About the Author: Revital Shiri-Horowitz, is an author, poet and blogger. She was born and raised in Israel. Shiri-Horowitz earned a B.A. and M.A. in Geography and Hebrew Literature from Tel Aviv and Haifa Universities. Shiri-Horowitz publishes her books both in English and in Hebrew. “Daughters of Iraq” (2011) earned an award from “The Jewish Iraqi Heritage Center” in Israel. The book tells the female story of Jewish life in Iraq and immigration to Israel in the early fifties, after Israel was established in 1948. “Hope to See You Soon” (2014), is a women immigrant story, always divided between two homelands. Her new book, It`s Just Your Imagination speaks about her personal journey of growing up with a narcissistic mother. The book won a “Pinnacle Book Achievement Award” in the Self-Help category. Shiri-Horowitz lives in the Seattle area and still dreams in Hebrew.
Growing up with a narcissistic mother – Insights of my personal journey
Only at the age of forty-eight I came to learn “what was wrong with me all those years”. My mom came for a couple of weeks from Israel to visit my kids, my husband and me, and acted out like she always did. But this time something happened to me; I could no longer look at her the same way as before. I saw her actions that included lying, manipulating, and trying to get her way no matter what the cost to people around her. I saw her real self, which provoked lots of childhood flashbacks and wounds. I found myself crying for hours, as my heart broke. I just could not understand how a mother who is supposed to treat her daughter with love behaves this way; I was a total mess!
My husband found a therapist and dragged me to see her. It only took a few minutes, for her to say: “Look, it is not really you, it is your mother… She is a narcissist, and you were raised by a narcissistic mother”. I did not quite understand what she meant, so she gave me a few articles and a couple of books to read and sent me home. It has been a long five years since then - of understanding and healing myself - and during that process I wrote a book called It`s Just Your Imagination, something my mom used to tell me whenever I confronted her about a lie she just told, about things I saw she did, and she did not like what I had to say about them: “I did not say that. It`s just your imagination”, she would say to me. When you are being told again and again that everything is “Just your imagination” it makes you doubt yourself all the time. Maybe I did not really see what I saw, or hear what I heard, after all.
This life changing journey I went through was not easy. Understanding you were raised by a narcissistic mother means that you were never loved by your own mother. While learning and understanding is super important in such a journey, it is only the first step in your journey. Healing the heart and moving on takes time and energy. There was a huge gap between the mind and the heart that needed to heal. “It`s Just Your Imagination” speaks about my process of learning, and understanding What it is, how it feels, mourning the childhood I never had, and becoming a much stronger person. I promised myself I will always do my best to help others, as this is my mission.
About the Author: Kate Olson, CPC, CHt, is a Life Coach, Integrative Master Hypnotherapist, EFT & NLP Master Practitioner & Trainer and Reiki Master located in Seattle, Northern Lights Life Coaching www.northernlightscoaching.net & Embrace Change Hypnosis & NLP www.embracechangehypnosis.com. Kate offers workshops & classes, as well as, individual and group coaching. Her emphasis is on assisting clients in finding Path, Purpose and Peace. Kate focuses on integration of mind, body, spirit wellness. It is her mission to help clients find joy through connection, creative expression and embracing change. She is passionate about creativity, travel, personal growth and enjoying life. She has another wellness-related business offering Salt Therapy, Salt Works Saltariums. Salt Therapy offers an all natural treatment solution for respiratory and skin problems. All three businesses operate as Dba's under Total Well Resources, LLC. Kate is a speaker, writer and event facilitator. She is also a radio show host on Contact Talk Radio, www.ctrnetwork.com/embracechange hosting "Embrace Change with Kate ".
There is a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!” I believe this is true and that play is important not only to keep us young and vibrant, but in all aspects of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. When we are children play is our job and our major way of learning, as well as, an emotional, physical and mental resource and outlet. This does not really change, just because we get older. When we stop playing, we are losing an important resource, outlet and form of expression. This does not have to happen and probably shouldn’t happen. In play, we use our imagination and creativity, as well as, testing our abilities on every level. Play has so many beneficial effects on our mind and body and is one of the main channels for growth.
There are many forms of play using the whole spectrum of our skills and abilities and energizing every aspect of our mental and emotional expression. Science has proven the effects play has on us mentally, physically and emotionally. It is the same as comparable experiences that are “real” or not done in the form of play. It has also been shown that imagining an experience affects the body and mind similarly to the real experience. Have you ever imagined what something would taste like, feel like or look like? It can seem very real! I have had a dream where I was falling and woken up to find myself actually falling off of the bed or imagined a scary situation where I got chills. I have imagined how something tasted and actually found myself salivating. Most of us have had these very real feelings come about as part of play. Children naturally use play in a beneficial way to enhance their life experience and learn from those experiences. With these benefits, why do we stop playing, for the most part, as we become adults?
Child’s play is definitely not just for “children only” and we all should make an effort to play more. Maybe our form of play may change or up-level to some degree, but we need to keep our minds and bodies engaged with creativity and imagination. It has been shown to keep the neural pathways in our brain growing and to slow deterioration and ward off disease. When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.
"The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain," says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. "And without play experience, those neuron aren't changed," he says. (National Public Radio, US. - https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336361277/scientists-say-childs-play-helps-build-a-better-brain)
Therefore, as we become adults and grow older how can we expect the brain to change modes and learn without this important imaginative and experiential tool. Play is very important to keeping our brain flexible and growing, which is called neuroplasticity. If you are interested in finding out more about the neuroscience of play, follow the link below and watch a video from the Aspen Ideas Festival with Stuart Brown talking about Neuroscience and Play!
Play has many different elements and other components which involve sensory experience can be part of it, like music, dance, games, humor and physical exercise or competition. It can be mostly a mental exercise, very physical, emotional or a combination of these. Play is an altered state and an exploration of “what ifs”, “could bes” and all that is possible. Play is random and spontaneous and an adventure in going beyond what is certain! Play gives context to chaos and helps us to understand our evolving world. It starts as nonsense and silliness that leads to discovery.
If you want to defy aging or maintain a semblance of youth, play is probably the primary way that this can be done. It is probably the only reasonable way of staying both healthy and younger. So, keep playing in your life to live longer and enjoy life more while you are here. It will keep the brain synapses firing and that is key to awareness, alertness, learning and growth.
“When children pretend, they are using their imagination to move beyond the boundaries of reality. "A stick can be a magic wand, a sock can be a puppet, a small child can be a superhero.” – Fred Rogers
If we can keep that child alive in us and allow curiosity and play to flourish we, as Adults, have that same boundless possibility!
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This Guest Blog will feature contributions from experts & other advocates on topics that speak to integration of mind, body & spirit wellness.