HEALTH

When my body changes and unwellness sets in, fear come with it. Even a slight change causes concern making me fearful. So that voice of comfort was needed. It’s ok, it’s ok. Probably just one day of side effects, a feeling of a 24-hour bug after the fourth Covid shot; slight headache through the night and the next day body aches, even a loss of appetite, not a common occurrence for someone who eats their feelings.

Why not after the first three vaccines? It could be that in facing all that lies inside with equanimity and compassion, my parts, spirit, mind, emotions, and psyche, have come together as one. There’s more awareness of bodily workings. In touch, like most others around me whose connections come naturally not having trauma tear them away from it.

The rip came at age 8. The repeated smashing shatterings making it about impossible to ever reclaim what is mine. The incessant craving haranguing ever since to come back inside me, yet the flurry of me remained suspended above and about spinning, always spinning.

A relief this morning waking to the feeling that my body is back to status quo. Good health is the number one of riches. But when health faulters, the other comparable wealth is the voice of reason, comfort, and compassion.

NIGHTTIME FRIGHTS

PHOTO BY PATRICIA

People have their own ways of dancing. Mine might not look like a tango, but if inside there is calm, that’s my dance. If inside the critic isn’t smashing me down, that’s a waltz, tango, and tap dance all in one. Waking in the night on the fifth night, not using any medication because the weaning off occurred the first four nights, trouble started.

After a week of the best sleep in months, last night the critic escaped. Not having any medication in my system gave me something to worry about. It has be lack of controlling thoughts, not being off it.

Up to use the bathroom, then bam, the mind ruminating scaring myself with memories, and present things that in daytime don’t pose a problem, but in the night make my heart lurch.

Stay. No more medication or going out to watch TV. No. It was hard, harder, and hardest of all, but then birds were heard so some sleep must have finally come.

In the morning when Samuel got up, I hung my head in my hands and through tears spilled out the nighttime woes and worries, especially the parts that refuse forgiveness of shortcomings, faults, and mistakes, the beating of self so frightful in the dark.

Samuel is much kinder to me than I am, his words helping me start the day.  I hear stories of ‘love yourself,’ then love yourself more. But in the dark they feel like just words, while trying to find comfort from sounds out the open window, peepers finally peeping, and Samuel’s regular breathing beside me. There is much to be grateful for, and so much that can be soothing, yet my insides feel so cold.

Question in the night: how does one connect and comfort one’s soul after feeling disconnected from it for so long? The soul, that vaporous place deep within encompassing the internal core so ethereal…

MOTHERHOOD

Pieces of me fluttering all over the place, trying to tack down the escapees without success as each darts away as if in the wind. The winter exhumed me, emptied me, left me bottomless and cold. Once, not so long ago, I felt grounded, but over winter have been left hanging like a tattered flag.

In finding my internal strength and using it to reach goals of health, stuffing feelings, or glossing over them for another is not possible. Yet that comes with great cost for a mother who would do anything for her children except hurt them.

Yet a mother has needs too. I have needs. If I give, and the return is feeling stomped on emotionally, something else inside of me gives too and that is love… love giving in to bitterness, resentment, and anger. Those are like drinking poison hoping the other person pays the price, yet it is me who suffers.

Inside myself there is room only for love. The other stuff must be worked out, talked out, cried out, then just let go. Because all relationships are rocky at times, it is the nature of closeness, and intimacy. You climb the rocks, slip down, become bloodied and bruised, then climb up again to see the sun feeling warm breeze atop the mount.

PTSD

Finally making it to one of our women friends monthly gathering after missing a few due to sickness and the brutal sleep issues cropping up again this winter, and trying to make light of my sleep problems, I said, “There are worse things.”

One of them said, “Yes, like Ukraine.”

Going along with the flow of conversation didn’t mean agreement with her. My thoughts after coming home, do you, or have you ever had problems with sleep? I’ve asked her before and she sleeps as well as Samuel, so in her reply there was little compassion. And really, it is inside my own self where the compassion must lie.

It would be comforting to believe that this new monster raising its head, this taking off with worries in the middle of the night, meant something soul shifting to a better plane of existence, but it probably is just that in taking away food to quell the anxiety beast, sleep becomes disrupted by the excess anxiety always ready to sting.

My belief it that my childhood has caused a fractured core no amount of anything will cure. Samuel sleeps. I am awake. My friend’s husband is dealing with a bout of cancer. Well, yes, that is worse. He looks pale and has been through so much. So, there are worse things.

GRACE

Though feelings of failure filled with bleakness consume me, what might be occurring is growth, a dive deeper into authenticity which comes with fighting for what is right even if with loved ones.

That is a new fertile jungle, the thickets of guilt over consequentially hurting a loved one so that my needs are heard, respected, and met. Mother of this earth, please guide me, not with machetes, or scythes to clear the way, but to find my way forward with grace.

DEPRESSION- PEACE

What happened to just wanting peace? Seems to be converted into just wanting not to feel depressed. These months have been dark, the lack of sleep making them darker. A very hard winter, but there’s light, true light. Longer into evenings, earlier in mornings, and the robins? They are back as depicted on last night’s news, I just NEED to see one.

Peace.

That is the one thing being searched for and found after working so hard towards it, and felt miraculously in many moments. Yet this dark thing holding a grip on my emotions, thoughts, and spirit has been deadening.

Talking to Samuel about the ‘whys’ of living, especially now that all purpose seems over. No more rush or stress over kids, jobs, or paying bill. Our life of frugality has made us comfortable without having to worry about money. After a life of that constant nagging concern, shouldn’t I be happy?

He said, “The alternative is going home to Jesus.”

That quieted me, what do you say to that? Although, you go to Jesus, I go to Mother Earth in ash form.

Walking down past my friendly pines on a day the snow began to melt in the meadow, a song from long ago played through my mind, ‘Jesus Loves Me.” The memory of my early divide from male dominated religion took hold as a child at the same time siblings were attacking me. We children sang it at summer camp, but I couldn’t and instead said, “Not me. Jesus doesn’t love me.”

Horrified, adults ushered me into a little room all by myself for a talk. Sitting there alone, waiting, feeling so scared. Do-gooders doing bad, harming me even more which would be almost impossible considering what was already happening. But shame on shame buried me further. At the picnic with all the children running, laughing, and having fun on a sunny day, the path to the rest of my life began… dark, so very dark, and shamed.

So many times people knew and could have stepped in to help, but didn’t.

I let the song run through my mind on this bright blue day letting the words sink in and feel love, because my belief is, whether you call it Jesus, Muhammed, Allah, or Moses, we are all one in same, and loved by the same source, an internal one. Though mine has abandoned me of late feeling hollow as a empty shell.

All that work these past few years with success, yet while coming up the other side of the meadow my shadow was scorned. My life of self-hate still there- still needing work by continuing to turn over the dark parts and love those too.

OWNING MY LIFE

Like most issues, to speak up about my own beliefs, opinions, or feelings is gruelingly difficult. Taught to keep mum about atrocities against me, even little issues tend to stay inside me.

A friend who is religious, Christian like the other four in our women’s group, is overly so. The Lord this, the Lord that. I respect her beliefs and do not scorn them, in fact am sometimes a bit envious of the strength it seems to provide her and others.

It doesn’t for me. At a very young age that collapsed and as with most things shame about that eroded me even more. Now in my sixties the right to claim my own spirituality slowly rises. If it were to have a face it would be feminine.

Yet it is more a belief that we are all connected throughout the planet no matter what we believe. In writing back to her as she once again speaks of god as HE, my response gently outlines my views.

In this life what is there if we cannot be who we are? If it is sometimes a ball of worries and anxiety, then that is me at that time. If my beliefs encompass something different that yours, can you respect them as I do you yours?

In this life, before it’s over, the craving and wholeness comes from owning who I am. It feels risky, scary, and often impossible, but is worth the exploration and effort.

GO DEEP

When depression hits you like a sledgehammer, and tears fall for no apparent reason though memories erupt plaguing my internal peace, and all looks dismal…just be with it. Go deeper.

Remembering the readings of the meditators that say look at your flaws and shortcomings without judgement, just be curious, but accepting of all you see.

With my tendency of feeling badness, what else might be uncovered? But what if it is goodness so sweet it is like miles of chocolates oozing with caramel? That what lays hidden from me are qualities of great depth, wisdom, clarity, beauty, and vast oceans of compassion?

GROWTH

Cory’s Photo

Who will comfort you when you are sad… you will. Who will rock you when you are upset… you will. Who will love you when you feel unloved …you will.

For most of my life the leaning for needs to be met was to others having no center of my own, but the help was short-lived and unfulfilling. The hunt for love was the pot at the end of the rainbow, not really there because it did not exist outside myself. It had to be found internally.

And how could that happen when raised to hate myself? Where no compassion could be found, only cruelty and wishes raining down upon a little girl that she would just dispose of herself. Then everyone else could be happy.

Happy because if I didn’t exist, you don’t need to feel bad about what you did. And the rest who stood by and suffered me to silence could feel less guilty too. So many knew of my incestual jail and did nothing out of their own shame; brothers, aunts, my mom. Nothing. The message though- SILENCE.

In learning about the true person inside myself, and giving me my own permission to live free, happy, and whole, riches abound free to absorb lightening my soul from darkness, making life genuine, full, and exquisite even with the painful times which we all bear.

LOVE

PHOTO BY PATRICIA

Settling down to the memory of yesterday, accepting an ‘off’ day with hopes of moving back towards the center. It is disappointingly excruciatingly hard to cope with old habits that emerge when up in the night- EATING.

It’s OK. You will keep moving towards your goals. You can expect glitches and falling back to old patterns all along the way. Accept that.

“I’ve done so well. I’ve been trying so hard,” I lament to Samuel, after he had cleaned up my mess from middle of the night foraging. I was too tired from a double dose of medication to clean up crumbs or put away peanut butter and jelly.

Each day the calorie counter on-line is pulled out. Every morsel entering my mouth is tracked to the exact calorie. And exercise, all my body can handle until hitting a wall. Then? Sit down or fall down. A bad night comes without really knowing why except my body takes off out of my control and sleep evades me.

This time it it might simply be not telling a friend I can’t do a video call on an afternoon when so much exercise was done in the morning. My body has limits due to so much abuse throughout childhood. Being present with a friend takes energy, energy I did not have when trying to talk to her. She’s not evil, just ignorant. And when rested I can let her foibles slide off me, just as she must allow my character flaws to exist with acceptance.

Feeling sorry for myself after laying there hours in bed, I got up and went to the living room. Hating the old ways but doing them anyway I ate. This is the pattern that began at age 8 after the first attack. Eat then throw-up because my then thin little kid body couldn’t take the excess food. It can now, but not without equal amounts of self-hate.

Yet over the course of many months pounds have slowly dropped, twenty so far. Because something changed, I changed. I can’t tell you why, how, or what, but something deep and internal that won’t allow night time follies to dissuade my journey to wholeness and health.