Holiday Triggers and Partnerships

Positive Reframe...

Every major holiday like Thanksgiving and Christmas, my body’s impulse is to shut down, disconnect, and cut out all pressure. My Mom slaved to create picture-perfect holidays. Most of it was magical and I am very grateful for all she did. The conflicting part for me was witnessing her killing herself to make it perfect. Sure she tried to get her six kids to help but most of it came in the form of yelling and anger as she was at her wit’s end. I just wanted to avoid her at all costs which of course stressed her out even more. It just didn’t make sense to me why she was doing all this work and seemed miserable doing it. I know now, she was wanting to give what she never had and once she earned that role, she didn’t know how to let go and set boundaries to preserve…

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Positive Reframe on Risk-Taking

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” ~Alfie Kohn

Positive Reframe...

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” ~Alfie Kohn

I ran across this article from NPR Is It Time To Bring Risk Back Into Our Kids’ Playgrounds? and I say ‘Yes’ and not just at playgrounds but in life! Risk-taking is a healthy, life-long skill which builds confidence and competence, especially when kids are younger as their brains are doing the most development and the consequences are typically smaller. Overprotecting inhibits natural growth and resilience. How are kids suppose to learn if they can’t experience the decision-making process and the consequences of those choices? There is also no need to punish or add more shame to these experiences like the sadly common reaction of lectures and “I told you so” or “You should know better”.

Children learn when allowed to feel the full range of emotions of…

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Reframe on “Mental Illness”

I have found that unconditional love, kindness, attunement, compassion, understanding, safety, and assertive, non-violent communication in our relationships, especially in the parent/child relationship and our partnerships, to be the most effective for cultivating mental health. #endstigma

Positive Reframe...

I am very grateful that there is a shift in language from “mental illness” to “mental health”. Personally and professionally, I have yet to meet an individual who was diagnosed with a “mental illness” that was not surrounded in environments or relationships that were loaded with emotional, social and chemical toxins or had a significant negative event occur during critical and sensitive periods of development. Unprocessed toxins build up, dysregulate our systems, create dis-ease, leads to disconnection, disorder, and trauma, then passes on through generations until processed. I have found that our culture tends to accept toxins and violence as well as grossly neglects getting vital needs met which would nurture and heal us during times of stress. I believe this systematic problem and subversive dynamic are contributing factors to the development of a “mental illness” so why should the individual bare the weight of a diagnosis and stigma?

Levine truama quote


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Conflict Reframe

Positive Reframe...

Conflict, or times of significant stress, can also be the greatest opportunities for connection, healing, and growth when you learn to embrace the negativity and trust the journey. It is scary to be vulnerable and even though I have experienced the benefits of this experience, a part of me still gets triggered to fear and naturally wants to resist and that’s OK. It matters more how we choose to respond, to love ourselves and everyone else through. ~Debra

“Conflict can be a sign of where we are in conflict with ourselves: It can signal an unmet need that we’ve ignored for too long. It can give us a clue to where the fire’s burning so we can find ways to put it out instead of letting it spread and destroy us. It can point to where we’re stuck in our lives. It can invite us into awareness and reduction of stress…

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Vital Needs

Unfortunately, what we need the most to heal, connection, we have learned to fear.

Positive Reframe...

There are no bad people, only those with less vital needs met and more pain to heal. Every interaction is an opportunity to nurture, heal and grow… 

Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov

Human defense mechanisms intrigue me (i.e. passive/aggressiveness, distortion, projection, denial, fantasy, rationalization, minimizing )…They protect us from absorbing too much pain at once so that the body/mind/heart can prepare to process the uncomfortable, hurtful, and overwhelming experience in order integrate and transcend but if we depend on these mechanisms or use them too long, they harden to bricks that build a wall. You might feel the illusion of safety behind this great wall, but the build-up of toxins, the natural consequences and negativity will delude you. Connection, being able to touch another’s heart is one of our vital needs. Many of our other needs are cultivated within well-connected and mutually satisfying and respectful relationships. Unfortunately, 

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Positive Reframe on Women’s Bodies

I have been seeing a slew of photos of new celebrity mother’s showing how wonderful they look after losing all their baby weight gain while their babies are still under the age of one. Some have only just made it out of the 4th trimester – the first three months after the baby is born. Now don’t get me wrong, I want women to celebrate their bodies and feel comfortable to share no matter what stage or shape you are in. I happened to lose 60lbs after my second child was born and was asked to pose for some clothing advertising. I was actually “skinny shamed” by a commenter. They had no idea nor took any consideration on how this was my first time ever posing and I was finally feeling confident and flattered for being asked after losing all the weight I gained from four pregnancies, three being consecutive miscarriages, including a stillbirth.

What concerns me the most is the added pressure and sub-text, the negative messages that women are absorbing about their bodies when they are the most vulnerable, in the transition of being a mother and needing to nurture a dependent soul. How you look should absolutely be the last thing on your mind. In fact, I don’t even think it needs to be on a list of worries. Have you had a baby!?! I assure you, there is enough to worry about. Being able to shower and sleep are hard enough. I could easily go off on a tangent about privilege as well… losing weight is hard and it’s one thing when you have secure resources and an elaborate support system but let’s get back to weight.

The most recent comment I read from a celebrity was regarding her post-partum body. She stated, “I don’t even know what to say, other than I’m so sorry to my body.” … I wish we could reframe this messages to one of gratitude, strength, encouragement, and compassion for our bodies like, “Wow, thank you body for supporting and nurturing me and my baby. I will continue to prioritize my wellbeing and nourish you the best way I can.” Imagine what would happen if we consciously chose to send positive and supportive messages about our bodies…What “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” Dr. Gail Dines

Here are some links on how society influences and/or distorts how we define beauty…




Promoting Resiliency and Connection Tips

We can promote resiliency & connection by ‘tuning in’ to our senses, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. Negativity, symptoms, and conflict often come from a state of stress and/or unmet needs.

Positive Reframe...

We can promote resiliency & connection by ‘tuning in’ to our senses, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. Negativity, symptoms, and conflict often come from a state of stress and/or unmet needs. 

Here are keys to empowering you to make conscious choices to get your vital needs met. Understanding and following these will harmonize your connection to your mind, body, and soul as well as your relationships.

Bright side..Resilience

Inconsistent or inadequate amounts/quality of the following vital needs trigger dysregulation (dependent on context and individual temperament or special needs):

  1. Nutrition/Hydration
  2. Temperature
  3. Sleep
  4. Level of stimulation (from all senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, & smell)
  5. Connection and Emotional needs of feeling Respected, Important, Secure, Accepted, Included
  6. Unprocessed stress/trauma (negative events, thoughts, emotions, chemicals)

“…kids don’t get dysregulated because we allow their emotions. They get dysregulated when they need to express an emotion but can’t. So, instead, they act (it) out.” ~Dr Laura…

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