Never Be Afraid to Say What You Feel!

Listen: Tara Brach, PhD on Trauma

Tara Brach, PhD in Clinical Psychology, is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on vipassana (mindfulness or insight) meditation.

Listen to the following segment from her Meditation and Psychotherapy series, which is available for purchase on her website:

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Client Journal: Pieces of the Heart

Today I did an exercise that you had me do a while ago. When we first started working together, I remember you had me draw a silhouette of my body and write in the different emotions and where they were stored. I did the same thing, but with just my heart. (I will mail you the picture).

Looking at  the picture, I feel a lot of different things. The first area I colored on the  outside of my heart I called shutdown. It’s where I withhold, it’s where I don’t trust, it’s where I don’t want to let anyone in or near me. Underneath that layer I have anxiety, which is when my awkwardness comes out. Under anxiety I  have fear. I feel scared because I don’t want people to see what’s underneath, what’s in my heart.

I have my heart sectioned off. There is a piece that is rage. FUCK YOU!! I HATE YOU!! I DONT WANT TO DO THIS ON MY OWN WHY DON’T YOU VALIDATE ME?! I have a piece (a large piece) that is hurt/pain. Where I hold being molested, not being believed for being molested, for being ignored, not being supported or validated, for witnessing and experiencing emotional abuse, for being scared a lot of the time. It is also where my “why me?” lives. I have a piece that says frozen. Numb. I don’t feel anything and I don’t want to feel anything.

I have a piece that says “no love”. Where I feel worthless that I don’t love myself. Here I wrote that I people please, act perfect, I don’t set  boundaries because I don’t think I deserve them. I don’t honor myself from this place. I try to conform and be like “everybody else”. There is a piece where I have strength and passion. From here I give myself the “you can do it” pep talk.  I have a piece of compassion and empathy. But it is easier for me to give compassion or empathy than it is to receive it or give to myself, which I don’t like, and I think that is part of my “no love” piece.

Then I have a piece that has a ? mark. Because I don’t what to call it. I don’t know what it is. When I picture it, it’s a bright white light. Spirituality? Courage? Love? I  don’t know. All I know is I feel drawn to it and calm. But it’s a small piece in  comparison to all the other parts.

I feel sad when I look at the picture.  That I have so much pain. But I also feel a weird sense of calmness, like I am looking at a map that tells me who I am. Some I like, some I don’t like, some I want to change completely (like the “no love” part), some I want to modify and some I want to learn to accept and love no matter what (like the hurt and the pain parts). And there are parts I want to draw from more. Like from my strengths and passions.

Client Poem: Broken Mirrors and Hearts

I reach for you
In my sleep and
When I’m awake
It doesn’t matter how I try
To be with you
And have you be with me
The way I need
I can’t have it.

We come from the material, the same fibers
You gave birth to my pain and my spirit
My trauma and creation
My ugly thoughts and my beautiful eyes
My fear and my fire

I dread the day you’ll float away
Into the abyss

Because in this life
We have fought
And I have wailed and wailed
On the cold floor
And you have ignored
And tortured me
The day you disappear
I will still break.

Because you are frail and helpless to me
Though you have hit
And raged at me.
That day,
I will still fall to that cold floor
And wail.

Client Poem: Bluebeard

I run
Just like my mother
From the dark man in my dreams
In sunlight
In my fingertips
My knees far too weak
I didn’t trust my insides
“the hurt will go away…”
“it will change…”
“it’s just me…”
“I deserve nothing less…”
I just wanted to lay with you
Close my eyes, feel you forever
You and me
But I turned away from everything that
Was screaming
“this is wrong…”
and let you bleed me
you read the weakness
saw the holes in my heart
and plunged
my mother taught me
to ignore the blood
wipe it away
scour it down
and ignore it till
kingdom come
there was no one to say,
to hold me back,
to teach me otherwise
to show me another way
to face you…
so I drowned with you
because I never recognized the
sides of you I never knew,
the things you said that were
never true.

Client Poem: Untitled

I am the wild child kicking your insides awake.
Pounding to the rhythm of your hearts longing.
A mischievous smile that hides pain like candy.
I am alive with fire
dancing under a star filled sky
searching for my love in the darkness between.

Client Journal: Am I Honoring Myself? Parts 1 and 2

Am I Honoring Myself? : Part 1
For my whole life, it’s been a struggle to get what I want. I have also seen that play out in my family’s lives. Everyone wants to do or be and they all have ended up miserable. Also, when I was young, my parents treated me in a way that told me that I don’t matter. My mom would buy expensive things for herself when I needed new things. I would do without and she had what she needed. That made me feel like I was not important. This feeling of not deserving carries in all aspects of my life. I started asking myself the questions, “Am I honoring myself? Am I loving myself?” as a way to start becoming more aware of when I am not honoring myself, so I can give myself the chance to make another choice. So I can begin to honor and love myself more. One example is, yesterday I got a text message from my friend K, saying “Hi, how are you” and then getting into her paranoia as to why she thinks she might have AIDS. I was about to indulge her — which usually leads to me saying, “no you don’t have AIDS, I promise…” and then goes on to me taking care of her problems and acting like I don’t have any — then I stopped myself and asked, “Am I honoring myself by doing this?” No. I am not. I texted her back, asking her to let me know what her schedule is like in the next week or so, and saying that I would like to get together with her to talk about some things that I am discovering as I am working on myself. She said sure and asked if everything is ok. I told her that I am becoming aware of how I relate to her in our friendship and how it isn’t always in the healthiest way, and I would like to talk to her about more in person or on the phone, but not through text. She said she would check her schedule and get back to me. It feels good to to take a step, even if it’s a small one, to learning how to love and honor myself more.

Am I honoring Myself? : Part 2
All week I have been asking myself, “Am I honoring myself? Am I loving myself?” It is making me aware of even the little things. Like how I walk for example, head almost down, eyes not really focused on anything, posture a little slouched. Yesterday I caught myself and asked, “Am I honoring myself by walking this way?” No. I am not. I don’t feel confident or beautiful. Instead, I feel a little anxious. I changed my walk to a walk I practice in stiletto heels class. I felt better, more confident, and less anxious.

A couple days ago was Valentine’s Day. I asked myself the same question, “Am I honoring myself”. I thought about the guys I dated within the past year and a half. Yes, I liked a couple more than others, but there isn’t a guy that stands out that makes me say, “Man, I’m upset that didn’t work out, he had everything I’m looking for!” But I can’t put it all on them, so I started thinking about how I feel about myself. Yes, I like myself. But I don’t really love myself, and I don’t really honor myself. The guys I have dated pretty much mirrored that back to me. So no, I am not honoring myself by dating right now. I feel like I need to focus on building up my self-confidence and my self-love.

When I started dating, it was to just “get in the game” and start interacting with men. But now I feel like that’s not working for me anymore, because I want more now from a man. I want a man who sees me and loves it. But I need to do that for myself. I think part of it too is that I’ve been looking for a man to love me first, if that makes sense. I thought I could be the exception to the rule. I’m not. I need to love me first, I can’t wait or depend on anyone else to do it for me. I decided to take a break from dating. I want to focus on loving myself

Marta: Intention: Today I will honor myself by watching how I express or hold back on my true feelings and needs. I will have compassion for my fear of losing others as I stand for my self-respect and equality in relationship with others. I will also learn to listen better to myself and others and create boundaries between who I am and who the other is. I will also acknowledge my need for love, without manipulation, but with vulnerability. It is safe to love when each person honors their own feelings and needs. Sometimes, when opening to love, it can hurt the heart. That is because at first when we begin to heal and soften, all of our wounded self emerges to be felt. If we can stand in hold our feelings with compassion and not jump out of our bodies to go numb into addictive behaviors, we then can begin to build a strength that is vulnerable.

Resource: New Patterns of Codependency

Co-Dependent behaviors, thoughts and feelings are the way we hold to our lies and protect ourselves. It is part of addiction and is the way we stay numb, blocking out wounds and trauma. I will be doing a series on Co-Dependency, Addiction and Trauma.

Poem: A Ritual to Read Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person you are or who I am

Following the wrong God home.

Small betrayal, a shrug…shouts…horrible errors of childhood.

Elephants parade holding each other’s tale…

Awake people should be awake… Or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep.

Darkness around us is deep.

The signals…yes, no, maybe should be clear.

The breaking line that brings people back to sleep.

Awake people should be awake

What does this mean?

What does being awake mean?

That question can inspire an entire world, universe inside of me

I feel into my gut and it is tight, something holding, something wanting to explode

I want to be inspired…can I inspire me?

Touching into something deeper than the dark or the light.

I am sick of those words, dark and light.

It is so neat and clean, dark and light.

I want the dimensions, the layers, the nuances between the lines that people speak

I want the subtle facial expressions. I want the truth.

What is the truth?

When I tell my truth I cringe.

It is so vulnerable, raw, alive, breathtaking, frightening,

Wicked, cutting, and evocative.

Testing, testing to see what my truth will provoke

Awaken the mystery of not knowing.

The truth is a mystery.

Will I stop caring if people judge my truth — ever??

What is that truth?  The sight between the blink of an eye.

The way someone stares at me pretending she is listening.

The secrets that someone is silent about because they are ashamed.

The reactions, the triggers that are hidden, buried in ice

Enlightened ideas, that are tough perfectionism.

What is wrong with just merely saying it like a child?

I hate you.

I love you

I hurt

I’m excited

I see you have a pimple on your face

Look into my eyes and feel me.

I see you are fiddling around while I talk

The reasons that we exist, explode like a bullet across my cheek.

I feel my burning existence. The reason you exist and I exist.

I am in those reasons.

I am so attached to the breath of every breath

The blink of every eye

The way someone’s hand moves

The way someone shifts in their seat

I am attached to that

I feel their shifting and moving

And my body interprets that subtle energy

I am so bonded

My boundaries are quick to recede around people. Life!

I am ignited every moment

A circus of tigers, spiders, bears and ravens screams rumble through

My body and brain like an avalanche.

I can’t stop this from happening.

Like stopping a tsunami

I am a helpless to my own nature.

The truth of surrender. Powerlessness to the forces.

Are you awake? Do you see yourself in silence of betrayal?

In the heartbreak of love

In the need to be seen like the rising sun

The lining of a silver cloud.

The dark thunder of your belly ache

Are you awake? To it all?

Can you take the truth?

That maybe you aren’t divine. Maybe you

Are a mortal, a human with flaws and crazy blood?

That insanity runs through your veins?

Are you awake. To the dirty splendor of gorgeous human dirt?


You are a mouse in a corner. Thinking each corner is something new

But you repeat, and repeat and repeat your blindness

Just so you can be right and straight like a shooting star

You burst at the end and disappears

Because you deceive yourself.

Are you? Are you? Awake?

Do you pee in the forest like a wolf?

Howl until your lungs collapse?

Crawl on all fours?

Wake UP!! Wake UP!! Wake UP!!

For Good Awards Nominee Marta Luzim

Give Her A Voice President Marta J. Luzim, MS (right) and Board Member Rita Munoz

Founder and President of Give Her A Voice, Marta J. Luzim, MS, was recognized as a nominee at the For Good Awards luncheon on February 14th, 2012, presented by the Community Foundation of Broward.









Loose Flesh, A Woman’s Love

Holding the flesh of my thigh, known to the patriarchal world as cellulite

Get a tummy tuck, get fat reducer, diet.

A woman, learned to hate that flesh

The chunky, gooey, top of the stomach, called muffin tops.

That curvy Renaissance woman, naked across the couch

Only a woman can love the white, silk, soft flesh.

No muscles, or workout, or gyms or hundred mile races

Just her gelatin flesh, her body, the matter of body, the woman

The earth. Woman is the body

Women stopped loving themselves, too soft and cushy to fall into

Like pillows or clouds, but the strength in that hanging flesh

Is my grandmother’s iron hand and tough survival.

Loving the woman who eats Crisco and dives into the ocean off of cliffs

The light of the moon shines on her full buttocks.

Women who inject silicone to get that buttocks curve like a hill

Flat tummies, six pack, ripples across the gut, a man’s body

Only a woman can love a woman in the way a woman loves

I am only first beginning to love as a woman can love myself

I was beaten to be stiff, silent and pretty, a hard pretty, that had no lose ends or fuzzy

Ends curled, only neat and clean

A woman as a wolf, peeing, her legs open and sniffing the leaves, in the dirt

That is how a woman loves herself.