Category Archives: MHRetreatMay2016

I Want to, But…

Hello All,

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how I have been feeling STUCK.  I am a B personality with A tendencies.  I can’t stand to be bored in my job or in life in general.  That is why I have so many hobbies and creative things I do.  I rotate them so I don’t get bored.

I work with some great people and that is the biggest part of what makes a happy work environment.   I usually get bored with a position within a year of starting it.  My current position has kept me VERY busy and challenged for 6 years.  That is a record for me, but I am facing some realities at this point.  Due to the size and leadership structure, there is no place for me to advance, or transfer to in this company.  I am very good at what I do, but in many ways it doesn’t satisfy me.  I have always known this, but it pays the bills.

Should the choice be employed or happy?  No!!  If you aren’t happy doing what your are doing then figure out what would make you happy.   Yes, there are many people, including myself, who have financial restrictions of varying types.  When you choose to  make the leap and you really are willing to put in the work then you can make anything happen.  I have heard this from many people, “Success looks a lot like work.”  This is so true!

I am not saying quit your job, then figure it out.  This is where you do the preparations while you are working until it’s time to take the leap.

NOONE has the perfect life!  There is always a price that has to be paid at some point.   When I say nothing is free, I mean NOTHING!  You have to give something up to have something else.  YOU get to choose!  There is always a price, trade off and you decide if it is worth the price.

I spent many years trying to figure out what I thought would make me happy.  I know today what that is…wait for it.   Back to my conversation, my friend agreed that she was feeling the same way, but it’s too late to make a change in career now.   There was a time I would have agreed with her.   Today…not so much.

I know what I want to do!  My life up has been preparing me for this line of work since I was born.  For me the experiences I have had are the price I had to pay to be able to do my dream job.  Perspective is everything!

My passion is helping others through the transitions we have to make in life.  Finding that place where your soul and the world meet. In this place you know it will all work out the way it should.  I enjoy a hybrid of Eastern and Western medicine.  I lean East though.

I have been hesitant to put my idea or plan in writing on my blog, but seriously if someone wants to do this in their area then DO IT!  It is a fabulous plan, but a TON of work, training, and finding capital, doing a business plan and getting all the RIGHT people together.

All this to say, I am older than my boss and for me it’s not too late! For me…the time is EXACTLY RIGHT!

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO TRY!!

My next blog entry will be all able my vision…

The Shift – Being an Ombudsman

Hey!

I admit it…I have been, sort of, off the grid for a few months.  Philanthropy is a passion of mine and I found a niche that has changed my life.  I have been getting certified to be an Ombudsman for Long-Term Care in Tarrant County.

Federal law requires that each state have an ombudsman program to advocate for the residents of long-term care facilities.  These include licensed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and assisted living communities.  This program is designed to ensure that the residents rights are honored and they are treated with dignity and respect.

I had this image of what nursing homes were and what it would be like to serve the residents.  Anyone who has someone they love living in a nursing home due to some medical condition knows that this is something people in general don’t consider until they have no other option.

These communities have people of all ages.  An accident can happen to anyone at anytime.  Lives are changed in a second.  When it does happen it is very difficult to manage your feelings, that of the injured and the family, and sort through everything that is suddenly now on your plate.  Insurance, finances,  doctors, time….the list goes on and on.  As the resident or patient, you can feel like you have lost all control and all your rights as a person.  Overwhelmed is the only word I can come up with when I imagine how it would feel to be in their shoes.

During the process of training, and shadowing my supervising ombudsman there has been a shift in my mindset…my soul.  I have to stay objective, which is very hard since I am a nurturing person.  I have come to understand the importance of objectivity, while caring for each of these people.  It is a fine line I must walk, but it is so worth it.

When I am there and talking to these people, helping them or just chatting, they know that their lives matter.  Someone is watching and they are important.

All the day-to-day BS that was irritating me even a couple of weeks ago, now doesn’t phase me.  In the scheme of things it really is unimportant.  I was not excepting this kind of shift to happen.  There is a calmness that has taken over that allows me the objectivity to not only help others, but help myself.

It is a divine gift I have been given.

Personal Growth and the Mirror

Hello my friends,

As my readers know I have been doing some personal growth and self reflection over the past years.  After my recent retreat the self reflection has picked up the pace.  Change is uncomfortable for everyone.  The person changing is uncomfortable and the people in his or her lives get uncomfortable.

I have come to this place many times and the same thing comes out of it.  When I meet someone and I have an immediate negative reaction, I need to stop and really look at what it is that is bothering me, then I have to look in the mirror and see that part in me.  100% of the time when there is something I don’t like about someone or I have a negative reaction to someone, it is something I see in me that I don’t like.  It’s that damn mirror.

I am far from perfect in my actions to become a better person and happier with my life.  I try to be positive, but it ebbs and flows.  Recently, I was in a hormone induced ebb.  I was very moody and negative.  When I am this way I have found that I need to look at what is causing it.

I ask myself questions like:

Am I sleeping well?

Am I spending too much time with negative people?

Is it hormonal?

Am I depressed?

Am I anxious?

Have I been eating right?

Am I exercising?

Sometimes it’s a combination of these, but what ever it is I have to figure out how to defuse it.  Exercise, eating right and getting a good nights sleep all can bring my mood up.  Sometimes I am just being judgmental and I need to look at changing something about me.  Sometimes it’s a friendship that is no longer working for me.  Those usually fall away naturally, but sometimes it doesn’t and a decision needs to be made.  Sometimes a discussion needs to be had in order to set boundaries.   Whatever it is, it is an action that has to come from me.

Honestly, IT SUCKS!! When I come to this place I go to my big book and start working the steps on what is bothering me.  I am so grateful today that I have a new person in my life to work with because I need to get out of my head space for a while and just enjoy the now.  I have so much to be grateful for, and such a wonderful life.  It is too short to spend it in a dark place, well dimly lit place.

It’s time for action and more change!

Thank you to all my new retreat ladies who support me through the bumps as they come up.

Love Ya,

Brenda the Brave

 

UNCONDITIONAL: The Week of a Lifetime

Hey there,

I have been back from my retreat for a week now.  I have been physically laid up so my mind has been working overtime. Transitioning back into reality has been bumpy, but so much easier with all the ladies who are now part of my life.

Putting words to my feelings and the internal shift that has happened for me has been a challenge, but today it came to me…

UNCONDITIONAL

I can put that word in front of every feeling I have about the retreat and it fits!!

LOVE – JOY – FRIENDSHIP – HAPPINESS – FUN – FUTURE – ASPIRATIONS – INSPIRATION – FORGIVENESS – ACCEPTANCE

I didn’t feel there were any conditions to be met while I was there!

I am not holding myself back with conditions now!  I have always had conditions that I had to meet before everything…EVERYTHING!!

For my future, life, happiness, self-love, fun, aspirations and joy now to be unconditional is the most freeing feeling I have ever felt.  My feelings are unconditional.  What I mean by that is I can allow myself to let my feelings wash over me and let them go without being carried away and lost in some past event or future fear.  I have experienced what it feels like to just notice how I am feeling, feel it and then move on.  I have heard about this, read about this and dreamed about this, but after this retreat I am free to experience it!!

MY LIFE IS UNCONDITIONAL!

MY FUTURE IS UNCONDITIONAL!

THIS IS MY REALITY  TODAY AND I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR IT!!

Love you all

Brenda the Brave

My Identity Statement – Matthew Hussey Retreat

  • I am a strong woman who owns her power!
  • I am beautiful inside and out!
  • I am loving, kind, caring and generous!
  • I am a great friend and surround myself with amazing people!
  • I am financially responsible!
  • I am loving to my mind, body and soul!
  • I am a role model to all who know me.
  • I love openly and accept love freely.
  • I take risks in order to improve myself.
  • I accept feedback with grace and discard what is not useful.
  • I am a confident woman who knows who she is and is creating who she want s to be!!
  • I am a woman of action!
  • I surround myself with positive supportive people.
  • I am a woman who helps others up and asks for help when I am down.
  • I am a woman who has overcome great odds, which demonstrate that anyone can move from the dark into the light if they choose to take the action.
  • I am silly, funny, have a thirst for knowledge and am a social being.
  • I am active and I show myself love everyday!
  • Every action I take is from a place of love and strength.

I AM BRENDA THE BRAVE! HEAR ME RAWR!!

I am enough!!
I am enough!!

PTSD – My Ghost’s

After recent world events I feel the need to share a short post.  This blog post is amazing:  http://www.feelingsandfaith.net/1149-2/

I have spent time in therapy since I was 21 years old, of my own accord, for being molested as a child and date rape.  It wasn’t called date rape at the time, it was against my will and I was angry.  Based on what I was taught in my life, the only person who was going to protect me was me.  I took the action at 21 to start therapy, lack of financial resources I had to stop.  I will never forget my first therapist, Marilyn Leaf, she would call me on the carpet when I was avoiding a topic.  She helped me get my anger under control.

Over the years my choices landed me in an abusive relationship.  It was an environment that felt familiar.  The details are not important to discuss, only that I got out after 16 years because I knew if I stayed I was going to die.  I spent years running from the pain, fear, nightmares and anxiety.  In case you don’t already know this, you can’t out run it.  I faced many ghost’s when I got sober, but one I was not aware of was triggered during my 4th year of sobriety.  I had just moved away from my AA network.  I felt strong and safe.  I had all the tools I needed to stay sober and I was getting plugged in in Fort Worth.

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One day after work, I am sitting and watching TV and BANG! BANG! A neighbor was letting their door slam as they came and went.  That first bang triggered my PTSD HARD.  Suddenly, I felt like I was going to die, my skin got hot, I started sweating, shaking, crying and I curled up into a ball on  my couch.  In my head I knew I was safe but my body was not listening.  I was already well medicated for this condition and I was out of control.  I did not want anymore medication to numb this, I needed help.  This happened every single time I heard a loud noise.

I called a dear friend in Dallas and she told me she had the same thing happen to her and she was in treatment that was helping her through it.  EMDR – Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  She told me about her experience and I found a doctor in Fort Worth that worked with me for a couple months, once a week.  I have not had an issue since.

If you are interested in my experience in greater detail leave a reply and I will get back to you.  I just want to say that you don’t have to live in that place.

My heart goes out to all the victims walking around this world.  I want you to know there is hope and we can heal.

Love,

Brenda the Brave

Comparison: You will never win!

Good Morning! This topic has been on my mind all week. I have been open to see how much I have done this and have seen how others around me use it.  I am going to start by saying what we all have heard a million times, when we compare ourselves to others we will never win.

comparison

The title of this post is meant to mean no one wins, but also I am feeling today like it means that comparison is no longer going to win in my life.

I have spent my life in a constant state of comparison and competition.  I really acted like they were the same thing.  This kind of competition has not served me well and has held me back more than moved me forward.  When I was really willing to take a long hard look at myself, my behaviors and remove the comparison I found that comparison served multiple purposes.  When I lost the contest I was alone and worthless, when I won I was arrogant and judgmental.  Neither of those are attractive qualities.  Also, I see that I used them to keep people away from me.  I had to accept that it was a choice, not a conscious choice, but a choice made out of survival instincts.  Either way I was alone!  Even when I was around people I was ALONE!

comparison 2

Every positive relationship I have in my life is from people being drawn to my light.  How do you make that shift from comparison and competition to ownership and acceptance in order for your light to shine?

This has been a long road for me, because I didn’t really have  any role models in this area, until recently.  In case my family reads this, this is based on my experience growing up, not yours.  We all grew up in the same family, but we all had different experiences and perspectives.  This is mine.

My dad demanded perfection and ruled with an iron fist and my mom moved between viking and victim as it served her needs.  My Mom was a master manipulator.  Don’t get me wrong I love her and I sided with her and followed in her foot steps most of my life.  I am as guilty of these things as she was.  My Dad needs to be in control, even though that is only a delusion.  I took that part of my father.  All of these characters are in a place of comparison.  They are also reacting to life rather than responding.

Starting at age 6 I lived in fight or flight mode having experienced sexual abuse, emotional abuse and physical abuse until my ex-husband died in September 2013.  Honestly, until I got sober on July 18, 2010 I was trying to survive from day to day.  I started my journey of creating who I am today on that day.  Old habits die hard and working the 12 steps honestly with a sponsor will change your perspective on life and yourself.  This is where I learned to take ownership of myself and my actions.  I was taught how to pause (not easy) and respond rather than react.  My toughest character defects are those characters I listed above: Perfectionist, Victim and Viking served on a platter of self-righteous indignation.

Love this quote
Love this quote

How do you make the shift?

  1. You have to want to change. Period.  If you don’t want to be different you won’t be.  Any changes will be temporary.
  2. You have to own your stuff.  You have to stop focusing on what other people have, say and do.  You need to just focus on what you have, say and do.   These are the things you have control over.  Believe me you will feel SO much better when you stop trying to control things you have no control over.
  3. Accept that you don’t know what someone else’s life looks like from their shoes.  You don’t know what they have survived or what they have yet to survive.  Comparing your looks, feelings, pain, experience to what you see on the outside of someone else only hurts you.  It keeps you apart from everyone else.
  4. Create a support system:  There are groups, organizations, treatment centers, or even people who love you and accept you as you are.  I am fortunate to have amazing friends, I have my AA home group and I have my sisters from the Matthew Hussey Retreat to support me.  Find like minded people and jump in the pool, the waters nice.
  5. Take one step, one action, one micro change at a time and over time they will build into an amazing new life that you didn’t even know was possible.

These are the steps I have taken.  I have not done them perfectly.  My progress is not a straight line, but I always keep moving forward.

One thing I learned in my 6 weeks in an eating disorder treatment center, in the group sessions everyone had to tell their story.  For each person the details of their life, pain, abuses and experiences ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other.  It was horrifying hearing what some of these people endured.  But when we each broke down how it made us feel and how we viewed ourselves it was the same for everyone.  The details didn’t matter anymore.

We are all humans with feelings.  Comparison creates a divide, but compassion is the bridge over that divide.

What are your thoughts?

Before The show To The Afterglow…

I just spent the last 7 days in Fort Lauderdale at the Matthew Hussey Retreat and they OVER DELIVERED!!  These last 7 days have been the 7 best days of my life!  HANDS DOWN!  I am struggling with the words to adequately describe my experience.

I guess I will start by explaining a few things about myself, so you can understand how just doing the event is outside of my comfort zone.

  1. I have never indulged myself with a vacation on this scale ever!  My trips are either for work, family, or on the cheap.  This was very selfish and indulgent and you know what….I FUCKING DESERVE IT!!
  2. Since I have been working in accounting I have NEVER taken a vacation in the middle of month-end close.  I only did things that fell in the middle two weeks of the month.  This retreat was all during that time.  When I asked for the time off I went in armed with how I was going to get my month-end duties done and noone would be effected.  I have the best boss…she said YES!!
  3. I have spent most of my life avoiding still pictures never mind video taping.  They asked for volunteers to be video interviewed throughout the retreat to tell about their experiences.  I volunteered and followed through with it.  I am so grateful that I did!
  4. I have not had to share my sleeping space for more than a night here or there.  I am not great with this, but I asked to have a roommate for the retreat.  My roommate was amazing and I have a new forever friend.
  5. I am an extroverted-Introvert, which means that I enjoy being around people and being social, but I have to be alone to energize before and after.  When I have had enough socialization I need to go be alone for a while.  This is a full immersion program and there are about 200 people that are around each other a majority of the time, while being vulnerable.  It was totally worth it!

Here is the link about the retreat I just finished:  Matthew Hussey Retreat

Let me just say one thing here.  I shared this link with my Sister-In-Law and she was put off by the fact that the website is through “Get The Guy”  This is NOT a retreat on how to date or find a guy!!  Matthew just happens to be able to help women understand men on a different level.  This retreat is about YOU, ONLY YOU!!  Whatever it is you are struggling with in life the process used for this retreat will give you the tools to blast through anything that is holding you back.   For me it was ME holding me back!

Does it work?! HELL YES!!

I came on this retreat fully open to taking risks and ready to accept change on an internal and fundamental level.  I learned a great deal about the roles I play, when I  worked the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This process was a great break through in seeing how I  behave, better than any therapy session I have every had.   I was gifted with an amazing AA group where feeling safe was paramount.  I had to get used to having female friends and being hugged against my will.  🙂  I have many posts on here that talk about various stages in my growth since 2009.

My personal cast of characters: victim, viking, martyr, judge and jury. I have gotten used to recognizing when these characters pop up, pausing and asking why?  I have a great boss who can help me change my perspective if one of my negative buttons has been pushed.  My viking is always ready to go.

One thing that I have never been able to do is forgive myself and see myself through loving and accepting eyes.  I am always judging the outside and comparing it to others.  I always come up short.  I look back at pictures of when I was 18 – 24 and I really should have had nothing to be unhappy about, but I hated myself and thought I was fat.

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My running partner growing up
My running partner growing up

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This is how I picture myself in my head so when I look in the mirror now it is a struggle between history and reality.  Opening my heart to love myself has been impossible, until now.

The team on this retreat and the women at the retreat are absolutely amazing.  The environment is a safe environment.  I chipped my front tooth on day 0.  Any other time it would have ruined my experience, but somehow I was able to forget about it and get the most out of the retreat.  I just followed through on the video interviews regardless.  I took pictures with various girls on the retreat and with Matthew, way outside my comfort zone.  I am trying very hard not to judge or compare myself.  It is all easier today to do this for myself.

Each day builds on the one before and by the end you have all the tools you need to set goals and create a strategy, as well as instill behaviors to attain those goals.  We identify our obstacles, mine being ME, and address how to overcome those obstacles.  I am being very careful here in describing the process because it is truly unique and extremely effective.  If you want to experience a life changing adventure you have to go on the retreat…Matthew Hussey Retreat.

My experience on this retreat was that I got exactly what a came for and more!!  I finally made that journey from knowing what a unique and amazing woman I am to feeling it.  There are a few processes that we go through that breakdown the walls I put up to protect myself.  I was not only keeping you from hurting me but I was not allowing myself in to love or potentially hurt myself.  I am very practiced at verbally and physically abusing myself.   (i.E.:  harsh words, but all so through anorexia,  bulimia, bingeing or physically hitting myself) I recognized recently that I actually gave up completely on my physical appearance.   We went through 3 processes in the 5 days that blasted down these walls.  These behaviors will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!  When the urge comes to self judge these images come up:

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I AM FUCKING ADORABLE!!  I still am and I just have not allowed myself to feel that way  or see myself that way.  It is going to take work to keep this mindset, but I will, I WILL AT ALL COST!!

I have a huge resource with the other women from the retreat for accountability.  I was called up on stage the first day of the retreat and overcame my fear of speaking in front of strangers.  When that barrier was broken the rest was all down hill.  It took a bit to get used to everyone knowing me and I didn’t know all of them.  I have never felt so much love at one time as when these women cheered for me while I was on stage.

By the end of day 2 I felt like, if you don’t like me I don’t care!  I was now on my side!  I now felt the love for myself that I never allowed before.  Little did I know that it was only going to be come more powerful by the end of day 5.

There aren’t enough words to describe how grateful I am to everyone on the team!  The men on the team have demonstrated the standard for any man that I will allow in my life.  I would rather be amazing and single (I am not alone!) than in a relationship with a man who does not meet MY standards.

There was a wall around my heart, now there is a door, but you have to have the key gentlemen, and I do mean gentleman.

I have only one last thing to share:  In my experience we all have different problems, events that cause us pain.  We are all at different stages, have different experiences that we are trying to over come.  It’s not for us to compare or judge another’s pain or experience it is for us to look inside ourselves and find a place of peace.  This retreat works because no matter where you are in this process, if you are open to it, the process will change your life for the better.

Thank you Matthew for being the “Man in the Arena” and pulling this team of amazing people together to change my life!!  I won’t let you down.

LOOK OUT WORLD HERE I COME!!

Love you all!

Brenda the Brave