The sun shone bright sparkling the snow and temped me to don boots, jacket and hat but sometimes what’s needed is total calm and no increased heartbeat. Staying inside despite the knowledge of how good exercise is for the body seems counterproductive yet there are times when it is most beneficial. At times, increasing the heart rate only adds to the storm.
Staying put, resting, putting together a puzzle next to my son as he worked on the computer was not only enough, but rather a miracle. To be able to spend quiet time with him and watch him work as his fingers zipped over the computer keys brought a feeling of awe.
He answers a call and briskly handles the computer issues from woman in Ohio whose printer won’t work, then another in Tennessee with another issue. He is upbeat, polite and adds humor to his calls. A feeling of pride and amazement swells. Every time when seeing my sons in action this occurs. They are smart, sweet and hard- working.
His interaction with that cherub of a daughter, almost one, warms me inside throughout. My daughter-in-law and husband take a road trip but I decline knowing a slow pace is needed to stay in my body.
The quiet day closed with Samuel and me tending the baby so all could go out to the new Star Wars movie. It was a sweet evening for us. Babies are much more willing and inclined to give attention and affection to others when the parents aren’t around.
She came to us both over and over with warm hugs. As we gave her a bottle while getting her snuggly on, my hand grasped Samuel’s and stayed clasped. Memories of our own babies and the teamwork involved filled me with warmth and gratitude.
It is difficult to go inside and be there when others are around, to feel feelings, to feel my body and its workings, so hence pay attention to my own needs. My inclination is to only pay attention to the needs of others.
So many take wholeness for granted. Gazing at Samuel, my sons, friends, or any other human being, there they sit all in one piece not even noticing how lucky they are to be connected, whole and never shattered.
The pieces fly at will ever escaping and it is consuming to bring them home. The determination to be present to soak up every moment my son and his little family are here exhausts me.
To be present that much without zoning out on TV where I can float into other’s lives safely is daunting. All body part stiffen and my stomach cramps with strictures of pain from the unconscious tightening of muscles and other tender tissues.
So many inter-relationships to keep straight, a sensitive daughter-in-law, a little baby who does not know me, and a son rarely seen in person yet dearly loved. Making sure everything goes well, all are fed, the house is kept neat, and everyone is happy puts additional stress on a body already stressed. My body is worn out from a life of unaddressed PTSD and now the additional stress of the winter season where less daylight saps energy lowing my mood into depression-like mode. Like a sloth the day is greeted, another challenge to face….
Samuel had an outing last night as well as Cory, with his wife and baby. It was the first alone time in three days. My body unwound in relief and tension deep within the organs dissolved.
Sleep, oh blessed sleep. This dam nervous system that can’t even take a disruption in routine kept sleep at bay. My son, his wife and their angel of a baby had arrived from Boston. After a happy evening of conversation and joyful moments with our precious grand-daughter, my usual time for bed passed by. Trouble for me was brewing. Keeping to routine is crucial to my ability to sleep.
Everyone retired at 11 pm. Hoping for sleep, none came. Donning my bathrobe with resignation, downing a double dose of a sleep aid, and flipping on the TV, it wasn’t until 2 am that sleep came.
Caring for myself means keeping a routine. Tonight my cat and I will need to say our good-nights at 9, watch a show in bed, and by 10 sleep should come.
A nervous system shot by PTSD needs routine. None of the others had trouble falling asleep, even the baby. My husband’s even breathing within minutes of lying down next me made me envious.
Two fears faced daily, death and that of being unlovable. Despite much evidence to the contrary, the fear of not being loved, or worthy of it, are what rattle around in my belly causing an anxiety that needs calming each morning upon arising. Usually it is not a conscious need, but there like a low growling monster needing feeding.
The monster hasn’t changed much since childhood. Drowning it with whatever would silence it only works temporarily; food, shopping, alcohol, super busyness, excess caffeine, sugar… What would it take to quiet the beast and reduce her roars to a manageable way of being?
That is the work and the goal… What do you need to love yourself? Others love you. Why can’t you feel it, why can’t you love you? The core so hidden to preserve what’s left is heavily vaulted. You can’t access it either. Go there. Be brave. Only then will you discover the treasures awaiting.
It is very hard to stay in the moment, not three steps ahead. My mind drifts away, to other Christmas’s, other times, even future moments not yet lived. Dragging myself back to ‘now’ wondering if it is OK to escape this world that way, the body and mind have a moment of wholeness until escape is unconsciously desired once again.
Winter brings a brooding over things not dwelt on during summer months. There is no escaping that. There are choices on how to manage it. Keeping up an exercise routine and meditative time alone by the creek as the crows caw, and the train whistle blows in the distance, are both helpful. Working in the studio brings focus to the project and times passes satisfyingly.
Yet moments of unease and restlessness fall in like an avanlanche. Such is the stuff of winter and you know this. Accept that’s it harder, don’t fight it. Find relief with pleasures even if it is simply keeping a tidy kitchen and preparing a nourishing dinner. Keep at it.
The kitten is quiet this morning stretching out in my lap like a salamander with fur. I fret over the possibility of a respiratory infection as her glands are a bit swollen and she sneezes on occasion. As she purrs her gentle hum, snow falls. Watching the gentle descent my body and mind relaxes as it aligns with the snowflakes effortless cascade. Go easy, be kind…
It feels good to move on from garden path pavers, which sat for weeks in the studio before finishing. This rock was carried a long way while on a walk in the woods. With Christy’s ‘help’ it was quickly decorated and awaits grouting before plopping in the ground next to the tree by the grand-children’s swing. Silver glitter will be added to the grout.
After a late night when sleep wouldn’t come, life long issues of PTSD raise their heads as a reminder they are there. So little disrupts the natural sleep pattern and it’s baffling what is was this time. Perhaps it is just the excitement of an upcoming visit from my son and his family from Boston which means we will all be together soon when they arrive the day after Christmas.
It is rare that happens, when my two sons are with me and Samuel; just normal excitement but my mind gets whirling and sleep won’t come. Time to reflect, slow down, and remind myself things are OK. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be OK, all the cooking, planning and cleaning.
It is so much more enjoyable for everyone to put forth a calm mother/grand-mother/ wife/ and mother-in-law. That is the goal, and with so many hats to wear it is not easy. A gathering of people even if loved ones, over stimulates a system that has been damaged from a life of unprocessed trauma.
It will take a great deal of focus to remain present, find my center, stay connected to it, and also provide the rest needed that far surpasses what others seem to need. All else will fall into place. Just go easy and continue to do what you need to for yourself. Flow from the center outward…
The sun arose to sparkle the snow, bushes, and branches; a wonderland and a feast for the eyes. Sunbeams shooting through the window sent prisms of glitter dancing on the walls bouncing from the hanging glass mirrored balls. Christy nestled in my lap, a little warm ball vibrating with each breath, both of us contented on this frosty winter day as we kept each other warm.
Venturing into the studio after several weeks of abandoning it, the project of grouting all four pavers sits waiting. Finally I feel ready to attack it. My hands swirl the mud over the sharp cracks and it feels satisfying to finish what was started. These will be tucked under the bed until Springtime when they can be set into the garden path.
Upon completion a feeling of pride swells. Curious Christy, ever my shadow, offers no criticism. Instead she jumps up onto the work table and takes a drink from the clean-up bowl making me chuckle.