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

Surrender to the flow #change #transformation #death #renewal

The healing we experience is life changing, transformative. It’s impossible to prepare ourselves for what will emerge and how the emergence will manifest.

For me, I know something essential is being thrust forward for me to accept and release when the tears begin to flow in the middle of a yoga or meditation practice. 

In the early days and months of practicing, I tried to hold them back, control them. I thought crying meant I was weak of spirit, and I didn’t want to be anything less than strong. Now, I understand my tears as symbolic of the powerful, natural, and organic process of death and renewal.

Surrender to the flow!

“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the principles of Yoga.” – Kripalvananda

Rebirth is coming soon! New and improved website and recovery services

You will emerge into the light and discover true peace and joy, and I want to help you on your journey. In the coming weeks, I’ll be launching a completely new website. Essential information will be easier to find, and the posts you’ve come to rely upon will remain. 

Read this week’s newsletter to learn more about new support services designed for your journey toward recovery and transformation.

Read this week’s newsletter now!

Your next stop on The Great Sociopathic Abuse and Recovery Blog Tour!

I was invited by the author of Carnal Abuse by Deceit, Joyce M. Short, to participate in The Great Sociopathic Abuse and Recovery Blog Tour. To participate, I wrote this post in which I answer the following questions Joyce posed:

  1. How does your writing/creative process work?
  2. What are you working on at the moment?
  3. Why do you write or create what you do?
  4. How does your work differ from others in your genre?

1. How does your writing/creative process work?

A desire to write passes over me after I’ve lived through something or an idea lights up my thoughts. When this happens, I’m inspired to release all of the associated emotions, sensations and reflections, so I sit down at my laptop and write, rewrite and write some more. If I can’t figure out exactly how to word a thought or idea, I step away and pick up a book or I practice yoga or meditate. Sometimes it takes a lot of meditation and several iterations before I decide to publish a post/article. Other times, I immediately get it out onto the screen without hesitation or the need to heavily edit. My writing style is organic and flowing. I try not to be too hard on myself or worry about being perfect with each word or sentence. If it feels right, and my thoughts, when read back to myself, feel authentic and 100% honest, I hit the “Publish” button on my dashboard. The fears of being imperfect, which I carried with me for decades, no longer hinder my creative process. Like Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Doing keeps my life moving and filled with meaning.

2. What are you working on at the moment?

I am in the middle of writing my 3rd book, “Destined to Heal”.

Who will benefit from this book?

“Destined to Heal” is intended to benefit many, from the victims and survivors to the health care professionals and family members who support the victims and survivors. More specifically, the book will benefit:

>>Everyone who has found themselves lost in the aftermath of abuse and trauma and is desperate to take ownership of their healing and recovery but have no idea where to begin.

>>Everyone who started on their journey but find themselves regressing in thoughts and in need of a more solid foundation of validation, accountability and motivation to move forward.

>>Counselors and healthcare professionals interested in empowering their patients outside of appointments and therapy sessions.

>>Friends and family members of victims and survivors who wish to understand their loved one’s struggles and obstacles to healing.

What is the focus of the book?

The book is designed to be informative, illustrative and minimally didactic. The premise and approach to healing and recovery outlined and illustrated in “Destined to Heal” is heavily modeled from Mezirow’s theory of transformational learning.

The book juxtaposes scientific research with holistic theory and practices, which have proven effective in treating individuals in the aftermath of abuse and trauma.

In addition to citing peer-reviewed research, the book includes interviews with psychotherapists, neurosurgeons, and of course, victims and survivors who have been “there” and done “that”.

How will survivors benefit from the book?

“Destined to Heal” provides easy-to-integrate lifestyle options, tools and practices for survivors interested in designing a recovery plan specific to the needs of their personal and distinct healing journey. A companion workbook will also be available at the time of publication.

When will “Destined to Heal” be published?

“Destined to Heal” will be published only after it’s been properly edited, vetted and reviewed. My hope is to have a final draft available for print by January 2017. It may take longer.

3. Why do you write or create what you do?

The simple answer is that I feel like I have no choice but to write and publish. In the aftermath of my personal abuse and trauma, writing served as an effective and therapeutic healing modality. Simultaneously, a voice inside kept telling me I must share and put myself out there…to be vulnerable and unafraid.

As a result, I became a prolific writer and advocate for health. I also became a certified yoga teacher and integrative nutrition health coach. I write articles on yoga therapy, meditation and nutrition, in addition to the books and articles specifically intended to support victims of domestic violence, rape and fraud. Through my contributions, I hope others will realize they are not alone and that there is hope for true and profound healing and transformation. Since 2012, I’ve self-published two books, Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath and Unashamed Voices, and written hundreds of online articles for various publications, including Communities Digital News, Places to Yoga, elephant journal, LoveFraud.com and my personal blog.

4. How does your work differ from others in the genre?

This is a tough one to answer. I’m not really sure what my genre is. Sef-help? Spirituality? Trauma and recovery? What I do know is that I write from a place of experience and a desire to reach others who may have experienced something similar to what I’ve experienced. I don’t want others to make the same mistakes I made. However, if they don’t find my writing until after they’ve already made some of those mistakes, I want them to step away from what I write and realize they’re not alone, it’s not too late and all failures can be overcome when compassion for oneself is ever-present. It’s the readers’ responsibility to take what speaks to them and apply it to their lives. My focus is bent toward a holistic approach along the path of healing and transformation. I weave yoga, meditation and whole-food nutrition into my writing. If it rubs off on some or further validates what others may already be doing, awesome! I certainly do not see myself as an authority on any particular subject. But if a reader can relate to my story and personality, then that reader will, more than likely, get more from my writing than from a writer with whom they can’t relate, regardless of the other writer’s experience or credentials. It’s the nature of being human. We need to find connections, especially in the healing process. Therefore, my responsibility as a writer is to provide as much fact-based, objective data to the reader as possible, while presenting a subjective story with which they will hopefully relate.

Thank you, Joyce, for inviting me to participate in The Great Sociopathic Abuse and Recovery Blog Tour! 

Blog Tour 5/25/15

Sociopathic Abuse and Recovery

Stop Rape by Fraud

Celebrating Truth in Romance Day, June 15th
http://rapebyfraud.com/2015/05/14/announcing-fess-up-day-june-15th/

Better Not Broken

Waffles and Waze: Why Elvis Remains King and It’s Never Too Late For Change
http://betternotbroken.com/2015/05/11/waffles-and-waze-why-elvis-remains-king-and-its-never-too-late-for-change/

Love-Life-Om

Just say “No!” to sociopath oppression and possession
https://paularenee.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/just-say-no-to-sociopath-oppression-and-possession/

 

Immigration Fraud Canada

It All Started With a Divorce and What I Perceived As True Affection and Love….
https://immigrationfraudcanada.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/it-all-started-with-a-divorce-and-what-i-percieved-as-true-affection-and-love/

http://www.care4bullied.com/blog/

Looking for the light

Tell congress to help New Veterans Keep the Mental Health Medications They Need
http://lookingforthelight.me/2015/05/21/tell-congress-to-help-new-veterans-keep-the-mental-health-medications-they-need/

Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

When he tells you the first time…..
http://letmereach.com/2015/05/25/when-he-tells-you-the-first-time-2/comment-page-1/#comment-68897

Additional blogs of interest:

Psychopaths and Love

Journey of Olivia Rose

Lady with a Truck

Mom’s Heart Unsilenced

Soul Healing Art

Michelle Malon

With sincere thanks,

Paula Carrasquillo
Yogi. Author. Advocate.

Read “Unashamed Voices” and expand the sociopath awareness message

Becoming a yoga teacher and health coach allows me the opportunity to continuously give back the gifts that were given to me through my healing and recovery process. I publish books for the same reason.

Unashamed Voices by Paula CarrasquiloMy second self-published book, Unashamed Voices, is a collection of true stories from across the globe written by survivors of toxic and abusive relationships. The book exposes the unchallenged pathological personalities and behaviors of psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists in our midst.

Readers of my blog submitted their stories to me between May 2013 and October 2013. I know it wasn’t an easy task for them. Sitting down and writing the details of personal trauma is an exhausting and triggering exercise. And then to send them off to a complete stranger?

After I received the stories, I spent over a year reading, absorbing and editing each. And I say “edit” loosely, because I did not want the authentic voice of each survivor to be lost in my voice. I stuck to “correcting” only basic grammar and punctuation errors.

I have deep respect and admiration for each and every survivor who took that leap of faith and trusted me. I am determined to continue honoring them and promoting and improving this book. A traditional publisher WILL take notice. Their choice to hit “send” will not be in vain or limited in scope. This book WILL be available in libraries and institutes and read and studied by students, law enforcement, lawyers, judges, therapists and families affected by these tragedies.

Contribute to the expansion of our message. Download and read your copy today and share it with someone tomorrow.

With sincere thanks,
Paula Carrasquillo
Yogi. Author. Advocate.

©2015 Paula Carrasquillo and Love. Life. Om.

After the fall, Yoga Journal gets it right! #Bikram #abuse #healing

YJ_June15Cover_PaulaI was approached in January 2015 by seasoned journalist, Andrew Tilin. He was in the middle of composing a feature story for the June 2015 issue of Yoga Journal magazine. How did he find me? He found me through my yoga blog and was particularly interested in speaking with me after reading the post Mourning my Bikram Yoga practice in light of rape allegations. After all, the purpose of the feature he was writing was to highlight how the yoga community was reacting to criminal allegations against celebrity yoga teachers, in particular John Friend and Bikram Choudhury, and I seemed like someone with an opinion to share. He emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in speaking with him; I responded with a big fat YES!

We spoke over the phone the first time for almost two hours. He contacted me a few weeks later, and we talked for two more hours. On both occasions, Tilin asked me lots and lots of questions about yoga and later about my experiences with abuse. I freely answered all of his questions without hesitation (but with a few tears occasionally). I don’t think he was expecting me to be so talkative and so candid. He often asked, “Are you comfortable sharing this?” And each time, I thought to myself, He must not have read any of my other posts. Of course, I’m comfortable sharing.

I don’t think the editors at the magazine expected me to share as much as I did either, because before they approved the final version of Tilin’s feature, a member of the editorial staff called me to do some fact checking and to verify that everything I shared was okay to print. In addition to the four hours I had already spent with Tilin, I spent close to two more hours talking with the editor. Needless to say, I exerted a lot of energy talking about stuff that I’m more comfortable writing about. If you’re an introvert, you understand how draining that is, but I feel like the investment was worth it. The published article unfolded beautifully! Yoga Journal and Tilin got it right! I have deep respect for, gratitude to and appreciation of the thoughtful and professional attention the journalist and the Yoga Journal staff took with my story.

The article isn’t about me. It’s not even about abusive yoga gurus, although Tilin pulls in data and a few experts to explain why and how abuse at the community level often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. This article, at its core, is about the capacity of the human spirit to overcome and let the light outshine the dark and it reinforces the power of going within to find peace.

Follow this link to After the Fall: The Ripple Effect from Accusations Against Bikram and Friend or pick up the June 2015 issue of Yoga Journal magazine and turn to page 80.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
Yogi. Author. Advocate.
http://www.paulacarrasquillo.com

©Paula Carrasquillo and Love. Life. Om. 2015

Survivors Continue to Share and Inspire

Love. Life. Om. Survivor Newsletter – Volume 2, Issue 4

Alana (not her real name) submitted her story to me earlier this month through my online submission form. I attempted to respond and thank her, but the email bounced back. So I am sharing her full submission in this newsletter in hopes Alana sees that it’s been shared and contacts me…again…in order to properly thank her.

Also this month, I was contacted by another survivor and author, Holly, who asked me to share her book with everyone. Follow this link to Amazon to download Holly’s book, Escaping Abuse: An Autobiography about Love, Marriage, Abuse, and Perseverance.

Enjoy this issue and pass it along to your network of supporters, survivors and fellow warriors!

Paula Carrasquillo

“There’s something odd about that guy she’s dating.”

“There’s something odd about that guy she’s dating.”

I have many sisters who aren’t afraid to be direct with me. I have a mother who pays attention and asks questions. Despite this, none of them felt comfortable probing me about “that guy” while I was dating him or letting me know how they really felt.

Only after I escaped the sociopath did I learn about the numerous conversation my friends and family members were having amongst themselves about “that guy”. In the aftermath of the relationship, my mother and sisters confessed that his behavior was “odd” and “abnormal”, but they weren’t able to define exactly what it was about him that made them uneasy. This inability to pinpoint a tangible reason to explain their gut feelings discouraged them from voicing their concerns with me directly.

Even if they had approached me, I’m sure I wouldn’t have welcomed their criticisms and questions. I would have become defensive and made excuses and explained away his behavior. I was in both shock and denial while inside the toxic dynamic. I was unwilling to face the humiliation of choosing so poorly, so the more I pushed away the reality of who “that guy” was turning out to be, the less humiliation I felt on a daily basis. I thought I was preserving myself, when I was actually allowing myself to decay from the inside out.

Today, I can pinpoint exactly what it was about “that guy” that made my family’s skin crawl, because it made my skin crawl too, but I just kept denying what I was sensing:

A permeating presence of stagnant, low-vibrational energy, which revealed his 1) lack of authenticity; 2) lack of truth; and 3) lack of original thoughts.

When I think back to these words he screamed at me just before I escaped, “I don’t know why you’re getting so upset now after all this time. You knew from the beginning that this is who I am,” I realize he was right. Even before the name calling, blocking, pushing, grabbing, pinching and down-right dirtiness of his actions and words, the ugliness of the sociopath was always present, hovering like a phantom and lingering at the threshold of the foreground and background. And he never tried to hide it. He actually believed he was as normal and as healthy as the next guy.

1. Lack of authenticity – This was ever-present but especially noticeable to me when we were with others in a group. I immediately picked up on his false gestures of friendship and camaraderie. In the beginning, my body would only slightly react…a tickle in my throat…at the sound of him talking about how happy he was for someone. He wasn’t happy for anyone. Who was he fooling? He only said he was happy because he thought that was what he was supposed to say. He didn’t feel happiness for anyone on any deep level. I sensed this lack of genuine emotions early but was too naive to understand the depth of what it meant about the true nature of “that guy”.

2. Lack of truth – Closely connected to his lack of authenticity, his lack of truth expanded beyond simply lying when recounting stories from his past and present. I never sensed a solid truth in anything he said, chose to eat, buy or acquire. In every relationship, we share and tell our stories with a combination of the words we use and the things we choose to surround ourselves, from the books on our shelves to the pictures we carry in our wallets. When we are in the presence of an honest and truthful person, everything that person says and everything surrounding that person, from their clothes to their friendships to what they eat, makes sense, folds into each other and further solidifies our personal idea of who that person is. With “that guy”, there were too many contradictions flashing before my eyes, making it impossible for me to form a clear picture of who “that guy” was. Unfortunately, because my intuition was not well-primed, these contradictions caused me to feel confused and restless about the emotions and sensations they conjured within me. I fought the contradictions and attempted to explain them away: “Oh, he’s just complicated. He’s just really in touch with his feminine side. He’s just very masculine and that’s why he’s super jealous. He’s just not used to kids. His just needs more time to understand my family.” The excuses were endless and only served to hide the truth about the lack of truth within “that guy”. I couldn’t form a solid image of his persona in my mind, because he wasn’t standing in truth. He was perpetually acting and switching roles depending on his audience and based on what he thought would garner him the most control, reward and attention. I see that now, and it’s twisted.

3. Lack of original thoughts – This was one of his most aggravating qualities. He liked regurgitating the thoughts and ideas of others and claiming them as his own. I considered this the equivalent to stealing, but I honestly didn’t think he actually believed his own delusions until I caught him claiming my thoughts, skills and ideas as his own. Some may call this gas lighting, but I knew the truth and never questioned my truth as he spewed it from his lying mouth. This wasn’t a matter of forgetting whether or not I knew something that he was trying to pass off as his lesson to me. This was a matter of me stopping myself from vomiting all over him due to my uncontrollable disgust at his arrogance, disrespect and lack of integrity. He wasn’t fooling me. But he was. I didn’t speak up and say, “Don’t use my knowledge and my words to establish your false sense of superiority over me.” Instead, I let the anger and disgust fester, while simultaneously trying to convince myself that he didn’t mean any harm. After all, don’t they say imitation is the highest form of flattery? Hmm? I don’t think so either. It’s just thievery and a little creepy.

Looking back, I used to feel ashamed at myself for remaining inside that low vibrational and toxic relationship for so long. Today, I realize my intuition simply wasn’t evolved enough to figure it out calmly and quickly. I reacted from a place of high-sensitivity without understanding why I was reacting from that place. It wasn’t because I was too sensitive or unstable. It was because my sensitivity was right on par. It was “that guy” who was unstable.

Namaste!
~Paula

Pre-order “How To Do No Contact Like a Boss” by Kim Saeed

Pre-order your copy today!!

If you’re thinking about going no contact or are currently struggling to maintain no contact, Kim Saeed’s new book will serve as an invaluable tool for your emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and growth.

Order your copy today!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00RM9QV9Q/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1427556744&sr=1-1&keywords=No+contact+like+a+boss

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