unexpected encounters with homeless persons

UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTERS

UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTERS   This week I experienced two unexpected encounters with homeless individuals. This occurrence is not foreign to me for I live in a city where many homeless individuals and families reside. Boulder is a place that is popular with tourists. It is also losing its middle class due to the extremely high cost of living. What brings me to share these encounters is the poignancy of these chance meetings. A woman approached me near a restaurant on Sunday morning. I noticed she had asked people standing and sitting outside the restaurant waiting to dine if each of them could spare a dollar for food for her children in the car. No one said yes. As she walked toward me, I wondered what my response should and would be. I weigh each person’s request, whether it originates from a person panhandling with a sign or from the direct asking from someone. This woman looked worried in a different sense to me – in a way that struck a familiar chord. I stopped and listened to her explanation. This stranger left a domestic violence (DV) relationship two weeks earlier. She had a 14 year old child and a younger child ...
don't stop - perseverance

DON’T STOP! KEEP ON GOING!

DON'T STOP! KEEP ON GOING!   Perseverance … Determination … Resiliency … Momentum … Endurance … Strength … “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill The words above convey power … personal power, communal power, and societal power. I just finished reading the book titled “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. It was highly recommended to me by more than one person. It is the fictional story of two sisters during World War II. (See: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21853621-the-nightingale.) For anyone who has seen the horrors of war or who has survived the horrors of abuse and torture or who has been close to someone who has been a victim of the aforementioned, this book has even more depth as well as hope. Life does not always bring success in the way we hoped. Sometimes success comes after a person’s death. We all heard stories of starving artists whose works of arts are admired and loved after their deaths. It may take generations for families to heal from generational abuse and to fully escape from it. Life evolves. How do we continue? How do we go forth when life’s trials seem overwhelming or never-ending? How do ...
"little" gains

LIFE’S “LITTLE” GAINS

LIFE’S “LITTLE” GAINS   Can you name one of life’s “little” gains that occurred this month? Do you tend to mainly see the big changes or large gains in your life? If you are in therapy or a support group, do you focus on not achieving the big goals in your life? Are you frustrated that you did not land your dream job or meet your perfect mate? Life’s “little” gains may be easily overlooked. It is human to look forward to reaching that next goal of importance in your life. The road to reaching your dreams may contain a multitude of “little” gains that we blow off as not being important enough. I, as a life coach, challenge you to be aware of your life’s “little” gains! “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu Maybe you work with a coworker who you dislike or she/he dislikes you. You find common ground one day and the work environment improves for both of you. I would label that as a “little” gain for both of you. ...
courage to escape

COURAGE to ESCAPE

 COURAGE TO ESCAPE (And the COURAGE to DEAL with the AFTERMATH)   This blog post is dedicated to all those who took the risk of leaving a situation of abuse and those who are contemplating escaping from one. Whether you are a teenager who found a way to leave your home due to sexual, physical or emotional abuse and trauma or a spouse in a domestic violence situation or a victim of clergy abuse in any religious organization, I commend you for taking the steps needed to survive, to take care of yourself, and to have the courage to escape. If you are thinking of leaving a situation of abuse and trauma, the courage to escape is a necessary ingredient. Remember, you are worthy of freedom, peace and joy! Once upon a time, there was a woman who was in her late 40’s when she left one country ten years ago (2006) to protect her daughter, Megan. Yes, this is my story. The focus today is not on those early years after leaving my abusive husband and Megan’s abusive father. Today I want to share with you my journey into homelessness after my trial for custodial interference and my journey ...
importance of community

IMPORTANCE of COMMUNITY

IMPORTANCE of COMMUNITY   As a life coach, broaching the subject of community has value for clients. Where do you rank the importance of community in your life? Are you single? Do you have a significant other? Children? Aging parents? Are you an active member of a church or spiritual group? Do you belong to a meet-up  group in an area of interest to you? At different ages and stages of our lives, community has different meanings and levels of importance. It is valuable to analyze and acknowledge your individual need to belong to a group to give and receive support and love. As individuals, our desires vary. Americans tend to be rugged individualists and quite independent. The idea of doing it myself without help is not a foreign one to most of us. Some cultures tend to value extended families and reaching out for help and support. Where do you fit in? What is good for you? I enjoy television shows, such as “Gilmore Girls”, where families of all types exist and communities are formed. These communities do not only include family members. Who will bring you chicken soup if you are ill? Who do you serve when they ...
incest and forgiveness

INCEST and FORGIVENESS

 INCEST AND FORGIVENESS (Generational Abuse)   Incest occurred regularly in my home-of-origin. My grandmother and my mother, separately and together, sexually abused me at a very early age. When I was still young, my grandmother had a stroke. She was moved to Texas to live with my aunt and eventually died. My mother continued the abuse, the incest, for years. My siblings were also part of the incest cycle. Incest and forgiveness is an oxymoron-of-sorts in many human beings’ minds. Incest. It seems to be a dirty word that people do not want to acknowledge let alone face. There are many articles and websites on the subject if you look for information on the topic of incest. An insightful one is written in The Atlantic. (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/01/america-has-an-incest-problem/272459/) Incest. Mother upon daughter and grandmother upon granddaughter incest are even harder for people to grasp. Many doubt a mother could sexually abuse or torture her child. The truth is that this type of abuse happens more than we know. It is Mother’s Day as I write this post. Incest and forgiveness …. How does a person forgive a mother who emotionally and sexually abused him or her? How does a survivor forgive a ...
vulnerability and strength

VULNERABILITY and STRENGTH

VULNERABILITY and STRENGTH   Victims of abuse tend to be quite strong. We need to be in order to survive. When you begin the process of healing, one learns that vulnerability is needed. First, we as victims/survivors allow ourselves to be vulnerable with those we trust – therapists, pastoral counselors, and close friends – by sharing our stories of trauma. Eventually, later in the healing process, it is easier to allow ourselves to be authentic with more and more people. Vulnerability is part of that authenticity. “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”                 Criss Jami Christina Rasmussen, who dealt with grief from the death of her husband, addresses this point also in a recent blog post of hers. She writes: “I think when we go through really tough times we toughen up so much that we lose our ability to ask for help. And it takes years, and in my case a decade, to see how much harder I made my life after loss because I did not ask for help.” “You don’t need to do it all on your own.” To read the entire blog post, go ...
freedom from triggers

FREEDOM from TRIGGERS

FREEDOM from TRIGGERS   As I am writing this post, it is Easter Sunday in the Christian calendar. This post on freedom from triggers may be triggering for some individuals, especially spiritual abuse and extreme abuse survivors. Please take care of yourself and use your discretion. The path to freedom for domestic violence survivors as well as other trauma survivors may begin with the actual physical freedom one experiences when the victim no longer is in the environment with the abuser/perpetrator.   Leaving the abusive situation means no longer having physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual abuse and/or torture perpetrated upon them. Freedom from triggers make take more healing and more time. Many survivors suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This may include flashbacks or other emotional distress due to triggers. Triggers may include persons, places, things, smells, touch … anything that brings memories of the abuse to mind and causes angst.  Some triggers may only cause mild anxiety. Others are seemingly more powerful. Anyone, not only abuse survivors, can incur PTSD due to a trauma. In the 1970’s, Jesus Christ Superstar (the play and the album) debuted. I owned the album and enjoyed listening to the music. Fast forward almost three ...
beauty of oneself

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!   As a child or an adult, rape, abuse, and/or torture can cause a person to turn off emotionally and physically. Victims may numb their feelings and ignore their bodies. The belief that “you are beautiful!” is non-existent for a survivor initially. (Unwarranted) shame, guilty, and possibly shock is palpable. Survivors of repeated abuse learn how to shut down their emotions and physical aspects almost completely. Pain (of the physical, sexual and/or emotional type) has to be endured. You learn to close down in order to survive. For some survivors it may take a long time to let themselves feel the deep intense emotions -both unpleasant and pleasant ones.  A person may become lost inside oneself. How do you find yourself again? When a person learns how to ignore physical and sexual pain, the individual may also turn off the pleasurable aspects of one’s body. It took me a long time to realize how high my pain tolerance was. Years ago during a short medical procedure, the doctor did not numb the region. The medical assistant or nurse was appalled, but she had no control. For me, the procedure was painful; and, I tolerated it. Pain was normal ...

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SPOUSAL SEXUAL ABUSE, PARTNER ABUSE, INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SPOUSAL SEXUAL ABUSE, PARTNER ABUSE, INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE   Many names exist for abuse against another person in a relationship. These titles include: domestic violence, spousal sexual abuse, partner abuse, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and others. Recently several people have brought domestic violence to my attention. I will use domestic violence (DV) as my main label in this article; but, please know that that covers a wide range of abuses – sexual and not. Domestic violence or partner abuse does not have to contain sexual or physical abuse. It can be emotional, mental, and/or spiritual in nature. Power and control is what the abuser seeks. First, a friend forwarded me to a link of Dear Abby’s. She responds to a woman who writes of sexual abuse in her marriage. http://www.kansascity.com/living/advice-columns/article59319388.html  Marital or spousal rape is a subject that is not frequently addressed. Next, I shared my thoughts on domestic abuse (partner abuse) from my own life with someone in a letter. Below is part of what I wrote: “When I was in the abusive situations – both my home of origin and my marriage – I did not have enough time to clear my head ...