Self Trust and More

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    Cali Chica

    Dear Anita,

    I forgot to add my response to your line:

    taking mental space between the fear and anger is what it takes to no longer lash at your husband, “not to jump to anger and rage” from fear, is key. It is within that mental space, that pause between fear and reaction that you can be an effective and assertive communicator in your personal life

    It is this pause, this new space, this perhaps uncomfortable untraveled space that will be life changing for me.  Yes I know this, I feel it, and it is a conviction.  A deep conviction for me.

    It is this ever so small but powerful space, the pause that can move mountains.

    It is that blink of an eye, that shift, that physical pausing, the mental pausing, whatever it may be that can allow my innate self to shine.  The pause that allows Cali Chica to act and think in the way she wants, and not based on patterns.

    Whatever it takes.

    The pause is key.



    Dear Cali Chica:

    Before I read your two posts, a little thing: you wrote in the past that you drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, I made a note of it because I used to do that. This morning I remembered and added a bit of psyllium husks to water and drank it. I am hoping it will make me feel better because it did last evening when I did just that and I was comfortable for the first time in a long time- what a positive change that is, for as long as it lasts.

    To your posts: Hush-the-rush, good idea to say it out loud as a reminder.

    You changed your morning routine allowing yourself to lay in bed, take a longer shower, extra time to walk the dog, try to put away more things, and you don’t respond to texts or emails- excellent change of routine.

    “There is fear associated with not following the intrinsic ‘baseline’ patterns that I am used to… The pause is key”-

    The term from the notes I sent you recently comes to mind: “distress tolerance”- key to mental health, necessary. To keep changing that baseline, practically, changing your morning routine day after day and taking that pause require the necessity of tolerating distress. It is the not tolerating distress, that is, feeling overwhelmed, that leads to the rushing and reacting.

    Notice the distress, be it fear, guilt, any discomfort, and aim at tolerating it, not rushing, not reacting, hushing-the-rush. The more times you are successful at doing this, the more confident you will be about doing this again and again… until the new baseline is formed.




    Cali Chica

    Dear Anita,

    I am glad you were able to find some comfort with your own morning routine today.  I am glad.

    Interesting that you pointed that out.  I actually had meant to ask you to expand on distress tolerance when you typed it, but forgot to.

    “distress tolerance”- key to mental health, necessary. To keep changing that baseline…and taking that pause require the necessity of tolerating distress. It is the not tolerating distress, that is, feeling overwhelmed, that leads to the rushing and reacting.

    Thank you for explaining this way.  And that with practice, a new baseline can be formed.

    I notice it already – the beginnings of what a new baseline can – keyword CAN- look like.  Can if I persist at it. Can if I keep up the practice.

    Last week you mentioned how I must change the social butterfly role, and if no one notices,  I am not doing it well enough.  Or to say, there must be a deliberate and NOTICE-able change.  I absolutely agree.  It is about not being subtle, and changing enough to in fact elicit a…CHANGE!



    Dear Cali Chica:

    As I read “It is about not being subtle”- I thought to myself, Cali Chica is not about being subtle. I will further my thoughts on this initial thought: that feistiness as a teenager, that super role, that go, go, go and do, this kind of energy is authentic to you, and I don’t see it going away nor do I think it should. It is this energy that has kept you posting here for years, It keeps you going and it is something that needs to stay.

    Add Distress Tolerance to this energy, and you will be able to infuse healthy choices and wisdom into this energy. This fusion will make your impressive energy, this drive of yours, effective, leading you to a very successful living.

    Distress Tolerance: you feel fear, notice. It tends to escalate, the fear, like a small fire catching on to anything burnable, expanding. It gets too hot, burning, you have to rush, otherwise you’ll burn. So you run, doesn’t matter where to- you have to run!

    Backtrack: you feel fear, notice. Maybe it already spread and a thought is already circulating (an annoyance about this or that person, not part of the fear on moment ago)- pause. Put out the fire now, and it will not get too hot, will not burn.

    Distress tolerance is a time sensitive skill. Take too much time, the fire spreads and you are in trouble. Or you feel that you are in trouble.

    Notice the fear, where do you feel it, how does it feel, recognize it in its initial stage. This is a time sensitive task.

    You notice that your breathing escalated- slow it down. You notice that you feel cold- warm up, hot cup of tea or a sweater. You notice that you feel hot- take off a sweater or open a window or have ice tea.

    You notice a tag along thought, that fire catching on to thinking of a lesser problem, so to solve it.. unrelated to what was happening when you felt the initial fear, say to yourself: this is not relevant to now. Don’t engage in it. Ask: what is the problem now? What do I need to do now?




    Dear Cali Chica:

    I just got the results a minute ago or so- the cancer marker test came out negative. Question: this mass or tumor that was found via ultrasound by right ovary-

    1. Can it be cancerous although test is negative (once the mass is taken out and tested)?

    2. How often do women (50s, my age) get benign tumors by ovaries? What happens if not removed (not that I am considering not removing it), does it keep growing?

    – if you will, please add any information you think I should know.



    Cali Chica

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Dearest Anita,</p>
    I am glad to hear this. Good news. I’m going to answer your questions based on what medical knowledge I have, giving you  a disclaimer that gynecology as well as gynecologic tumors are not my personal specialty. I do have a pretty broad sense and understanding of the topic as you can tell. I will do some reading tomorrow about this matter to add to my answer.  So the question of how common it is for the tumor to be cancerous despite these tumor markers being negative. It is my understanding that this is a low likelihood, however I will read up on it further. If the tumor is not removed whether it is cancerous or not it can grow. When it grows it can cause a myriad of different issues such as a mass effect on organs that are near it leading to issues with reproductive health, pain, issues with your gastrointestinal symptoms, abdominal swelling, etc.  In short, it can cause local and full body disruption in different ways.   Women in their 50s go through many hormonal changes, as a result, it is not uncommon for women to have different growths. I cannot put this in the exact perfect medical terms, besides the fact that it happens sometimes. As women our reproductive systems and our hormones can be so wacky and up and down that it can often lead to growth of cysts and tumors. For example many women have large growths in their uterus, sometimes these fibroids in her uterus can be as large as a fetus!  I was in a surgery once in which we removed a fibroid from a woman’s uterus that was 8 pounds! I know that is not the exact same scenario as you, but often tissue can grow abnormally in this fashion, and it is good to catch it early to make sure that the growth does not cause more issues to your overall body. Every single thing that is removed from the body is sent to a laboratory. The cells of the mass will be personally examined by a physician that is certified in this called a pathologist. The results of the cells that are studied under the microscope will be given to your surgeon so that he or she can rule out any malignancy further.  If there are any cancer cells in that mass, they will show up on the microscope. It doesn’t get any more direct than that. This way you will have peace of mind knowing exactly what was in that mass. What are your next steps? Do you have an estimated timeline of your surgery?



    Dear Cali Chica:

    Thank you for answering this afternoon, I was hoping you will. I read and will re-read your reply (and whatever you will add to it later) tomorrow morning. I functioned very well during these 24 hours of cancer scare, fearing a positive marker result. Following the result being negative I am unsettled. I was more scared than I knew, I figure.

    I am glad to read that the likelihood is low, that which I asked about. I don’t have a date for the surgery, am waiting for a call regarding the next exam to look at the mass more thoroughly, surgery after that.I will be away from the computer and back tomorrow morning. I appreciate greatly your very professional input.



    Cali Chica

    Dear Anita,

    It makes sense that you are unsettled.  Perhaps receiving the result made you realize the reality of the situation – as in “wait this is actually happening, it is real.”

    I will have to do more reading regarding statistics about negative markers. When you have the surgery, the mass will be sent and that will be a much more specific way to test what is in the tumor.

    It seems you have the right set up as far as an exam in the near future, and subsequent surgery after.

    On another note…

    I had this visual last night, about observing a scene before walking in.  Such as observing a party, meeting, function from the outside, before entering.  Taking a look at the room through the glass windows, assessing what is going on over there, who is there, how are they interacting.

    I had this visual because I thought about how I jump in to scenarios without ever assessing first.  Similar to the concept of “jumping into the lap” of that cousin.  Not taking my time to assess, and see if it is a scenario a) suitable for myself b) worthy of my effort c) healthy for my interaction d) trustworthy

    I thought about this new concept, of how if I allowed myself time and composure entering both physical and metaphorical scenarios, I would be able to be the cool calm collected CC I want to be.

    This goes back to not rushing of course.  Rushing head first into any scenario whether it be a physical event, or a conversation, or an emotional task – you don’t have your thoughts collected prior.  You are a jumbled mess!

    So then you wonder why you are distressed, and you resent yourself for always being rushed and never taking your time.

    I will think about this more…Look forward to talking to you when you wake up 🙂



    Dear Cali Chica:

    No need for you to look for info regarding exact statistics, or anything on the matter of my recent medical events at this point. I don’t think it will be useful for me to know exact statistics: “unlikely” is good enough for me. If I have more questions that I think will be useful for me I will ask you. I appreciate your time, effort and professional knowledge and skill of presenting that knowledge to me. I got to see you as Dr. Cali Chica and am very  impressed by your professional mannerism (online, but I have no  doubt it is evident in-person as well).

    I read what you wrote about assessing a situation before entering it, of course it is an excellent strategy, prevents you from finding yourself in unpleasant situations, and then in the few unpleasant situations you have to  be in, better enter those prepared.

    I  learned a few things from my recent events that may benefit you. If you want me to share, then I want to start with a suggestion: will you download and print Daily Mood Log, pdf, (by James Stolz, I think)- I wonder, if you filled this form at any time today, what your experience doing so will be like. I wonder how easy or difficult it will be for you to identify your feelings from the lists on the form. You may not have the time to do it today. We can postpone this part for later.



    Cali Chica


    I would love to hear what you learned from your recent events, and happy for you to share.

    I just looked at this Daily Mood log.  My favorite part of this is the list of 10 cognitive distortions, a great opportunity to journal about each one, and find examples of each – and point out to myself how I was “doing” this without realizing, and how it is in fact a cognitive distortion.

    Please explain to me the proper way to approach this as far as the percentages of emotion before and after.

    I will do it based on one thought process/situation right now.

    Situation or event: Husband and I starting the journey of Trying to Conceive (TTC)


    Anxious: 90% (feeling worried, pre-emptively anxious about infertility, obsessive about medical knowledge regarding it)

    Hopeless: 30% (feeling slightly defeated given the statistics and knowing the issues my friends have had)

    Other: Excited: 20% (happy to be in a mind set that my husband and I are open to this, and this next chapter – yet the above does bring the percentage of excitement lower – negative emotions overshadowing)

    Negative thoughts:

    I will have trouble conceiving because of the lifelong stress I have had.  Clearly this must have done damage to my body. I have ongoing stress and that is not great for TTC.

    I resent the amount of stress I have had on my mind and body.

    I am going to be 34, I don’t hate myself for that as I have chosen to have children later due to my career, yet it is actively walking into “potential issues”

    I don’t want one more thing to worry about and be stressed about!

    Because of my knowledge, I tend to get obsessive and not “go with the flow” it will be hard for me to enjoy the process because of that

    Positive thoughts:

    I have the medical knowledge, resources, and understanding to approach this in a methodical way

    I am happy that my husband and I are at a healthy/mature state to proceed in this fashion, I think it will make us even closer, and further our “inner circle” mentality that we have been working on

    I think I will be a good mother, maybe even great! I know it will be a learning process, but I know that my personal journey and what I have been through will be in many ways beneficial.  I also know it is a lot of “learn as you go”

    My husband is an amazing supportive person, and will be an amazing future father.

    I am at the point of putting career second to possible child-bearing, I am glad to be in a field in which I can find flexibility in the future in some ways

    Cognitive Distortions***

    All or nothing thinking:

    I assume TTC will either be EASY or HARD.  There is an inbetween which may likely be the case.  Easy in some ways,  but some hurdles and another journey.  It doesn’t have to be mindless or terribly torturous.  Also you can’t take peoples stories of how easy or difficult it was – to apply to yourself.


    I take the fact that I have had a lot of physical and mental stress to assume it will be disruptive to my body.  I assume this.  And as much as this may be the case, our bodies and minds are resilient – so I can not just assume.

    Mental Filter:

    As above, the excitement is diminished by dwelling on the negative of anxiety and intellect, and taking away from good feelings.

    Jumping to conclusions:

    Jumping to the fact that I will have a hard time, without having really even tried! Jumping to negative!


    Somewhat blaming myself for having Potential issues because my body and mind have been burdened by extreme stress




    Dear Cali Chica:

    You did very well with the Daily Mood Log. If it works for you today, you might want to use it for different daily situations, it can be small situations, not just big, like TTC. Also, I prefer “initial thought” to “negative thought” and “realistic thought” instead of “positive thought” so  to fit situations that are really bad, and the thoughts regarding those situations are fittingly negative. Not every negative thought” is distorted and not every positive thought is realistic.

    When I was in therapy Daily Mood Logs were part of my everyday homework assignment. I had great difficulty identifying what I felt and was very uncomfortable filling in the feeling part. I was wondering if you had a similar difficulty and seems like in the TTC topic you didn’t have such difficulty.

    Regarding the TTC topic- I think that having a part time job that is the least distressing will be necessary for you as you try to conceive and during the pregnancy, and if it takes you not working at all- don’t. You definitely don’t was distress added to the unavoidable stress of being pregnant and you don’t want the distress possibly transferring to the later stage fetus/ baby chemically (I have no medical knowledge of this but I suspect it to be possible).

    Regarding what I learned/ am learning from my recent life events of the last three days:

    1) As I felt the fear yesterday, I realized that I have been afraid every day for more than five decades, every day, repeatedly. The only difference yesterday that the fear I was feeling had an established  estimated expiration date, that is, death within a year or two, a fairly limited time, according to established statistics of ovarian cancer. On that same day, yesterday, I also feared the usual, the fears with no estimated expiration date (beyond eventual death that is far less exact, can be old age many years from now)

    I figured (it was during my 3.5 mile daily walk) that this fear I was experiencing was no greater, and actually less raw and less intense than the fear I felt as a child, fearing my mother. I survived that fear, I can definitely survive this fear.

    2) At times, in front of my husband (and in front of one of the servers at the brewery whom I like) I pretended to be strong, tried hard to not cry, for  one. To appear emotionless. I still believe that to be strong is to not cry, to show no emotion, to show no fear. When I did cry, a bit, I felt very uncomfortable, ashamed. I learned that to be strong is different from pretending to be strong. I can cry and be strong at the same time, as long as I contain my crying, that is, time-limiting it and while crying I am consolable, that is, I am open to be helped by the people who are sincerely trying to help me.

    At the end f the day yesterday, in the evening, I sat with my husband drinking red wine- I so needed it- and again, I thought that I need to not talk about it, to pretend like nothing happened, but instead I expressed myself, said how I felt during the day, my voice emotional, my words sincere and raw. I am not  used to doing that! As a result, the weirdness I felt after finding out the result of the test, the off feeling I had when I posted to you yesterday, that off feeling was gone and is now gone. I learned how important it is to share my sadness, despair, whatever feeling it is. It is so very important to my mental health as well as to the health of the relationship. And notice- when you do that with your husband, make sure that you are consolable, that is, that your husband’s expressed support of you, be it by the words he tells you, a hug- that these are helping you. It is important for him to know that he makes a positive difference in your sadness, despair, fear and so on. This will motivate him to be there for you in the future.

    There is more, but enough for now.



    Cali Chica

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for sharing.  I did not have difficulty writing about TTC because it is a “big” event with many obvious and notable stressors many of which are universal.  I think when it comes to smaller things, such as daily events/moods/etc – the types of things we talk about daily, it will be much more illuminating as well as difficult.  I will give it a try.

    Thank you for being open about your advice for me:

    Regarding the TTC topic- I think that having a part time job that is the least distressing will be necessary for you as you try to conceive and during the pregnancy, and if it takes you not working at all- don’t.

    I agree entirely. I wanted to say how endearing and heart warming it is to see you be open and honest about me with advice/your opinion.  It is only in a true open friendship/mentorship/relationship/etc that two individuals can do that.  I love it.

    So I agree entirely.  In fact my thoughts go like this.  What else matters in life? If work stress is adding to my stress and potentially adding to TTC stress – how ironic! Imagine going to all these doctors and taking all these meds (potentially) but not changing the one thing that could help – lowering stress! So much of it I can’t undo – the healing journey I am on.  But actively making changes to not rush and feel tension will help me profoundly – in that journey and future.  Yes you are right as well about down the line about a fetus feeling the emotions.  All in all, to me, there is nothing more important than doing all I can to ensure that I can approach this next phase of my life with composure and more relaxation.

    On to the next…

    You wrote:

    I figured that this fear I was experiencing was no greater, and actually less raw and less intense than the fear I felt as a child

    this made me say WOW! It just goes to show how terrible the fear that you (and I) felt as a child.  The fear instilled in us from our childhoods, from our distressing mothers.  It is incredible to read and see that this fear in fact can be close to if not same or worse as the fear of a potentially negative health concern.

     I learned that to be strong is different from pretending to be strong. I can cry and be strong at the same time

    Wow, excellent point. I thought about how (for me recently) I in many ways look forward to crying, but notice when it comes to real big life events/issues – it is extremely difficult to cry.  I too thought being strong is not to cry.  And also know that deep down there is a feeling of being ashamed for crying.  Of course, given my story.  Of course given that these mothers gave their daughters no room to express themselves authentically.

     make sure that you are consolable. It is important for him to know that he makes a positive difference in your sadness, despair, fear and so on. This will motivate him to be there for you in the future.

    I will make sure of this.  I have not been doing this.  In fact, my husband never asks for “credit.” But I see the results  of how defeated he is in always working hard to make a positive difference for me, but never seeing a difference.  I see how you wrote (and your example yesterday evening in your own life) that your husband’s role did make a difference.  It was seen by you and him.  It is this sort of back and forth and positive reinforcement and openness that makes a relationship go and grow, isn’t it? It brings me back to the interpersonal communication, and how I have a lot to learn and work on.  It makes me see that effective communication is not overly educated and complicated. It is just simple and raw.

    It is authentic and loving.  Which is the innate – both Anita and Cali Chica.



    Dear Cali Chica:

    ‘I wanted to say how endearing and heart warming it is to see you be open and honest about me… a true open friendship… two individuals can do that”- yes. I realized more so in the last few days that in my heart and mind you are my real life close friend. Really, there is no  one else (outside my husband) that I communicate with at this level online or elsewhere.

    I still prefer to communicate with you here vs private email because most of the time I am on tiny buddha and not on my email account (and I hardly ever talk to anyone on the phone) and other people reading our communication can benefit from it, why not share it then with others. If it wasn’t for me not wanting to advertise my private email, I would have already given it to you so that you have it in case we can’t communicate here anymore.

    Lowering your stress level is the best you can do for yourself,  for your husband and for your future child. Or children.

    “It just goes to show how terrible the fear that you (and I) felt as a child… from our distressing mothers”- think of it, your tight muscles that you suffer from, it is your body “armed” against the next time you feel as badly as you felt as a child. Your muscles at that time were soft, so the piercing of pain reached deep. It hurt so much that your muscles ever since are prepared, so not to hurt so badly ever again. Same with my muscles.

    There is no emotional pain more intense than that which is experienced by an unprepared child, not seeing it coming.

    We forget how it felt then, but I know it was the most intense fear imaginable, the fear of death. When a young child perceives losing her mother (seeing her so sad and troubled and out of control etc.), the child is scared to death, just like any other mammal finding itself alone in the cold, with predators around.

    There is no fear greater.

    “deep down there is a feeling of being ashamed for crying.. given that these mothers gave their daughters no room to express themselves authentically”- our mothers.. I am looking for words… I can hear any one of them saying, imagining any one of them saying: “How dare you? How dare you.. be! Who do you think you are to be, why there is only space for me here (and there, and everywhere)!

    Regarding your last paragraph: when your husband can see/ hear/ feel that you are feeling better because of his input, it means to him that you are open to him. He has more space to be, to be more of who he is. If you are closed to him, he is blocked. If you are open, he has space to breathe, to grow, to love, to become more.




    Cali Chica

    Dear Anita,

    This is exactly what I think, real life close friend.  I do agree about communicating on Tiny Buddha.  Yet a short while ago I had this feeling that if this website went down, bought over, etc – I would hate to lose touch with you.  Well we can think about that one day – not today! I figured if that becomes a “concern” what I will do is ask you to check my next post (at that time) then immediately post my personal email, have you copy it – and then go back and edit the post so that it can be deleted and not public.  At least I have a plan! So we will remain in touch. What do you think? Maybe a good idea if it comes to that one day…

    It hurt so much that your muscles ever since are prepared, so not to hurt so badly ever again

    Oh our poor muscles. So much TLC they need now.  So much of a reminder they serve.  Always talking to me, telling me that they are aching and tired.  Angry and burnt out.  Reminding me no matter who or what or where, that the trauma remains – and is a burden I bear.  I must accept it, acknowledge it, and work with it.

    When a young child perceives losing her mother (seeing her so sad and troubled and out of control etc.), the child is scared to death, just like any other mammal finding itself alone in the cold, with predators around.

    I never thought of it this way, I never thought that wow young Cali Chica was in fact afraid of losing her mother! Scared to death of it! Wow how powerful.  Actually.  I have a visual right now of being in the small apartment I lived in before the big house.  Being younger than 4.  I can’t recall exactly but the words that come to mind are:

    sad, lonely, desolate, cold

    And when I think about it, it was a place of despair. A place of worry – that my mother just would not make it perhaps on those days she had that deep sad loneliness and emotional outbursts.  How traumatizing for a kid! I will reflect on this more in my next post…

    And your last paragraph,

    I very much want him to be able to breathe, grow, and become more.  I like this very much.


    Cali Chica

    Dear Anita,

    I recall my mother in those days, young, thin, pretty.  Fashionable.  Seemingly kind and sweet.

    I recall her being sad, lonely, frail.  I recall her being in despair, but I also remember a lot of confusion.

    How scary it is for a young child if a mother is screaming, “i will die i will die!”

    how scary it is if they see their mother on the floor in despair acting like she IS DEAD.  How scary to hear about their father hurting their mother, stories of bruises and pain.

    How scary it must be to live an entire lifetime in childhood – fearing that their mother would or could be gone in a second..

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