Compassion or Rage?

Time and again attacked. Coming up for air as if almost drowned, gasping for breath, even if figuratively, that was my childhood. Interspersed were moments of great joy, galloping my horse down the meadow path, long hair flying back, sweat glistening on my brow, and the horse’s skin… life became black or white, joyful or terror filled.

Where is the love others freely feel and give? Hidden away to preserve what is left. Yet compassion? Rage sometimes directed my behavior. Tempering that rage took great resolve. But something else. It took compassion. Not for myself, it was for others.

The attacking siblings did not rip that well of compassion from me. My essence is made of compassion. Compassion kept me whole inside my brokenness. When it matters, warmth overrides aloofness dissolving my chilly armor. 

 

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Honor Thy Spirit

photo by Patricia

Even though unsure of this lull in agitation, and the long hours of peaceful sleep, both are absorbed gratefully. Could it have to do partly with learning to allow authentic expression to rise rather than the knee jerk reaction of closing someone off when they don’t do, say, or email in a way that is desired?

No answer, or a one word reply from someone cared about, makes me throw up my hands in disgust wanting to terminate the relationship. Tit for tat. You don’t care about me, I won’t care about you. But it never works, because I do care, and eventually I choose to initiate an interaction.

How to say what I need with grace? How to speak up to someone who knows me as a doormat, a pleaser, a person seemingly without needs, or who doesn’t require respect because she hasn’t demanded it?

After trashing my younger brother’s one word response, the next morning after sifting it back out, my response included my dismay at his one word response along with softness which balanced the critique. It felt so foreign. Speaking up, along with loving words? Can it be possible this was achieved? After a life of stitched lips this really is a miracle. 

During meditation it was evident that my little brother is not someone to throw away. We spent a lot of time together on our own as children while my mother worked. We were free to roam the neighborhood unsupervised. There is a bond to cherish even if we don’t share much else, and even if he seems to want the attention of two older siblings instead of me. I still have feelings for him.

My response, after some thought, honored my feelings even in the face of another not responding as I’d like. Staying true to my deepest core feelings, not reacting thoughtlessly with the old story so ingrained in my perceptions, that no one cares, keeps me aligned with my true self. This authenticity must add to the long nights of peaceful slumber, instead of waking feeling something urgent needs to keep me awake.

Traveling that wire from brain, to heart, then to my core, keeps the peace. It has taken a life-time to get here, and the linking is tenuous. Meditative thought brings up the true soul’s needs.  A being comes together as a whole when soft whispers are listened to, giving myself the key to unlock their mysteries, and then to express them.  That is freedom. 

I may not hear from him for months, or longer, or at all, but I can keep the love for him in my heart. And if there’s a time he needs me, I am here. But he won’t. We both wrap our pain around us a like an iron curtain. You learn to do that when young and no one’s there to help. You learn to do it on your own.

 

The Great Outdoors

 

‘Practice what you preach,’ words chastising in my head while dragging my body to the door pulling on snow pants, a brightly colored coat so the hunters won’t shoot me, then a hat, scarf and gloves. It is like walking through water getting to the door, my mood making me sluggish but also with the knowledge that this is the time when exercise is most needed and helpful.

Once opening the door to the frosty air my mood refreshed instantly with uplift. Though my body took the laps slowly, my heart happily pumped as aches eased with the movement. It is essential, even in winter, to keep moving. Mother brings such pleasure, peace and ease, her tranquility a healing balm every time.

The last lap earns a rest in the Adirondack chair. The latest melt has caused the creek to rise. In the distance my ears discern the rushing of water over the beaver dam not far away. Various prints in the light snow paint trails of rabbit, squirrel and deer activity crisscrossing like delicate embroidery.

Feeling full, satisfied and plied with more vigor, I tramp back puffing uphill to the house. The cat awaits my return, curled up high on the closet shelf in the mitten box where she can keep an eye on me lap after lap. Winter weariness needs to be attacked every day, but is so worth the work… Sometimes the relief is immediate, other times it takes a while.

 

Moments of Love

Like a fist shut tight, or a bud unwilling to open to the elements, my heart is a cavern to explore, but when hurting boulders are in the way. Holding in feelings stresses the heart as surely as medical conditions do. More tears were needed, the wound was not fully washed, let them flow.

Resistance to this is incredibly high. I don’t see Samuel cry, except once or twice in his life. Others, if they do cry, hide it. Avoiding tears comes first bringing with it a closed heart  putting my health at risk due to the grasp clenched around it. I need to own my feelings, and let them out. Only then can reaching out to others feel full and authentic.  

This morning while stroking my cat, after an evening prior with grand-kids at an outdoor Christmas festival, the warmth of love opened. After the long shut-down, the glimmer was brief— but real. Those children love me as they wrapped their arms around me saying, “Na Na, Na Na.”  The ice that made me cold began to melt. 

Loving openly does come easily, if at all, but more readily with children and animals. The lesson learned very early was to protect what was left, because if that was taken too there would nothing left, nothing to live for, no meaning in life… no me.

I accept that I am like this, very cold unless feeling safe. Others may not, nor understand, but there are those who do stick by me through it all, and those are the ones safe to love… sometimes. The love is always there, but too risky to feel except in some moments. I treasure those moments, they make it all worthwhile.

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.