REGRETS

Moving on to the new year, a new start, a beginning? I’m still me, with all the thoughts, memories, and regrets, blackening my interior much more darkly in wintertime.

How to manage the tendency to go back over every mistake in my entire life feeling it scratch like sharpened talons in the deepest recesses of my soul? I’ve made grievous errors in judgement that must be lived with. How do people do it, because I’m not the only one.

Didn’t we go through this already, just about every winter, you the critic, and you the wiser gentler side? Jekyll and Hyde. Light and dark. Breathe fresh air or drown?

Laying in the dark, ready to get up, anxiety erupts reliving mistakes from 40 years ago. The blackness of winter devouring me at the start of a day.

Yet there also is light if choosing to come out of that dark cave of regrets. Forgive yourself yet again, as many times as it takes. While walking yesterday I thought, ‘Haven’t you done this already? Forgiven myself for this?”

Yes. But do it again, and again and again, however many times you need to. Good practice for someone with a tendency to be so harsh on herself. And when remembering all your own mistakes, and forgiving them, it makes it so much easier to forgive others.

Henry David Thoreau

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

KNOW THYSELF

Quote by Socrates: “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”

The lantern swaying back and forth, ice glittering with its sparkly glow even in the black before dawn. My ice trekkers keep me from falling and work like a charm, a wonderful Christmas gift for those days when all the path ices over.

Sitting by the water, barely a crack of light beginning to show, the quiet, dark shadows are unnerving, yet also relaxing. A distant train clatters satisfyingly.

More rounds to go before the breeze begins to chill me, round and round, the twinkling lights in the house a beacon one way, with glimmering solar stars glowingly wrapped around a few trees the other way.

While resting again, mother nature does her work on my body, mind, and spirit, curing the restlessness of winter cabin fever, rushing pink health to my cheeks, and the warmth of movement to my body.

But the best cure is calming my rat brain, much worse in the winter, which takes any tiny hardship and magnifies it into disaster. Calm, peace, and sleep-filled nights are blessed to me of late, so when those negative thoughts creep in, chase them far away.

Use a big corn broom and swoosh! That feeling of nostalgia niggling in the background, of loss, memories of old with others long gone, or others still here that closeness is difficult for me to nurture or sustain?

Those are to be felt, because my premise about feelings is, feel them. Trying to squash feelings makes them harden and stay.

So, tears have come each day and I let them, squeezing out not knowing why, nostalgia, loneliness? Then the why comes, (yes to both of those), and with it understanding, acknowledgment, and feeling real and accepted, even if it’s only by me. Because who better to know than me?  

BUILDING

Like building a snowwoman, once complete a piece falls off having to snow-glue it back on again. The shattering’s of confidence each time someone says something thoughtless or ignorant, lesson just a little as self-kindness and acceptance grow inside.  

A solid woman is beginning to form. One to be counted on, internally sound, full as in depth and completeness with wisdom that often is deeper than once thought possible.

As my world shrinks on the outside due to the inability to go far from home, my internal home welcomes more fully, freely, and softly as a place to stay and be.

STILL WATERS

Though things have been patched up after an email confrontation with a friend, my world feels topsy turvy. That angst compounded with some blood work that is off (low blood sodium), upsets the status quo.

It doesn’t take much to set off my alarm bells, especially interpersonal relationships that go awry, and anything to do with my body.

The weariness of winter doesn’t help. The best remedy continues to be gentleness towards self, something not learned earlier in life after a childhood of repression, neglect, and abandonment.

Parts of each day feel glum, then the sun rises, if not in reality, then in my being. Taking it all in without running is the key to equilibrium and calm.

Calm, oh calm, how that is craved, found, lost, then back again. Still waters among tall waves.  

BE KNOWN

At first urge, unwanted feelings that arise are denied or run from. The more unwanted, the more running or stuffing.

What freedom to hear a soft whisper say, accept them. Let them be, feel what’s there, and like a vapor they then dissipate up and out.

Sometimes, and very often, the experience teaches me about myself; motives, wishes, desires, hurts, the potpourri that makes up me.

We are all a mixture of pieces, some parts wanted, others not, but in accepting all there is, a person yet unknown blossoms as love of the whole self grows.

JOY

Each day challenges: old haunts, familiar yet unhealthy ways of being, habits ritualized over the years- habits of thinking that put me in a negative light, all that I touch, think of, and do is perceived as bad or wrong.  

There has been no crime committed, yet in my mind I am the crime, a disturbed self-portrait painted by familial sexual abuse at an early age.

So, each day begins anew with self-talk, much needed self-talk. Friends have given a helping hand over the years but could take me only so far.

The real change, the real challenge, is what’s inside, and discovering self-esteem for myself. What others have given has saved me many times, pulled me up from drowning, live-saving, yet temporary.

It is a new and delicious way of viewing myself, the world, and my place in it… that I deserve joy and happiness.

Not from what I’ve done or will do, but by being me.  

Life is not easy, it is hard, yet there is joy, there is light, but it must be found both inside and outside myself.  

ONE KIND WORD

And so, the self-pity leaks out splashing down my face when allowed, though often as in the past, tears are suppressed causing a life robotically lived.

So let them flow, even if not knowing why. Stress causes tears, even happy stress. The way my body ejects parts of itself leaving the rest behind while rocketing off to Never-neverland? What’s left is wasteland, a vulnerable, weakened, self-doubting desert where I’m parched for warmth, love, and wholeness.

That happens too often and is the cause of great angst and self-pity. Yet there is magic, a friend far away consoling me. Knowing about my lack of self-esteem, and how self-blame batters me ragged over things having not a thing to do with me, eating me alive from the inside out.

A few words from her soothed, and supported my own quiet, wise, voice that couldn’t be heard over the critic’s which was banging away till the bruising caused me to curl insanely up into a fetal ball.

One kind word. One kind word. Thank you.

ORIGIN FAMILY DANGERS

Home-made apple pie for Don & Seth

It’s always a danger asking two siblings to visit from the city, but felt the risk was worth it. And it did kick me in the butt during the night after waking to use the bathroom.

Tossing restlessly in bed for a few hours, going through the moments of the visit. Really? Do you have to? Great effort was put into NOT doing that, yet when soul speaks it is often in the middle of night.

Feelings of self-worth tend to plummet around those called ‘family.’ And this time was no different, crackers in my hand before bed letting the carbs melt on my tongue satisfyingly. Carbs produce happy chemicals neutralizing those negative feelings about ‘self.’

Food has always been about a different kind of hunger, that of self-love and care, a desperate lack of both until recently when gentleness, kindness, and acceptance of ‘self’ magically dissolved the cravings for something to numb that cloying need.

It is hard labor being around those who are loved yet not trusted, and who cause such toxicity in their insistence of treating me like they once knew me; malleable, pleasing, and unassertive for my own needs.

It took herculean effort to stay inside myself, losing that groundedness momentarily but mostly feeling whole.

So, it isn’t an occurrence that will happen often, but this time progress was made. And sleep came finally, waking a few hours past my normal waking time.

The body has a way of giving itself what it needs if my mind makes room for it by cutting through the gnarled jungle of memories and old habits to discover my true (worthy) self, finding peace.  

IT’S OK TO FEEL HAPPY

A smile, the first time in too long, a full on, full felt smile from the inside out. Darkness and cold made me pasty faced with a dour bent. But sunshine, warmth, and azure skies opened me wide, cracked wide open with glee, joy, and happiness. So what is that tinge of darkness holding me back, smoldering with doubt and self-blame internally, always yapping away, pounding against any good feelings to be had?

The breeze lifted my hair moving through me as if to say, ‘come.’ Out again, over, and over, around, and around the meadow now glorious with crystal blue skies above and toasty waves shimmering downward. Off came hat and gloves, next, coat. Then rolling up pantlegs to expose calves, shin, and skin.

What a magnificent string of days! The depressed me couldn’t help but feel glad. It still takes work, hearing my head speak silently, it’s OK to be happy, a new mantra adding to the usual it’s OK, a mantra often repeated throughout a day because being present might be unsafe.

It’s OK to be happy? The decades of silence causing a guilt to turn inside me like a hot poker in fire. Guilt brought from internalizing the horrors of sexual attacks that seemingly went unnoticed, uncared about, and continued even after being exposed more than once.

She did the best she could. Her mantra.

Cohesion not collision. My work is finding ways for the splintered parts to coexist, meet as one, the jagged edges nestling into other sharp pieces smoothing the shards.

It’s OK to be happy, It’s OK to be happy, it’s OK to be happy…

HELLO SOUL

Wanting to escape the moment, being present. Moment to moment is hard, not wanting to be here. Someplace else, that safe place, another zone created a long time ago.

But it’s just habit, ghosts needing to be blown away. The escape. Somewhere else. Anyplace but now.

There are many ways to do it. Shopping, eating, busyness. To just ‘be’ takes effort, and a desire for soul to greet the mind, as if two different people, or planets, meet for the first time.

Dancing around each other like strangers at a bar, wanting to know the other more intimately but miles apart.

The soul is the quiet one, where real power swirls ethereal like an undercurrent with the right course to follow if only the mind would listen and be guided.