A Soul’s Yearnings

photos by Patricia

Upon waking the first feeling is not to feel. A more rational voice intervened, “Welcome the feelings.”

Turning over trying to sleep more, an hour goes by before Samuel’s alarm rings. He has been asked to work a few days. At 65 he still likes to go in when needed. It offsets our medical insurance bills and he seems to enjoy the productivity and comradery.

We sit by the fire sipping coffee with new kitty Christy at our feet. My jaw tends to clench when greeting a new day. With intention the muscles relax and the body follows.. Relax is just a word and not something that comes naturally. 

Meditation offsets this, and conscious intention helps too but that only succeeds when not bombarded by external stimuli from the environment. It doesn’t take much to overload a system that copes with chronic permanent issues of PTSD.

These challenges need daily attention. The harsh voices alive inside at the ready to beat me down are more familiar than warm, loving ones. Confronting them takes work. Respecting a soul’s yearning comes naturally to some. For others who created ways to survive trauma in childhood, being centered in the soul is unfamiliar.

Breaking from it to survive occurred. And still now it takes work to come ‘home’ to my center, be still, and hear the callings of soul. Those yearnings are what living is all about. Without connection to the soul, curling up escaping elsewhere becomes the normal way of being.

Being present became too dangerous. With no intervention to help finding one’s way out of the collapse caused by childhood sexual abuse, staying safe by dissociating becomes a way of life.

During meditation, one moment at a time, I learned I could be present and be safe. But escaping when overwhelmed elsewhere into that mysterious safe place only known by others who also survived trauma still occurs. 

Coming to now, being here now is not worth it unless connecting with the soul, hearing her speak and satisfying those yearnings.

A kitty lying in my lap purring satisfies mine, a place to pour my love, a conduit for it that has brought me from age 8 to now. When humans became too dangerous to love, there were kitties. That hasn’t changed much. Loving from afar, emails, on-line, OK. Loving in the flesh? There are barriers. There has to be.

Too much was taken to risk losing more. There are other yearnings not yet discovered. And perhaps that is part of the daily work. Listen to the soul’s yearnings, the whispers that go unheard. Find places, make time and places where quietness allows the soft strumming to be heard…the vibrations of the soul.

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Kindness to Self

Work can be done to temper the tendency to make rash moves that occur from an overworked nervous system. Acceptance of that tendency is necessary to achieve a balanced wholeness where esteem for self grows. Allowances for such a struggle means softening my approach to myself. It is OK…this is something to work on, but with gentleness and kindness, not a whip, club and bat. 

In many instances my mind moves too fast and my body lurches ahead with it when what would provide more satisfaction is stillness and thought. Regret moves in adding a desperate futility that anything will ever change. 

Fucking stuck with a PTSD brain makes this a reality that will not go away. Offering kindness to myself and acceptance of what is and why it is helps to make a happier soul who loves herself. Only then is one able to offer that same love and acceptance to others.

If one can’t accept their own frailties and shortcomings, how can you be tolerant with others’?

Where Love Flows

The deal made with the crueler aspects of life, OK, I’ll go down this path with Molly as she withers away getting thinner and thinner. I will love her more and be extraordinarily gentle. And as long as she shows some interest in her surroundings then it isn’t time. I will do this but I’m getting another kitty when it’s time for Molly to go.

The months went by, and my tummy turned with pain watching her suffer and trying to ease her constant beseeching that I relieve her discomfort. Until it became necessary to finally do the only thing left that could be done.

During all those months what sustained me and gave me the strength to take on this role was the knowledge of getting another little animal. The urge to do so occurred immediately, the very next morning after her death.

“Cory,” I sobbed to my son over the phone, “How long do I have to wait to get a kitty?”

“Until you are OK on your own,” he responded. And Samuel seemed to agree. And the proper person in me agreed. Yet the unrelenting emptiness bent me over with sobs. The days went by with no relief. This wasn’t a normal grief. This was something else.

Since childhood I’ve had kitties to cling to and love. Humans became too dangerous. Having a warm being to love preserved something in me that might have been forever lost.

Animals allow a safe place where tenderness flows freely, warmly and openly. A heart needs to open. 

A friend calls. “I know you don’t want to do this, but I think you should go to the local animal shelter and look for a new kitty. So many are lonely like you and need a home,” she says. I could hear her tears for me. She is older and lives alone with her dog and two cats. She knows.

“Life is not worth living without them,” she confides. And my desolation matched that sentiment. “Follow your heart, she added.

Within the half hour I told Samuel I was off to do errands and headed to the shelter. A little black long-haired kitten was quietly being run all over by a smaller kitten vying for attention. She had only been there a week and had been rescued from an abusive home. She will have my home now.

The worker who put her in my lap as my tears poured forth said, “I know she will be well taken care of.”

And I responded, “So will I.”

Soft Voice

Wear a coat of harshness or a one of furry warmth?

The daily goal as this body ages is to care for it in all spheres; arm exercises, walking, meditating, core exercises, and eating healthfully. Attention to the mind and spirit takes me to the studio for creative pursuits along with daily writing.

The reward for meadow laps is sitting in the Adirondack chair listening to the cold wind blow, the twitter of what few birds stay for the winter, and the water as it falls over the beaver dam; pleasures, but also a balm for weariness, a replenishment for the soul and a necessity for health. 

Too often one of these isn’t accomplished, or another isn’t done right falling short, and the harsh voice begins to bang unless it’s met with a softer more realistic one. Listen to the soft voice, coax it out, let it grow strong.

Garden path stones, one of four to embed into the little garden path next spring.

Colors and Light

Although attempts were made before the time change, my body will not adjust and at 5 am it is time to rise. So sweet it was to sleep till 6 before the bi-annual change of the clocks. Yesterday’s temperatures hit the mid 50’s and all day brilliant sunshine called me onto the porch several times just to sit and soak it up.

Sun beams came into the living room setting the Christmas tree alive with sparkle sending prisms upon the wall in a colorful dance. Putting up the tree a week early brought out the child to play and remember. Its colorful glow when I awake in the morning invites me into each day alighting the dark with a peaceful feeling.

STAY

My life is quiet in many ways others might judge as boring. Sometimes it feels restraining and a yearning arises for travel farther than the grocery store or mall and a larger circle of acquaintances. Then the reality of my challenges along with the freedom and ability to face them gently quickly dissipates the moments of despondence. And maybe it’s not others who judge, but me.

Push, push, push, do, do, do. There are things in a day to get done. Yet my body on some days resists and hurts. So disconnected to it and annoyed with its frailties, the tendency is to ignore it. Pushing through leaves me more disconnected by day’s end, confused, ungrounded and bereft. A great need swallows me voraciously looking for something to fill the holes where I’ve left myself.

Coming back to the moment and to myself is so simple and sounds easy yet for a person who has a lived her life with great disconnect it takes effort every time, and in every moment. Where are the eyes full of love and grace?

In the mirror there is only a tired ghost of a hard edged woman. When connections are made to the pathways of spirit, soul, body and mind, the reflection softens. The person looking back emits a light that is inviting, fluid and likable. 

The tendency is to run, the work is always to stay.

FLAWED

Pumpkin spice coffee brewing, Christmas music softly playing, candles flickering, and decorations offering a gentle colorful sparkle, something still pulls at me on this dark morning the day before Thanksgiving.

You are you own entity. A life of leaning into others reality because there was no connection to my own has evolved. Looking within instead of looking to others for worth, acceptance and answers is a new way of being offering wholeness, groundedness, and autonomy. Yet it also comes with responsibility.

Instead of feeling bad about everything because essentially “I am bad,” one looks for where they really do need work and really did make mistakes. And not with an overwhelming “I am bad” mentality, but with a realistic view of themselves; that we all are human and are flawed, imperfect and often messy.

So look within and forgive because then you can forgive others for the same flaws that may look different but are very human.