You are dysfunctional. There... I've said it! How does it make you feel to hear that? It's okay if it stings a little, There is healing available for that sting. It took me a long while to acknowledge this about myself. Even longer to begin my process of becoming functional. My dysfunction touched every area of my life- how I related to authority figures, work life, relationships, parenting, my physical health and even how I related to God. You know what, I overcame all of it. I am overcoming all of it. You can choose to do the same!


My desire for this blog is for it to be a catalyst that jump starts your change. This is OUR safe place where we can be transparent, self-explore, discover ourselves and be empowered towards healing, freedom and recovery. This is the place where generational transformation begins and I am so happy to join you on your journey!

Let's chat!

An original Heaux Tale

As I was mentally musing and planning for my upcoming Courageous Moms retreat I started thinking about the ideal mom I would love to attend the event.

This, of course,  included new moms which to me does not necessarily mean first time because of course a mom can mommy multiple children but still be new to parenting. More than their identifying as a new mom, I want the moms to come from a dysfunctional upbringing in search of how to “rehabilitate their parenting” by embracing positive parenting strategies.


As I mused, I got the memory of a book I read in middle school, The Scarlet Letter. I only vaguely remembered this classic piece of literature being about a woman enduring her very own heaux tale (hello Jazymn Sullivan) so I Googled it. The google-er told me the woman, Hester Pryne, yes did have an extramarital affair but that was not it for me… this woman Hester produced a child with her lover.


Here she was a woman, engaged in an extramarital affair, now a single mom in a Puritan society.

Hester’s punishment was being publicly ridiculed in the town’s square and being forced to wear the scarlet letter A for adulterer for the remainder of her life

.

She was alone


Stripped of her dignity 


Facing the embarrassment


Humiliation


The guilt


The shame


All this while her lover was never named nor held accountable.


Sound familiar?


One hundred and seventy one years after the publishing of this book and much has not changed in the experience of single moms (unfortunately even if that mom was married upon becoming a mom).


I call single moms courageous because courage can be defined as the ability to do something that frightens one and strength in the face of pain or grief.


My courageous moms continue to wear that scarlet letter. It’s not spoken of often but Hester’s pain is their pain too.


I want my courageous moms to challenge the silence. I want them to be open and honest about their own tales in a way that can liberate them from all that scarlet letter means to them.


We will gather together May 6th to begin this process of freedom.


For more information: Bit.ly/CouargeousMomsRetreat

What does rehabilitating our lives actually look like... 

For years I, the therapist, had this reoccurring, fear of heights (pronounced fear of being out of control). I psycho-analyzed, CBT'd, DBT'd it to no end...and guess what, the fear persisted thru three separate attempts to conquer it.

Every single attempt I was uber uncomfortable but went a little further in facing my fear.

On the left, here I am with my tribe...one beside me the others supporting on the ground (if you listen closely you can here them). I still couldn't bring myself to leave that platform BUT what I did accomplish was becoming comfortable being uncomfortable.

In these moments I held space with myself. I allowed myself to be where I was on my journey, to feel it all- without judging my experience.

The middle picture is me about six months later....I DID IT! Was it challenging, yes! But I frigg'n did it...and it was actually fun.

...and since I was challenging myself, why wouldn't I skydive eight months later. 😱😳.

Here's the point. We sometimes think all the therapy happens in the sacred spaces shared between client and therapist...but you know what! EVERY DAY we live is sacred and therapeutic.

As uncomfortable as it may be, rehabilitating our lives involves taking advantage of those small moments to move ourselves a bit forward in our personal journeys by challenging the thoughts and feelings that limit us. If I can do it, you can too!

C'mon brain, let me be great while on my fitness journey!!  

A few weeks ago I kicked off one of my favorite programs EVAAA; the Rehabilitate Your Fitness Journey Program (RYFJP). Ten weeks of focused therapy and support aimed at building a foundation to help persons whom have a difficult time achieving fitness goals such as weight-loss.

Hey, I may be a little biased, but if I were you

I'd at least check out the details of the program here!

While working through how best to support participants in the RYFJP ​I was again struck with how much weight related issues can be just a function of our brain just not letting us be great.

We know our brain thrives on keeping us alive and safe. Anything and I do mean ANYTHING that seeks to disrupt the brain's primary goals is considered a stressor....and class, what happens when our brain experiences a stressor? Yup, you got it...we automatically kick into gear to FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE.

So what does this have to do with losing and sustaining weight-loss? Glad you asked. I know from experience I struggled the most with my fitness goals when my natural stress responses were activated. It became the norm for me to run away or freeze when stressed rather than fight through the stressor in order to kick my stressor in the hiney.

The Rehabilitate Your Fitness Journey Program is packed with tools to help participants learn how to calm their natural stress response during the toughest moments. When we calm our brain down we are then in position to explore and resolve the actual problem that kicked us into fight, flight or freeze mode in the first place.

Can I be honest here!?! My personal experiences with losing and sustaining an 170 pound weight loss over years have helped me learn that it isn't just about killing it at the gym or having the trendiest meal plan on the market. For people like me, whom have constantly struggled with weight loss, it is about our brains letting us be great.

I want to equip you with the foundational tools that I STILL!!!! rely on to remove the struggle out of my fitness journey. Let's get started today. CALL or EMAIL me today.    

I created a New Year Resolution but now I'm Stressed.....HELP!!!


~Tysha   

Tips for Surviving Family During the Holidays

So you’re inundated by a barrage of perfect family images via social media and television and you feel this sense of: “what the hell” welling up inside of you. Growing up your family was anything but perfect. In fact, on a scale of “The Cosby Show” to “Empire” the Lyons have nothing on you all. You dread holidays because they are synonymous with grinning and baring it with the “fake and phonies”, the “you’re never going to be nothingers” and even the abuser whom everyone seems to shelter. You simply just do not want to be in the mix.

Spoiler alert: you don’t have to do it. Read that again and let it sink in: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT. You do not have to put yourself through the trauma of feeling trapped for hours, triggered or anything of the sort. Boundaries are self-care. Care for yourself by creating experiences that nurture and fulfill your soul. If that means forgoing family functions that just aren’t safe, limiting the amount of time around family, a friends-giving or a solo holiday cruise do more of what brings you peace and happiness. Do it un-apologetically.

For some, visiting family is inevitable. I am here to remind you to:

Prepare yourself mentally ahead of time. Have you ever noticed the difference in your response style when you are feeling your best? There is nothing that can be said or done that can defeat you. You’re literally unbothered and unmoved. Consider the activities that promote these feelings and thoughts within yourself. Do more of these activities leading up to your visit. Hey, if an imaginary Lil’ Duval has to travel with you singing theme music in your head in order for you to remain in a place of “Living your best life”, then who are we to judge!

Remain in the moment. We humans have a really crappy tendency to either live in the past or the future. Living in the past brings on feelings of sadness, regret or guilt for example while fixating on the future is one sure way to eat anxiety like it is being served for dinner. Ground yourself in what is happening right before you. What’s your favorite dish, who can you whip up on in a game or have fun watching the game with? If the moment is not there, be empowered to create it.


Shift perspectives. You know what, perhaps cousin Pam and Auntie Alice will never get it just “right” in our eyes. Maybe they just do not know how. Maybe they just do not care to get it right. There is something to be said for accepting what is and rolling with it. Flipping the script is less about them and more about altering how we choose to process what is happening around us. It means choosing to step outside of ourselves to see things from another’s perspective.


Flip the script. We can sometimes have an entire play in our heads about how an interaction will occur- we know the characters, we know their parts- we know word for word what they will say, how we will respond and repeat until scene ends! Flipping the script is not allowing the scenes to play out how they once did. Since we really have no control over how others choose to engage what we can do for certain is break the cycle by choosing to change our response style.

One thing is for sure, there are no perfect families as we once thought or expected. Rehabilitating our lives means understanding ourselves in light of our family’s dynamics. Holidays with family can be such an opportunity for growth and healing. Be sure to consult with your own therapist before and after family visits.  

5 Things I wish I knew prior to college. 

I was absolutely brilliant in high school. So much so I recall being asked jokingly: “do you take your brain out at night to give it rest?” Not only did I graduate with honors amongst the top of my class but I did so actively engaged in high school activities. Unfortunately, for me, academic fortitude and school engagement did not equate to college readiness.

I was so hyped up on being independent that I did not give any thought to what this actually meant and how I would be successful at navigating independence. Consider if you will my never having real responsibilities, the lack of structure and emotional support that is classic to growing up in dysfunction and being practically sheltered from what my parents saw as the “dangerous outside world”. The failure to launch-esque scene that unfolded over four years led lots of poor choices, failed classes, bouts of anxiety and depression which all culminated in a mental health crisis. Yes, even this therapist has contemplated suicide.

Statistics show that although I felt alone in college, I was not the only one unprepared and struggling through their college years. In fact, suicide has been noted to be the second leading cause of death among college students across our nation. The Association of Psychological Associates (APA) notes that although student enrollment grew only by 5 percent recently there has been a 30% rise in students seeking appointments at counseling centers for reasons other than academic performance. These students indicate concerns around anxiety, stress, depression and family/social issues.

Even with legislature such as the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act of 2004 which is noted to have been instrumental in shaping current campus support resources for students what I know is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So how do we prepare students mentally and emotionally for the demands of college and adulthood? I believe in starting where you are with the end in mind…taking note of each human developmental stage and with each stage transitioning our parenting style away from being as authoritative to more of a coach. An authoritative parenting style demands: “do as I say”, while a coach relies on what has been taught or develops new skills to assist with gradually building self-reliance capacity which is needed during the college years.

Developing a strong foundation is uber important for transitioning college students. While college certainly does a great job at testing and fortifying that foundation looking back on my own college experience I am certain I would have fared better had I known the following:


My value: value can be described as what sets one apart from others, the importance or usefulness of a thing. When value is understood it dictates the care and treatment given or expected from myself or others, it defines who and what has access to me and indicates what investments I am willing to make to ensure my value is maintained and grows. The level of care-physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually and academically were all value based decisions. There will be those who do not see your value, do not let it be you.

My Voice: because we are all so unique we carry varying perspectives on life. I wish I had known that being able to speak from my unique perspective sets me a part and actually makes me a leader among my peers. Using my voice to positively influence rather than allowing others to only influence me is critical.


My Right Not to Know: It was my own thought that I was supposed to have my life figured out by the time I became a freshmen. This self-imposed pressure is what led to my anxiety and depression. I wish I had known that it is perfectly okay to not know. I wish I had known that the pressure I was feeling was simply me growing in my capacity as an adult and that I did not need to panic. I just needed to talk it out.

My Unlimited Resources: I soooo wish I had known how to ask for help! From test taking strategies, talking to my professor for support, how to resolve a conflict with my roomie to how do I manage these overwhelming feelings. Instead of pretending to have it all together, grinning and baring it, tapping into the array of resources at my disposal could have literally changed my life. You’re paying good money for the help anyway. Ask for help, take the help!


My Ability to YOLO it up with the best of them: college is fun; if you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. Enjoy it with moderation by taking healthy risks. I wished I had taken the time to expose myself to experiences outside of my norm with those unlike me.


College life is so different for each person; what are five things you wish you would have known prior to college? How do you intend to prepare and/or support a transitioning student with that information?

In My Feelings

We live in a culture that has been nurtured to be emotional track stars- running away from the very thought of emotional vulnerability. Rather than deal with the helplessness borne out of generational traumas we have passed down invisible permission slips to run with the nod of “just pray”, “be strong”, “savage life” and of course “boss up”.

Try as we might to accept “good” feelings while seeking to silence the uncomfortable ones what I have learned is we cannot escape our feelings. They intensify and our truths fight to be revealed in our lives. When we learn to be in our feelings we learn how to tolerate them which then helps us to gain mastery over them.

So what does being in our feelings look like? Here are some thoughts from a sister friend of mines:

Sometimes it looks like laying in bed all day. Sometimes it's crying for hours. Sometimes it's sitting still and allowing the tears to flow silently. Sometimes it looks like furiously writing in your journal, barely noticing the words on the page. Sometimes it's asking God "why" until 4 am. Sometimes it looks like crying and screaming into the pillow. But it doesn't always look ugly; sometimes it looks like calling a friend and asking them to sit beside you in silence, or go for a long drive. Sometimes it looks like walking in the rain. Sometimes it looks like going into your child's room in the middle of the night to lay beside them and watch them as they sleep. And sometimes it looks like creating something beautiful--a song, a poem, a story, a painting, a dance, etc.

What it doesn't look like is trudging along, pretending the feelings aren't there. And it doesn't look like plastering a smile on your face and telling everyone you're fine when you're dying inside. It especially doesn't look like pouring yourself glass after glass of vodka, or standing in front of the fridge all night, mindlessly eating the feelings away. And it's not crawling into the bed of a stranger, avoiding the loneliness one meaningless sexual encounter at a time.

Be with your feelings. Be with ALL OF THEM. Sometimes the only way to get past something is to go through it.


Hello Summer Rest

Nothing says come out to play more than summer officially popping. From the inviting smiles and giggles of people finally freed from the hibernation of winter and the rainy days of spring to the little people being out of school, the sense of achievement graduations bring, our favorite produce being in season, the social gatherings annnnndddd oh my goodness….the cook outs!! Can we just take a moment to show love to the top chefs amongst us who make all our food dreams become reality using mere charcoal and fire. We appreciate you!

Yes, summer, in all of its heated glory is certainly a wonderful time of year. Of all that summer brings, the opportunities for rest found within the summer months are so welcoming because it counteracts the day to day stressors we face. Daily there is constant demand for our time and attention. We fight to remain cutting edge and may often find ourselves foot to the pedal racing towards the next meeting, development activity or that next big idea or project that will propel our business, jobs or lives forward. It’s like if we are not at the top of our game, vibrating higher, self-actualized and woke AF we are not living our best lives. I mean I for one am all here for a little motivational psychology of the Maslow kind but can we also admit that constantly striving for self-actualization can be can be like the longest winter ever leaving us tapped out, unfulfilled and even a little hopeless. All of which are not the best for our mental health.

I offer you this: strive to rest. I’m going to say it louder for the people in the back. Rest! In all of our striving there is surely a space for not only physical but also emotional and mental rest. Fight just as hard for that space as you do for your self-actualization. Sure, we aren’t there yet so resting seems counterintuitive but in the space of emotional and mental rest we allow ourselves to fully notice and accept our now and find satisfaction and appreciation for the journey we’ve endured. In this space we are not trying to figure ourselves out or fix ourselves. There is just radical acceptance and the belief that when I accept where I am I simultaneously set myself up for the next leg of the journey.


What the Kanye!?

There are days I spend way too much time on social media-there, I’ve said it! Not only do I spend way too much time on social media but at times I have allowed myself to get caught up in “heated fellowship” with people I would not know from a can of paint on the wall. When I say heated fellowship, I mean of the miss my bedtime, stay up researching and trolling variety.

On this particular day, a discussion around Kanye West and mental health happened to be the antithesis to my experiencing sound, restful sleep. Perhaps you may not be as social media involved as I but let’s identify the rock you’ve been under if you claim not to have read or seen reports of Kanye’s seemingly erratic behaviors over the years following the untimely death of his mother, his extended stay in a hospital being treated for “exhaustion and sleep deprivation” and his personal choice to forgo traditional mental health therapy. The fact is I, nor you, are treating Kanye so we can only make groundless inferences on Kanye’s mental health that truly are not helpful to him in this moment.

I must be honest however, being a pseudo witness to Kanye’s very public battles pierces my heart with compassion. Not just for Kanye but for thousands upon thousands of unnamed, unmentioned Kanye’s that secretly fight the battle for their souls in the dark. Too ashamed and afraid of social judgement and stigma to reach out for help because to acknowledge their truth would mean wearing a scarlet “C” on their chest. What exactly is crazy anyway? Who voted to give that word power and why do we allow it to rule over us to the extent that we make real life efforts to avoid its label? Does avoiding a label mean I allow my mind to slip away from me? Does it mean crying myself to sleep every single night? Does it mean allowing thoughts of suicide to be so incessant that it becomes the only option? Does it mean being unable to keep a job or even being so volatile that I am unable to maintain a healthy relationship or what about trying to self-medicate my problems away with sex, drugs and shopping?

Here are some Department of Justice facts for ya: of those surveyed, 43.8 MILLION!!!! adults experience mental illness in a given year. 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness. Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America live with a serious mental illness. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite this: Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year. Why? That is such a loaded question that might just keep me up tonight but may I suggest that a large portion of those persons were simply ashamed of the social stigma of mental illness…of having to carry that “C” on their chests.

One of my favorite poems is “Our Deepest Fear” from Marianne Williamson's book A Return to Love. The last section of the poem powerfully states:

…And as we let our own light shine,

We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we're liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.

What a perspective shifter for me. What if what we considered as dark and shameful was in actuality light and hope? What if we allowed that light to mean acknowledging, embracing and SPEAKING our truths that really isn’t so dissimilar from other’s truths?

I welcome you today to be liberated from the shame of mental illness and fear of social judgment. As you do, I welcome you to consider what it would mean for you to shift your perspective from one who embodies darkness to one whom is filled with light. I invite you to allow your light to liberate others to do the same.   

What About Your Seven?

I remember it as if it were yesterday. My church regularly has what I call fireside chats. They are when our pastors leave the authority of their role as pastor and dialog with us as a mother and father. This time is absolutely beautiful and impactful- It allows for mutual exchanges of thoughts, feelings and needs. I love it because I, like many, did not experience as a child the warmth of family time led by two healthy, loving parents. As I sit here typing I actually cannot recall a time in my childhood where my immediate family sat to have conversation with one another. We were all in our own world-disconnected with one another until we collided for one reason or another. As I have grown, my personal healing process has drawn me to corrective experiences that bring healing and restoration to parts of me I sometimes am unaware of or unable to articulate.


During this particular fireside chat, our entire “first family” led the talk. The concept of legacy slapped me in the face with one quote: “The decisions we make today will impact the next seven generations”. It provoked me to take a closer look at my family. Not just my immediate family but generations of my family. I thought about our family cycles and systems…how we thought, felt, behaved, our values, our impact. Honestly, I was disturbed by some of what I saw and felt helpless at making things better. How do I make a difference in an entire family line? I’m telling you, this one quote literally haunted me for years. For years!


One day, years later, I Googled that quote and discovered it to be an ancient Iroquois philosophy called the Seventh Generation Principle. The Iroquois Nation approached creating a sustainable world by each member of society deliberately choosing to live his or her best life! It made sense. Nope, I cannot change their decisions but if I make my own quality decisions I create a ripple effect in the forward generations. Seven generations to be exact. Two hundred and sixty plus years! What I do today, affects over two hundred sixty years. And if every generation I impact does the very same thing we succeed at creating what I see every time I look at my young son: people ripe with the power to actualize everything we were purposed to be and do when we were birthed into this earth.


Are you like me? Have you ever thought about your family? I mean really, really sat and considered…what are your family’s patterns-good or bad? What makes your heart ache about your family? What do you wish they would just get and understand? What do you wish could be different? It is likely that if you see it then you are equipped to change it…but that change does not start with you trying to change them…it starts by you changing you. Are you willing to commit to the work of change?


My desire for this blog is to help you change you. This is OUR safe place where we can be transparent, self-explore, discover ourselves and be empowered towards healing, freedom and recovery. This is the place where generational transformation begins and I am so happy to join you on your journey. 

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