Francesa Miracola, Author of “I Got It from Here: A Memoir of Awakening to the Power Within”, captures her journey through motherhood, divorce, co-parenting, mental health, therapy, and healing. It is a heartful page turner. I had the pleasure of interviewing Francesca Miracola for the blog.
As a mom who co-parents and an avid advocate of therapy, I connected with Francesca’s story. I feel that her story should be heard to all who could relate to her, as I did. In this interview, she talks about healing, forgiveness, finding peace and therapy.
Thank you, Francesca, for sharing your story with us.
NJ: How are you at this moment?
FM: I’m more at peace than I’ve been in decades, my anxiety is nowhere near as severe as it had been, my anger has very much subsided, I am less judgmental and more compassionate. But I’m also a bit exhausted, healing and awakening is work. It takes great effort to reconnect with your true self and begin again. I know the fatigue will pass and I’m excited to create the next chapter of my life by trusting my inner guide. I commit each day to my spiritual practice and my decision to live centered in love, peace, and joy. I’m kinder to myself when I fall back into old patterns because I recognize triggers as opportunities to learn, heal, and grow.
NJ: What inspired you to move forward with sharing your story to the world?
FM: I always felt a pull towards healing and a desire to connect with others in a way that inspires them to do the same. In fact, I wanted to be a therapist, but I ignored my gut and chose a different career. The universe has a way of getting us back on track and presenting us with opportunities to fulfill our purpose.
I spent the darkest years of my life battling with my ex-husband for custody of our young sons. Oftentimes, throughout the ordeal, I sensed a little ball of light flickering in the distance of my mind. I know that sounds weird, and I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was trying to get my attention. Of course, I ignored it and kept my focus on the drama at hand. I shared my painful story with anyone who would listen. You should write a book, some would say. The light would flicker, and from somewhere deep within a soft, still voice would whisper, yes.
The book gnawed at me for years until my breast cancer diagnosis finally motivated me to write it. When the doctor gave me the news, my first thought was my children, I feared I would leave them too young. My second thought was the book, I feared I would die without having written it. Soon after my treatment I began writing.
NJ: Why did you write, “I Got It from Here”?
FM: Deep down I knew I had to. A little voice inside me kept whispering it to me. The desire never subsided; in fact, it grew stronger. I just had to allow it to come out of me. It needed to be released.
I wanted to be a cycle breaker for my family, so I felt it was important to give my children a window to my journey. I wanted them to understand my fears and therefore only know my love.
I’m called to a life in which I help others heal and I believe sharing my story is a way to do that. My writing material and my coaching practice center around helping women who have lost their way release the past and begin again.
NJ: How does your family feel about you sharing your story?
FM: They love it and they’re proud of me – not only because of the effort it took to write it, but for the work I did to heal. I’m more at peace than ever before and they appreciate that. I believe the book and my raw honesty helped us process the past and move forward with love. I’m delighted to know that all in all they consider me an inspiration.
NJ: What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
FM: The most challenging part was the emotional struggle. It was painful to dig up old traumas. I was shocked by the severity of abuse staring back at me from the page, and deeply troubled that I had dismissed it for so long. But perhaps the worst part to grapple with was the shame I carried from my past.
NJ: In your memoir, you mentioned that you felt pressured by cultural and societal expectations to get married. Can you speak on that further?
FM: I shushed my inner voice as a little girl in the 1970s and lived according to the senseless protocol of my Italian relatives in Queens, NY. I was surrounded by identical brick townhomes occupied by cousins and friends whose families behaved just like mine yet judged each other for doing so. I learned to keep up appearances, but behind closed doors my parents’ toxic marriage served as a blueprint for dysfunction. My emotional well-being was collateral damage of their troubled minds. Lack of love from my narcissistic father left me empty and desperate. Rage that erupted from my frustrated mother forced me to conform. Believing I was alone in my anguish made me think there was something wrong with me. Desperate to fit in and be loved, and trained to believe marriage was the ultimate symbol of success, I ignored glaring red flags and married a man I did not love.
NJ: Has Jason apologized for all that he put you and your children through since?
FM: No, he never apologized, and I have no way of knowing if he’s sorry, or if he believes he did anything wrong, or if he feels anything at all. He’s estranged from our young adult sons, so we have no reason to interact. I learned I don’t need an apology from him to be at peace; peace comes from within. The mental dynamic, at least for me, shifted over the years. I no longer feel hate, anger, or the need for vengeance. I’ve come to understand he was acting out from his own wounds and projecting his pain on me and our boys. I’ve learned to be thankful for the role he played in my awakening; the ordeal inspired me to heal. I discovered A Course in Miracles (a self-study spiritual thought system aimed at helping us remove the blocks to love while learning to listen to our inner guide), embarked on my spiritual journey, and found the strength to break the cycle of trauma in my family. I decided to live in peace and joy, hoping to inspire others to do the same. Forgiveness was the key, not to give him a free pass but instead to set me free.
NJ: What advice can you give to other women that are in this situation and trying to navigate co-parenting?
FM: Focus on love instead of fear. Love your children more than you fear your ex.
I wasted years of my life trying to maneuver around my ex. My anxiety surged through me; it basically ran my life. I could not enjoy anything because I was hypervigilant about what could go wrong. I was especially worried sick about my boys and strategized about how they could spend time with their father without falling victim to his ways. I depleted all my energy trying to keep the enemy close enough to soften him yet far enough to be free of him. I lost myself trying to keep him at bay and resented the hold I thought he had over me. The anxiety and chaos of course trickled down to the boys.
Since then, I discovered A Course in Miracles. One of my favorite quotes from the Course is, “Let me look on the world I see as the representation of my own state of mind”. I learned whatever I was experiencing externally was simply showing me what was going on internally. That wasn’t easy to accept at first, but once I did, I took back ownership of my life.
Instead of focusing on what was happening to me or what was being done to me, I focused on the painful emotions within me, those were the wounds I needed to heal. The Course helped me shift from a fear-based, chaotic mindset to one of peace. As I settled my mind, I reconnected with myself. The real me was not weak or damaged, she was powerful and wise, she radiated light and love. I found the strength to stand in that truth and no longer allow other people or external circumstances to consume me or distract from my true goal of peace, joy, and love. As I healed my internal state of being, external circumstances improved, for myself and my children.
NJ: I personally sought a therapist after having my daughter and trying to navigate co-parenting, how important is therapy for you? Do you still see one?
FM: Various forms of therapy played an important role in my healing. At first, I used traditional talk therapy which was helpful and necessary based on my emotional needs at the time. I eventually reached a plateau, rehashing old wounds started to feel draining. That’s when I turned to self-help books and discovered A Course in Miracles. I soaked up the teachings like a sponge, listened to numerous podcasts, and watched endless YouTube videos offered by amazing spiritual teachers. I believe my spiritual practice led to my recent discovery of trauma therapy using a method known as EMDR. This type of therapy has been instrumental in soothing my overactive nervous system and allowing me to function from a more grounded state of peace instead of a reactive PTSD state. Regardless of the types of therapy I used, my healing centered around one critical theme: whatever you’re experiencing externally is simply showing you what’s going on internally. Like I mentioned earlier, that’s not easy to accept at first, but once you do, you’ll take back ownership of your life.
When I started to wake up from my own fears, judgements, depression, and anger, I had to get honest about the role I played in passing wounds from one generation to the next. My children were all in therapy over the years and my hope is that addressing their wounds early on freed them to create lives centered in peace and joy instead of chaos and needless suffering.
I understand therapy is costly and a privilege not available to everyone. But self-help books, spiritual practices such as A Course in Miracles, podcasts, and videos are amazing tools accessible to anyone who longs to heal and find peace and joy.
NJ: What inspired you to become a Life Coach and how did you go about doing so?
FM: At first, I thought my book would be an angry, vindictive telling of what my ex did to me. But as I feverishly typed away, it turned out to be a cathartic release of the past; I came to realize my mental and emotional state, my thoughts and my nervous system were what caused my angst. The story had always been mine; I was the protagonist. And the protagonist gets to decide how the story unfolds. The realization was such an “aha moment” and in an instant I decided to create my business, Protagonist Within, LLC, where I write, coach, speak, and practice A Course in Miracles.
I was already a student of A Course in Miracles at the time. I paired this self-study program with a Certified Life Coach Class and created my practice. To learn more about my approach to healing and to work with me please visit my website at francescamiracola.com.
NJ: How did you feel once you finished writing this book?
FM: I didn’t think the ending would come as easily as it did but as soon as I wrote the last sentence, I knew it was the exact message I wanted to leave readers with. I was so excited when it appeared on the page my arms shot up over my head as if my favorite team scored a goal. I sent my completed manuscript out into the world with the hope that by sharing my story I would help others heal.
Once the book was ready for publication, I found I had some time and space in my life to ask, what’s next?
I’m coaching clients, creating a podcast, and drafting another book. But I’m also carving out more time for leisure (although I was disconnected from myself for so long the first step is rediscovering what it is I like to do). I’m also committed to my spiritual practice and continuing my healing journey. For a while I withdrew from others and isolated myself – I think it was a necessary step to shed old ways of being and get back in touch with myself. But I’m ready to connect and, in some cases, reconnect with others. I’m craving deep relationships centered in joy, honesty, and vulnerability filled with laughter, love, and support, totally free of judgement and drama.
NJ: What advice would you give your younger self?
FM: Listen to your gut, you are wiser than you know! The adults in your life are playing out their own issues and these issues are NOT yours to carry. Do what feels good and right to you, do NOT betray yourself to satisfy the needs and expectations of others. Be kind, don’t judge and don’t fear judgement in return. You are not alone in your thoughts and feelings; deep down we all share the same emotions and experiences. Skip through life and be joyful.
NJ: What does joy look like for you now?
FM: Joy is a feeling of inner peace, connection with my children, deep and meaningful conversations, rest, health, long walks, releasing old trauma and calming my anxiety, laughter, hope, wonder of all that’s to come, understanding that not everything has to get done today and it’s ok to have downtime and playtime, letting go of my fixation on how things should be, understanding less is more and appreciating a simpler, less chaotic existence, knowing my triggers and resolving them instead of acting out from them, compassion towards myself and others, witnessing others letting go of anger and judgment and having their own awakening, witnessing my children know who they are while creating lives centered in joy.
NJ: Do you plan on writing other books?
FM: My plan is to expand my coaching practice, create a podcast, and write another memoir.
You can find I Got it From Here on Amazon and Barnes & Noble .
For more information on her Coaching Services, please visit her website here: Francesca Miracola
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