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.


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.

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.  

You Have a Right to be Here

You are OK just as you are. Breathe. Slow down. Moving into the next moment before living the present one makes me hurried when there’s no need to. That is the injured brain operating from years of unprocessed trauma. Don’t judge it, befriend it.

You are a child of the Universe. You DO have a right to be here; and not by other’s standards but by your own. Remember what you have suffered, because it is with accepting the truth of your past that you can offer gentle kindness, patience and loving support to yourself now.


Food for Thought

I feel bloated and very fat but more on track and in better control now that my health is returning. People don’t generally gain weight when sick. Even with no appetite I ate…and ate. 

The real need? Sympathy and a loving touch. Samuel is just not like that. Feeling all on my own, my method reverts to surviving as I did at age eight, eating until so sick I threw up in the night.

As health returns the ability to confront the negative put-downs about myself improves dramatically. It continues to be the hardest but most rewarding job . The emphasis has always been, “lose weight.” And has been my biggest hurdle since age eight when my slender kid body blew up like a balloon from eating the trauma down.

It is really about about the food I fill my brain with. Loving thoughts are the key. Good food for thoughts. That is the challenge and the work. 

To Thine Own Self

Running from dis-ease unconsciously by becoming busier or feeding it with food which is how my mother mothered me, are only ways to worsen an illness, discomfort or even emotional pain. Becoming aware one is doing it is the first step.

It catches up to you and hits hard. Self-care was not taught, self-loathing was. The silence demanded that the horrors committed against my body not be spoken taught unworthiness. If any spark came forward it was extinguished easily with a look or a word. The child born with a strong sense of justice and speaking out against wrongs was choked silent and twisted into a malcontent for even trying.

It was necessary to disconnect from the body as a child. With no intervention provided to release the suffering from repeated trauma disconnecting became a way of life. My body did one thing, my mind another. There was no cohesiveness or synchrony between the two which would encourage wholeness, health or well-being. 

As those miracles enter my life today, such things that one usually possesses after leaving childhood that remain intact, going backwards is a jolt to hard won peacefulness. Sometimes it takes a jolt like a racing heart to make me pay attention to my own needs. 

Where once the good excuse of feeling ill gave me license to take to the couch and gorge on movies doing not much of anything now makes me restless. Depression was also part of my existence so any reason to languish in it was a good reason.

But the trees beacon with their burning reds, oranges and gold as fall excursions such as bike rides, ferry rides and trips to the Cider Shed are put on hold. Wistful while gazing at the trees in the hedgerow as they dance in the breeze, the sound of their rustling skirts will have to do. 

So is the cup half empty or full? What shines is the growth one is able to achieve by enduring whatever comes in her path.