SOUL WHISPERINGS…

It is so far below beneath the noise it is hard to hear.

A scent wafting into consciousness that wasn’t discerned because of the clatter. The nuances in the hues of daybreak or the colors at sunset. Are you too preoccupied with the clamor in your head to notice? Can you free yourself from the grips of your past, at least for a moment, and take a breath in the present?

Nature’s free gifts fill a hungry soul. But life’s challenges can interfere with absorbing her wonders; the rustle of a leaf falling, the bird chirping near-by, the locusts still humming in the distance, a tree frog who nestled next to my coffee cup on the deck…

Find ways to come out of the din to the light of the present. Do it over and over and again. The whispering’s of the soul will be heard…

Advertisements

shattered yet whole

photo by Patricia

The days remain warm heating my shoulders as walking rounds in the meadow accumulate, feet crunching on hickory nuts in the path along the hedgerow. Soon the squirrels will have them all buried. The studio beckons as sun rays splash a golden yellow swath on the work table inviting me to return to the newest project sitting unfinished for months.

The deep peace felt is not that the world outside is calm and reposed, it is forthcoming because it comes from within. When one lives a life in line with their values, beliefs and morals, peace comes even if whirlwinds blow outside. The search for it since childhood has escaped me. And that is because the parts flew unconnected. How could they not?

Telling my story was the beginning of wholeness. Then telling those one thought would care but do not, caused a rift filled grief that catapulted me into acceptance once the painful tornado worked through. Then peace came. The work is done,  come what may.   

SERENITY

photos by Patricia

Sleep comes night after night and the days feel so much more satisfying and happy. This tranquil period is cherished. Walking early before the unusual 90 degree heat descends, the stillness feels like a dream world. The only sounds are locusts and crickets, the chorus heightening as each day becomes hotter.

The fullness of being with such peace is cherished. The only intrusions are my negative thoughts but that is looked on as a lesson in self-discipline. Some are dissuaded but others just run through and out.

Each morning a thick pink fog burns off as the cool night warms with the morning sun. After the red ball rises and warmth trickles in, all windows are shut tight to the hot day. At suppertime they are opened and box fans suck in the chilly night air. By morning the thick quilt has been pulled up to our noses.

The once yellowy meadow dried and purple erupted in clumps. By the creek vast stillness sinks in deep as a long breath escapes while leaning back in the chair. Two enormous carp vie for the sweet grass where the water has overflowed due the beaver’s business at readying for winter by reinforcing the dam.

This sweet reprise can’t last, but while here is wholly appreciated.

 

The Family Pull

photos by Patricia

A sister-in-law I have never been close sent a link about their travels cross-country in a camper. She touts how they all gather at Tom’s. His real name is John. Since reading it I cannot wash him off lying awake thinking of the life-time of his psychological abuse. Feelings of being left out is a wound never quite healed and needs tending again.

After making it known to three siblings that I wrote a book nothing was said. One completely cut off ties. I need more and it isn’t there. The failure to offer compassion, alliance or acknowledgment erects a barrier.

Any interaction is like pouring water over rock. The lack of profundity for the truth makes interaction intolerable. Not one stands up and says THIS WAS WRONG. Instead they cling to each other and the abuser.

What happens in families of origin when a sexual abuse survivor comes forward seems a common theme. Don’t talk or speak of it or you’re out. It has nothing to do with the survivor yet has everything to do with her. The ‘family’ cleaves to the natural order of clan instinctively banning together no matter what.

It looks like family but is powered by weak character and lack of strength. Each has their own agenda. I am outcast to have spoken. Yet I must speak and need to belong.

Cherish the family I have built. The more space I have the better I feel. But my shoulders slump walking the meadow. Beauty in the day has dimmed. Lift them up and feel who you are, not what they say you are, or what you think they say to make themselves feel better. 

The Hole

Help from others in the past brought solace. Leaning on others when the empty hole yawned like an endless cavern threatening to devour my sanity eased me through difficulty. It did not sustain adequately as the empty hole to run from remained. Others were asked for input on how I felt and what I thought because connection internally had not occurred. I was perpetually lost.

How to find that place when trauma kept me from it, when resting in the nectar of the soul is impossible because it is on fire not freshly swelling with honey? The lessons learned in childhood were that I was unlovable, unworthy and not capable. I yearned to belong and fit in. Help from the origin family came with conditions. Eventually those conditions were not possible. 

The pull to the clan is a basic instinct. To be rejected from the tribe means sure death. Once connections began within myself the origin family became poison. They are poisonous still. 

Everything that I knew as a child was stripped away, shattered and stolen. When sexually attacked by those I loved and trusted much was taken, much was lost— trust, innocence, the ownership of my own body, the feeling of belonging, the feeling I even had a right to be here, a sense of self, my sexuality…the list goes on. Challenges intensified as years passed and life’s responsibilities increased.     

The child that was disappeared. Who she became changed. Sadness permeated my being once the running stopped and acceptance came for what was done. The craving for acceptance into the fold kept me returning repeatedly with hope. There comes a time to stop looking for what will never come.

There are many paths to that place within that is home. Fleeing from it throughout life was the norm. With spirit, determination, and a dogged persistence it becomes possible to stay with what is. Instead of a dark scary place the hole became a bright lively room with doors to more rooms. Eventually the rooms open to each other. With excitement the exploration goes on.  

At times panic sets in but a voice, perhaps god speaks. She says, “You have everything that you need.” 

The panic abates. Peace soothes as answers come. It is imperative to connect to ones being. Yet it is only late in life that this miracle has opened up such possibilities. Expansion occurs each new day. The gaping painful hole became home. 

 

The Silence That Shatters

Part of the trauma of childhood sexual abuse is the silence. Be quiet. Keep all that in on tiny shoulders. Love the ones who attack you. It is more traumatizing that the attacks themselves.

Attacks are typically soft, quiet and manipulative, as violent in nature as brute force due to the destruction caused to the child’s psyche. Each one is an attack on a little body taking a bit of the child each time. Each attempt at telling, often ignored, destroys her confidence until little is left of the child but a shell. 

Ingrained into a child at the time of abuse— be quiet, take it in as yours. The only thing that matters is the comfort of others. Victimization, feeling ostracized, muzzled and afraid follows her throughout life. Talking out loud about childhood sexual abuse makes others uncomfortable, especially those in relationships with the abuser(s).

Even now in my 60’s talking to those left in the group of people I was born into with my authentic self is not allowed. They cling together, ostracizing me, grasping at the hope for some semblance of ‘family.’ My presence disrupts the fantasy.

But that is not a family and never was. The freedom from wanting what never was unfolds with endless possibilities of discovery.

ALONE

photo by Patricia

The aloneness of childhood sexual abuse may be one of the hardest to live with in the aftermath. It is not a ‘lonely’ like any others. It is a scratching and clawing on internal walls aching for relief. The spirit insists on splitting from the body and its feelings.

Run. Get away from the feelings but where—toxic behaviors, substances, activities, the list of how and where to run is as long and creative as each person abused as a child. Leaning on others helped until the running stopped.

Venturing into the pain with curiosity and patience as my pen wrote brought out the black tar and along with it the joys. With each chapter my internal world became spacious as the chaos slowly bubbled up and peace settled into places where trauma had been. 

Writing the memoir released my real life for the very first time. With it came sadness, pain and joy. Because when trauma is suppressed so is everything else.

Locked below with the silence, the shadow of a child grew into a ghost of a woman. Forced to stifle horror caused separation and loneliness so great she had to run because nowhere was OK especially inside herself. All the feelings were bumping into themselves.

The child surrendered to the will of the ‘family.’ How could she not, it was the only family she had. Families silence the child because no one should know of their shame and what one of them did. So she shall be ashamed. It is what will keep her silent.

It is also what will keep her from herself with no real friend because she is not her own friend. Nor does anyone know what she endured. She learns to turn on herself as her family does though they disguise it. She is alone. It looks like she is in a family, but she is alone adrift like a dinghy cut loose from the mother ship.

Unable to connect to her center she runs from the scraping and clawing aloneness inside herself. She runs until she can run no longer.  When she stops running she faces the beast of her past. Behind the rage there is terror and deep sadness. It takes years to settle the score. Not towards others but inside where she now needs to connect and learn to love what others discarded. 

She faces the beast of her truth. Some draw, others write, dance or sing, but the beast is cut down with every memory that has been silenced. When the trauma well is emptied stillness provides a place for peace to come. Tears bring relief and when the warring inside is over she can began the process of recovery which may take her lifetime.

The shackles of invisibility fall as she speaks her truth. Her authentic self emerges because she has courageously opened the jail door to freedom.