When we get lost; Let's go to the MAPP
Hello, Welcome to my Blaise the Trail blog. I am so excited to launch this platform.
For so long I didn’t have a voice and then one day five years ago, I decided I wanted to make my voice heard. So each day I take steps towards peeling back the layers, taking off the masks, and allowing the real me to be unveiled. This girl is raw, imperfect and brave.
She is her own hero.
I stand here today using my voice to take up my rightful space in this world and allow it to heal rather than to hurt and then inspire others to do the same.
So why a blog? Well, because I have learned a lot of lessons over the years and I have some serious insights and value to share with the world. So in this post you are going to discover a little bit of my back story and how we can use our vulnerability as our superpower and navigate through our struggles by following the MAPP.
I have been to hell and back so many times and instead of staying in that dark, lonely space. I leaned into the pain. I decided my hell was also the key to my purpose.
So as I was walking through the depths of hell, I went and got the keys to unlock the shackles that were holding me back so I could help other women break out of the prisons they are living in. This is my mission… to lead a mental and emotional jail break all over the world.
So women and men know their worth and rise up to be the hero of their lives and breathe fire on this world.
I know everyone goes through their own type of hell. We all have hardships we need to survive. But where do we learn how to navigate through them? There isn’t one general manual to go to. That would be nice but that’s not reality. I mean we all have different struggles right?
I feel the integrity of this podcast would be compromised if I didn’t lead by example and show you my vulnerability. Many of you know I am a published author and international speaker. I have shared my raw truths in my book, Heroine. I admitted my flaws and highlighted the traumas of losing three babies. I spoke out about my insecurities and how I hated myself. I was an emotional cutter. That is all in my book.
But the funny thing about vulnerability is that once you go down that rabbit hole you actually have to keep challenging yourself to find that space again and again. Vulnerability isn’t about admitting something one time and going back to masking it up. It’s actually about continually looking for those areas hidden deep below the surface and exposing them.
Some things that I have barely mentioned before and usually only in a place where I feel safe are:
I lost my childhood home in my grade 12 year at the age of 17 due to fire. My house burned to the ground. I didn’t understand the tole that ordeal took on me until later in life. I had lost the structure of my life. I no longer felt safe in my environment and I didn’t know how to process that loss. So I internalized it.
A few years later my dad went through his own dark time and struggled with depression. He didn’t have anywhere to turn to so he tried to run from his pain. He faked his own death and thought no one would even miss him. Miraculously he returned home, but he did what we all do to protect ourselves… instead of focusing on the wound to discover the light, we mask it up. Now that I think back to that moment when he returned home; that was the greatest act of bravery I have ever witnessed. I know I have never said that to you before dad, but I mean it. You are the bravest person I know.
I have only shared that experience a couple times publicly and I knew I had to because the very thought of sharing this story sends my sympathetic nervous system into serious flight mode. I mean my heart races, I have anxiety and worry about the fallout of admitting that. So when my body and mind revolt against me, I have to dissect that response… am I really protecting myself from danger or am I causing myself more harm by not pushing through that fear? That is a question we should always ask ourselves when we find we are in that fight, flight, or freeze mode.
I have been dealing with a rare auto immune disease for 14 years. I know it wasn’t just one thing that has caused this issue because multiple things factor into dis-ease but I definitely believe trauma weakens the body and the immune system. Different emotions govern various organs and if you overload one organ with too much stress and you never process it or deal with it, those emotions will spill over and your body will signal to you something is drastically wrong within.
Six years ago, I walked into a few different alternative health practitioner's offices and all of them said the exact same thing…. You are dealing a lung issue? You’re really dealing with a grief issue.
My jaw hit the floor after the third person told me that. What???? Why has no one ever said this before? Why do we always just treat the symptom? I mean my past, my mental health, and my emotional status has nothing to do with my physical health right? Wrong! We are mind, body and soul. It’s all connected. And where it presents, might not be where the source of the problem is. We always need to follow the roadmap of clues and discover the root cause so we can uproot the problem entirely and go on living a healthier life.
After this revelation, I dove head first into dealing with my grief. Those tears, the stress, and that heartache had literally drowned my lungs where they could not longer function properly anymore. So I had no choice. Either I lean into the pain of what caused the grief or die.
I didn’t want to die. I had a baby girl and a husband to live for and I had my own life to fight for.
So we examined the wounds. And it is the key to healing. Every day I starve my disease by taking steps to process my feelings instead of mask them. Every day I walk out my healing by consciously doing things and saying things that help me and not hurt me. I became the change I wanted to see. Don't get me wrong, I still mess up, fall, and fail but now I don't internalize it. Now I get real and reflective, "Ok, I seriously messed up there, how can I learn from this and how can I do better next time?"
When we know better, we do better!
When I look at all the scenarios and things I had to face and deal with, I realized there was a general map we could use to hep guide us. I had to tailor it for each situation but the general rule applied to everything I needed to do. So I developed a map that we can all apply to our own situations.
I think we all have the potential to be our own hero but I think life deals us blows throughout our lives and we get knocked down by strong winds and then we can feel weary and a bit lost in the maze of life. Well, what do we normally do when we get lost? We google maps that stuff right? We go to the map. If that’s the go to when we are lost, why aren’t we applying a MAPP to our own lives to help us get out?
Once I worked through some major obstacles in my life, I noticed a pattern. Yes, I had to tailor it for each situation but the general basis was always the same and that became my roadmap and also I have applied this MAPP for my coaching clients. It’s such an amazing tool to add to your toolbox when working out a problem in your life. And I’m going to share it with you right now. I will pose questions to you and to myself and I will answer them honestly. This is about learning how to have tough conversations with ourselves -
Learning how to communicate with our mind, heart and gut as well as with others.
So the MAPP I have developed is an acronym spelled M A P P
M - Identifying & Removing the Masks
A - Accept and Embrace
P - Infuse Passion & Love
P - Change the Perception NOT the Image
Let’s dive in further into this MAPP
Masks – we all wear them.
They are different for all of us but every single person applies mask after mask in our daily lives in order to feel strong, confident or to protect ourselves.
What are you using as a Mask today? When’s the last time you even asked yourself that question. I am a life coach and have worked deeply on removing my armour but I am still human. I still have things I use to cope and to protect myself. And let me be clear, most of the things we use to hide behind aren’t necessarily bad.. it’s the WHY.
So the first thing to do is to take note of what is the mask that we apply but then we need to go deeper and discover the WHY. Some of my old masks were makeup; especially eye liner.
I couldn't leave the house without applying that thick black line around my eyes because I didn't feel pretty without it. Or maybe I wanted to distract people from my eyes and so they couldn't see into my sad soul. It took a lot of work to strip away that mask and go out with no makeup on and embrace my face. I still love makeup and wear eye liner all the time, but my why has changed. It doesn't define my beauty and it isn't something I had behind. It's just makeup.
Clothes can act as a mask too...If we are trying to hide our muffin tops, our stretch marks, our jiggles and our wiggles, we have to ask the question, "Why don't I feel comfortable in my own skin?" I would go crazy cleaning my house when people came over because I wanted them to think I had a clean home. But that was a mask to show a clean house on the surface and distract from the mess I had in my soul house.
I have worked through all of that and I'm so proud of myself! But now I have to dig deeper to know what I use now. I will admit. Since becoming a life coach and a public figure I have even used that title as a mask because how can a life coach flip out? How can a life coach mess up? Well the answer is - we are all human. We are all going to mess up at some point. The key is to know where you went wrong so you can learn from it and apply what you have learned for the next time you are faced with these issues.
I encourage you today to write down what you do when you get angry? Do you lash out to deflect from admitting you are flawed or in the wrong? Do you use fear as a mask to never get hurt or fail? What is your "go to" when you have a bad day? What do you use to numb the pain? Physical or emotional. Once we can learn what our Masks are, then we can challenge ourselves to remove one and expose what’s really going on so we can grow.
Moving onto the Accepting and Embracing part of the MAPP.
When we identify and remove the masks, we need to learn to be ok with this new raw and real part of ourselves. And speaking from experience, when you remove those masks, you often don’t even recognize that person because you have worked so hard on hiding yourself.
This is something to remember - never work harder on the mask than on your soul. If you are spending the majority of your money, time and energy just on the shell, the mask, the armour, the superficial, the image; you are never going to see inner transformation because you never invested on your inner self. So the challenge is to just accept who you are and what you are learning in this moment. Accept the mess, the flaws, and the fear. #getmessy and just sit in it for a while and get to know who that imperfect person is staring back at you in the mirror.
Now the first P in the MAPP It's about adding passion and love for yourself and your life.
When we work on removing the masks and accepting ourselves, often we get stuck there because we feel like we did it - I accept myself - I have arrived. But that’s not where our journey ends. We need to push further. There’s so much more for our lives than mediocre acceptance. We need to get passionate about who we are, our life and what our purpose is.
We need to get hungry for the pursuit of passion. We need to fall in love with ourselves and our lives. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Most People Die at 25 and don’t get buried until 75." That stuck with me. I don’t want to walk around empty and just going through the motions. I don’t want to just survive my life. I want to thrive in it!
What can you do to get your appetitive back? Have you ever noticed the whole world is on a diet? I think when we diet physically so much it bleeds into emotional dieting. Let’s challenge ourselves to get off the point plan and really taste life again with all our senses and indulge our appetites.
And the final stop on the MAPP is Change the perception NOT the image.
So many times we can’t change the hardships or situations we are going through but we can always change on how we look at them. We can always ask the question. What can I learn from this and how can I be better tomorrow? I have had different bouts of conflict with people, I have had unfair setbacks and challenges and it’s easy to sit there and be a victim and say, why me?
But we can change our filter on how we are viewing it and use this new perspective to help us grow, transform and cope. It’s all in how we look at things. We often take a picture on our phones and then edit it and add a filter…. Why aren’t we doing that with our internal lenses? Let’s experiment with swapping out those filters. Or when we are facing conflict, we tend to make up a story in our heads so our brains can process the situation and protect us.
But for me, many times the story I tell myself is completely off base and I’m working on seeing an alternative reason for the outcome and leaving open the possibility for a different narrative than maybe the one my brain made up.
Ask yourself those tough questions and give yourself the honest answers. We will all get lost in the maze of life from time to time, but if you follow the MAPP, I promise you will always find your way back to being the hero of your life.
Challenge yourself to be vulnerable. Take off the armour and let’s breathe fire together.
For more info on my podcasts or coaching programs visit www.blaisehunter.com