sacred cycle - gratitude

SACRED CYCLE: a GIFT for SURVIVORS

SACRED CYCLE: a GIFT for SURVIVORS   Sacred Cycle is a non-profit organization started by Heather Russell. This summer and fall of 2017, I had the privilege of participating in Sacred Cycle’s pilot program. What a precious gift! I am smiling as I write. My heart is filled with gratitude. Heather Russell recognizes that abuse and assault survivors often do not stay present in their bodies. She explains this concept in an interview located on this KDNK link: http://kdnk.org/post/nonprofit-palooza-sacred-cycle Participants are given the option to mountain bike, hike, as well as other options to connect with one’s body in the present moment. Therapy during this time helps survivors continue to heal. In the fall, a retreat was held in a beautiful location for the five of us participating in the Sacred Cycle program. Heather and others joined us providing workshops and/or support. We even enjoyed the delightful and delicious food of a chef each day! It was a weekend of gracious giving and receiving. The nurturing aspect was amazing. I had no expectations of the Sacred Cycle retreat. My intention was to keep my heart open. Most likely each one of us – pilot participants and support persons – has ...
seeking silence

SILENCE SEEKER

 SILENCE SEEKER   Life has been more stressful of late. I find myself seeking solitude and silence. My mind is tired as well as my body. I want the world to move a bit slower so I can catch up with all the activity and concerns. One day after crossing off items on my to-do-list, I stopped for a cappuccino. A local paper, the Boulder Weekly, includes a weekly horoscope. These horoscopes are frequently written in an interesting manner. The readings may provoke thought. Part of the reading for my sign included: “(As you know, the world is crammed with so much noise and frenzy that it can be hard to hear yourself think – or even feel.) With Healing Silence, you bask in a sanctuary of sweet nothingness for as long as you need to. Please try it sometime soon. Wrap yourself in the luxurious void of Healing Silence.” – Boulder Weekly, March 23, 2017 This week’s horoscope hit the nail on the head. A Healing Silence – Yes, that is what I desired and needed. Two days earlier, I listened to a reflection by Terry Hershey. It resonated with me. I had not heard of Terry Hershey before ...
power of love

THE POWER of LOVE

The POWER of LOVE   Where do you seek or find love? Do you believe in the power of Love? Do you still long for the person who abused you to love you? Do you wish the perpetrator would admit the abuse, apologize for it, and then somehow love you in a healthy fashion? If the person who abused or raped or tortured you was a parent or a husband or a sibling, do you cut off all contact and never look back? People often tell me I am strong. They wonder how I survived the abuse in my past. Also, some people wonder why I am not bitter. If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or lived in a dangerous household, then where did you seek love? Where did you find love? When I was initially in counseling with Fr. Marcantonio, he raised this issue indirectly. I was a sweet person as a child and as an adult. Love existed somewhere in my childhood. That love helped to form the child I was and the person I am today. Love existed in my life and always has. The decades of abuse and torture covered most of my ...
triggers - surprise attacks

TRIGGERS: SURPRISE ATTACKS

TRIGGERS: SURPRISE ATTACKS   You are well on your healing road. Life is moving along smoothly or smoothly enough. You, as a survivor of abuse or trauma, most probably have insight regarding what triggers you. One day you realize old behaviors have returned. Maybe you are drinking more alcohol than normal, or you are turning to food or away from food, or you reenact part of the past abuse/torture, or suddenly you have a dream (or dream segment) that contains parts of what occurred during the abuse. Maybe you are irritable and less tolerant than normal. You realize that triggers have attacked you by surprise! What do you do? How do you cope? First, sit and breathe ….. More insight is available! You are growing and healing further. As you sit and breathe, relax. Let go of preconceived notions. In fact, let go of all thoughts for 5 – 10 – 20 minutes. Hear the silence as your noisy thoughts move in and out of your mind as clouds move across the sky. Pay little notice. Sit with yourself, your true inner being. Now, as calmness and clarity becomes prominent, reflect on the last days or weeks. Triggers can be ...
intimacy and technology today

INTIMACY and TECHNOLOGY

INTIMACY and TECHNOLOGY   Intimacy and technology is a more complex subject than it may seem. This topic consists of many facets. The smart phone as well as Facebook and other technological advances have changed people’s lives in beneficial and detrimental ways. This post will explore intimacy and technology from my perspective as well as other writers' thoughts on the subject. As I pondered the subject of intimacy, I realized how life has changed. Decades ago, neighbors and friends might knock on one’s door unannounced. Hospitality was a given. Even with plain, old phones, individuals still would stop by someone’s house spontaneously. No matter what the distance, it is easier now to communicate with friends and family. Many families and friends are geographically dispersed. Phone costs are much lower (especially on an international basis) than in the past. In some ways – even with the benefits of modern communication technology – it is more challenging to remain close to a person when distance is involved or even when the person lives close to you or when a person even resides in your household! Several technological options that most of us use infrequently or everyday to communicate are listed below. I ...
maneuvering bumps and stress on road

HOW to MANEUVER the BUMPS and STRESS on the ROAD OF LIFE

HOW to MANEUVER the BUMPS and STRESS on the ROAD OF LIFE   Sometimes life becomes too demanding. It may be hard to know how to maneuver the bumps and stress on the road of life. Life may include: busy schedules, finding or making time to implement the desired improvements or goals, family obligations, health concerns of others and/or yourself, keeping true to an exercise routine, making time for prayer or meditation, and other variables. It may seem overwhelming. If we do not step back and relax for a moment (or moments), illness may appear. Our bodies know we need to slow down. Sickness may force us to do so. Emotions may fluctuate. The inner balance one has may be strongly challenged daily. How long does it take you to notice the signs of overload and/or stress? As a survivor of abuse and trauma, do you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Do PTSD symptoms reactivate if you do not sleep enough or are too stressed? How do you take care of yourself while handling the demands of life filled with busy-ness and stress? Maybe you have been able to make a life for yourself that is balanced and ...
living with uncertainty

LIVING with UNCERTAINTY

 LIVING with UNCERTAINTY   Life is impermanent. Living with uncertainty is a challenge. People die. Jobs are gained and lost. Health fails. Accidents occur. A cancer diagnosis is given to you or a loved one. A child is born. Therapy ends. Tragedies occur. A person is raped. A marriage is celebrated. Financial loss causes homelessness. Life is uncertain. How resilient are you? Do you move easily with the ebb and flow of life? Do you hold on tightly to what you have in fear you will lose it? What control do you have? When I lived in the extreme domestic violence marriage with Tom M. (abuser and perpetrator), my life was quite consistent. Financial security existed. Travel was a given. Clothes were affordable. We had decent health insurance as a family unit. We owned two cars. A middle class life was ours. I was a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled my daughter, Megan. Abuse and torture occurred almost daily. It was a certainty. Abuse was a certainty in my life for almost 47 years (from the day I was born into my family of origin until my relationship ended with Tom M.) A severe price was paid by my daughter and ...
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 ...
awareness and acceptance

CHANGE via AWARENESS and MINDFULNESS

CHANGE via AWARENESS and MINDFULNESS   Awareness and mindfulness may be the first steps to actual change. My friend’s daughter is in fourth or fifth grade. Her class has a special project for the month of February which has the option of including the entire family. The focus is on health. A one-page form for each person is available to allow them to see their progress as they check off each item successfully completed. The items include: Four to five servings of fruits and vegetables Two hours or less of TV daily One hour of exercise daily No sugary drinks What a good idea! Whether a person checks off one or none of the boxes each day, attention is brought to the subject. Conversations are started. My friend and I talked about which goals are the easiest or hardest to reach. This school project happens to coincide with a few weeks of the Christian Lenten season. Many Catholics “give up” something for Lent. Others choose to “do something” during Lent. In either case, Lent and the school project both provide venues to notice our behaviors and to improve our actions or thoughts. To notice our defects of character or our ...
chaos or peace

SURVIVORS OF ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND/OR EXTREME ABUSE: DO YOU SEEK CHAOS OR PEACE?

SURVIVORS OF ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND/OR EXTREME ABUSE: DO YOU SEEK CHAOS OR PEACE?   Ever wonder if you seek chaos unconsciously? Did you grow up in a chaotic household? Were you a child in a home filled with domestic violence? Were you the adult in such a household (or are you now in a domestic violence situation)? Was physical and/or sexual childhood abuse part of your disruptive household? Did you suffer extreme abuse, ritual abuse, and/or torture as a child and/or as an adult? Did you adapt? Did you learn to deal “well” with chaos? Is it what you became accustomed to as a child and/or as an adult? Do you find yourself in a job that is high-paced and contains a sense of urgency? It does not need to be an emergency room-type job. Barista jobs can contain an element of urgency as well as can other types of employment. If you enjoy a fast-paced, multi-tasking job and excel at it, there is no problem. If you suddenly realize that you are exhausted and burnt out from the fast-paced environment with its element of chaos, what do you do? What choices do you have? Do you want to ...