Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Enough Already with "not enough"!

Back in August, I started the second annual 101 Days of Gratitude.  The idea is to post something that you are grateful for everyday.  Last year, I did this to both create meaningful daily content on my Facebook page (the key to social media success, so I hear) and to force myself to work through my aversion to social media. It worked really well! I got more fans, even had a few people join in with me, and surprised myself on how fulfilling posting things online can be.

This year has been different. I started this project with the intention to start to create a community around my ultimate dream of creating the Upward Spiral Center for Healing and Transformation.  Earlier this year, this dream started to look like a reality and I have been working hard to make it happen.

But that's a lot to juggle.  The creation of the center has brought some core issues of mine up to the surface and that's caused some breakdowns and needs to withdrawal. For the past month or so, I've taken a step back from major work on creating the center, because I realized"

If I'm going to create the Center, I need to first find my own.

There is this saying in Chinese Medicine that "one can not inspire a virtue in someone else unless they first possess it themselves." Since I came across this thought in my Daoism and Chinense Medicine class back in 2009, it has infused much of my thoughts about work and therapy.

One basic issue for me (and I know for a lot of my clients) is essentially that I'm not enough. And the silent belief that follows is that no one will love me.

To create the center is to affirm the opposite: I am working to create a space for all of US to explore what our healing journeys can become. To do this, I will need lots of love and support from my community.  It can not happen with out it.

In addition to really slacking on my own gratitude posting during this year's project, I publicly admitted the other day that I miscalculated 101 Days.  The intention is to lead up to Thanksgiving, but I started a week early. So its 108 days instead. Thankfully, its a symbolic number!

I've still felt alot of 'gratitude guilt' (which essentially traces back to "I'm not good enough") about neglecting my gratitude and miscalculating.

I was overjoyed at the responses I got after posting about 108 Days. You can see some on our Facebook Event.

I had a guy write me a personal message and say:

"no embarrassment needed ... I just kept thinking how is my counting wrong !?! lol its an awesome idea and has brought joy to even more people than you'll ever know ... it's fabulous and I wouldn't change a thing"

I also had a friend of mine tag me in a post:

"I am grateful for Nyssa Rhiannon Hanger, a great friend, and someone who has the imagination, thoughtfulness, and work ethic to do something good for her community. Or better yet, to get us to do something good for ourselves!"

How can I not feel loved and enough reading things like this? I am bookmarking this page for the next time I feel bad : )

I don't know if I can really say "ENOUGH!" to "not enough," but I'm sure gonna try. This is what I hope to inspire in others eventually at the Center, but for now I'm going to continue to work on me and inspire the community I already have.

Thanks ya'll, for all your love.

Monday, October 21, 2013


One of the cornerstones of the Artist's Way is morning pages. Every morning during the 12-week course you write 3 pages long-hand.  It seems simple and maybe even like a waste of time, but it is actually the opposite - incredibly difficult but rewarding when you actually take the time to do it. 

I don't know how this is for other people going through the Artist's Way, but for myself and many others I hear from, it is not something that happens everyday. Even when it does, I don't always get to 3 full pages.  

I am both interested in that which is in the way of our flow but I also know there's another part of me that is happy to turn away and look at something pretty and distracting. 

This is why I am writing about it. One thing I've learned from the pages is that they will uncover things.  You start to learn about how you feel, what's preoccupying you, where your thoughts go. Instead of being in the thoughts, you can see the thoughts. That is two different experiences. It actually has quite a lot of parallels to meditation and is the reason why I incorporate both into my workshops. 

So my observations:  I can see how the block of writing my pages is the same block that keeps me from posting my gratitudes.  I started 101 Days of Gratitude 2013 last August, and am just coming out of a recent bout of not posting. 

Once I get past the negative self-talk about feeling bad I'm not keeping up with my own project, I start to look at what's keeping me from posting. Here's my list:
  • I don't like going on social media - I've written about this before, I feel an anxiety often when I go to post something online.  It almost seems to increase the more personal my post is. Yet, I see this as a great tool for connection and want to celebrate it, which is what keeps me posting. 
  • I forget - simple answer but its true. I'm juggling quite a bit at the moment and at the end of the day, when I usually spend a few minutes reflecting, I'm ready to let go of the whole day.  I will think that I will "do it tomorrow" and that has turned into next week a few times now.
  • I can't think of what to write - Sounds unbelievable, but it goes with the first point. I start thinking about how others will perceive my post and over-think it all and then can't think of what I really want to post. 
I posted these on my wall
above where I write my gratitude
so I will see them everyday and remember.
Now with my excuses out of the way and I can see how ridiculous they all are (the value in writing things down!), I want to make some resolutions.  I work a lot with affirmations and believe they are a powerful way to change our thinking and lives. Here are mine for right now:
  • What I have to say has value, even if its simple, silly, or superficial. 
  • There is enough time for all tasks to be done each day.
  • I am in the beautiful flow of life. 
Maybe this will help : )

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Creative Journey

I am ready to start blogging again.

Last August, I accepted a job at the University of Tampa teaching a class on Creativity in for Communication, Journalism and Advertising/Public Relations students.  Its a big challenge since I have never done anything like this before, but I am learning a lot about teaching, sharing, and uncovering my own creativity.

My intention is to share more about this on this blog.

It is difficult to read and teach about the creative process without doing it on my own. We are using The Artist's Way and Making is Connecting as our two texts books. One is about a spiritual path to creativity and provides a course framework for uncovering our creative selves including writing morning pages as well as various creative activities and assignments. The other is a cultural perspective on how making things connects us with ourselves and others with a particular focus on making in the digital world or "web 2.0."

So my attention is directed again to this blog project and how I feel I can use it to more effectively express and share my own creative journey, the journey I affectionately refer to as the "upward spiral."

We will see what happens...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Return of 101 Days

So, tomorrow we are starting 101 Days of Gratitude again. I'm super stoked for this new project. I've got more help and others who've come on board to make this a true community project.

This year, instead of writing a blog post everyday, which was obviously too much to keep up with, I am going to post on social media (#101gratitude) and contribute to the gratitude walls. Not only are we going to have one at my office like last year, but we will also have them at Kaleisia Tea Lounge, Felicitous, and Cafe Hey. And they will be handmade mounted chalkboards. This is turning into such a beautiful project already.

When I look back I see how deeply transformed I was through the project last year. It really helped give rise to a ton of amazing things in my life and I can't wait to see what it does this year for my lives and others!

Read more on how to participate here and if you are on Facebook, join the event.

...and Now, the Good News! (Part 1)

Around the time that the "bad news" began (mid-February), I had a simultaneous occurrence of good news.

I have always dreamed of opening my own healing center.  At the beginning of this year, I decided to make the slow movement towards making this all possible, in time. I recognized that the first step would be to make some additional income through renting out my current treatment room.  I decided that I was ready to find someone in preparation for creating the healing center of my dreams.

But the thing was, I didn't really want to put an add on craigslist and solicit to strangers. Ideally, I wanted to find someone that I possibly already know and could trust. Someone that had good energy and intentions and who's goals matched mine so we could work on building something together. I didn't really have anyone in mind, but I did desire for this person to appear sooner rather than later.

So I was driving to work one day in early February, thinking about these things, and I said to the universe, "Universe, I really want to make this happen but don't want to put an add on craigslist, and I would like it to happen soon. I'll give you a month. If no one appears within 30 days, then I will put out an add. But I will give you the chance to send someone first."

No kidding, two weeks later I received an email in my inbox with the subject "New LMT." The email was from Deran, the brother of a friend of mine who was recently licensed in massage and was asking if I was interested in taking a new therapist under my wing. Well, hot damn, I thought, my request totally worked! Deran and I had actually had a phone conversation about 6 months before when he was interviewing me for a project while he was still in massage school. I didn't know that I did already know this new therapist, but then I asked and there he was. Magic.

So as of a few months ago, Deran officially joined the Upward Spiral team.  We are spiraling upward and onward and it turns out that this is just the beginning of a whole new project for Upward Spiral. More soon!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bad News is Getting Better?

This is the first time I have sat at my desk in my room and worked on the computer in almost two months, due to this crazy experience with mites or whatever. I wrote about this when it first started to get real bad; we are just now feeling like it is on the mend.

So now, I am reclaiming my space, making it mine again.  The truth is, over the past year or so, I've fantasized about having a super organized, clean, and uncluttered space.  But with my typical busy-ness and tendency towards laziness, this fantasy space was not going to happen. I see one of the several blessings from it all this is I am getting the clean, organized and uncluttered space I desire.

For over the past week, I have stayed at my house, mostly minorly itchy. There have been more than one "outbreaks" of bites or irritation or allergic reaction to something, that I feel were made worse by a few bouts of uncontrolled scratching.

About 5 days ago, I decided to stop using poisons and just work with vinegar, alcohol, some bleach, lots of essential oils, menthol crystals, and laundry. Two days ago, I told my body that it can stop reacting to whatever it is reacting to. It has mostly complied to my request. I've in turn resisted most major urges to scratch and instead hydrated the skin with hydrosol, coconut oil, and neem.

Last night was the first night I didn't have a major itching fit. It was also the night I saturated the air with essential oils (cassia, tea tree, peppermint, lemongrass, and even a little clove), so I'm going to keep that up for a little while. I do apologize to my roommates and boyfriend for the stinging would be great if I could get the house tented with essential oils...hmmm.

Hopefully the car is soon to follow, and I can be all clean, organized, and uncluttered in my movement into this fabulous life I am creating. There is lots of exciting things for me to write about too, I look forward to having the time to do it soon.

Until then...I'm going to get back to cleaning.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

First, the Bad News

Once during an interview with Terry Gross, the actress who plays Kelly on the Office said that her parents taught her not to use "being too busy" as an excuse because the truth is we all are too busy. Since I believe this to be true, I won't say this is my excuse for not writing on here in a while.

But I have been busy.

I am in the middle, or possibly the beginning, and in some ways hopefully the end, of the most dualistic time in my life. It is both a time of great excitement, but also has been in many ways tortuous and despairing.  I will write about all the exciting stuff in the next few weeks (but NO, I am not pregnant or engaged...), but want first to share why the past few weeks have been extremely distressing.

My bedroom, home, and car (as well of those of my boyfriend) have been invaded by bird mites. Yeah, I had never heard of them either. At least that is what we think they are, but we have never actually seen them.

About 4 weeks ago, both myself and my boyfriend started finding all these little tiny but extremely itchy bites all over our bodies.  Neither of my two roommates (nor both of my boyfriend's roommates) were experiencing anything of the sorts.  While he and I began to obsessively wash our clothing, sheets, furniture and floors, our roommates fairly well tolerated our sudden OCD. During this process we found no fleas, flies, spiders or bedbugs. Frankly, we saw NOTHING, except the increasing bites on our arms, legs, stomachs and backs.

Our internet research led to suspect mites, narrowing it down to bird mites.  Reading, we decided this was most likely what is torturing us (note the entire section devoted to "Mental Anguish;" they are not exaggerating).

Suffice it to say, my life has turned upside down.  I have not slept in my own bedroom since March 15th. I have not slept at my own house since March 17th. I've thrown out my bed, bedframe, couch, and countless clothes, shoes, and nick-knacks.  Not being able to see the mites, anything can be contaminated, and what I keep I have to clean continuously, making it difficult to justify keeping most things I don't have deep attachment to.

THANKFULLY, I have totally amazing parents, who have basically let me and my boyfriend move in indefinitely until its all over.  So I decided to write all the reasons that bird mites have been a blessing:
  • I am gaining new appreciation for "regular" itches.
  • Lots of daily self-massage (dispersing creams and oils to sooth the constant itches)
  • Deep bonding between myself and my boyfriend ("If we can get through bird mites together, we can get through anything!")
  • Motivation for a deep and over due spring cleaning.
  • Makes me realize how little I really need to be happy (A body with no itches would be freakin' fantastic right now!)
  • Its showing me how much support I have
  • Allowing me to spend lots of time with my parents, great bonding with them too
  • Did I mention that staying at my parents includes breakfast and dinner? And laundry service? Its better than a B&B!
So we are still being diligent in many of the methods we've found online for these pests. Problem is, there is conflicting info on what poisons work and it seems multiple methods is the best and retreatment after 7 days is necessary. Plus, the itchness of the bites lasts long after the actual bite takes place so, we are kinda unsure if we are still getting bit or are just itchy.  Either way, since we can not be sure they are gone because we never saw them in the first place we just keep treating EVERYTHING.

It's kinda like dealing with a ghost.

So just in case any of you wonder why I've been MIA lately, this is why. Let's hope it ends real I can spend time on the GOOD NEWS. Stay tuned!