Millions of Mirrors
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
What do I mean when I say, "everything is a mirror of yourself?" What do I mean when I say, "when things change inside you, things change around you?" What do I mean when I say, "your outer is just a reflection of your inner?"
Everything you see in your current reality is a reflection of what is going on inside of you -inside your mind and inside your heart. For some people that is a hard pill to swallow because that means you're creating your reality. You are in co-creation with the universe and your circumstances, helping mold what is being mirrored at you. That means on some level, you are choosing this life that is unfolding in front of your eyes. And for others, that can be extremely empowering because if we can delve into what is going on in the subconscious mind and rewire some of the programming to think and act differently, we can start to make more empowering choices and actions and change our entire lives.
Of course, some of the circumstances and situations that myself and others have been through are not fair and that doesn't mean anyone deserves certain conditions, but it also means we have been programmed by our parents, society and our environments, to act and think a certain way about our circumstances. We are dealing with centuries of limiting beliefs and trauma that have been passed down from our lineage. This programming goes deep and if we can start to recognize these patterns and things going on inside of us, there is a hope of course correction. There is a hope of a more abundant and aligning future. If we can get out of our own way, we can actually live the life we want to lead.
Like the Psychologist Carl Jung said, "Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will control our lives and we will call it fate."
So how did I get here, writing? How did I get into spirituality and life coaching? How did I one day decide enough was enough and I needed to go inward?
This story is a bit of a journey. A journey that I am beyond grateful for, as it has brought me to where I am, given me my super powers and guided me toward deeper connection to myself and others. I've been able to unveil the truth of who I am and now live a life of service where I share my lessons with others to inspire them for their own change. There are days the journey is still brutal and of course days of bliss. It's in this duality of life we can actually appreciate it. It's like peeling back the layers of an onion. I definitely do not have it all figured out, and I am happy to continue to learn and grow as I go. When I know better I do better. This process is a constant unfolding of awareness, acceptance, new choices and faith.
There weren't many things I didn't used to use to fill a void. Food, love/ relationships and shopping were my fillers of choice. I definitely have had my fair share of issues with alcohol and drugs throughout my 20s. Exerexic, calorie counter, abusive relationship finder, abuser of self and probably others at times, shopaholic, convicted drunk driver, tanner-exic, plastic surgery-exic, codependent, perfectionist and the list goes on. I am happy to say that I no longer feel attached to any of these things. I would consider myself at this time, "mostly" attachment-less, except for one thing, and that is my matcha and frothed oat milk with cinnamon in the mornings. I genuinely can't start my day without it. I am the person that will travel with her French press and milk frother over seas... but all things considered, I'm okay keeping that attachment, because it brings me all the warm feels, I love the ritual, the smell of it, and it reminds me of happy times I shared with my family, in the mornings, at my parent's house, in their beautiful backyard.
It wasn't until my divorce to my ex-husband, who struggled with alcoholism and is currently serving his prison sentence, that I found myself in yet another toxic and abusive relationship. I found myself, yet again, with someone who was treating me like I wasn't enough and accepting it as though I deserved it, when I decided I was the common factor with all these situations in my life. I couldn't play the victim anymore. I couldn't take the pain anymore. I couldn't live inside the layers of armor I had built up to try and protect myself and my heart anymore. My first physical symptom from crippling anxiety that actually made me realize there was a problem, was dizziness. It kept me in the house for 3 months, unable to drive and persisted strongly for about 3 years. It put me in debt with my endless search for the cure, thinking the cure was outside of myself, not realizing external sources couldn't ail what was going on inside of me. The debt was further exacerbated by my shopping. When you are filling voids, you will notice that you are always trying to fill a hole. You fill the whole with clothes, food, trips, workouts, plastic surgery, men, whatever is there to give you comfort and safety from yourself. More is just more, it's never enough because what you actually need is love, your own love. Yes, that sounds woo woo but it's the truth. The outside physical crap will never give you what you're looking for. You will continue to look for external validation some way or the other, always winding back up in the same place, needing more of it, because when the high of the praise, clothes, food, booze and drugs wear off, you will be left hungry again, feeling ugly again, sadder and darker than before and desiring something else to fill you back up.
CLEARLY, It was time to take a hard look at myself in the mirror. It was time to look at my patterns, my thoughts and the way I was showing up in the world. I couldn't continue keeping up the facade of "having it all together". While my ex-husband struggled publicly with addiction, I struggled privately with an eating disorder. It's interesting because people who look the most put together are usually the ones who need the most help. To the outsider, I was highly functioning in the world but I couldn't play pretend anymore. I couldn't pretend I had money when I was in debt, I couldn't pretend to be strong when I was 110 lbs at 5'7. I couldn't continue to go about my day when my anxiety was through the roof and the sadness cut so deep thoughts of ending it all were a reality. I couldn't pretend that getting wasted drunk was fun and normal behavior. News flash, the more fucked up you get, the more sadness you are covering. No you are not just having fun. No it isn't normal.
So where do I begin... the chicken or the egg?
When I say, "the chicken or the egg" what I mean is... Was it the environment I grew up in or was it me? Was it karmic? The answer is probably 'all of the above' but who the hell really knows. Here is what I do know... And what I do know is everyone in my cast of characters was doing their best to their level of perception. Everyone who played a role in my life, and taught me the way I think and behave, loved me beyond measure. And with all the crazy that has ensued, a lot of really great things have come out of it too. All the reasons I was participating in sabotaging behavior and found myself in toxic relationships, are also all the reasons I found myself at the top of my tennis career with a full-ride athletic scholarship to USC. They're why I am fearless and will not give up. Why when I am told I can't do it, I say "watch me" and then find myself manifesting what I put my mind to. Like my grooming career, where people told me I would never be at the top, because I didn't go to beauty school, and now I am proud to say, I have worked with celebrities like John Legend, Brad Pitt, Will Smith and The Jonas Brothers. They're the reasons I give 150% when I make my mind up about something. The reason I can read people's tone and energy when I walk into a room. These things have given me the ability to support others and guide them on their spiritual journey. The reason I can talk to all walks of life and find common ground. They're the reason I love with my whole heart and would trade an arm for the people in my tribe. They're the reason I am independent, will travel to India alone for months at a time, take risks and adventure. They're the reason I will not stop trying to help others and contribute to them finding the same peace I have found since my spiritual awakening. These things have become, what I like to call my super powers. I have decided my experiences and my shamelessness about them are my gifts to the world. I want to make people feel more comfortable about themselves by showing them myself. The real self. No hiding, no mask, no pretending. I want people to know that no matter how ugly it gets, there is an opportunity waiting on the other side. Our struggles introduce us to our strengths.
There were 3 main contributors to the "why" question in my perception... How things came to what they came to...
First, my brother committed suicide when I was 6. He was 16. The effects this had on my family would be profound. I want to make it clear that this was my half-brother, my father's son. I want to clarify this because it makes sense then, why my mom was able to play the role she did, while my father played his. I am not sure either of my parents would see things the way I saw them, but as a 6 year-old kid this is what I remember to be true. My mom was strong. She was the one who had us pick up and keep moving. Since he was our half-brother, my full brother and I were not supposed to feel anything too intensely about it. We were reminded, "We barely knew him." This was confusing for me, as I remembered him as someone I looked up to. He was handsome and smiley. He would always pick me up and swing me around when he would come visit (he lived with his mother mostly), telling me how much he loved me. I remember him poking my chubby 5 year-old belly and tickling me. The last thing I remember about him, was that he brought me a silver ballerina figurine. It was a ring-holder and I still keep it on my desk. He told me he would always be with me and that he loved me very much. That was the last time I saw him. He killed himself at his mom's house about a week later.
Rightfully so, my father was somewhat of a shell after that. I remember him disappearing here and there to go mourn since emotions weren't really allowed in our house. My mom would call hospitals, hotels and jails trying to find him. He'd come home after a couple days with his normally clean-shaven face, unshaven and puffy from tears of sadness. It was a hard time. We all powered through. There is so much more to the development of this story but for this particular post, the take away was we were taught not to feel. To keep moving, everything was fine. Again, this was survival. My parents were doing the best they could to move through a situation they were not given a guide book to navigate.
Next, would be my relationship with my mother. It's always one parent, one parent we blame for all our problems, and boy did I blame her. I want to start out by saying my mom is one of the most generous and giving people I know. She is an Italian from Jersey. Food is her love language. She loves to feed. Whether you are hungry or not, you walk into her house, you are guaranteed to leave beyond full, with enough food to feed a family of four for a week. Their house always smells of red, pasta sauce and cinnamon, with more trinkets and collectibles than you can imagine. My mom has created a genuine home, decorated for the season. She is the type of woman who would take in other people's children and do whatever she could for them. When my friend's mom died of liver failure and an addiction to alcohol, my mom housed him for nearly a year making sure he was well fed and safe. We also had an exchange student from Czech who wanted to play tennis in the states, so my mom had her live with us all through her high school years. She was able to get a full-ride to the University of Washington for tennis, where she met her husband, and still lives a very happy life in the U.S. She is always the host of a party whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving or a bridal and baby shower. She is the ultimate, gift giver and always thinking about what you might need. There are countless other ways my mom was a giver. She was also a very tough women and I know she would agree with me on that one. She has been through her fair share and the woman is a survivor. She has kept moving through it all and continues to everyday, by helping others. She was a nurse for many years and she continues to help others now, by working for a health care company that caters to their patients, physical, mental and spiritual needs. That being said, she wasn't easy on us. In my perspective, my mom was a perfectionist, everything had to be the best and it had to be perfect. Perfectionism is a symptom of a deep fear of not being enough and that was projected onto me. Anything less than perfection meant I was in for an ass whooping. The ass whooping usually revolved around my tennis career. I was pretty good, top in my age division, on the national team, traveling around the world, yet that seemingly wasn't good enough. I was dropped off on the highway a time or two, around the age of 11 and left to walk back to our hotel, tennis bag in hand, because I needed to think about how I performed and disappointed her. She may have uttered the words, "Kill yourself like your brother did." Never remembering what she said, because it wasn't what she meant. She was a fiery Italian who would scream and yell obscenities and then forget about it 30 minutes later. Unfortunately, I never forgot the things that were said. When you are young, you remember everything your parents say and do and you take it as fact. When she ripped a lucky necklace off my neck telling me I was "stupid" for wearing it after the loss of the National Finals of the 14 and under in doubles, I took it literally. The same goes for being told to kill myself and I won't get started on the abandonment I felt, when being dropped off on the highway, in a different state and having no idea if she would actually come back. Remember this was before cell phones and GPS. I was 12 and had no idea where I was going. That covers some of the high points and my feelings of not enough-ness, lack of self worth, and perfectionism that showed up as patterns in my later teens and 20s. It was also the beginning of a long pattern of co-dependency. Programmed to fill the void of my mother with my greatness - I learned love was given when I was the best and taken away when I was not. I found myself taking responsibility for other people's feelings and trying to be what they needed, while abandoning my own, which in some cases ended me up in abusive relationships, because that's what I knew to be love. I continued to seek validation from external sources, including my romantic partnerships, friends, and colleagues, until I recognized the pattern. My mother and I have both healed a lot over the years, taken responsibility for ourselves and our relationship is in the best place it's been.
And lastly, my tennis career would have a very profound effect on who I had become. There are other things of course, a weird stint where I couldn't walk for about a year around the age of 12 due to some odd skin ailment, an alcoholic uncle, girls being mean to me in school, and sexual abuse in college, but in terms of shaping the thinking that lead to a whole lot of toxic and self-sabatoging behavior in my late teens and 20s, these 3 things would get the ball rolling. Back to tennis... I'd say we figured out I was talented when I was around the age of 7. I was beating 4.0 men at our tennis club and barely trying. I quickly rose to #1 in the 10s and 12s and then was on the USA national team, traveling around the world playing ITF tournaments. I homeschooled and lived away from my family at a tennis academy in Florida for high school so I could either go pro or get a full-ride to college. Plagued by injuries, the full-ride to school seemed more promising because my body was worn out and probably wouldn't make it through a pro career. We were right, my sophomore year of college I tore a tendon in my elbow, declaring I had a career ending injury. I was thrilled as I couldn't take it anymore, but what ensued was a whole lot of "who am I?" Which lead to a host of college girl issues (more to come).
Tennis had taught me I was a loan soldier, as playing singles was an independent sport, I had to depend solely on myself. I had very few friends from all the traveling, tennis was everything, which meant work was everything. Travel was my life, and work ethic was survival. I played 4-5 hours a day and then would train for an hour or so outside of that. The common theme was, "fix it and make it better" and "don't feel, keep moving." If I lost, had to fix something and make it better. If I won, had to fix something and make it better. If I got injured, take an Advil, keep going. In pain, too bad, keep going. So that's what I did, with my tennis, and then with everything else in my life...fix it and don't feel it - with myself, with others, with my marriage, and with my body. A relentless pursuit to fix it, not feel it and make it better. I never gave up, I never threw in the towel. And I am still working through that pattern today.
What I will leave you with is... These limiting beliefs are not just familial problems, this is a systemic issue in our society and reaffirmed by mainstream media and marketing that something outside of ourselves can make us better, can make us more, can fix us. Buy this make-up, you'll be prettier, drink this beer, you'll be calmer, buy this outfit you'll be sexier, take this pill you'll be healthier, and so on and so forth.
When you combine the two elements, you have set up the perfect battle ground. And my physical reality had begun to mirror that back at me: A mountain of debt, I didn't have enough. Trips to the plastic surgeons office to "fix" my chest, my wrinkles (I was 25), and my lips. I kept finding myself in relationships with people mirroring at me that I wasn't enough through their actions of cheating on me with other women and/ or verbally abusing me and telling me I wasn't good enough. And to be clear I wasn't treating them any better. Running up credit card bills, going out with my friends and blaming them for all our problems. I was a giant pain in the ass as well. My unconscious shadow had made itself manifest and it has taken some time to rewire this brain of mine.
What I will say is, I am so beyond grateful for the "rock bottoms" that I have hit. All these bottoms have introduced me to more authentic versions of myself and to understanding my mind and the human psyche. These situations and circumstances have given me so much compassion for people in general. We have all been through so much and the reasons we do what we do is for survival. It's because we do not feel safe or seen or loved and we are doing our best to navigate this life. Like my mom, she just wanted me to be the best, so I could thrive as an adult. She wanted me to know I could always be better and do better and thanks to my mom, I have been able to achieve a lot in this life. Whatever I put my mind to I create, because she taught me I can do anything. Her intentions were the furthest thing from malicious although it felt that way at times. I know she genuinely wanted the best for me and sometimes that included throwing out the occasional "F" bomb. Why? She's an Italian from Jersey. And that's what's been passed down in that environment. So all in all, I am appreciative to this cast of characters and story development because I have been able to experience life in all forms and all it's glory.
Through out the course of this blog I am going to spotlight different spiritual lessons and epiphanies I have had over the course of my 5 year journey (well 34 year journey). I am going to highlight them and then explain how my past shaped and molded me into attracting and being attracted to these circumstances. I will share how I was able to uncover these patterns through surrendering to a power greater than myself, prayer, meditation, a boat load of self help books and many a self-development courses. I will give you tips and tricks to healing your inner child and facing your shadows. I want you to be able to use me, the once upon a time sleep-walker, consumer, void filler, self-abandoner, as an example, use this as a guide book, as a support system and as comfort knowing that if I can get to the other side, if I can get off the ferris wheel of high and low, so can you. These little shifts over the course of my journey have changed the trajectory of my entire life and I believe with all my heart they can change yours too.
What topics of my life are in store for the blog in the coming weeks:
The Alcoholic's Wife (Yes, I was the alcoholic's wife)
The Big Bang (The Death of my Brother and how it molded my family's entire life)
Tennis, Curse or Cure? (The duality of the highs and lows of my tennis career)
World War II (My relationship with a clinical narcissist)
What Happened to My Feet (When I had a freak accident and couldn't walk for 6 months)
The Walk of Shame (My own version of Tanya Harding)
The Dark Ages (Redefining myself after tennis and falling into drugs and alcohol in college)
The Affair (Enough said)
And there are many more. Let me know your thoughts. Hit the heart below if this is something you're interested in. This is my baby. My passion project and I hope to turn this memoir of essays into a spiritual guide for women (and men) everywhere. So much love and thanks for tuning in.
Hot Spiritual/ Mental Tip of The Week:
This concept really changed my life at the beginning of my spiritual journey and I want to share it with you. I was listening to the Lively Show, which you should listen to with Jessica Lively. She had on Life Coach, Brooke Castillo and they were discussing our thoughts and how they create our realities. When I really grasped this concept and I started to become aware of what was going on in my mind, which at times was terrifying, my whole life started to change, my baseline for happiness rose, I started attracting healthier relationships, and certainly became more abundant.
Understand this, it is not our circumstances, but our beliefs and thoughts about our circumstances that shape our lives. It is not our circumstances but what we think about our circumstances that shapes our lives! Let me explain that a little bit further. Every thought creates an emotion, which creates an equal and opposite action and reaction, which produces a result and in turn proves the initial thought correct. Every action creates a result. Different actions create different results. And different emotions create different actions and reactions. When you feel good you take a different action then when you feel bad. What shapes how we feel? It is what we think that shapes what we feel. When you really get this concept that changing your beliefs will change your thoughts and in turn change your emotions, changing your actions and then CHANGE YOUR RESULTS, which ALWAYS prove the belief and thought correct, your life will change your life.
Examples: "I am fat" literally makes me feel heavy and down on myself (emotion). The action taken is probably eating to feel better and sitting on my butt because I don't "feel" like doing anything. My result, I look the same, feel the same and am the same. "I feel fat." (original thought proven correct.)
Changing the thought: "I have a functioning body" makes me feel lighter, like I have options (emotions). The action is a go for a walk that day and eat something lighter because I am not using food to lift my spirits. My result, I have more energy, I burned more energy, and I feel better about myself. "I have a functioning body." (original thought proven correct.)
Shifting it again: "I am so grateful for my beautiful body." Makes me feel happy, grateful, loved, cherished (emotion). FYI all emotions and actions have an equal and opposite reaction so remember what you put out there is what you get back as well. The action I take is moving my body, I dance or go for a workout, I feed it nourishing food because I respect it and love it and I bathe myself in a beautiful lavender bath. "I am so grateful for my beautiful body." (original thought proven correct.)
Obviously this is a basic example and not going to be an exact science for all of us, but this is a version of what happens when we stop putting ourselves down and look at our shadows.These little shifts can change our entire lives. We have to look at what's going on in the subconscious. Somewhere along the way we learned that we weren't enough or we have to fix it and make it better. We learned that by putting ourselves down, "tough love" we won't settle for what we don't want. But literally the absolute opposite is true. If you can love yourself, you will respect yourself. If you can change your thoughts about yourself, your whole life will change. Your intuition will guide you to places that are meant for you and let you enjoy life instead of trying to perfect your way through it, for fear you will be scorned if you are not enough. Let's wake up to the truth of ourselves by surrendering to the unknown, to a power greater than ourselves, because when we do, the universe will show us the way. When we wake up and become aware of our thoughts, we are no longer the victims of our circumstances but active participants in our lives.
Hope this was helpful. Let's go on this journey together and create some magic.