Posted in Guest Posts

GUEST POST: RACHEL THOMPSON

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It is a delightful honor to present this guest post from author and activist, Rachel Thompson (pictured above). I got to know this phenomenal lady when we began following one another on Twitter. She was a guest on my radio show back in January, discussing the #nomoreshame project along with Bobbi Parish and Athena Moberg. Rachel  writes beautiful prose from the heart with refreshing honesty. Here, she discusses her latest book, Broken Places, and why someone who hasn’t had similar experiences, should read it.

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Book Summary:

Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

AWARDS

  • IndieReader Approved

Indie

 

 

 

PRAISE FOR BROKEN PLACES:

“BROKEN PLACES succeeds as the gritty memoir of a woman who was sexually assaulted when she was young and the author’s story of survival will surprise the reader because of its candidness and unexpected ending.”
~IndieReader

WHY SHOULD SOMEONE WHO HASN’T HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES READ THE BOOK?

by Rachel Thompson

Thank you for hosting me, Kyrian.

One of the reasons I wrote Broken Pieces, and the newly released Broken Places, is to give people an idea of the aftermath of living with childhood sexual abuse in an emotional, almost lyrical way. Poetic, really, as opposed to clinical. A personal view.

The books deal with my own experiences, but there are universal truths that many people, particularly women, are familiar with: depression, anxiety, PTSD, and how it all merges to affect my life now as a woman in all my many roles, in both positive and negative ways.

I’d like to say that it’s not something many people will experience, but sadly the statistics refute me, as one in three girls under the age of eighteen will be sexually abused, and of those, 90% will know their abuser; one in six boys will experience the same. And that’s just what is reported! (Source: RAINN.org)

The question many people ask me, if they haven’t been abused, is if writing about dealing with these tough subjects is cathartic, and the answer is: yes and no. Yes, because the response has been amazing – connecting with other survivors, starting the weekly Twitter #SexAbuseChat (Tuesdays at 6pm PST) with therapist/survivor Bobbi Parish is especially rewarding, as is co-creating the #NoMoreShame Project Anthology with Bobbi and survivor/life coach Athena Moberg (published later this year by Booktrope).

No, because it doesn’t change what happened. Despite having dealt with much of the feelings of shame involved (I was eleven when the abuse occurred), I still deal with nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety and depression. Writing about it doesn’t change the past, but what it does do is help others understand that survivors aren’t whining or using our experience as an excuse in life’s difficult moments.

Being a voice is crucial to me, so survivors and non-survivors alike will understand with compassion what so many women experience. Broken Pieces has won many awards and hit #1 on several Amazon lists. Broken Places has already hit #1 Women Authors and Poetry – I’m quite excited by the reception and the wonderful reviews. I hope your readers will be, too!

Thanks for having me, today.

*********

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check outAuthor Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Broken Places:

Title: Broken Places

Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: 124 pages
Extras: Authorgraph
Publisher: ebook: Booktrope * print: Booktrope Editions
Release date: ebook: January 13, 2015 * print: January 12, 2015
ISBN-10: 162015689X
ISBN-13: 978-1620156896
ASIN: B00S7R7BWI
Purchase: Amazon

Author Contact Information:

Website: rachelintheoc.com
Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelThompson
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RachelThompson/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelintheoc/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-thompson/24/784/b95
Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619475.Rachel_Thompson
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH

It was a pleasure to host you on your book tour, Rachel. Best of luck to you in your new book journey!

Posted in Blogs

BURNING BRIDGES, LETTING GO

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Parting is rarely peaceful or the sweet sorrow of Shakespearean poetry. It can be an ugly and torturous process. It’s not unusual either to be called selfish for walking away from toxic relationships and environments.

We get involved in something or with someone having the best of intentions. Often, we don’t realize what issues we bring to the table. There may be parts of us still in need of healing. When we look back, we may see we could have handled it all better—not simply because hindsight is 20/20 but because we can’t be objective. We’re busy drowning. Everything is clouded, including our judgment. Being oblivious to what motivates us and how others can manipulate us, we fall into traps. We may even trust the wrong people, people who take advantage of vulnerabilities and unresolved needs. They push buttons we didn’t know we had and, after a time, we don’t recognize ourselves.

We walk away, because we don’t know what will happen to us if we don’t. We choose sanity and serenity over endless battles. The exit becomes the way of saving our lives, reclaiming it along with our dreams, putting our needs first after years of trying to please people who cannot be pleased. We are no longer in a place where we can be or do our best. The kinder thing is to go on and heal what needs healing. Who says we can’t bring our best efforts somewhere else? We can take our kindness. We know, too, it’s never going to be enough to walk away. We need to burn that bridge, so we don’t get sucked in again.

The place we escaped from may haunt us from time to time, what we left behind. We can leave those dead things wailing in the dark and shut the door. That part of our past taught us many things we needed to learn, and it’s over, done, dead. As long as we didn’t lose the lesson, we’ll be fine. We needed to be there and experience what we experienced, but we’re free now. It’s time to celebrate our freedom.

I’m leaving you with a couple of awesome links and parting thoughts.

Nine Things We Don’t Owe Anybody

Selfishness: 10 Myths You May Be Relieved To Debunk

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” Oscar Wilde

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© Copyright March 17, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Posted in Blogs

EMOTIONS AND SHAME

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Some people say we are too sensitive these days. We analyze too much. We spew tedious psychobabble. They would like people to toughen up and suck it up, as they had to do when they were growing up. I say a lot of past callousness is simply ignorance that some think is bliss, but it has created too much dysfunction. Many will pass down emotional abuse from generation to generation like family jewels.

I’m glad there is an increasing willingness to talk about it and to examine what’s going on. It shows us, for one thing, that so many people are struggling. It helps us understand one another. In the constant exchange of knowledge, we learn what to do about it.

This quote got my attention when I saw it one day in my news feed.

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Someone called me on this in an argument years ago because I said people shouldn’t feel jealous.

I took this position largely because of painful experiences I’d had or witnessed. I got to a place where I thought I could expound on why people shouldn’t feel jealous ever. I had an epiphany in my 20s, realizing jealousy never changed anything or helped anyone, but that doesn’t mean we could wrap up that issue for all humankind and move on.

Things like this remind me that I must remain teachable at all levels of my existence and that I’ve learned so much from others. The worst things we go through with another person seem to teach us the most.

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Of course, shaming another individual is not always a conscious attempt to manipulate the person into feeling humiliated or deficient. I sometimes think we do it unconsciously or subconsciously and that we may have good intentions. Often, we want people to feel better. Other times, if we examine more carefully, we can admit we somehow felt superior or impatient, even a little uncomfortable about how another was feeling. We got this urge or need to manipulate or take control.

It’s easy to decide, too, people should feel a certain way in response to something we say or do. They should be happy for our triumphs and supportive of our efforts. They should not feel insecure, threatened, or unhappy about where they are in life. I learned that telling people how they should feel may seem natural to us and instinctive, but it doesn’t help them feel that way and often invalidates how they’re feeling and shames. It took a while for me to get that.

We’re not monsters. We all have conflicting emotions and vulnerable egos. It’s a learning experience for all.

I discovered motivational author Louise Hay during what was probably the most difficult time of my life. Reading ‘You Can Heal Your Life‘ was a game changer for me. I listened to the audiotapes while cleaning and before falling asleep at night.

Here is a short podcast from the book:

Louise Haye on “Should to Could” from “You Can Heal Your Life”

Apparently, my son got an earful too, and once told me, “Never say should, Mommy. Could is better.”

I came across this post today by Jeff Brown at http://soulshaping.com/, and with his permission, I’m including it here:

“I know we often want it all happy and positive, but that’s just not where much of humanity is. Many of us are overwhelmed with pain, undigested sadness, unexpressed anger, unseen truths. This is where we are at, as a collective. So we have two choices. We can continue to pretend it’s not there, shame and shun it in ourselves and others, distract and detach whenever possible. Or we can face it heart-on, own it within ourselves, look for it in others with compassion, create a culture that is focused on authenticity and healthy emotional release. If we continue to push it all down, we are both creating illness and delaying our collective expansion. But if we can just own the shadow, express it, release it, love each other through it, we can finally graduate from the School of Heart Knocks and begin to enjoy this magnificent life as we were intended. Pretending the pain isn’t there just embeds it further. Let’s illuminate it instead.” Jeff Brown

We all have our struggles. Most people are just trying to feel good about themselves, and their progress will take what it takes, as mine did and does. I don’t have to add to anyone’s burdens with my need to have everything I want and my way, imposing expectations that someone cannot meet for whatever reason.

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We don’t have to put up with nonsense, but we can certainly move along and let people work out their stuff.

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© Copyright February 2, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Posted in Radio Podcasts

STIGMA FIGHTERS

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Stigma Fighters’ CEO and founder, Sarah Fader. Here is the podcast from that interview.

Via Stigma Fighters November 29, 2014 Press Release:

Stigma Fighters is an organization dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health issues in high schools and colleges around the United States.

Stigma Fighters began as a blog series where people shared 1000 word essays about living with a variety of mental illnesses. The organization was founded by Psychology Today and Huffington Post Blogger, Sarah Fader. The basis of the program focuses on the invaluable benefits of sharing one’s story. Now, Stigma Fighters is coming off the Internet and into high schools and colleges. Stigma Fighters chapters are being established throughout the United States, beginning with the New York metropolitan area.

Choosing to bring Stigma Fighters to a school will allow students a place to safely discuss mental health issues. The organization seeks to empower student’s voices and allow them the opportunity to share their stories with confidence and without fear of being judged.

Contributors to Stigma Fighters include Keith Law, ESPN journalist, Rachel Thompson, best-selling author and HuffPost Books Blogger, Michael Coleman, Once Upon a Time actor as well as people from around the world including Australia, The United Kingdom, and Canada.

For further information or to bring Stigma Fighters to your educational community for speaking events and student involvement contact Sarah Fader, founder. Email: sarahfader@gmail.com

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Learn more about Stigma Fighters and Sarah Fader.

Stigma Fighters
Stigma Fighters Fund Raising
Stigma Fighters on Twitter
Stigma Fighters on Facebook
Stigma Fighters Teen (Facebook)
Stigma Fighters UK (Facebook)
Stigma Fighters Down Under (Facebook)
Sarah Fader’s Blog

Thank you, Sarah. It was an honor and a delight to have you on my show.

Follow Heart-to-Heart With Kyrian for notification of upcoming episodes.


© Copyright February 16, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Posted in Blogs

NO HALO

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I hate labels that create delusions of superiority—even something as altruistic as “light worker.” I’ve met light workers who believe they are angels while engaging in smear campaigns and sabotage of others with a high school “mean girl” mentality. They would show no empathy for those they attempted to break and destroy. They managed all of this, too, while claiming to be humble and holy, making sanctimonious judgments and patting themselves on the back for being somehow better at this human being stuff than the rest of us.

We are not “angels.”

We can go around and around in circles on the issue of judgment, just as we can on the issue of tolerance. (Yes, throughout most of my life, I have been completely intolerant of the intolerant!) As far as judgment, I have done many of the things that frustrate me to no end these days when others do it—even the light-working angel bit—halo, wings, the whole enchilada. I believed I was the shining example of everything everyone else should be. I often believed, when I didn’t have a particular character defect, or what I perceived to be a character defect; I could take the moral high ground and condemn the offender. I didn’t try to understand it because I hated to coexist with it and didn’t want to understand.

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In my “angelic” pursuits, I was on board with the “one love” and fighting for humanity. I still am, but I had to fight to keep my ego out of it. That’s what being human is. It’s not fairy wings.

When I think about how much I have grown and changed in my life (and with such a long way to go), it seems unfair to be impatient and judgmental of others. I don’t know the circumstances that led them to where they are. I don’t know their struggle to get better.

I’m not advocating that we excuse or accept bad behavior. I am simply trying to understand.

Sometimes people are so committed to a perception about something or someone; they won’t give anyone a chance to help shed a little light or truth on the matter. There is some payoff in the denial. I have done this, too, in my life. So I keep putting myself in other people’s shoes, trying to look at situations from a place of compassion. I know I have needed that in my life, for others to do this for me. We all need this.

It’s difficult not to judge. We need to be able to judge in order to make wise choices. It is hard, too, not to hold a grudge. We develop expectations of people, and people will often fall short of these expectations. For me, releasing expectations must be an ongoing daily effort. Just like letting go of resentments. It takes work. In the meantime, I have to remain in check about my motives. We are humans dealing with humans and often, in punishing others, we also punish ourselves.

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© Copyright October 9, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Posted in Blogs

ALL THE FEAR

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Like many, I am crushed by Robin Williams’ tragic death and saddened by the emotional toll life takes on even the brightest lights in our world. Another gentle soul and kindred spirit is gone. We remember the world can be cruel.

We don’t have to be suicidal to understand this kind of suffering. I know the excruciating heartbreak of not being able to reach someone who is depressed or addicted, thinking you finally made progress, then you hit another wall – hard. I understand the fear of losing that person forever.

It reminds me we have no idea about anyone else’s pain. We don’t know how hard they tried to bear it or what the rationale was. Addiction and obsession will distort perspectives and impair judgment, but addiction and obsession are not simply about narcotics or alcohol. The world we live in and the circumstances of our lives heighten sensitivity, and it all begins when we are too small to comprehend it.

Everyone is narcissistic to one degree or another, but extreme narcissism is so mercilessly destructive. Some people are afraid to “be seen” authentically, while others are afraid to truly “see” people and allow them to shine. The serpent that bedevils us is ego. I know it well. It is an ongoing effort to keep that sucker reigned in and right-sized.

I am no stranger to fear of failure/fear of success, two sides of the same coin, and I’ve watched friends achieve their goals only to find people pulling away. In either case, there is fear and maybe some need to punish ourselves or punish others. Sometimes people have the mindset that others don’t deserve success, because deep down they fear they themselves don’t deserve it, and they’re afraid to try.

I will never subscribe to the belief that I don’t deserve happiness or you don’t. I don’t believe in karma. Some people simply continue doing what they do and ultimately punish themselves. They don’t learn from their mistakes. However, everyone has the opportunity to right his or her wrongs and turn that ship around. I want everyone to learn and triumph and ultimately find happiness and make his or her dream come true.

It is all about healing or not healing. External validation is only a temporary fix. I saw this somewhere, and I believe it: “Everything we seek externally must be resolved internally.” Past turmoil is a boulder we carry everywhere we go. Some hold it up forever while others chip it away, one piece at a time.

My own inner circle has been small the past few years. I’ve spent the time healing and learning from cataclysmic mistakes. I have the fearful anxiety Robin Williams talked about. I know what it’s like when your mind doesn’t stop – the thoughts, the ideas, the obsessions. I deal with a less severe level of agoraphobia. Many people have difficulty, and it’s important not only to acknowledge this but also to share how we have been conquering one battle after another. I don’t want anyone to feel alone in these struggles.

Robin Williams talked about living with shame. It is often shame over things an adult might be able to sort out, i.e., this is theirs not mine. A child cannot do that, and that child is alive deep inside of us feeling shame that belongs to someone else. This is not to say we don’t look back on our own mistakes and feel overwhelmed by guilt and mortification. The combination of what is ours and what we take on as ours can be difficult to bear.

We don’t heal until we feel we deserve better. Everyone deserves healing, but for some it takes a long time and, sadly, some never heal.

I learned we must be patient with the healing processes of others, as beautifully expressed in this piece by Jeff Brown @ http://soulshaping.com/

“Emotional armor is not easy to shed, nor should it be. It has formed for a reason- as a requirement for certain responsibilities, as a conditioned response to real circumstances, as a defense against unbearable feelings. It has served an essential purpose. It has saved lives. Yet it can be softened over time. It can melt into the tender nest at its core. It can reveal the light at its source. But never rush it, never push up against it, never demand it to drop its guard before its time. Because it knows something you don’t. In a still frightening world, armor is no less valid than vulnerability. Let it shed at its own unique pace.”

Rest in peace, dear Robin. We loved you, and the world grieves.

I’m going to end this by sharing a few more things I found helpful.I’m always grateful when people share these great insights and reminders. I always need reminders!

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Some Great Reads:

Toss Your Expectations Into The Ocean

18 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Is

“Life is suffering. We have desires and expectations and egos, and we compare the reality we have, which is miraculous and wondrous, with this reality we desire. That somehow distances us from actually taking part fully with the reality we do have, and that creates suffering. For me, the thing that I love is that it’s all about the present moment.”  Alan Ball

© Copyright August, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Posted in Blogs

IN THE DIMMEST LIGHT


I wake up at 4 a.m. every day, including weekends and holidays, and write for hours. It starts with nothing more than a 40-watt amber-shade lamp lit in the darkest hours, where I can see the moon outside my window. The focus is so intense, it is light before long.

Creating characters and the worlds they live in began as a childhood obsession. I wrote down names then added descriptions, developing their stories by continuing to add details. I had no idea why I did this at the time. My parents worried for a while. They relaxed a bit as I went on to write fairy tales and poems. When I wrote my first novel at 16, I used parts of those descriptions.

I held many jobs since then – secretary, assistant book manufacturing representative, assistant to casting director, computer system administrator, and paralegal/legal assistant. One summer, I was shooting photos for a model’s portfolio. Another day I’d be chatting with musicians about putting a band together. My ego was insatiable, so I was all over the place, wanting to do everything. I told myself, all I want to do is write while getting sidetracked at every turn.

Life went on, rife with challenges, full of adventures. I roamed the darkest corners to learn about the world and about myself. Setbacks knocked me down. I would get up eventually and find my way again.

More and more so, I began telling my story in the novels I wrote. I became so immersed in the reality of it, I would not steer off its course long enough to let my imagination truly come alive. I started over several times until I realized I didn’t sign on for this to tell my story. A storyteller can tell any story she wants, and so I was back on track.

To be fair, I learned about the book publishing process working in publishing. I chased down literary agents, got a press kit, and formed a writer’s club. I continued to educate myself about writing. I subscribed to the relevant publications. I contributed to an anthology, had letters published. There were assignments and proposals I turned down wanting to be true to myself and to the integrity of my work. I was devoted to mastering my craft.

I realize, too, I’d been busy healing. It was necessary for me to find the courage to free myself of belief systems that kept me in bondage. Until we fully heal, we remain in bondage to something or another and prone to all kinds of obsession. Disentangling from all that is a painful process and a lot of work but well worth it. Past turmoil is the baggage we can carry forever or make lighter and less cumbersome by checking it.

Perhaps it’s different for everyone, but the process is the same. It is discovering what you do not want nor want to be; who or what impedes you; who and what strengthens you. Learning to trust your instincts is essential. If I couldn’t do that as a human being, I surely could not do it as a writer.

In the healing process, I got a much-needed downsizing of ego. I went from “needing” attention to shying away from it with a reluctance to put myself out there. I am a firm believer that when it comes to extremes, neither extreme is right. It had to be somewhere in the middle. It’s been all about balance for me.

Becoming a parent along the way helped. It is a rare and unconditional love, and love of that magnitude motivates you to be the best person you can ever hope to be. It lifts you out of victimhood and allows you to live as the empowered hero in your own heart and to set the example.

Today I feel the greatest gift I have to give anyone is a true and genuine heart. That means questioning my intentions and, if necessary, correcting my steps.

Now, with a clear view of the story I want to tell, I’ve been busy incorporating my past novels into a series that could be six to eight books and possibly more. I have outlined and drafted the series and am in the process of finalizing.

I’m grateful to have a passion, something I love to do, and get to spend time doing every day – a joy that saves me, always.

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The author as a young ego-driven New Yorker in Central Park. 🙂

© Copyright July 14, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.