Love of Life

Photo by Cory (my younger son)

Each day there is a job to do, work on self-esteem. Though possible to improve on that front, the core of my being already formed is staying that way.

You cannot cut into the layers of a tree and remove its inner ring without killing the tree.

I am who I am, who was formed during childhood, with beliefs about myself that became embedded into my personality.

So, each day takes focus, work, and effort to counteract the life-threatening critical voice which thrives so dramatically inside me. To tell it, I do deserve life, equality, pleasure, and happiness, even amid all the other struggles and pain that life brings to each of us.  

The Cosmos Within

This ‘becoming’ of a new person, or the real woman within unknown to me till recently, takes time, a lifetime, and then some.

When responses, sensitivities, and guidance come from the soul, out of the head, and arising from that ethereal part of me without bones, sinews, or blood, the floaty misty presence that’s invisible is more powerful and wise than thought, and magical, miraculous, mystical moments occur.

Moments stretched into a way of living. Once the dust settles after torn in savage pieces due to C-PTSD (which visits regularly), a solidness internally can be leaned on, used, and best guided by. A mythical place that is real and has always been there, but parts were too shattered to connect.

People speak of the soul, what is that? Something floating around after we die? Or can it be a place that isn’t a place but an oasis of changing clouds that swirls within offering the heavens one dreams of a child?

Go there, be blessed with the uniqueness of you. Because like a snowflake, we are all different, unfathomable, and infinitely precious as every countless star.

Do not put your face in the pillow at night and have dark thoughts consume you, you are better than that- so much more.

EVERY PRECIOUS MOMENT

A walk in the meadow-1/19/2011

The things once done, are no more, deal with that. My body won’t tolerate it. Yet in its place there is so much wisdom, peace, safety, and calm.

Every precious moment matters, the feel of my hand with the long slender bones beneath, the stretch of toes waking up tendons and muscles all the way up my calves, the scent of balsam filling the house using candle warmers in every room, and taking time to be with the cat as she turns herself into a contented warm pretzel by the fire.

No, after a life of draining cortisol rushing through my bloodstream daily, often several times daily, my body is depleted and can take no more. Yet my tendency is to push, push, push, fearing that even my best friend Samuel will see me sludging on the couch as if a lazy good for nothing human, but really it is the ever-present critic within that bites and sucks the life out of me.

Rest, rest, and more rest. It takes a great deal of time to connect to my body and care for it; eyes that dry easily especially after the cataract surgeries needing the humidifier filled daily. And drops in them a few times each day especially when the heat is running. Exercises on the chair with the rope and pulley to unlock a shoulder that once was badly impinged. Taking medicines, supplements, and vitamins morning and night, and oh so much to keep an aging body going.

All good things as once our lives didn’t last this long. But for one who left their little body at the age of eight, staying in it long enough to feel what it needs takes focus, calm, and a great gentleness for self.

That does not sound so hard, but a devasting critic took over at a young age when brothers sexually abused my little body and no one came to help, but much worse it could not be talked about and the blame, shame, and crimes were taken in as mine. Growing to love myself does not come easily.

It is a life-time work. Can I go with Shane and his family tomorrow night at the little Christmas festival around the block at the park where trees are decorated from area businesses outdoors to vote on, and Santa comes with candy canes, hot cocoa, and cookies?

Well, yes, if I don’t care about my sleep habits, so no, because it takes all evening to keep my whirlwind psyche calm. To get excited, even happily, means looking at 2AM in the morning wondering if sleep will ever come.

It is difficult accepting my limitation especially when comparing them to others. How do you explain to anyone who hasn’t gone through it or lives it how even happy gatherings cause angst, tiredness, and PTSD rockets to go off? When it occurs, and it does with even tiny things, a great need for rest and quiet comes with it, and sometimes recovery takes days. Solitude is my refuge. When once being alone felt like a knife was cutting from the inside out, it now offers a healing balm.

When able to care for myself as deserved and needed, and feeling strong enough to challenge that critic which will not happen when overwhelmed or tired, so many gifts slowly return- gratefulness, love, warmth, appreciation, well-being, and cherishing every little moment. Quiet and rest is the magic that brings me back to life…

1/11/2009 by Patricia

HEALING

Minute by minute, moment by moment, time passes. But each one is precious, sensing the depth in every one, or drowning it out with worry? Much time is wasted on the later, then remembering.

There isn’t much time left. Finally, after decades of chaos and self-hating, there is a shift of major occurrence. Instead of the critic flying free treating myself like some kind of fluke needing beatings, bad treatment, chastising, or bullying, there is an opening to how it feels when coming out of childhood with self-love.

Becoming gentle, kind, and patient to myself takes focus after a life doing the opposite, living off the voices in my head from the traumas in childhood being discounted, denied, and ignored completely. A child takes that and blames herself making life unlivable.

Go slow, take care of the hurts, whether physical or of the soul, and spend the time needed to do so. It is OK to love life, and myself.

JUST DO IT!

‘Just do it.’ (thank you Nike) Choosing to say no to someone and yes to my own needs was difficult. Already packed after agreeing to a visit to my younger brother’s new lake house, one where I’ve never been and am unlikely to visit due to PTSD issues, my email went out this morning:

Stevie,

Spirit is willing, body is not. Not sleeping last two nights, and chest is tight with real concerns over the many challenges of taking a trip. Can’t be anywhere but home, and near familiar medical services too. My body can become very ill overnight. Last time over a red pepper flake. Sick for two weeks needing an antibiotic. Also, long car rides are hard and scare me.

But more so, my being is not home inside myself unless home. I become disconnected easily.

I want to so much, my bags are already packed, pills for morning and night and other stuff to keep it running right.

Did this to Shane too. Booked a week in the woods and had to bow out.

I must accept my limitations with a little grace. Just can’t do what comes so easily for others. A life of cortisol bursts, and adrenaline rushes over simply someone coming up behind me causes a blood curdling scream to escape my lips taking a long while for my body to calm down. That drains a body over time, and mine is such.

I am content, and happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. So I am OK. But I cannot take this on no matter how much I want to. It is just too much. It’s only been about three weeks now where there’s been better sleep. Upsetting the new miracle of good sleep on most nights is too risky.

Samuel wants to come despite knowing how hard it is for me. It is hard for others to understand. But I need to take care of my body.

Love you,

Patricia

My body unwound, shoulders relaxed, and the vice on my chest let go. So hard to meet my own needs over his. His deep pain is so raw and evident drawing me to meet them. His loneliness as vast as mine once was. His interest in me is having warm bodies around to admire him.

Can’t. Really can’t. Just do it, care for my own needs over another’s.

The Soul of Compassion

The morning starts slow, later than usual due a restless night. A soft voice came, that soul voice going unheeded too much of the time, it’s OK, this happens. And eventually sleep surprisingly came without aids or getting up in the middle of the night.

Maybe it is because too much of the day prior was spend outside myself, an occurrence that so easily happens, riding on the current of buzzing from an anxious spirit. Though seemingly calm, my insides often are in turmoil, and if the pot is stirred even oh, so delicately, the turmoil spins into a tornado of negative thoughts.

But this was on the edge of it, the soft voice talking me down, that soft voice of compassion laced with reason, the new part, compassion and self-kindness. Cultivating those is heaven here on earth.

DIVINE

James Webb Telescopic Image

It is a different life, a different view, a different ability to follow through with my goals of rising above the negative thinking plaguing me since childhood when adequate sleep prevails. What a miracle.

The lagging self-esteem, believing since the traumatic abuse that it was my fault, and that my very being was ‘bad’, is a daily challenge to confront, that nagging critic banging loudly over the whispers from my soul saying something different.

That all beings born are great and special, plants, animals, and people… that includes me, unique, glorious, and divine, as infinite as the universe.

GO HOME LITTLE ONE

There inside lay mysteries, so much unknown about myself, so much running even while being still. Jitteriness, is that mania? Even here on this quiet land, feelings come that are run from. There is no escaping where you came from, or who you are.

Not wanting to be me, with my history, coming from people others usually call family. Why can’t you just stick to being here now? My wholeness is all of me.

The dire sleep issues erupting once again after a nice lull mostly away from them, but why? The digestive issues kicking up a storm must be related to the emotional issues. Depression filling me with holes of sadness compounded with an aloneness that ought to be familiar enough by now, and accepted, but? This one has sharp edges begging for understanding, and compassion.

Depression? In summer? After the joy of spring, depression? It is over lack of sleep, yet why not sleeping? July 1st, our 44th anniversary, but two days later Dan’s death almost 50 years ago.

In the group of people most call ‘family’ the thoughts, especially those voiced by Seth not that long ago in response to  my rushed angered emails; the pain is about those who abused me, so he says.

Feelings about myself stem from that. The pain they carried after abusing me. My choice would be the victim not the abuser. Mistakes of any kind cause months, even years of self-chastising. The pain of being unable to forgive myself drowns. So any pain felt has been centered around them.

But… there is another scenario. What about me, the little girl left alone.

What about compassion for me? At almost 70 a soft place to fall internally is not there, a home that welcomes with love, acceptance, and friendly support. Going to others to fill me, make me whole, heal me. That is temporary.

Running, always running from whence I came.

Go home little one, you will find someone to love you there. Like Dorothy in Oz, all that is needed is right here, and now.

TRANSFORMATION

Exhaustion makes me weary. Sometimes growth can do that. Especially with a body worn out by years of hyper-alertness from repressed trauma causing startle responses daily with the accompanying adrenaline shooting cortisol through my veins draining my body from energy permanently.

And growth is challenging. Kicking the critic out comes with kick-back from her, rising up to torture more aggressively beating me ragged. Could it be that fearing the worst causes it?

After a night with no sleep at all, a fear if going without medication, when Samuel awoke all thoughts of keeping my misery to myself dissolved.

“I didn’t sleep at all,” adding, “I was awake after you came to bed, and stayed in bed till 2. I couldn’t lay there anymore!”

He was quiet, though a sigh escaped noticed by a slump in his shoulders on exhale. And a soft whisper from my soul which went unheeded and did not penetrate, if this happened to my him, much compassion would flow from me. But for myself I felt quite the opposite.

The tears squeezed out, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I so different, so weird?”

And that theme went on, the tiredness embalming me further. Feeling sick, I retreated to the bedroom pulling the shades and curtains, the kitty looked at me wondering what I was up to.

Yanking the blankets down from the neatly made bed, knowing sleep would never comes in the day, but also knowing that rest was required, I dragged myself under the covers turning on the TV.

Louise Hay? My interest was piqued. I’ve used her quotes several times without ever knowing anything else about her. Sometimes the universe, mother god, takes time to intervene… just for me.

“Look in the mirror and tell yourself, I love you. I really love you,” she said.

After the short segment about her work, the self-hate and self-criticizing thoughts which blamed me for sleep issues were completely transformed.

Going back out on the patio, the warm sun kissed and hugged me all over, my bathrobe absorbing it all along with other sweet sensations that weren’t penetrating when in self-hate mode.

The quiet day after the reversal of thoughts about self sent me meandering down to the creek, gathering a basket of rose petals on the way. Then out front to cut peonies to refill the vase with fresh flowers. And again, out to Samuel’s climbing roses for another sweet display. My hands scoop the petals in the basket, moving them so that would dry without molding, but also for the aroma to swell.

Something in me is fighting back, kicking me black and blue, not allowing for this new freedom and growth. But when a process begins, there’s no turning back. A soul knows where to go if you let it.

Thank you Samuel

The Journey

Feeling bones, my body thinner, scared, a few pounds easily were put back on. Feeling safer, it is easier to control my eating. Becoming smaller comes with threats of success and a great urge to numb out with food.

Of course there is a link, but I haven’t figured it out yet, or all the way through. The urge to eat when not hungry, a typical day for me since age 8, fades when a softer, kinder voice is heard and felt.

Though happening for periods of time creating success with weight loss as a secondary plus, sustaining kind thoughts of myself takes primary focus. That is the goal, food and weight are symptoms of the self-hate developing in childhood falling in-line only when kindness to self steps in.

The voice whispers positive things about myself that are allowed into me. That is challenging to sustain after living most of my life otherwise. Much of that grew as I grew pleasing the origin family, living by implied rules if wanting to remain a part of it… toxic as it was and still is- what’s left of it.

What grew with the ugliness of repeated sexual attacks by supposed loving brothers with nowhere to talk about it, and no one to help or stop it, was a life of unprocessed trauma, chronic, embedded, PTSD, with a critic inside me louder than anything else—a life of punishing myself for having been abused.

Hate myself, blame myself, eat, eat, eat, both to numb out the hate and to comfort myself from the internal nasty word beatings, that voice in my head that came from ‘family’, but became mine. No, it was not spoken aloud, but the messages were imprinted into my soul because no one talked of the tragedies that befell me, nor stopped it. The imposed silence, and the implications of blame I felt entombed me.

A miracle occurs when a more honest view of myself is heard, one that can look at mistakes and flaws kindlier, but much harder, and more importantly, looks at the positive qualities, feels them, believes them, and taking them in as my own.

When that miracle happens, the overpowering urge to eat when not hungry dissipates because my soul is being filled, finally filled.