#StopTheStigma of Mental Illness

stigmaEvery year, for the past 4 years, Love, The Undoing hosts a week long photo-sharing contest to help spread awareness of Mental Illnesses and shed light on the stigma that surrounds the Mentally Ill. This annual project is so important to me, as a caretaker and as a sufferer.

I will be looking for a daily host for several topics, if you have been effected by mental illness, either personally or through a friend or family member – this project is for you. Each day I will post a photo along with a story of an individual who tells of how they have either dealt with Mental Illness, overcome obstacles that accompany mental illness or how they are working to help end the stigma that surrounds mental illness, which leads so many people to either avoid treatment, become disabled by their disease or end their suffering the only way they see possible, self medicating or suicide.

I understand these are very sensitive subjects and I ask that you only commit to this project if you feel 100% comfortable with discussing it openly. Because Instagram is a public forum and the LTU account is public, people will be able to see the post and comments as well as your username.

If you agree to all of the above, and you are interested in being involved in this project, please send an email to lovetheundoing@gmail.com with your IG name and a short paragraph about the topic you are interested in posting.

SUGGESTIONS:

Sufferer of Mental Illness – photo & story

Caretaker – photo & story

Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Etc… – photo & story

HOPE – uplifting story of dealing with the disease

Self-Love

Thank you for all the LOVE and SUPPORT, every participant will be given a Love, The Undoing GIFT CARD to be used in the ETSY store!

 

 

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The reBranding

Loving my Undoing

I remember back a few years, I had an acquaintance ask me why I would give my “brand” such a negative name. I wasn’t sure what part of “LOVE, THE UNDOING” was negative since I picked the name myself, based on what I was trying to accomplish in my life at that time and it was all good things.

It was then I knew, it wasn’t going to be something that everyone understood. She just didn’t get it, at all.

Love, The Undoing, simply put, is to physically love the parts of yourself and your personality that you are working on. Anything you are trying to undo, such as the traits that no longer served you or the habits that were not beneficial to your life, was the “UNDOING”. If you approach these things with anger or fear, it is likely you won’t accomplish much, but when you approach things with love, the outcome will usually be positive.

Using myself as an example, I was very unhappy with my attitude about life. I would wake up in the morning and think, “well, what shitty things are in store for me today?”. Then I would get out of bed, minute to minute I would anticipate that something would go wrong and it wasn’t a matter “IF” it would happen but “WHEN” it would happen.

I made a conscious decision that I would wake up and say the words “THANK YOU” to the UNIVERSE! I would get out of bed thinking, “what amazing fun does the Universe hold for me today?”. When I would get stuck at a red light, instead of being annoyed, I would use it to roll my neck, not my eyes. Take a deep breath in, instead of huff and puff about it… The littlest of things that typically drove me crazy, were going to be used as tools, to reprogram my mind. This is how I began to “undo” my poor outlook on life.

I tried for years to “be a better person” and to “be happier” to no avail. It was always an act, to appear better or happier. It wasn’t until I started to confront the things that I blamed for my unhappiness, that I was able to see some progress. Once I saw the universe from this perspective, I wasn’t constantly fighting a battle against everyone and especially myself.

This was the undoing.

So, when I was asked why I chose this “negative” name for my “positive lifestyle” brand, I wanted to make it very clear that it was her outlook on the word “undoing” that made it sound like it was something bad – not mine.

When I have the opportunity to speak to people about the positive changes I have made in my life, I always tell them that I couldn’t work on doing things the right way until all the so called “wrong” things were undone. So, yes, I unraveled. It was and is all part of the process. If you aren’t willing to just let yourself unravel and fall apart, then you aren’t ready for the long road ahead. It takes work, so much work. But, it is the most rewarding and fulfilling work you will ever put in.

So, I invite you to join me as I rebrand Love, The Undoing. I want you all to be comfortable with falling apart from time to time, so we can REDO ourselves. We don’t even have to use the broken up little bits and pieces of ourselves if we don’t want to, we can use shiny, new , happy pieces. It is entirely up to you. Just know that progress begins when you recognize the reality of your situation. Live in the truth. If you don’t like it, undo it – and LOVE your undoing.

Adjusting Back

After the anticipation of my travels and the excitement of finally being in Bali, I never really thought much of what it would be like to adjust back to my “normal” life upon my return. I had traveled before, although never alone. I have had to deal with the post vacation blues, the joys of unpacking and catching up on a stack of mail over 1′ high. I even had to deal with a jetlag a few times after being on the West Coast, but nothing could prepare me for a 13 hour time difference, daylight savings time setting right in, going straight back to work on only a few hours sleep and then every parents least favorite thing, a kid who is under the weather. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I have to admit, my house was clean and I was happy to hear that not only did my husband and daughter keep on top of it, but they recruited my mother to help as well. There was some laundry done, which was an unexpected treat. My dog looked healthy and well nourished which was a huge worry of mine. So, aside from the exhaustion of traveling, going straight to work and being up all night with my little one for over a week, in and out of doctors and hospitals, all is well.

Reality is, life just doesn’t slow down for me. There is no “right lane” where I can just cruise, my life is “left lane” at most times. This is something I spoke openly about while traveling. I needed to SLOW DOWN! PadangBai was the perfect place to do that. I liked walking to and from one place to the next, leisurely. I enjoyed taking my time eating while chatting with my new friends. I would lay in bed and read, bead or just think. I had time to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. Although my senses were all very alert, it was at my own pace, which was amazing. After a week of enjoying uninterrupted meditation, coming home and not getting to take the time to appreciate the beauty of my experience was completely overwhelming. From the moment I stepped through my front door, I was back ON.

As of today, I have been home for 9 days and things are just starting to get back to normal. I am back on my usual sleeping schedule, I have gone almost 48 hours without a visit to a doctor or hospital and I am not a complete worried mess of a mom.

I do plan on traveling some more, but I am going to have to schedule the time a little differently. I will need more than a few hours to recuperate. I recommend taking about three days to adjust back to the time difference and to really absorb the trip. I might even book a hotel here in New Jersey for a couple of days to sort myself out and get a “jet lag” relief massage, like I got in Bali! We are only human and our bodies and minds can take a lot, but we also have to treat them well, nourish them properly and love them. Something I was very sure to do while I was away.

Trust me, I know it sounds like I am complaining,  I am just hoping to help the next person out who is a rookie traveler. I would do it again in a HEARTBEAT, I just know to pack lighter and rest before jumping back into LIFE!

Sending my love to all! Have a great weekend! I will be transitioning this BLOG (slowly) into my little journal of sorts. Feel free to keep on reading… You never know what you’ll get!

 

 

Selflessness 

I made my way down to the beach to dedicate a meditation to the beautiful people who made my trip to Bali possible.  I stood knee deep, fully clothed, in the Indian Ocean just after sunrise. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Several times I caught myself trying to figure out why I was so fortunate. Did I do something extraordinary to receive this generous gift?

As tears streamed down my face, I felt such deep gratitude yet had intermittent thoughts of guilt that made me uneasy. There had to be someone more deserving of this gift than me, right? 

As I struggled with these questions and doubts the universe, on cue, responded. 

I was approached by an older woman, golden from a lifetime of that warm Bali sun, tiny in stature but huge in presence, holding folded up garments in her arms. In a soft voice, heavily accented she said “Miss. Miss.”, she extended out her stack of material, “you?”. 

I felt terrible. This was my last chance to return this great gift and pay it forward by buying the sarongs she had to approached me to sell and of course I left everything, including my wallet and money, behind in my villa. All I had with me was my phone, which was resting on a rock nearby.

Embarrassed, I had to tell her I didn’t have any money with me. 

Then, without the slightest hesitation, I saw her grab a long necklace of bamboo and stones from her neck and take it off. She leaned in, smiled, and put it around my neck. She said, “It’s ok. For you.”.

There I was, doubting my worthiness of my gift and in that moment I was given even more. She began to tell me, as best as she could with the language barrier, that she sells sarongs to help feed her grandchildren. 

I sobbed. Her generosity exceeded her means.

We hugged, laughed, cried and I promised  her that I would keep her and her family in my heart forever. Which was all she asked for in return.

A beautiful and obvious sign to simply be grateful for everything.

Later, I remembered, I had my phone recording my romps in the ocean and I caught most of this exchange on my camera. What a blessing. What a memory to have documented.

Please, with me, say a little prayer for her tonight.

Hardly a Foodie

I try not to stray too far from the staples, you know, the basics that you cannot go wrong with. I didn’t get tragically sick at all from the water or the food, I followed basic precautions and only had one bout if Bali Belly, which might or might not have been induced by the richest dense chocolate cake and a scoop, JUST ONE SCOOP, of ice cream… I was up that night… But that was self inflicted, I’m sure! So, from a non-foodie, the food was amazing! Here’s some of my favorite dishes! 

Daily fresh fruit!   
Traditional Balinese Sweets

 
Breakfast we’d eat noodles and rice, different from my norm.
  

Coconut water never came in a glass 

 
Red rice and fermented soy- this was my favorite meal!

 

Chicken, egg, fried rice, crackers, salad  

Tofu in a banana leaf (not my fave) but the SWEET POTATOES were amazing, the string beans crisp and fresh and the salad was amazing. 

    
More fruit!

  

Pineapple  juice was made fresh every time!

 

Silayukki Temple

This morning I woke up to the clearest skies. You could see miles and miles away. Today was the day I had waited for with such anticipation. I woke up with such excitement. At 9 am, our group met in the lobby. Our guides for this trip gave us sarongs and scarf belts that our yoga teachers gifted us. Bright, fun and beautiful bold colors. We each wrapped ourselves in the traditional garb and grabbed an offering of a palm basket with fresh flowers, grass and petals. We began our journey down one steep hill and back up another. We laughed, took pictures and just enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. As we reached the top of the hill, we saw a beautiful black stone temple. We sat down and our incense was lit, we did several rituals with our offerings, such as rub our hands with the grass. Put the flowers behind our ears and wave the incense on yourselves. We got up, and stood in line, one by one went up and gave our offering and made a “wish” as we said a prayer. Once we were all finished with that, we sat down on the ground. As the pemangku (priest) rang bells and lightly prayed and chanted, we meditated. We were then instructed to leave the temple so we could get cleansed. We lined up again. Going down the row, the priest carefully performed several other rituals. He splashed us with water, coconut water and then one by one he poured a big bowl of water with hundreds of fragrant fresh flowers on each of our heads. Then, he put a white thread on top of our wet head and tied one around our wrist as well. We made one final trip into the temple. It was wonderful and special in every sense. This temple was finished and then we made our way down some steep stairs to an amazing temple on the water. It was breathtaking. I have so many photos to share but, I’m on 5% so, that will wait! 

Today

Today was a beautiful day in Bali. When I woke up this morning at 6:20 I noticed that there was no overcast something which I hadn’t experienced since I have been here. I was fixated on what I originally thought was a mountain that I had realized today was a volcano. I also saw that I had gotten a few messages that came through on the spotty Wi-Fi asking me if I was OK? Of course I was OK, I’m in paradise! But I was told shortly after that there was an earthquake and a tsunami warning, it registered 1000 mile south of where we are staying so we were more than safe. I would have loved to lay in my bed and just enjoy the sunrise but I realized yoga was about to start in 10 minutes so without really waiting up I jumped out of bed ridden brush my teeth got dressed and made my way to the yoga studio Just In time! The clouds were nowhere to be found the sky was beautiful and the sun was rising and I was excited to start another day here in Bali. 
The yoga class was very intense. I ended up leaving halfway through feeling a little unwell. I also noticed my roommate hadn’t made it to class so I wanted to check on her as soon as I was able to get sorted out. And knocked on her door and as soon as I saw her we just looked at each other and began laughing and crying at the same time. She had gotten bitten by some vicious mosquitoes on her eyelids and her eyes were not even opening up enough to see me but she could see that I was in distress having gotten sick from over exerting myself at yoga. So on her bed the two of us laughed and cried and decided that we needed a little time to ourselves today and that meant skipping out on the snorkeling trip which was leaving in an hour. Don’t get me wrong I do love to snorkel, but you have to know your boundaries and your limits. I reminded myself that as much as I wanted to do it if my body was telling me something else then I should listen to my body so that I can enjoy the rest of my trip without regret!
I ended up at the pool enjoying the most beautiful day of pure sunshine and absolute gorgeous surroundings. The kid in me even came out and I went down the slide. I managed to book another session at the spa for a head neck and shoulder massage antistress treatment as well as a cucumber body wrap. I saw Kulan again, and even got to know a little bit about her. She is such a beautiful young lady and work so hard making sure she provides an amazing treatment. If you are ever at the bloo Lagoon definitely see Kulan at the spiral spa! 
After all of that I decided it was time to get to work I came into my room and set up on my beads and began to make my bracelet with the backdrop inspiring me I just made bracelet after bracelet and one was more beautiful than the next I truly am inspired here. I probably worked for about two hours when I realized it was time for the afternoon yoga class, although I was a little discouraged with my practice this morning I knew that I had to get back on my mat and try again and there was no reason for me not to do it tonight. So I went straight to class and did my best I practiced my yoga and felt wonderful knowing that I saw through the class from beginning to end it was almost 2 hours long as we watched the sunset.
I made it back to my room about a half an hour ago after a lovely dinner at the helix. I decided I needed to take a shower before I got into bed if I really wanted to feel comfortable since I had quite a field mosquito bites. I don’t know if I told you this but my shower is outside in the garden and it literally is just a spout of water. I took a long shower. The water is cold but with the temperature being so hot even at night it is refreshing.
So as I lay in bed I wonder what everybody is doing back home. It’s 9 PM here so I’m pretty sure Chloe is up and getting ready for school and princes he is looking for mommy… And I know for a fact my husband misses me, lol. I miss everybody very much but at the same time I am enjoying myself and reminding myself that I have to detach sometimes in order to recharge my battery.
Good night from Bali.