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’?

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.

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.

THANKSGIVING

Writing here the past several years has offered great personal growth. But also camaraderie along with support that goes much deeper than other relationships.

For a survivor of childhood sexual abuse it is the perfect way to be close, feel close, and not really be physically close. Hence safe. At the same time my mind envisions a party where everyone meets. Here is where there is more family than ever before. What a great party that would be.

In America we celebrate Thanksgiving today and my thoughts go to fellow bloggers with thankfulness and gratitude. May peace come to all even amidst the noise…

Flaws Like Ocean Pebbles

As dawn approaches, only a soft haze in the horizon beyond the hill while all else is still and dark, the thought arises that you do deserve to have a day without self punishment even in spite of yesterday’s failures and flaws. More so, you need your own compassion holding mistakes in your hand like sea worn pebbles, investigating each one gently with curiosity and tenderness.

The heart constricts banded by a tightness learned in childhood. How does one go back and unwrap the wires that cut so deep? Embedded into the vessel they will bleed if removed. As each attack happened with no recourse of protection or love, the child decides she is to blame. As she grows so does the blame she takes upon herself. Her heart constricts with self-loathing not love. She extends softness to others but for herself…contempt. 

It is a process, this practice of self love.  

Happy Heart

Fall has come and gone, the trees are bare as wind whistles through the branches. Sitting by the fire cozily with the cat by my feet, thick fog fills the back hillside while the hickory trees nearby in the hedgerow sway dancing like black lacy tendrils entwined together. The bareness seemed to happen overnight but it really took weeks. Perhaps night winds took the last leaves. Dawn comes in a steely grey gloom, the sun cast away behind the smoky carpet.

Days like this tend to be more common than sunny ones in NE America during the long months of winter. One must make their own joy. Dragging the six foot fake Christmas tree up from the basement, a day is spent decorating the house with strings of lights a week earlier than usual. The brightness of color and sparkle lift the dreariness. As the gold shimmery tree skirt is gently tucked around the tree base, Molly the cat curls up under it in her favorite resting place, the echo of purring floating up to my ears.

Hunting season has begun, so bright red is added to outdoor gear for the usual meadow walks. And unless it is raining, the walks continue to boost my moral, invigorate the senses and keep my heart healthy. Keeping attuned to the needs of the heart- spiritual, emotional and physical, are what makes a day fulfilling and sustaining.