GO DEEP

When depression hits you like a sledgehammer, and tears fall for no apparent reason though memories erupt plaguing my internal peace, and all looks dismal…just be with it. Go deeper.

Remembering the readings of the meditators that say look at your flaws and shortcomings without judgement, just be curious, but accepting of all you see.

With my tendency of feeling badness, what else might be uncovered? But what if it is goodness so sweet it is like miles of chocolates oozing with caramel? That what lays hidden from me are qualities of great depth, wisdom, clarity, beauty, and vast oceans of compassion?

TREASURED MOMENTS

Sweat a cold, starve a fever? Not sure how it goes, but walking brings on a good sweat, more than usual especially on this cooler day…but it feels good. We all caught the little one’s cold, Samuel, Cory, and me. Minor, yet not.

Each day brings me closer to full health, along with feelings of peaceful joy. Meeting the challenges of traveling paid off greatly. Being with my son and family instills warm, loving memories that fill me up.

The summer was spent with too much focus on food and exercise— getting NO WHERE. At one point feeling so encouraged and proud of myself, but then at that exact point it all just stopped. My weight stayed the same, forgetting all about the part where weight is not to be the focus. My body could be super slim yet feelings of self-hate could easily take precedence.

This is about learning to love and offer kindness to myself, not easy for me. When the focus is off food, and instead put on working towards self-kindness, miracles happen. Staying in my body, also not easy for me, helps with awareness of fullness and physical hunger… much like it’s supposed to be.

The normal feelings hunger and fullness, along with my skinny kid body frame, changed at the age of eight. Eating, or over-eating, kept me alive and going along like others, numbing the horror of what lay beneath. It takes a good deal of food to stuff down excruciating trauma buried beneath. No one helped or offered loving support. Food became support, and love from the end of mother’s spoon who loved to cook and pushed food like a drug dealer. Food numbed it all, but also continued the cycle of self-hate that child sexual abuse brings into a child’s psyche. A child feels to blame.

This journey is on-going, the path taking me to places of wonder, joy, and contentment amidst all other painful aspects of living which are many and most suffer day to day. It is easier digested if there’s also joy. And joy has returned with warm memories of our visit opening my heart. The knowledge of grand-children growing up even if we are not here to see it helps me accept the cycle of my own life. Life goes on… and each moment counts.

INWARD by Yung Pueblo

It is the things

 you say no to

 that really show

 your commitment

 to your growth~ yung pueblo

Meditative moments in the early morning include readings from a new book given to me by Cory while visiting at his home. My younger son is very aware of my internal workings as he helped with all the computer related details of book publishing and erecting this blog site.

His thoughtfulness warms me. Though easily readable in one sitting, it is being savored a little bit at a time.

So many words hit ‘home.’

as her love grew, her ability to feel the

unseen and listen to the wisdom ofthe

internal strengthened. the walk on the path

to freedom had changed her; though she

still experienced times of difficult release,

the feeling of unity remained ever present

in her body. now that she lived her life in

the grassy fields between mortality and the

infinite, she could feel that the space in

heart was the same as the heart of

the earth and the heart of the universe.

yung pueblo

TRUE NATURE

Pondering the use of the word hate yesterday while walking, it occurred to me that the hate was for the situation. That families gather together against the victim to keep her quiet using any psychological tool available; criticism, rejection, whatever it takes to silence the voice of truth.

That’s the hate. Mother’s admonitions early on taught me to NEVER say hate, never speak up, never advocate for my own needs, especially quelling my nature to speak up about wrongs.

That’s my nature, but forever damaged due to her teachings so that her little daughter would never tell anyone what her sons were doing and what they had done. Because even after telling me to tell her if it ever happened again, it kept happening.

Of course. How could I stop what was never wanted to begin with? Although I’d spend most of my life blaming myself for just that.

Even on her death bed she directed me to take out a pen and write it down, a verse from a poem she once read. Still the dutiful daughter in my fifties, I did as she asked.

“Talk faith. The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
If you have faith in God, or man, or self,
Say so. If not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence all your thoughts, till faith shall come;
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.”  Ella Wheeler

I still have that scrap that of paper. It seared into me the words of silence I was never to break. At first perplexing, then it dawned on me that even after her death she would manage me and try to keep me silent about her sons. A mother loves all her children.

To cause such damage to a child’s personality and nature so early on makes it very hard to reclaim. And of course I cannot to the extent I’d like. There are precious losses unrecoverable. But dwelling on what’s lost is a choice after it has been fully grieved, and that took years.

Now the key to happiness is mine. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it always has been but I didn’t know it.

 

Recognizing What’s There

Nibbling at the corners of my heart is nostalgia, welcoming the new, saying good-bye to the old. The starkness of isolation, knowing this past week would have been spent with a houseful of guests; Cory, his wife, our lovely grand-daughter, and the new baby boy whom we’ve not yet met in person, but he gives big smiles over video, brightening up noticeably when seeing our faces.

The nostalgia of origin family, the three brothers now finding comradery, acting as if they want to include me, the wariness of it causing me to hold back and hold my ground. Fighting feelings of wrongness and instead reminding myself some things just are. That closeness is not possible and isn’t a reflection on me.

The new offering bright hope over the niggling nostalgia because in so many ways freedom that never was tasted is coming home into me. Free to feel good without the constant self-harassment beating me down, opening to new ways of being that fill me with hope, light, and positivity.

Hey, who is this? Is this really me? Yes, yes, and more yes… My mantra while meditating learned at the Zen Center almost 20 years ago — Go back to the breath. Find your true nature. That is what is said silently when getting lost counting to the mere number of ten because thoughts are askew, as thoughts tend to be.

Because after all this time, and so late in life, I am still searching for my true nature, ripped from me in childhood. I’ve been searching for lost pieces ever since. Snippets of my true being briefly experienced fly away, but each time they settle back down I learn they are truly mine, keeping each one like a tattered quilt piece needing loving care to restore and make as one. Over time the whole, though a bit battered, becomes a work of beauty and strength.

PEACE

Photo by Patricia

Blah, grey, and wet, still my body needed movement so bundling up out into the dull day where refreshment is sourced despite the dreariness. Though no sun was out the crisp air enlivened and invigorated.

Baking seemed in order for the day, so healthy kitsch with garden peppers, onions, and low fat cheese along with the bread machine whirling in the background for Pigs in a Blanket to go along with it.

My new schedule is weird, but seems to be what my body wants, sticking to the old times of summer. That means closing my eyes at 8:30 PM, waking at 4:30 AM. Ugh, who wants to do that? My body does, and it is adequate sleep, more than enough. So what if it doesn’t conform to what most others do?

Trying to stick with the time change wasn’t working because two hours were lost each night making me crazy. And though Samuel’s companionship is dearly loved, time to myself is too; writing, meditation, and quiet reflection, as necessary as air.

The lesson? Dare to be different. If it means peace to my soul, do it. I’m not choosing it, it’s choosing me.

AUTUMN

photos by Patricia

And so the windows and doors are shut to protect from fall’s first frost. Heat wafts up from the registers gently warming the rooms and my body like a cozy blanket. The unwelcome shuttered feeling needs counteracting.

Samuel brings in the purple grapes giving my hands an afternoon of slipping off skins, cooking the insides then sieving the seeds out, joining the hot mixture back with the skins and other ingredients to make pie filling.

Miniature sunflowers make a spectacular autumnal bouquet, and walks add pleasure to my day. With the crisp air and vibrant sun the pull is to walk more then a long repose by the creek. A baby blue-bird kept me company along with many other varieties, surprising me with activity and songs. So many have already left for the season to warmer climates so it’s usually quiet as a tomb! 

The sister-in-law Ginny, and brother Don came for the morning staying vigilant about social distancing on the patio then a walk to the creek with more relaxation.

They didn’t mind drinking freshly perked coffee from the tray perched on a pretty cotton tablecloth, and enjoying homemade apple hand pies. There used to be a taboo about food sharing at the beginning of the pandemic, but they heard it’s no longer cause for concern. 

The visit was OK, but left me wanting more that probably won’t come. The closeness craved needs loyalty. It felt like being kept at arm’s length, but perhaps that is coming from me. My truth expects loyalty, but you are not loyal (or safe) if you interact with friendliness towards anyone who abused me so horribly.

I am at peace with how things are, proceeding with baby steps, and that’s OK. Being cordial and open is my choice. Surface interaction will have to do on the rare times we meet. My life goes on bringing joy unfounded, joyful for the first time in over 60 years.

That joy comes from being at peace with my past, and the present. And by being in the present, not something a person used to disassociation could do automatically. What has been automatic was spending most of my time in Neverland; a safe place made for me in another dimension still visited sometimes…zoning out.

When meditation became a daily practice over 15 years ago, the process of learning that one can be present and be safe began. That was not something learnt as a child, leaving my body… and taking a life-time to reclaim it. 

Peace has been found, a peace that as a survivor has been an ongoing struggle. It can last for days until a bout of sleeplessness makes for the need of a sleep aid. That injects a tumultuous barrel of self-pity filling the day after with sluggishness. But luckily that too occurs less and less mostly during the change in seasons.

After spending time with so called ‘family’ it becomes harder to close the door and go on as usual because the pull for clan is timeless. Real closeness remains most safe with Samuel, sons, and friends, the chosen family.

SAFETY

My Secret Garden

Six years ago my blogging began around this time, and the feelings of approaching fall are similar. The down in mood, sadness over just about every loss that ever was and ever will be. But hopes continue that it will be handled and nothing occurs that makes a whopping depression. Because I’ve had some of those.

The morning is cold, 49 degrees, and fall feels so close. After yesterday’s list of house chores were checked off, including weeding the flower garden a bit, today feels like staying still.

Dew sparkles like glittering diamonds. When the sun finally comes above the trees, soaking it in though my thick bathrobe soothes every bone and sinew, also soothing my internal worries always at the ready to take a jab.

It’s OK, my refrain when worries take hold. It’s OK, you’re OK, everything’s OK. Well, of course it’s not as the news states. But it is OK as far as anything I’m able to do to fix it. My feelings are that kids should learn from home right now. And colleges? Are they daft? Sports? Are you kidding?

It still amazes me how others aren’t being serious about this deadly virus. But in my little slice of paradise there’s nothing I can do but keep myself safe, and hope my children and grand-children stay safe.

They move about much more than we do. Shane’s family leaves tomorrow to stay with his brother in a neighboring state for a week. My prayers are for their safety. Wistfulness descends for not being able to see my son who lives so far away.

We’ve not been together other than virtually since last Christmas. And we’ve already decided that his coming this Christmas isn’t a good idea. Though sadness can sweep me away doubting that decision repeatedly, it is the right decision for us. My efforts focus on the positives of which there are many.

 

The Cure

Eerily quiet and unusually dark at my accustomed waking time, the silence is unnerving. Where have the birds gone? My guess is many have left for warmer climates already. They surely arrive here earlier in the spring than most people realize, as early as February’s end.

The feelings of loneliness this usually brings is not as deep or as painful. There is an energy occurring that wasn’t present during all the years of restless sleep when waking at all kinds of hours, staying awake watching TV.

Good sleep means more energy. It also means a brighter outlook on things with a happier mood, happy which equates to more peaceful. The magic cure seems to lie in the pot oil begun after visiting Cory last fall in a state where the oil is legal.

After choking on  smoking the pot also purchased, then hallucinating afterwards freaking out, needing my grown son to talk me down, it was the oil that was more fitting for me. The pot these days is nothing like my college days because it is way more powerful.

The oil seems to have cured much of what ails me. Not a total cure, but toning it all down and still there to manage. What a blessing, and all in this innocuous little plant. It probably wouldn’t have done all it can do earlier in my life because there was just too much to overcome. 

But after years of therapy and living through the worst, it was the little bit needed to send me over to the side of peace. Still the work goes on. It does not offer immediate self-esteem. Nor does it remove anxiety, an issue worked on daily.

But it does help with sleep a great deal along with the tendency for repetitive negative thinking. But discipline is needed to keep countering those voices which sometimes thrash me down unequivocally.

All the tools that help are needed, and this is one of many. But this addition after all these years is an amazing balm to my overworked systems. Though it works for me, it is not a recipe for everyone. We each find our own ways through our own hell’s. 

 

At Peace In The Moment

The day is quiet, laying before me like an open book. Rather than do, do, do, my quest resides deeper staying in one place a very long time. With sneakers on, uncharacteristically ready for action, Samuel asks, “Do you want to go biking?”

Wanting stillness and peace, not action, I respond, “I’m not ready. I have to eat, get dressed, then meditate.”

“Well, I don’t like it when it gets too hot,” he says, adding, “I’m going.”

Good. Time alone today is a good thing, opening the windows after he leaves because he said keep them shut so it stays cool. There’s cool, then then there’s cool when feeling so chilly a sweater is needed.

It is summer, and after the stickiness that made me happy to have air conditioning, today is just a nice summer day to be enjoyed fully… windows open.

Sometimes in my efforts to please even just one other person, my self is lost in the shuffle. Sometimes compromise means giving up too much, so much the internal forces are not at peace which equates to unhappy.

Sometimes the business of placing so much effort each day in moving my body more, the pleasure is lost in the doing instead of being.

So today come back home and experience the satisfaction of each moment without pressure.