Trauma-Beginning to Understand

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I spent some time googling “trauma expert” and “science behind trauma” the other day. It is really quite complex, I didn’t find much concrete information.

I am not going to bore you with these details, as you can also google in your free time.

What spurred this google sesh was there was a fire in our apartment building. Thank G-d everyone was safe, including the family who’s apartment it was in. Everyone evacuated and stood on the sidewalk in the dark surrounded by at least 5 fire engines with lights flashing, lots of emergency personnel, and everyone in some state of clothes and/or pajamas. We were outside for a good half hour, perhaps longer.

Why do I write this? Because I realized that I underwent some level of trauma that night, though thank G-d it was not my personal apartment in which the fire happened. I went through an initial disbelief internally that it was a true emergency or fire before running out of the apartment, followed by slow-motion putting my shoes on, knocking on a neighbor’s door, and then running downstairs still not fully believing that this was real. I’m not sure what this was about – perhaps some sort of defense mechanism or survival technique, but that’s what I felt.

Outside I felt the shock of what was happening, realizing that the family lost all their possessions in an instant. That they had no place to sleep that night. That was terrifying, upsetting, shocking, all at once. Tears came to my eyes when I realized how fortunate and blessed we all were on the sidewalk, how thankful I was that someone called the Fire Department, that they put out the fire, and that the family had run out in record time.

I’m writing this because I’m curious how you all (readers) process and go through trauma. We all endure some levels of trauma in our lives, just from living on this planet, some unfortunately to greater degrees than others.

I’m also writing this because perhaps my method of dealing with/processing the trauma can help someone else.

What I did:

I’m a kinesthetic learner, followed greatly by audio, lastly visual. I’m mentioning this because I’m very much a doer, and learn by doing. I’m not a trauma expert. However, I was so shaken up, I knew I had to DO something to help myself process this trauma without having nightmares and becoming OCD with every siren I hear outside (call me sensitive but this is how I felt after the event).

So I did some steps to help myself process the fire.

1. I spoke about it with other families in my building who had all experienced more or less the same thing that night

2. I asked around, found out where the family was staying who had experienced the fire in their apartment, and I went to ask how they were faring and offer my support in any way. She is a friend of mine and I genuinely cared about her emotional and physical wellbeing. 

3. I bought 2 boxes of Duncan Hines brownie (link: https://amzn.to/2DEAnRA) and white cake mix (though at my local store the kosher symbol was different than this: https://amzn.to/2qKRMzs), baked brownies and white cake (used a hack to make the white cakes honey cakes for the Jewish Holiday season), and took an uber to the fire station, also armed with some pamphlets about the Jewish holidays in case any of the firefighters were Jewish. I thanked the firemen, they were some of the people who had been on call and responded that night to our building, and gave them brownies and honey cakes. I asked them questions about how to make my apartment more fire safe, and how to light candles in a safer way. It was fascinating to be there, I highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t visited. I learned a lot about how they work just from being there and observing, and seeing the firemen and engines up close took some of the trauma and fear factor away as well as the practical information to quell the worrying.

That’s pretty much all that I did. All in all, I feel very much like a part of me was healed and can move on. The reminders are always there – the burnt and black apartment I pass in my building, and neighbors still speaking about it, as well as my friend who moved into a new apartment. I feel that I have helped myself to move past the fear and into a healing place, and I can do that without feeling guilty instead feeling grateful and blessed, as well as inspired to help more in my community as much as I can.

I’d love to hear how you’ve helped yourself process and heal from trauma- Drop me a line, leave your comments below -let’s all share the wealth. You never know when your tip can help another! ~Shirit

Basics of the Demartini Method – Effective technique to address relationships

In Judaism, there is a phenomenon called “if you know alef, teach alef”. Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The saying is basically emphasizing that you can teach a little even if all you know is a little. YOu don’t have to be an expert yet to help someone else out.

That’s where I am today. I’m not an expert yet (in coaching or organizing!) However, I have benefited from some outstanding mentors and have some guidance to pass on from them and from my experience. So here goes:

Counselors and therapists have their place. Go for it, pursue it, I hope these avenues help you in the ways that you need most.

Despite people’s success stories, these sources of assistance were not profoundly life changing for me.

What WAS life changing, was the coaching programs through Dr. John Demartini and the Dina Friedman Academy.

I can go into some more personal experience and advice later. I want to give a little introduction to some basic principles of this philosophy, and hope that even this little tidbit could help someone truly suffering.

As I understood as explained by Dr. Demartini’s work, a major underlying principle is that everyone and life in general is created in balance. Every person has numerous traits and they are all inside that person in balance, traits like honesty, lying, respectful, disrespectful, responsible, irresponsible, kind, mean, stingy, giving, etc. A person contains all the traits in equal proportions in their makeup and personality.

If I am seeing someone (lets call him Bob for example’s sake) as solely and 100% mean, I am blocked in this trait. I am blocked in seeing my own displays of this trait (I don’t think I’m ever mean and can’t see myself as being mean ever) and I am blocked in seeing that Bob has any of the opposite traits – that of kindness. To me, Bob is 100% mean, no bones about it.

Why is this important? How many interactions in your life follow these labels – this coworker is annoying, this boss is demanding, this spouse is irritating, this friend is jealous, etc. Or also positive traits (though for those most of us don’t seek therapy) this friend is beautiful, this coworker is generous, etc. How often do we not see the rounded picture, that each of us has all the elements and factors of a dynamic personality, even if we don’t want to admit it?

If you are seeing one trait dominantly in a person close to you, and it is impacting or even harming your relationship, Dr. Demartini then prescribes some homework:

1. To write down 25 specific instances in which the person (Bob) displayed kindness, for example – Bob helped Jane’s kitty down from the tree yesterday at 2 pm. They have to be specific instances with specific people involved.

2. Write down 25 ways that you displayed that trait so prevalent in Bob (mean in this example) like: I cut in front of the person before me in the supermarket line at Whole Foods today at 12pm, etc. There are more steps to this process in what he trademarked the Demartini Breakthrough Experience, and you can find out all the information on his website https://drdemartini.com/ or on Dina’s website www.dinafriedmanacademy.com.

What is astounding after doing this work is that you start to see the person in a different light, and even yourself through a different lens. Before, it’s not that my perception was skewed – Bob really is mean! Always! Following this work/the Breakthrough Experience, the self-talk sounds more like “Bob is sometimes mean, and sometimes nice. I’m also sometimes mean, and sometimes nice. Really, I see a lot of things Bob does that are really nice and kind.”

*This method is not suitable for someone dealing with violence/abuse, active addictions, or someone unfaithful in a relationship. For those situations, one must have additional support as well.

This can be a particularly sensitive process and can take time to get started, often once you get a few examples down the rest come rolling out. It is beneficial to do this process under guidance such as at a Demartini or Dina Friedman seminar where facilitators can guide you and help answer questions in the process, especially in painful scenarios or relationships.

I highly suggest anyone who is going through a challenge and feeling stuck with traditional therapists and counselors, to seek out a Demartini or Dina Friedman coach/facilitator/therapist. Even if you feel that there is no hope for you, they are trained to deal with the most extreme situations and can help guide you to be a stronger and more successful you. The choice is always yours in terms of how to continue or even to end a relationship, however even in a situation where one chooses to end a relationship, this work can help you clarify and better solidify your feelings, thoughts, emotions and decisions, enabling you to move forward in any way as a stronger and more balanced version of you.

~Shirit

Open Pantry – Update!

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Pantry Update!

Even when organized, stuff can get out of control! Especially in a small kitchen.

I revamped the pantry, making use of a new bowl and a new shelf unit for additional kitchen and dining items.

Picked up a free bowl being given away by a local flower shop, thank you @Mimulo (SCORE!). Where do you keep your produce?

Yes, my pantry space is valuable. Though my counter space is more valuable, so I decided to put the produce bowl in the open pantry.

Also picked up a free shelf unit someone was giving away in my neighborhood – took it home in an uber (SCORE!). Idea for this was threefold: extra kitchen/pantry storage, toy storage, and a nice aesthetic on top.

I thought the bowl would be EXCELLENT on top of the new shelf. Problem is, it is too big (see pics, it extends over the edge). Sigh.

That’s where the idea for a produce bowl came in.

Then I redid the pantry since it was getting out of hand anyways. With small spaces, I think every few months reorganizing is in order, even having done the Konmari method. Everyone eats, the pantry contents change, and we need to adjust. Nothing wrong with that!

These are the before (L) and after (Center and R) images of redone pantry!! No, I am not embarrassed lol of the before – this is real life my friends.

More organized new shelf pictured below. Another reason I wanted something in this location in the living room is due to the cords, they used to be on the ground and were an ugly eye-sore. I can’t move them since this is where they are attached to the wall/internet hookup, and this is at least safer and possibly less ugly than before. Still looking for more ideas regarding storing these cords more aesthetically, however they also generate heat so cannot be closed up in a drawer for example (tried that previously, lol).

Similar items to what I used:

New black shelf: https://amzn.to/2FwGlpE

Gold produce bowl: https://amzn.to/2TfmZbe

Happy centering,
~Shirit

Toy Storage!

Toys! So easy to buy, yet no space for them all!

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In a previous apartment (upper right photo) toys were stored on a bookshelf in the living room in plastic containers/bins. It was an easy-to-access solution, not super aesthetic as the bins didn’t all match. 

Now in this apartment (upper left photo), we no longer have that bookshelf, and what you see is a mess of toys all over the ground! I’ve tried a few different storage methods in the closet, living room, and kids room, which you will see below.

1. Rubbermaid closet system: The system is installed in the kids room closet with one rack for hanging clothing and one shelf. More shelves could be added – this is a possibility I have entertained at some point. This link is similar to what I purchased from Walmart online at the time, though now the price is better on amazon: https://amzn.to/2TcG65L

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2. Fabric cubes: These have been useful in storing toys. I have one in the main living room bookshelf, sometimes one or two grace the floor in the kids bedroom, and I am using two in the new bookshelf in the living room as well. Disadvantages of these are they are not super durable, they don’t last forever, and kids have to dig through them to get to what they want. See some below (turquoise, gray, I also have some black ones). This is a link to some similar, though get some colorful ones to brighten things up: https://amzn.to/2B7LmjS

3. Plastic drawer units in the kids closet and in the kids bedroom: I’ve alternated with set-ups with plastic drawer units around the kids bedroom with toys in the three clear drawers, and in the closet under the mounted shelf. Right now I fit two such storage units in the closet and it makes for a less cluttered feel for the room. I also have one miscellaneous sized drawer still loose in the room, which also serves a purpose slightly elevating the laundry hamper..hmm I can address this at some point. You can see the drawers in some of the pics above. Big drawers: https://amzn.to/2qPugkR Smaller drawers: https://amzn.to/2zaGfy3

4. Laundry hamper: stuffed animal storage. I used to do this, and though cute and aesthetically pleasing, it wasn’t practical as inevitably all the stuffed animals ended up on the floor – it is just too deep. I’ll find a pic somewhere, but you get the idea. Now stuffed animals are stuffed (pun intended) into the clear drawers, and they also live in the doll strollers. Taking advice in this area – please comment below for stuffed animal storage! (I’m not a fan of the nets above because I like the Montessori-theme of kids accessing toys themselves, I don’t want storage up high that I have to get down each time). I got mine at TJ Max as a gift (the tag was on so I knew where it was from lol) a similar one on Amazon if you choose to go this route for stuffed animals: https://amzn.to/2DFxJei

Links to stuff I used or similar:

Rubbermaid closet configuration:  https://amzn.to/2TcG65L

Fabric bins (but I recommend bright and colorful ones for an easy pop): https://amzn.to/2B7LmjS

Plastic 3 drawer unit (large): https://amzn.to/2qPugkR

Plastic 3 drawer unit (small/narrower): https://amzn.to/2zaGfy3

Laundry hamper for stuffed animals: https://amzn.to/2DFxJei

Which methods do you prefer of storing toys and stuffed animals? 

~Shirit