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Unraveling

Wowwwwwwwww guys, do I have an update for you!!! I am literally so stunned and excited right now, I almost can’t find the right words to type. There have been so many changes in so short of a time frame, I almost can’t keep up with all of them!

~*~ ~*~ Drumroll please ~*~ ~*~

I have decided to re-join my old business and mentorship association!!! I am literally so excited.

You may be wondering how on earth this occurred. This past March (only ~4 months ago), I left the program and I swore I would never go back. I was so sure of myself and it was definitely the right decision at the time.

Since I quit, I went a completely different direction in terms of my businesses and looked for different ways of building wealth and personal accomplishment that would suit me better. I took online courses in content marketing and holistic healing, as well as joined new groups, and met a lot of wonderful new people with mutual goals and interests.

Furthermore, I spent a great deal of time unraveling all the confusion I had about my old business, new business, and current business. I sat down and really thought through what I wanted to accomplish, what I wanted my life to be like, and how I wanted to spend my time in my future. I started writing my first online course and was very excited about it!

Not only did I unravel the confusion about my businesses, or so I thought, but I also unraveled the confusion about me, what I believed in, and what I wanted my current lifestyle to be. I tried to remember who I was before I had changed myself so drastically and then tried to go back to being that person (“you used to come here and eat toast.” – Sophie Kinsella).

I tried to remember what I had thought was fun, so I remembered a few things that I used to do and did those. I went back to watching some TV shows (Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists), some movies (all of my romantic comedies), and trashy romance novels (some unread on the shelf, some favorites). I started listening to songs on the radio and on Youtube. I even added a “fun” budget so that I could go out for dinner if I wanted to, or see friends if I wanted to, or go out and see a show if I wanted to. I gave myself permission to travel, get hot stone massages, go out for drinks, and cheat on my vegan/gluten free diet to satisfy my sweet tooth.

At first, I enjoyed it, but almost as soon as it started, my enjoyment quickly began to dissipate. I found that I wasn’t being replenished or recharged in my energy from doing any of those things, and that I didn’t particularly enjoy them anymore. Yet, at the same time, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do instead. So I would just do them, not really having fun, but not knowing what else was fun either.

In the midst of all this unraveling, and learning to be my old self again, I was also doing quite a bit of deep healing. This past December, I learned that I was sexually abused as a 4-year old. I had repressed the memory of it, but at that point I had started to remember it and recover the memory.

This was by far the most terrifying experience of my entire life. Imagine that you’re just going about your day, when suddenly your mind intrudes and attacks you with images of a repressed memory of that nature.

It became all I could think about and focus on. My relationships suffered. My relationship with my mentor, in particular, took the hit. He was the only one who wanted to be there for me during that time.

To be fair, I hardly told anyone about it until after I had forgiven my abuser. But now I look back on that time and I wished that more people would have been supportive. Once I told people, most people just suggested I go to therapy, which made me wonder why I had told anyone at all. Once again, I had just wanted people to provide me with emotional support and be there for me in my tough time, but again I wasn’t really given that by very many people. Again, it was very disappointing. I mean, if there’s ever a time when anyone would be in need, it would be that time, but only a few people reached out and were supportive (for which I’m thankful).

I have been healing from that, as well as from the lack of support from my network. During that healing time, all I could think about was my mentor and how he had always been there for me and how he had believed in me when nobody else did and had not wanted to give up on me. I thought of several instances in the past when he had been a real hard-times friend, in addition to this time.

So I reached out to him and we have been sorting out (unraveling) our issues. It was really rocky at times, but it’s mostly back on track now. We have made a huge amount of progress recently and I have faith that it’s only going to get better.

Meanwhile, I discovered that I had even more repressed memories from my early childhood. Not of sexual abuse, but of other unpleasant things that I had repressed. My new friend performed RTT hypnotherapy on me twice, which was very interesting and eye-opening. Because the two sessions turned out to be related, and fell under the umbrella of another early memory, I decided to combine the 21-day cycle for both of those sessions with a 21-day cycle of my own holistic healing method.

At first, it was a lot to handle to do 3 focused deep-healing recordings a day, but now I think it was just what I needed. I didn’t see many results at first, but now the results are just incredible to me. I mean, I am literally stunned. Read on!

First, in my business unraveling, I realized that my old business had been a key factor in how I had healed. I started to use good products on myself, put good products into my body, and had started to feel better about myself because I had looked and felt better. I had learned about pro-suming and financial ownership. I had a positive and motivational environment of people who said things like “I’m accountable for my own life and I can control my thoughts.” And I had my mentor who believed in me and loved me, poured life into me, and filled me up with hope. I began to miss this business and wish I could go back.

Second, in my personal healing, there was a weekend where I read an old issue of Cosmopolitan magazine from July 2016 and decided that there was nothing of value in it (this magazine used to literally be my beacon of wisdom!!!). Then I went on a weekend trip and discovered that I didn’t like traveling anymore because I just wanted to be home in Boston. Then I watched my all-time favorite movie, Titanic, and had to stop it halfway through because I just didn’t like it anymore and I didn’t agree with the way life was being presented in it.

So while I did “used to go there to eat toast,” I didn’t want to go there to eat toast anymore. I realized that I just couldn’t be the person that I used to be. In unraveling all of my confusion, I rediscovered the person that I used to be, but then I realized that I just wanted better than that. I wanted mentorship and I wanted more intentional relationships where people would be united with me for common business goals and who would also listen to me talk and be there for me in hard times.

Ironically, around this time I learned that submission is actually necessary for the type of close relationships that I want. In my deep healing, I was also working on overcoming that issue from where it stemmed in my childhood repressed memories.

Not only that, but I realized that I had been taking the easy way out instead of learning the relationship skills that I needed in order to have the kind of deep relationships that I want.

This was when I took my first step to get back into the organization (only about 1 week ago). I had a craving to be on the communication system and message distribution list. I also had a craving to learn submission and submit to my mentor.

Next, I found that I had no desire to cheat on my diet anymore. I had been cheating to eat cookies, brownies, cake, chocolate, etc. for some time, but I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to make sure I prioritized meal prep and ate healthily within the constrains of my diet.

Now, I have no desire to even have cheat meals or vary from my diet plan prescribed by the nutritionist. I realized that when I don’t start the day with enough protein, it sets off a chain reaction spiral, and then the whole diet is compromised. Also, that my lack of meal prepping made it easy for me to cheat and give into sugar cravings.

Now when I have sugar cravings, I crave the dried fruit at Trader Joe’s. So good! I don’t even want chocolate anymore.

Instead of craving unhealthy sweets and chocolate, I started craving to return to my organization and be around the people. I also had a craving for the positivity and motivational environment. Earlier today, I was overcome with a strong craving and desire to listen to audios, go to a board plan, and do meetings. I even was compelled to take extra vitamins. It’s so crazy!!! I have literally never felt this way about it before. This is the energy that I was missing.

So I don’t have everything sorted out yet. I feel pretty comfortable with how I’ve overcome most of my objections to the business, and I feel pretty solid with how my music relates to it. The next step is to figure out (unravel) the plan for how my writing goals fit in with this business. And while I’m stronger in who I am as a person now than I was, I need a game plan to make sure that I don’t lose myself again.

All that unraveling was so exhausting! But worth it.

For three years I had been in the business, learned all the new info, and reprogrammed my mind. However, it was apparent that my limiting beliefs were getting in the way of me accepting the new me and my new lifestyle. Hence, all the pushback that I gave myself over not wanting to make changes, not wanting to listen, not wanting to do this, not wanting to do that. All I needed was to do some deep thinking, unraveling, and holistic healing, and I realized that I did actually want all of it after all.

 

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Withhold

Hi everyone,

I have a withhold that I need to address. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a withhold is something that you need to give voice to that happened in the past, which you did not properly address at the time. It is a withhold because it has been affecting you and your life, and you eventually found out that you needed to speak up about it for your own sanity and well-being.

As a disclaimer, my goal here is not to rehash the past, or to blame anyone, but rather to share my feelings authentically and vulnerably about what occurred, with the hope that with this understanding of how it affected me and my feelings, then it would not be repeated again in the future.

The scene is May 2015, and I have just graduated with my master’s degree in geology (geothermal energy) from University of North Dakota. I have packed up all my belongings and I am now driving across the country from North Dakota to Nevada.

As I’m sitting in my car, I’m ruminating about how unsupported I feel from my entire network. I feel completely isolated and alone, not to mention completely unsupported.

For those of you unfamiliar with my story, I had not wanted to get my master’s degree in science; rather, I had wanted to get my master’s degree in music performance. However, after my junior recital at Penn State, my viola teacher had lost confidence in me and my playing. He asked me what I wanted to do after PSU, and I had said that I had wanted to go on and get my master’s degree in music performance and then go on to play music in pit orchestras on Broadway. This was my dream, I had told him, and I was very excited about it.

My teacher promptly told me to give up on my dream, because it sucked. He said that many people embarked on that kind of career with high hopes, but then quickly got tired of the long hours and low pay, and then could not afford to take time off to look for a different job. He didn’t want to see me “backed into a corner with my career,” so he told me to give up on music and become a geologist instead.

Ironically, with this very interaction, I already felt “backed into a corner with my career.” Without the support of my instructor, I didn’t feel either willing or able to pursue my career in music. So even though I was crushed, demoralized, and devastated, I followed his advice, moved to North Dakota, and got my master’s degree in geology.

Even though I liked geology and I liked my professors and colleagues at UND, I knew that this was not the right decision for me and that this was not what I wanted to do with my life. After the excitement of being in a new place with a new plan wore off, I began to really loathe my time in North Dakota. I didn’t feel like I belonged there in terms of the culture and values, and I didn’t feel authentic because I wasn’t following my heart and being creative.

After the incident at PSU, I all but gave up playing my instruments. I played viola in the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, but this was only because my dad had encouraged me to join. In general, I felt very turned off to playing music and instruments and I didn’t want to do it anymore. Writing became my primary creative outlet, and my first summer in ND I wrote my first novel in its entirety.

After writing my novel, I often fantasized about quitting my degree program, moving home to Boston, working at Starbucks, and becoming a writer. However, whenever I shared these dreams and desires with others, I was always brutally rebuffed and unsupported. Without naming names, there were people that I called, so upset that I was crying, and I told them how much I hated my life, how much I hated the direction my life was taking, and how much I wanted to go home, start fresh, and be creative again. I even posted about my goals on Facebook, but people on there were very unsupportive of me and my plan. They told me I had to stay there in ND– even though I was completely miserable– finish my degree program, and “get my piece of paper.”

However, I knew that this would never be the end of it, and I was right. Because I felt again like I was backed into a corner and that I had to take everyone’s advice, I did stay in ND, I did finish my degree program, and I did get my piece of paper. But afterward, all I heard from those same people was that now I had to stay in ND and get a “high-paying geology job” and “use my degree” so that I could be responsible, take care of myself, and pay my bills.

I get it, I really do. As I now know from my adult experience as well as my research on the subject, the scarcity mindset is primarily developed from lack of financial abundance and resources. These people who were giving me this advice had learned themselves that they could not be creative, that they could not have fun, and that they had to be boring and logical to get a steady, high-paying job to pay their bills and be responsible adults. Similar to my viola teacher from PSU, these people had thought they were giving me kindly advice and words of wisdom to help me live a better life, but in fact, they were just telling me their own story of misfortune, not mine.

Going back to the people who did not support my decision to quit my degree program in ND, I understand that too. I understand that these people thought they were being loving, supportive, and helpful, by pushing me to finish what I had started and helping me be accountable to my end-goal of getting my master’s degree in science.

However, both of the above events were very detrimental to my health and well-being. This was a really hard time in my life, and I don’t feel that I received proper love, encouragement, or support from the people in my network. Also, I feel disappointed that most people didn’t even want to hear about my hard time, instead just wanting to be surface level friends. I have always done my best to be a “hard times friend,” so I felt hurt and let down when that favor was not returned.

Furthermore, I felt that the people who encouraged me to stay in ND afterward to pursue a high-paying geology job only cared about finances and financial well-being, at the expense of mentality, emotions, and physical well-being. I felt that they did not really understand me, my needs, my wants, or my desires, because they were just pushing me to continue on a path that I hated, which was not right for me, and which was making me have an autoimmune illness (lupus).

As a result, I felt lonely and like I didn’t have anyone to turn to during hard times that really cared about me and my well being. It caused me to withdraw from my network in isolation, because I didn’t trust others anymore. I began to lose faith in humanity and started grinding my teeth at night.

I felt that the people giving me this advice clearly didn’t know what was best for me, but that they were pushing their advice on me anyway and telling me that their way was valid and that my way was invalid. I felt that they were just saying that in order to be considered a valid adult, I had to be boring and logical and get a steady, high-paying job that I hated, just to pay my bills, just so that I would have a secure financial future, at the expense of my happiness and joy. I felt that they were telling me that it was valid to be logical and scientific, but invalid to be emotional and creative. I felt like my voice didn’t matter, my decisions and opinions were not good enough, and that I needed to change myself and my entire way of being to fit in with everyone and gain everyone’s approval.

However, now I know that this was wrong. There are many people who have become very wealthy and very successful being creative and following their passions. There are also many wealthy people who are silly and fun and who are also very successful in their businesses. And I will be one of them.

Not to mention, I deserve a network of people who support me in my decisions, regardless of the path that I choose to take and regardless of what I choose to do with my life and my time. The right people support my decisions to be creative and pursue a life filled with music, writing, fun, and laughter. I believe that I can have it all, and I deserve relationships with people who also believe that I can have it all.

By the way, I eventually did reconcile myself with the life that I wanted. I started by playing the piano again when I lived in Nevada, and after I moved back home to Boston I joined several orchestras and got back into playing my viola. Even though it was a lot of work to overcome my toxic music school experience, it was worth it because I now very much enjoy playing my viola again and I even very much enjoy performing for other people.

Also, I now work at Starbucks and I’m pursuing being a writer. Go me 🙂

Anyway, that was my withhold. Thank you for listening to me and for giving me the opportunity to share myself authentically and vulnerably. I am excited for my future of business, creativity, fun, passion, and wealth, and I will be successful in my life just by being my true and authentic self. I hope that you will decide to honor me, respect me, and support me in all of my future endeavors, regardless of what they may be.

 

I Deserve Better

In the past couple of days, I have made great strides in overcoming my “breakup.” I have to say “breakup,” with quotation marks, because this was not a romantic relationship. Rather, I’m referring to my relationship with my former mentor. Even though there was no romantic interest or romance involved, I found the end to this relationship to be even more devastating than the end to any of my previous romantic relationships. Here’s why.

Before, I had talked about how I felt like I didn’t fit into the culture of my old organization, nor did I feel like the business model was right for me. All of this was true. However, even though I felt that way, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the organization because of my mentor.

For the majority of my life, I had prayed to meet someone who would want to listen to me talk about my feelings, thoughts, and ideas all the time. I prayed for someone who would not only eagerly listen to me, but who would then go on to support me, comfort me, and offer me sage advice that I could then use to improve my life.

My mentor was that person for me.

Not only that, but I truly enjoyed his company. We both shared a love of music, writing, and creativity. We both shared the same sense of humor and jokes. We both cared about overcoming, healing, and making a difference in our own lives so that we could go out there and make a difference in the lives of others. We both wanted to do something great with our lives and achieve lasting greatness, legacy, and impact.

But mainly, I enjoyed his spirit. I have never met anyone who was more giving, selfless, and kind. I have never met anyone who was more gentle, caring, and understanding. I have never met anyone whose presence was so calming, soothing, and peaceful. And I have certainly never met anyone with so many great relationships across the board (spouse, children, family, friends, mentors, mentees).

Yet I didn’t want to stay in the organization, and I knew it. But I also knew that if I left, that would change everything about the relationship. Because I was dealing with re-establishing myself in the music scene in MA, growing my music studio and my monthly income, as well as becoming aware of deep trauma that had occurred in my early childhood, at the time I was not prepared to lose the one source of stability that I had in my life.

I had already lost the other source of stability I had in my life – his wife. To be fair, I had tried very hard to become great friends with her. One of my strengths is that I am very skilled at building new relationships with others, but she was always resistant and unreceptive to building a good relationship with me. She didn’t like my method of building relationships, but when I asked her for feedback, she was unable to provide me with a different way. She always discouraged me to share myself with her, didn’t want to share herself back with me, and didn’t want to help me through any of my struggles. Eventually, she told me that she just didn’t want to communicate with me until I had completely resolved my struggles. So she turned out to be a Fair Weather Friend who had abandoned me in my time of need, not a Hard Times Friend who stuck it out, and therefore I lost the motivation to work on our relationship.

Anyway, for many months I struggled through all of the multifarious issues that I faced at the time. I had a lot on my plate, and I was unable to take on any more. I needed to remove something, stat. Yet due to the magnitude and scope of everything I was dealing with, my difficulty managing negative emotions in conflicts, and my propensity towards an aggressive, rather than assertive communication style, much of my anger and overwhelmed feelings were projected onto my mentor. Not only that, but I was constantly being triggered back into scarcity mindset because I feared that leaving the organization meant losing the relationship; also, I was triggered because the submissive style of the mentor/mentee relationship reminded me of the toxic and abusive relationships from my past.

Yet despite my anger, attacks, and demands, most of which I was unaware of doing (in scarcity mindset, that’s a normal way of talking when you’re upset), he did not tell me that I was hurting him and/or draining him of energy every time I was triggered and slipped back into scarcity mindset. Instead, what happened was that I kept calling meetings that were designed to discuss something that would remove an item from my emotional plate and free up my capacity, for example my thoughts about whether or not to leave the organization. Then, he would derail the meeting to try to teach me about handling conflict correctly in relationships, or tell me that it was my responsibility to make a decision to abruptly change my mindset from scarcity back into abundance (It’s not possible to make a decision like that in scarcity – that’s an abundance trait. Changing the mindset back from scarcity to abundance takes a LOT of effort and work). I would become annoyed that my meeting was being derailed and my time wasted, because with his hectic schedule, meetings don’t grow on trees. Then I would have to wait another week or two for another meeting, where the same thing would happen, so I was getting very frustrated and annoyed that no progress was being made over months. This only served to worsen my anxiety about the relationship.

Eventually, I figured out that he kept derailing the meetings because I was hurting him. Once I asked him if this was true, then he started being more forthcoming about how he felt. Yet, as part of the mentor/mentee relationship setup, mentors are discouraged from sharing their emotions and hurt feelings with their mentees. Yet, I would have responded QUITE differently to him if he had just told me the truth. The last thing I wanted was to hurt the person I cared about most, so I would have done anything to make amends and fix it.

After awhile, he got tired of our unproductive meetings, as well. But instead of having an honest conversation with me about it and working with me to fix the problem, he just avoided scheduling any more meetings with me and did not explain to me what was going on. Again, this only served to worsen my anxiety.

Around this time, I had made a decision to leave the organization. I was working on extricating myself from the different forums, events, etc. and had scheduled my membership cancellations. I was starting to research alternative methods of achieving my business goals.

At this point, I felt that the relationship with my mentor was in serious jeopardy, but he blew off every single request I made for a meeting. Not only that, but he responded to my messages way less frequently, as well as reneged on his promise to help me with my anxiety and emotional struggles. He started classifying my mindset every time I spoke to him and put me into an “abundance” bucket vs “scarcity” bucket; from there, he would refuse to take me seriously whenever I was in scarcity. He started saying, just like his wife had, that it wasn’t his role to help me with transitioning my scarcity mindset back into abundance mindset and that I needed to go to therapy before we could have a good relationship. Yet whenever I called him out that he was also abandoning me in my time of emotional need, just like his wife had, then he would get defensive and say that I was being “unfair,” and that that was not what was happening.

For awhile, we were trying to repurpose our relationship from mentor/mentee into friend/friend. However, we were advised from multiple people who had tried to help us that it would never work. I wanted friendship, equality, and emotional support, and he wanted to push me hard to overcome my past and become successful to share my story onstage. Even though I had told him that I was leaving the organization and had no plans to return, he thought I just “didn’t understand” his perspective and that I would “change my mind” later on. Yet I did understand, and he didn’t accept or acknowledge that.

Finally, a few weeks ago, he stopped responding to my messages completely. Like his wife, he had made the decision to become a Fair Weather Friend. Unlike his wife, he had not made his position clear. For someone who had always told me that my communication was not very good, his was quite lacking as well. At least I made an effort to clearly state what I needed and where I was at with the relationship, which he did not.

For weeks (months), I have been mourning what I knew was the inevitable loss of this relationship. I have been eating chocolate, buying the huge cookies at Barnes and Noble, watching romantic comedies, and singing/playing breakup songs. But yesterday something dawned on me that would completely change my focus:

I deserve better.

That’s right! I deserve better. Even though my former mentor is a wonderful person who did so much to help me, and who wanted so badly to see me succeed, I deserve to be treated with love and respect ALL of the time, not just some of the time.

This is what I deserve:

1. I deserve to be treated as an equal in a relationship.

I am not a fan of the mentor/mentee submissive type of relationship, and I never will be. I deserve equality. I deserve to be involved in making decisions about the relationship, not kept in the dark about decisions that he made by himself that affect me. Not only that, but my opinions and ideas should not be rejected merely because I lack the exact same 20 years of experience in the field. Everyone’s opinions and ideas deserve respect, because not everyone knows everything and people have different skill sets, talents, and perspectives that they bring to the table. Finally, my healing journey is my business and mine alone. I don’t have to take anyone’s suggestions that I go to therapy, because I have my own healing method that I prefer (and which works better for me than therapy).

2. I deserve to be loved and accepted for where I’m at.

It is inappropriate, not to mention unrealistic, to expect that you can just “hand someone over” to a therapist and immediately have a mindset problem “fixed.” Healing takes time, and therapy is not for everyone. With this attitude, he and his wife made me feel like there was something eternally wrong with me, that I was damaged goods, and that I was unworthy of associating with them. They made me feel like I had to “fix myself” before I would be worthy of their relationship.

Not only that, but they completely disregarded and did not recognize any of the growth or progress that I made in overcoming negative emotions and handling conflict. They kept telling me to change, work on, and improve those things, but then they didn’t even notice when I did.

3. I deserve to be respected for where I’m at.

Even if I slip back into scarcity mindset temporarily, I still deserve respect. People should not be classifying me into a “scarcity” vs “abundance” buckets and then deciding whether or not to take me, and the things I say, seriously.

4. I deserve Hard Times Friends, not Fair Weather Friends.

Part of friendship means helping people when they are not strong, not abandoning them until they are “fixed” or “healed.”

5. I deserve someone who wold prioritize an important phone call in their busy schedule when our relationship is in jeopardy.

Enough said.

6. I deserve someone who would take responsibility and ownership for the things that he did to contribute to the problem, instead of completely blaming the problem on me, my shortcomings, and my circumstances.

I tried many times to explain to him the things that he did that caused me anxiety, but he didn’t take me seriously and accused me of blaming him for my anxiety. The things that he did included, but were not limited to: sparse and inconsistent responses to my messages, taking a long time (or refusing) to set up meetings, derailing my meetings, not taking action to solve our relationship problems, not treating me like an equal, not respecting me while in scarcity mindset, and not being honest with me about his feelings.

I deserve a relationship where the other person is equally invested in fixing the problems. Someone who would understand and see his part of the problem, think of solutions, and work to compromise and correct the issue. Someone who would apologize for what he did wrong and then work to make amends with me.

7. I deserve someone who is able to be vulnerable enough to tell me that I’ve hurt him, or that I’ve drained him of energy, and tells me directly what he needs from me.

I’m not a mind reader. I can get pretty close to mind-reading when I talk to someone on the phone or in person, but it is damned near impossible via text or online. I constantly felt like he expected me to read his mind and understand what he was thinking and feeling, instead of doing the work himself, being vulnerable, and sharing his heart. Instead of just simply sharing his point of view, I always felt like I had to complete a full-on scavenger hunt through his messages for clues, and then spend hours piecing it all together into a point of view that I didn’t even know whether or not would be accurate. This was not something I even had the ability to do when I was in the depths of limited capacity and scarcity mindset.

 

So that’s it! I deserve better, and I am looking forward to finding better in the future.