the thinking part of their brain engaged, away from the amygdala).

(3)  Find a safe place.

(4)  Evaluate - ask questions without judgment.  What am I feeling?

(5)  Where are these feelings coming from?

(6)  What can I do about them?

(7)  How should I respond?

(8)  What am I afraid of?

Once you have evaluated, get in the present with control and action. Take an action step.  Read a book.  Call a friend.  Make dinner.
Always have 5 things on hand that you can do to get in control.

Upward and onward,

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Replacing the Natural Mind with the Spiritual Mind

27 November 2015

I just finished a really great meditation session.

Yesterday was a painful day.  All of life's pains accruing together and weighing on me more and more.  Ryan and I are in my hometown for Thanksgiving weekend.  We had Thanksgiving at Angie's house.  And seeing her and Matt's new home, and the two spare bedrooms where children should be, knowing that all of that is on hold because of her failed IVF treatments in early fall, I just felt so empty.  I feel so much hurt for my sister, and it's making my own path of starting a family immediately painful.  And then of course my own pesky divorce trauma that just likes to pay its visit every now and then.  Same thoughts, same emotions.  I just have to wade through them, once again, for the millionth time.  It's funny how the subconscious just turns the platter of life experience around and around again, like I'm forever at a Thanksgiving feast where past year leftovers are re-served.

So, I woke up today and worked out in my parents bonus room.  I love that I have such great motivation in regards to my body.  That immediately gets me uplifted and going, all my mind workers back at their command station feeling upbeat.  Then I ate breakfast, cleaned a little, and settled in to read my scriptures on my mom's green leather couches, trying to lean in close to God for alleviation.  I kept getting a strong impression to meditate, stronger and stronger, so finally I went upstairs into my old bedroom and did a self-guided medication by first drawing energy and light through and around my body in rhthym with my breathe, and then I did a pain manager meditation to release all this pain another notch at the subconscious level.  I could feel myself growing bighter.  ANd then I sealed it with a new meditation on sustaining a high level of happiness.  Locking all of rit in.  My mood substantially shifted.  The pain withered away immediately and completely.  I was filled with energy and joy.  I love to be able to give testimony to the power of meditation!  I would love to teach meditation someday!

As I finished up the pain manager meditation, I began to feel like a hero. Instead of the thoughts Satan tells me of being weak and emotional, I began to see myself very differently.  That I actually carry a lot, and I carry and manage it very well.  I am a hero!  I just have a personality that carries my pain, and other people's pain.

In the book I'm currently reading, Light in the Wilderness, I read a passage about William Blake's interpretation of a man in this world.  That due to the finite capacities of our minds, we are all closed into our caverns with only narrow chinks in the walls.  We know we are in a fallen world from the Truth and Light that seeps through upon our peering out.  So we, as fretful seekers, know we are in a fallen world, and a full release of our mind and awareness of glories lies just beyond our perceptions.  We seek to continually penetrate that veil,widening our narrow chinks in the cave.  But, often we find this way obscure, fraught with conundrums, and the opposition to our transformation insuperable.  Life can feel as though it is a hopeless tangle.

How difficult it is to keep our Natural Mind's from running down the well-worn paths.  The same fearscapes playing over and over again.  Unchecked, our minds produce varying degrees of misery.  Like an ever-ending undercurrent.  But the Mind is not meant to run us, rather a tool to serve us.  Every person is within this battle and perhaps, only few learn to surmise it.  We have all thought to blame circumstances for our emotions, but in reality the circumstances only provoke what is already within, a mindset of turmoil or peace.

But how to not grip an emotion or a thought as it comes rolling through our minds?  How to let them pass and not take a heavy, distressing seat?  How to really believe that perhaps the majority of our thoughts are indeed not our own, but only ever-circulating negative states of mind, originating since the fall of Adam and Eve, and recycling through every mind ever since?  What are we behind all of that, really?

Infinite.  Living as an open expanse of energy, rather than a caved up being doing endless pain management.

Meditation helps me reach this point of enlightenment where I feel I am more light, less body.  More clarity and joy, less tangle of a mind.  More whole, less fragmented.

You are the universe, expressing itself as human for a little while.  - Eckhart Tolle

Upward and onward,

Autumn trip to Moab

23 November 2015

Ryan and I took a nice fall roadtrip down to Moab this weekend.  Ryan's brother was the lead in his high school play, and so the family decided to recruit everyone to be in attendance, and also enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal while we were all in town. 

Since Ryan's family is quite large, and ever growing as new people marry in, not everyone can fit in his parents home, so Ryan and I were the lucky winners to stay in the Sunflower Hill Inn.  Which is the Bed and Breakfast that Ryan's family owns and operates.  We stayed in the "Apple Cellar" room, which was basically the size of our apartment back home.  It was a perfect autumn cottage get-a-way.

Everything at the bed and breakfast follows this country cottage theme, and soft music plays in the lobby all the time, and you are at liberty to eat as many of the cook's desserts and snacks, and borrow the movies from the office, or take and leave some books in their lounge area.  And the innkeeper just goes about his duties of raking the leaves and smiling at you.  It's such bliss.  Until you're sitting at the table in the commons area at 10pm, snacking on cookies and hot chocolate with your husband, and some hippie man sneaks into the room in nothing but his bathrobe and tries to covertly return a candle to the center piece of your table. 

And as for the play that Neal was starring in, he blew it out of the water.  It was Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, which was Ryan and I's first time seeing it, and it was awesome!  Neal's voice was levels above anyone else's, particularly the 11 brothers.  Who were cracking and going flat all over the place.  It was great.

Then we enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving meal, and I taught Ryan's family my favorite game - Psychiatrist!

It was a perfect weekend.

Upward and onward,


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The house on the hill

17 November 2015

Last Thursday was a special day for me.

Ryan had left town early that morning.  I only remember hearing a soft knock on our front door, and then Ryan leaping out of bed, throwing on a sweatshirt, and kissing me goodbye.  He's off getting us a Thanksgiving turkey :)

I woke up earlier than the sun, feeling a special feeling inside like it's Christmas morning.  I work out and head in the opposite direction from my work.  I am driving west to meet up with our realtor for another home tour.  Ryan and I have spent most of our evenings touring every house along the Wasatch.  And on this particular day, I am house hunting solo, on a home that Ryan and I really really really really like.  Given the pictures on the internet.  And it was because of this extreme like that I awoke feeling like it was Christmas.

I arrive at the home around 7:45 am, before my realtor.  I'm standing directly in front of the home, with my feet together and my hands in the pockets of my white pea coat, watching the sun come over the mountains behind the house.  Spencer greets me and lets us into the house.  We wander around.  Flipping the lights on, peering in every room,  and walking through the backyard.  I admire the home's layout and its quirks.  It fits the bill to everything Ryan and I have been looking for.

For the rest of the day, I'm daydreaming about morning sunrises inside a cozy home.  Running around in the yard at dusk. And Ryan and I can't stop talking about our dreams to have a family, full of hobbies and curiosity, together.

Now, four days later, Ryan and I have entered into a contract for this yellow house on the hill.  Quarter acre yard, a garden, plenty of bedrooms for Stucki babies, and above it all, we have inherited a full-on chicken coop in the backyard and yoga studio in the basement.

Did I mention Ryan is still on a hunting trip?  And now that's what you do when your husband leaves town, you buy a house.

And here's the Mr:   mmmm, I love what a MAN he is. 

Upward and onward,

Love, said Father Martin.

10 November 2015

My little apartment is silent.
Except for the blurring exhale of the heater.

Ryan is helping a widow in our neighborhood with home repairs.
He left with his tool set, wearing those outdoor work pants that I super like on him.
Right after he made us dinner of fish and veggies.
This man.

And I am curled up in the center of our couch, in the middle of our spotless, empty living room, with twinkle lights in the tree next to me, reading the conversion tale of Piscine Patel from Hinduism to Christianity.  Which is: The Life of Pi, chapter 17.

Before I dive in, to give weight to when I speak for my respect for certain books, here is a bit about me and my bookshelf-

I do not believe in owning books that do not repetitively entertain or that do not profoundly move me, so that their presence in my home is like having one's brilliant mind that I've intimately connected with accessible to me at the drop of a dime.  Otherwise, I am fine with all the other books I like being a car's reach away at the library.  My bookshelf is pruned and primed like that of a minimalist woman, and it only contains books that feel so important to me as to be something like an extension of my own mind.  I am eager to read all of Ryan's books now that we've joined libraries, and perhaps broaden my tastes to his strong economic and law interests.  I savor Ryan's mind, so I'm excited to see what words hold him.

And in my home library, The Life of Pi has made my cut.

To start, it is in the setting of India - the first international country I ever set foot, so I have a great nostalgia when I read.  Also, this book carried substantial meaning to me before I even read it.  You see, I grew up in a small white-girl gang.  There were four of us, starting as 9 year-old hoodlums.  The types of organized criminal youth who glued their body parts to each other's with gluesticks and crawled around on the floors underneath blankets, croaking, "Mauled by bears.  Mauled by bears."  Basically, we were forced into this cult because we each made no sense to anyone, so upon discovering each other, our nonsense was now appreciated.  And also, extremely hysterical.  And upon that bond is how it all began.  We were each of different hair color and different faiths.  Mormon, Catholic, Agnostic, and spiritually into angels and auras.  And each one of us literarily curious, to some degree, drawn to books in our own interests and backgrounds.  Except, The Life of Pi made a mark on each one of our reading lists.  We all found it religiously beautiful.  And due to our diversity, I found that fascinating.

For me, Chapter 17 is perfect to standalone.  It is so provoking towards the intensity of Christ's atoning love.  Though it is not discussed in a traditional sense.  And by that I mean, not told in the language we use, nor the descriptive phrases we say.  And it doesn't start in our same point - where we are already widely saturated to the story, and it feels like a tale we were raised on.  This chapter is told from the perspective of a zookeeper's son who is raised Hindu.  And when introduced to Christ, the "avatar of God on the earth", against the powerful Hindu Gods, Christ makes no sense to him.  And as this boy continues to think about Christ's life, it makes less and less sense.  Until finally, the lack of sense in Christ NOT being a mighty and huge God, above the ranks of human mortality, finally depicts what a man of humble love He was.  And that depth of love is something this Hindu boy has never felt so close to him.  Christ was this boy's first awareness of a god who doesn't not reign as one, but is as just one of us, a man.

My favorite passage condensed (with a bit of my own additions so that it flows):

"And what a story.  The first thing that drew me in was disbelief.  What?  Humanity sins but it's God's Son who pays the price?  I tried to imagine Father saying to me, '[description of all the zoo animals hurting and killing each other].  Something must be done.  I have decided that the only way the lions can atone for their sins is to feed you to them.'

'Yes, Father, that would be the right and logical thing to do.  Give me a moment to wash up.'  

'Hallelujah, my son.' 
'Hallelujah, Father.'  

What a downright weird story.  What peculiar psychology.

I asked for another story, one that I might find more satisfying.  Surely this religion had more than one story in its bag--religions abound with stories.  But Father Martin said their religion had One Story, and this is the one that they came back again and again, over and over.  It was story enough for them. 

"That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand.  The gods of Hinduism face their fair share of thieves, bullies, kidnappers, reversals of fortune, treachery, yes.  But humiliation?  Death?  I couldn't imagine Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped naked, whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and to top it off, crucified--and at the hands of mere humans, to boot.  I'd never heard of a Hindu god dying.  Devils and monsters did, as did mortals, by the thousands and millions.  Matter, too, fell away.  But divinity should not be blighted by death.  It's wrong.  It was wrong of this Christian God to let his avatar die.  The Son must have the taste of death forever in His mouth.  The Trinity must be tainted by it; there must be a certain stench at the right hand of God the Father.  Why would God not leave death to mortals?  Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect?"

"Love," said Father Martin.

Coming from the backlight of Hindu God's who are powerful and mighty and shine, putting down evil and coming to grand rescues.  And then there is Christ.  Who gets tired and hungry and is heckled.  "What kind of god is that?  It's a god on too human of a scale, that's what.  There are miracles, yes, mostly of a medical nature, a few to satisfy hungry stomachs; at best a storm is tempter, water is briefly walked upon.  Any Hindu god can do a hundred times better.  This Son is a god who spent most of His time telling stories, talking.  This Son is a god who walked, a pedestrian god--and in a hot place, at that--with a stride like any human stride, and when He splurged on transportation, it was a regular donkey.  This Son is a god who dies in three hours, with moans, gasps and laments.  What kind of a god is that?  What is there to inspire in this Son?"

"Love," said Father Martin.

"And this Son appears only once, long ago, far away?  Among an obscure tribe in backwater of West Asia on the confines of a long-vanished empire?  Is done away with before He has a single grey hair on His head?  Leaves not a single descendant, only scattered, partial testimony, His complete work doodles in the dirt?  Wait a minute.  This is more than Brahman with a serious case of stage fright.  (Brahman is the Hindu version of Heavenly Father).  This is Brahman practically unmanifest.  If Brahman is to have only one son, He must be abundant, no?  What could justify such divine stinginess?"

"Love," said Father Martin.

"I'll stick to my Krishna, thank you very much.  I find his divinity utterly compelling.  You can keep your sweaty, chatty Son to yourself,"

"And yet, I couldn't get Him out of my head.  Still can't.  I spent three solid days thinking about Him.  The more He bothered me, the less I could forget about Him.  And the more I learned about Him, the less I wanted to leave Him. 

That love.  A measure of that love is not matched in Hinduism.
"Father, I would like to be a Christian."

Upward and onward,

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Shine bright, shine far

08 November 2015

I am a shining light.

That is what I repeat to myself generously throughout the day.  And I can feel the energy in my body shift immediately to incorporate that belief.

I recently took a three-day course on discovering limiting beliefs that are directly inhibiting us.  First find them by observing the dissatisfying results in our lives.  Then take the results, trace it to the thoughts, back to the emotion, and down to the deeply-rooted belief.  Then flip that belief around and stamp out a present tense phrase to replace that space.  I do work like this in meditation daily, but after this course, I now have even more tools to flip the subconscious beliefs that leave me feeling disarmed and reactive, to feeling in control and settled and utterly abundant from all that I am.

It is inevitable to be snagged at some point inside a collapsed tent of resentments, scarcity mentality, and insecurity.  And to brawl inside the tent for time upon time, solidifying that life just is this way.  But oh! to have a completely rewritten past, shed all resentment, have complete access to all the resources we desire, feel complete joy and control over our life at hand.  An upshift in our deepest essences.


Perhaps, the agreements we've made with ourselves about reality are mostly phantoms.  Phantom beliefs that we chose ourselves into.  So, likely we can choose ourselves back out.  No longer life is happening to us but life is happening for us and because of us.  The entire world shifts energy...

only because, the beliefs inside our very own minds have been re-chosen. 

And for me,

I am a shining light!

I feel it. 

Just this morning, as Ryan and I silently did Sunday studies next to each other, I noticed that because I am really believing that I am emitting so much light, I can feel the light of all else being emitted back to me too.  The books I read emit their light into me.  The light of intelligence from the authors are gracious to me for receiving them.  The light from Ryan, as another spiritual being on my journey, surrounds my whole body.  The trees outside my window emitting their light joyfully into my home.  Even, thinking about that one person in my past who severely hurt me, I can feel his light offering me graciousness and a bow of respect.

I feel entirely adorned.  And I know God is the facilitator of this exchange in so much abundant light.

I am a shining light!
And in believing so, everything shines its light joyfully back to me.

Upward and onward,

PS - the title of this post... anyone know the song source?  (Hint: Tyra Banks and Lindsey Lohan movie about a barbie that comes to life)  hahaha!  If yes, can I come to your house and we do the dance in your living room?  It'll be like a christening for your home.


Newlyweds, through and through

I've been taking an evening class the last few nights.  And when the class is ready to break for dinner, I shoot Ryan a text that says, "It's time!  Let's meet!!"  And then I giggle like a mad woman while I drive crazily to our restaurant of choice.  Then we hug like separated veterans, and nearly forget to satiate ourselves with delicious food, while talking frantically through our days.  Then I must depart and go back to class.  I miss our evenings together, snuggling on the couch eating Ryan's sweet potato and veggie hash, watching MasterChef Junior.

Marriage is very fun.

Upward and onward,

The happenings with the new Mrs.

03 November 2015

Hello blog.

I am home today with a body that says, "aaaand no more.  break."  I am tired and achy and my bones feel cold.  But, the trees outside from where I write are just beginning their transformation, and I love squinting at them and listening to them rustle.  I've been feeling a bit guilty that my busyness has kept me from really observing the fall trees change colors and come undone.  Not that I have to sit here and watch the entire process.  I just think it's really powerful symbolism that we get to watch nature shed so fiercely.  And the whole world is moved by it!  At least the people on my internet.  But I really believe there is a vulnerable subconscious connection, something of safety and innocence.  Of our humanity so tiny against a massive, seasonal, beautiful shift.  We remember that we are not the pacemakers and rulers of the world; we are only the partakers.  And in the fall, we are very happy about that.

Oooooh life for me.  It's so good!  It's good for me to share the full diggings on my complete life.  And also, I couldn't write all this in a text to Leslie, so here it is.

I've been meditating daily.  Twice a day, actually.  I feel true in the practice now; like I can really claim myself to be a meditator.  Though a fast had to get me more prominently rooted into this art.  It is a hard thing to untangle, settle, and expand empty space in your mind.  One couldn't realize the undiscipline of the inner anxious child until they try to wrangle him to stillness.  But it's actually shocked me just how much of a difference it has made for me.  My mind truly is still, and I can tell embedded subconscious belief systems (some that I was aware of and some I wasn't) have shifted and erased.  I feel much more supreme.  And lately, I have not been anxious or impatient, and my self-worth feels strong and steady.  I have specific resources that have worked very well for me (namely a sun light and a meditation app).

I've also been reading a lot.  I snuggle on the couch next to Ryan every evening, and I gorge myself in novel after novel.  I found this Australian author who has topped my list of favorite authors.  Liane Moriarty.  Her character development is the best I've ever witnessed, and her writing is so relateable and entertaining, and her plots are genius!  And because of this, I am currently reading every last one of her books.  And then, I will need someone to retrieve her journals, and I will exchange my entire 401(k) for them.

And work.  My job has been so fulfilling for me.  I haven't really shared here what my new career life looks like.  It took some time to shape.  But, I partnered with a tax CPA company, joining as their 3rd CPA, and we are looking to expand the business by 400%, which excites me to have all that sprinting room in front of me.  Remember how at my corporate jobs, I couldn't even stretch my legs without getting hit with a wooden stick.  Then I have some of my own clients on the side where I operate as an accounting manager.  It's really thrilling for me.  I love the respect that people give to a CPA.  I love knowing things that can create such positive value for people and businesses.  In the beginning of this shift, I was so overwhelmed with the learning curve.  Let's just say I made stuff up a lot, and then researched later.  I experienced intense discouragement on rougher days.  But then, one day I opened a word document, and I set two intentions for myself to measure my success:  (a) Did I make an impact on someone today?  (b) Did I learn something new today?  Since then, I have had a successful day every day.

And socially.  Well, I'm that newlywed who won't leave the side of her husband - I love this time too much.  But I do invite over my friends sometimes.  And I have a really wonderful new visiting teaching companion.  And I have also joined a business networking group, where 30 different business owners come together each week and network to give each other more referrals.  This group is becoming such good friends and comrades for me.  I love the feeling of this loyalty and community.  Only one type of business owner can be in the group, and I am the CPA rep.  Today I was told that they selected me over some other CPA applicants, even though I had way less experience, but I seemed far more motivated.  I appreciated that.  It is true; I am not riding on 35 years of experience.  All I have is another word document titled "Daily Study" where I read a tax law or financial brief each day and write down one new thing I've learned.  I'm a baby in this arena, but I'm not intimidated.  Slow and steady.  I'll get there. 

And marriage.  Oh man.  I can't even say how perfect being married to Ryan is.  This is the joy that I always believed in.  I knew when I was so so little that a relationship could be this intimate and powerful.  He is such a great husband and fun sidekick.  Our world together is so gentle, loving,  happy, and full of laughter.  Okay, also I seriously have a laughing problem.  Worse than ever, I just break out into laughter and just laugh and laugh, wheezing to Ryan as he patiently waits for me to finish, "Don't you ever just need to LAUGH?"  "Yes," he says, "But I've never met someone who laughs so much at nothing!"  This life is like a storybook, and it makes me so happy that I laugh hysterically over it.  "Just do what you gotta do," Ryan always tells me.

And now, Ryan has finished cooking dinner.  So I will eat next to him, and then finish up my latest Moriarty novel.  Did I mention that my husband is a top chef, cooking us seared salmon and filet mignon and veggie hashes?  Last night, I tried to make fish and squash.  That was it.  But then in an effort to correct one cooking error, I added this, and then to correct that error, I altered that, and to correct that, blended this.  And before I knew what was happening, it become some sort of a fish squash soup with an avocado milkshake dressing.  Haha!  It was the weirdest thing.  But it tasted fine enough.  And, neither Ryan or I are surprised by this cooking chemistry between us.  I knew he cooked everything so gourmet and exquisite, and he knew that I combined everything in the kitchen all at once, and it ends up tasting surprisingly decent everytime.  (Although one time he did question one of my breakfast concontions because it looked exactly like mold.  Not kidding about this either.  It was the spirulina powder and chia seeds.  Straight up lumpy green and fuzzy gray.  HAHA!)


Upward and onward.  To an evening with my husband, and warm food, and good reading.  Life is grand.

my view right now:

getting ready for the day.  Just fun.
Headed out on a date with Ryan's best friend, Mike, and Mike's wife Christy.

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