The Journey Towards Courage. Picking Shadows.

The Journey Towards Courage. Picking Shadows.

The Journey Towards Courage. Picking Shadows.

-I don’t know about you, but I don’t like pain. Unless of course, I do. When it serves me and I can use it to prove to the world that I am tough, that I can overcome, and that I am worthy of their admiration and respect. And awe. Awe would be nice.

You see, I grew up in a pretty toxic culture, in a toxic household, in a toxic religion and all that toxicity left me with a lot of…well, toxic self-hatred. Feeling deeply lonely, irrelevant, and broken, I went through a period of my life where death was the sweetest fantasy. Brought up without boundaries, robbed of a sense of ownership of my own mind and my own body, I let people tell me who I should be, how I should feel, behave, make love, and what could be done with my body. My sense of self was like an ever-changing landscape, at the mercy of the weather and seasons and people, either in the mood to nurture or trample. 

I sat on the sidelines watching others enjoy their lives, while I was gawking, hating everything about my past, myself, and them.

But underneath all that turmoil, there was something at play that I am just now beginning to understand. A drive to survive, a knowing that something else is available, understanding the difference between freedom and survival. You can’t be free until you survive first.

So I did. Listened to the Siren-like, irresistible voice of my hungry soul telling me to seek something worth…if not loving, then at least acceptance. So it started. The relentless pursuit of personal development, self-help, and self-improvement. If I could only become X. or overcome Z, I would surely finally be happy like everyone else. I would surely become lovable, relevant, and whole.

As I tackled my past, my trauma, my daddy issues, my mommy issues, my boyfriend issues, I was able to learn from the past and become gradually less triggered, less reactive, more in control. And people around me were impressed. With my work. With my courage. With my progress. I was getting noticed. My pain was earning me brownie points, so I continued digging, finding the biggest, juiciest pieces of my traumatized past to conquer and walk the hero’s journey.

Healing Destruction

But despite this stellar progress, overcoming, and cathartic breakthroughs, I felt as disconnected from myself and others, as ever.


In the murky shadows of my subconscious, in the deep recesses of my nervous system lived the pain I was not willing to touch. Like a thorn in my body, which with every attempt to come close to, would send waves of pain, so I constructed my whole life around keeping it undisturbed. Hoping, that if I fix everything around it, this little buried thing will be no big deal. I didn’t even know what it was, but the fear was such that I was willing to dive into the most horrendous events of the past just so I don’t have to deal with it. Picking my shadows and avoiding the thorn, because you know, I don’t like pain…

Thorn in the heart


But there was something I didn’t count on. I didn’t expect that I will run out of convenient shadows.


That my work will actually be effective and that at some point I will face a choice. Go deeper or create new pain to continue the spectacle of overcoming adversity. If you think I made a rational choice, think again.

I looked for ways to create drama in my life, I got into arguments, overcommitted to stuff, tried to be nice all the time only to feel resentful. Then one day after a particularly intense argument with my son, I collapsed on the bed and sobbed. “All I really need is kindness”.

At that moment I realized that all the self-help was really a subtle form of self-rejection.

A perpetuation of the myth that I was broken. That I needed fixing, improvement, upgrade. That I was simply not OK as I am. Human, wounded, fragile, raw, scared, and in sore need of kindness.

I saw that thorn in my heart. It was plugging a hole that would make me see and feel the depth of sadness for not being loved as I needed to be loved, and for not belonging, and for not feeling safe.

And I saw something else. An ocean of love, capable of holding space for all of that, the pain and the beauty, in infinite compassion.

I didn’t need self-improvement. I needed self-kindness. The makings of courage to face the darkest shadows. The light that makes the shadows dance in their alive beauty, giving the nuance to who I am. Imperfectly perfectly human.

So this is my invitation to you. Dress up in the robe of kindness and meet yourself. You are not scary. You are not broken. You are perfect as you are. You are gorgeous. You are loved. You are infinite. You are powerful. You are the one you’ve been waiting for…


If you are interested in the transformational work that I do, follow this link for more information or visit the Home Page here




The Team at Self-Care with Ania is proud to share tips and resources which we know will serve our community. As such, we are an affiliate for products we know and love. This article may include affiliate links, which may result in us earning a commission if you purchase through our link.

Safety. How F_ucking The Pillow Can Set You Free

Safety. How F_ucking The Pillow Can Set You Free

Safety. How F_ucking The Pillow Can Set You Free


I’ve been on a personal development journey for the last 30 years. Having grown up in a culture that confused the hell out of me, it was no surprise that I came out feeling like I am broken, and in sore need of fixing.

I was supposed to be a good girl, always polite and giving. Smart, accomplished, fit, and beautiful. Agreeable and non-confrontational.But if I wanted to show off my accomplishments, I was being a conceited snob. If I wanted to show off my fitness or beauty I was stuck up and proud and “better than everyone else”. If I agreed on principle, I was a pushover and since I avoided conflict,  I had no spine. If I was quiet, I was a stuck up bitch.

And don’t even get me started on sex


I remember as a child, exploring my body at night and my mom found me and brought my dad over and they stood over me and shamed the fuck out of me. I was probably 5 or 6. Made me feel so small. My dad called me a whore the first time I put mascara on a way to a high school dance. My body was obviously disgusting, and the sexual urges I felt as a teenager, something to be ashamed of. And then came men, who expected me to be free, uninhibited, and sexy, but only to them. Not to anyone else. My body after all didn’t belong to me. It was up to everyone else to decide what was right or wrong with me at any given moment.

Set You Free

I wasn’t confused in the beginning. I  was a carefree child; intuitive, primal, loving, connected to nature and all things. I would talk to the moon when I woke up in the middle of the night when I was 4, talk to the forest in gratitude for the basket of mushrooms I picked when I was 9. I saw the beauty in everything. I was connected to myself until I was told that everything about me was wrong. Even those things that were asked of me.

I am not unique. I am a woman


For thousands of years, the power of primal feminine was systematically constricted, obscured, subjugated, and persecuted. We have been gaslit for centuries to make us forget who we really are. Hunted for witchcraft when we danced and sang and used herbs as medicine. Hunted as whores when we dared to own our bodies and our sexual pleasure. Rejected as unclean when we bled. Suppressed as feeble-minded when our minds surpassed those of men. Owned like a beast of burden to work and procreate and provide value to the men.

It happened for so long that we believed the lie. Daughters watching their mothers, broken, beaten, resigned and either following in their footsteps without question or trying to get away only to find that they stand alone.

You think you are liberated because you live in the US in the 21st century? Think again.


If you have EVER  been called a bitch for speaking your mind, slut for wearing a low cut dress, paid less than a man for the same work, or dismissed for your contribution because you are a woman, you live the legacy of our grandmothers.

And it is not just men that perpetuate this madness. We, women, hold each other down. Threatened by one of us daring to break away. How come she gets to be outspoken, successful, sexually free, and owning her power!? Bitch, you are breaking the rules, so get in line. If I have to suffer, so should you!

Often when I would get together with women, there would be a lot of complaining: I feel so fat, my boyfriend is an asshole, I have been passed for promotion, there are no good men left out there, etc., but rarely anyone would come and say: I feel so beautiful, I am so successful, I have mind-blowing sex…with myself, life is amazing for me. Why? Why is it so hard to celebrate ourselves and celebrate other women when they reach for the stars?

Because we believe that those are the rules and we must abide by them.


Set You Free part 3 And I am not here to make you wrong. If that is the world you want to live in, you have a right to do that. AND. Before you decide, I want to ask you. Have you ever wondered what would it be like if you could shake off this haze? Like a dog getting out of the water, to shake off the mud of accumulated beliefs, restrictions, judgments of what a perfect woman should look like, sound like, feel like, talk like, behave like. So you could stand in the full glory and power of a Woman. Owning your mind, your body, your sex, your pleasure, your voice, your agency, and your choices?

Decide who YOU ARE


And stop apologizing and asking for permission. Stop playing nice, stop keeping quiet, stop discounting yourself in relationships. What will it take?

More than affirmations. More than superficial therapy. It will take creating radical safety and reclaiming the deep primal aspects of us that have been shamed and delegated to the shadows.

When we desire transformation and we try to achieve it at the level of the mind, we spend decades in therapy or self-exploration, talking of what we already know. When we are working with a good therapist and we start processing emotions and healing trauma, we make a little more progress.

But it is not until we can tap into the deepest part of our nervous system, the part that is charged with safety, the part that is driven by instinct and give THAT voice, that we can truly heal and own our power.

It is in creating safety and integration of all parts of us that we reclaim ourselves.



The primal brain is charged with survival. It will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to survive. It is the energy that turns a healthy cell into a mutated cancer cell that just won’t die because life wants to live. It is the energy of water that will follow the path of least resistance to keep going. It is the energy of your beloved cat, who is looking at the birds outside the window and you touch it when he least expects it, and he bites you.

It is the pull of nature.


If we don’t understand our primal instincts and desires, or worse, suppress and deny them, because of shame or societal conditioning, we turn to dysfunctional behaviors that put us at risk. No boundaries, pleasing others, keeping quiet when everything in you is screaming NO. Or denial, victimhood, control, greed, fear, clinging, when we hear internal ‘I WANT THAT”, but the conditioning is telling us we shouldn’t want. It’s not woman-like to want, to desire, to demand.

To transform and free yourself, you must allow all that lives within you to be. Because it already is.


To liberate yourself from the conditioning of culture or society, you must free yourself first from your own oppression. From your own judgment. From your own rejection.

So f-ck that pillow. I mean literally.  Grind your hips, connecting to the primal sexual being that you are. Kill that pillow. Yes, punch it, rip it, shred it, throw it and do all that you’ve denied yourself. Moan, scream, yell, growl, if you feel so inclined, or not. Lock the doors to your room and do what society finds unacceptable in a woman and see what arises. Maybe shame, maybe embarrassment, maybe memories, maybe rage, maybe fear, and maybe the raw, primal, original essence of the goddess who is all of this and more, standing guard over you and waiting for you to come home. If you are lucky, you will get it all.

Maybe you are thinking “Is she insane”? I thought so too. Until I killed a pillow and found my NO. Until I f-ked the pillow and found my YES. Until the goddess within showed me a way towards freedom.

Consider the seed planted. For whenever you are ready.

Set You Free

If you are interested in the transformational work that I do, follow this link for more information or visit the Home Page here




The Team at Self-Care with Ania is proud to share tips and resources which we know will serve our community. As such, we are an affiliate for products we know and love. This article may include affiliate links, which may result in us earning a commission if you purchase through our link.

Stress Less: Mood And Inflammation

Stress Less: Mood And Inflammation

Stress Less: Inflammation, Mood And Way To Hack Both​

Did you know that the most significant predictor of heart disease is not smoking or diet? It’s not anything you do for that matter. Tune in to the next episode of Life Blow Up Prevention Project and find out how you can easily elevate your moods AND cut down the root of all evil – inflammation, in one delicious moment. Share, subscribe and stress less!


Hello and welcome back to the Life Blow Up Prevention Project. Today we’re going to talk about preventing drama,  preventing stress by preventing inflammation.

Everybody’s talking about how inflammation is the root of all evil. All chronic illnesses, whether it’s cancer, whether it’s diabetes or autoimmune disorders, they all have one common denominator. And that is inflammation. And there’s a lot of conversation in the media about decreasing inflammation with a diet, with exercise with decreasing environmental toxicity, but sumething we don’t talk about enough is the impact of our emotions on inflammation.

There are studies showing that the most powerful predictor of heart disease it’s not smoking, it’s not drinking, it’s not eating fatty beef. It’s helplessness. And on the flip side, experience of awe is the most powerful predictor for the lowest level of pro-inflamatory cytokine Interlukin 6. It is really really important for us to recognize how we feel and the cultivation of emotions.

It’s not just this fluffy thing that we’re supposed to do and walk around with smiles on our faces, but it actually affects  very specifically our physical body.

So in order to not just feel better, emotionally, but to also help prevent chronic illness and help prevent inflammation, experiencing and cultivating positive emotions, including, and especially the sense of awe can be very, very powerful and very helpful.

So, how do you do that? Practice gratitude. On the way to work. Look at the sunrise,  look at the city that you live in, I don’t know, look at the fact that, wow, today I’m walking and I’m not seeing potholes, I don’t know what this is, find ways to notice the good stuff experience it fully, and see your inflammation drain out of your body. If this is helpful, subscribe and share, and I will see you at  the next episode of Life Blow Up Prevention Project. 

The Team at Mastering Transitions is proud to share tips and resources which we know will serve our community. As such, we are an affiliate for products we know and love. This article may include affiliate links, which may result in us earning a commission if you purchase through our link.

Loss and redemption

Loss and redemption

Blog written by Ania Grimone

Another shift. The final separation of a family torn apart by divorce is forcing me to evaluate the part I played in its demise. Another wave of grief born of loss, but also of responsibility. It is easy to blame another and find solace in anger, rage, disappointment, and self-righteous indignation.  But the truth is that I  was an active participant in the destruction of this dream. The pain of this realization takes my breath away as I crumble in shame and guilt and regret. The only thing remaining is to salvage the lesson, so something beautiful can be born from the ashes. The commitment to love. To not ever again take it for granted…


Leaky nests and teacups by Ania 

A life of toil,

To keep myself from the edge of the cliff

Posed by the internal ghost of self-loathing.

Self-absorbed in my own survival,

Obsessed with building a fort and impenetrable armor

Against the claws of the past, and finding myself blinded by the very thing I’ve conjured.

With walls intact obstructing my view, I let the love present seep into the ground,


As the color drained from the walls of my castle, so did the joy never realized.

Departed in sadness of promises broken, stunted by my own ignorance.

Forgive me, for I didn’t know better, for squandering the gift so freely presented,

By the grace of the gods and my own imagination.

As a lay on the floor in the puddle of my own grief, I feel the stirring of the Phoenix.

Ready to rise from the ashes and become an alchemist of redemption.

Conjuring love without rules.

Without apology.

Without armor. Without explanation. Without the past and without a future.

Greedy. Open. Expansive.

Never again to let love depart without offering it tea…



Stress Less: Plug Up Energy Leaks

Stress Less: Plug Up Energy Leaks

Stress Less: Plug Up energy Leaks 

Your brain is a two million years old evolutionary marvel. It is not designed to make you happy. It is designed to help you make it to the next day. To do that it needs to notice everything that’s wrong and that’s good! But what if you give voice to all of those things you see? Join me in the next installment of Life Blow Up Prevention project and find out how a common, habitual practice can rob you of energy and make getting through the day a chore.


Hello and welcome back to Life Blow Up Prevention Project. I’m your host, and I’m on a kick.

In  the last video, we talked about how easy it is to over emphasize difficult things that are happening by using a language that’s even bigger and it’s making these things seem even more dramatic than they were. I keep observing what I do and I noticed, and  it is so insidious,  that as much as I think of myself as a very positive person, I complain a lot!

It can be anything. I’m tired. The weather sucks. The traffic was horrible. Like these little things that are so socially accepted that nobody even thinks about it,  but when I realized that what I was doing was complaining I really dove deeper into understanding why people complain.

And it’s actually for specific reasons why people complain. They complain to get attention. It could be that I really want to connect with someone and I want to talk to them but the easiest way to make this initial connection is to complain about the weather. Everybody in Chicago is talking about the weather.

It can be to remove responsibility. I may have showed up to work two minutes behind, and instead of apologizing to my patient and saying, I am a couple minutes late because I didn’t leave the house on time, I could say traffic was extra heavy today. I’m absolving myself of the responsibility for being late to work.

Sometimes people complain to inspire envy. It could be. Oh my boss is, just,  they don’t know what they’re doing well. The implication is that the person complaining knows what they’re doing. It’s just really fascinating process . Gossiping it’s such a team sport.

Sometimes people can try to gain power to complain about a company or, or a situation and, and then enlist other people’s help in their support. They complain to gain power to influence the outcome.

And sometimes to excuse poor performance you know I hear it from my son all the time. Well I didn’t do well in math because the math teacher just sucks.

So, when we complain a lot, not only do we engage in these activities that kind of let us off the hook and gives us a permission; I’m gonna speak for myself;  gives me permission to play smaller.

And there’s also like we talked about last time the associated biochemistry. So habitual complaining it’s like a slow leak of vital force of joy.

I don’t even realize how heavier and more difficult in my life becomes because complaining by default focuses on everything that’s wrong.

So, I have a challenge for you and I’m going to participate it in myself. And that is to undertake to not complain. Let’s start with a week, it is so difficult to not complain for a week. And you could do something as simple as putting a bracelet or a ring on one side and when you notice yourself complaining you switch it to the other hand and you start over.

And let me qualify what a complaint is what it isn’t. So, this is a complaint. The weather sucks. It’s not a complain. It’s snowing today I should leave early. Whenever you state something and you can see I’m tired, or I’m tired.

One is a statement of fact, one is a complaint. It is not a complaint when it’s stating something that’s not working, and you provide a solution. That is not a complaint.  I have the traffic was really difficult the traffic was really awful. I will have to start leaving home 10 minutes early. That is not a complaint that is stating the problem and stating a solution.

So, it’s, it’s a really fun exercise, enlist  your coworkers, enlist  your friends and enlist  your family, and both notice how much of your vital energy is spent on complaining, and how much of it can be harnessed by not complaining.

Let me know how it goes, share, subscribe to the channel. And I would love to see how the challenge is going, so leave your comments behind, and I look forward to hearing about your progress and join me for the next episode of Life Blod Up Prevention Project. 

The Team at Mastering Transitions is proud to share tips and resources which we know will serve our community. As such, we are an affiliate for products we know and love. This article may include affiliate links, which may result in us earning a commission if you purchase through our link.

Stress Less: Make It Smaller. Learn A Simple Language Trick to Instantly Reduce The Intensity Of The Situation

Stress Less: Make It Smaller. Learn A Simple Language Trick to Instantly Reduce The Intensity Of The Situation

Stress Less: Make It Smaller. How To Use LanguageTo Turn Down Stress On The Spot

I hate this project! My son is a slob! I am exhausted! This person really pissed me off! I am so overwhelmed! The weather is atrocious! My sleep is horrible! My diet is awful! If you are noticing a slight (or not so slight) tightening of your shoulders or a knot in your stomach in response to these exclamations, it is because the stress you are feeling is a real thing. In this new episode of Life Blow Up Prevention Project, learn how language can hypnotize you into feeling more stressed than it’s strictly necessary and how to use a simple linguistic trick to turn down the heat and deal with situations with a clear head and much more pizazz.


Hello and welcome back to Life Blow Up Prevention Project. Today I want to talk to you about something that I’ve been thinking about for last few days. It is a very intense period in my life.  Lots is happening, there’s a lot of changes that are undergoing. I’m starting businesses, I work full time, my relationships are changing, my son moved to college, there’s a lot of stuff going on. And I noticed that often,  when I talk to friends and they ask me how I’m doing I would say: I’m very tired, and I’m overwhelmed, and I’m frustrated. I noticed that, as these words escaped my mouth I feel more tired, more overwhelmed, and more frustrated.

I thought about it for a long time that language and words are hypnotic. When I say this is horrible. This is hard. It becomes horrible, it becomes hard. Because there is an associated chemistry, biochemistry that gets produced in  response to that language. The reverse is also true. When I say I am happy,  I had success, something good happened,  I noticed that my chemistry shifts,  my mood shifts. It responds to it.

Why is it that it’s so much easier to share with our family, with friends, with colleagues, all this stuff that’s wrong? So rarely will you walk, we will  walk, I will walk into a meeting with friends and they all sitting around saying: How you doing?

“I am amazing,  I’m great, I’m awesome!” Somehow that’s not as socially accepted as “I’m overwhelmed. I’m tired, life’s hard”.

So, my invitation for you is to begin to notice the habitual language that’s coming out of your mouth, and how it affects you on a regular basis. And perhaps redesign it. Whenever you feel frustrated, just soften it a little bit, use a different language.

Say instead of “I am livid” –  “I’m a little annoyed”. Instead of: “this is hard” – “I don’t know how to do that quite yet”.

It is often that we feel these negative things, these difficult things but then we use a language that even amps it up and it’s even so much harder and so much more challenging.

So, my invitation for you is to notice your language and change it, and have people close to you keep you accountable. Tell them what you’re trying to do,  pick maybe one or two or three of your go-to negative, heavy, difficult expressions that you tend to overemphasize,  then decide what you’re going to say instead, and ask people around you to hold you accountable, and to help you make this shift. 

And then observe what happens to your habitual emotional state when they’re different words coming out of your mouth. So I hope this is helpful, share it, subscribe and join me for the next episode of lifelong prevention project. Until next time.

The Team at Mastering Transitions is proud to share tips and resources which we know will serve our community. As such, we are an affiliate for products we know and love. This article may include affiliate links, which may result in us earning a commission if you purchase through our link.