SOULWORK

3:30 AM? Fuck, turning over knowing sleep would not return after my trip to the bathroom. Negative thoughts take me hostage. Try. Meditate. Nope.

It is early morning news and a groggy day ahead.

After my chat with my younger sibling, whose guilt drove him to invite me two weeks prior to Labor Day Weekend after my inquiry about renting a place, an email from another sibling arrives. Coincidence? Or more guilt that the three were gathering without me.

These thoughts take over. When sleep won’t come in the middle of the night, often something needs attending to. Something needs to be done different than how it’s been done for most of my life. Something needs to be done that aligns with healthy growth for my soul, not pleasing others… not to tend to other’s feelings or my perception of other’s feelings.

Never wanting others to feel how I feel.

But where do my needs come in?

The second sibling’s email is put away because it’s curious and out of place. That night sleep comes for 9 hours. Then the email is answered in a friendly newsy way, which includes a sister-in-law and the third sibling who were copied in. And no sleep will return when waking. 

You could have just let the email sit in the trash where you put it. It is OK. But cordiality drove me. The hope and chance to finally feel included, knowing full well that may never happen. It doesn’t stop me from trying.

Pathetic and sad are the hopes for something that may never come. What is it that drives me inside with a craving unfulfilled? What is it that’s wanted from any one of them not yet forthcoming?

Something sits in the cracks of cordiality stifling any real contact, and my fear is it always will. Call it my stubbornness, call it pride, or a calling from the soul to survive.

That is how families operate after sexual abuse occurs by one of their own, whether two minutes after or fifty years later. They never talk about it. Nothing worth talking about is ever talked about. No one really knows another, not how they feel or what they think; not directly, only innuendos and odd behaviors, with no keys to unlock the mysteries. 

Outcast then at the age of eight, a dinghy cut loose from the mother ship, alone. Though it seems others were there all along called ‘family,’ really, my journey has been all on my own. 

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Yin and Yang

today’s bloom, the size of my pinkie…

Calms prevails between the storms of even my simple life. The chaos comes from hurried thoughts that need tending to.  You’re Ok, you’re OK, is a mantra worth keeping.

Continual attention is needed to counteract the badness believed about myself which cemented into my personality from childhood traumas. Family members chose to sexually attack me over and over, then cover it up. The cover up that continues today is what kills.

The work is ongoing, ‘till death do us part.’

Life takes work for us all right to the end. Even picking berries makes me wonder why do it? The thorns make deep gouges down my legs and arms, one branch grabbing the bun in my hair yanking my head back. The dire humidity causes sweat to pour down my face dripping onto my hand.

Yet the work continues because all good things take work. Today, relief from the humidity that was so tight stepping outside felt like a rag was stuffed into my mouth. And blessed relief comes from my intrusive thoughts which repeat themselves in the dark of the night making a return to slumber impossible.

But not this night, this night a deep sleep held me 9 hours, and gratefulness pours in. It takes work to combat these challenges. A soft voice rises to be heard. You are OK, you are good, you are much more than you know. Be kind, be kind to you.

DETACH

Losing myself in concern over others is not healthy. Focusing on my own needs takes concentration and precedence. My energy is best used by staying in my body, a place usually run from. Stay and feel whole, notice the dreary start of the morning where the days are already shorter, while birds chirp and crickets rustle.

An early walk in the meadow brings delights; the sun erupting through clouds for only moments shining on the creek, rosy, and glowing. The rabbit scampering away, as the squirrel above plans its escape now that my presence has made it a challenge. The aromas of plants with morning dew seep deep within healing tired places as if massaging their essence into me.

The solitude and peace caresses me. Yesterday after hearing that my younger brother invited two older siblings to his week stay on the lake in the Adirondacks— but not me, made me check my feelings for the pain expected. No pain. Just acknowledgement of the reality of exclusion, though with him it really cemented the rip, like shredding a thin piece of paper once and for all.

And I’m OK. I need not concern myself with him, or anybody else’s needs. Caring for myself after a life of not doing so because parts were split has brought a blessing of love, peace and joy. I cherish what I have too much to let another steal it. They can all be together and enjoy. I find them lacking and don’t care to spend time with others who treat me like nothing.

I am OK, despite feeling like a bug under a glass dome, scrutinized on occasion, even pitied, but never let free. Yet freedom abounds most especially because of the division from the army against me. Love them, yet leave them. 

You may exclude me, but I do not. I am here inside my body. The meadow is alive with wonder, all mine. Life buzzes around me, and I am here to enjoy it, all of me.

 

PEACE

Peace flows in where tension preyed and sleep, blessed sleep comes with it, and gratefulness, hard to fully feel when obtrusive thoughts take over. Confusion mixes the bowl of mind and soul, the soul striving to drive the machine, the mind determined to continue its robotic ways.

But when the soul-spirit drives, forgiveness flourishes, and peace reigns.  For several weeks the same old song and dance that has held me for years when interacting with one individual returned again. The angst was unbearable as the thought was that I’d moved on, matured and conquered it. 

This insecurity will visit again and again and each time I must chose to rise, do better, and overcome. And each time is an improvement yet the pain incurred is exquisite. Growing pains. 

The thought was there was no one to talk it out with. But a friend far away came back with a response matching my own. Forgive. This person needs all the help she can get. And by the time the response came, I’d pulled myself up. But the venting of my truth immensely relieved the burden just in the telling. 

There was fear my friend would e-mail back a harsh reprimand, matching my own. I resisted the urge to apologize while waiting for a reply. That old message of always being wrong or bad was tamped down. My spirit needs to stand, and I begin to stand. It is a new feeling, one to cherish. 

The miracles occurring now, are ones many take for granted; being in the body and staying there without pieces flying about like busy electrons… acceptance, trust and love of self which naturally extends to others if one first feels it for themselves. These are just some of the gifts, and natural rights coming out of a healthy childhood, but early trauma with no intervention cruelly steals them.

To begin to have and feel them now? Though tragic not to have had them, I have them now, moment upon moment, and they are treasured.  

Coming Home

swimming area in the Glen

The tenseness of being elsewhere besides home invades without consciousness. Returning from our one night camping trip brought a great sigh of relief as we pulled into our driveway. 

Samuel spent weeks repairing the little camper after leaking occurred. He was anxious to try our favorite camping spot for a night. But a few nights of early morning waking due to obtrusive thoughts made me weary.

“Maybe we should go another day,” I uttered.

He scampered about packing up everything and even left the truck running after hooking the camper up.

“All ready,” he said.

So off we go. Some excitement began to build as we entered the park. But wooziness struck and my body needed rest. Later we were off for a hike, then a jump into the natural pool by the waterfall. Though the water was in the sixties, it refreshed and renewed. That is my definition of joy. 

Making the most of the one night, we had a campfire making dessert pies over the coals after dinner. Nostalgia crept in as children ran, hooted and played into the night. That part of my life is over. Then sudden quietness as all went to bed. The campground became eerily quiet.

Sleep came eventually, but my wish was to be at home. Camping has lost its luster. My body can’t take it, others too close around me, the noise, activity and feelings of invasiveness becomes overly stimulating. 

Home. Though an adventurous soul, my delight and excitement comes from feeling connected within…moments that expand, moment upon moment. To lose it is a deep loss keenly grieved. 

My adventures are vast. Each sweaty lap in the meadow focuses on coming to the present moment; the butterfly swooping close, am I a flower to sip nectar from? Pleasures wait at the raspberry bushes as a new batch darkens to almost black overnight waiting to be plucked. Or kitty nestling in my lap, kneading her claws into my thigh while a  rattling purr erupts with vibrations that soothe. 

These are the things that sustain, a home inside and out. That is all I need, and it is more than enough. My cup overflows…

STAY

The tendency to run every morning from feelings has been much of what my life was like. Staying, going deeper, like catching someone running by and grabbing their T-shirt, stay put.

Don’t be afraid. Yet life is scary, not knowing day to day what will be, more so, facing the quagmire of thoughts within.

Yet in that tangle lies relief. It isn’t found in business, it is found in the quiet moments between the spaces.  

GROWTH

Growth and change can be painful. Swirling in my gut were feelings no names could describe yet the quandary of jagged edges not meeting was felt keenly without a word to place on it.

The same feelings return time after time and always when hurt by the same person in my small circle of close people. And it is not about her, it is about me and my growth. It is learning to stay in myself without the usual lashing and abandonment. Yes, I was the one leaving myself, and no one was there…a body without a soul.

Staying hurt exquisitely, yet I stayed. And in that one action melding occurred of psyche and soul, and with it came self-acceptance. Once the self is accepted in all its capacities and incapacities, then acceptance of others opens in equal measure.

One can lay down their defenses and laugh gaily with joy. It is a new adventure once again. Each leap of growth offers this… Stay, feel what is there, and go through the doors that open into rooms beyond.