PTSD

Love takes Courage and a Box of Kleenex

IMG_6613.JPG

Have you ever been addicted to something? Have you ever suffered extreme loss? What about fears? Do you fear anything so much that it haunts you or shuts you down? There is a song on the radio that made me realize that love is just as powerful as any drug out there (watch the video below). Music is powerful. It can trigger memories, feelings and instincts. Love, however, takes you to your highest high and also your lowest low. You put your faith and trust in your significant other and sometimes with no warning you are left alone. This causes feelings of abandonment and insecurity. It causes us to close down and a little piece of us dies. Losing a loved one in a relationship is a huge cause of stress, whether it is a long term relationship or a marriage. You share memories, laughter, and intimacy with that person. Those memories are triggered for a long time to come and unfortunately cannot be turned off easily, which makes it difficult to move forward and to love again. But surrenduring to what is and knowing when to walk away is key! It allows you to open the door for what may be. 

Now, lets talk about the ego. It is extremely important to keep the ego in check when going through difficult times during a breakup. We go through every range of emotions from sadness to anger and everything in between. But, compassion is critical. Compassion is your desire to alleviate the suffering of others, or your feeling of sympathy toward others. In the case of a breakup, compassion toward your Ex can be difficult, but when we set the ego aside and realize why we loved that person to begin with it is a little easier. Try to maintain compassion. In the end you will feel better for it. Positivity attracts positivity. Your heart will heal faster as a result. Remember, always forgive and rise above. Holding grudges only hurts you more in the end.

 

IMG_6614.JPG

So, grab a spoon and a pint of ice cream. Binge watch your favorite Netflix shows for a day and then get outside and go for a hike. Reconnect with the things you love to do. Stay plugged into your friends and family. This might be hard if you shared mutual friends, but make the effort. If need be have open communication with your Ex about how and when you will see friends so that you do not awkwardly show up at the same place at the same time. Respect each other as you move on. Sometimes zero communication, at least for a brief period, is easier. Other times treating each other as business partners helps the transition. You will find what works best. Please just watch what you say because although words can be forgiven, they cannot be forgotten and it is easy to say things we do not mean when our emotions are elevated. 

You WILL be ok despite the fact that you don’t feel like it at the moment. Everything feels better when you are in love. Do not close down to the possibility of loving again. When we hit rock bottom, we bounce back up and sometimes twice as high, meaning we end up with a better ending. You are the author and the architect of your life. So, write a new chapter. Add new characters. Try new things. Remember, you have a purpose and you are worth it. Keep moving forward and don’t lose your way. All of our roadblocks, bumps and bruises make us stronger, build our character, and give depth to our soul. They help give meaning to our lives and help us to better understand others, which help us to connect. 

IMG_6616.JPG

F.L.Y. First love yourself. Spend some time alone. Prepare yourself for your next true love by fully loving yourself. Make as many self improvements as you can. Be very honest about what went wrong in your previous relationship ~ sometimes we can improve and sometimes we cannot, but it is always good to be aware. Accept the situation, forgive yourself and your EX, and when you are ready move forward with excitement and full compassion. The heart is resilient and will love again. It is the ego that will hold you back.

With love and acceptance,

Libby

F.L.Y. - Put your Oxygen Mask On First

You were born with a distinct and unique purpose. You have a gift and a story to share with the world. For some of us that purpose seems more obvious while others may search a long time wondering what their purpose is. Many of us are given labels and titles, put into boxes, and programmed to think small from a young age, which makes it very difficult to find our authentic voices. We put on "masks" to escape the shame and the fear that has been cast upon us. To find our true selves we must follow our passion and do the things we love, come into the light and remove "the masks." Replace fears and insecurities with courage and self-love to propel us toward our greatest dreams. This is the journey of the self, to the best version of yourself. It starts with awareness, acceptance, self-love and forgiveness. Be authentically YOU. Appreciate YOU. Accept YOU. LOVE YOU! Until you do you cannot fully love or be loved, and you cannot accomplish your full potential. 

IMG_5674.JPG

You were born to live a joyful life. Again, you have a purpose! You are capable of achieving all of your dreams. Commit to taking baby steps toward those dreams each day. Trust the journey. Stay in the moment and always believe. Just show up for yourself each day and do your personal best.  

IMG_5788.JPG

I am humbled and honored to have been recently sponsored by Avon. They have asked me to facilitate a series of yoga events for up to 200 people in each session. I was ecstatic as these would be my largest events to date. This is one of my dreams coming to fruition, traveling and leading yoga events. However, this also scared me to death. I have what it takes to deliver, but I knew that I would have to push past my comfort zone and face my anxiety head on or I could never reach my full potential. I had to push forward to grow so that I can eventually manifest my ultimate dreams. 

IMG_5636.JPG

Last Saturday I taught a class for a large group of beautiful ladies and gentlemen at an Avon conference in Columbus, Ohio. As I walked into the room literally trembling, I flashed back to my first yoga class and how scared I was THAT day as a student and remembered that each person in the room might have the very same insecurities, which put my fear back into perspective. As I was introduced I looked out and connected immediately with the smiles. That was all I needed. I knew it was all ok and I knew in that moment that my job was to put them at ease and suddenly everything was calm and clear. My purpose was clear. My intentions were clear. My heart was clear and full of love to give. I want to ultimately lead events with upwards of 2000 people so I might as well start with 200, right? Heck YES! 

IMG_5643.JPG

I called them up to the stage for a team building exercise. Many, not all, bravely participated. I saw a little girl still seated shyly at her table. I quietly encouraged her to join the group and I was thrilled when she courageously did (imagine what that decision to step out of her comfort zone might do for her future confidence?)! The smiles on their faces as they opened their hearts and leaned back while closing their eyes and trusting one another, balancing in tree pose, was absolutely heart warming. I will never forget that day. Each of those people on stage have a unique story. Each have a dream. I now have the privilege of knowing them and I am so thrilled to have been in their lives even if only for a day.  I love it when I see people step out of their comfort zones and try something new. I love when I step out of my OWN comfort zone. It is flat out exhilarating! When was the last time you tried something new? Do you remember that feeling of accomplishment? It feels AMAZING! By stepping out we connected, which also gives us greater strength. I have found my purpose, and I am still growing. I am incredibly grateful for every challenge in my life, as well as every reward. 

IMG_5641.JPG

Avon is just such a wonderful company.  Let me just tell you for those who are unaware, they are the at the forefront in the fight against Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence (click on the green linked words to learn more). They do a ton of work for Women Empowerment and are constantly giving back to the community. It is truly an honor to work with them. I just want to say, "thank you" to Avon personally for helping me to reach my goals and get closer to my big big dreams. It feels so amazing to partner with a company in alignment with my personal mission and intentions in life. 

IMG_5789.JPG

When Karin Laseke, who is the District Sales Manager for Avon in Cincinnati, interviewed me to work with the company, she asked me about my personal story and what my BIG DREAM is. This really meant a lot to me and she said they believe EVERYONE has a story to tell. My yoga guru, Amber, used to say something very similar which was, "dream big Libby, dream really really big!” So, I shared with Karin that my personal vision is to travel and facilitate yoga retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings to make enough money to build a yoga retreat center, which will include a cottage on a farm. There will be a vegetable garden leading up to the cottage and then a family room, a yoga studio and a kitchen. Upstairs there will be a couple bedrooms and bathrooms. This will be a place where women and children can come and stay if they need to escape from a domestic violence situation. They can work in the garden in exchange for food so that they do not feel as if they are taking handouts. Yoga classes will also be available to the public. I have experienced physical, verbal and emotional abuse so this dream is near and dear to my heart. I have also recovered from PTSD through yoga and meditation. I want to empower women to become their best selves and know that they do not have to be a victim.  

IMG_5787.JPG

The airlines say to put your oxygen mask on first and it’s true. You cannot help others until you help yourself. First Love Yourself (F.L.Y). Show the universe what you desire and watch it conspire to make all your dreams come true! Share the good and the bad. The thing that hurts you or scares you the most might just be your greatest asset to share with the world. The world needs YOU to show up. Be your authentic self, everyone else is taken. Live the life you love and love the life you live. I am so incredibly excited for you and I can feel the energy spiraling upward already! It’s time to step out, live your dreams and become who you were born to be!

Lovingly,

Libby

P.S. - If you are suffering from PTSD or domestic violence there are organizations that can help you. Please do not suffer in silence. Get the support that you deserve!  The following links can help you get started toward a better life:

Help for PTSD

Help for domestic violence

We Have All Been a Little Lost in Life...

We all have an idea, a road map if you will, of what we think our lives should look like long term.  As it turns out we are in control of very little in our lives, and sometimes major things happen causing trauma, depression, and even PTSD. An unexpected crisis can throw us way off course, leaving us feeling lost and frozen with fear because we no longer know which way to go. It is especially important during uncertain times like this to forge forward, or risk getting stuck in the pain, the fear and the negative energy that overwhelms us when we're feeling down. This is also the time to trust the journey, putting one foot in front of the other each day to create a new and hopeful path going forward.  

When trauma happens, we are often tempted to turn toward potentially destructive behaviors such as addictions, self isolation and recklessness, which can push us deeper into a downward spiral of dispair. Whether you lose an arm, lose a job, or lose a loved one, there are constructive ways to get your life back on track by creating an upward spiral of positive energy. For example, getting up early to exercise and start the day with determination gives you positive momentum and those feel good endorphins. In addition, find something, even if it is small to be grateful for each day. When we are in a state of gratitude, it's much easier to feel better about life. Allow yourself the grace to take baby steps toward the door to happiness and the path toward healing the trauma that derailed your original journey. Be compassionate toward yourself starting with acceptance and forgiveness, then go back to our roots of awareness, in order to grasp control of your feelings and reactions to those feelings. Change is the very nature of life. Once we have the tools of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness, we are able to deal with the traumas that arise in life, or past traumas that reoccur. Most importantly look yourself in the mirror and say, "I love you" every day!

We are writing the books of our lives. Each day we are faced with many choices, some more difficult than others. When trauma is involved every decision and choice can become monumental. Connecting with friends and family and avoiding isolation is critical in healing. Do what it takes to find happiness as long as it is healthy and takes you on an upward spiral.  

For me, the recent trauma of putting our very beloved dog down really knocked me off my tracks. The first day, honestly, I screamed and cried. The second day I did not want to get out of bed, but I KNEW I HAD TO PULL OUT OF THIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL, so I thought to myself what can I do? What will bring me happiness? And.... the answer was a puppy. This might be extreme for some people, but it was exactly what my family and I needed, and Tucker, the love nugget, is bringing us much love and joy.  

For others they might find comfort in eating healthy homecooked meals, connecting with past friends, volunteering, watching a comedy show, simply laughing, going on a nature walk, or joining a yoga class. Just take time and brainstorm positive solutions that will fuel good energy. Numbing the pain is simply prolonging the pain and will ultimately cause more suffering for us and for our loved ones. In fact, there is something called secondary PTSD. This happens when family members are traumatized by being around a loved one who isolates and pushes them away (among other things) as a way to cope with their own PTSD.  Secondary PTSD can tear families apart and destroy lives if we do not rewrite our books with happy endings.  

Sadness is a part of life. It is unavoidable and it also helps us appreciate our happy days. This is really the Principle of Polarity; which is to say everything has opposites. All things can be transformed with the power of your mind. Hate can be transformed into love. Sadness can be transformed into happiness. Even an empty bank account can be transformed into a full bank account. It also ties nicely into the Law of Attraction, which is to say the power of your thinking attracts the outcome of what you recieve. So when we wake each day with positive determination, even with baby steps, we set into motion that law of attraction to bring goodness into our lives and put us back on track on our journey toward well being. 

Sending all those who are suffering and hurting healing and loving vibes. Life is hard sometimes. Let's all pull together and make some lemonade out of the lemons we are dealt. It IS going to be OK!

Much Love,

Libby

 

P.S. - For those of you who feel paralyzed by severe trauma, depression or PTSD, there are additional resources available to help you through your journey.  You are never alone!

Recommended books:

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga - Reclaiming Your Body - by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD.

Daring Greatly - By Brene Brown.

Untethered Soul - by Michael Singer

Additional Resources:

PTSD Hotline - mentalhelp.net

Now Mental Health - nowmentalhealth.com

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - suicidepreventionlifeline.org

5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude in your Daily Life to bring Abundance

IMG_0972.JPG

The great poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said it so wisely, "cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously." When we live in the present moment and are aware of our thoughts, words and actions, and practice gratitude then and only then will we truly live in the abundance of all that we desire. Being grateful is the key to a happier and healthier life. Gratitude shifts our focus into the present moment. Being appreciated and feeling connected, feeling needed and desired are deep human needs. You can practice gratitude simply by thanking someone for a job well done at work or for something that you like that they did. A simple compliment or pat on the back goes a long way. Simply acklowledge the people you come in contact with with warmth and compassion. Set your phone down in the check out lane of the grocery store or drive through, and take a moment to say "thank you."  It does not take much to practice gratitude.  You will feel better and so will those around you, improving relationships and decreasing stress!

IMG_0973.JPG

So here are my top 5 Suggestions for How To Practice Gratitude Daily to Create Abundance in Your Life:

1. Journal:  write down one to five things you are grateful for each and everyday this month! Some days may be simple and other days may be more complex and that is ok.  Do this without judgment of any sort. There are no wrong answers.

2. Random Acts of Kindness:  Give what you can when you can. This has a ripple effect like you cannot imagine. which raises the vibrational energy all around you bringing you love and good energy. Hold the door open for a stranger, smile, buy a hot meal for a homeless person, volunteer (giving your time is an amazing gift), pay the toll for the person behind you, donate your old coats......

3. Be grateful for what you already have. Practice the concept of needing less.

4. Know that you are ENOUGH. Practice the I AM mantra each morning when you wake up. Say I AM and then follow that with possitive affirmations such as I am enough, I am loved, I am strong, I am forgiving, I am compassionate, I am grateful, I am kind.... Then look in the mirror and say "I LOVE YOU" yes, to YOURSELF! Practice loving yourself! It is amazing how far this will go.  You must first love yourself deeply before you can love others and before others can love you. 

5. Finally, learn from your own experiences. Be aware of what shifts your energy from dark to light, from sadness to happiness... then do more of what makes you happy and THAT will bring gratitude. 

Often the people who have suffered the most trauma and hardships in life are the most grateful and for the most simple things.  So, my advice is keep it simple, stay aware, stay grateful and keep your heart wide open.  Let that love energy flow freely. Peace and love to you all this holiday season and throughout the new year!

FullSizeRender.jpg

Much gratitude, 

Libby

 

IMG_0971.JPG

Healing Yoga for PTSD with Libby

Many people suffer from extreme and chronic stress. Stress causes a lot of harm to our physical bodies, as well as to our mental well being. In some cases it can become post-tramatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is far more severe. People who have been through traumatic events such as combat, assault, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, an accident or a natural disaster may suffer from PTSD. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, stomach aches, headaches, and many other chronic manifestations that can last for years if left untreated. PTSD also effects the people who love and care for their loved one who is suffering. 

Supported Bada Konasana opens the hips and the heart. We hold a lot of emotion in the hips.  

*Photos by Morgan McAvoy

According to the Veterans Administration, more than 8 million men, women, and children suffer from PTSD in the US in a given year. I myself suffered and did not recognize the symptoms at first. I went through a physically and emotionally traumatic event many years ago when I was violently abused by a loved one. I had undergone therapy, forgiven, found yoga and thought I had dealt with my grief. In reality I had compartmentalized and stuffed the feelings of betrayal, hurt and fear deep down within to the point where it took many years for those emotions to surface again. Through years of my personal yoga practice and helping others I was able to heal myself. I no longer feel like a victim and I am not at all ashamed to share my story. I want to help others find peace, restoration, and comfort in their own selves, as well.  

In addition to clinical treatments for PTSD via medical (i.e. prescription drugs) and psychological avenues (i.e. Cognitive Processing Therapy, EMDR), yoga is a wonderful way to calm the body and the mind through the physical practice and also to gain control through breathwork. Our breath is one thing we are always in control of, which is quite empowering and an important part of the healing process. In yoga, the parasympathetic nervous system literally slows down and by slowing the breath and the parasympathetic nervous system we literally lower heart rate, blood pressure and calm the mind.  

Seated tree pose is a great stretch for the hamstrings. All forward bends direct your awareness and attention within the self.  

The acceptance and awareness on the mat will eventually carry off the mat and into your daily life. The US Military is now using yoga to treat Veterans recovering from PTSD, and the USMC is referring local vets to Yoga Fit Boutique following a three week intensive program that they have in Chicago. Rehab programs are also using yoga to aid in recovery from drug addiction and alcohol abuse, and prisons are using it for reform.  

Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self. It is a way to dive deep inside yourself to the heart of your soul where true healing, love and forgiveness can occur. You were created to be pure joy. I have now created a class called "Healing Yoga for PTSD," which is specifically designed to restore and relax you, to tune out the chaos of the busy world and nurture yourself in a safe and accepting environment. All hands on assists and adjustments will be optional and you will have the freedom to get up and leave, or rest in child's pose if you feel overwhelmed at any point. This class will help you understand triggers and reconnect you to your mind, body and spirit.  

Supported, or restorative child's pose. Here you are supported by as many props as necessary to fully relax. You can feel free to close your eyes, or if you are more comfortable by all means feel free to leave your eyes open. This is your time to rest and release.

If you or a loved one feel that you suffer from PTSD, this is a serious condition and there are finally helpful resources available to assist you in your healing. The VA, for example, has excellent resources to get you started:  http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp

Much love & healing support,

Libby

PS - Please visit my Class Descriptions page to learn more about Healing Yoga for PTSD. I offer 20% off my rates for veterans, current military service people and first responders for any of my yoga classes. Because managing and healing from PTSD is so important, I am extending this offer to anyone suffering from PTSD who signs up for my Healing Yoga for PTSD class.