"The Heart of a Therapist"

Once in a while, I like to write some heart-felt messages to my friends and former/current clients (see previous emails below). I'd love to have you on my email listserv, you can sign up below.  

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On widening our capacity for compassion. We are ALL advocates. What are you advocating for?

June 26, 2020

Hi :-D


For my fellow "empaths" & social justice advocates in the many shapes, colors, and forms. I want to drop in and remind you that it is not just about showing up, but how we show up. Please make sure to take really good, gentle care of yourselves so that you are showing up as authentic and nourished as you can in your many roles & relationships.


Please remember that wellness is an ongoing process that needs continuous monitoring and tending to. Wellness is constituted by acknowledging and meeting our needs in all six dimensions: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental. Fill your cup.


Your bright light is much needed in these times.


We are living in an era where we are being bombarded with information from polar opposite directions. And it is a good time to get really clear with our selves on what we value & what feels true to our being, while at the same time purging old beliefs or programs that no longer resonate.


I too have grown up in a world where indirectly, I was taught:

  • that darker skin is somewhat "less than". Let's replace this actively and loudly with, melanin is gold! And it is beautiful. These lives are sacred and this pain and anger is valid. I am proud to stand in solidarity with you until justice prevails.
  • that women were to be passive. Women - please know you are powerful (POWERFUL!) creators and tenders of life. Women are capable of balancing so much at once. Let's teach our young girls to not allow anyone (ANYONE, not a doctor, teacher, partner, even a parent) to treat them with anything other than dignity and respect. And in this way raise empowered goddesses.
  • or the opposite - that men are to be "strong" and not show tenderness. Men... oh sweet men. How much strength it takes for you to break out of what you've been taught and embrace all of you. The side that knows how to be gentle, sweet, and kind. My prayer is that you honor this side and show up in this way in your relationships. We need more of these authentic full expressive men in the world.
  • I too grew up in a world where the Earth that carries and nurtures all of us has not been acknowledged, nonetheless given thanks or protected from harm.

These are such subtle programs that need to be pried out at the root from our own minds first. These are the seeds that grow into apathy for other humans and for the Earth.


Whether you consider yourself an "advocate" or not, I believe we all are. There is inner work to be done. There are seeds of fear, hate, and apathy to be pried out of our systems and replaced with a larger capacity to love and care for others even past our blood family.


If you've been in therapy with me in the last year or so, you will likely have heard me encouraging us to "take up space" and "speak your truth" as means of breaking out of a shame 'bubbles' and gaining your power back. Well the current movement, BLM, is a great opportunity to exercise this and speak truth. As is the #MeToo movement, for which so many of my clients inspired me with their courage to speak truth and face their shadows.


Tapping in with the spirit of these movements is such good medicine 

for the spirit to become brighter.


That is all I have to say (for now). Below you'll find a flier for a BLM rally tonight. Also, today at 2:30pm (PST) is the first free online support group I am offering for those affected by advocacy work who might need a safe space to unpack and replenish. If you or anyone you know is interested please have them email me.


Love always, 

Gemma

I will be at this event tonight. If your cup is full and your family is looked after and it feels right - I'll see you there :-) <3.

If your heart is heavy...

May 29, 2020

Hello there,


If you are feeling like me... Needing to do something with all this energy running through my body and need somewhere to put it all, here are a few options:


Donate

There are a few places you could send support with your dollars.


Attend a (Peaceful) Protest

Here is an opportunity to protest in Las Vegas, NV, tomorrow, May 30, 2020, 7pm at the Container Park.


Attend a Vigil/Rally

Friday, June 5, 2020 5pm at the Kianga Isoke Palacio Park in Las Vegas, NV


On a spiritual note....

I feel the anger and grief from this country's collective emotional body and it is such an honor to hold space for it all. I want to encourage myself as well as all of you (if you have the space and time to give) not to close your hearts off. Be careful with becoming desensitized. I realize it can be defense mechanism so as to not feel pain, but often times we cut ourselves off from experiencing deep love and joy subsequently.


It is such an honor to hold space for others who are suffering, I know it's heavy, but our brothers and sisters need our support. There are many ways to hold space these are just examples of what I am doing at this time:

  • facilitating moments of silence for George Floyd and all the lives impacted by his death with your loved ones
  • lighting a candle and setting a prayer for the healing of humanities grief and pain
  • actively practicing gratitude for this opportunity to practice compassion for the collective
  • reaching out to loved ones impacted by this and asking how you can support them through this.

The deeper I dive into my own spirituality the more I realize how important it is to tame and refine my thoughts and emotions. If I am living in a constant state of fear, anger, greed, jealousy, then that is what I energetically contribute to humanity's evolution (or lack thereof). If I am actively trying to refine my thoughts and emotions so that the focus is on gratitude, compassion, and wanting to help my brothers and sisters elevate, I can contribute to the raising of humanities consciousness in this way.

Please let me know if there is anyway I can serve you during this time.


My sincerest wish for you all is that your heart be open and find peace, love, compassion, and joy.


Love,

Gemma 

Being the witness as opposed to the reactionary

May 5, 2020

Life is a bit like a merry-go-round. We each take turns sitting in that uncomfortable seat (e.g., fear, insecurity, jealousy, anger). When it's our turn, let's do it with willingness, courage and gratitude. This is grace.


Hello :-D


I am enjoying recording these videos and sending these emails! I am having to extract wisdom from my everyday encounters and experiences and then organize my thoughts so that they can be received by others. This process has become a powerful tool for me to ground these teachings into my own being. Thank you for this opportunity.


This video (less than 9 minutes) is on "being the witness". As for everything I say or anyone says (for that matter) take what serves you and leave the rest.

May this email find you and your loved ones healthy, happy, and at peace.


Love,

gemma

Exciting News...

I am working on creating a platform where I can post psychoeducational videos on a variety of topics that are recurrent topics in my therapy sessions. The topics I have in mind so far are mindfulness, boundary setting, assertiveness, and building emotional intelligence. The videos will be posted on a pay what you can basis (with a $5 minimum) and serve as a great supplement or alternative (if there are barriers to seeking therapy) to therapy. I find that timelines help me stay accountable so I am going to say this will be up and running and ready for your use by the end of May at the latest. :-D

Planting a few words of high vibrations in your space

April 20, 2020

Something really beautiful and REVOLUTIONARY is on the other side.


Hello there :-)


I have received some feedback on the helpfulness of the emails I have been sending and some requests to do audio/video. So here I am stepping into what is being asked of me. Check out this 2 min video.

The inspiration behind this recording is to speak high vibrational words into your spaces. My hope is that there is an essence of loving-kindness and gentleness in your home, in your hearts, in your relationships, in your minds. If this is lacking, the work starts with you. Think thoughts with high vibrations, then speak them, then embody/act them out.


Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude.

Gentle, Gentle, Gentle.

Soft, Soft, Soft.


It is easy to embody these traits when things are going "our way", but the true test comes when we are faced with uncertainty and obstacles. Our psychological fortitude is being tested or perhaps cultivated during this time. Choose to lean into the mystery with curiosity and open-heartedness and fundamentally trust. Or choose to lean into fear and constricted-ness.


Over the last few days I've been thinking about what it is to be psychologically resilient, and I keep thinking about how some of the most inspirational people have been through some individual traumas, but collective ones too (e.g., think MLK and the civil rights movement, think Dr. Irvin Yalom, Otto Frank, and other Holocaust survivors). These people, were not only able to survive such oppressive energies or forces, but they were able to rise above them and lead the way for others in this way.


Don't just survive, THRIVE.


I imagine that part of what it took for these revolutionaries to step into these roles was for the to check out/away from what the masses where thinking long enough to hear their own beliefs, even if these were contrary to popular opinion. It took courage for them to speak this truth that could be met with disdain. It took sacrifices on their ends to cultivate courage and strength to continue to speak their truths that went against what the collective thought. This is what is required of revolutionaries.


Be the revolutionary. Be the voice of calm and faith amongst the chaos. Be the one to show compassion and serve/give when others are hoarding. Be the one to implement healthy lifestyles that include sunlight, lots of nutritious food and water, warmth and gentle embraces, when others may be hiding in fear in their homes scared of one another. Be the one to turn to your faith and lean on it, when others may have turned in anger against theirs. Choose to step into this mystery with a sense of courage and trust, when others are being dragged.


The next blog will be on being the witness. Inspired by my ashtanga (a discipline of yoga) teacher, Carrie Sobeck in combination with references to a few books I am reading at the moment.


Kindly & with so much love,

Gemma 

This is NOT the time to abandon your spiritual practices, but to cultivate it even stronger.

April 2, 2020


Good morning my dearest friends,


Gemma here. I am so inspired by my interactions with clients and friends over the last few weeks and I'd like to share some reflections on some themes that have arisen from these heart to heart connections. 

Part I is below. Part II is rising to the surface for me and I'll send it out as it is ready.


For those of us with existing spiritual practices, I'd like to challenge us to dive deeper and cultivate a stronger connection with our higher power(s). It is easy to hold an open and softened heart and feel gratitude when things are going our way. And to put it quite frankly, it is foolish of us to abandon our faith when we are confronted with uncertainty and/or our plans are washed away. It is times like this that our spirit actually needs to thrive, shine, be nourished, and pull on our reservoirs of will, courage, and strength.


All of the spiritual practices that were in place before the coronavirus were preparing us for this time. All of those prayers, meditations, connection with nature, servitude, yoga, forgiveness, offerings, altruism... all of these acts/traits/values were preparing us so that we knew what worked for us to reconnect with source and fuel our spirit. I encourage all of us to prioritize nourishing our spirit, dive deeper into our practices so as to cultivate more wholeheartedness, more presence, more gratitude, more faith, more TRUST.

We are getting a time to "reset" and whether you believe this is the end of the world or a fluke, planting seeds of trust and faith through devotional spiritual practice will be fruitful for our spiritual development. Remember, we are not only a physical body.


There is a great mystery that is unfolding right before us and it is a juicy and colorful time to be alive.


If you have lost your footing and you find the condition of your heart hardened with fear, or perhaps you find yourself disconnected and unaware of the condition of your heart, please do not turn to shaming yourself. That is just another way of getting trapped in more fear. Choose, over and over again, moment by moment, to open and soften your heart. It is a choice.


In this moment, I choose to wrap this entire mystery with curiosity and gratitude. I trust all of us will be taken care of.


With so much love for you all,

Gemma 

Create ripples of positive change in your relationships

March 23, 2020

Greetings friends!


I don't know about you, but I am starting to feel the panic settle down and am adjusting to this new way of life. This isn't too say that all is perfect as my heart is heavy. I grieve the old way of life and the routines, practices, and people I took for granted - I now deeply long for. I also sit with uncertainty about practical/logistical things for which we do not have all the necessary variables yet to make decisions. Nonetheless, I feel my heart at peace with whatever may come as I create new rituals that provide a sense of consistency during a time of uncertainty.


One of the main rituals that is keeping me grounded is having scheduled video calls with my loved ones. I am certain that community, healthy bonding, and communication are key in helping me not sink into a depression or any other funky thinking process. I feel blessed in a lot of ways because I have the communication skills to be able to hold space for my loved ones while also getting my need to be seen and validated met.


I realize that not everyone has these skills and it is my intention to provide you some guidance (should you need it) on how to hold this type of consistently safe, nonjudgemental, caring environment for your loved ones. It is my hope that we can all come out of this with stronger and healthier ways of relating.

I would say that 90% of the reasons people come to me for therapy, is that they are having interpersonal problems in their social lives. I have preached about boundaries and assertiveness for a good part of my life as a therapist. But now I am shifting away from preaching about concepts and helping you embody them.


I invite you to the #LightWorkersChallenge. Please watch this short video (less than 2 minutes) introducing the challenge. I challenge you to get up to three loved ones to be able to put into practice healthy heart communication with boundaries. In this way you can lead by example and create positive ripples of change in your relationships. You will meet for 75 minutes once weekly for three weeks with your loved ones. I will provide you blueprint on creating the structure for the sharing circle and the discussion prompts. You can do this! :-D


You are the one for this challenge and the world awaits for your light.


With much love and gratitude,

Gemma Andaya


P.S. This challenge is free although if you can/want to make a donation you are welcome to. 

Finding Light in the Darkness

March 15, 2020

Hi! Gemma here.

I have a few things I wanted to check in with everyone about.


In terms of this virus going around, I want to extend the offer of online sessions should you be coming down with something or taking precautions so as to stay healthy. Text me (7253332643) with ample time before your session and I can send you the link for my virtual waiting room. I recommend that you have a strong internet connection, a device with video and audio capability, headphones with a microphone, and a room where you can speak freely without fear of your privacy being compromised. 

And lastly, a few words on staying grounded during this season of collective fear... I want to emphasize that during this season it is most important to practice self-care and finding that sweet rest and peace as stress chemicals tend to weaken our immune system.


I challenge you to think of this period as a way to put into practice compassion for yourself and for others.

I know that what is helping me get through this period is doing what I can to stay healthy which includes lots of nutritious food, hydration, ample sleep, nature, community and limiting my intake of social and news media.


A lot of growth and light can come from dark times. I challenge you to lean in to areas of growth that arise during this chaos for you. Perhaps this is the time to implement those hobbies that have been on the back burner. Or time to be more mindful about how we treat our bodies. Or perhaps the time to consider how critical a healthy support system is. Or perhaps this is the time to practice being the neutral/peaceful voice among your support system.


I challenge you to find the light in the darkness.


Love & light,

Gemma <3