Taking a Trip…

IMG_1530I got home last night from a quick and fabulous birthday trip to some of the most amazing and beautiful places in the western United States. I know…I’m a lucky girl (for real)! I love seeing new places. I really dislike the “traveling to new places” part of traveling, have high car anxiety, and usually go kicking and screaming but, when I finally arrive at my “travel destination” (I lowered my voice there), it’s usually worth the blood, sweat and tears that “traveling” takes out of me.

One of the many “highs” of seeing new places is that I can avoid the comparison game…the one that my ego plays where it compares whether this experience is “better or worse” than the last time (you know that game, right?). Because the comparison game is off the table with a new place, it’s fresh, exciting (I almost broke out into a dance, too!), and keeps me “in the moment.” It’s probably my favorite part of exploring new places. I’m curious, playful and welcoming…fully immersed in the moment…taking it all in.

IMG_1720I wonder why it’s so hard to do this in normal, everyday life? I just answered my own question (you should try this writing thing…it’s very therapeutic). It’s because I’ve labeled it, “normal, everyday life.” Doesn’t that sound exciting? To me neither. It sounds very “ho hum…just me, going through normal, everyday life here…I’ll be okay…”

Now I feel selfish (great…). Is there such a thing as “normal, everyday life?” Maybe, but I kind of doubt it. It’s pretty much a miracle that my birthday, 276 years ago (yes, I founded the West…it was me) even happened. I’m not sure of the exact percentage (and I doubt humans that even think they know the exact percentage are accurate), but the probability that I was even conceived are like a gazillion to one (which is a lot). In that exact moment a miracle happened, and a “little ME” started growing. There was a bunch of other “little ME’s” that got passed over that day. Apparently, not to brag here, they hadn’t done the prerequisite “being-human” checklist to the Design Team’s satisfaction (mini-lesson: not everyone makes the team every time).

IMG_1748.jpgSo now, many years later, it takes a trip or a new experience for me to fully be in the moment…feeling everything…experiencing every drip of it. And maybe that’s true and maybe it’s just ME, being a little hard on myself (know anything about that?). What I’ve learned in these two and a half centuries is that this life is amazing and that I’m more grateful today for living than I ever have been. This is one of the gifts (and there are many…another gazillion) of aging. The older I get, the more I truly live…it’s a trip, I tell ya (little slang thrown in there for effect…you’re welcome). My appreciation for how I experience new places is really me experiencing myself in new places. I have a better appreciation of “ME” these days…new places help illuminate that and I am beyond grateful for that.

IMG_1834So, what’s the lesson here? Great question (you’re super good at this). My “birthday” reminds me that this life and ME in it are miracles of my internal and external world effortlessly colliding together. Many times, I (apparently) take that for granted and move through my day, my “normal, everyday life.” But this life? It’s not normal…this life is mind-blowing. This life, the older I get the more I truly believe this, is beyond what our human ego can comprehend…which is why sometimes it takes a trip to a new place to experience beautiful canyons, a lake that is pristine and perfect, big-horned sheep walking up the side of a rocky mountain (where humans need ropes and equipment), majestic beauty in canyon country, and an earth that is far more beautiful and perfect than I can do justice with this blog. You see, what opening my mind and being fully present in a “new place” does for me is opens my mind and allows me to be fully present with me in the beautiful life that I am living. What we see is what we project.

So, I took a trip. I let go and “suffered” through my car anxiety to get to a place that taught me that what we see is what we are. Sometimes the Design Team gives us a new experience to wake us up…a little more…to the fact that our internal and external world are one world…a world of perfection. Much Peace, my friend ✌️💜


 A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, Karen has had various life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching. She remains curious about the human experience and is extremely grateful for the wonderful life she shares in Southern California with her dog, Paco. You can learn more about Karen and her work at KarenSolt.com


Copywrite 2017 by Karen Solt, all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Solt and karensolt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Sun is Human Too…

imagesI woke up this morning, semi-excited about the solar eclipse, and did what all good Boy Scouts do…I found the instructions to make an eclipse viewer. I got an empty shoe box, grabbed some aluminum foil, white paper, tape, scissors, and a thumbtack. I finished my duct-taped-together project, and an enthusiastic me went outside to “watch the show.”

And there I stood, like a complete geek, walking in circles, trying to get the little pinhole aligned with the eclipse. People drove by in their cars, seeing the weird lady peering into a shoebox. Me? I’m focused…I’m trying to get the damn pinhole aligned…I’m on a mission! I’m moving around, tilting my head, and finally see a little glow of a half-moon…and then it’s gone again. After a few minutes of trying it this way and getting a neck ache, I went back inside to find some different instructions (apparently, I am not a Boy Scout), which I did, which worked much better.

So back outside, and I’m sitting on my little lawn chair with my back to the solar eclipse (which just seems weird), watching (through my state-of-the-art viewer) the moon drift over the sun and smother its light. I’m curious what this eclipse means to me. I’m told (by many YouTubers, which means it’s true) that this eclipse has significant meaning. Is it a new beginning, as some are saying? Is it an ending to something old, as others profess? Is it a message from a faraway land to bring the world into a deeper consciousness? I’m like, “Whoa…Is it all of that?”

What literally happened today was the sun drifted behind and fell into, for a moment, the moon’s shadow. Metaphorically, I believe sometimes we can give way to the shadow that is trying to make a stand and take over our light. But it’s momentary…the light always comes back to reclaim its natural place in the universe, just as the sun did today. The shadow is still there, but it’s submissive again…it requires the light to survive and can’t dominate…it must shift and move and dodge and adapt to the presence of the light.

There are an extraordinary number of “light-workers” out here who want light, freedom, equality, and a humane, peaceful and loving world. And sometimes, just like the sun, those of us who want these things for the world fall into the shadow, I believe out of frustration, fear, anger, and a shame that what we’re trying to do isn’t getting through.

So, I’m sitting there, looking geekily into an old shoebox and receiving my eclipse lesson for today. Sometimes even the sun falls into the shadow. The brightest and most powerful light in the world, the one that keeps us alive and warm…even it, on occasion, falls into the shadow, for a second…and then that amazing and brilliant sun comes out the other side, retaking its rightful place as the light of the universe, while also honoring that the moon also has its purpose. Both are necessary for balance of the universe.

Sometimes it’s not easy staying out of the dark; falling into judgment, fear, criticism, and anger, and eventually projecting that darkness, that thing we’re upset about, outward onto others. I also know that it’s necessary to experience life as it unfolds and understand that, as a “human BEing,” navigating our own perceptions of this life, it will not always be bliss and peaches. As Carl Jung would say, One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” It’s a daily practice of bringing awareness to the darkness, having self-compassion, coming back to center and away from the extremes, and staying the course to co-create the world we envision.

So today, the sun fell into darkness…I guess that makes the sun human too. Peace friends ✌️💜


Karen Solt is an Advanced Holistic Coach, YouTuber, Blogger, and activist for peace, unity, love and connection. She holds a Masters in Psychology (Counseling) and works individually with clients, creates informative videos and blogs, and also presents educational workshops to those seeking self-awareness and inner peace. A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, Karen has had a variety of incredible life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching. She remains curious about the human experience and is extremely grateful for the wonderful life she shares in Southern California with her dog, Paco. 
To contact her or to book Holistic Coaching appointments, please visit karensolt.com.

Copywrite 2017 by Karen Solt, all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Solt and karensolt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

An Extrem(ist) Solution?

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 2.18.27 PM.pngFeeling a little passionate today…there’s your warning. I watch the bullshit (that’s as nice as I could get) that is happening in America…projected hatred and a fight for perceived power and I stay in a constant state of, “are you kidding me and what can I do to help?” Man, it’s confusing as hell. It’s 2017 and I’m seeing “white supremacists” march, carry weapons, torches and swastikas and project violence toward people of color, different ethnic populations, the LGBTQ community, and anyone else that doesn’t “fall in line” with their fearful and intolerant views.

Dear White Supremacist, before I give you some thoughts about becoming a more open-minded and loving human being, I’d like to acknowledge that I believe you are in desperate need of finding out why you’re so scared. I get that it’s very painful to walk around in fear of having something taken from you. But, what exactly are you afraid of losing? America? Your heritage? Your rights to this country that I’m pretty damn positive belonged to Native Americans long before white European Americans showed up? Are you scared because some other white person told you this is “the way?” Okay, done acknowledging…you’re welcome.

So, are you ready to really make a difference? Awesome…because I totally have the solution. Drum roll…Join the military! Brilliant, right? If you care so much about “preserving your place in America” then do something about it…do something that will help your country. Because what you’re currently doing is not preserving anything, other than ignorance, narrow-mindedness, racism, and hatred, all in the name of what…your rights? What gives you those rights? Breathing? Blood? A pulse? A human body? That’s fascinating, as all the people you are projecting your hatred toward also breathe from their lungs, have blood coursing through their veins, and have a human heart that is protected by their human body. So truly, what have you done, other than believe the answer is “white people?” Come on already.

Still with me, white supremacist? Cool. Here’s why I believe you need a “service” intervention. What gives you those rights is people who served long before you decided that you were so special. My birth into the Navy was what some parents call a pregnancy after 10 years without a child, “my greatest mistake.” It saved my life, in many ways, and made me a part of a wonderfully huge blended family of veterans. Military service might kick a little sense into you and really serve you, as it teaches all of us how to co-exist (in very tight quarters I might add) with other humans, of all backgrounds. We blend…we serve…we are a family…a team on a mission…we are the ones that really do want to protect our heritage, so that all can enjoy freedom and prosper. There were definitely “human” tensions at times, because, after all, everyone who serves in the military is human (except for kickass service dogs, who are more human than humans…another blog, another day). And get this, if I’m standing next to someone of a different ethnicity and I’m in danger, I don’t give two shits where they’re from…I care that they have my back. And they always did.

So, if you want to really make a difference to “preserve your rights,” please put your money where your mouth is. If American heritage means that much to you, then show up and serve your country. Go figure out that the African American, Hispanic, Muslim, Jewish, gay, transgender, and #whateverelseyoufrickingfear person standing next to you is human, intelligent, funny and probably pretty awesome. And then, when your ass is on the line, maybe you’ll find out that they’re the only one there to save it. That would be a great time to pull out your swastika and torch and tell them how you “feel” about your imagined superiority. My guess is that they will save your ass anyway. After all, they’re probably more kind, humane and compassionate than you will ever be.

Shout out to all veterans and active duty! Thank you for showing up…Exhale…Peace friends ✌️💜


A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, Karen has had various life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching. You can learn more about Karen and her work at KarenSolt.com


Copywrite 2017 by Karen Solt, all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Solt and karensolt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

The Power of Intention & My Commitment to You

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 10.26.04 PMThe more I write and do videos, the more I am creatively expressing, the more I clearly understand that a part of me emerges that I might not otherwise be aware of…and this process is very cathartic (I highly recommend it). You see, I have a deep understanding that much of my creative expression is meant to sort out my own personal processing, but since I share much of it with you, I also wanted to share my intention for my expression.

“I heart Oprah,” who discusses how her business changed when everything that she created was done with clear intention. I’ve heard this before, but hearing it this time inspired me to sit and get crystal clear about my intention, as my reality (and partly yours, as I’m projecting mine onto you) is created by my intention. So, I did just that…I sat down and got clearer than I ever have about my intention…what message I want to put out into the world and how I want that message to serve a higher good.

I have decided that I want to hold myself accountable and deliver only when my messages meet this intention. I also want you to know where I’m coming from with my work, so that you can decide if my message aligns with how you want to spend your valuable time and so you can call me out, any of you, if you feel I ever stray from this intention (unless it gets better…you can still call me out, but do so with a “Hell yeah!”). So here we go:

My Intention

  • Start the conversation
  • Communicate clearly to bring awareness
  • Talk about “the tough stuff” to break down barriers
  • Embrace and walk into discomfort (and love the part of me that’s scared)
  • BE genuine, authentic, goofy, real; whatever expression comes out, honor it and BE ME
  • Focus on and move toward what I want, not away from what I’m avoiding
  • Be clear about the purpose & intention behind each expression
  • Reside within my values of:
    • Love
    • Peace
    • Connection
    • Unity
    • Equality
    • Acceptance
    • Freedom
    • Compassion
    • Communication

So, that’s my intention. What’s yours? With each expression, what do you intend to put out into the world? Is it to help? Is it to hurt? Is it to create the world that you envision and desire or does it come from a “broken-down you” in an attempt to break other people down? Is it to take the pain that you have and project it outward so that you don’t have to feel it as much when you share that pain? Or is it to take the love that you have and project it outward to create more love within your world?

In his book, The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukov writes, “Your intentions create the reality that you experience. Until you become aware of this, it happens unconsciously. Therefore, be mindful of what you project. That is the first step toward authentic power.”

Every day you create some form of public expression, and every action has an intention behind it that will ultimately determine the outcome of whatever you’re doing. Your higher self’s (your highest good) intention is compassion and love and is driven by your heart and soul’s desire. Your lower self’s intention is driven by fear (and other icky things) and your ego’s need for predictability. How do you know what it is in any given moment? For me, it’s to get real and to check in with my heart. How does this feel? Does it send a message that is in line with my values? If it does, it will flow, as there will be no resistance. If it doesn’t, I will be resistant and reactive and need to dig deep to discover where I am fearful, angry, hurt, resentful, bitter, or needy.

In closing, intention is ultimately your authentic power. If we can be clear with our intentions and try to meet them when we share ourselves with others, we can keep co-creating the world we seek. My promise to you…If it doesn’t meet my intentions, I won’t share it…I will keep working on it. Will I always get it right? Probably not…but my intent is to try to keep striving for the peaceful world that I envision. Thanks for hearing my message and I’m happy to have you on this journey with me. Peace to you, my friend ✌️

p.s. Please check out my video on this topic at: https://youtu.be/XM3J82D3-DA


 A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, Karen has had various life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching. She remains curious about the human experience and is extremely grateful for the wonderful life she shares in Southern California with her dog, Paco. You can learn more about Karen and her work at KarenSolt.com


Copywrite 2017 by Karen Solt, all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Solt and karensolt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Objectification of Women…The Trauma Spiral

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 6.19.58 PMYesterday was a tough day. I felt irritable and edgy…a fogginess, which let me know something deeper than I wanted to feel had been triggered. I let it be and knew that it would reveal itself when the time was right. I woke this morning realizing that some of that deeper stuff was that I had again crossed paths with a previous trauma. I was in the “spin cycle.”

So, how did my trauma cross my path? It happened when I saw a picture posted on social media, which I interpreted to be sexually objectifying women. Seeing that picture knocked me off center, I froze, and then my heart sank and my head started spinning. I scrolled through some of the comments looking for validation, but mostly noticed virtual high-fives, some sexual comments, and a few people (men and women) stating that it was inappropriate. But me? I’m angry…silent…in shame and pain…there’s no other way around it.

I know what you’re thinking: Nothing has personally happened to me in seeing that picture, right? That’s true. What did happen was seeing that picture, even though it wasn’t intended, connected me to a trauma. Unfortunately, that’s what happens with sexual jokes about women (“boys will be boys”) and other things, where women are sexually objectified…I’m sensitive…it’s just my reality. It awakens the slumber of the sexual assault that I endured. “Come on…lighten up. It’s no big deal…I was just kidding.” Those types of responses only add to the shame and fear, as then I’m told that my reaction, which is subconscious, painful and confusing, is not okay. That picture and the comments delivered a message to me that women are sexual objects to many and that objectifying women is not only funny, it’s normal and acceptable in our society, to both men and women. And because I’ve had my power stolen from me, I flash back to that powerless feeling and immediately feel threatened, unsafe, afraid, ashamed, and confused. I’m in my personal hell. It can happen as quickly as seeing a picture on my phone. It’s subtle and it’s scary.

Think of trauma this way: You’re a veteran who has been to war and has experienced many times where you felt unsafe, hyper-vigilant, and fearing for your life. You were constantly looking over your shoulder and were very careful about every door you opened and who was behind you. You’re back from deployment and are in a crowded shopping center with your family. You’re already on edge being in a crowded place when someone accidentally drops a large bag behind you and it lands with a “BANG!” Your fear, hyper-vigilance and lack of ease send you emotionally and physiologically right back to the warzone…right back into reactivity…it’s unconscious and, because it’s a trauma reaction, it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Other people in the shopping center don’t even hear the bag and keep moving on. Not you, you spin around ready for an attack…or you dive to the ground and cover your head…or you get your family out of that “zone” as quickly as possible. People think you’re crazy…it’s just a bag, after all. You aren’t. You’ve experienced trauma. You learn new ways to cope with the unpredictability of the world, which you do with some help, processing and learning new ways to cope. Then 20 years go by and something happens and you feel unsafe, confused, and spinning again…this is the world of trauma. It catches you off-guard…it’s tricky and unpredictable.

You see, words and images have power for those of us that have prior trauma. This is like the time when I was riding in a car, listening to two male friends discuss the terms they use for various ways they sexually use women, while I shrunk in confusion, shame, and what I now know was trauma, in the backseat. That one cracked open the dam that had been holding me together for 20 years and, even though not one finger was laid on me that day, the thick wall that kept my hidden (to me) trauma at bay started flooding out. This is also like the time when, a few years ago, my sexual assault became more of a reality, when one of my counseling peers made a statement about how “young naïve girls join the Navy and they shouldn’t let themselves be alone with men…they should know better.” Again, not one finger was laid on me that day, but I was still sent spinning right back to my assault because I was a young naïve girl who got sexually assaulted by a senior Navy guy on my first ship. Again, many of us push trauma into a corner in our subconscious that, when triggered, opens the floodgates of unresolved pain.

Then there was the time when I was in a process group and one of the participating men said about a woman in his life, “She is a c**t. I was so angry I went out and would f*ck anything with a hole.” I was frozen, propelled into trauma and confusion…and I shrunk. I didn’t know what to do with that at the time. The one thing I did do was speak to that man a week or so after that comment, with my heart about to explode out of my chest I was so nervous. It felt like I was confronting the guy who personally attacked me. It was not an attempt to shame him, but an attempt to honor and respect me and let him know that type of talk about women was not okay with me. It was a huge step toward owning back my power.

So, this objectification of women…no big deal, right? Think of it this way…When young boys and men are taught that women exist purely to satisfy their sexual needs, it dehumanizes women and makes it easier for the men to disconnect from the shame and pain that dehumanization creates. Heflick and Goldenberg state, “objectifying women led others to perceive them as less competent and less fully human” (p. 600). Certain religions and cultures perform female genital mutilation (more than 200 million have been subjected to this torture) and, although it is done in the name of religion, some of it is to increase male sexual pleasure, decrease female sexual pleasure, and ensure fidelity during marriage (keeping the women as possessions…i.e. objects), even though this horrific practice has been banned by many countries and the United Nations.  Imagine getting your penis cut off but retaining the ability to urinate, and all other functions you need to stay alive, so that you remain faithful to your wife or partner. Does this seem like something your God would want for you? In Sudan, thousands of women and children (as young as 6 years old) are being kidnapped and raped by government soldiers and allied militias (Dixon, 2016). And women who have joined our armed forces, get raped every day around the world (over 6,000 sexual assaults reported in fiscal year 2015 (DOD, 2016). I am just so sick of it.

I don’t know many women who haven’t endured some form of sexual trauma in their past. Many of these women use some type of unconscious coping skills to keep their trauma shoved deep into their subconscious, to keep men from noticing them and wanting to use them as a piece of meat again, such as obesity, anorexia, and other food addictions, perfectionism, excessive masculinity and strength, and many others. “If I’m obese, he won’t want to sleep with me…if I become a physical badass and become less feminine (which I now see as weakness), he won’t control me.”

My experience of talking to other women who have had sexual trauma is that we mostly keep it silent, because we have shame and guilt and we don’t want to see the looks of pity or feel the judgment of men and even other women. Many of us feel that, “if I didn’t go out with him” or “if I wasn’t wearing that cute, short skirt” or “if I had said ‘no’ sooner/with more force” or “if I was stronger” it wouldn’t have happened…so we blame ourselves. Turning the corner from believing we were responsible to truly knowing that it was not our fault is a process that is different for each of us.

I don’t know when or why men lose some or all respect for women, but my guess is that it happens early in their life, when some woman they loved, counted on, and were vulnerable with, betrayed and/or hurt them. Objectifying women gives them the illusion of having control and of getting their power back. And I don’t know what it will take for these men to start respecting women again, especially with the promotion, normality and acceptance of female objectification that is pushed daily in our faces with skinny models, photo-shopping of ads, and our sexual portrayal of women in beer, sports, erectile dysfunction and food commercials.

Let me place something out there that’s reasonable, because I don’t believe this will entirely go away. I will make a pledge: I will not allow men in my life to speak about women in a way that objectifies me or you. Any man that believes a woman’s primary purpose is for their sexual gratification is not one that falls in line with what I want for a safe and meaningful relationship. There are too many women (and men, just to keep it real here) walking around this world who have been sexually traumatized. If you don’t have enough sensitivity to that fact, please be aware that every time you sexually objectify another human being, you don’t know who might be watching or listening, you touch on a deep wound within many, and you sexually objectify all of us. Like I said, I really can’t imagine that it will ever totally go away.  What I do know is that I’m sick of it sneaking up on me and I’m tired of being silent about it.

When men start to respect women for our emotional, mental, spiritual, intuitive, physical and yes, sexual gifts that we possess, it will be a glorious day. Actually, when all humans start to respect every other human for their unique and common traits, the world will take a huge step toward the world that I envision. The common word I used in each of those sentences was “respect.”

Have I told you I’m just sick of it? I am. Thanks for reading and how you heard my open-hearted message. Peace friend ✌️

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Karen Solt is an Advanced Holistic Coach, YouTuber, Blogger, and activist for peace, unity, love and connection. She holds a Masters in Psychology (Counseling) and works individually with clients, creates informative videos and blogs, and also presents educational workshops and classes to others seeking self-awareness and inner peace. A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, Karen has had a variety of incredible life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching. She remains curious about the human experience and is extremely grateful for the wonderful life she shares in Southern California with her dog, Paco. 

To contact her or to book Holistic Coaching appointments, please visit karensolt.com.

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Copywrite 2017 by Karen Solt, all right reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Solt and karensolt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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References

Department of Defense. (2016). Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. Retrieved from http://sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY15_Annual/FY15_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Assault_in_the_Military_Full_Report.pdf

Dixon, R. (2016). LA Times. The terrifying land of gang rape and brutal killings that is South Sudan. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-south-sudan-atrocities-20160311-story.html

Heflick, N.A & Goldenberg, J.L. (2009).  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45 (2009). 598–601