Hi, I’m Valerie Baker. You might know me from taking my quiz, Your True Selfie. Thank you so much for being here today, for being a precious member of your true selfie tribe. I’m here with you today to share something that took me a year to share. It’s very personal, I’m going out on a limb here. I hope you leave me a comment. In fact, I ask that you leave me a comment to let me know that you’ve heard my message and to let me know that I’m not alone in this. I hope that what I have to share with you today will have value to your journey because the journey is universal. It has the same, the exact same principles although it looks very different for everyone.
Shortly after I created Your True Selfie, exactly a year ago, our family went to Brazil to see John of God. If you don’t know who that is he’s a famous healer. People come to him from all over the world seeking cure for sometimes incurable conditions. We came to him seeking cure for my husband’s rapidly deteriorating neurological condition which at that point had no diagnosis, no course of treatment. When we came back we were connected with a doctor who diagnosed him for the first time and there is hope that treatment is in sight but we’re not there yet.
If you’re interested to hear more about our visit to John of God, just like we know in the comments I’ll be happy to share. In the meanwhile, I’ll stick to my promise to share what’s been going on over this year. What’s been going on is that my husband’s condition kept deteriorating. His balance, his gait, his fine motor functioning, his internal organs, his speech, his thinking, everything has been affected. This young, 50-year-old man has become, has found himself in a body that was significantly less able than it used to be. That was a rapid, rapid transition, a rapid adjustment for us all. I can’t begin to imagine what his journey has been like for him, he is the real Yogi here. I can only share from my experience and I hope that it will speak to yours.
What happens in the face of a difficulty? Well, we revert to what’s familiar. We’re looking for a comfort zone, we’re looking for comfort in these disquieting situations. My comfort zone has been work and I also use food for comfort. These have been my ways of kind of keeping my distance from the situation. I kept going and I kept going like this for awhile. You can call it denial, you can call it not really engaging with this reality. If you followed my work for any time before you might have heard me define stress as resisting reality, and that’s exactly what I was doing. I was resisting reality and I was feeling a lot of stress but I was not ready … I was not ready to allow myself to fall through and let life take me by the hand and open up, you know?
My comfort zone was in that stress. My comfort zone was in that stressed out state. I don’t know about you but for me and the way I was raised and the way we live in this fast paced society, when I’m stressed out that equals, I’m being productive and I’m doing something about this, I’m doing something about this. Sometimes there is really, there’s nothing you can do about this. You just have to be there. You just have to be present and you have to open up to your experience. By sometimes I mean always. What happens to us humans, we look for comfort and so I was looking for that comfort but that comfort was not available but I kept trying, I kept trying.
The extent of my denial, just to give you an idea, my mom said, “Well, Tom hasn’t been working for awhile, maybe you should apply for disability.” I went into this new age rage and I said, “No, no mom, we will not accept this as our reality.” All right, my mom is a wise woman, she let that be. We revisited that issue later and we did apply for disability on the day of the election. That was a very strange day in so many ways.
Hmm, where was I? In denial. I was thick in denial. Just to give you an idea, the way you know when you’re resisting reality is your thoughts, your body, your breath, and behavior, right? There are four domains that is very, very easy to track. You thoughts will be something like blaming somebody else for that situation, trying to find somebody to blame like the doctors who didn’t diagnose him in time or even him sometimes. “Why can’t you just remember what I said?” “Because honey, things don’t stick.” Oh, yeah, yeah, and it’s nobody’s fault. When you just accept that this is reality then it’s a very different place to be. You’re no longer stressed.
For the body, muscle tension lets you know that you’re stressed. I don’t know if you have a favorite area to store tension, for me it’s neck and shoulders so that tells me right away. I went like this for a good part of this year. Also the jaw, grinding my teeth at night. Yeah, that’s a big one. Yoga helps with that but you also have to know what’s going on and consciously, consciously undo that. Breathing becomes shallow when you’re resisting reality and behavior–wow, there are so many escape strategies. For me, my favorite is work closely followed by food, they’re like really neck and neck. I used to have a lot more, these are the two strongest standing. Sometimes when things are, like, really awful I might fall back on Netflix.
All right. What took me out of this denial? Well, life has its ways, her ways of taking us out of denial. Life keeps turning up the heat.
My husband’s condition kept deteriorating. He had to leave his office, vacate his office through a very … I’ll share later what’s been going on with these dwelling places. That was traumatic and difficult so he moved everything into the house. Then just a few short months later, I want to say three or four months, we had to leave our home and get rid of, like, 99% of our possessions. Maybe 90, maybe 89, but a lot.
All right, so life kept turning up the heat, turning up the heat. What finally got me was … In terms of Chakras, right, this is first Chakra stuff. This is where, like at the root, these safety, security, your dwelling. Then finally what broke me down was one day I checked the balance on one of my lines of credit, and I don’t have that many. I’ve been really anally responsible in the payments, never missed a payment. On top of my stuff, I paid for my Master’s program with 0% APR offers and then somehow paid it all off and woo, all right. This time I got … I saw that we were charged almost $6,000 in interest overnight. I called them up to see if there’d been a mistake and they said, “No, it’s not a mistake.”
This was a deferred interest offer and if you missed a payment at the end of the year if you missed a grace period then you would owe interest for the entire year. It was like 30% APR. I was like, “What?” First of all, I don’t even recall getting into that in the first place. Beside the point, I broke down for the first time this year, I broke down and I cried. That was much needed, that broke me through denial. Life finally brought me to a boil.
Look, I could have woken up much sooner, that’s why I’m telling you this. Hopefully, you’ll wake up to whatever life is trying to wake you up to much sooner, and I’ll give you more tips on how to do that, okay? It’s actually quite simple as long as you know what’s going on. I’m a slow learner, you can tell, right?
After I snapped out of denial I picked up the phone, I called my healer. She’s very wonderful and she said to me, “Look. You’ve been … Actually, something significant is going on for you right now. You are being asked to reclaim your gift in this particular area.” I said, “What is it?” She said, “Well, you’ve had the subconscious belief that a woman cannot make more money than a man.” “What me, really? No, no, no, no.” She said, “Well, that’s subconscious. Consciously of course you wouldn’t believe that.” I’m like, “Okay.” Obviously, the situation we were put in really made me, forced me to accept and embrace my own earning power and flush out that outdated belief that a woman could not make more money than a man. How interesting.
Thank you, my ancestry and cultural conditioning and, thank you, the healer for pointing that out to me. This is the entire idea behind your true selfie, as you might recall. If you don’t recall what yours was I encourage you to take it again. I just took mine again and I got Inspiration. How this is relevant, this is so on point to what’s going on. I am being asked to step into my deeper truth and learn to communicate and hear, and listen, and speak more compassionately, being more attuned. Of course it’s all about being in reality fully, right? This is fifth Chakra, this is the throat, this is the center of our truth that I was being invited in and resisting, resisting, resisting every step of the way. With my mind, with my body, with my breath, and with my behavior, resisting, resisting. What is stress? Resisting reality.
We went over how you know how you are resisting reality. Now, what’s the opposite of that? Letting life take you by the hand.
Letting life take you by the hand to the treasures that you’re being asked to reclaim. Your true selfie gives you some of these tools but I’ll make it even simpler for you. In the mind you notice if you’re doing one of those things. If you’re making somebody else the target or the reason why something is not going right, like, “Oh, it’s my job that’s stressful,” or, “It’s my husband.” Consider what is happening for you, not to you. What opportunities are there for you to really dance with and reclaim your gifts, and be open minded and just take things at face value and roll with them. Don’t resist them, roll with them, participate with your life.
On the level of the body, I recommend massages, hot baths, saunas, stretching, Yoga of course, and any physical activity that allows your muscles to stretch, and relax, and release that tension. It all works together. There are wonderful breathing practices. Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to demo some of this stuff that I am talking about now to open up and let your life take you by the hand so it may stop turning up the heat and you can start truly reclaiming your gifts in whatever circumstances you’re going through right now.
I promise you, it’s not in vain, you’re not suffering in vain. There is a bigger, beautiful reason that your soul is on the journey for.
The final part is behavior, of course, saving the best for last. Exit strategies. What are your exist strategies? Consider how you’re escaping from reality and invite yourself very gently, gently without any judgement to come back as much as you can. Of course, taking care of your mind, body, and breathing will make the fourth one a no brainer. Again, if you’d like me to give you more examples and tools techniques let me know.
Remember, I asked you in the beginning to please leave me a comment. Please leave me a comment. Let me know that I’m not alone, I’m sharing something that I’ve never shared before. Even some family members don’t know what’s going on, imagine. I’ve been holding strong to my denial and resisting reality but now I’m back and I am so happy that you are here with me on this journey. I hope you leave me a comment.
You can comment about anything but I’m asking you to share with me what is stressing you in your life right now? What is stressful for you? That is the gateway through which you’re called to reclaim your biggest gifts right now. All you need to do is stop fighting it and start doing this.
There is no shame in stressing and fighting because as humans we’re conditioned to do that. We’re conditioned to not want to change. Change is completely counter-intuitive to us but our life has a bigger plan. At any point of our journey we have a choice to either be closed or open. When we’re closed nothing can come in or out. You cannot share your gifts with the world, you cannot receive, you cannot participate in a relationship fully or in anything, in the unfolding of your life. When you open, oh man, oh woman, everything becomes possible for you in a beautiful way.
I hope this is a beginning of a beautiful conversation between us. I look forward to reading your comments. Let me know what’s your biggest stressor right now at this time and which of the 4 tools–the mind, the body, breathing, or behavior–is the most important for you right now. Feel free to ask me any questions. I’ll be happy to answer them in next week’s blog.
Until then, stay in your heart.