The Comfort Zone Myth and How To Break Free From Fear

Five years ago I started working on myself in a new way. I was reading a different kind of book - the ones that challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.

Interesting words.

Comfort zone. Some synonyms for comfort zone:

- fear of rejection
- fear of success
- excuses
- lack of confidence
- etc

Does any of that sound familiar to you? It was for me and it was exhausting, living in my “comfort” zone.

Five years ago I started reading some pretty motivational stories written by pretty inspirational people. Deep down I knew I had a lot of work to do to because I had lost myself in so much grief over so many years of loss and emotional abuse. I’d turned into someone I didn’t want to be and five years ago I made a few drastic decisions to choose better for myself.

My comfort zone was keeping me from my own responsibility to heal. It was also keeping me from being able to process deeply rooted emotions that I didn’t have any clue how to deal with back then. Anxiety attacks, insomnia and a lot of fear ruled my life. Something had to give because I couldn’t live this way anymore.

I recognized something that was pretty tough to admit. I was just lost without a purpose. Struggling to make sense of some serious and other not-so-serious symptoms of trauma, I read and I read and I read.

The irony here is that I started my Young Living business five years ago and I was actually reading these books because they were helping me with my fear of what people might think of me for wanting to better my life. I was reading books like You Are A Badass (you can find that fabulous book here —-> You Are A Badass Book) so I could overcome those fears - and what I did was so much more than that. At the beginning of each chapter there is a quote in the middle of the page. One of those quotes changed my life and kicked my healing journey into high gear. It was a time in my life where I was feeling immense pain both physically and emotionally. I was sick, sad, lost, angry, confused.

“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past” - Lily Tomlin

Read that again.

I have lived by this quote and reminded myself of it almost daily ever since. It rocked my world, this one little line compacted with everything I needed to understand that healing meant letting go of being a victim of circumstance.

I am not alone.

Are you reading this and feeling like you’re on this same journey? Or parts of it?

You don’t have to go through a car accident or an abusive relationship to feel grief or to go through a traumatic experience.

You don’t have to live in your “comfort” zone in order to avoid the pain - AND ultimately avoid the joy.

It’s been five years since You Are A Badass landed in my lap and since then I’ve read a hundred books just like it. One of the reasons I’ll stress the importance of reading (or listening to podcasts - one of my favourites is Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, or you can also check out online reading options like Audible) is that you take a break from the looping of your own inside voice. We all have that voice which constantly seems to be chattering away to us, and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about - you haven’t become aware of this tricky little voice yet.

Typically this voice is saying things over and over to keep you safe, except safe doesn’t always mean better. In this case, safe means “you’re right, you’re definitely not good enough to try that, you might hurt yourself” or “remember what happened last time we dated someone, you got your heart broken, so no, we are saying no to that date”. That little voice can be trained to say more positive things like, “oh heck yes we are risking our damn lives, we lived last time we jumped and look at where we are now. What does Mel Robbins say? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - GO!”

It’s risky business to start your healing journey because you don’t know what will be on the other side. It’s scary to say good bye to people because you don’t know what your life will look like without them or if you’re making the right choice.

Not making a choice is also... a choice.

Your comfort zone keeps you safe in a way that you don’t have to do anything new.

Your comfort zone can be the thing keeping you small, hurt, stuck, suffering, depressed.

I decided I wanted to live my extraordinary life and not be the girl whose brother died. Who is estranged from her mother. Whose dad disappeared. Whose roommate killed himself. Five years ago those things would have defined me.

Grief and trauma take hold of your life in ways that we sometimes don’t even realize. Those deeply rooted emotions that get stuck in our bodies can do a lot of harm to us physically and emotionally.

I’m so grateful to have The Good Healing Habit to commit my efforts to sharing and healing together as a community. If you’re doing this work and you’re feeling alone, this community is for you. If you are doing this work and you want community around you to keep you accountable, this community is for you.

I wish I didn’t have to go through my healing journey alone, and so if you feel that same way, I hope you’ll join us.

Join The Good Healing Habit

With Purpose,

Tonia

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Our Favourite Amazon Prime Special of 2020

Our Favourite Amazon Prime Special of 2020
—-> —-> Some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  Help support our family by purchasing products you need through the links from this page.  If you buy something based on our recommendation, we might earn a small commission for referring you.


Colin and I have been Amazon Prime members now off and on for over a year and honestly - we love it. I am personally the kind of person who hits “purchase” and immediately wants to see a confirmation email followed directly by a tracking number. It is apparently PRIME DAYS and there are some pretty incredible deals October 12th and 14th - check out all of those deals here —-> https://amzn.to/2IlSUpm 

Last month Colin and I bought an Echo Plus 2nd Gen from Amazon (deals for this guy ended a while ago so check way down at the end of this blog for the 3rd gen dots!), which we got on sale through Amazon Prime (Prime is free for the first month, and so of course we were jumping on that to get our ‘Alexa’ for half price. Crazy since we had just looked a month before and it was $199. We wanted one for the lake next summer to be able to play music while hanging outside. Fumbling around with our phones is not something we want to have to worry about and the convenience of an Echo - wow! What a difference. We linked our Spotify account and now with a super simple command she plays amazon music or Spotify in a second flat. 

Amazon also emails you mini updates about your Alexa and how to communicate with her or explore other features. Here are a few of our favourites so far: 

  • Being able to check the weather just simply by asking Alexa is so convenient. 
  • Speaking of convenience, setting a timer for this baker - incredible! 
  • Song Quiz is any Name-That-Tune fanatic’s game - play with your friends or play online and have Alexa match an opponent for you
  • Akinator - basically this is an extension of the game 20 questions but about characters, any character you can dream up, Alexa will try and guess who you’re thinking of. So. Much. Fun.
  • Ask, “Alexa, announce dinner is ready!” But make sure you say “dinner is ready” very animated - it records your own voice in the announcement after she rings a dinner bell. Hilarious.
This is such a fun buy but also incredible if you’re looking for some extra convenience and fun in your life, this is worth every penny. This sale is unreal for Prime members. 

The little Echo Dots are $24.99 so you could have a few in your home if you want one in the bathroom (who doesn’t love singing in the shower?) or another in your basement. You can’t beat that price and these things are incredible. Our only regret is we wished we had bought them sooner. Our 10 month old daughter thinks it’s wild that this little thing talks to us. She can’t quite pronounce her name correctly but she randomly shouts out “adaaaata!” and outstretches her arm towards the kitchen counter. Hilarious, guys.

When she’s feeling playful we say, “Alexa, Simon Says hi Macy you are looking so beautiful today” or “Alexa, Simon Says, Macy we are having pancakes for breakfast, come on over to the kitchen!” and when Alexa repeats Macy’s eyes just light right up. So fun.

I typically use our Echo Plus for setting timers when I’m baking and when the alarm goes off Macy is quick too get my attention because she knows COOKIES are coming!!

You won’t regret these purchases, I know we don’t. And right now you can get them even cheaper than we did but hurry because the sale end today!!

The Echo Dots —-> https://amzn.to/2H2iIGC

Happy Shopping!

With Purpose,

Tonia 



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3 Signs You Are Ready To Heal

3 Signs You Are Ready To Heal
Life changes on a dime when something tragic happens to you. It can feel like your life stops. Do you know that song by Reba McIntyre with the line, “I guess the world didn’t stop for my broken heart”. True, right?

Personally, there have been times where I didn’t come back up for air for years after suffering some incredible losses in my own life. I know it can take a very long time before you’re ready to start putting one foot in front of the other again.

The hope, though, is that you will.

Let me tell you a quick story about living after loss that I witnessed as a young child that helped to transform my life.

My great grandpa, Dee, was a pretty great man and I have talked about him fondly in a bit of a memorial style blog that you can read here, called I will Plant Carrots. Anyway, this man really taught me some of my most precious and valuable lessons in life - and decades after this amazing man passed away he is still teaching me.

I recently realized that he not only instilled a vision of what unconditional love looks like but also what a lifetime of happiness can look like after healing from tremendous loss. You see, his wife and the love of his life passed away in their fifties and my Great Grandpa Dee lived to be 94 years old. His wife's hairbrush and toothbrush still rested on the bathroom sink and her robe still hung behind the door. He grew a beautiful fruit and vegetable garden, taught us great grandchildren how to do cartwheels and took us for ice cream down the street. He lived. My Great Grandpa was also born in 1900 and lived through both world wars and the Great Depression. He has seen grief, and he was such a loving and sweet man. He knew pain and suffering and he also knew healing.

We all deserve to live our extraordinary lives again, especially after grief and trauma.

... but how do you know you are ready?


The First Sign You Are Ready To Heal

You're reading this blog. 

Kidding... but also that is true. You are curious about healing - that's a pretty darn good sign you're ready to at least see what that might look like. You're curious about what other people might be doing and if they're ok being out in the real world again. You might be looking for proof that it's possible to feel ok again. 

Doing research is a sure sign that you're on your way. Maybe you're not quite ready to pounce, but you're ready to learn and that's as good a first step as any.


The Second Sign You Are Ready To Heal

You are tired. 

You are tired of:

  • feeling depressed
  • being lonely
  • being angry
  • feeling drained
  • isolating yourself
  • feeling guilty for feeling (or wanting to feel) happy
  • your own (bull)shit
Let me expand on that last note. Your own bullshit can be the fear that you give into, the excuses you make to stay stuck (in your pyjamas, in the comfort of your current situation, in your limiting beliefs) and of course feeling like you don’t deserve to be happy again. This is all overwhelming and so it feels easier to ignore it - trust me, I know - until you just can’t ignore it anymore.

 Something needs to change. And one thing we know for sure is the sun will always rise. When we’re ready to see its beauty, we are ready to get started.




The Third Sign You Are Ready To Heal


You are looking to connect. You're ready to come up for air and take a look around to see what the world has been up to since you've been busy surviving. 

Chances are things look a little differently now and that's ok. You can move as slowly or as quickly as you want now that you have made it this far.

Healing from trauma is a journey and one that doesn't have a road map or a timeline. A to of the work is done on your own but having a safe community to talk things through with can be a great way to gain perspective and to feel like you are not alone. This can be messy work, I get that. I did it alone, but you don't have to.

Here are just a few of the resources I have personally used, recommend or lead!

Books:


Podcasts:


  • Monthly subscription based community for a fraction of the cost of seeing a Registered Clinical Counsellor on your own + 4 weekly community conversations & discussions pertaining to trauma and grief symptoms and how we are moving through healing them in our own lives
  • Monthly LIVE sessions with our counsellor who specializes in grief and trauma + other special guests
  • A community of non-judgemental, supportive and beautiful humans to help you feel safe and cared for
For more information about The Good Healing Habit and how you can join today, click here.


We have important work to do!

With Purpose,

Tonia
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The Step From Grief To Healing

The Step From Grief To Healing










When I was going through the darkest times of my life, friends added me to support groups.

Groups for:

βœ”οΈ Sibling loss
βœ”οΈ Birth trauma
βœ”οΈ NICU (neonatal intentisve care unit) support
βœ”οΈ Emotionally abusive relationships
βœ”οΈ Breaking the cycle with your own children
βœ”οΈ Losing a loved one to suicide
βœ”οΈ Losing a loved one to overdose
βœ”οΈ Losing a loved one to cancer

The lists of support groups carries on and on and no matter what anyone goes through, there is a support group for that.


My first thoughts about these groups is that I’m so glad they exist. My second thought is, how do we take the next step from these groups to move successfully through to healing?

I have lost a lot of people in my life.

Both of my parents are living and I do not have a relationship with either of them. One by my choice, one by theirs.

I struggle to maintain relationships with *most* people because of what I have been through.

I’m working on healing now, and do you know what I can’t do when I belong to groups like I’ve listed above?

I can’t heal.

When I was younger my room mate took his own life in our home. I don’t need to be reminded of this every time a new person joins the group and tells us their story.

Five months before my first room mate died, a childhood friend passed away after an overdose. I visited him in the hospital for a week and begged for him to open his eyes but he was gone. I don’t need to be reminded over and over again of something that happened HALF of my lifetime ago. I was eighteen exactly eighteen years ago.

And by the time I was 18 I had also experienced the death of my Great Grandpa, my Nanny (whom my daughter is named after), two childhood best friends, an aunt and many others.

Then, at 23, my brother died, and whatever loose fitting threads were holding my family together were unwound.

I was afraid to answer my phone, especially if it rang in the night.

I was afraid for Colin to be out late at night at band rehearsal because I couldn’t sleep if he wasn’t home and safe.

My fear of abandonment can still get the better of me at 36 years old. Especially when your own mother doesn’t love you - there are deeply rooted nurturing needs wrongly wired when you grow up in an environment starved for proper love from your own mother. Imagine the fear that could run wild through me as a mother to my own daughter now if i wasn’t doing incredible healing work.

And of course, my own trauma bringing this love of my life into the world. I suffered some very intense birth trauma at the hands of a medical professional whose job was to protect me and instead she assaulted me. Add to that a NICU stay after nearly losing my baby because of completely neglectful hospital staff.

My point is, my friends, I have been through more than I even want to think about.

Which is why these groups I’ve listed above, they’re not serving me anymore. And I know many of you in support groups for things you no longer need to be retraumatized by, instead you, too, are ready to turn the page and get back to living your life.

For five years after ending my relationship with my own mother things got much worse for me before they turned a corner and got better. Just because you leave a toxic environment doesn’t mean you’ve fixed the problems. There is important work to do - and that piece of the puzzle that was missing for me?

It didn’t exist. So I created it myself.

The Good Healing Habit.

For too many years I have been doing really ugly, messy, LONELY work by myself and sometimes that has caused more grief, which I do not need more of.

Healing from trauma is sometimes horribly painful. It’s true that we like to lick our wounds in private, but it is also true that when we come out to look around, it sure is relieving to be surrounded by a supportive, non-judgemental community there waiting to just sit with you.

Because when it comes time that a GRIEF group no longer serves its purpose of cameraderie about your loss or traumatic experience, the act of just being there can keep you stuck. Sad.

This new kind of group is the opposite! We offer opportunity to take actionable steps towards moving forward in your own life. The philosophy is that we are all able to live the extraordinary lives we dream of, but we can’t do that when we are stuck in perpetual states of grief and suffering. HEALING is possible for anyone, no matter the trauma or grief you’ve experienced, no matter the family you were born into and no matter the circumstances that have affected you.

The Good Healing Habit is about your future.

The Good Healing Habit is about today.

The Good Healing Habit is about YOU.

The Good Healing Habit is about who you have always been underneath all of those suits of armour you’ve been wearing.

Yikes, it’s heavy. The good news is that you put it all on, and you’ll be surprised that you know exactly how to take it all off again.

Join our community here: https://toniaandcolin.com/page/the-good-healing-habit

We have important work to do. 

With Purpose,

Tonia

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Birth Trauma Awareness Week

Birth Trauma Awareness Week

This week is birth trauma awareness week. 


Women and men carrying burdens from your experiences, this week is a time for you to know you are not alone. I say women and men because there was plenty of trauma experienced by both myself and my husband during the labour and birth of our daughter, Macy. We know there are other couples struggling with different aspects of your beautiful child’s birth and we are here to say, we see you. 


My birth story is really extreme. I still struggle to wrap my head around the entire experience nine months postpartum. There is trauma associated with every single aspect.


My labour was a total of 15 days and 20 hours. 


My baby’s birth was by cesarean. 


The OB who performed my surgery physically assaulted me. 


It was tragic. 


It is tragic that a woman could violate another woman in such a harmful, horrific way. She violently cleaned the inside of my vagina with a long pair of surgical thongs and a piece of gauze soaked in what I can only imagine was iodine. My only warning was “you’re going to feel a lot of pressure” but what I saw and what I felt was not a lot of pressure. It was violent. I was so shocked that days later while having my staples removed by my midwife I asked Colin to leave the room so I could make sure I hadn’t dreamt up what happened in that OR. She confirmed. I sobbed. She held me. 


Recently, I was reading a book called Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine, and he describes trauma symptoms and one of them jumped off the page at me. (We bought our copy from amazon, here.)


Flashbacks. 


The feelings that overcome my body if I allow even the briefest second of a flashback is horrific. Immediately my vagina tenses, I feel nauseated and the hair stands up on the back of my neck. It has been nine months and a brief second is still all I am able to handle. I would also say that I am not handling it, really, but it happened to me and healing my body, my heart and my mind from this trauma is very important. 


This might be shocking to hear, but I am grateful I saw what she did to me because I know that the body holds onto trauma. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to understood what my body was trying to tell me if I didn’t know what happened. 


And I watched it all because I could see my reflection in the lights above me. Terrified, I asked for those lights to be moved a dozen times. Maybe more. The fear of witnessing my own surgery was enough to traumatize me. The lights were moved, but they were always moved back and now I know that I was meant to see.


I asked a lot of questions because I was very confused, and did not receive answers. Never was I warned or told what was going to happen to me during my prep in the OR. 


I’ll never forget the day my daughter was born but it certainly isn’t the romantic story we’re used to hearing. This is one of dozens of mis-steps from our nurses, doctors, the OB who performed my cesarean and violated my body, lack of warning and education for my husband to prepare him for my epidural or for what he would walk into in the operating room, the pediatrician and her nurses overlooking all of Macy’s symptoms and blaming my worry on being a “first time mom”, listening to her cough and gasp for air for a full 24 hours before our midwife saved her life, watching my daughter being poked and prodded with constant needles and IV’s while she screamed in the NICU for five days. 


My birth story is extreme. 


It’s sometimes really hard to think about. It’s fresh. It’s still raw. There is so much we didn’t talk about - but for now, it is birth trauma awareness week, and that story is the important one to tell here. 


I would have blamed my body’s reactions on postpartum if I didn’t know the truth. The truth is that the thought of having sex with my husband, the thought of him touching me sexually or even intimately, can be shocking and me feel physically sick. We have a beautiful and intimate sex life - so for me, this is extremely difficult. Thank god I know what happened to me or else I can’t imagine what shame I would be feeling for not wanting this beautiful and intimate part of my relationship with my loving and sweet husband. 


Even if he touches my belly, my whole body tightens. 


This is trauma. 


And the most miraculous thing about trauma is our ability to heal. I am so grateful I know this truth. This one is going to take time and slowly there has already been some beautiful progress. Recently, I created a community of people who have suffered from trauma - any trauma - who are ready to make changes towards healing. It isn’t necessary to accept this as my reality forever and I know there are other people out there ready to do the work and not feel so alone. Trauma can be lonely. 


The Good Healing Habit was creating in service of others, but, you guys, it is absolutely serving to be a saving grace and gift to myself as I navigate the details of Macy’s birth. With only a few months to go before her first birthday, I’m sure emotions I haven’t dealt with yet will surface and I am grateful to have a platform to learn and grow in real time with this incredible community. 


Most of all I am grateful for a healthy, happy baby and a compassionate, loyal and loving husband. Healing happens best with a support system and that starts for me, at home. 


Happy Healing to you. 


With Purpose,


Tonia



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