In February this year, I was honored and blessed to be among a total of about 80 teenagers (split up into four different groups) speaking on suicide awareness, breaking it down to authentic-self awareness.
I was their age when my mother died by suicide, and I didn't have the opportunity to talk among other kids my age who had also been impacted. I wasn't even granted the space to grieve among my family.
This event defined my life and propelled me on a journey back to my authentic-self, something that had been buried underneath the density and weight of unexpressed emotions. I learned through years of bumping my head along the way how emotional awareness was the doorway to my authentic-self.
But first, I needed to understand what emotional awareness was.
I was emotional, that's for sure. Emotionally reactive, constantly being triggered with anger, insecurity, shame, fear -- feelings and emotions that seemed would never "leave me alone." That is, until I learned what emotions are and how to be with them.
My first clue was near the end of my mother's life. My mother had just come home from one of her therapy sessions and shared with me that she would be weaning off the many prescribed narcotics to which she had become addicted. In doing so, all the repressed emotions inside her (since her childhood) would start coming up. The masks were coming off.
This resonated with me.
And then it started, and she soon turned into a bawling mess and no one knew what to do with her. She didn't have the support she needed.
Years later, I read a book on the subject by Gary Zukov and LindaFrancis titled "The Heart of the Soul" explaining how to breathe through the emotions and let them come up and out. I practiced that for myself with my mother in mind. Being that what she experienced scared me, I didn't feel safe "letting it all up" until I read the book.
For the first time, I had an effective, constructive way to release my emotions, and after each time, I would feel clearer, stronger, and connected to my present life.
Fast forward, another book landed on my path of emotional awareness called "Discovering Your Soul Signature" by Panache Desai. Every cell in my body vibrated as I read this treasure.
It took everything I had experienced to a higher level. He gave words for everything I had been intuiting.
How does this tie in with those amazing teenagers?
I was able to provide them something I needed when I was their age.
I knew the emotional pain they were carrying due to being impacted by the trauma of suicide. I knew what they needed, and as I gave it to them, I was also giving it to my teenager within me that needed it as well. A healing had occurred. And occurred. And occurred.
As I sat in the circle with the most courageous, generous, open-hearted, open-minded teenagers, I realized I was participating in yet another full-circle moment, and I thanked them.
What I experienced in that room was sacred. Heart-to-heart shares, connectedness, laughter, tears, realizations -- a room full of willing teenagers aligning with their authentic-selves.
At the end of the session, one of the teenagers thanked me, letting me know that she had never heard of the perspective that I had offered and that it really helped. She was lit up.
My heart was full of gratitude and joy.
I took the "scary" out of suicide and inspired teenagers to get unstuck, to get a glimpse of what was possible on the other side of it, and to consider they weren't doomed to a lifetime of emotional pain; that there truly was another way.
You see, emotions have gotten a bad rap for so long causing us to repress them. It's time to shift that perspective and to embrace the treasures that emotions are; energy in motion that needs to flow and wants to be free as much as you want to be free of them!
And being that they're the doorway to your authentic-self, when you walk through that door and align with the real you, guess what?
You want to be on this planet. You want to shine and share your gifts.
And you discover that being emotionally aware creates the space for you to be at peace with whatever emotions come up and out of you.
I know this to be true. I lived it.
And still do.
If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.