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.

Colors and Light

Although attempts were made before the time change, my body will not adjust and at 5 am it is time to rise. So sweet it was to sleep till 6 before the bi-annual change of the clocks. Yesterday’s temperatures hit the mid 50’s and all day brilliant sunshine called me onto the porch several times just to sit and soak it up.

Sun beams came into the living room setting the Christmas tree alive with sparkle sending prisms upon the wall in a colorful dance. Putting up the tree a week early brought out the child to play and remember. Its colorful glow when I awake in the morning invites me into each day alighting the dark with a peaceful feeling.

FLAWED

Pumpkin spice coffee brewing, Christmas music softly playing, candles flickering, and decorations offering a gentle colorful sparkle, something still pulls at me on this dark morning the day before Thanksgiving.

You are you own entity. A life of leaning into others reality because there was no connection to my own has evolved. Looking within instead of looking to others for worth, acceptance and answers is a new way of being offering wholeness, groundedness, and autonomy. Yet it also comes with responsibility.

Instead of feeling bad about everything because essentially “I am bad,” one looks for where they really do need work and really did make mistakes. And not with an overwhelming “I am bad” mentality, but with a realistic view of themselves; that we all are human and are flawed, imperfect and often messy.

So look within and forgive because then you can forgive others for the same flaws that may look different but are very human.

Tweak the Bleak Thoughts

Morning pep-talks are helpful later in the day. These come back to me when walking especially when thoughts drift to negativity very loud and constant. Noticing the usual thought pattern it occurs to me how much beauty goes unnoticed because my mind has escaped into a memory that’s been painted bleak. 

Why not stop and go elsewhere, like right here right now? In that moment the scent of decomposing leaves, nuts, twigs and other earth matter drifted into my senses bringing me back to now and my core. 

A smile erupted as the little bird visited in her usual place chirping a hello. The tendency to think serious dark thoughts is one that heightens dramatically during the long months of winter so needs extra work and attention.  Partly there’s acceptance for this aspect of myself, but also there is value in working to ease up a bit holding both the dark and the light. 

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.