“What the heck does she mean by MINDFUL, anyhow?”

I am in the middle of writing “Embracing Your Light: Mindful Healing and Recovery from Sociopath Abuse” and am defining the idea of mindfulness in hopes of dispelling any misinformation, prejudices, or negative connotations, so you’re not asking, “What in the heck does she mean by mindful, anyhow!?”

Below is mindfulness to me:

Mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to do yoga or meditate or eat tree bark.

Mindfulness simply means you live your life fully aware of yourself, your surroundings, and how you and your surroundings affect and impact each other.

Mindfulness is compassion for yourself and all living things surrounding you.

Mindfulness is not prescribing to any particular religion or faith. The faith required to be mindful is a faith in oneself.

Mindfulness is a state of being and knowing, knowing you are perfect in your imperfections. Mindfulness is accepting your imperfections and understanding that they are not permanent and do not define you.

Mindfulness is knowing that life is in a constant state of change and flux and that you are part of that change and flux.

You are who you are today. Tomorrow, you will be who you are tomorrow.

Accepting this and being patient in knowing is mindfulness.

Namaste!
~Paula

Why I’m Doing Another 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge and How I Prepare and Remain Motivated

I am embarking on my second Bikram Yoga challenge. The first challenge was almost two years ago in February 2012, just a few months after I started my yoga practice.

Me in Bikram Triangle

Me in Bikram Triangle

To be honest, I never imagined I would be motivated to do another challenge. The first challenge was very beneficial but also tough on my body, mind, spirit and family life. Although I felt accomplished in a mindful and self-aware sort of way upon completing the first challenge, my ego also said, “Well, you did it. You proved you could do it. No need to do that again.”

So I held fast to that egocentric attitude until recently when I started feeling defeated by life and overwhelmed by my responsibilities.

You see, in addition to having a regular 9 to 5 job, I have been writing non-stop on my other blog for 21 months. Over 320 blog posts in 90 weeks. That’s almost an average of 4 blog posts per week.

What I write on my other blog does not result in any sort of financial compensation. None. My compensation comes from the comments and messages I receive from readers who have been positively affected by the message I attempt to share and disseminate, a message related to an understanding of what domestic violence and intimate partner abuse looks like when perpetrated by emotional abusers. Sociopaths and narcissists.

Yeah, it may sound dramatic if you aren’t already familiar with my other blog. And you would be correct. Abuse and control is all about drama. My postings and writings are filled with reactions to that drama, and composing those reactions have been 100% draining. So when October began, I wasn’t surprised when I found myself in need of a break from my other blog and the emotions and feelings it stirred in me.

But a funny thing happened after I made the conscious decision to take a break from writing: I started to feel guilty!

I felt guilty for leaving people hanging. I felt guilty for not being as active as I once was. I have made some incredible friendships through my other blog and value all of the feedback I receive. Actively responding to comments and e-mails was never something I had to struggle with doing. But I found myself struggling, and that made me feel guilty.

Fortunately, I had enough humility (Thank you, yoga!) to reach out to my friends for support. Repeatedly, I received the same message: “Paula, take care of yourself. Put yourself first.”

It took a while for that message to sink in, but once it did, I immediately thought another Bikram Yoga challenge would be just the thing to get me out of my self-imposed slump. I was thinking about doing a challenge on my own but was thrilled to discover the studio where I practice is facilitating a challenge between now and Thanksgiving! (There are no coincidences, I’ve learned.)

I started my second challenge at Bikram Yoga Rockville on Wednesday, October 23 which ends the day before Thanksgiving. (The studio’s challenge actually started on Monday, October 21, so I have two doubles to look forward to completely. I’ll save those for the end.)

Like my first challenge, I had to prepare. Currently, my office is in my home with a more open and flexible schedule than I had during my first challenge. This simply means I have more options for which times I can attend class: mornings, afternoons or evenings. But a more flexible schedule doesn’t mean finding and maintaining my motivation is any less challenging.

Below are some ways I prepared and remain motivated.

In preparation:

  1. Setup a calendar reminder for each day, so I remember to eat. (I sometimes get really busy during the day and forget to eat lunch. If I wait too long, I can’t eat until after yoga. (Bikram instructors recommend that you eat a light meal 2-4 hours prior to your daily practice.)
  2. Get a pedicure. (Hey, it’s important to have clean and polished feet to present to your fellow yogis. Plus, it helps to keep your mat fresh.)
  3. Bathe my mat. (It’s kind of like a clean sheet thing–it just feels good and it’s healthy, for you and your mat.)
  4. Buy tea tree oil and a spray bottle. (A tea tree oil and water concoction will be sprayed on my mat after each use; it’s a green and friendly solution to keeping your mat fresh.)
  5. Pack a clean change of yoga clothes and towel in my car for spur-of-the-moment decisions to go to the yoga studio.

To remain motivated:

  1. Let as many people know your intention to complete the challenge.
    The more people who know, the more people will be asking you every day, “So, how many days are left?” You don’t want to answer, “Oh, I quit.” Do you?
  2. Get a challenge buddy (or 2 or 3).
    This can be done directly or indirectly. If you are new or simply don’t have friends at the studio, pick someone’s name off the board and follow/stalk his/her progress. It’s definitely psychological but effective.
  3. Don’t neglect your family.
    If you are married, in a partnership, or have children, they’re probably your biggest supporters. So, even when you are feeling tired or overwhelmed by the yoga, do things with and for your family. They’ll be more inclined to maintain their support throughout the 30 days. And remember to say, “Thank you, Baby, for respecting how much this means to me.”
  4. Keep talking about how the challenge is making you feel.
    Even if you feel like crap some days, share it. You would be surprised by how many people will tell you, “Well, just don’t stop. You’re so close.”
  5. Be lazy, eat right, drink lots of water, and sleep when you can.
    Do I need to explain this one? :)
  6. Encourage other yogis in the challenge.
    Through encouraging others, you encourage yourself and the entire room.
  7. Keep smiling.

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and A Yogini Transformed.


Paula Carrasquillo is an active yogi, author, and advocate who has lived in numerous watersheds throughout the United States, including Colorado, Maine, Maryland and New Mexico. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Paula is passionate about her family, friends and the motivational and brave people she meets daily through her online writing and social media exchanges. To Paula, every person, place, thing, idea and feeling she encounters is significant and meaningful, even those which she most wants to forget. Follow Paula on Twitter and check out her other blog.

free yourself

Freeing Yourself from the Sociopath’s Needs and Crazy-Making World

free yourselfI often repeat, “The sociopath needs us; we do not need the sociopath.”

But the sociopath tries really, really hard to convince you of the opposite. It’s part of the mind control, mind warping practices of the sociopath’s twisted and despicable philosophy he feeds you.

I’ll never forget when the sociopath, the boy in my story, first tried convincing me that I should think in terms of “needing” each other.

I was raised to be independent and to not rely on another person for my basic needs like shelter, clothing, food and other sustenance. As I grew and experienced love and relationships, I also learned that being needy of another person’s affections went against full independence.

I gave love, not expecting love in return but was damn grateful when I received it.

So I was a bit shocked when the sociopath came crying to me upset and feeling neglected and saying, “I NEED you to need me the way I need you!!!”

The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “That’s a dangerous place to be…needing each other…don’t you think?”

He looked at me blankly, silently, so I continued, “Isn’t it enough knowing that I love you? Why would you want me dependent and desperately needing you? I mean, what kind of place would I be if something happened to you and I was left alone? What about if something happened to me? You’d rather us suffer thinking we lost someone we NEEDED to survive?”

Again, crickets from his direction.

I understand now why he could not provide a rebuttal: he knew I thought the idea was BS and he also knew I was not easily malleable. I was a big effing frustration for him, which led him to reverting to angrier and more shocking rages, leaving me wondering what the hell I had done wrong to make him so angry. I found myself NEEDING him for answers and NEEDING him to treat me like I mattered.

But my needs were NEVER met. Instead, my neediness just grew with each layer of shame and blame thrown my way.

A = The Sociopath’s Needs
The need to control you.

B = Your Needs
The need to feel and to be treated as if you matter.

A – B = Crazy-Making World
The sociopath’s need for control is gained by not providing you with your need to feel like you matter. The sociopath’s needs (A) are met; your needs (B) are NEVER met.

It’s a vicious equation and cycle that never ends even after the relationship ends and even after you go no contact. The only way it ends is to accept that the sociopath is a sociopath and will never respect you as a human, treat you like you matter or provide you with the answers you desperately deserve.

If you don’t accept this, your needs continue to be unmet and your desperation for your needs to be met continue to grow and fester. This desperation drives you to levels of high stress, anxiety, prolonged periods of rumination and complete distraction of your other basic needs. You’re still working toward changing the equation that can never change. The sociopath will always have control if you continue insisting your needs will somehow magically be met by the sociopath one day.

This leads to nothing good or productive. You can’t sleep or eat or work without being reminded of something the sociopath withheld or failed to answer honestly. Everything becomes a trigger. Your daily routine, which you once shared with the sociopath, is continuously interrupted by a memory recall, a flashback of an event or associated stressor and/trauma. Certain words used by a friend or colleague may spark panic or take you away from the here and now. You’re mind is out of your control, it seems, because it’s still stuck in Crazy-Making World of the sociopath’s creation.

You’re unable to focus, and your life continues to be crazed until you finally accept and recognize the sociopath for what and who he/she is:

A hateful, despicable, cowardice and vile “person” who lacks all respect for himself and humanity.

No sociopath is going to provide you with the answers as to why he is shitty or why he told you he loved you, yet treated you like you were the most unworthy human on the planet.

No sociopath will ever tell you that you matter or that your feelings and needs matter, because the sociopath only gets joy in your desperation for answers not in your relief once the answers are provided.

Shoot! If they gave you your answers, the control and abuse would end. Control and abuse is too fun for them.

Sociopaths rely on and need you to need them. It gives them power over you. The power increases with each and every bit of information the sociopath continues to withhold.

It’s slow torture. It’s evil at its finest.

How do you get the torture to end? Easy. Stop needing the sociopath for anything, especially for answers that will never come. Eliminate your need to know and put your other needs, like finding peace, first. If you put your needs first, the whole equation changes…just like magic:

B (your needs) – A (the sociopath’s needs) = D (Your Power and PEACE)

The next time the sociopath withholds answers and information from you in a bid to control you, let go of needing to know. Once you do that, you regain your power and then the sociopath doesn’t matter anymore and needing anything from the sociopath becomes a moot point.

Who needs ’em!?! Not us!! 

Namaste!
~Paula

(Note: Practicing this early, sooner rather than later, can help you maintain your sanity when you’re forced to deal with the sociopath in family court and co-parenting situations. You CAN detach from the sociopath but still remain attached to your best interests and the best interests of your children. Otherwise, you’re fighting an emotional battle with someone who lacks emotions and you will always lose. So stop asking “why” and start taking back your power.)

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/35465915788125242/)

toilet flowers, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist

Turning the Sociopath’s Toxic Crap into Bountiful Blossoms

toilet flowers(Warning: This post may cause gas.)

Don’t misinterpret the sociopath’s ability to manipulate and demean you as a skill.

A skill is something we’re taught and we learn. The sociopath was born with this ability.

Harming and hurting individuals is his nature, and he does it with the same ease he pisses and shits. And like a bowel movement, there is no need for him to tap into empathy, remorse or his phantom conscience:

“Ahhh! That felt good. Now let me wash my hands really, really good. Can’t have any remnants of THAT left in my world.”

Ask yourself this the next time you use the toilet:

“How much guilt and remorse do I feel after I relieve myself and flush?”

Surely, you’ll answer, “None!” (Heck, if you didn’t eliminate that crap, it would have caused serious bloat and painful pressure. Ouch! Who needs that?)

And this is exactly how the sociopath views everyone who no longer serves him: we are just excess bloat and pressure. He releases and flushes us out of his life as if we never existed. So easy. No skills required.

I WISH I could do that. I WISH it were that easy for all of us non-sociopaths to reciprocate and let out two farts for every one of theirs. But we can’t. Neither my conscience nor your conscience allows us to throw people away that easily.

Be relieved by this news. (Yes, I said that.) It speaks to your ability to love. But know that we are at least able to eliminate the toxic, sociopathic crap he fed us a little bit at a time. We do this by learning and perfecting the skills of thoughtful introspection and mindful self-love.

So practice some mindfulness and self-love the next time you find yourself on the toilet. Imagine that along with today’s breakfast or last night’s dinner, you’re also ridding your body and mind of the toxins the sociopath brought to your life.

Enjoy the release and flush all that sociopathic nonsense down the toilet. One day you will emerge and blossom a whole new you!

Namaste!
~ Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/530369293586614618/)

Elephant Journal – My New Writing Gig

elephant journal logoIn a quest to expand my reach and touch an even greater audience, I pursued an apprenticeship with Elephant Journal and landed it!! I begin next week. Here is a little bit about Elephant Journal and the purpose of the online magazine. I hope you all decide to follow Elephant Journal either on Facebook or Twitter or both!


yoga | organics | sustainability | active citizenship | enlightened education | conscious consumerism | buddhadharma | ecofashion | the contemplative arts

elephantjournaldotcom is your guide to what we like to call ‘the mindful life’: yoga, organics, sustainability, genuine spirituality, conscious consumerism, fair fashion, the contemplative arts…anything that helps us to live a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet.

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