THE JOURNEY

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One can take a journey without ever leaving home. You may need the rare qualities of an explorer, the courage of a lion, and mighty, tenacious endurance to keep facing truths one does not want to see. What is there? Why do I do what I do? And I might not like the answers, they are all too human.

Jealousies, small-mindedness, failings… what may be harder to look at, notice, accept, and feel fully, are the positives. Those gems dwell deep, shine up, and drive the ship daily but are not revered. Revere them. Hold them up as high as the negatives that pound you down.

Accepting it all as a whole, going into the body, psyche and spirit and trying to dwell there wholly is not easy. Notice the hand starting to show age spots, just like my mother. That hand is yours, do you feel it as you look at it wiping the counter and rinsing the dishes? Be in your body, I tell myself moment to moment throughout the day. It’s OK.

Yet it is scary. The body is what I run from. I didn’t know I’ve done this since age 8 and still do. Be in it, it’s OK. You’re OK as a whole human being, no better or worse than others. Explore. Accept. You’re OK.

The journey is exciting, scary at times, fruitful, and not shared by others. It is yours alone, like mining gold— if you dare.

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Complex Trauma

This is very much worth listening to, all 51 minutes. Thank you Broken Blue Sky and GettingRealwithPTSD for sharing this. Although reblogged this morning, I updated it twice making it hard to access. So I’m posting it again to ensure its availability to readers. 

There are portions where her faith is referred to but all spiritual beliefs could be put in place of her beliefs for the short duration she speaks of it. For instance in referring to he for god, I interject she, and envision my mother earth angel who feels much safer and trustworthy.

Diane Langberg is amazingly compassionate and knowledgeable. It is the first time I’ve heard Complex PTSD explained so succinctly. 

The second part of the lecture is available at the you tube site where this takes you. 

 

INTUITION

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photo by patricia

Is that out of the head and into the spirit, the gut, the soul? That is a new way of living that brings wholeness. Getting there took determination, and my battle-scarred body, psyche and mind crave rest; a slower paced life that now unfolds.

And if I can do it, anybody can. But the work entailed? I can tell you, if I was asked to go back being 20, 30, or 40, … NO, I would not. 

I hung cloth diapers by the wood stove, yet found so much satisfaction keeping the ‘home fires’ burning while Samuel was working. The old enamel stove sat like a queen in the kitchen keeping me warm twice by it’s cooking and the energy expelled filling her. 

The less one has the more things are appreciated.

I sit by our coal stove now as my 64th birthday approaches in April and still feel the coziness of being warmed by a fire, the cat curled up by my feet. The door to the porch is slightly open as spring birds sing, geese honk down by the creek and ducks belt out a hello. As the gentle rain melts the last patches of snow, the morning doves once again make a nest atop the clematis vine clinging to the screen only feet away. 

The anticipation of spring shall hold me through until green comes to the trees and lawns. The breath goes deeper releasing tensions carried all winter. Ahh, spring…

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STEADY

008 (2)photos by Patricia, my garden- courtesy of Mother Nature….

You are an inferior citizen, person, child. That was the message given when expected to contain such vile, unwanted, and confusing sexual attacks on my body. Do not speak of it. And since I was born a child to speak up with strength, silencing me took a good deal of shaming.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” she would say if I spoke up about anything. I am Mom, I am. But not anymore. 

“Stupid,” she’d admonish. It took till middle age before relinquishing the idea that I was stupid.  Raymond, my psychiatrist at the time, mentioned the A’s earned in preparation for nursing school which begrudgingly awakened awareness of my intelligence. That was undeniable proof.

Whatever tactic needed was used to keep the shameful secret. Those manipulations were also readily employed by siblings whether they were the perpetrator or not. Families do not speak of such things.

My wish is that they would and doing so is the first and most monumental step in providing the desperate help needed for all within the family system. So many issues have come out of closet and so should this. Intervention at the time childhood sexual abuse occurs helps greatly reduce a hellish life for both child and perpetrator.

Being an older model means much tuning up. Taking care of myself takes time and it also takes being in my body to notice what it needs. I work throughout the day reminding myself, it is OK to take care of yourself. It’s perplexing to need that much affirmation over and over, having to repeatedly give myself permission and believe it. Yet the basis of how my personality was formed is explanation enough.

You are bad, unworthy, unlovable, and not capable. These are the messages which cement a child’s personality when no one comes to her aide after she has been sexually abused and attacked by those she once loved and trusted. The negatives embed themselves like granite.

Others give themselves love and self-care automatically. Others who have not been broken into many pieces strewn about. I gather the parts like fireflies but one escapes here, another there.

Progress is made. Meditation brings a feeling of wholeness and groundedness. Sticking with it day after day, week after week, and year after year brings results. Less anxiety. I can be around others in peace. Not always, or with everyone, or for too long a period depending on who it is, but a great relief than for most of my life.

Do your meditation. Ingest the foods that make your body work right. Drink 64 oz. of water. Do the pelvic exercises three times a day that tighten appropriate muscles. (Kegel’s) And though these can be done anywhere and anytime by most, I need quietness to concentrate on the right muscles. Walk the 20 minutes, more if you can. Rest. A life of living constantly on edge has worn out the adrenals and a lot of rest is needed. Keep thoughts steady trying not to allow them to go to the negative as they tend to do. If you feel down or bored don’t try to change it, just be with it. Keep sleep routines and stick to them.

This is my work, satisfying work because the results help form a person healthy, happy and whole.

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The Wild Ride of Spring

photos by Patricia

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Spring in February? The birds say it’s so. The only trouble with spring is the brain chemistry going awry, up, up, up one day, then thoughts of calamity and doom the next… Tigger then Eeyore. Waking in the night brings odd thoughts that need reining in, and thoughts of the ‘family of origin.’ Comfort is found nesting in fictitious memories where love abounds, though day to day life excludes any interaction focusing only on those that accept and love all of me.

It is a daily chore to also focus on connecting with my body. Others seem so connected and take that ability for granted. Both fear and satisfaction are found in the groundedness of residing fully in the home of my body. The fear comes from the life long habit of residing elsewhere, perhaps my head, but also from pain and what will go wrong next or wear out. Satisfaction comes in tending to my body’s needs in a caring thorough way. (like other ‘normal’ people do) 

The day erupts with unusual warmth and hope rushes in where winter gloom had permeated. Ten laps today. Samuel joins me while resting after my walk pulling out the canoe. The melted snow along with recent rains have swelled the creek over its banks. This allows for longer excursions. He brought his clippers to clear branches. We make it to the beaver lodge, then the pond area by the falls that the beaver created with his growing dam. Evidence of his work is everywhere. It is so noisy now by the creek since my bird friends have returned, a joyful ruckus that had long been silent. 

Later Samuel delivered the grape pie to my son Shane and his family, but there had been enough filling to also make a hand held pie for Samuel and me… yum!

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My Family

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It is a relief to move away from Seth’s harsh words and rebuff over Spring and Summer. The anxiety hurt my heart sending me to the hospital via ambulance for an overnight stay to rule out a heart attack. It was an attack on the heart.

I go about things as I’ve always done— on my own. I have been able to maintain a limited relationship with three siblings because they were the only ones out of seven who hadn’t touched me abusively. Each has been helpful and kind towards me yet the interactions were restricted lacking closeness and depth.  

I’ve arrived at a place where I need more and it isn’t there. Not one will go to the dark where I’ve lived. In looking for the light no one will hold my hand because to enter the light, I bring the dark. I come to the present with all of me and am not running. The failure of each to offer compassion, alliance or acknowledgment erects a barrier to my true self.

Any interaction is like pouring water over rock. Why bother? It is about their flaws and has nothing to do with me…yet everything to do with me. Their lack of profundity for the truth makes me realize my own strength for what may be the first time.

I felt I leaned on them but I have been the stalwart one all along. I wish I hadn’t been the one to carry the burden of secrets and do it all alone. There is a part of me that will always grieve ‘family,’ craving comfort and succor that never comes but from my center. 

What happens in families of origin when a sexual abuse survivor comes forward seems a common theme. Don’t talk or speak of it or you’re out. It has nothing to do with the survivor yet has everything to do with her. The ‘family’ cleaves to the natural order of clan instinctually banning together no matter what.

It is about weaknesses in their character and lack of strength. Each has their own agenda. The victim is outcast if she speaks. Yet I must speak and need to belong at the same time.

So I take steps that feel like I belong then make space and go on as I always have…on my own cherishing the family I have built. The more space I have the better I feel.

My ‘boys’

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At the pumpkin patch!

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Little ballerina…

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A NEW DAY

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So many emotions swirl during the holidays, reminiscing, thinking of those gone, those here that I’ve lost closeness with, those here that relationships have improved greatly…so much to be thankful for.

Yet it is easy to allow nostalgia to take me down… if I let it. It’s a choice. I found myself feeling down seeing how Samuel’s brothers called him and they chatted happily. And two of Samuel’s friends dropped by.

I said out loud to Samuel, “No one called me!” already regretting it as it made it feel more real.

He responded, “Well, you did what made you feel right about things. The ball is in their court,” referring to cards I sent.

“Yes, the ball stays there,” adding, “Not one of my brothers wished me Merry Christmas.”

But did I really want to go there? On Christmas day the old clock in the living room began tolling. It hasn’t in years. And it has rung ever since. I feel like Scrooge waking on Christmas day renewed. I can choose.

Of course I want family. I want at least to have it be alright and amiable even if not close. I feel that has been achieved. Being part of a Clan goes back to Cavemen days. To survive you have to be in a group. Those needs don’t seem to change but one can be a part of a group of their choosing to support and be supported by.

No amount of wishing will go back and give to each of eight children the love, care and attention desperately needed. Not one had it easy and it makes me sad. It wasn’t my doing, it just was. I can choose to live for now knowing now is limited and to make each day the best I can. And not so much about what you failed to give me but what might I offer you.

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