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posted on September 25, 2015

Birthday Reflections – Living Life “Mask-Free”

RianaBW2015Pic  Birthday Reflections – Living Life Mask Free at age 58

     Each birthday my Tradition is to reflect on life, and set some strong intentions for my personal New Year. I’ve been doing this since the age of 17, after the death of my childhood friend, Michael Marcucci; as with his passing I learned that life is short, and I needed to get intentional in order to make the most of life. So with another year under my belt, I began reflecting on my last year and looking forward to what’s next— and I would love to share it with you:

WOW, it’s been an amazing Journey! As I look back, there’s a lot that I’m so proud of. At a young age I set the bar really high for myself and set my sights on some pretty major Dreams…all of which I can proudly say, I’ve accomplished—except one! That was to be on the Johnny Carson show (anyone remember him?) which over the years, the dream evolved to be on The Oprah Show. Why? Because I thought, if I reached that level, I would know that my empowerment work had inspired the masses around the world. 

But as I grew wiser, and stayed committed to the service of others, I know it’s not the end result that is so important (the TV show or the “big win”), it’s the journey of helping each person, one by one, to reach their best selves; whether through coaching, friendship, articles or books; just that simply, somehow, I touched their heart, and made them look at life, and themselves a little differently.

Always admiring and listening to Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Joel Osteen, and other spiritual leaders, I aspired to their level of impact; as they have inspired so many. This level of achievement is not yet my reality; however, I find such peace and contentment knowing that I am committed to continuing to make an impact — to really make a difference, one day – and one person – at a time. I’m realizing now, more than ever, that focusing on what I can do RIGHT NOW is the most important use of my gifts. 

To  begin this New Year’s journey, I recently contacted AVDA of Palm Beach County, Florida;

(Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse); to dedicate time Coaching and empowering women within their shelters – and beyond. I want to help them rebuild their lives and increase their self-esteem; not only do I want to do this in the spirit and memory of my College roommate (Corrine R) who was, at 23, murdered by her Boyfriend in a Domestic violence situation, but because I, too, know the pains of being in an abusive partnership. By focusing on “What can I do right now with my gifts?” I realize that I have so much to share with others through my own life lessons and struggles, and this new addition of supporting AVDA is a beautiful reflection of how I can use my past for good. 

Over the years, I had learned to become strong and empowered enough to leave the toxic relationships I was in; even recently, breaking an engagement to the man I loved, but who had horrible temper rages and control issues.

Buddhism teaches that every relationship is about a lesson we need to learn. This recent relationship reminded me that my work to help others in the area of verbal and emotional abuse was not yet complete. I was reminded that as much as I care, and no matter how hard I love my partner, I cannot change in others what they refuse to see in themselves. What I can change is how I choose to react to their behavior towards me. I can choose to leave the Toxic situation and live in Love, not Fear; and I can choose from an empowered place to release my Partner, with Love.

While I also had incredible love with amazing individuals throughout my lifetime, in reality, leaving those toxic relationships led me here: 2 marriages and 2 annulments), and a recent engagement that I chose to leave. Yes, I was “Always the Bride and Never the Bridesmaid.” LOL. While the idea of  “until Death do us part” was what I always wanted— I left, when the person I was, died a slow death due to​ emotional and verbal abuse or a lack of integrity combined with addiction. I didn’t have the fortitude or desire to stay and be tortured.

Call me a quitter – or call me Courageous; selfish or Self-less; a victim or a Victor. No matter what label you give it, I can’t help but feel like a Survivor. A Survivor – because no matter how many times I felt broken, I was able to pick myself back up, successfully move on, and learn to love and trust again.  Today, as I write this, I am not resentful and bitter about the past, but hopeful for the future—because there is so much love in my heart that I know will continue to be expressed. I am confident I will love again, but choosing carefully only a spiritually evolved partner who also is on their own conscious, personal journey of self empowerment and growth. 

In coming to such a beautiful acceptance of my past, I can’t help but think of how long I felt judged because my choices (to marry and divorce multiple times) was not what was “popular in society.”  The past is the past, the facts are the facts; I cannot change them, I can only embrace them, because they’ve brought me here.  They no longer define WHO I am, or my capacity to LOVE; rather they act as a guidepost to move forward with more wisdom and more compassion. 

The gift in it all? I knew I had to accept 100% responsibility for my choices and my reality. I created this dynamic somehow, and I needed to know WHY I ended up with abusive men. I accept that I yearned for that love connection due to abandonment issues in my childhood. I wanted that feeling of falling and being in love; so I fell in love with a partner’s potential, versus looking at the hard realities of who they were early on in dating them. I loved emotional intimacy and relished in really creating something deep and meaningful with one person. However, that led to me brushing off my intuition when I saw the early warning signs, because I valued connection so much. I had a lack of trust for my own inner voice, which over time, led to overall mistrust in the relationship. I stayed too long to try and make things work, and consistently bent my boundaries; overlooking my own wisdom about one’s character and relationships. I’m guilty of being too forgiving, and giving my partner too many chances. 

This has led me down a beautiful path—one that I like to call BEING HUMAN. A recovering perfectionist, I thought I had to have this whole life thing figured out (and that was exhausting!) and the more and more I USE what I learned in my past for my work, the more I realize that “perfect” is not only impossible, but it’s completely not relatable. The truth is, we all have past hurts, past moments we wish would’ve turned out differently, and past situations that we can now look back at with more perspective and wisdom. 

My second book about Love Relationships was literally born out of my pain; as I wrote it, it became a guide and resource for me, which I still use myself for inspiration to stay strong to my convictions. Many Successful women end up with multiple marriages and in Domestic Violence relationships due to the lack of self-esteem and control issues of their partner. Many partners who do not feel personally empowered, try to rob the confident one of their inner light, energy and esteem. I have been a victim of this; as so many successful women and men (in life and self) have been. When it happens to us, we’re too ashamed to talk about it, and often just “deal with it.”

NO ONE should tolerate Toxic Love or Love Trauma! It’s amazing, now that I’m out of my last situation, how FANTASTIC I feel, how free my spirit is,  and my energy so renewed. Once I removed myself from the “cloud” of energy that was surrounding that relationship, I was free to see all of the incredible amount of love and joy that surrounds me. We are all, always learning…and it is my hope that my learning will continue to support others in finding their own emotional and physical freedom. 

THIS is my newest and renewed calling and where most of my energy will go. Partial proceeds from my LOVE book will go to this cause, and donated to AVDA. I have worked over the years with women in the Prison system and those with Addiction issues in Atlantic City, NJ who were victims of Domestic Violence; but now that my book is launched and in Barnes & Noble stores, I know I can help many more people.

My Life journey has not been an easy one; but my difficult times only made me stronger, more creative, empathetic and compassionate to others in pain. It’s the foundation of why I know in my heart, I am a great Coach and Counselor; it is my passion and Life purpose. Throughout my journey, I became extremely Faith-based/Spiritual, because Faith was the first thing I needed to have the strength for each day. It kept me going during the dark times, and I now teach the power of Faith not from a place of surviving, but from a place of THRIVING.  I have learned so much, and yet, have much still to learn.

One day and one person at a time, I will extend my spirit and light to the world, and seek the opportunities to help others through their pain and inspire their transformation, through always being present to my own. For I am an Angel of God (we ALL are); and here for a reason. My pain and struggles of my past have happened for a reason, and must be a part of who I am; to remind me – not that I am a Victim, but a Victor. 

My LIVE and LOVE books are written to inspire hope and transformation – and reach others where I can’t physically be. They were written with intention to touch someone’s life in the way that so many books have touched mine. Now, with SKYPE, and teleseminars, I can teach and coach others from around the world; which is such a beautiful thing! I hope to develop a team of caring people who are also inspired to help in this area; to spread the message of Love, Hope and Strength – inspiring the courage to move on from any form of abuse, or difficult transitions. I want to encourage those seeking an emotionally healthy, Evolved Love to be dedicated, no matter what – to becoming their best selves and not settling for less than a wonderful, emotionally healthy Love partner. That is my mission and purpose. It started as a young woman with the loss of my friends Michael and Corrine, and it is renewed and continues today.

I pray that God gives me the confidence and power to spread the word in a way it can be received and serve most. I give gratitude for my time on this earth, my past and present, for my children and grandchildren and my Clients who have inspired and taught me too – through their love and growth. We support each other. I give gratitude for my Health and another year of Life and strength to do what I need to do during difficult times.

I have such gratitude for the love and respect of my daughters, Stephana Ferrell and Alexi Panos for their growth and successful journeys. They have grown into amazing women; with Alexi putting in 10 water wells in Africa with her charity EPIC, and who now Coaches others around the world with her Fiancé, Preston Smiles. Stephana creates beauty and memories with her photographic art in her company SONA Photography in Orlando, FL; and is mentoring and teaching all kinds of skills to her two beautiful sons. She is such a fabulous mom, and she has given me the gift of my Grandsons (along with her wonderful husband, Charles Ferrell) and our growing family. I have such gratitude for my friends and family who have been my support systems and showed me much love, over many years.

It’s funny; I collect masks from around the world and they are such a powerful reminder to me these days: I see the masks as something I had to wear in my younger years to hide the shame of who I truly was—the good, the “bad” and the messy.  I learned to wear various masks since I was a young girl who was often teased and bullied—they “protected” me from the pain of judgement. So I wore the masks of Beauty, Wealth, Success, Power, Sensuality, Being the Ideal Parent, The Perfect All-knowing Counselor, Perfect partner, and so on out of fear of being ridiculed, out of fear of being SEEN.  Today, at 58, the masks are off. I have turned wiser and I’m too old to care about what others think of me. I recognize that while I may have shielded myself from society, I also kept a lot of LIFE out as well.  

We all hide our truths in some way. I see so many of those I love who also wear masks of shame; to avoid being judged and to temporarily make themselves feel better. Nothing feels as good as being totally free of the fears of what others think of us. Finally, I feel confident enough to take off those masks that I often used, and know, that my breakdowns, have led me to every single one of my breakthroughs.

I now see the masks as a part of my home décor, and my journey. They remind me I am FREE of them, those who judged and ridiculed me, and the shame that bound me to hide behind them. THAT freedom has given me my energy back.  I chose to walk away from anyone trying to dim my inner light, I know that it HAS to shine in order for me to live my purpose and give my gifts to the world. 

On this 58th birthday, I give gratitude to my journey. For without these painful relationships, it would not have led me to the research I did, and the work I do, to help others who have – or are currently – experiencing Love Trauma, Domestic violence and Toxic Relationships.

​I always say, in the spiritual world, there are no mistakes – things happen for a reason.

This was my calling; and I dedicate myself to it – Mask free.

In Love & Light

Riana

RianaMilne.com, RianaMilne@gmail.com, #LoveCoach, #LifeCoach, #SinglesCoach, #RelationshipCoach

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