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When a Superwoman Falls

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If a superhero falls in the forest, is she still a superhero?

So many of us are in pain, lonely pain. When we feel pain, we are taught to hide it as it might be shameful to share any perceived flaws or struggles. We take on blame for the pain and isolate ourselves from those that care for us the most. Our culture emphasizes independence as a source of personal value, rather than interdependency.

What would a superwoman do if she fell into a depression or a loss? Would she share her struggles and reach out for help? Would her imperfections cause her to be seen and valued as something less than a superhero? Would she do what she could to recover in her own space to shield herself from others’ judgment and her own shame?

I have to imagine that she would be hesitant to reach out given how tied her identity is to her image to the public. Her profession makes it difficult for her to appear anything less than perfect. In fact, if she lost to a villain in a fight, she could probably loss her superhero title, right?

And aren’t we all – us women – just a bunch of superwoman wannabes? We’ve been taught to do it all and don’t forget the smile. Conquer the masculine world of success and achievement in careers, have family, support partner, take care of parents, learn and grow all the while. All great things, and so is superwoman’s fall.

Truth is we all fall at times and I believe that not only is the fall a good thing, it is actually an important part of our feminine nature which fuels feminine growth. Our descents into the abyss of our emotions and our shadow can sometimes take years and seem like they will never end. Fortunately, they eventually pass and when we arise from the ashes of our previous selves, we have taken an enormous leap forward in our spiritual maturity and wisdom. In order to come out of our isolative descent, we must realize the importance of our feminine tribe. We must trust that the women (and men) that care about us in our lives want to be there to help the superwoman in each of us. Reaching out to them will not change their opinion of your superhero status, in fact they will remind you of your superpowers. And someday they will return the favor by sharing what their kryptonite is, if they haven’t yet.

I am not suggesting you share with everyone what your personal kryptonite is, just with a few close friends that you know will support you no matter what. If you don’t have them, make them! Join a church community, a community service community, a support group, or a workout community. Intentionally pick out your superhero support team and reach out. Trust that you need them to help you out of the descent and they will be there best as they can be.

Perfect is being brave enough to reach out for support in our struggles and to reach our for celebration for our successes. Even superheros need support.

To the superwoman in us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, EMDR, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to support your inner superwoman in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Why Polar thinking is a gift

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I can feel it coming with my clients and myself. When clarity begins to emerge from pain, suddenly energy will begin to cycle. This is inevitably when thoughts race around and around in circles and can’t quite take an alternative path forward through the next threshold of awakening – or aha moment. As pain subsides, polar thoughts and emotions emerge regarding the meaning of the experiences.

As painful as this stagnate process is for clients, it is an indication a the proximity of their next big forward leap in healing or growth. Often their are some very limiting behaviors that are reactions to this stickiness. Once the polarization is resolved, poof, limitations are history!

I look for these polarities in sessions with clients. We identify and name them and then explore them. Our brains struggle to allow two polar thoughts or emotions to coexist in our meaning making categorizations of events. When you can allow for both polars to exist – co-exist, then you can move on. Hold them together, love them both, they are both truth. Give yourself the gift of polarized meaning and you will notice limitations begin to release.

One the clearest examples of polar thinking is around fault and blame. I should premise this example by saying that releasing the concept of fault and blame altogether is important to emotional and relational health. Our example will be a woman who would like to be free of obsessions around a recent break-up in a relationship. Her partner was not very nice to her, called her names and blamed her for the issues in the relationship. He was unwilling to get help to resolve the issues as he felt she was manipulative and she needed to be more secure in herself in order for their relationship to succeed. She would become emotional and reactive when he was not willing to work out conflicts. She would cry for his attention to their ailing relationship.

She is stuck following the break-up. She wonders, “was I right, did he lack empathy and interest in an equal relationship, or was he right, am I insecure and manipulative?” She fluctuates between these polars constantly, trying to pick one as the truth. She needs meaning in order to move on and feel sure she is not repeating the same mistakes. And her brain cannot accept both of these at the same time as they are opposite truths. She earnestly pleas with her friends to get an objective view of the fault in the relationship and friends and family are defensive of her, condemning him for his behavior. She is left feeling lost and confused, her sense of reality and truth is shaken.

What then if she holds these polars together, he cares though is limited (for whatever reasons) empathetically and emotionally, AND she can improve her sense of security and self-esteem to keep from caring to control those she is in relationship with. Often when a partner is not responding to an emotional need, the individual will begin to use passive aggressive approaches to try to get the need met in another fashion, unconsciously attempting to manipulate the partner into meeting that need. These patterns are established much earlier in our lives with our caretakers and are repeated unconsciously because they are familiar relational dynamics – they feel like the norm and we know what to do with the norm. When the truth is clear around both polars being truth, she can begin to see that she cannot and will no longer try to control a relationship with someone that is not fully invested in the relationship’s growth – an unavailable partner. She can than be free to focus on her own well-being and accept relationships only with those that can show her emotional respect through their actions.

Voila! – she softens into truth and the energy is free flowing once again. Thank you polar thinking!

To polar thinking,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, EMDR, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to guide you through polar thinking 

in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

FEELING GOOD ENOUGH

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When you don’t feel good enough it can color your daily life, from your career to your romantic relationships to your mood. Everything can be impacted by this one belief about yourself – I am not good enough. Inevitably it comes up with each and every client I work with. In some way, we all feel not good enough. Some space in us feels deficit – we aren’t funny enough or pretty enough or smart enough, the list goes on. What do you do with deficits? You fill up the holes with something positive right? Let’s talk about filling your not-good-enough deficits with something positive.

Not-good-enough comes from our childhood experiences. Often we know logically and have evidence that we are good enough in whatever deficit we are feeling and just can’t seem to shake that belief. For example, Helena may be a highly successful lawyer and still feel like she have no value as a person and still feels she is not achieving enough. This comes from a childhood emphasis, from her parents, on the importance of achievement and deficit in the value of other needs. Perhaps this her parents were stressed the importance of financial stability and power, always being right. However, her parents spent little time playing with her or spending time on vacations. Likely Helena will grow up to be a high achiever and will spend little time doing recreational activities. When she does go take days off she feels guilty and depressed. No matter how hard she works, she still feels she needs to work harder. Whenever she makes a mistake, she feels shame.

Children need many things to be role modeled and taught for them. It is almost impossible for parents to meet every need for their children, especially in this achievement and independence driven culture. Additionally, some people are just better at certain skills and have a higher capacity for certain things. Some parents cannot provide enough attention for some of their children’s needs due to their own limitations.

Inevitably, each one of us has unmet needs that benefit from being addressed. What unmet needs do you have? Perhaps you didn’t learn about finances, you needed more physical attention; maybe you needed more positive encouragement in order to feel confident; maybe your parents were not well attuned to your emotional needs. At times we adapt to these missing needs with resiliency and find beneficial ways to cope with the unmet needs. Other times these missing needs lead to us limiting ourselves because we do not know how to meet that need or even self-sabotaging due to fear of failure or feeling as if we don’t deserve to meet the need (based on implicitly receiving this message as a child).

Addressing this in my work with clients involves three steps:

  1. Identify the missing need
  2. Process and grieve the pain associated with the missing need
  3. Find a new way to meet the need now

Once we find the missing need, we can process it. It is vital to experience the pain and grieve the associated losses in order to move forward. That is where the therapist can come in to provide a safe space for that process.

Finally, we can then find a way for you to meet that unmet need. If you didn’t get to play as a child, we will play and you will have homework assignments to play. If you didn’t learn about finances, we will discuss finances. If you learned that value is based on achievement, than we will experiment with meditation and activities that are about just being and not doing. We get to explore and learn together. Often this process can be very spiritually enlightening as an adult. Getting to learn something and take ownership of your own abundance as an adult is a powerful and nurturing experience.

To feeling good enough,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to guide you to feeling good enough in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

August Awakenings ~ IT’S NOT ME – IT’S YOU!

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The last few months have been energetically intense. We delved into truths and through much work were able to awaken to the truths and own them. The energy of the those truths of the women coming though this office have become apparent – It is not the women who are struggling, it is their partners who are truly struggling.

The divine feminine energetic is coming to truth within many of us and you may be feeling it as well. Finally, we feel READY TO STAND IN OUR POWER – we are no longer attaching to feelings of being NOT GOOD ENOUGH or THE VICTIM. Actually all the weight we have been carrying about not being good enough or being hurt has been someone else’s all along. Now we can see with clarity, we are feminine nurturing energy and we have always been supporting and loving those in our lives at the expense of our own well being. It is time to set firm boundaries with fierce love; to feel invincible to other’s attempts to manipulate or project their own struggles on to us; stand confidently in our power to love peacefully even in the face of conflict.


 Let’s create a template in our mind-bodies for this new way of showing up in the world.

In your heart hold these mantras and allow yourself to visualize and feel the energy aligning to the words:

“At my core I am divine feminine energy – I love fiercely with unbreakable boundaries.

I do not take responsibility for others’ emotions and am accountable only for my own actions.

I fully embrace my shadows and light – I stand securely in my own power.”

Meditate on these mantras daily for at least a week and allow your mind-body to heal from past wounds to your heart and boundaries.


To the divine feminine power within us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to STAND IN HER POWER in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

The Intentional Peace Project

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After continual shock following the violence and fear mongering of politicians, I have decided to start a project. I hope that you will all join in with me in this challenge to spread peace.

My heart grows heavier each time I hear of violence and anger in this world. I then want to shut out the world, become more insular and defended. As the suffering escalates in our country, an instinct in me wants to become numb and turn away, ignore it, leave it up to those in power to fix.  It feels as if we are all asleep, some of us more than others, to the growing suffering of our planet. It is easy to ignore the gravity of fear-based politics and violence happening far from our homes. It is easy to think and do nothing about the growing environmental issues. Because of course, these problems are so big and we are but one individual. If feels as if we cannot make a difference as one.

I am proposing we all wake up from our slumber of inaction, turn peace from passive to active and intentional. I choose to stand in my power as a women who believes peace is intentional and active. Rather than a passive stance, I choose peace in my daily lives, in every moment. So can you. We can choose to be friendly and nice to our neighbors, assume that no matter the struggle, everyone is just doing the best that they can. We can choose to have empathy for, yet set kind and gentle boundaries when we encounter those living their lives and making decisions based in fear and anger. We can choose to spend the extra effort to be peaceful and spread our vision of peace. To encourage a culture of love and compassion as our national collective language and energetic.

I believe that action starts with one and can grow exponentially to become action of many. So, I plan to start practicing intentional peace daily for the next year. I will post once per day to share my intentional action towards peace. I don’t expect you to be able to devote a full year to posting your intentional actions towards peace, so share what you can. Maybe just 15 days of intentional peace.

Let’s create a ripple of intentional peace in our country. Let’s start today, July 18th, 2016. You can follow my intentional peace process as well as share your own via Instagram: @YOURSOULTHERAPY or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YourSoulTherapy/

To ACTIVE AND INTENTIONAL PEACE,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, EMDR, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows personally what it means to embody daily intentional peace and can guide you to peace in yourself in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Energetic Boomerang

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Image by: Kimberly Ottinger

The energy you show up with each day will return to you.

Let go of attempts at controlling fear. Embrace fear. Fear and struggle are inevitable and essential to growth.

You are not alone, we are all afraid, all the way down to our DNA. We all are just trying to survive.

Know that you show up with the energy that will boomerang back to you.

Feel the vibrations of open, spacious energy in your soul with fear held compassionately in your heart.

Send your energy out to the earth – everyone and everything.

It may look different than you expect and you will know when it returns to you.

Be open and ready to receive.

Be grateful.

To ENERGETIC BOOMERANGS,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows about ENERGETICS in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Fantasy, Dreams, and Falling in Love with Yourself

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Artwork by Kim Ottinger 2013

 

Recently an article in the NY Times has been circulating, “WHY YOU WILL MARRY THE WRONG PERSON.” Check it out and let’s delve a little deeper.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/29/opinion/sunday/why-you-will-marry-the-wrong-person.html?_r=0

Major kudos to the writer Alain de Botton for having the bravery to write such a vulnerable and powerful piece. It has raised eyebrows in the DC area for sure! I am grateful to resonate with many of his points, one of which is the role of the FAIRY TALE in our concept of romantic relationships and marriages.

As children, us millennials grew up on movies about princesses and princes, knights in shining armor, damsels in distress and fantasy.  Our template for relationships is: the man and the woman fall in love and live a fairy tale life, happily ever after.

Shortly after I was separated from my first husband, I came to the realization that romantic relationships and life is not, in fact, a fairy tale. For quite some time I was angry and felt foolish for believing what I was taught as a little girl, that I too was a princess who would meet the one and live happily ever after. With the end of my marriage, I began to question my worthiness and self-respect. What had I done to deserve something different? Was my life always going to be a series of people hurting me and disappointing me? Why was I going through this and what did I need to change in order to deserve a second try at a fairy tale? Was this my path, that I was doomed to experience over and over forever? I spent all of my energy trying to figure out how to set up my next relationship to be my true fairy tale. I dated, I went to therapy, I talked my friends’ ears off trying to find a solution. Finally the truth hit me square in the face.

The truth: Life is not really a fairy tale. Duh, right? I know this logically. AND yet there is the little girl inside of me that insists that it is. She and I had it out, we spent months fighting about how to perceive love and what beliefs to live by. The battle went on until I stopped and began to embrace her pain. The little girl in me had been hurt and disappointed by the misinformation she was fed as a young girl, that life is all unicorns, rainbows, and happily ever afters. Once I grieved this loss, the loss of the fairy tale, I began to heal. I began to learn what living is really about, enjoying the process of ups and downs in relationships and life. Life-force returned to my body and mind as I opened up to new possibilities. I needed a place for fantasy, dreaming, escape and play that was not solely my romantic life. I stopped dating and began to explore other areas of my life where I could experience creativity and dreams. I started to dream about my hobbies and career. Suddenly space opened for me to give energy and love to my career, friendships, self, and recreational activities. For the first time in my life, I fell in love with myself.

If we idealize our romantic relationships, they will likely end in disappointment. Relying solely on romantic relationships for our dreams and fantasy also diminishes the opportunity for us to fall in love with ourselves and other domains of our lives. We can create more space for romance with ourselves and our other life arenas by releasing the energy focused on idealization in our relationships. We can then allow more focus in our relationships to be around realistic experience of present connections in our relationships. We can then work to communicate openly, be vulnerable, be brave, and respect our partners. We can enjoy the messiness and mistakes and even the repairs in relationships, not expecting perfection or romance to be the sole experience of love. We can love fully while clearly communicating the boundaries of our own needs. Romantic partnerships are more about compassion, compromise, and communication. As a friend called it, a never ending conversation.

So I am proposing we consider a more balanced use of play, fantasy, and escape in our lives, not solely focused on idealizing romantic relationships. Rather than idealizing any one domain of life, spreading the dreaming and visioning equally throughout.

Humans need to take time to escape, to dream, to vision, and to play. Fantasy and escape are an important opportunity to turn off anxiety and connect with our souls on a deep level. This is where growth happens, through creative process which enlighten us to new possibilities. It is where the light peaks in and illuminates and opens up more space. We can connect with new possibilities for a personal fairy tale beyond just romance by taking time to create, participating in rituals, imagining, playing, envisioning, and connecting to something spiritually. Meditation is a great way to dream and it can even be done through playful and creative means like art making, walking, dancing, and music. Let’s fall in love with ourselves.

To FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows what is like to fall in love with yourself in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

THE INCREDIBLE HEALING POWER OF EMDR

 

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If you are looking for a powerful intervention to release haunting memories and release you from the grips of your history, look no further!

EMDR – If you live in the DC area, you automatically assume it is some sort of fancy government acronym. Actually it is a form of psychotherapy which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. My first experience with EMDR was as a client some 10 or 15 years ago. I sat in the therapist’s office mesmerized by this process which seemed to magically remove the distress attached to old memories that haunted my mind daily. The memories that seemed so palpable and painful became almost fuzzy and hard to remember, no longer feeling painful or anxiety provoking. It was then that I decided one day I would learn to be the magician behind the curtain, helping others heal and recover.

If you have tried other methods and they have not worked for you, I highly recommend this process, based on personal experience as well the many successes I have seen with clients. Often clients will leave the session explaining, “I don’t know why that felt so scary before” or with a renewed sense of motivation or freedom. This efficient process releases you from limiting beliefs and fears.

It feels a bit like a science experiment when you first try it. You either follow a focal point (a pointer, a hand, a light) with your eyes side to side or you hold alternatively vibrating squares in your hand or listen to alternating beeps from headphones, all while recalling a memory. You think, how could this possibly make a difference? The stimulation of your brain, both hemispheres and increased electrical current, along with the process meant to hone in on specific feelings/beliefs and memories seems to be the perfect recipe for healing. Just shifting your energy and attention in this manner can alleviate years of pain and suffering. Clients often have spiritual experiences and awakenings as a result of this relief. Life becomes easier to manage and energy becomes spacious. 

While this can be a very clinical protocol, I find that there is room for spiritual and relational experiences as well. When there is space to move and grow, your soul can align to its journey and live it fully.

Check the EMDRIA website for more information about the process, research, and the impact of this method https://emdria.site-ym.com/?120

 

To FREEDOM from HAUNTING memories and your history,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, EMDR, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows personally the healing power of EMDR and can guide you through recovery in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

YOUR PERSONAL EVOLUTION

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This week I decided to speak to the energetics present during the past month of May and this month of June. It seems May rushed in with a bang, the strong vibrations still reverberating at the start of this month of June. All around me and in my own life, people are in the tumults of big transitions. Everyone seems to be in the midst of upheaval. And everyone seems to be inching towards their truths. Each of us are in the midst of SHEDDING OUR SKIN to reach our next state of evolution, closer to our authentic selfs and CORE TRUTH.

Often when we tune into our intuition, our gut, we feel the pull towards our truths. In my own life and in many of those around me, the start of this month of June has brought about a direct line to our core truths and a need to follow our instinctual drive towards truth. This gravitational pull seems unshakable and the path to truth can be complicated, confusing, and difficult to navigate. Many souls are feeling the pain of taking necessary steps towards living authentically in their personal truth. That may mean relationship break-ups, marriage separations, and in some cases infidelity. Some are experiencing major career transitions and considering overhauling careers. Some are beginning investigations into long standing health issues, finally taking steps towards healthier living.

The one common thread in this energetic is the compounding feeling of isolation. As we move through these difficult, possibly painful yet fruitful times and necessary steps towards our truths, many of us are feeling alone, isolated in our pain. And while we may be feeling isolated or struggling to find support, we are not alone. This energy is resonating with a great many of us now, you are not alone. We are evolving together. 

If you find yourself being magnetized towards a path of action that just feels RIGHT, you are not alone. Follow your gut. Trust that you are on the path towards your truth. Soon you will shed this layer of life and step into your next higher self, the EVOLVED YOU.

To breaking free and tuning in to your CORE TRUTH,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows what it takes to follow core truths and experience personal evolution in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

 

Depth & Facing the Shadow

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At times I feel frustrated with the depth I own in my life.

I wonder, can’t I just switch off this part of living? I’d like to be ignorant and numb to my depth for just a day. Skate along the surface and be able to focus on small talk, popular culture, or climbing the ladder like much of the rest of the population? It seems so much easier to live in that world. At least, it appears easier. And I have tried. Tried to shut off my emotions and depth in order to live on the surface.

This resulted in numbness and disconnection rather than ease and joy. I lost touch with my values and motivation. And I know I cannot reject that part of me (my truth and the depth of my heartspace) because while it can create a lot of pain, it also produces love and joy. Therefore, given the choice, I intentionally choose on a daily basis to live in depth and introspection rather than floating along the surface, numbed out and disconnected.

So I tune into my heartspace fully. I accept my depth as a gift.

The gift comes with pain and joy which at times are inseparable. I reach the plateau of a growth spurt and drop down again to face another shadow. Each time I drop down I notice my resiliency and strength has grown and it becomes easier. And when I rise up again to the next enlightened plateau I feel more at ease knowing I will drop again. The death and rebirthing process cycles, each time bringing more knowledge, contentment and balance in the uncertainty of the future. My depth is a welcome teacher and I know the ache of growth will result in the joy of knowing.

This pattern resonates with many of the women I work with. I find especially those in helping professions experience the constant death and rebirth cycle central to their spiritual and mind-body growth process. It is the work of all women, the feminine calling, to grow out of the mud like the lotus flower and move through the DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL*. When we arrive on the other side there is stability and wise mind knowing.

I invite you to journey with me to embrace your depth and feminine calling to rise from the mud as the lotus flower, to fully connect with your heartspace.

To the divine feminine depths within us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows the shadow, light, and dark night of women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

*Elkhart Tolle on the Dark Night of the Soul – https://www.eckharttolle.com/newsletter/october-2011