Living beyond change – Keys to sustained healing and transformation

Work, stress, and trying to do too much finally caught up with me. I’m sick.

The signs that I needed to slow down have been there for months. I couldn’t find my spark. I didn’t feel “all-in” about anything life threw my way. Even journaling and blogging were elusive. I failed to finish any critical thinking exercise I started. I’d write a few sentences and abandon the effort mid-stream. Being unable to follow through left me feeling incomplete and impotent in all areas of my life.

A holistic slump. It sucked!

Then I decided to quit my coffee habit this past Sunday. Why? The timing of this decision is beyond my full understanding, but there is no doubt quitting helped my body and my mind wake up…ironically. Eliminating caffeine instantly threw my body into a whirlwind of weirdness: Headaches. Body aches. Nausea. And a cold!?!?

Luckily, these detox side effects moved quickly, and light is once again shining freely into my world. I sense the return of joy, clarity, and freedom of body, mind, and spirit. I look around at my surroundings, and instead of feeling dread at the thought of living out my day, I’m anxious to be creative and explore new possibilities and new ideas.

What a welcome relief after months of feeling stuck and unmotivated.

My biggest struggle lately, and most likely the biggest reason I allowed my energy and verve to be depleted, has been finding the courage to let go of my blog. For the past two years, off and on, I’ve had the urge to delete it. But doing that seemed so senseless. My blog, despite being filled with anger, grief, and sadness, served a great purpose for my own awakening and for that of others (at least that’s the feedback I receive from kind readers). Although hitting the delete button seemed drastic, I couldn’t ignore feeling like the blog hung over me like a dark cloud interfering with my journey toward greater truth, abundance, and higher energy.

I needed a plan. A transitional plan. Change management on an individual level was necessary, because continuing to help people without a solid plan or approach was killing me. Unfortunately, finding the time to build a plan seemed impossible while simultaneously writing posts, responding to comments, responding to emails, and taking phone calls. I was doing these things on top of working full-time as a web content developer, working weekends teaching meditation, going to school to become a health coach, and taking care of my family.

What was I thinking? Well, I wasn’t thinking clearly, that’s for certain. I was allowing the needs of others to come before my own. I was unable to find a balance between helping myself and helping others. Replenish myself and replenish hope in others. But I can’t stop serving others. I’ve tried to stop, thinking, “You must stop helping others”, was how I was meant to interpret the message. It wasn’t the correct interpretation of the message. The correct interpretation is, “Stop for now. Rejuvenate yourself. Devise a sustainable plan of action.”

I was and continue to be guided by a force greater than myself. That force is asking me not to give up what I started four years ago. It’s asking me to allow the same energy I used when I began writing to expand and blossom. That force is reminding me that despite not being able to define an absolute solution today, clarity comes from moving forward.

Today I am semi-resting as I work on wireframes and a site map for my new Love. Life. Om. website dedicated to bringing visitors the latest and most effective holistic self-care approaches to living beyond change and transforming one’s environment, body, mind, and spirit.

Living beyond change. That’s how I see healing and recovery today. I don’t even want to slap “healing” or “recovery” to anything I offer moving forward. Why? Because the first step we take toward recovery and healing is essentially toward a new way of being…a new approach to living. To say, “I am healing” or “I am recovering” implies one is fixing themselves and will stop whatever they’re doing to heal and recover once he/she is fixed. But what we do to heal and recover should not end. We aren’t fixing ourselves in recovery, because we were never broken. What we do in recovery is harness the strongest and brightest light within ourselves to overcome our deepest pain and suffering. Why would one give up being perpetually connected to the strongest and brightest parts of him/herself just because one thinks he/she is healed and recovered?

When we abandon the healthy habits we formed while “in recovery”, the chances of slipping back into old patterns of being, old patterns of thinking, and old patterns of dating and relationships greatly increases. The same way a diet “fails” once one returns to unhealthy eating habits, so too do traditional methods of therapy, healing, and recovery. Temporary steps result in temporary health. Permanent change results in transformation of body, mind, and spirit and the release of the desire to go back to old patterns of behavior.

It’s not about healing and recovery. Our experiences changed us. We must learn to live beyond the change.

Living beyond the change means transforming into a more aware, more joyful individual who continues practicing and mastering the habits and lifestyle choices that propelled one to health in the first place. What I propose and offer is a chance to change one’s entire lifestyle and energy starting from within the soul and working outward into relationships and surroundings.

Yes, there will be lots of yoga tips and even short video tutorials on my new site. There will be meditation tips and recordings to help cure insomnia and PTSD symptoms. In addition, the site will offer nutrition education and easy-to-integrate diet tips to drastically improve your health. I’ll also be offering weekly affirmations delivered directly to your inbox, because it’s hard to stay positive and motivated when change is afoot and everything feels like chaos.

The best part…the majority of what I’ll offer will be free! Of course, there will be costs associated with working with me privately as a health coach, yoga teacher, and meditation guide. Also, extended and personalized meditation recordings will be available for purchase. I’ll continue to market and sell my books, Escaping the Boy and Unashamed Voices, and transfer the best and most popular posts from my current blog to my new site.

It’s a new season. It’s a new beginning. It’s a rebirth.

I’m so excited to offer myself to each of you as you journey toward a lifestyle transformation of abundant health, wellness, and peace. I’ve learned from experience that I must be patient when creating and not release my work prematurely. So please be patient. My new website will be ready when it tells me it’s ready. 🙂

Namaste,
Paula Carrasquillo, MA
Yoga Teacher and Health Coach

The Art of Transformation at Any Age

A few months shy of my 40th birthday, I walked into my very first yoga class. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing or what to expect. I rented a mat from the studio and even a towel that day. I kept my investment at a minimum: $20 for a week of unlimited classes. I was skeptical and filled with uncertainties:

“Will I be able to learn and follow along fast enough?”

“Am I going to hurt myself?”

“Will the other folks in the room notice how scared I am?”

“Will this shit REALLY work?”

After 45 minutes of sweating, bending, and twisting my body while simultaneously being forced to watch the spectacle of myself in the mirrors before me, I realized I had just conquered a feat I never imagined conquering. 

I texted my sister (who is also my best friend) immediately after class letting her know that I really liked my first class and planned on going back the next day. She was excited for me and texted me back, “You’re officially a yogini!”

It took awhile for that message to sink in, but by the end of my first week with 6 classes under my belt, I said to myself, “Wow. I’m a yogini!” 

In a few weeks, I celebrate 4 years as a yogi, one who overcame yoga phobia in 90 minutes flat. I never thought I’d have the patience to practice the “art of transformation”. But I did, I do, and I’m so grateful to myself for stepping over that threshold for the first time on October 14, 2011.

If you have a regular practice, here’s to your continued practice. If you’ve never practiced, here’s to your first step toward becoming a yogi too.

It’s never too late. Transformation knows no age limit!

Namaste. 🙂 ~Paula Carrasquillo

Wrap yourself in compassion today! #healing #health #self-care

Follow this link to Paula's It Works! storefront: http://paulacarrasq.myitworks.com/contactme/

Click image to be taken to Paula’s It Works! storefront.

We all deserve to feel good about the way we look. It’s an essential part of maintaining a healthy self-care routine. It Works! applicators and products serve to provide instant and long-lasting results that assist in building self-awareness and self-confidence.

I personally use the products to compliment my yoga, meditation and mindful eating habits. I love the results of the botanical wraps and believe you will, too.

In addition, It Works! is helping me help more victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and intimate partner abuse. I have three (3) simple dreams for the near future:

1. To offer FREE and affordable yoga, meditation and nutrition classes focused on helping women, children and men who have been victims of abuse reach profound transformation;

2. To create, build and maintain a fund for abuse victims; and

3. To influence a shift in society’s understanding and definition of perpetrators and victims of this global epidemic.

So get your body applicator wraps today and start unwrapping the layers of confidence hiding just beneath the surface while contributing to a positive shift toward freedom for all survivors of abuse.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
Yogi. Author. Advocate. It Works! distributor.

Everything feeds our healing journey #sociopathabuse #recovery

Outside of educating ourselves about sociopath abuse and finding the proper support to guide us along our journey, another key ingredient to healing and recovery is nutrition.

When I use the word nutrition, I don’t just mean the food we eat. I’m referring to everything we subject our bodies and minds to from a holistic approach:

1. Food – Is it balancing me or causing me heartburn or indigestion?
2. Air – Am I actively breathing in fresh oxygen?
3. Water – Am I keeping my organs hydrated?
4. Sunshine – Am I remembering to get outside at least once each day?
5. Exercise/moving our bodies – Am I getting out of bed/off the couch like I should?
5. Friendships – Are they really my friends?
6. Co-worker relationships – Are they harming my job performance?
7. Career/job decisions – Is this the right job for me?
8. School/academics – Am I focused?
9. Books/Films – Are they depressing me or inspiring me?
10. News – Is it triggering me or motivating me?

Examining all of these areas in the aftermath of sociopath abuse is vital, because all of these things can affect how we feel about ourselves in any given moment.

As you embark on your weekend, consider these key ingredients and determine your areas of strength and those of weakness and see how they can complement each other.

For example, if you have a really great friend or group of friends, but your diet is dragging you down, consider organizing a healthy cooking demo with your friends or ask one of your friends who has a healthy diet if she/he will help you to improve your diet.

I learn so much everyday from the amazing and intelligent people I have met and welcomed into my life. If you would like to share a “recipe” that has helped you get healthy, please share!!

Namaste!
~Paula

Become a Loyal Customer by August and receive FREE integrative health coach services

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Paula is an It Works! distributor! Select the image to shop Paula’s It Works store.

Invest in your future self, get a FREE integrative health coach, and begin transforming your mind, body, and spirit today!

I have been using the It Works! botanical body applicator for about three months. After 45 minutes and my first application, not only was my skin softer and firmer, the appearance of the cellulite on my thighs seemed to disappear like magic. I couldn’t believe the results and wished to pass along the chance for others to look good and feel good, so I decided to become a distributor.

In addition to offering Loyal Customers access to other It Works! products at a reduced price, I am offering 60 days of integrative health coaching services designed to nurture your mind, body, and spirit at no cost. FREE! Zero dollars! That’s $700 worth of products and services for a fraction of the investment.

By signing up before the end of July as a Loyal Customer, you will be taking advantage of the following:

>> 40% off the cost of wraps as a Loyal Customer
>> Firmer, softer, and visibly younger looking skin after your first application
>> Personalized health coach support for 60 consecutive days

Namaste!
~Paula

www.WrappedInCompassion.com

Newsletter launched today! #sociopathabuse #recovery

Today I launched Volume 1, Issue 1 of Paula’s Pontifications Newsletter. I decided to do this for a few reasons:

1. Increase privacy: Unlike following a page or joining a group, signing up to receive the newsletter is between the reader and me.

2. Re-purpose relevant posts: In the past two years, I’ve written close to 450 blog posts. I’d like to breathe fresh life into some of the better ones by linking to them from the newsletter.

3. Highlight awareness vs. active recovery: Knowledge isn’t power unless we understand how to move forward with our knowledge. The newsletter format allows to more fluidly commingle and juxtapose sociopath character traits with survivor recovery and self-care tips. The connection is more immediate in the newsletter format than in a blog post format. It’s a way of saying without shouting, “Hey! Don’t forget about yourself, okay?”

4. Introduce new voices: I’m hoping readers and survivors will consider contributing to the newsletter. The reach is less, so the format may prove less intimidating than posting or creating their own blog until they get their feet wet.

I value your feedback and hope you find the time to read my first newsletter.

Thank you!
~Paula

P.S. I’m still working out some formatting issues. 🙂

Easy tips to help you lose weight @commdiginews #exercise #weightloss #healthtips

Read my latest submission to Communities Digital News: 4 simple tips to start losing weight

BETHESDA, Md., June 28, 2014 — Overweight and unfit Americans know they are fat. They must, because memberships to gyms and fitness centers have reached 54.1 million, which represents a 6.4% year-over-year increase for the past five years.

Yet, this increase in gym memberships has not correlated with a decrease in the percentage of overweight and obese Americans. Those numbers continue to grow. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, roughly 69.1% of American adults 20 years and older are overweight or obese, an increase of almost 15% in 2 decades.

Weight loss is not easy nor is it cheap. Not every American can afford a gym or studio membership considering the average cost of gym membership hovers around $55/month. Yet, even those who can squeeze fitness into their budgets are not maximizing their return on investment. Read more.

http://www.commdiginews.com/health-science/4-simple-tips-to-start-losing-weight-20490/#pVvFI8csdxodjkEU.99

How yoga and meditation specifically helped me in my recovery from sociopath abuse

It’s been 32 months since I first stepped onto a yoga mat. I began my practice 8 months after I escaped the sociopath and a few months shy of my 40th birthday. These are just a few of the benefits I directly attribute to my regular, on-going yoga practice:

>>Within 3 days of beginning my yoga practice, I stopped taking my daily over-the-counter pain relief pill for a knee injuring I had sustained 10 years prior. I am able to walk, skip, climb stairs, and carry my son with ease.

>>Within 3 weeks, I stopped binging and purging. I had been suffering from bouts of bulimia for nearly 20 years following struggles overcoming teenage dating violence/abuse at 18.

>>Within 2 months, my blood pressure (BP) became normal and stable. During my pregnancy in 2005, I suffered from preeclampsia despite the fact my BP was historically low all of my life. For the 7 years that followed my son’s birth, I struggled to maintain consistent and healthy BP levels. Not anymore.

>>Within 4 months, I lost weight and no longer suffered from daily bloating and monthly menstrual cramps.

>>Within 4 months, I was able to successfully quit drinking, which was my number #1 self-soothing “solution” in the aftermath of sociopath abuse. I have been sober for over 2 years as of June 2014.

>>Within 6 months, I quit my antidepressants and my anxiety levels decreased. It’s been 2 years, and I remain my normal, moody self. 🙂

>>Within 12 months, I stopped using topical remedies or injections to control my psoriasis outbreaks. Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition that manifests on the skin as a result of internal inflammation (often due to anxiety). I was first diagnosed with psoriasis at age 11. I haven’t had a severe outbreak in over 18 months nor do I sense any onset of psoriatic arthritis, a common secondary condition for individuals who have experienced chronic psoriasis outbreaks over the course of several years.

>>Within 12 months I noticed a considerable reduction in my PTSD triggers. My self-assessment is that I became 90% trigger-free after 24 months of consistent practice.

You can surely see that with each consecutive “cure” and relief of one ailment above, a new door was opened to address another area of health concerns in my body, mind, and spirit. A true domino effect of healing at every level of consciousness and awareness from the first day I stepped on to my mat to the present.

More importantly, yoga gifted me with the tools to maintain my current healthy and mindful state of being with increased self-esteem, self-love, self-respect, and self-compassion.

How did yoga do all of these things for me where traditional medical and mental healthcare options and therapies failed me?

I believe yoga has been so effective for me, because yoga works from the inside out to re-wire, re-program, and undo all of the conditioning I have subjected my body and mind to over the years, the least of which was the conditioning of my body, mind and spirit in the aftermath of sociopath abuse.

Yoga and meditation may be a great fit for you, too, if you are open to alternative and integrative solutions to healing, recovery, and/or management of a number of other co-occurring conditions and ailments.

Regardless of how flexible your body is when you begin practicing yoga, the healing benefits begin with your first practice as long as you do two things:

1. Focus on your breathing by paying attention to your inhales, your exhales, and when and if you stop breathing.

2. Maintain proper alignment of each pose by following the teacher’s cues and only going as deep as your body permits you to go…today.

Restorative yoga, Kripalu, Iyangar, or viniyoga styles are great options for anyone suffering from fibromyalgia, trauma, cognitive dissonance, and/or addiction. Beginner classes of most styles are also good options. Ideally, find a teacher who understands trauma and/or has yoga as therapy training.

If you have more questions about the types of yoga to try, feel free to contact me directly.

Namaste!
~Paula

Stick it out; don’t give up #healing #recovery #patience #sociopathabuse

The day I stepped onto a yoga mat for the first time I was a few months shy of my 40th birthday, suffering from depression, a lot of knee and joint pain, unknown post traumatic stress, and alcohol dependency.

Was I scared? Yes. I was scared shitless!

I didn’t know if I was going to hurt myself or help myself. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry. I didn’t know if others were going to laugh at me or cry for me.

Nearly three years later, I am no longer depressed, I’ve been sober for 2 years, I laugh WITH myself, and I cry because sometimes it’s what I need. I’m no longer ashamed of my past mistakes or the abuse inflicted upon me. I’m no longer afraid to fail OR to succeed. The nightmares have stopped, and room was made to start my life over again from scratch–for me and for my family who never doubted me.

I realize now that the first step toward my current freedom was completely in my hands. The power to transform, grow, and heal was within me. Stepping onto that yoga mat back in October 2011 began my awakening.

But my awakening wasn’t instant. Nothing transformational is ever instant. We must work hard for it. With each practice, I learned to be more patient and more gentle with myself and to remain hopeful.

Despite occasional set backs and struggles, I stuck it out. I kept going back to the mat. I kept learning something new about myself and my abilities, both mental and physical.

I’m glad I stuck it out. I surely wouldn’t be in a place to write today if I had given up many yesterday’s ago.

If you’ve started on your transformational journey through yoga or some other practice that fits your needs, I want you to stick it out, too. Even when you don’t think there are changes happening, stick it out!! You rarely have the capacity to realize or appreciate the changes and transformations in the exact moments they occur. Life informs you days, weeks, or months later. So be patient. Stick it out.

And if you haven’t started, start today by telling yourself that you’re worth it and you deserve joy, peace, and a chance at an awakening and new beginning.

Namaste!
~Paula

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