Author: ksullivan

Truth

Truth

It seems to have lost its power. My daughter comes from a blended family; you see I’m not her birth mother, and this year after she turned 11, she approached us asking why we eat differently at Dad’s house. Simple answer is because it’s our […]

Over Indulgences

Over Indulgences

Emotion. I eat. Boredom. I eat. Denial. I eat. A web of inflammation weaves its way through my tissue connections, starting viscerally and ever expanding. Pain. I eat. Sorrow. I eat. Stress. I eat. Joy. I eat. As night drags on, I thrash around my […]

Identity Confusion

Identity Confusion

The strangeness surrounding the CoVID19 Pandemic stole my identity.

At present, my inability to do the job I love to do, has me feeling like someone robbed me of who I am at my core.

 

There’s a mental/emotional roller coaster to grief.

To change.

To face yourself everyday in the same situation, one you resent, one you despise.

 

Part of me died when this pandemic hit. At least that’s how it’s felt. The part that’s been running with a lit torch of my own truth and knowledge for years. 

In my late 20s, I sunk my teeth into the holistic world and became a bodyworker and practitioner of movement to aid in pain relief. This became the forefront of my life. 

I believed I had purpose. To heal myself. To heal other people of chronic, debilitating pain. If I had this path and a calling, all my suffering had a purpose too, bringing me into a holistic world to what I've found to be true with others. If I could even change the life of one other person for the better, using my knowledge and skills to help stretch people out of pain, any suffering I experienced that led me to this road was worth it. If I could help other people out of their pain, chronic and acute, I believed I could better cope with my own pain. It didn’t matter how I felt, if I could put all of my efforts and energy into helping others. I consider this one job, helping people out of pain, my universal calling. Or at least I had, until April of 2020. 

Healing. Connection. Purpose. 

These three aspects of my everyday where the foundation I’d built my self worth on. Through Connective Tissue bodywork I was able to find a way to use my time with meaning and help others. One solitary goal, filled my vision - to help people feel better in their bodies (through touch.) 

As an extrovert, I loved the everyday conversations and raport I built with people. Through my career as a bodyworker, I’ve cultivated more meaningful relationships and a vast network of trustworthy natural healers.

However, the past month has me feeling like I don’t know who I am anymore. I have been forced to take a break from bodywork, both giving and receiving a regular dose of healing. Any practitioner who works face to face with clients was put on pause for the month of April in Colorado. I know I wasn’t then, and am not now, alone. 

As I head back into the workplace in a trickle, like the drip of a faucet, to avoid stirring the pot further, I am feeling my own thoughts and energy with unobstructed time. 

The past month has shown me how much I relied on the approval and validation of others to get through my every day. Why I worked tirelessly 6 days a week to feel worthy of the praise I’d received for working hard as an employee, or studying to find the best movements for my clients.

I’m not as kind to myself as I am to other people. I do believe you should treat others how you want to be treated, no matter what monsters live inside your own head. I try to treat each person I come in contact with like a dear relative or my best friend’s mother. I want to approach them with love and reverence for where they are in their journey. It’s an insane struggle to do the same for myself, but why? Am I constantly over producing in productivity simply to feel like enough? What does it mean to be enough just as I am? Once I’ve stripped away career titles, sarcasm, and the fact faucet that is my brain’s ability to retain knowledge. This break from me constantly using other people’s praise as validation has given me space to ask these questions.

Storms, voices, doubt, fear all swirl inside me and meld with my vision to cloud what I see.

I’ve had instances of reverting to old patterns of useless beliefs that I thought I’d worked through and I know are tied to trauma from my past. Feelings of worthlessness, unwantedness, being burdensome, and loneliness. Without the constant trickle of praise from others, I began to believe the formerly hushed voices that now seem louder than the outside world. 

I’m grateful my journey has allowed me enough self awareness to be able to label my current state of being. 

I am grieving. As are we all. 

I know I will work through the confusion in my psyche without a complete meltdown, but the potential is there. Some days I have a hard time getting out of bed. Some days the heaviness of the entire experience weigh so much that I cry for hours. The negative effects of being upset in addition to exponential stress have me spiking in my interstitial cystitis like symptoms, new and old alike. I must admit that even with the stress, it’s been worse. Which means I’m still healing. If I can be healing from that, there’s still hope

How to move forward? I have to find solace in myself. I have to believe I’m enough, simply being. Trust me, I know how hard this is. Even typing that out my brain wants to pick it apart and fight the very notion.

I don’t have the answers apples. I only have my own experience and the challenges that threaten to break me. Writing “I am resilient” on a sticky note and placing it on my bathroom mirror is my first step in reclaiming my mind as my own space. It’s a journey toward creating a sanctuary within myself.

Soon, I’ll return to the workplace. It will be different. It feels scary. All I can do is trust that I’ll keep breathing. Trust that my life still has value and meaning. Trust that I have the knowledge I need to take care of my immune system, my mental health and my body. I have worth. I am enough.

Apple Out,

K Sullivan

What’s Unnecessary?

What’s Unnecessary?

What do I mean by that? I mean removing items from my life that no longer serve me.  Whether my body is telling me that a food or beauty product item is no longer meant for me – through a negative reaction or symptom; such […]

Pandemic 2020

Pandemic 2020

I know in some crevice of myself I need to talk about what’s happening to our world with this COVID19 “panic” pandemic, however “where to start” and “what to say” feels like speaking a foreign language.  I’m no expert on viruses, their impact, or the […]

Cultivating Gratitude

Cultivating Gratitude

“There’s a storm inside my head, and it’s killing all the flowers.” -Author Unknown

I am grateful. At least I’m trying to be. I’ve been living under the shade of negativity for as long as I can remember, cultivating gratuitous feelings takes work and an enormous amount of effort. At the beginning of this year, my husband and I started implementing a gratitude practice first thing in the morning. It didn’t start there. It started by me fighting myself. I had to start small. I had to start with running water and my toilet while admitting what sucked. “I’m grateful I have this toilet to tinkle in 10 feet from my bed so no matter how many times my stupid body wakes me up at night I’m grateful I only have to go ten feet to pee.” 

Every successful person is saying you have to be grateful for what you have now or you’ll never be happy. I know they are right. However, I find myself sucked into and stuck with my “what’s the point?” pattern. It’s hard wired into my circuitry and taking everything I have to change it. 

The thing is, it is changing. My list has grown. My husband’s too, and now we include our daughter in the practice. There’s nothing more rewarding than hearing your child is grateful for you and the roof you provide.

I am grateful. Believe it or not, I am grateful for my pain. Sometimes I struggle to believe it. But I am grateful. Each experience I've had has elevated me. Each painful excruciating life moment has made me stronger. 

I'm grateful for the lessons I learn when I have to piece myself back together because it fills my toolbox up with ideas on how to piece other people back together. 

I'm grateful that I'm able to research and explore knowledge. “Knowledge is power” and the more you know the less you feel like you know anything. This humbling experience will ensure I’m always trying to learn and grow.

I'm grateful I was created. It wasn’t a fluke but a perfectly timed event that brought me to fruition. It took generation after generation of perfect timing to lead to me.

My journey, my life thus far, and my experiences led me to be who I am today and even if I’m not where I want to be, I am grateful for the growth I’ve accomplished along my path. 

I’m grateful for the love of lovers past, the suffering and the joy they brought all taught me lessons about who I want to be and what matters to me in relationships. I’m so grateful for the love it led me too, and the love I learned and continue to learn to cultivate for myself

I'm grateful for my body though my body is not eternal. I am grateful for the gift of a home, of adventure and growth my body gives me while I'm alive as well as the purpose it serves in the cycle of life. 

I've learned some challenging, hard and scary lessons, ones I feared I wouldn’t survive, and for each one I'm grateful. I’m grateful for each moment, each person alive and passed, each friend, each stranger that’s touched my life because all those experiences taught me more about what it is to be human. 

I'm grateful that life is short, as much as that's hard to admit, because it forces me to think deeply, ask raw questions and strive for big things all while I watch magic happen in both short and long years. I would not wish what I've been through on anyone in the world but I'm grateful it brought me to the here and now. Looking back on who I was five years ago, I am that girl's hero. I know 5 years from now Kaitlyn is my hero, but it's up to me to not let her down. She's only the hero I make her out to be with every choice, every second of every day. I'm grateful that I have that awareness.

I'm grateful that I'm capable of feeling the depths of my sorrow. Sacrifice and suffering have allowed me to carry precious gemstones of empathy into my everyday interactions with others. I’m grateful I’m learning to cultivate joy and be happy on my path, wherever it leads me. 

I am grateful. I know I am. Some days I’m having to fake it to make it, but I know with practice those feelings will grow because I’m stretching this mental muscle. Gratitude doesn't have to be giving thanks to a specific entity, but more about acknowledging what is in your life right now that you can be grateful for. My spiritual beliefs sometimes play a role in my practice and other times I'm grateful for an event I experienced or friends I have and moments we've shared. I'm also trying to be grateful for aspects of myself, like resilience which I know is a skill I had to practice over time. 

Ounce for ounce, bone is stronger than steel. You are the result of galaxies colliding. Stardust energy flows through you. Shine brightly because you’re precious, you’re priceless and I’m grateful for you. 

Apple out, 

K. Sullivan

 

Living Clean

Living Clean

You could ask almost any dietitians, nutritionists, naturopaths, urologists, doctors, and other holistic  healers what their number one recommendation would be for combating any auto-immune disease and most would recommend a clean lifestyle to optimize health. By that I mean eating fruits, veggies and meats […]

Stress: What It Does To You

Stress: What It Does To You

I thought I had it under control. I didn’t think I was letting it take over my body or my life. Turns out I was stifling and stuffing all along. Stress will kill you much faster than you’d choose to die. I see it in […]

Psychosomatic

Psychosomatic

I’m not normal. 

My Mom always told me, “Normal is just a setting on a washing machine.”

I’m not crazy, though at times I feel out of my mind.  

That doesn’t mean the experiences I’m having aren’t common in other people too.

I have spent the past year honing in on my mental health. I want to love myself whether or not I’m fully healed physically, and I know there’s a mental component.  I’m tired. Exhausted really, and overwhelmed every time I am told my autoimmune issues are psychosomatic. They really do cause havoc in my body and my life.

I’m admitting I’m depressed. 

I’m admitting I’m anxious. 

I’m admitting I’m afraid. 

The problem is, everything’s connected. One system isn’t responsible for an entire human experience. Each system needs to be working synergistic with every other system. 

We even share a symbiotic relationship with our individual microbiomes, the bugs that live within us and on our skin. Which means yes, my problem is in my head, but it’s also in the rest of me. I feel trapped in this dance of which came first, the complicated wiring in my head or the unraveling of my physical self.

Whether it’s in my head or body, I have to deal with both areas in order to truly heal. I’m working on my body and have been for several years, maybe you - reading this - have joined me along the journey. I’m finally making my head and mental state more of a priority. 

I believe and have discovered, in research, that each of us can rewire the circuitry in our brains. We choose how we are wired. If we let our thoughts control us, we pull ourselves deeper into a victim state. The more you think about a thought, ruminate in it and let it run rampant, the stronger the cognitive pattern within us becomes. 

The result of this insight? I actively engage more with my cognitive self. I don’t buy into what I think, but I question it’s validity. Would it be easier to believe the lies I spoon feed myself? Yes. Would I heal fully if I let my thoughts drive my beliefs? No.

This year, I finished “Rewire The Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry.” by Catherine Pittman PhD, and Elizabeth Karle MLIS, and I discovered new concepts into the how and why we trigger ourselves with anxiety. Though I don’t necessarily see changes in myself, I do feel I’ve opened a door into understanding, of  what I’m going through mentally. I also hear from close friends and family that I do seem less anxious, and though my own personal feelings don’t emit the same sensation, it is encouraging. 

I’m facing the shame, the trauma, the self loathing and all the other uncomfortable feelings and sensations inside me, head on. 

With the help of several books by Brene Brown, and others like Rachel Hollis, I find along the way, I’ll continue to understand the emotions I spend most of my life avoiding.  I'm learning to enjoy the journey as I seek healing. There's no destination - only the now and the steps I am taking to grow.

Find your own way apples, I believe in you. 

K. Sullivan

Resources: 

Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry Paperback 

by Pittman PhD, Catherine M  (Author), Karle MLIS, Elizabeth M  (Author)

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough"

by Brené Brown

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be (Girl, Wash Your Face Series Book 1)

by Rachel Hollis

Facing Fears Seeking Solutions

Facing Fears Seeking Solutions

I know that much to be true. The problem is, I’m afraid and stuck. Stagnant in my fear of what does this mean as I analyze each human body experience I am having and question what’s “normal” and what’s “healthy” and what’s “best for my […]