SAFETY

My Secret Garden

Six years ago my blogging began around this time, and the feelings of approaching fall are similar. The down in mood, sadness over just about every loss that ever was and ever will be. But hopes continue that it will be handled and nothing occurs that makes a whopping depression. Because I’ve had some of those.

The morning is cold, 49 degrees, and fall feels so close. After yesterday’s list of house chores were checked off, including weeding the flower garden a bit, today feels like staying still.

Dew sparkles like glittering diamonds. When the sun finally comes above the trees, soaking it in though my thick bathrobe soothes every bone and sinew, also soothing my internal worries always at the ready to take a jab.

It’s OK, my refrain when worries take hold. It’s OK, you’re OK, everything’s OK. Well, of course it’s not as the news states. But it is OK as far as anything I’m able to do to fix it. My feelings are that kids should learn from home right now. And colleges? Are they daft? Sports? Are you kidding?

It still amazes me how others aren’t being serious about this deadly virus. But in my little slice of paradise there’s nothing I can do but keep myself safe, and hope my children and grand-children stay safe.

They move about much more than we do. Shane’s family leaves tomorrow to stay with his brother in a neighboring state for a week. My prayers are for their safety. Wistfulness descends for not being able to see my son who lives so far away.

We’ve not been together other than virtually since last Christmas. And we’ve already decided that his coming this Christmas isn’t a good idea. Though sadness can sweep me away doubting that decision repeatedly, it is the right decision for us. My efforts focus on the positives of which there are many.

 

CHANGE

Like a cloud of bugs, birds swirl in the air above, then another tornado lifts from the hedgerow trees adding to the whirl. Away they go leaving me behind. Even good-byes with birds saddens me– not ready for fall, yet fall suddenly arrived as if overnight.

Yes, more hot day days to come. But not this one, pulling up my leg warmers over socks, hoping the clouds move so the warm sun can soothe my restlessness. Change disrupts my internal workings. Like a child I want to paste the leaves back on the trees. They are beginning to drift down way too early.

Why the resistance? The restlessness gearing up to chillier days, less sun, and more time inside. That is the sadness. Though still willing to traipse outside in icy cold, the tendency is do it less opting for the elliptical downstairs for daily exercise when the snow arrives.

Somehow changes are adjusted to even if unwillingly. The beauty of living where four seasons prevail is that each is full of its own splendor.

 

The Cure

Eerily quiet and unusually dark at my accustomed waking time, the silence is unnerving. Where have the birds gone? My guess is many have left for warmer climates already. They surely arrive here earlier in the spring than most people realize, as early as February’s end.

The feelings of loneliness this usually brings is not as deep or as painful. There is an energy occurring that wasn’t present during all the years of restless sleep when waking at all kinds of hours, staying awake watching TV.

Good sleep means more energy. It also means a brighter outlook on things with a happier mood, happy which equates to more peaceful. The magic cure seems to lie in the pot oil begun after visiting Cory last fall in a state where the oil is legal.

After choking on  smoking the pot also purchased, then hallucinating afterwards freaking out, needing my grown son to talk me down, it was the oil that was more fitting for me. The pot these days is nothing like my college days because it is way more powerful.

The oil seems to have cured much of what ails me. Not a total cure, but toning it all down and still there to manage. What a blessing, and all in this innocuous little plant. It probably wouldn’t have done all it can do earlier in my life because there was just too much to overcome. 

But after years of therapy and living through the worst, it was the little bit needed to send me over to the side of peace. Still the work goes on. It does not offer immediate self-esteem. Nor does it remove anxiety, an issue worked on daily.

But it does help with sleep a great deal along with the tendency for repetitive negative thinking. But discipline is needed to keep countering those voices which sometimes thrash me down unequivocally.

All the tools that help are needed, and this is one of many. But this addition after all these years is an amazing balm to my overworked systems. Though it works for me, it is not a recipe for everyone. We each find our own ways through our own hell’s. 

 

At Peace In The Moment

The day is quiet, laying before me like an open book. Rather than do, do, do, my quest resides deeper staying in one place a very long time. With sneakers on, uncharacteristically ready for action, Samuel asks, “Do you want to go biking?”

Wanting stillness and peace, not action, I respond, “I’m not ready. I have to eat, get dressed, then meditate.”

“Well, I don’t like it when it gets too hot,” he says, adding, “I’m going.”

Good. Time alone today is a good thing, opening the windows after he leaves because he said keep them shut so it stays cool. There’s cool, then then there’s cool when feeling so chilly a sweater is needed.

It is summer, and after the stickiness that made me happy to have air conditioning, today is just a nice summer day to be enjoyed fully… windows open.

Sometimes in my efforts to please even just one other person, my self is lost in the shuffle. Sometimes compromise means giving up too much, so much the internal forces are not at peace which equates to unhappy.

Sometimes the business of placing so much effort each day in moving my body more, the pleasure is lost in the doing instead of being.

So today come back home and experience the satisfaction of each moment without pressure.

FEEDING THE SOUL

photo by Patricia

What is needed to make it a day that satisfies? Exercise, meditation, and feeding the soul nurturing messages. Not an easy feat for a person used to feeling that the joys of life do not apply to me. But over time progress is made.

Activity improved to the point where chances were taken that should not have been taken. Yet again trying to be like others, but these others aren’t living with the effects of early trauma. Going without treatment, having to keep all of it inside my little being caused lasting damage.

Learning to accept limitations is ongoing work along with sending messages that encourage instead of destroy. Habits can evolve over time, not by stopping it cold, but by replacing the old habit with a new improved one.  

Feed the soul with positive messages, messages that are true. You have value. Dive deep and look, you will see, feel, and live it.

Back to Basics

It was a terrible mistake that took days to recover from, both from the loud banging critic inside me as to why do such a thing, and a body that lived life with too many cortisol bursts over and over every day for decades.

Draining, life before the scourge was exhausting. Going out among people threatening. So why, when the threat of life or death is real, go out among others?

Thinking it would be different, that the trails would offer space. That the natural swimming area would be safe. No, that was my first mistake. Others walked by without masks. Kids came onto the little bridge only a few feet wide going right by us with no adult making them wait until we got off.

The sirens inside me took off and only now, days later, has the world felt safe again. All those people at the swimming glen area, where the beauty usually relaxes to my core, this time heightened my already taxed system into extreme alert.

The campground itself lied, that sets my body off too. Lying and manipulation causes great fear and rage even now, though the traumas of youth were 60 years ago. In trying to keep the population down, they weren’t letting campers onto sites until the end of the day. Never in 30 years has that happened. Just be honest.

But no, they lie saying no one had left the sites yet. Since Samuel didn’t want to leave, and my fear of angering him made me stay, he suggested we go look at our site. It was all cleaned and ready. We set up feeling like rebels but all the while my internal cravings were wishing for home.

Most of my retaliation has been against myself. Why can’t my life be like others who seem to breeze through this more easily? My voices need taming. While walking, energy is given to allow more compassion for myself. You didn’t know. Of course it’s hard. People on a good day threaten my safety. You didn’t realize that being so close to others would set you off. 

The next breath- that hateful voice, You should have known.

Meditation, which seemed last on my ‘to do list’ needs center-stage. That brings me back ‘home.’ All the daily work that usually is done needs to be returned to; paying attention to each moment without running from it, going slow at my own pace, just be present. Notice the minute happenings that excite. Yet they become lost in the shuffle of doing, then soaring PTSD symptoms that resist being calmed.

Home is more than a place of safety. It is also a place inside oneself that welcomes with as much safety as the exterior home accepting my being with love, compassion, and open arms… my daily work. 

 

A Morning Stroll

A walk before the heat index reaches 100. The gifts of summer are many, though summer didn’t seem to arrive until yesterday. And with it the joy of swimming, flowers in their splendor, and garden goodies. 

While floating round and round in the pool looking up into azure cloudless skies, thoughts of the child so often spoke of. Where is ‘she’ most of the time? Is there anything left of child I was? Maybe. But most of her died off. The child who took on so much all on her own aged in ways I wouldn’t have, and fast. Very fast, almost instantaneously.

But there is still a part that loves summer, remembering the love of water and running my horses. The abandon of all things serious for pleasure and fun. When someone says ‘Have a nice day,’ it is really, ‘Make a nice day.’ Because so much can be done to make it so if the effort is put forth, and it is work. 

Talking to myself with kindness, acceptance, and understanding. Asking, what brings joy, and do it. And for me they are simple pleasures— walking in the fields, picking strawberries from Samuel’s garden, and his roses.

Roses and roses, including baskets upon baskets of petals plucked each morning… the scent intoxicating, brought indoors to dry. permeating the whole room with a delicious appeal. They make very special sachets.

Arranging bouquets is particularly pleasing especially coming from the abundant blossoms all around seeded and planted by my own hands. Watching creek-side while a raccoon takes a quick dip, shakes off, then scurries up the bank and away as a huge bull-frog splashes in. 

Ahh summer, you are finally here…

Naughty (curious) kitty, get down!

Fresh picked spinach and strawberry salad…

POWER

Turning on heat at the start of June is a first, the register next to me soothing as the warmth spills out. The temperature has uncharacteristically plummeted breaking records at one extreme then the other. Frost and snowflakes in May, catapulting to record highs, then needing heat from the furnace a few days later. 

Though the pool is open, and for a few days the temperature was 90 or close to it, my idea of going in was floating in circles as the force of the filter splashed a current to ride on. Samuel went all the way in a few times, but it isn’t quite warm enough for me yet. Now in the 40’s the water will take awhile to warm again. 

The summer looks different, is different. Cancelling an upcoming camping trip with Shane and his family at our favorite place in the Adirondacks, along with a trip to see Cory’s family and new baby… both a loss, but curiously a relief too.

Traveling is hard for me. The less it’s done, the better. My system hypes up and once that happens it is hard to calm down. And that is during what is the best years of my life.

Looking back would I want to live it again? No way. The anxiety running me was wild, reverberating like live wires through my system. The daily fear of living, and people, caused even simple decisions to go awry.

Even now I must tell myself, slow down, breathe, where exactly are you going so fast? Living in over-drive separated from my body is the norm. But not now. Now is the time to go slow, protect myself, and for the first time take care of myself in all the ways previously neglected.

It is not an easy job, or one that comes naturally. Taught to deny all needs, this takes conscious effort. Taking action to block all those called ‘family,’ even if only for a day or two, brought back a feeling of power and control that being pressured into doing something not right for me took away. Freedom was lost, victim-hood floundered, priceless freedom gone— poof, like a puff of smoke. 

Strength flowed back. Seeming a silly move, it was not. Then the thought of those I cared about possibly contacting me without my response caused me to unblock all but the sister-in-law who pressured me. The others can access me if needed.

That action reminded me where my power lies, within me. It is not something to give away again, but I will. The craving for family always there, always pulling, always in need of. A cauldron calling me into her dark brew where wishes come true. 

Freedom and Safety

Waking in the night a breeze of fear passes through me. All the people called ‘family’ were put in the block sender list yesterday to feel safe. But what of the love felt for each of them? The love is from an immature girl, remaining a girl all through my 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, only beginning to mature in the last decade… a slow and painful process. 

And with maturity comes the realization that lies are not OK. Interacting with each of them, always on their terms, is not OK. Pretending is not OK. Being buddies with an abuser, aligning with him against me, is not OK. Pretending he didn’t slink up in the night to abuse me… is not OK.

By not talking about the crimes committed against me make the crimes loom larger. Lying awake in the night remembering. The confused mixture of pleasure and confusion as a little girl, still sleepy laying there at the end of couch with my little brother asleep at the other end.

Tommy’s head between my legs— waking to the soft pleasure but not understanding. The next morning, and all the years after, the brother I loved so much with admiration and trust, turned his hate upon me. I was a reminder of his crime. His fear of exposure compounding the punishment that would defeat me for decades. That leaves me fighting for a life even now. 

On little shoulders that would take even more trauma, some so violent that remembering isn’t safe to this day. My psyche protects me from it still.

I am blocking emails that never come unless someone dies or wants something. No one dares to get close, reality might set in. But what of my reality?

Attachments cause deep pain. My preference is to attach to the land and mother nature who soothes, bringing smiles of joy as the chipmunks play, or a flower blooms .

Attach to my children, and their children. To Samuel, who I’m learning to trust for the very first time in over 40 years of marriage. Trust for a friend whom I’ve finally learned to erect boundaries with, a miraculous feat… trust that will reach out only so far because she will slam me down if I let her. 

That is enough to be challenged with. The origin family carries baggage with heavy requirements I have no energy to meet. (Yet agree to anyway when pressured.) So take away the temptation. 

After trying repeatedly to develop relationships individually with no takers, it became apparent that groups were only what was wanted— herd immunity. My need for safety equates to detaching. Craving freedom that was lost when feeling forced by pressured guilt to do something I did not want to do paralleling my formative years. Freedom and safety come home. 

PANDEMIC PARALYSIS

Though retired, living off hard earned funds, there is work to do. Remember being in the moment, not carried away like a schizoid in the stratosphere of worry and concern? Oh yes, that. Being here now isn’t my preference. Being here before Covid is.

Facing reality and being in the moment. One day on, one day off, one day both, those are the best days. This period is historic, not a history desiring to be a part of. How did others endure what they did in generations past?

We live in our little bubble on this plot of land, then like a bomb– reality hits paralyzing my body parts. Get up, do something, yet I can’t. Samuel looks over into the living room where I haven’t moved all day. (adding to feelings of low self-esteem)

But my limbs won’t move, my mind on hold.

Pushing myself the next day, the path of being present is the answer. Joints ache upon rising. Work to move, to do something, any little thing, and be in the body while doing it. Small things matter especially during this time. Be gentle and patient with yourself and others. Gentleness and presence is the way.