SHOWERING KINDNESS EVERY DAY

gif flowers cute

Showering Kindness: yesterday’s post. I needed to hear that and it helped greatly. It helped me feel better throughout the day, be interested in doing more, including back in my studio, walking, though I cut it short by 2 laps due to thunder, just sitting out on the patio and front porch too as the sun went down, and eating right…for a change. Not sure if it has been the blog mix up or what, but I’ve beat myself mercilessly, eating it out. I kept wondering, where has my winter resolve gone, where I eat my egg whites, bran for lunch then main meal? It supplied all the nutrients I needed, left the afternoon meal something to plan and look forward to, and filled me with satisfaction.

Well, yesterday, with my reminder to shower my own self with kindness, I had a very good day. It’s hard, takes work and focus, being retired doesn’t mean giving up. And spring or summer, doesn’t mean everything is suddenly a breeze. I still need to work at maintaining myself in all ways, and that takes work. It does take work to keep a positive mind set, that I’m OK. That I don’t need to be out changing the world, to change my world. That’s enough, and that’s OK.

Advertisements

SHOWERING KINDNESS

tumblr_m1bpa2AmZh1qdqy0bo3_250Shower kindness upon yourself.

Who, me?

Yes, you. Shower kindness upon yourself above all others. That doesn’t mean be selfish, be generous. Because if I act in ways other than I believe, I cannot sleep. And offering generosity is a part of who I really am. That includes myself uppermost. How can I be truly kind or generous if not towards myself first? 

Come back to your roots. I’ve been lost. Since trying to connect with ‘family’, the one of origin, like a moth to flame, I’ve been burned…again. Come back to me…be kind to me. It’s OK. 

CHAPTER 22: SHATTERED

shattered-small title

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or more commonly PTSD: I wondered if that applied to me after years of overly exaggerated responses to everyday encounters, like my kids, husband, or anyone coming from behind or around a corner. I feel a rush of terror, let out a scream and jump away from the perceived threat as if my life were in danger.

Kids thought it funny and scared me purposely until I turned on them, snapping, “That’s NOT funny, stop it!” I attempted to explain, “I get scared very easily and become extremely frightened when you do that.”

It began to sink in that others don’t react as I do; my responses are out of whack. I read about trauma and its effects. Could this be it, so long after childhood?

Trauma causes post-traumatic stress, and one symptom is an exaggerated startle response. That must be it, but what’s the timeframe? I didn’t read anything about how long it lasts. A lifetime? Mine does. I read about veterans returning from war, the suicides, drinking, and the inability to hold down jobs or their marriages. I have deep empathy for them. But I wouldn’t compare myself to them. War? I can’t imagine what they saw or experienced. It’s no comparison. Or is it? I underestimate what was expected of me, how I was trained to feel, which wasn’t what I really felt. I was trained to act like I loved my attackers, so I lived in terror but had to hide it, even from myself.

Like leaves in the wind, parts of me scattered to places I couldn’t reach. How much energy does it take one’s psyche to repress a violent traumatic event, or more than one of them? I became two selves: one that cannot remember, and one that remembers but remains inaccessible. I broke in two, leaving fragments along the way, hard to pick up and paste back into one, not the same one anyway. I am not the me that I could have been had I stayed whole and safe from attack. Our psyche protects us by splitting our spirit or soul apart from physical and emotional trauma. But then we are left that way, broken, with no clue how to put ourselves together again, like Humpty Dumpty.

Could that explain why I don’t have the energy others seem to naturally possess? Repeated and excessive bursts of the hormone cortisol, meant to give us sudden energy quickly, to move us away from life-threatening danger, would spurt through my veins daily, depleting precious reserves. And draining that substance, which was meant to be used and resupplied much less frequently, took a toll on both my nervous and immune systems, burning them up. Chronic fatigue became normal. Though my body’s systems have healed somewhat, full recovery seems unlikely. The glands under my neck, and most likely elsewhere, pop out after very little stress. If I don’t pay attention and go at my own pace, I could weaken what’s left and cause even more damage. But it’s unfamiliar territory, respecting my own needs, because I tend to compare myself with others, and compared to them, I appear like a slug.

Energy used to protect my inner self from annihilation taxed my emotional and physical being, especially during my years as a nurse. But that didn’t stop me from trying to keep up with everyone, if that’s what it took to be “normal.” Being on edge, watchful, crouched internally and cowering in a defensive position for the next attack, exhausted my already limited energy supplies. Just carrying on a conversation with anyone who felt threatening permanently weakened resources over time—and nearly everyone felt threatening.

I craved social outlets, connections, and closeness, but when around others I buzzed anxiously. That feeling, like the excessive speed I experimented with in college, took precedence. I feared connections, yet needed them. I spent much of my adult life split, pieces flying about me like busy electrons, a carnival game trying to catch them and make them stick in the holes. Meditation began to bring the parts together, the feeling of wholeness brand new and magical, even if only momentary.

Meditating doesn’t take away pain, but rather takes me into it. Creative solutions to everyday dilemmas often occur. There’s new evidence suggesting it can help heal a brain damaged by PTS,1 but I knew none of the latest research over ten years ago when I began practicing meditation. 

                                                             1 See Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius for more information.

VERSATILE AWARD

versatile-blogger-award

I feel so honored when a blogger bestows an award. Thank you Blanked, a very gentle soul despite many hardships. Some lack time or interest in accepting awards and that’s OK, but I have time and great interest…

I am to nominate 15 bloggers but didn’t get quite that far. 

Nominees: Telling Heavy Secrets   Alice   ntexas99   jasmarie617   LaQuemada   Bev   Mandy   Janetcate   Beth   Jessica    Surviving in Louboutins

7 Things About Me

1. I’m a homebody

2. I love to sing in the local chorale though it took many years before I felt comfortable with so many people. It was a good way to learn that I’d be alright and that there were ‘safe’ people. It also offered me the only avenue I had to make real friends which I’ve kept, not an easy thing for me nor something I’d accomplished before. (the keeping them part)

3. I love my morning coffee, and if I were to choose a favorite time of day, that’d be it…mornings, where anything is possible. 

4. Here’s a news flash, I don’t like housework, but I like a clean house; dust can wait though. 

5. My cat follows me like a puppy and likes to play hide ‘n seek. 

6. I won’t fly in airplanes, but love camping, campfires and hiking.  

7. I feel content with my life, husband, kids and accomplishments. My body is another thing. But I’m learning that by showing myself kindness despite a far from perfect body, a hunger that has nothing to do with food lightens greatly. 

The Versatile Blogger Award rules!

  1. Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  2. Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  3. Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link back to the post on your site announcing their nomination.
  5. Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

NURTURE THE SOUL

DSCN3283

Tap, tap, tap, from the woodpecker in the dead tree. A warble of melodies from the mockingbird as it follows me down the meadow to the creek, our resident guard bird. After lap five I award myself with the pleasure of sitting creek-side. Many surprises await, as spring jumps right into summer and the temperature soars to the mid-eighties.

Red-winged blackbirds, bright yellow finches, a cardinal highlighted in the greenery of leaves working to open…a pair of muskrats swim back and forth, leaving small wakes behind them. The blue heron, very shy, unaware of my presence, spreads it’s wide wings floating the air current past me then resting at the creek’s edge, stone still, like a statue staring at the water, awaiting a fish for its dinner. Frogs burp their deep basses, and lastly, the brown duck flies into its box to keep her eggs warm. That’s a delight because she is also extremely shy.

I walk back to the house as the black flies start to become annoying, wondering to myself, where did spring go? So do the daffodils and tulips which expired from exhaustion and heat way too soon. My day is complete and at peace.  

I’m Making a Diamond

Sometimes I leave a comment at another site that strikes so deep I want to shout it to the universe. Such is the following from Blanked.

Picture 256

Feelings are not facts. Unfortunately the ‘feeling’ of badness became part of my make-up around the ages of 8-11. It’s not fact. I’m old to have to be still be working on it, but I am, maybe for the first time with real affect; really questioning that belief, that I’m bad or not ‘normal’. Why am I ‘bad’ and everyone around me is OK, fine, ‘normal’?

It’s an assumption my child’s mind made. If what’s happening feels so bad, and it’s being done to me, I must be ‘bad.’ With no help to prove otherwise, made to feel I had to keep it secret to save the family’s good name, that feeling became reinforced, a part of my personality.

So being 62 and still working on the feeling, or belief of badness, makes perfect sense. It’s a feeling, not reality. Feelings come and go. This one became me. It is hard to eradicate completely because it rooted, grew and solidified. But I need to keep at it, keep chipping away at the false feeling that became a belief, stronger than marble, granite or stone. I’m making a diamond.