A Time of Peace

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Maybe the sluggishness of shorter days makes me reach for the second cup of the deep, dark brew, usually consumed later in the day. Savoring the freshly ground coffee the sun dips over the trees slowly warming the cool 47 degree morning. 

It is a good time to naturally soak in full spectrum light from the sun’s rays instead of electrically. Sit, sip, and soak it in. Notice my body, relax my shoulders, not do, do, do. Do nothing, just sip the luscious black liquid and feel. No running. Accept all that is there.

The tiny fountain sprinkles a waterfall gently adding calm as the echo of a train whispers in the distance. The cat perks her ears running to the screen wanting to snare the chipmunk skittering by on the patio.

What is inside? Go there, do not fear it, be. After a life of buzzing erratically, the feeling of wrongness so deep it made me sizzle with angst, self-loathing, and a tremor of terror without end, this period of grace is welcomed. Without bitterness for what was, the intent is to fully let in the peaceful beauty of now.

The field brings joy each day as my need for movement drives me out to walk. My need to calm a too busy mind takes me in for meditation lying flat on the bed. Turning on the white noise device with a timer, crickets chirp adding to the chorus of crickets still chirping outside. The kitty kneads a place on my tummy finally curling up for the usual one half hour, her body offering warmth and comfort. 

These are the things for body and mind. All the rest is frosting on the cake. That these luxuries exist now are gifts received with gratitude, thankfulness, and relief. After a wearing life the repose is relished. The demons of bitterness, hate, and judgement have been cast out from time not intent. Love growing for what lay within took its place. Peace reigns.  

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HAPPY PLACES

photos by Patricia

A lower mood descends as it usually does this time of year, like a shroud until the sun moves back, and longer days return. But it is controllable under most circumstances, and accepted for being how it is for me.

If not sucking up early rays on the patio to induce happy chemicals into my brain, then the full-spectrum lights can be used, adding to the ever expanding self- care list for an aging body.

Peace still reigns, even as the heavier mood washes into me to stay for winter. So much to be grateful for, so much to enjoy, and allow into my being each day.

Walking the meadow in its array of yellows, dotted with purple, white, and glorious butterflies, my mind drifts to sad things of the past. NO! Stay with now. Take in the moment, it won’t come again, and the moments are counted. There are only so many.

Happily I was able to re-direct my self to the present, and stay there. Time after lap 5 is rewarded by resting creek side. There the silence enveloped me, as splashes in the pooling area under the willow meant carp were searching for bugs underneath.

After the calming period, my internal tempo centered, the walk back up to the house completed the graceful respite. A time of reflection, centering and wholeness that nature gives freely if one absorbs it. Thank you….

 

MEADOW JOY

photos by Patricia

Though sitting on the porch is still an option as the cold hasn’t made it too unusable most mornings, at 5:30 AM it is still dark without sound. The quiet is unsettling. Oh, don’t go birds, but they left weeks ago.

Finally a dove coos. She stays, along with a few other hardy varieties. But it is a lonely feeling when my friends leave making me want to fly south right along with them.

The morning crimson breaks over the hill as the low lying fog clears with the sun. Neighbors like to mow their back property right down to the creek, but we like the wildness of the meadow in all it changing hues.

As the warm rays permeate my shoulders, finally feeling it after the whoosh of travel and reclaiming my bearings, the beauty of the yellow meadow descends into me. Yellows of mustard and another plant also yellow, dotted with what’s left of the Queen Anne’s lace sprinkling the yellow field with white.

The mural changes over summer, from buttercups to daisies, to grasses over my head swaying in the breeze, the meadow offers splendor in its flowing growth bringing joy.

The comfort and routine of home has returned, and with it peace.  The world is at my feet.

 

TRAVELING

Take your home with you, it is inside you…

The strong, wise voice that says, GO! has other words of comfort as the journey begins. A friend reminds me of the warrior woman inside each of us, and while walking the meadow, now browning as crisp leaves fall, that thought is pondered.

Yes, you can do this, of course you can! Though much in my early years became dangerous, my very life feeling threatened, the reality of it as it is now can be challenged with success.  

You can do this, and love it. And I will… 

ADVENTURE

And so it is on again. After a weekend where my chest radiated a thin veil of remorse after the decision not to travel to Massachusetts to see my son, Monday morning when he called I heard my lips speak.

“Can we still come?” I asked feebly.

And so it is arranged.

Hurdles to tackle, this morning’s eye exam at an office farther into the city, and tomorrow’s 6 hour drive. Once calming after meeting the surgeon, with feelings of success for advocating for my needs, the peace of routine settled back into my bones.

Perhaps another challenge can be taken on. Like walking on rocks, rests in-between are needed, but the excitement of adventure pulls at me once again.

I’d like to thank How Far for help in tackling this. One of her posts told the story of taking on a challenge, also including busy highways. With humor she outlines the terrors and successes experienced.

That feeling of success at conquering a fear (terror) is worth the effort if it can be done without causing damage to the body. Therein lies the rub. Forcing won’t work. Taking on what can be managed, that is the way.

 

TRUTH

It’s three in the morning and my fear is that with fall on its way, so is waking in the middle of night without being able to go back to sleep. Summer gave relief from that, though falling asleep was sometimes a problem. My body seems to thrive on more daylight. 

Or maybe it’s just recovery from a tough day. Meeting the eye doctor went well. On the way there, and beforehand, stress tears fell. But then a crack deep inside opened with light. You’re a good person.

The whip of being me was lain down, then strength. Letting go of the insults; being weak, not traveling to Cory’s, being so scared about a simple appointment, all the differentness felt over a life-time that were about to break me became friendly and softened. 

The adult needs to advocate for the terrified child. Dissolving into a teary mess will not get my needs met. That was the internal speech as Samuel drove us to the city. While the assistant tested my vision that’s exactly what happened. When asked to read the very large letters with my left eye I fell apart.

I couldn’t, then turned into a soppy mess. I’ve been holding it in over the last few years as my eyes, especially that one, became more and more blurry often causing unbalance and nausea from not seeing well. 

But then I would remind myself of impoverished countries where older people became blind due to cataracts. They accepted their fate as if it were natural. Volunteer doctors came into their town doing cataract removals, and suddenly the miracle of sight.

The assistant stopped and very gently asked what was wrong. What was it about my history?

Wiping the tears I told her about a traumatic childhood and that someone coming at my body, or changes in my body that I can’t control, terrify me. Handing me a tissue, she also offered water. Kindnesses such as this ease the experience exponentially. 

Once gathering myself, facing the fact of the eye being so bad, we continued the exam. She left as the eye dilated from the drops. The doctor arrived after Samuel and I watched a video about the procedure which was very helpful.

He impressed me, along with the office, super clean, friendly, and conscientious to details. He shook my hand firmly, always a good sign. When discussing my needs he asked for more information.

“I was sexually attacked by 4 out of 7 brothers. I remember everything 3 of them did. The other was so violent I have blocked it out. The PTSD is why I need deeper sedation, enough to be out, not conscious at all. I cannot guarantee keeping still with someone coming at my body,” I said distinctly, without tears, or emotion.

He continued on with professionalism. In rare cases, he is willing to do both eyes at once if general anesthesia is used. The usual practice is to do one at a time. My regular eye doctor assured me two at once is not possible, but this doctor agreed to my request.

So it’s done. The date will be in October once the scheduler calls to set it up. It has taken a very long time to outright discuss my needs, and why. It has been a haltingly slow process. The early family chains to keep it all hidden reached deep.

This force to remain quiet about such deep traumas made for a life of duality; my real life inside me, the other life where all that came out of my mouth were lies. Nothing was real. Trained to be pleasing meant having no needs, no anger, no nothing. Especially no truth.

Learning to be true, to even feel my real needs, and then to express them is incredibly hard, and still new, but I have done it, and keep doing it.

 

BRAVERY

Bravery. It took bravery to decline my son’s offer to visit, and to explain why. It is more usual to put my husband’s, and son’s needs or wants before my own. It is unusual to pay respect to my own. It brings me great pleasure and satisfaction for my family to be happy.

Cory really wanted me to come see his new home, which is why I said yes, while my insides were screaming NO! And to decline only a week prior seems very discourteous. He has been aware of my extreme ambivalence.

Last week I gave another firm yes. But I also mentioned at the tail end of my ‘yes’ about tomorrow’s appointment meeting the new eye surgeon, and the trepidation that involves.  

There are limits to what I can do. Facing the upcoming eye surgeries is taking a great deal of courage, even if the actual procedures are a month or more away. Every day a thrumming undercurrent of terror vibrates in my belly. Someone cutting on my eye? Strangers at my body? 

To drive 6 hours on busy freeways to visit Cory, then stay away from home for several nights, would cause a huge disturbance in my well-being. No matter that it is with loved ones. Being away, dealing with traffic, and an unfamiliar environment, will cause dire stress inside me. Yes, I can do it, but at what cost? Too much right now.

That decision plunges me into the abyss of sadness for having these limitations. But no, I choose not to go there either. I am so lucky to have all I have. To have a loving husband, and two amazing sons who are happy in their lives, and are thriving. This lovely home, and the meadow which brings so much peace. No, I won’t go into sadness. Why should I?

But, just as everything else in my life seems as if in opposition, if a day brings tears mourning once again for what was lost during childhood, that is OK too. Feeling what I feel is a better road than denial. Acceptance is necessary for the feelings to flow through. Much was lost, or taken. Grieving isn’t over in a day, and may take years to mourn. Making a decision not to feel something might not work.

Yet gratitude fills me, and that is my focus. Much of my life has been scorched with anxiety buzzing through my veins like acid. That has changed dramatically over the last ten years… after my mother died, when the freedom for authenticity blossomed. When there was no longer a need to pretend for her happiness that we were a ‘happy family.’

The hate for myself is evolving into self-love and respect. The shame once making me wanting to die daily, dissolved when writing the book; black-tarry snakes wired inside my gut slithering up and out each week, scraping the tender internal issue on its way out. Every nasty evil thing my little child body endured was released with the telling.

Also popping up and out like carbonated, sparkling bubbles were joyful times. Those too had been imprisoned inside with the traumas. Suppression took it all. Healing began to be more than just a word.

The shame is not mine.

I admire the woman I’ve become, the endurance, strength, persistence, and courage it has taken to get here. I look at my husband and begin to feel sorry for him, that he has a wife who keeps him from doing what he wants, who won’t fly, take big trips, blah, blah, blah. Really? What about all the positives? Fortitude, compassion, creativity, devotion to family, ;;; 

I will continue to work at honoring the things about myself others have seen but I’ve been blind to, and to honor my real needs.

I will love who I am, and all I have…