Category Archives: My Posts

Practicing Vunerability

Practicing Vunerability

By Guest Blogger Wendy Whitmore M.S. LMFT


When you have been hurt and it feels like you cannot go on, and find yourself questioning your ability to love again; it is then that you must allow yourself to be vulnerable and open up to the possibility of loving again. Crazy right?! Because after a broken heart the last thing you are looking to do is be Vulnerable and Open to Love.depression image

It is almost like learning how to fly with one wing, b/c once your heart has been broken, you often are never the same and there are times when you feel you will never be whole again. A broken heart can often leave us standing on shaky ground and feeling like we have no direction. It is at these times that we have to look within ourselves and re-discover who and what we really are and where we stand. We can allow out heart breaks to do one of the following: Make Us Stronger and Give Way To Change, Placing Us In the Position To Receive the Type of LOVE That We DESERVE or Break Our Spirit.

When coming out of a situation that has led to heartbreak, we often cannot see the rainbow on the other side and hold onto the anger, pain and resentment caused by our heartbreak. Often we do not want to forgive, we do not want to hold ourselves accountable for our part in the demise of the relationship and we do not want to look forward to the possibilities of a better tomorrow. We refuse To Be Vulnerable and Open Ourselves Up To the Possibility of REAL LOVE and Instead Stay Stagnate, Angry, Bitter, and Full of Resentment.

free image courtesy of

free image courtesy of

When your heart has been broken you can choose to either stand tall, move on, forgive yourself and them for the failed relationship OR stay stagnate and miserable.






Which do you choose?

EMAIL WENDY L. WHITMORE M.S. LMFT & Life Coachwendy truth healing evolution

of Truth, Healing & Evolution Counseling Services




This entry was posted in Bariatric on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Shamanic Journeying

Shamanic Journeying

Shamanic journeying can be a powerful tool in the healing process.

maria theresa altarI was given the gift of Shamanic journeying by my friend Reverend Maria Theresa Larsen. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I believed in Shamanic journeying as a healing tool I would have scoffed.  I was very tied to Western thinking and would have discounted shamanic healing as ‘New Age’ foo-foo.  As I have gotten older and explored different options, my opinions on this have changed. I’m at least open to the possibility that shamanic healing can help me.

Maria Theresa advised me to gather items for my altar and to read the prep work she sent me so I would better understand what would be happening in my shamanic journeying.  I brought a small stuffed-animal goldfish, a model train car, an angel figurine, a small metal Eiffel Tower, a plastic giraffe, a seashell, a painted stone, a wooden frog, malachite elephant, ceramic bison and Day of the Dead candleholder.  She set out her ceremonial Native American drums.

We found a spot in a secluded Mission Bay park on the sand. Maria Theresa drew a circle around us, and then instructed me to gently sweep the sand, clearing it of any man-made debris. We then sat on a Mexican blanket across from each other and she laid down a woven Oaxacan altar cloth. She told me to set up my altar and then we would begin the shamanic journeying. Maria Theresa told me that she had never had anyone set up their own altar before, but that she had been led to have me do my own. She also said she had never seen such a ‘happy’ altar.

Maria Theresa burned sage in an abalone shell and cleared our circle.  She told me that I did not need to worry about people watching us, that the process of the shamanic ceremony would create a metaphysical bubble surrounding us and keeping us safe.  People might walk by us but they will ignore us as if we didn’t exist. I felt a bit awkward but I figured I didn’t know anyone, so didn’t need to care what they thought of us.

The intent of this shamanic journeying was to find my totem animal so I could start journeying on my own.  But that’s not what happened.  Instead as I explained to Maria Theresa what each item on my altar, represented, I was kicked back into childhood pain.  I found myself telling her about the anger I held and how I am tired of telling this story and want to move on.

We then began drumming.  I wasn’t sure if I would slip into any kind of altered state. I began tapping on the drum, feeling the vibration in the drum transmit into my body.  I started slowly, but almost immediately I started drumming faster and stronger, and I got sucked down into a space where I was suddenly looking at my parents.

My mother had the Cleo stuffed animal she had made for me, and I could feel the love she had for me pouring out of her.  My father was next to her, handing me a violin he bought me and telling me he loved me.  Both of them were smiling as I had never seen them smile in my life and they looked 20 years younger. I think I was seeing them as they were when they first met.

I started crying, and told them I loved them and that I did truly forgive them.  I felt wrapped in a loving embrace and I told them goodbye.  I stopped drumming and as I came out of my trance, Maria Theresa sang something in a Native American dialect, then blew on my heart and waited for me to come back to the present.

We talked for a bit about being tired of telling the story and my being ready to move forward in my life and tell a new story. We spoke of healing and how shamanic journeying can help in the healing process.  Maria Theresa then said we would open the circle and come back to the ‘real world’.  She said a prayer and then we stepped out of the circle.

I was bombarded by the noise as soon as I crossed the line in the sand.  A car alarm blared, seagulls cried out, a family no more than 25 feet from us noisily celebrated and picnicked. I could hear the rush of cars on the nearby bridge, and hear people playing in the water.  I had heard none of this inside the circle.  It had been completely quiet and peaceful. Wow.  If I had no experienced it I wouldn’t have believed it.  We really had existed inside our own sacred, safe space.

I am writing this two days after the event.  I am feeling calm and happy, and have found myself better able to let go of the anger I feel when I think of my parents.  I don’t want to have that pain anymore, and I now have a tool to help me rewire my thoughts. When I feel anger I can go back to the peace I felt, remember the love I felt, and move forward with my life.

Shamanic journeying is truly a powerful tool in the emotional healing process.


This entry was posted in Self Help on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Facebook and Depression

Facebook and Depression

Facebook as a healing tool.  I know you’re already scratching your head, right?  That same Facebook newsfeed of “What actress would play you in a movie?”, “Here’s what I had for lunch”, so-and-so shared this fun earworm from George Takei, and on it goes?  Yes, that selfsame Facebook.

For many years I hid my depression.  I hid it in anger.  I hid it in food (I still struggle with this.)I hid it from my husband. I hid my depression from myself.  It was easier to be angry and work hard than to face my depression.

Holding Up a Sad Face

The challenge with depression is that even though everyone who loves you says “Call me” or “Let’s go for a walk” and are genuinely concerned….is that when you are depressed, you don’t want to see anyone, yet you need to feel surrounded by love.  Depression is like having second-degree sunburn and people wanting to hug you.  You want the love but can’t bear to be touched.

So what does this have to do with Facebook?  Well, Facebook is a place where you can post what is going on with you without having to actually talk to anyone.  You can share with the world that you are in a funk, that your hormones have overpowered your anti-depressants, and people can respond and send you love without being there.

Being able to post a Facebook status update that says “Hey world, I’m here…I just can’t hang with you, got to deal with my depression” allows me to let others into my world without having to actually talk to anyone. When I am depressed I don’t want to connect to anyone. I’m too likely to say something mean; too likely to burst into tears over something absolutely inconsequential.

When I am depressed I hate myself.  I feel like a failure, a loser.  Depression overwhelms all rational thought.  My beloved Ernie, who married me for better or for worse, has seen his share of these mental sandstorms.  He took me to Coronado to walk in the surf and watch the seagulls.  He sat with me at the Hotel Del while I told him how I felt like a loser and that my life is pointless.  He understands my thought process and lets me vent.

art and wine

Facebook allows me to post fun with friends

Depression is not rational. We talked about Owen Wilson trying to commit suicide, despite being what most of the world would consider extremely successful.  There’s also Kurt Cobain, Lee Thompson Young, Alexander McQueen, Sylvia Plath and Ernest Hemingway. All these and many more had what most people could only dream of — fame and fortune — yet they threw it away. What did they all have in common? Depression.

I am blessed in that I will not kill myself.  No matter how sad and hopeless I get on these days, I have gone through enough therapy, learned to look for the good in a seemingly bad situation, read enough books and processed my grief.  But I understand what these suicides are going through.  If you look at my life on the outside, I have it pretty good.  I have a 20 year marriage to my best friend, I own a home, have a successful business, have travelled extensively, and have an enormous group of friends.  But when I am depressed, all of that ceases to exist and is inconsequential to the pain raging inside my head and my soul.


When I’m depressed, even my dogs can’t help me.

So I posted on Facebook today that this was one of “those days”.  I was able to reach out to my network of friends and read their kind words.  So many days I write my blogs and I have no idea if anyone reads them or if they help people.  When I post on Facebook I get instant responses and it shows me that I am not alone.

ellen dieter

my friend Ellen Dieter’s beautiful artwork

And yes, I am one of those who posts where I am eating, what funny thing George Takei has posted, take the Buzzfeed quizzes, and post photos on my ‘status updates’.  I ‘like’ what’s happening in my friends’ lives, knowing a friend beat her mom at Scrabble, that another has been awarded a radio interview, one has been honored with an art show, another is going to Turkey and yet another just got back from Machu Pichu.

Facebook allows me to be by myself, but not alone.


This entry was posted in Bariatric on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

2 thoughts on “Facebook and Depression

Depression or A Yellow Pill Day

Depression or A Yellow Pill Day

Today was a yellow pill day.  Before I opened my eyes I knew I was already on edge.  These days are triggered by hormonal changes and by fluctuations in my serotonin level. 

My depression is normally controlled by my daily Wellbutrin, but there are days like today where the monster inside my head is rattling the bars of her cage.  I’ve blogged about this before An event doesn’t trigger it.  I just wake up and my depression is roaring in anger.

Some days I’m not aware of my unusual depression until something pisses me off.  It could be something as simple as a can opener not working or Ernie innocently teasing me.  I can feel the rage bubble up and burst through my emotional fences and I feel hot tears threatening.  My throat closes and my heart races.  I tremble.

Stupid little inconsequential things throw me into an emotional whirlwind worthy of the cartoon Tasmanian Devil.  I hate myself on days like this. My depression takes over my personality and I am not fit for human consumption.  I lose the entire day waiting for the rage to pass.  I can feel the anger trembling through my body, coursing through my veins.

I frighten my dogs and irritate Ernie on these depression breakthrough days.  The only thing to do is quarantine myself and wait for the day to pass.  The extra yellow pill I have been given, Clonazepam, smooths the frayed edges enough that I can be at home alone safely and let the day pass.

My 3 fur-children, from L--- LeeLee. Molly and Maggie

My 3 fur-children, from L— LeeLee. Molly and Maggie

There was a period a few years ago when my anti-depressants weren’t working and my psychiatrist turned me into a human guinea pig in his efforts to help me.  I tried every type of anti-depressant, finally setting on the yellow clonazepam for daytimes and the white Atarax for night.  I can still function and drive and talk to people on the clonazepam.  The Atarax knocks me down. It’s what I use for a sleeping pill on those nights when my ever-thinking brain refuses to shut down.


My beloved Ernie

My anti-depressants usually do a solid job of controlling my anger and depression.  Luckily days like this don’t happen as often as they used to before I took anti-depressants. Also I have a career where I have time flexibility and can take whatever time I need to heal.

Also, I have gone through enough days like this to know that “This too shall pass.”  Like Scarlett O’Hara, I know that “Tomorrow WILL be better day.”

One kind of new beginning, one with its own risks and rewards

One kind of new beginning, one with its own risks and rewards


Changing your relationship with food

Changing your relationship with food

Changing my relationship with food has been a lifelong journey.








I have always struggled with my emotions and food. When I was growing up my father would dish out food depending on how he felt about you. My older brother was his favorite, so he got the biggest and the best pieces of meat. I was given mostly starches like rice and potatoes with a little bit of meat. We were not poor; my parents owned three houses and there were two late-model Mercedes Benz in the driveway. It was about my father having control. As an adult I still sometimes struggle with anger when I feel like there is not enough food or there is nothing available that I like to eat.

whiskey bottle







My mother was an alcoholic. She would walk to the local Stop-and-Go to buy a jug of Gallo wine, cigarettes and beer. She hid her alcohol purchases from my father and would bring us chocolate candy bars to keep us quiet. I learned very quickly that food is a reward. I still think of food as a reward for “good behavior” and have to remind myself that food is for nutrition.

I was a preemie so I got sick quite often as a young girl. I learned that this was the time I would get my mother’s undivided attention so I must admit I got “sick” a little more often than I really was. My mother would make me soup and I would lay on the couch under a blanket and watch soap operas with her. My mother and I had an extremely fragile relationship. She was a paranoid schizophrenic who had tried to smother me with a pillow when I was four years old, so I was always very careful around her. But she was my mother and I desperately needed to be loved. When I was upset my mother fed me mayonnaise sandwiches to soothe me. Yes, mayonnaise sandwiches. My mother lived in Europe during World War 2 when meat was seriously rationed and this was what she learned to eat. She would slather Best Foods mayonnaise on Jewish rye bread and feed that to me. Only Best Foods and only rye bread.

Best Foods MayonnaiseJewish Rye BreadI learned that food represented love and it was one of the few things that connected me to her. Years later whenever I was sad, angry or anxious I would reach for a mayonnaise sandwich. When she died and cut me out of her will (my sister told her I was plotting to kill her) I ate an entire loaf of mayonnaise sandwiches in one sitting. It took me a long time to stop eating those. It wasn’t the taste, it was the connection to her that I craved. Today I no longer eat mayonnaise sandwiches even in my most emotional times.

My mother would making huge batches of cupcakes. There were times I didn’t want to eat “my” cupcake but I knew that my brother or sister would eat mine, so I would lick the frosting in front of them and then put my cupcake back in the fridge. Sometimes my siblings would eat my cupcake anyway, so I learned that I had to eat it even if I wasn’t hungry. To this day I can get very territorial with my food, kind of like a dog that growls when you come near his food bowl. I spent many years mentally beating myself up whenever I over-ate, ate emotionally and didn’t take care of myself.

The truth is I had no idea how to take care of myself. I was taught to abuse myself, not nurture myself. With counseling and coaching I have learned to be aware of these destructive behaviors and to stop myself most of the time. Do I slip? You bet I do. But what I have learned is that slipping is not a moral flaw. It doesn’t make me a bad person, and I can forgive myself and make better choices next time. I could not have learned how to do this by myself. I needed a coach.

If you struggle with any issues like this or others, it helps to have a professional who can guide you to make better choices and change your habits and your future.  This is no different than any kind of training; you need to learn from a professional who has tools that you don’t.  There is no shame in this; professional coaches care about you and your future.

The year I was 14

The year I was 14

The year I turned 14, my dad moved me and my sister to Valencia. The supposed reason was to escape our being bused into the inner city.  But that’s not what this blog is about.











This was the year I lived alone with my dad and sister while my mother, grandmother (Omy) and one brother stayed in Woodland Hills.  I was in the 9th grade, an awkward, painfully shy young girl.  Most of the kids in our new neighborhood had lived in the area all their lives, and they had already formed cliques and attachments. I didn’t fit in….my clothes weren’t hip enough for me to be popular. I was too smart for most of the kids (geeks, unite!) and even they already had their closed circles, so I hung out with the stoners and outcasts, and quite frankly, much older boys. I was painfully lonely and missed my mother and Omy.

iced cocktail










This was the year my father taught me how to make his three favorite drinks: Manhattans, Tom Collins, and Tom and Jerry’s.  I would mix them for him, and of course one for me as well.  We would sit and have a drink together before I would get dinner ready. He would ask me about school, and I would ask him about work.  It was very cozy and crazy there in Valencia.

german shepherd dog








We had a German Shepherd that my father locked in the dark in the garage during the day.  To this day I don’t know why he couldn’t just let her roam the backyard. But then, my father also liked to kill animals and was very cruel to them in other ways.  The first thing I would do when I came home from school would be to let her out, clean out her mess in the garage, and then take her for a long walk and bring her into the house. Those walks were very soothing for me.  My sister and I weren’t particularly close, especially since she was in junior high and I was in high school, so we didn’t have any common experiences to unite us.  There was a lot of animosity, jealousy and jockeying for favor with my father, which didn’t help the situation.

This was the year I started writing my novel.  I would spend hours locked away in my bedroom after school while my sister watched TV, scribbling away, doing my best to escape my reality.  My father would come home and I would cook dinner.  I generally had already cleaned the house and helped my sister finish her homework, and had done the laundry.  It was very domestic.  Looking back on this now as an adult—Too domestic, Today CPS would have hauled both my parents away.

My mother and Omy were still in Woodland HIlls as they refused to leave, so my father maintained two households, in a very bizarre way. I don’t remember too many phone calls from or to my mother that year.

14 was the year I lost my virginity to a local boy.  I was so desperate for love and attention, and if this is what it took, that is what I was willing to give.  It set up a pattern that lasted deep into young adulthood for me.  I learned to equate sex with love.

Eventually my mother demanded that we come back home.  Sadly, by this time I had finally made friends, and leaving them was a wrench.  I had to go back to my old school, with friends who had new experiences and friends they had made the year while I was gone.  So the shcool friends I had grown up with, had grown past me and formed new attachments.  I had gone from being connected to being disconnected.  Looking back at it now, it created a new pattern in my life that lasted for a long time —- not getting too close to people, as you could be pulled away from them at any time.  It would appear that I had deep friendships while I was feeling alone and separate on the inside.

I have mentioned in other blog posts that I slept with my father until I was 11 and had my first period. I still to this day don’t know what my father did to me.  At the very least it was an inappropriate relationship.  If there’s more it’s buried so deeply inside of me that I think it will only come out when he is gone, if then.  I have forgiven him for what he has done; forgiveness is a loving gift you give to yourself, not to others. Forgiveness is what allows me to write about these things. The deep seated pain is not there anymore.  The memories and the actions will always be there, but the pain isn’t as strong as it once was.

It took many years of therapy and crying to get past a lot of the darkness that I grew up in.  But I can tell you, you can get through it.  And I learned something critically important in the process of healing—-there is nothing inside of you, no memory, that can destroy you. You have already lived through the worst of it and survived.  Now it’s time to let go of that pain and anger and claim the life you want to live.

I hope my words in these blogs help you to understand that what happened to you is the past, and you have the power to write new chapters in your life, and be happy.

Overcoming a Fear of Rejection

Overcoming the fear of rejection

All my life I’ve been terrified of rejection and have taken elaborate steps to avoid it. Which is funny as I ended up in sales, where you place yourself in front of rejection every day, sometimes many times a day. To protect myself I learned what objections people had and built that into my presentations, thus minimizing rejection. I learned to not take things so personally and realized that life is really a numbers game.


I love photographing flowers. But I have learned that if someone doesn’t like it, it’s not rejection…it’s personal taste

However, when it came to my art and writing I was still extremely terrified to step out into the playing field. If someone rejected an insurance policy I could justify it to myself that they already had a good policy, rates weren’t quite as competitive or their brother in law was their agent. That’s professional rejection, and I learned it had nothing to do with me personally.

So why in the world was I putting myself out for possible rejection with my photography and writing? That’s the most personal rejection possible.  Well, because I have healed from the rejection of my parents and family, I have learned to take risks and also to stop taking things so damn personally. I’ve learned from looking at others artworks that I might like the person but his artwork leaves me unmoved. I realized that if I feel that way, why should I worry if others don’t like my artwork? It’s a tricky slope. But it’s a very real fear.

We were searching for moviestar's homes in Palm Springs and all we found were high gates....then we took a wrong turn and came across a house with found art giants that shouted "Happiness!" to the world.  This is what I mean by wrong turns can be an amazing scenic route to success....if you will just change the way you look at things.

This artist in Palm Springs faces rejection daily and keeps on going

I’m more afraid of what I don’t try to accomplish than what I fail at by not trying. There’s aquote attributed to  Mark Twain I like:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I try to live my life without regrets. I have always envied those who put their photo note cards in shops and thought “Why not me?” This question gave me courage to submit my work into the world.

I had a free booth at South Bay Pride that I won by submitting my photography. Many people came to my booth on Saturday. They said what a great photographer I am and how they liked my use of color….and didn’t buy anything. I thought about all the times I walked by notecards I liked and for various reasons didn’t buy them. Maybe lack of money, time or no use for them—even though I liked them. So why should people react any differently to my art?


Graffiti artists face rejection every day, but this is a form of art….when asked to be put on someone’s property, that is!

Several friends asked me how it went. I told me how great it was that I tried and put myself out there. I commented to Ernie that in the past I would have been surrounded by people who discouraged me. Ernie said why would they, they like you?  When I was living in victim mode I surrounded myself with people who verified that for me. However since I have healed emotionally,  I have started surrounding myself with people who are supportive. It’s what keeps me going and what gives me hope. It’s interesting to look back at the arc of my healing journey and to see how as I have healed I have surrounded myself with better, kinder people.

One of my photographer friends commented that the board I put together with a sampler of my photos was brilliant.That was really encouraging. As a result of that board, people were able to see a collection of my work and able to chose what they wanted without having to paw through the stand.
I’m going to keep trying and keep getting better. It’s a habit now the way victimization was a habit before. I think differently now and life reflects that.

In the past I would have been horribly hurt and felt like my friends were rejecting me if they didn’t make a special trip to see my artwork. Now since I’m not neurotic with anxiety I realize that people have things to do and it doesn’t mean they are rejecting me. What a relief and what an enormous lightening of energy!

Unless otherwise noted, all photos are original and the property of Susanne Romo. If you would like to use them, please do so, but give yourself the gift of good karma and make a small donation to pretty horses rescue. This charity rehabilitates starving, abandoned horses. Every dollar helps us rescue and rehabilitate starving horses.


My True Confessions Will Help You Lose Weight

My True Confessions Will Help You Lose Weight

I felt abandoned by my family—moved away from my parents at 9 months, passed on to my aunt who got married and sent me to my grandma.  I felt unloved, unwanted, and forced to be  independent at a young age.  I put myself through college and don’t recall having the luxury of being a playful kid.

Things happen for reasons, but no one took the time to explain it to me.  Needless to say, I truly struggled emotionally my whole life.  I was self-destructive, depressed, angry, lonely, suicidal, and incredibly negative.

Why am I sharing something so personal?  It took decades for me to turn my life around.  I often see people in my office who want to loss weight and be healthier, but they keep hitting a wall.  That wall is their self-destructive belief system that stops them from succeeding in weight loss or in relationships, career, and financial health.

That wall represents all the things we’ve accumulated in our subconscious brain that disrupts our true desire to succeed (consciously).  We have to change our belief system, our self-talk, our choice of words, and most importantly our self worth.  The broken records will never allow us to truly succeed.  So, counting calories certainly won’t help you here.  If being healthy and losing weight has been a struggle for a long time, you bet it goes deeper than just “lack of self-control.”  You may not be as negative as I was (thankfully!), but we all have self-defeating thoughts that keeps us stuck (knowingly or unknowingly).

If I believed that no one loved me including my parents, how could I possibly accept love from others and create a healthy relationship with an intimate partner or even myself?  I had to change my silent thoughts.  Thankfully, with the help of others and lots of time, I am truly naturally happy today.  And now, it feels like life is completely easy and I don’t have to try so hard.  That’s what I want for you—not to try so hard anymore.  I’ve challenged myself to travel 30 countries alone, I have a loving marriage, and just celebrated 5 years in business as a nutrition coach.

Rewire your brain to live an amazing life, and you don’t have to try so hard to be healthy, thin, successful, and enjoy a loving relationship or a rewarding career.  Start with a free consultation, and let’s see if we’re a good match.  The weight sheds off when we start addressing our real barriers instead of banishing our lack of discipline.  Thank you all for positively contributing to my life.

(619) 876-2655

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About SamanthaHua

Samantha Hua has been involved in fitness and healthy eating since 1992. With a bachelor degree in biology, she spent the first part of her career focusing on research and improving communities by starting community gardens, nutritional education, and supporting those in Africa, Latin America, and the US. She then became AADP certificated as a Health Coach. She studied under Paul Pitchford, Neal Barnard, David Wolfe, Marion Nestle, David Katz, Mark Hyman, Barry Sears, Deepak Chopra, and many others. After witnessing poor health in her own family, she is dedicated to support others regain their health and vitality through an effective system that incorporates nutrition, measurable action, and behavioral change. She focuses on addressing the root cause of the problem for weight loss, optimal nutrition, and balance that lasts forever. She was featured on San Diego CW6 Morning News as a local expert.

Thermal Image Scan Results « Healing Journey Blog

Thermal Image Scan Results


I will learn the results of my thermal image scan in about 20 minutes.  I am filled with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation.  Part of me is really curious about what this scan is going to reveal, yet another part of me is terrified that Catherine will have bad news for me.  I saw her […]

Thermal ImageI will learn the results of my thermal image scan in about 20 minutes.  I am filled with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation.  Part of me is really curious about what this scan is going to reveal, yet another part of me is terrified that Catherine will have bad news for me.  I saw her on Saturday (today is Monday) at a friend’s house and she didn’t avoid me or seem worried about chatting with me today about my scan, but maybe she’s just a good poker player.  Okay, I can completely wind myself up into knots this way.  See what we do to ourselves? Rather than relaxing into the beauty of this morning (blue skies, I’m above ground, my husband and dogs love me) I am working myself into a tizzy.

Thermal Image

thermal image scan from

Catherine calls and we start to discuss the thermal image scan.  The good news is that although I am currently overweight, there are no glaring signs of disease running rampant in my body.  My thyroid is out of whack, but I knew that already and am taking medicine to combat that.  My breast tissue is normal and she says the doctor sees no cause for alarm.  Since breast cancer does not run in my family, this is not unexpected.  However, I must admit that when I decided to get the thermal image scan breast cancer was one of the things I was worried that would show up. My hands and feet have good circulation. The thermal image shows that there is a little bit of stress in my lower back, which makes sense with me carrying extra weight.

I am fascinated by the results of the thermal image scan.  It’s really interesting to me to see how the thermal scan picks up the variations in my body temperature and can help diagnose disease years, sometimes even up to a decade in the case of breast cancer, before ‘modern’ Western medicine does. Heat and inflammation can show up as red or orange,, and lack of circulation can show up as blue or green. Fascinating.

thermal image

I’m on the left. You can see I’m wearing glasses — the heat cannot penetrate

In this photo I am standing next to a friend of mine.  This is the thermal image that got me intrigued in the first place.  I had heard Catherine talk about thermal image scans for a few years but I guess I hadn’t really understood how accurately the thermal image picks up variations in our body temperature.  I cannot disclose who this other person is, but I can tell you that this person has different health issues than I do, so it’s interesting to see how we both ‘show up’ on the thermal image scan.  The thermal image shows what our body’s temperature is. Fascinating.


my thermal image scan from

I am glad I opted into the thermal image scan with Catherine Johnson.  She made the process very comfortable ad easy.  She explained what the doctor diagnosed based on my thermal scan results, and helped me better understand what is going on in my body.  I highly recommend you get a thermal scan.  It may not be covered by your regular insurance, but if you are concerned about your health, especially your breast health, it is in the long term the most important and truly affordable procedure you could give to yourself.

You can reach Catherine at  She’s in San Diego. If you are not in San Diego, just do a Google search for ‘Thermal Imaging”.

I wish you the best in your healing journey and health.

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Self Help

Labyrinth Walk and Healing

Labyrinth Walk WInter Solstice

Why do a labyrinth walk?

Labrinth Walk

I love the colors of the labyrinth at Blue Sky Ranch

I am continuing to explore nontraditional ways of healing and meditative practices to help myself move forward in this life journey. One spiritual guide who has arrived to walk with me on this part of my path is Reverend Maria Teresa Larson. She was a chiropractor in her past life and has now embraced a Native American shamanic philosophy and training.

So I found myself coming to a winter solstice labyrinth walk ceremony hosted by both Maria Teresa and Blue Sky Ranch,  which is a metaphysical organization that focuses on healing. There is an outdoor labyrinth and they had set up a group labyrinth walk for the solstice morning.

I have read about labyrinth walks, have actually walked the labyrinth outside the  Grace Cathedral church in San Francisco. I didn’t “get” any mystical feeling on that walk so I wasn’t sure what to expect from a group walk. If anything a group walk sounded busy and anything but meditative. However I have learned that what I don’t understand I need to do, so I got myself to El Cajon by 9 am on Saturday December 21st.

Maria Teresa Larsen

Maria Theresa playing the crystal bowls outside the labrinth

When I arrived Maria Teresa was inside the labyrinth conducting her pre-ceremony ritual. I am not sure what she was doing but from previous experience I think she was clearing the space and asking for blessings from her spiritual guides. When she was done she spoke about the importance of the solstice and what it means to the changing seasons and the upcoming year. She then asked us to quietly decide on an affirmation or prayer before entering the labyrinth and began to play her quartz crystal bowls.

I sat quietly and decided on what intentions I wanted to set for 2014. My goals are to find the acceptance within me to fully forgive my parents and let them go once and for all,  and to fully accept and claim myself as an artist with no qualifiers (i.e., I’m an insurance agent first and an amateur artist). I took a deep breath, put my lapis lazuli heart (for my throat chakra, to help me speak my truth) in my hand and entered the labyrinth.

labrinth walk at Blue Sky Ranch in San Diego

There were over 50 of us, and instead of noise or chaos there was a peace-filled silence. I listened to the crunch of gravel underfoot, sensed the breathing patterns around me, and walked slowly into the maze. There was no rush and Mari Teresa had said that if we needed to stop during the labyrinth walk that those behind us would either wait or walk around us. I found myself stopping a few times at turns in the labyrinth. I thought about my intentions with every step I took. About half way into the labyrinth I started to cry. Not deep or painful sobs; rather a peaceful, cathartic cleansing release. I felt myself fully open up to my intentions.

When I got to the inner circle of the labyrinth I closed my eyes and thanked the universe for hearing my request. I stayed inside the inner circle until I felt emotionally rooted to the ground. I then turned to repeat the process, but realized that I didn’t want to walk around the others coming into the circle and stepped into another part of the labyrinth that was mostly empty. I knew in my heart that the labyrinth had done what I needed and I did not need to complete the remaining circle. This is also important as it shows I wasn’t concerned about what I “should” do. —reference blog post


We sat for an instruction and blessing before starting the labyrinth walk

I sat down to gather myself and heard Maria Teresa playing the crystal bowls. She had been playing them the entire time I was in the labyrinth, but I had heard nothing. Now I could hear them but they belonged to the ceremony. They were not affecting me the way they do when I go to Hillcrest community acupuncture where she plays indoors. (Recent blog post) But I knew that even if I didn’t hear the bowls it didn’t mean they didn’t work. In this labyrinth solstice ceremony they were in the background performing their magic.

I left the labyrinth solstice walk energized but calm at the same time. The best way to describe it was the peace was from an inner knowing and acceptance of my intentions, and the energy was from the expectation of the manifestation of my intentions.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos are original and the property of Susanne Romo. If you would like to use them, please do so, but give yourself the gift of good karma and make a small donation to pretty horses rescue. This charity rehabilitates starving, abandoned horses. Every dollar helps us rescue and rehabilitate starving horses.

Depression engulfed me today.

A Lost Day

depression image





Today was a lost day. I woke up trembling; sad for no reason.  I wasn’t in control of my emotions. My brain chemical imbalance had taken over and there was no stopping the tears, anguish and feelings of helplessness and rage. My breakthrough depression had arrived and no amount of meds was going to control it.

I tried anyway, desperately macking down both my bupropion and clonazepam.  Perhaps a shower and getting ready for work would work. What could I do for distraction? Maybe endless games of spider solitaire or working on my upcoming photography exhibit. Anything to stop this galloping pain. Too late. It was already upon me. I curled into a fetal ball. Waves of sadness rushed over me. Tears oozed out of my eyes. Sadness engulfed me. I got to my extra meds too late. I would just have to ride out the storm.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /









I cried endlessly, full of unreasoning sadness. I mentally berated myself. I am a loser. I’m too fat, too old, too stupid, too whatever. It didn’t matter— I’d never measure up. Who was I trying to kid? Everybody knows what a loser I am. This is the way my inner voice beats me up. There’s a part of me that isn’t listening. It’s the part of me that has braved this storm before, has survived the endless tempests. Deep inside myself I know that this will pass.  I just need to be strong enough to last through it. I think of curt cobain and any wine house and know the pain they were going through and how it finally engulfed them. I’m one of the fortunate ones. I’ve survived and I know from bitter experience just how this is going to go. I’m going to lose today. Today is a throw away day.

Ernie understands as well. He kisses the back of my neck…one of my vulnerable spots, and tells me he loves me and he’s sorry I’m going to go through this today. He jokes with me in an attempt to distract me and coax a smile from me with some silly story about the Dodgers. I look at him; this man who has stood beside me through some horrible times and think of how much I love him and how without him and his unconditional love I probably would not still be on this earth.









He leaves for the office. It’s payday and my staff is waiting. I know he wishes to stay with me but he knows my agents need to be paid and I need to be alone. He trusts me not to do anything stupid. Ernie and I understand this too will pass. I spend the day trying to just get by. I don’t stop the tears. I just let them ooze out of me. I have learned that they need to fall; they carry catharsis and healing inside of them. They will be salty and slightly bitter today as they purge pain from me. I know I just need to get through today. I need to let the chemical imbalance in my brain sort itself out. I know that no amount of drugs food or alcohol will heal me.  At best I have learned to manage my depression. I’ve survived and know to just let this pain run its course. I know that it does have an end. I know too that it will come again and I will again lose a day of my life. But …more importantly … I will not lose my entire life. Just a day here and there. I accept that  as payment for the remaining days I have that are filled with joy. There are others who suffer from worse types of depression such as bi-polar or schizophrenia, I now only deal with this type of pain on occasion.  It used to consume me. This knowledge is an enormous gift.

I decided to put something happy here, the retreat Ernie created for me

I decided to put something happy here, the retreat Ernie created for me

I have been asked recently if my employees know about these mental shit storms or do I hide it. Oh, they know. I will not hide this anymore. They know. They care about me anyway and text me through the day. They may not understand it but they accept it. I cannot lie about this. I need them to help protect me and they thus must know. Depression has such a horrible stigma to it. But I have faith that by showing how happy and positive I am the other days of the month they will understand that this is something out of my control. If they judge if let it be with kindness and understanding and knowledge not fear.   All photos are original and the property of the author.  Permission to use is granted if you reference in the photo credit.

Fear of Weight Loss; Surprisingly True for Most People

Fear of Weight Loss; Surprisingly True for Most People

You haven’t lost weight because of fear.  Losing weight is such a mental game, yet we just focus on calories in and calories out.  That’s not enough.  Although so many Americans want to lose weight, we seem to be doing it all wrong as a society.  We alienate ourselves or at least we feel alienated in our diet world.  I challenge you to grab the bull by the horns and face these hidden fears.  Consider this an alternative to weight loss that will actually lead to maintaining your hot, thin body for a lifetime.  It’s the ONLY way!

  1. Be YOU.  It’s scary to be “me??!!”  We all do what we “should” do or are expected to do, but ask yourself if that’s being your true self.  Do you engage in relationships, pursue careers, and act in ways that is the societal norm but completely against your nature?  When we live in a way that isn’t congruent to our true nature, we gain weight because we eat to fill the void, become depressed, or spike our stress hormones which lead to belly weight gain.  Stop living to please others.  I acted for others my whole life and breaking free was the best thing I did for myself. 
  2. Try New Things.   New can be scary.  Be willing to get out of your comfort zone.  You may find your new passion or surprise yourself with your hidden talents.  I recently signed up for a choreographed dance class for my wedding and loved it.  Mind you, I’m NOT a dancer.  I’m actually embarrassed to dance, but now I can’t wait.  What a great way to lose weight and have a blast doing so.
  3. Move.  You may feel embarrassed to start an exercise routine for fear of how you look or how difficult it feels at first, but movement reduces stress, balances our blood sugar, improves metabolism, keeps us young, and sheds weight.  If you hate the gym, don’t go.  Why torture yourself?  I love beach volleyball and I would never call that exercise.  I call it fun, social time, beach time, outdoor time, and even…therapy.  What’s your “beach volleyball?”
  4. Involve Others.  Dieting feels embarrassing, so we isolate ourselves.  Break out of your shell and get social.  As social creatures we need support and community.  If you “flock” with healthy eaters and exercisers, then that becomes your ecology.  It’s so much more fun.  I promise!
  5. Let Go.  Letting go of control is so scary for some of us.  Allow your body room to respond and do what it does well which is to thrive and heal.  If you put up barriers at every corner, you’ll never lose weight.  That stress tells your body to slow down metabolism.  Let go of strict rules and discipline.  Focus on quality versus calories.
  6. Real Focus.  Focus on having fun, adding pleasure in your life, and all things that make you happy.  This fills our heart and soul, then there’s no need to fill up with food and sweets.  It’s easy to reach for food, and potentially difficult to search for fun given our stressful American lifestyle.  More joy equals less weight. 
  7. Delicious Food.  And of course, we have to eat delicious foods that also provide nutrition.  Load your plate with your favorite vegetables cooked to perfection.  Let go of toxic diet bars, diet fads and shakes, and starvation!  Allow your body to be smart instead of telling it exactly how many calories to eat and what it can’t have.  Don’t we just want it more when someone tells us we can’t have it?

The key to your success is living a life that feels amazing.  Your weight gain or any illnesses you’re facing are mere symptoms of a bigger picture.

For more info:



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About SamanthaHua

Samantha Hua has been involved in fitness and healthy eating since 1992. With a bachelor degree in biology, she spent the first part of her career focusing on research and improving communities by starting community gardens, nutritional education, and supporting those in Africa, Latin America, and the US. She then became AADP certificated as a Health Coach. She studied under Paul Pitchford, Neal Barnard, David Wolfe, Marion Nestle, David Katz, Mark Hyman, Barry Sears, Deepak Chopra, and many others. After witnessing poor health in her own family, she is dedicated to support others regain their health and vitality through an effective system that incorporates nutrition, measurable action, and behavioral change. She focuses on addressing the root cause of the problem for weight loss, optimal nutrition, and balance that lasts forever. She was featured on San Diego CW6 Morning News as a local expert.

Abandonment and Windshield Wiper blades

Windshield Wiperblades and Abandonment

Abandonment seems to be a recent theme in my life. I blogged about it on February 24th and it kicked back up again today. It’s amazing to me how quickly and easily abandonment issues can cloud seemingly simple situations.  I was leaving the parking lot of my office and noticed that there was a small leaf stuck in the windshield wiper.  We were in the middle of a storm and there had been a lull, so I got out to lift the windshield wiper to remove the leaf so I wouldn’t have a streak on my windshield driving home.  I lifted the windshield wiper, and it came off completely. Here’s what I was worried about driving in. rain video

This is what I was afraid my drive would look like. Image courtesy of

Now, this is a seemingly simple thing, right? Oops.  Pull into a parking space and reconnect it, and go home.  If  you don’t struggle with abandonment issues, that’s probably what you would do.  However, my heart clenched, my throat closed, and old fears of being lost and alone rose up, paralyzing me.  What was I going to do? I couldn’t figure it out! My stress level instantly spiked and rage engulfed me.  I needed to get home, and now I couldn’t.  I called my husband, choking back tears and raging at him what do I need to do!?!?!? My beloved Ernie, well used to and unaffected by these tear storms other than to comfort me, told me to take a deep breath and drive to the local car repair shop. Other fears kicked up….I didn’t want to look stupid.  Dumb woman who can’t put a simple windshield wiper back on.  It’s amazing how your self-talk can beat the living crap out of you without anyone seeing it on the outside. I drove to the mechanic, and sat in my car for a few minutes, trying to calm myself down and let the tears subside. I went into the shop and the kind manager tried to fix it for me, but no go. He couldn’t figure out the mechanics of the connection either.  Is it terrible to say I felt a little bit better and a little less stupid right then? He asked me to pull into a service bay and called a few mechanics over.  Another man tried and he couldn’t figure it out. Then they called in their heavy hitter.  He worked on it, trying to figure out the lever. Finally he got the mechanism open and fixed it.  I almost burst into tears. I could make it home now!windshield wiper He shook my hand. I kissed his hand and then kissed him on the neck, thanking him profusely.  He smiled, embarrassed and said it was no big deal.  He was probably puzzled about why this woman was so overwrought over a broken windshield wiper. I stressed the entire drive home, praying that the windshield wiper would hold and I could get home safely to Ernie.  When I got home I collapsed on the bed, the tears that had been threatening the entire drive finally able to release. I sobbed and Ernie, wonderful Ernie, held me in his arms and told me I was safe, that everything was okay.IMG_1625 Abused children grow up to become adults with deep abandonment fears.  They are not logical fears, yet they are 100% real fears.  It wasn’t the windshield wiper that was worrying me. It was that I couldn’t go home, that I didn’t know what to do.  My life had shrunk in a few seconds down to the size of a windshield wiper blade. It’s not rational, but it’s real, and it’s a horrible feeling. I also blog at and check out this other blog on abandonment

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About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Healing and Happiness

Healing and Happiness

Ten years ago I was an angry, bitter victim.  I had been taught to think that the world was against me.  My parents were at best unfit, and at worst, monsters.  My mother was a paranoid schizophrenic who repeatedly told me “I wish you had never been born.”  My sadistic father liked to kill my pets while I watched.  So I didn’t just grow up in a dysfunctional household; I grew up in insanity and understood cruelty too well.

On the outside you would never know any of this.  I learned to keep secrets and wear a socially acceptable mask at school. No one must know what happens behind the upper middle class suburban home with the Mercedes in the driveway.  Anyone driving by might envy my family…until they stepped through the front door.

I was angry at my friends for having relatively normal families, where the worst thing they argued about was jealousies, politics and sibling rivalry…but they knew they were loved. I was angry that they had parents they trusted, and siblings who might disagree with them but would protect them.

I was afraid my entire childhood.  I learned very quickly to become small and invisible.  I escaped into a world of books and dreamed of a day I would feel safe.

For me the path of healing was not straightforward.  There were many twists and wrong turns, inadvertent u-turns on the path back to victimization.  I chose partners who verified I was worthless, and I hung out with negative and cynical people. I understood that world and while not happy to live there, I at least knew what to expect. This lasted until my late 30′s.depression

Happiness eluded me. I embarked on a deliberate path to healing.  I wasn’t sure where the road would lead me, but I knew where the path I was on would take me, and I didn’t want to end up like my family.  I missed some of the steps and fell through the cracks along the way and wallowed in anger before pulling myself out.

I learned that happiness is a choice, and some days it’s harder to make that choice than others. But as I kept deliberately looking for the positive in negative situations, I formed the habit of happiness. I began to stop looking for the bad in things, and sought the good.  I learned to relax about things I couldn’t control. I enjoyed this feeling of happiness more than the darkness.

Fast forward to my late 40′s.  I’m mostly happy, though there are days when the inner darkness does still poke through.  I don’t know if I will ever fully ‘recover’ from what was done to me as a child; but I do know that I have learned to shift my perspective through forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not change what happened to me, but it changes the way I think about it.

This blog was prompted by a conversation about happiness and friendship. There are people in my life who live on the periphery now. They keep trying to get back into my life, but a seemingly invisible forcefield keeps them away from me.  They can’t get to me anymore.  They have not changed, but I have, and my energies won’t let them near me.

As you chose happiness rather than bitterness, chaos, crisis, strive, anger or whatever other form your pain takes, ‘friends’ are going to fall away from you.  You can mourn the passing of the friendship; grief is a normal part of anything ending, whether it’s healthy or not.  But know in your heart that a new set of friends and relationships will arrive in your life that will support you in your quest for happiness. If you grow past that new group of friends, new more positive friends will show up.happiness

I wish you the best in your own healing journey.

This entry was posted in Depression, Positive Thinking and tagged , , , , on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.



This morning I had to wrench myself from an abandonment nightmare.  I knew I was inside a nightmare but couldn’t get myself to wake up.  I felt trapped, locked into place by my motionless body in bed while I ran crying through the dream.

I’m 48 years old and I still struggle with abandonment issues.  My mother used to tell me “I wish you had never been born”, my father was emotionally unavailable, and I walked away from my siblings 20 years ago to escape their poison.  I have worked on myself through self-help books, years of therapy, learning to find the positive in the worst situations or memories, and that has helped make me a happier person, but the fear of abandonment still permeates my soul.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

The nightmare started out at a company event.  I sat down next to a friend and was suddenly pushed by another person who said “That’s my seat!”. I looked around at everyone and they turned away from me, shunning me. I got up and walked away, furious for caring and hating my colleagues for abandoning me.

I moved to a booth by myself, only to discover the floor was packed with luggage, car seats and other bags that belonged to others.  I was asked to move from the table, but don’t forget to take my own baggage (even in my dream I’m sarcastic to myself), which turned out to be a carry-on bag that fell apart when I lifted it, and another bag that I stuffed with trash.  I struggled to get up, as now in the dream I had a plane to catch, and I suddenly was overloaded with four bags to take with me.


My beloved Ernie who would never abandon me in real life.

As is the way of nightmares, I found myself next on a deserted stretch of road.  Wild animals grazed on the other side of a barbed wire fence, and one came over to me and asked me where I was going. Okaaayyyy.  I told him I was looking for my husband to come pick me up and he suggested I call him on my cell phone.  I dug out my cell phone, bags scattered all around me…to find the battery had died.  A wave of fear and desolation overcame me and I started sobbing. I felt so alone.

I started running towards some buildings and a female jogger passed me. As she passed me she wiped sweat off herself and smeared my shirt front with it.  I yelled after her as she faded into the distance. Two businessmen stood nearby, laughing and pointing at me.

Segue to a drum circle held by another friend of mine.  But this wasn’t a loving, supportive drum circle.  Apparently I had the wrong drum.  I tried banging on some square drums and the entire circle stopped and looked at me.  Once again I was the odd person out.  Another person brought me a piece of paper and folded it up and said I needed to make banging sounds with this. Surreal.  I was asked if I had brought my tribal mask for the ceremony. When I said “No” the entire group disappeared, and I was left alone in a dry riverbed.

Off in the distance a man trained a Lipizzaner stallion to jump and pirouette.  I walked towards him, only to find him chasing someone else off and shooting at them! I hid but he found me and oddly was very kind, and asked me if I’d like to see the horse.  I went to look at the beautiful white stallion, and it came towards me.  He was huge, and I backed away, but he kept coming, and the man said “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite”….except that instead of a soft, velvety nose to pet, this horse had bloody teeth and fangs like a warthog.  I ran off into the riverbed, past well-dressed families having picnics with homeless men.  The man said as he chased me “See, even these bums have families who love them.” More abandonment and pain.

Suddenly I was at the airport, with all that luggage, but I discovered I didn’t have my ID card (my husband had it, wherever he was), and I learned that my father had waited for me at the airport for 20 minutes and then finally boarded the plane without me.  The flight attendant told me he told her to tell me he was very disappointed in me.  More pain and remembered abandonment.

I screamed at myself “This is just a dream!” and I finally woke up, bathed in sweat and drenched in tears.  The pain of abandonment squeezed my heart and my entire body felt like it was lashed to the bed.  I was unable to move at first, until my sobs shook my body loose.

I have read that abused children have abandonment issues.  The people who ‘should’ have loved us and cared for us, didn’t.  So we grow up not trusting the world, looking for monsters, afraid and alone.  As I said, I have done much work on myself, and these issues do not pop up as often, but apparently they are deeply imbedded in my psyche.  There must be more work to do.

I decided to put something happy here, the retreat Ernie created for me

I decided to put something happy here, the retreat Ernie created for me


I wish you the best on your own healing journey, and may your fears of abandonment not control your life.












This entry was posted in Positive Thinking, Self Help on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Abandonment and the SENTRI Pass

Abandonment and the SENTRI Pass

Abandonment can be trigged by seemingly small things. I made a wrong turn on the way to get my SENTRI pass and ended up in Mexico lost and overwhelmed. My husband was in the car behind me. Garmin had directed us incorrectly and I was kicking myself mentally for not coming down earlier and figuring out where the location to get our SENTRI pass was. And no one can mentally berate me better than I can do to myself.

Mexico Customs form

This form allowed us to go home. Now I could nurse my abandonment issues in Ernie’s arms

When we drove to our appointment I gave us over an hour to get there and get situated. We only live 15 minutes from the border so I didn’t anticipate any challenges even if there was unexpected non rush hour traffic. An hour should be more than plenty of time, right?  My abandonment issues go back to my father’s militaristic insistence that if you are on time, you are already 15 minutes late.  And believe me, the last thing I ever wanted was to face his wrath.  He specialized in cutting people to the quick with humiliating words.

I was panicking.  What to I do?  I knew that if I got into Mexico proper I wouldn’t have the faintest clue on how to get to the border line.  Plus Ernie and I were I separate cars and if I went through a light and lost him, how would he get back? (Part of my childhood programming is I am responsible for others). At this point my stress level was skyrocketing.

I had only seconds to make a decision, and I veered over to the “Something to Declare” line.  I figured this was we had to be stopped, and I would ask for directions back to the border crossing.  I pulled into a parking space.

All my old childhood fears of being punished for making a mistake swamped me. I burst into tears and started to shake. I have always had a fear of being lost and abandoned and to be in Mexico and have absolutely no idea how to get home brought all those old fears and feelings to the surface. It had nothing to do with being in Mexico. It had to do with being lost.


Abandonment issues….being so close to home on the other side of that fence and not knowing how to get home.

A customs officer approached me and when he saw me crying, tried to get me to calm down. I could tell the poor man was bewildered. Why is this woman so distraught?  Ernie came over and said “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this.” Wonderful Ernie, always there for me.

What he didn’t know was I was panicking that he would finally, after 20 years together, show me the monster that he must have inside of him.  I transferred all my father-abuse fears onto him at that moment.  Is it rational? Of course not.  Was it real for me at that moment? You bet it was.  Even though he is the kindest person I have ever met, my inner child was trembling, waiting for the punishment of loss of love from him.

Ernie dealt with the customs officers and got us a pass to get back into the line.  He gave me a hug and told me he loved me.  I was still shaking.  He has lived with this internal fears of mine for two decades and is an old pro at staying calm and helping me out of these painful episodes.

SENTRI pass parking lot

Abandonment means feeling lost even if you are at home. Abandonment issues can be triggered by seemingly mundane events

We drove to the SENTRI place (the border guard gave us correct info) and were told that because it had been over an hour since our appt and no one was available, we would have to reschedule.  I was fine with that and did so.

Ernie didn’t turn into a monster that day. He will never turn into a monster.  I chose well when I chose my life partner.

Will this fear and anxiety about abandonment ever disappear? I’m 48 years old now, have been through extensive therapy and self-help books and workshops, and it’s still there.  It’s coded into my DNA at this point.  All I can do is learn to manage it, which I have done. But it still rears its ugly head in stressful situations.

I wish you the best on your healing journey



This entry was posted in Positive Thinking and tagged , , , , , on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Chakra Bowl Healing San Diego

Crystal Chakra Bowls San Diego

Going to Maria Teresa Larsen’s quartz crystal bowls ceremony at Hillcrest Community Acupuncture in San Diego on a monthly basis has become a way for me to find peace, a sense of centeredness and healing. I think because I am so connected to sound, music, noise levels and how they make me feel, that it makes sense to me that the sound from the quartz crystal chakra bowls would have such a powerful result for me. I often use music when I am stuck in my writing, I use it to help me daydream, and I fully believe in the power of sound healing.  

Maria Teresa's background is Chiropractic but she is now a Shamanic Healer

Maria Teresa’s background is Chiropractic but she is now a Shamanic Healer


The human body is composed of over 90% water and it makes sense to me that sound vibration can help us in our lives. When I am listening to the sounds that the crystal chakra bowls emanate, I don’t just hear the music, I can feel the vibration in the sounds. This isn’t like listening to a meditation CD or soothing relaxation music. These are vibrational sounds. Your body’s cells are filling with vibration. One way I describe it is to think about a still pond.  Nothing is going on, the water seems still, perhaps even stagnant. You have a flat rock and skip it across the surface.  Now the water is disturbed, and small ripples appear where the rock touched it.  The ripples don’t stay small; they expand as they move across the water. With the quartz crystal bowls that Maria Teresa Larsen plays, the ripples are the sound waves rolling across and through you.

At the end of the hour plus session I always feel like my body has been stuffed full of sound.  The closest example I can use is the way your fingers swell up when you’ve walked a long way,. They aren’t painful but they are plump. I feel like my body’s cells have been plumped full of sound.

When Maria Teresa plays the chakra bowls at Hillcrest Community Acupuncture, where I can relax in comfortable recliner, I am able to relax and drift into a state of mindlessness.  I don’t immediately drop into a zen state. At first I listen to the sounds and try to clear my mind. What happens is I feel that the sounds are surrounding me in a circular lasso of white light. I can feel them circling my body, wrapping me in vibration. I’ve tried to do regular meditation and can never get my chaotic thoughts to calm down and allow me to get to the quiet center I read about. But with the quartz crystal chakra bowls my thoughts quiet. It’s almost like the sounds are tying them up and setting them aside so I can fully relax. I feel the sounds swirling around me and I surrender to their strength.  7 Chakra Bowls

Maria Teresa Larsen plays all seven chakra bowls in a little over an hour. Some of the bowls have a soft melody and others are a little more clangy to my ears. I asked Maria Teresa about why that is and she said it’s a combination of what my specific chakras need at that moment and the way she plays each bowl. One bowl for me always has a harder sound. I asked her about this large crystal bowl and she said that is for the solar plexus chakra.  She uses a mallet instead of a want  for the solar plexus chakra bowl  and there are times when the bowls ask more of her than other times, which makes different sounds than other times. 

This is the solar plexus bowl I write about

This is the solar plexus bowl I write about


I have watched her play the bowls and the speed of the sound is much faster than the speed at which she plays them. It’s almost like she’s releasing their energy and the sounds circle my body in an increasing pace.

I have tried massage, meditation, guided imagery and have never been able to attain the sense of peace and grounding that I get from the bowls. Coming out of each session i feel a peace inside myself. I feel like I have been transported to a serene place and I have to pull myself back. I listen to others getting up right after she is done playing and has said her final blessing on the ceremony.  I can’t do that. I am in such a state of bliss and it takes me a little while to come back to this earth plane.

Listening to the quartz crystal chakra bowls played by Maria Teresa has become an integral part of my healing journey. I hope you take an hour of your time and explore them too.  Maria Teresa can be reached at and Hillcrest Acupuncture is


This entry was posted in Alternative Healing, Positive Thinking by Susanne. Bookmark the permalink.

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

One thought on “Crystal Chakra Bowls San Diego

  1. Yes, now all your chakras are aligned and everything in your sytem is flowing and you have no resistance anymore. Namaste



I am prone to nightmares.  When I can remember them, my dreams are usually a crazy mosaic of jumbled scenes that have no relation to each other, but sometimes there is an entire story line inside, and my nightmare is as vivid as any movie I can watch on the big screen.

Tonight’s nightmare touched on many of my core fears —- abandonment, loss of sense of self, fear of loss.  My nightmare started out with military helicopters hovering in the park behind our house. In my nightmare Ernie called them either Blackhawks or Sea Stallions. I know my brain grabbed the fact that Ernie loves watching the Military Channel and was a Green Beret in Vietnam. What he found fascinating terrified me. There were six of them, grouped the way a gang does watching a fight, in a semi-circle.  They were huge, black, anonymous symbols of authority and bullying in my dream.  I know this kicks back to my father who was a MP in WWII and was a bully who used his badge and authority to take what he wanted from people.  He liked to strip me of any sense of self and personal space

Image courtesy of Tim Beach /

Image courtesy of Tim Beach /

There were other unidentifiable shapes hovering in the air, and a felt a visceral fear in my nightmare that even right now while I’m awake typing this, I can still feel in my body.  My heart is racing, my breath is shallow, I’m jittery as I write this.

Ernie thought the helicopters were doing maneuvers, but I knew that in my nightmare their purpose was far worse.  And I was quickly proven right when the helicopters started razing our house with bullets and missiles. The bully was attacking in the night.  That also goes back to my relationship with my father as a young girl.

As is the way of nightmares, even though I could hear and feel the bullets hitting our house, my nightmare switched and now the police were at my front door, demanding entrance. They had a search warrant, I was being accused of some unnamed crime.  From inside, I asked for their search warrant, and instead they rammed the door open and broke the door frame.  Dozens of men swarmed the house, and the leader pointed to a yellow sticky note attached to the very top of our front door that I could not reach. (I’m only 5’4″) Ernie pulled it off and it was a search warrant that the postman had apparently left for us.  I know, random, but nightmares are like that.  They dig at hidden memories, stir up primal fears, frighten us with images that we sometimes cannot understand the meaning behind

The faceless police started scouring our house, ripping paintings off the wall, smashing glass, punching holes in the wall.  All the time my pleas for why this was happening went unanswered. They broke down the back door, thus leaving me completely exposed and defenseless to the outside world.

Suddenly I was no longer at the house.  I knew they were still there, ripping my life apart and exposing my fears, but I couldn’t get back home.  I was walking along familiar streets from my childhood and young adult hood, but they were a patchwork of streets from different cities I have lived in, and every time I thought I was getting closer to my home, another street appeared that took me further away.  I tried climbing stairs, only to have them turn into an oil-covered ramp that I kept slipping on.  A man offered to help me, but as I reached for him he let me fall.   My nightmare was having a field day with my deeply rooted fear of abandonment.

Ernie showed up then and grabbed my hand, stopping me from falling. Ernie is my knight in shining armor, the only man I have ever fully trusted, and he came to my rescue once again. Suddenly we were in front of our house, but it wasn’t a house anymore.  It was a skeleton picked clean by the police and looters. It looked like one of those old-time brick houses that have been abandoned, the roof caved in, weeds reclaiming the concrete floor for the earth. My entire life, my memories, my belongings, my photos, my dogs, everything that mattered, was gone.  I had ceased to exist in my nightmare. I panicked and thrashed in Ernie’s arms to get to our house, but he held me in an iron vise and told me it didn’t matter, we still had each other.

Image courtesy of artur84 /

Image courtesy of artur84 /

I woke up, my heart pounding, my breath shallow, my body tensed. My back ached from the tension my body had felt while my mind was trapped in the nightmare. I felt in the bed, and all three of my beloved dogs were there.  The park behind our house was empty.  Ernie lay next to me, and I grabbed onto him to grab some of his loving, solid energy and put it back into me. He slept on; I must not have thrashed or yelled out in my nightmare.  This nightmare was private and personal, but he was still there protecting me.

.In the past when I was alone, isolated from others inside of myself while smiling in a crowded room, these kinds of nightmares came more frequently.  As I have done the healing work and have learned to trust people, they don’t show up as often.  I call them ‘defragging’ dreams….the computer that is my system is cleaning up random pieces of data that are randomly stored in the hard drive of my brain. They are usually triggered by traumatic events, fears and too much work stress.

My hero

My hero

I am calming down now.  My breathing has steadied, my pulse has slowed.  Getting the words onto the screen has helped purge the last bit of anxiety I held in my body.

This entry was posted in Depression and tagged , , , , , , , on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Parental Love, or lack thereof

Parental Love, or lack thereof

In my blog post I started with a quote by the mystical Persian poet Rumi “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

In that post I was talking about healing from addiction and overeating, as a guest blogger on one of my community resource partner’s pages.

I got my own post in my email today, and that quote resonated again with me.

The wound is the place where light enters you.”  As you know I just learned that my father died, and though I am coping with it much better than I thought I was going to, there is still a hollowed out place in my soul that never got filled with parental love.  I read articles about coaches bringing their children to Superbowl, and I see our President and the way he talks about his daughters.  I think about moms I know who are very concerned about the cleaning products they use around the home so they can protect their children. I understand that most parents want to help their children get ahead, not thwart them as my parents did. They love them.  And I don’t understand it at all.  I have no concept of what that kind of love looks, feels, smells or tastes like.

I asked my friend Robin about the love she has for her son, and she said she can’t describe it except that it is like none other. It’s an all=consuming, all-forgiving love, and I guess it permeates her very cells.

I will never ‘get’ that. I just don’t understand it. Now, this isn’t a pity-me blog post (okay maybe a little) but in reality its a puzzle to me.  I have always felt like that old cliche “I’m on the outside looking in.” but it’s true. I watch parents, especially mothers, with their children, and I see the love inside of them.  And it’s not a practiced lvoe, or a forced love. IT. JUST. IS.

This is the closest way I can explain what it feels like for me:  I am near-sighted, and have been since grade school. I’m 47 now, and I was at the eye doctor the other day, and of course they ask “What are the smallest letters you can read?” Now, I can easily read the top letters, but the bottom line I only know because I recognize the general shape of the letters.  I can’t see them clearly.  The opthamologist said “Well, if it were the difference between winning a brand new BMW or not, could you read it?” Well, of course.

But here’s the thing—-never having experienced real 20/20 vision, I truly have no idea what I’m supposed to look for.  I’m not sure if the leaves are supposed to be super sharp or mostly sharp.  I’m not sure how far away I should be able to read street signs while I’m driving. Does everyone experience the stars on people’s headlights at night? I JUST. DON’T KNOW. I have no basis of comparison, no baseline of what 20/20 vision looks like. I’ve never experienced it, so  I’m not sure what it’s supposed to look like.

Eye Exam Chart Stock Photography - Image: 18904202ttp://

So yes, I do ‘miss’ never experiencing that.  I do envy those who have had that, and who take it 100% for granted, much like we all take things for granted.  Our sight, our hearing, our health, breathing.  These things just ARE.  But for those of you who have never felt unwanted, please do me a favor.  Don’t take that unconditional love for granted. Give your kids or your parent a hug from me, and tell them you love them.


It’s the most precious gift you will either give or be given.  Nothing else matters in this world.

This entry was posted in Depression, Positive Thinking, Self Help on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

One thought on “Parental Love, or lack thereof

  1. Rachael

    its 1:15 a.m. December 29th. I’m sitting at my kitchen table starting a new journal. trying not to incorporate so much anger in to it. our stories are so similar it is almost scary… right down to the visual problems. which you so beautifully used as an analogy. Thank you.


Day of the Dead San Diego

Day of the Dead San Diego

I had the opportunity and gift to speak to several families at the LaVista Memorial Park Day of the Dead celebration on October 26, 2013.  I went to take photos at the request of the owner Luisa McCarthy, and came away with a gift of understanding the love families can have with each other.

Galicia Family Altar

Here you can see the different “floors” of the altar

I spoke to the Galicia family, who are originally from Mexico City and have been in National City for 17 years.  Their daughter Samantha explained to me the sybmolism of each item on the family altar.  She explained that each ‘floor’ has different parts of the deceased person’s life.  The ‘first floor’ of the Day of the Dead altar is for candles and flowers.  Marigolds are used because they are extremely pungeunt, which helps the deceased loved ones to find the altar, as their sense of smell and taste is limited.  Marigolds also represent eternal life.

The second and third ‘floor’ of the altar is filled with the food and drink that the deceased loved in life.  Salt is placed in a container and represents adding flavor to life.  On the Galacia’s altar the grandmother had placed kitchen pots that she uses every time she cooks today.  She cooks mole, beans, rice and tamales.  Their alter also had Jamaica water, bread and fruit.Food Pots

The top ‘floor’ of the altar is covered with photos of the departed loved ones.

I asked about the colorful skulls, and they told me that the colorful skulls are to show children to not be fearful of death.  They are playful and joyous.

Samantha continued to explain to me that when the spirits come back, they need the water that is on the altar as they will be very thirsty.  The salt is to add flavor to the food, as the dearly departed cannot taste or smell as well as they could in life.  Everything on the Day of the Dead altar represents who the person was in life.  What did they like to do, what were their favorite foods, any hobbies or toys for a child who passed.  The Galicia family also had a child who had died in infancy, just as the Riggs family did.  I talked to her mom, and she says the pain of losing a child never goes away, but by bringing her other children to this event and having them help with the decorating of the altar, they learn to not fear death, and also remember their lost brother.Nightime

They will stay with the altar through the night, and at the end of the night they will all eat the food they have placed on the altar as a family.  The food will be tasteless, as the spirits of their loved ones will have taken all the flavor of the food for themselves.

As I said in the other blog, I am overwhelmed by the love, family and continuity of this Day of the Dead ritual. I have never seen such joy surrounding death.  The faith in the afterlife, the fact that their loved ones are with God, and they know they will see them again, floors me.  I was raised as an Athiest and came to spirituality late in life.  Perhaps this is part of the reason behind my fascination with anything associated with the Day of the Dead.

I came to take photos, and walked away humbled and feeling honored that these families would share so much with a stranger.

This entry was posted in Bariatric on by .

About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Transformation – Healing Journey Blog




In today’s society the word and the meaning of the word transformation has been used and misused to discribe a spiritual person that’s into transformation.  Let’s begin by disecting the word, the first part (trans) has to do with something or someone that’s in transit or on his way.  The second part (formation) has to do with acquiring a form.  Therefore it means someone in trasit to a different form.  It must not be confused with the word change, when someone changes there is always the possibility to  come back to the original form , while with transformation the change is permanent.   Think of it as when the caterpillar emerges from its cacoon to become a beautiful butterfly.  It can never go back to being a caterpillar.  Transformation is evolutionary and not revolutionary,  one would wish that it could be as simple as transforming instantaneously as a genie, but no, the process can be long and trying.  It can also be short and smooth depending on your level of consciousness.  The important thing is to begin the process and to like the caterpillar, “Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, it became a butterfly”.

Categories : Bariatric



Thank you Tony….as often as I have written about transformation…I never thought of the difference between change and transformation. There really is a profound difference between the two.

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The Perfect Diet! Which One Is It? – Healing Journey Blog


The Perfect Diet! Which One Is It?


It does not exist.  Let it go.  Stop looking for it.  Let me explain why.  Our body is constantly changing and so is our lifestyle.  I recently read that:  “Each second, ten million red blood cells are born and die. The stomach lining completely regenerates in a week, a healthy liver in six weeks, and the skin surface in a month. Scientists postulate that 98 percent of all atoms in the body are replaced within a year, 100 percent within seven years.”  The only constant we have is change.

We all have different bodies.  My clients all eat very differently because we work towards finding the combination that’s best for that person at that time.  The best thing to do is learn how to listen to your body.

So, where does this leave us?  How do we get healthy and thin?  First thing we have to do is get rid of barriers that get in the way of success and often lead us to make poor choices.  The common barriers I see in my office are stress, imbalance, lack of boundaries, years of bad habit, over-worked, and most importantly—a lack of pure pleasure.  We don’t do enough to include joy and excitement in our DAILY life.

When we live our life full of joy and we understand how to feed our body, the weight drops off automatically.  That’s my definition of a true, sustainable diet.  NOT calorie counting, point system, discipline, torture, or exercises you hate.

Get support and learn how you can become successful like these people:

Categories : Bariatric



Awesome advise and absolutely true! Loved it!

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Pole Dancing – Great way to stay fit and healthy and have fun


Pole Dancing – Great way to stay fit and healthy


Here is a post from a guest blogger about a different way to get in shape!


I never come home from the gym feeling sexy. I’m sweaty, hot, tired, looking for a shower, leaving my poor man to his own devices and watching the new episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Once more, gym work is so repetitive and regimented that the only source of entertainment is my iPod. Music was the only thing that made the gym bearable and I realised it was the ONLY thing I looked forward to. I sought a solution to my problem that centered around my love for music. There’d been many times I’d felt the need to bust out a move in the gym, sometimes the music just takes over!

Though I’ve always restrained myself. Until now.

My work colleagues and I decided on  some pole dancing lessons at Pole Fetish. While hesitant to begin with, I attended with the feeling that gyrating around a pole would be a bit uncomfortable for me. This is a skill that developed around objectifying women, that didn’t sit well with me. I eventually told myself that it couldn’t be too bad and well… to lighten the hell up.

I found that the whole experience made exercise so enjoyable. The staff were brilliant and I was never made to feel uncomfortable, I was in a room full of people in the same position as me, some of those positions were pretty uncomfortable too, but they had me working pretty hard! I never considered myself a great dancer, but with the teacher’s guidance, I was actually working up a sweat. It was a great way for me to stay fit, healthy and have fun!

This might sound strange, but I felt like I’d reclaimed part of my femininity by actively turning pole dancing classes into something that could build my strength, my cardiovascular health and lose weight all at once. I’d too quickly and easily characterised the type of women that did this, and it turned out I really enjoyed the experience. I’m still sweaty when I come home from a workout, but I guess I am feeling that little bit sexier. I’m still going to watch Grey’s Anatomy though…

Categories : Bariatric

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Goodbye Dad Part 2 – Healing Journey Blog


Goodbye Dad Part 2


Your choices lead you to the life you are living. 

I hated that statement when I first heard it.  I had lived my life up until then as a victim, angry at my past, angry at my parents, angry at my present and hopeless for my future.

After all, I came from a horribly abusive childhood, had low self esteem, had had one too many abusive relationships, and my finances were crap.  As far as I was concerned,  it was all my parents’ fault.

That was an easy belief and it was also a painful belief, and it kept me stuck for too many years to count.

It is easy when you come from an abusive background to blame others.  You have never had positivity demonstrated to you, you resent others who seem to have loving families, you can’t understand how some people seem to effortlessly succeed. 

The reality is that your thoughts have kept you in that trap.

I started reading positive books (see my blog section on the list) and even though at first they seemed pretty Pollyanna, I knew I had nothing to lose by trying to change the way I thought.

The first thing I learned was that I had to be very, very careful about who I hung out with.  As I started to think more hopeful thoughts about life, I realized that I had bought into the negativity of my current friendship circle.  As I moved more and more into positiveness, I lear5ned that my current batch of friends weren’t very friendly any more.  They didn’t like the way I was thinking, they scoffed, and quite frankly, they didn’t want to change. It took tremendous courage to start walking down a different path, and a path that ultimately ended many friendships.

The second thing I learned is that it’s much easier to have angry thoughts than happy thoughts.  I can recall all kinds of abuse, slights, humiliations, errors ad mistakes, and can lovingly pick at my soul while the bile rises up inside me.  Those negative thoughts are simmering right below the surface, and can ignite very quickly if you haven’t had enough practice to shift gears and distract yourself.  It’s almost like when you have a crying baby and you have to distract them with a shiny toy or rattle or something.  When you distract them, they can refocus.  It’s the same thing with happy thoughts.  You need to build up a memory bank of them that you can use as a distraction when you ar having negative thoughts.

I’ve also learned that choice can become a habit.  Today I heard from my father for the first time in 6 years.  I have been so angry and sad today (check out September 5th’s blog—-this one is being published a bit later in the queue) but I have learned to let the grief out, and then start focusing on the positive.

Pollyanna? You betcha.  Does it work? Absolutely. Is it easy to do? Not at first, and not when you are deep in the throes of pain. But, I just finished writing my painful blog about my Dad, and I have released those painful thoughts out into the universe.   And I am thinking of other happy thoughts and spinning today into a form I can live with.  I’m deciding to say “at least he reached out to me before he died.  At least he cared enough to takl to me.” rather than “I will never have from him what I always needed.”

Are both those thoughts accurate? Absolutely.  Do they both serve me? Not at all. I have CHOSEN a life of positiveness and hopefullness.  It is a habit I have learned, a skill I have practied until it has gotten easier.  It is NOT, and I repeat NOT, a talent.  It is a hard-earned skill, and one you can learn.

So, what am I going to focus on today? I’m going to focus on the fact that despite having no positive example, I have a successful, happy marriage that spans over 17 years.  I live 10 minutes from the ocean, on a cul de sac, surrounded by my animals and my friends.  I was able to send out a cry for help today via text message, and those who love me responded and gave me emotional virtual hugs.  I have a husband who believes in me, a business that runs when I’m not.  I have health and friends.

And those were all choices.  All that is learned behavior, and you can learn this behavior too. No, it’s not going to happen overnight.  I don’t have a magic wand to run over you and make it all go away.  But I can tell you that there are tools and books and speakers and blogs out there that can help you on your healing journey.

Your choices lead you to the life you are leading.  So.  Goodby Dad.  I hated you, I loved you, I have forgiven you.  It was a shock that you called, it tossed me into a tailspin.  However…the good news is….I have done enough healing to let you go, forgive you, and go back to living my life….in a positive way.


Categories : Bariatric



Susie, Thank you for sharing your continued journey. I am so happy for you, that you chose to be happy and live your life in the best possible, positive way! Life is beautiful and you are a very special person, that inspires sooo many people, including me. Thank you for sharing, thank you for opening up your experiences, thank you for being who you are!

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provoked anger versus psychological anger – Healing Journey Blog


provoked anger versus psychological anger


I was talking with a new friend today, telling her about my blog and book and my story over coffee, and she brought up an interesting question about anger.  I was telling her how I started out my journey to overcome child abuse issues as a very angry, hateful, humiliated person, and how it was only through a process of therapy, reading, blogging, lots and lots and lots of forgiveness, tears and pain, that I have been able to emerge on the other side of this journey not just intact, but vibrant and happy and living life on my terms.  Which is wonderful. 

But, there are days….where I am still filled with overwhelming rage, where I would like to throw things, say hateful things to people, hurt people who annoy me, etc.  You know, I’m basically a righteous b—ch.  It is what it is. These arethe days I have blogged about, when I say I am unfit for human consumption, and I very carefully quarntine myself in isolation.

And she said, well, as a mom, there are days when my kids just push and push and push, and she gets angry and has the same kind of rage, and isn’t it basically the same thing?

So I thought about it for a bit, and my answer is NO.  No, it’s not the same thing.  Everyone gets angry, absolutely. Emotional triggers, fights with your spouse, remembering abuse, remembering painful events….you will get pissy cranky, no doubt.

But the difference between being provoked by someone or something, versus just waking up angry, is a different thing.  I can speak to no one’s experience but my own, but for me it is a chemical imbalance in the brain.  It’s a serotonin thing.  I WAKE UP ANGRY.  Yes, ALL CAPS ANGRY.  Ready to throttle someone angry.  And there is absolutely nothing that triggered it, nothing horrible is happening.  I just wake up ANGRY, ANGRY, ANGRY.  PERIOD, END OF STORY.

And I know with the caps I am yelling at you.  Well, that’s what’s going on in my head.  There’s an angry voice (mine) inside that is yelling and screaming….and trust me, nothing’s wrong in my life.

I’m extremely fortunate in many ways.  I have overcome abuse and addiction.  I’m happily married to my best friend for over 17 years.  I have a successful business, and know I am loved and appreciated by people around me.  I know my words are helping people, and I have faith that my book will be well received.  I travel and I have freedom that many people in the world only wish for.  So why the hell am I angry?

Nothing, again, nothing provoked it.  Yes, you can get angry at something that happens or what someone does…and rage at your spouse, friends, kids.  You can feel like you want to throw dishes or have road rage.  Yes, you can.  But again, the difference is….that kind of anger is provoked.

Provoked.  Something caused it.  Not you just wake up and it’s already there before you’ve even gotten out of bed.

Luckily for me, due to therapy, medication, understanding….those days don’t happen so often.  My entire life was one long day of anger before I started healing and facing my pain.   Every day I woke up with a hate-on for the world, knowing I would have to take so much psychic energy just to clamp down on it so I could put on a professional smile and go about my day.  Now, these days are fewer and fewer in between, and I have an extra anti-depressant to take on those days to level me out.

Medication is not for everyone.  You have to find your own solution, and the only way will be to explore the dark placesn with a flashlight, as the imitable SARK says.

But there really is a difference between provoked anger and psychological anger.  Psychological anger exists, and simmers, living like a heartbeat in your body. And if you have that pulsing in your body, you need to work to minimize it, so it doesn’t eat you alive.

Is it possible to do this? Absolutely.  I am living proof of it.  I can’t tell you how angry I used to be, and how much more peaceful and forgiving I am now.  It is possible.  You CAN overcome your pain.

I wish you well on your healing journey.

Categories : Bariatric



I am glad you have come so far away from the anger. When I wake up mad, I use the analogy of being an antenna and remind myself to tune out of the angry thoughts of the world and tune into the loving thoughts of the universe. Some people aren’t big on God, but this sentence, quoting the Bible, from the book 21st Century Science and Health has helped me, “Therefore ‘submit to God and be at peace.’” Thanks.

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