Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Things Are Changing

As things go - when something is not "flowing" I have to pause. 

In the past - I would have looked "outside" of myself to try to discover what I could do to "fix" things. 

I would work harder.

Push harder. 

I might even try "blaming" something or someone for why things are not working aka "flowing" the way they have in the past. 

Yet - one of the life lessons I have learned as I committed to being the student who is ready…?

Is that when things are not working - I've learned….

That working harder won't make it work better.

That pushing harder - only makes it harder. 

I've learned to let go that I can see what remains, what might come back and…

What new thing might emerge.

I've known and felt for some time that as much as I have loved writing here at A Journey and sharing on twitter and at the Empowering Solutions page on Facebook and the podcast at Blog Talk Radio…

I've felt a sense of discontent that if I ignore it only leads to more discontent.

A good friend and my own Life Coach has helped me to see that when things are not "working" that the Universe is trying to direct me to some sort of change. 

For the past many months I have felt that I was to let some things go…

In order to be ready to receive what might be next for me in my Journey.

If you are on my mailing list here then you will receive any future updates from there as well as by subscribing here (to the left) for blog post updates.

So - once again…

I'd like to say that This Blog Is Not Dead….and encourage you to visit the archives here at A Journey, at the Facebook Empowering Solutions page here and the Blog Talk Radio podcast here. 

Thank you for your continued engagement and encouragement to continue doing this work that is not work - I am always so grateful to hear your stories and testimonies of how A Journey and Empowering Solutions have impacted your life. 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

The "Disorder" in PTSD… and Some Empowering Solutions

We may be afraid and thats ok. 

Our fear becomes a problem only when we allow it to dictate our actions and interfere with our future. 

And asking or expecting others to change or accommodate us so that we don't have to face our fear? 

Serves to enable us in our avoidance and lets the fear control our future. 

Heres the thing I discovered

Is that "avoidance" is the "disorder" in "PTSD". 

The truth that set me free?

Knowing and learning that we can learn to calm our parasympathetic nervous system; that we don't have to "go

That we can take our life back from trauma. 

Tip: start noticing when you are feeling "amped" or as though you need to run away, fight back or shut down. 

Then start removing yourself from the "trigger" before you actually bolt, fight back or shut down. 

Develop the skills to use tools to bring these feelings of anger/fight, fear/flight and freezing/shutting down to a manageable place like:

  • Deep breathing 
  • Dancing it out 
  • Punching it out
  • Walking or running it out
  • Writing it out (without sending it :) )

The thing to remember is that most of us have been taught to run to others, to "ask for help" when we are feeling emotionally overloaded instead of being taught the life and coping skills to manage our feelings and that - leaves us feeling both powerless and hopeless for anything better.

These exercises when practiced over time - will empower you to be in control of your emotions vs your emotions controlling you. 

Keep in mind that this first step can take some time as we learn and choose to be in awareness of how we are feeling vs the disconnection that can come with experiencing chronic trauma over time. 

The key?

Is to practice this over and over and over….taking small steps instead of expecting big results "fast". 

Knowing that you are empowering yourself vs needing someone to tell you what is "wrong" and how to "fix" it. 

Heres the bottom line about dealing with "PTSD" issues that I discovered to be empowering….

Learning to bring things down to a manageable level before we "react" allows and empowers us to shift from "reactive" to "responsive" where we can consider our options and respond via choice vs the basic human need to engage in fight, flight or freeze as our only options.

So there you go. 

It's simple, yes. 

Not nearly as complicated as I was taught to believe it was. 

Is it easy? 

Nope. Not at all. Especially at first. 

Is it effective?

Yup. :) 

Is it empowering?

You bet. 

Discovering that I was in control of myself, my reactions, my choices….that I did NOT have to be in therapy or on drugs "for life"? 

Empowered me to start seeing myself as the creator of my "best life". 

May you discover your own "empowering solutions" and find freedom from your fears. 

Best always and forever,

Susan :) 

Resources Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues. Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past… And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. 

 Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list. 

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™  
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seeking Happy

Many of us are seeking happiness in people, places and things.
"If I get a new job and move to a different state then I can get away from all this bs"

"If I could just take a vacation - then everything would be ok"

"If I had this house, car, clothes, job, business ….then I'd be happy".

The problem I found with that? 

Is that if I wasn't happy with who I was by myself I would never be happy with that "someone" and in fact that relationship would go down the toilet just like all the rest of them did. 

I discovered that moving or changing jobs distracted me for awhile but in time things were the same as they were before. 

I found that no matter what I had, what I owned or what I did to make a living - if I was not happy where I was I would not be happy there. 

Happy happened when I learned to make it happen. 

And when I got happy with me

I no longer needed to be a "we".

I started looking at where I could move to instead of what I could move away from.


I discovered that I had everything I needed already; that I didn't need a new house, car, job or clothes. 

How have you found happy? 


I Was Looking For Happy In All the Wrong Places

Happiness is a choice? Then why am I not happy?


Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues. 

 Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past… 

 And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list. 

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™  
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Share on twitter here and Facebook here

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happiness is a choice? Then why am I not happy?

I'd hear the saying "happiness is choice"…

And feel worse.

What was wrong with me that I wasn't able to be happy? 


There had to be something "wrong" with me. 

I mean seriously wrong with me.

I was angry.

I was sometimes mean.

I was oftentimes driven to be busy, busy, busy.

But I was not "happy".

So - when I sought help - it was confirmed that something was wrong - terribly wrong with me. 

My brain was indeed broken.

I had a "disease" - like *diabetes! 

I had an "illness" that affected my ability to be "happy".

Aha! That explained it!

A "diagnosis" made it all make sense.

Yet - the prescribed "treatments" that were supposed to make me "feel" better - never worked. 

I settled into a life of "less than" "for the rest of my life".

And stayed there.

UNTIL I met someone who had traveled this path before me and discovered their own truth and shared it with me…

That there was nothing "wrong" with me other than I did not know how to access the power that lives in each of us to see myself as the creator of my own "best life". 

Tip: if happiness has eluded you….set a goal for yourself and each day take steps toward that goal.

Maybe its a goal to move to a new home, get a new job or go back to school.

Maybe its a goal to learn how to become more self sufficient; to learn how to be less "reactive" and more "responsive". Or maybe to learn the difference between "boundaries" and "walls".

Whether your goal is to be-come your best self through personal development learning strategies or to do or have something that you have longed for…

The best remedy for chronic sadness is to focus on what makes us happy and find our own empowering solutions when we aren't'.

True stuff.

Susan :)

*Diabetes - the whole paradigm built on the idea that "mental illness" is a disease like diabetes is more true than we know. First we must differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 - there is a real physical issue that cannot be fixed. One is born with this. It is diagnosable through medical tests. In type 2 - this diabetes is brought on by overconsumption of refined sugar and can be reversed with diet and exercise. In considering the issues of "mental illness" in this context we must remember that there is NO diagnostic test for this - therefore these issues are not the same as type 1 diabetes which can be diagnosed and treated. In the context of type 2 diabetes - the issues of so called "mental illness" are also brought on by life experiences albeit more complex than just consuming enormous amounts of refunded sugar although refined sugar has been proven to cause issues that can be labeled "mental illness". For more on this I can recommend visiting Beyond Meds articles on gut health, this article at Mercola on sugar and mental illness, this article on gluten and schizophrenia, and there are numerous studies revealing the impact of childhood trauma to what is labeled "mental illness". In addition, very often the "medicine" we are given becomes the cause of the "illness" as I experienced. All this as food for thought and to point out - these issues do not have to be "for life" and the "mental illness" model is 1. not an effective life model and 2. it is not the only model, or paradigm, about the human condition, the life we live or the struggles we face - although it is the only one we hear about when we ask for "help". 

Be informed to be empowered. 

For more on these issues please visit 


Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues.

Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past…

And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. 

Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list.

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why do I feel so powerless? The difference between "acceptance" and "tolerance"

I used to think that I had to "accept" or "tolerate" bad behavior and being abused and mistreated by others because I could not change them - so I had to change myself in the hope that they would treat me better….

If I was ______ or did _______ or said _______ or had ________ or looked _____

THEN they would love, appreciate, see me as worthy and valuable to be loved. 

Then maybe they would _______________. 



Acceptance of "what is" does NOT mean accepting or tolerating being mistreated.  

In fact when I lived like this - I felt overwhelmed and overcome with feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness. 

This is where I was doing the "dance" of dysfunction as I tried to figure out the steps

What could I do to make things better? 

How could I be different so they would love me, so they would stop being hurtful to me?

This is where I also lived in chronic "depression" and would "zone out".

When I started realizing "depression" and zoning out aka "dissociation" were not a "disease" but a natural response to not knowing how to own my power to change my life?

That is when my life started to change. 

Change can be painful

Change can be painful but not as painful as staying in situations where I was not happy about the way others treated me and knowing there was nothing I could do to change them or the way they treated me.

Acceptance is peace not tolerance

Acceptance means living in peace with what is vs trying to control or change others or circumstances to change outcomes.

Acceptance does NOT mean tolerating things that are intolerable. 

This -  is where we feel helpless and powerless. 

That is where we lose hope.

I found my hope when I found my power. 

Acceptance - yes.

Tolerance - no.

We can make a plan and learn how to change our lives when circumstances are such that we can't change them.

In the meantime

When we know that we can create the change that can change our life and allow us to live in that place of peace….

We can learn and practice living in acceptance of what is until we can achieve what could be. 

Q: What is it in your life that feels overwhelming and intolerable that you have been "accepting" and leaves you feeling hopeless and helpless?

What would life look like for you if you were to change this? 

What do you need to learn to create this change?

Life skills? 

How to set and maintain healthy boundaries?

What the difference is between healthy and unhealthy dependence and relationships? 

Coping strategies for difficult moments?

Do you want to go to school so you can have the career that would enable you to create this new life? 

Once we identify the "problem" we then identify potential solutions and start acting on those ideas vs staying stuck in telling the story of the problem over and over and over. 

The idea of taking that journey can feel scary yet - it is in facing our fear that we find our courage. 

You're a rock star.

True story. :) 

Until next time,



Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues.

Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past…

And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. 

Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list.

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™ Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Staying Stuck vs Finding Freedom

As sometimes happens - I will post something that I wonder how it will go over. Todays post is one of those times. I posted this at the Facebook Empowering Solutions page last week fully expecting to receive no comments or response or expecting a response where readers became defensive of their "support groups". Instead - I received several comments that said things like "AMEN!", "Love this page!" and "Beautiful!". 

Since it went over well there - I thought readers of A Journey might appreciate the lessons I learned as I was seeking solutions and instead - often found myself stuck in the problems.

Along the way I realized there are plenty of "pages" and "groups" where I could go to get my ego stroked. 

Lots of ways I can get involved with others who are still full of anger at what others did to them that harmed them. 

Places where I can talk about and learn to recognize "abusers" and "narcissists" abound aplenty. 

Many opportunities to become enmeshed in self pity. 

Tons of places where I can find others who are not wanting to "trigger" me, to take care of me - instead of teaching me to take care of myself. 

Lots of places where I could hang out where my anger at what others had done to me was fanned and fueled.

Yet - there are few places where I could go to learn to grow beyond that place of chronic victimhood. 

Few places to learn how to trust myself instead of feeling like I could trust no one. 

When I was a part of those places and sought out those groups that made me feel good about being a "victim" and a "survivor"… 

I did not grow. 

To find my path to freedom from the past I had to be willing to start seeing myself not as a victim and more than a survivor. 

I had to be willing to walk away from those places where it felt really good to be wrapped up in the caring of others who had had similar experiences; where I could remain that powerless child waiting for someone to "help" me, to "fix" me. To tell me that I was amazing, powerful and capable. 

Until I realized that only I could give those things to myself.

I had to be willing to walk toward the light instead of staying in the darkness. 

I had to stop focusing on what had happened to me and how it had left me feeling broken…

I had to stop seeking others who were so willing to soothe my wounds and learn to make myself feel better. 

I had to decide to "get a life" instead of wanting and wishing for a perfect life where I was someone - except who I was.

I had to start seeking solutions that empowered me to start telling a story not about what happened to me but about how I overcame what happened to me. 

Empowering Solutions is the result of that search for the answers that set me free from that darkness that consumed my days, my nights and my life. 

Welcome to Empowering Solutions

May we all find our power and create our "best life".

In eternal gratitude that we share this journey.


PS…does this post speak to you? 

Do you see yourself as wanting to grow but still stuck in the muck of the past, telling your story over and over; commiserating with others in telling their stories over and over? 

Are you tired of not being able to trust anyone? 

Are you ready to start learning how to trust yourself instead of blindly trusting everyone? 

Are you ready for some "empowering" solutions? 

Please join us at the Facebook community page for daily notes and inspiration to support you as you travel this path to your own "unlimited life" and don't forget to subscribe at the top of this page for both blog updates and our very occasional newsletter. 

You can also subscribe at Empowering Solutions Radio where we talk about the "how" behind breaking free from the drama, trauma and dysfunction that has been our life. 

Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Found My Freedom When I Found My Power (Interdependence v.s. Dependence)

As things would have it - it is perhaps not quite time to retire this blog. I'm still not sure about the direction I'm going but I do know that my Journey is not over. 

Therefore, todays post....

For a very long time I firmly believed that my "moods" were a "disorder". 

I had been led to believe that the reason I struggled in life and relationships was not because of the pattern of trauma and abuse in my life but because there was something wrong with my brain.

What I discovered was that while this particular paradigm is the only one that we hear about most often in the context of "mental health"...

It is not the only way to view the life issues that left us feeling unprepared to deal with life on life's terms.

This brings me to this...

In a recent post (elsewhere) I responded to an article where the focus was on "managing" "symptoms" of "disorders" like depression, anxiety etc via human connection. 

This essay went on to say that this person was falling back into their anxiety and depression because on the weekends they did not have the structure they do during the week. The thing that "saved" them from falling into their dark hole was a friend who called to invite them to do something. 

The response was "you just gave me a reason to get out of bed". 

And - yes. 

We DO need human connection and love in our lives.

Yet - when we need others to "give us a reason to get out of bed" we are in fact being "dependent" vs "independent". 

And the idea that one must "live with" and "manage" "symptoms"....

Well - I see this as part of the issue with being dependent on others to do something in order for us to feel better. 

Healthy "interdependent" relationships do not depend on others to do for us that which we can and should be doing for ourselves.

If we are struggling with "symptoms" we can learn how to meet our own needs vs waiting for someone to rescue us. 

If there is "disorder" - we can create "order" - and that began for me in realizing that waiting for someone to "give me a reason to live/get out of bed/go to school etc....

Was giving my power away. 

The "Empowering Solutions" project is about us learning to take control of changing our lives v.s. needing others or circumstances to change in order for our lives to change. 

If we are feeling hopeless we can find our hope by finding our power.

Tip: if you are feeling like you are falling into that dark place - try calling a friend to go do something instead of waiting for them to call you. If that friend is not available - call another. If that friend is not available just go for a walk or a bike ride and purpose to smile and say hello to everyone you pass. Make that human connection you are craving instead of waiting for someone to connect with you. 

We can own the power we have to create the life we want instead of living a life we tolerate. 

Is it easy? 


Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™