Breathe Into It

The time change is just too much. For a miraculous period sleep came each night at 10 pm then waking by 6 am. That same sleepiness arrives but it’s now 9 pm due to the time change, too early so I stay awake till ten. Then my body kicks into overdrive. There’s no use staying in bed because sleep won’t come without a sleep aid.

Fall brings extra challenges, all the issues usually faced times ten; repeated negative thinking, lowering in mood which tends to be low already, getting stuck on a thought and rethinking it over and over again, self-esteem bottoming out when my self-esteem already needs daily pushing to stay afloat, and on and on it goes. Any illness, even a minor cold, lowers my mood even more. 

My brain is challenged, mixed up from being wired with beliefs of badness. Edginess occurs with the least little disruption causing my nervous system to spiral out of my control. Once that happens, especially in the nighttime, only medication brings it down. I detest taking anything. But that is what it’s for, so I do so with the hopes that a better pattern will soon take hold, and I won’t need it so often.

Tiredness wears me down. Positivity eludes me. Rocking by the fire looking out the bay window a tear forms, bulges, then falls down my cheek as another slides down after it. The sun not yet risen casts enough light over the opposing horizon that the clouds illuminate like pink puffs. Orange-brown leaves blow in the foreground framing the postcard view.  

The yin and the yang. No one promised you a rose garden. Life is not all sweetness. The news of late doesn’t help. Thoughts of the recent victims murdered while out with friends in a bar caused another tear to fall. I have not become immune to the violence. 

Restlessness drives a desire to escape from this prison of my body and mind… to be elsewhere, to be someone else whose body stays regulated, not this body that ramps up out of my control taking my thoughts with it.

I need to talk to somebody, somebody to tell me it’s alright, that I’m alright; to remind me of the good things I do, the struggles I still face, and many with equanimity. The memory of those that have counseled me arises along with a soft voice whispering, You are the wise one. You know the way.

Stay with you, in you, your body, and your beating heart, which often scares me in its lurching behavior that mirrors my anxious thoughts when they take flight. I don’t know the answer, but escaping is not one of them. Breathe into the moment, and into my body. Do not be afraid. It is all there, everything that you need is already there. 

Maybe instead of an outside source dictating my bedtime, I take control and keep the same schedule. That means going to sleep at 9 pm in the wintertime. And so what if I do? My body can’t seem to handle switching twice year just because an outside source says to change the clocks. Maybe that is worth a try. 

 

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KINDNESS

Feeling blissfully happy one day and miserable the next is curious, and painful; painful in the discovery that my eating began to soar. Eating like that numbs all else. It also takes me out of my body which in it’s numbness does not know fullness, a feeling which escaped my grasp so many years ago when this method was employed to survive.

Even after the abuse stopped eating blocked out the feelings and was useful. Something had to. It helped me hate myself which was the message family gave, and gives even now. Don’t speak about it translates to you’re bad, wrong and unworthy. Shameful really.

It takes such work to break free from the messages, so engrained in my psyche, soul and mind. And slipping into numbness without my consciousness happens frequently. Pulling back from food, feeling like a failure all over again, is hard.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing much of anything helps ground me. Working over the puzzle the messages of how lazy you must be for doing puzzles makes me begin to rise. Then a sweeter voice interjects, “Stay. It’s OK. You need this.”

Lighting the little fall scented candle makes it a sacred time. Sitting throughout the morning while the disarray began to make sense helped anxiety calm. The movies playing in the background, also soothed. 

It is OK to do what you love, the message lost when escaping into food. You can do the things that society warns you not to, like all day movies, and playing games on the tablet for hours if wanted. Movies are like old friends, and I love them, never tiring of hearing them over and over again. 

The things warned against are the things that soothe my broken brain. Rather than be imprisoned in a loop of negative thinking, games on the tablet give me something to do other than that. And my brain likes to be busy without too much effort so that it is both busy and relaxed.

There are other things that take precedence as a means to come back into the body;  meditation, which for the first time helped me to be in my body and feel safe. A slow walk in nature almost always helps center in every weather except rain. 

It is OK to live the life you want, and this message needs repeating often.  That permission must come from me. Voices from the past that arose from innuendos and neglect rather than words, became my voice.

Reminders are needed; you are a good person, possessing depth, compassion, and sensitivity. What you need to do for yourself might look different than what others do, and that’s more than OK, it is necessary to my peace, sanity and balance. 

You are worthy of respect…especially your own.

Help Her

Samuel’s photo

At the age of eight balance became just a word and only a restful place for others. From that day when rape occurred two separate people were born. The one family expected and the other, the real me. But she went so far underground the search for her is ongoing. Speaking my truth was not allowed.

Truth. That from such a young age opposites of great proportion had to be held and dealt with deep inside. Not yin and yang where balance meets but a chasm so erupted there is no bridge, split in half. Hate/love, terror/calm, extreme anxiety/semi-quietness, whatever can be felt is in extremes.

To slow things down where feelings can merge allowing a place that feels possible to live in comes only after challenges are faced; speaking one’s truth despite the family’s horrible obstacles as they insist on faking pretense for their own selfishness, acknowledging that the horrors one suffered were suffered and that the little girl who suffered them is in you…stop leaving her, continuing to touch home, that place inside that others stay connected to and take for granted, a place you’ve been searching for all your life, a life of rage, will the flames ever fan out?

So many challenges faced each day, over and over again. Had she been allowed to suffer her pain openly she would not be mute today. She would not have a life wishing not to have it. She would know wholeness not just moments of it.

If you go to her where she hurts and help her, you save a life.

GENTLENESS

photo by Patricia

The feeling of differentness so acute as a child suffering sexual attacks by my siblings arises sharply at times. Many feelings from then still linger, stabbing into my present life. Unprocessed traumas and all the feelings with them didn’t dissipate but grew with me.

Yet no gentleness exists. It is a habit to beat myself up when today’s issues erupt emotion from childhood wounds. There is no conscious link to them. That is changing. There are reasons sleep is interrupted. Wounds untended in childhood along with a stolen voice caused an inseparable rift within; deep wounds and no way to them. I am mute to the world and mute to my soul.

Wounds fester and when touched with present hurts the pain expands exponentially. It is like placing an already burnt arm on a hot stove. The present slides away as the psyche escapes elsewhere. If a person is talking, what is said is not heard.

Self-loathing because the feeling of differentness is so acute is not what the wounded child needs. And she exists within me and will always be there. She needs what you did not receive then. Since there was only one urgent unspoken rule to not speak of it, there is no one to emulate a pattern of how to be gentle with myself.

It is a new road with little to go on except the times my mother extended gentleness in adulthood. There were moments when she tried, maybe to make up for the past. 

 

FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE

photo by Patricia

Some relationships spin the same old way no matter how much effort is put into change. Haunts from the past infect today. Little hurts inflame old unprocessed trauma. Sleep will not come, or upon waking in the night will not return.

A small infraction causing hurt by a loved one sets off the alarms yet it is ringing unaware until nighttime when tiredness setting in meets adrenaline.

You loser, you weirdo, you bad mother, wife, friend, and the bashing goes on. Feelings have overridden behaving in a way to feel proud of. Or shadows of them because the behavior has improved but no credit is given for the strides made. The mind goes off far down the painful road of self-loathing, and I feel lost. Help me, in the night the prayer is murmured.

This has been a usual occurrence for years but the last months a healthy sleep pattern has developed. My belief is that has much to do maturing hence feeling more at peace with myself. To lose it and not know why upsets all routines and body systems, but also most painful, must somehow be my fault. Is it? Or is it unprocessed trauma which goes beyond my conscious choice or control?  

Wake and start again. May your first thought be, “Forgive. Be gentle. How gentle, loving and accepting can you be toward yourself today after the sins you think you committed yesterday?”  And are they such sins? Or is your humanness still not allowed in your own mind.

WHOLENESS

photo by Patricia

The path to the core becomes tangled, blocked by memories, though the soul goes there to hide. So one resides in a place that can’t be found. No way in, no way out.

She peeks out at times. Maybe there is someone to trust, who takes her hand and guides her. Even so, the world is tough and into hiding she goes.

It may never be safe to come fully out. Maybe only in solitude does she find her soul, a safe haven to breathe, connect and become who she was meant to be.

It is these roots that save her. The very place she runs from, the memories which are a part of her history locked deep below. The same place where she hides.

Coming out she looks below and runs. Yet that is where the strength comes from and has kept her here all along. It is in what she suffered that makes her strong and who she is. It is her history that makes her beautiful.