birthdays and beauty bring joy

BIRTHDAYS and BEAUTY: ALLOWING JOY into OUR LIVES as SURVIVORS of TRAUMA and TORTURE

BIRTHDAYS and BEAUTY:  ALLOWING JOY into OUR LIVES as SURVIVORS of TRAUMA and TORTURE   “Birthdays and Beauty: Allowing Joy into our Lives as Survivors of Torture and Trauma” may seem to be an odd combination as a topic for a blog post. Recently as I sat in a coffee shop reconnecting with a coffee shop friend who I see infrequently, the conversation quickly became less superficial. We are both survivors of childhood abuse, including torture. Neither of us speak of it much for healing has occurred. The conversation focused on our lives now and how to allow joy into our lives on a deeper level and a more frequent basis. My birthday is in the month of January. Beginning a new year and celebrating a birthday are both possible causes of reflection. When a new year and a birthday are in close proximity, there can be a double whammy effect! This year in my reflecting, I find myself yearning for more joy and beauty in my life. Frequently when you are raised in an emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abusive household, happiness or joy is not allowed. Punishment may follow moments of happiness. This is also true in homes that ...
acceptance of now - go to future

REFLECTIONS on ACCEPTANCE from a TRAUMA LIFE COACH

REFLECTIONS on ACCEPTANCE from a TRAUMA LIFE COACH   A new year has begun! Acceptance of where you find yourself at this moment may be the first step to action. Are you satisfied with your life as is? What areas do you want to change? Are there segments of your life’s situation that cannot be changed? What does that mean to you? “Acceptance does not mean we are giving our approval.” Melody Beattie wrote that statement in a Hazelden Thought of the Day. (I could only find a link to the entire short article on this site: http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/friends-family-substance-abusers/173364-language-letting-go-april-3-acceptance.html Acceptance does not mean approval continues to resonate within me. When Megan and I were going through the injustices of the court systems and other institutions, the last thing I wanted to do was accept the situation. That has also been true during other periods of my life. As a recovering alcoholic, I knew of the necessity of seeing life as it truly was. I had to move out of denial and accept that I could not drink alcohol. Until I accepted that fact, I would not and could not take the actions needed to lead a sober life. Acceptance of my ...
new beginning 2016

A NEW BEGINNING

A NEW BEGINNING   Today is the final day of 2015. Will you spend this evening looking back at the previous year or years? Are you willing to let go of what was? Are you willing to not dwell on what wasn’t?  Isn’t it interesting how many of us make resolutions for the upcoming year? In reality, each day is a new beginning. As a culture, a new year does represent a new beginning for each of us. It is the time to reflect on the past year and to make plans for the future. How will you make 2016 better?  Do you want your life to be different in 2016? What are your dreams and desires for this brand new year? Have you repeatedly attempted to change the same problems? Are you stuck? Does fear holds you back from making real change occur in your life or within yourself? A friend sent me an e-mail that contained a quotation that may be attributed to Thomas Jefferson. I had never heard of it. Since then, I have seen the quotation in several places. It is funny how that works. Synchronicity, I wonder. “If you want something you've never had, you ...
peace

PASSION for PEACE

PASSION FOR PEACE   It may appear obvious that I have a passion for peace! My e-mail address and my website title contain the word “peace”. I write of seeking silence within myself. It is in that silence that I am able to reach a deeper and more intense level of peace. The depth sometimes carries over to my everyday life. Where did I get this desire for peace? Was I born with it? As a child, I hated when voices were raised or when anger was apparent to me in the silent actions or facial expressions of those around me. I became an excellent detector of a person being upset. As a little girl, I soon found I could not soothe anyone’s anger or frustration. My best bet was to become invisible. I did not take on a caretaker role or a co-dependent role of trying to make it all better – not overtly. I became as quiet I could. It seemed best not to draw any attention to myself. My skills used to being invisible became quite good. Nothing mattered though. Invisibility did not work. I was still used and abused. Peace only existed when I was able ...
silence and solitude

SILENCE and SOLITUDE as SELF CARE and SELF COMPASSION

SILENCE and SOLITUDE as SELF CARE and SELF COMPASSION   The past week has been emotionally-charged. My mind and heart seek refuge in silence and solitude. As a survivor of trauma and a life coach for survivors of childhood sexual abuse as well as other forms of abuse and torture, I know to be aware of my past trauma experiences possibly affecting my present daily life. This awareness helps. Retreating into silence and solitude when needed is a form of self care and self compassion. A question I ask myself is, “Would a person who has not suffered serious trauma react similarly?” In other words, is my reaction a “normal” one? As my healing process progressed and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms lessened, I discovered I reacted and acted in a healthier manner. In fact, I handled last week’s emotionally-charged challenges with calmness and finesse. Oh, I was not perfect! That is okay. I am grateful for my reactions and actions to last weeks’ stressors. It shows me how I am thriving! Life’s difficult experiences occurred to those around me. I, as a witness and team member, supported others. My strength and calmness benefitted them. It was a ...
Christmas Wish List

A SURVIVOR’S CHRISTMAS WISH LIST

A SURVIVOR’S CHRISTMAS WISH LIST   When I was a child, I would write a Christmas wish list. This list would include gifts I wanted Santa to bring me. My mother would order most gifts from catalogs which provided fodder for a child to dream which presents she would prefer. The majority of the gifts under the tree were clothes items that were definitely needed. I do not remember many of my childhood presents that were not clothes. Chatty Cathy was a gift one year, as well as Lite Brite. My heartfelt wishes though were to be loved, cherished, and protected by my mother and others in the household (and outside of it). Unfortunately, abuse continued year after year; and, I would end up with a demeaning, abusive marriage that lasted for decades. This marriage included decades of domestic violence, extreme abuse, human trafficking, and no everlasting real love. Fortunately, I am free from abusive relationships and situations. I am on the road of freedom which includes the gifts of peace and joy. Today I found myself writing a Christmas wish list. Whether Christmas is a religious holiday to you or a secular one or nothing to you, thinking of ...
Reflection on Thanksgiving

REFLECTIONS ON THANKSGIVING

REFLECTIONS ON THANKSGIVING   My desire this week was to write an inspiring post on the topic of Thanksgiving and gratitude. As usual, I must speak honestly and from my heart. These weeks from mid-November to my birthday in January are hard ones for me. Each year these months get easier, but not easy. These reflections on Thanksgiving and this time of year are ones are want to share with you. Holidays can be difficult for all of us – survivors of abuse or those never abused. Expectations may be high. Some prepare and hope for the perfect day(s). Others may have expectations of sadness, family discord, loneliness, etc. for that are what has occurred frequently. Some may try to ignore the actual day or the entire season. How do you handle the holidays? The time period from November 20th to my birthday in January is filled with anniversaries for me. I remember dates. My mother used to remember dates. These dates mark significant occurrences. Besides the past anniversaries, holidays in general included more abuse – especially ritual abuse and extreme torture perpetrated by my ex-husband, Tom M., and others. There is no need to list all the anniversaries or ...
questions - changes

QUESTIONS FROM A TRAUMA LIFE COACH

QUESTIONS FROM A TRAUMA LIFE COACH   As a life coach, I ask you questions. Have you noticed that I often ask questions in my blog posts? Do you, as a reader, answer one or more of them in your head? Do you ever find yourself pondering your answer during the course of your day? Does the question lead to an answer that causes you to act? Does a small change occur within you? Have you noticed that most of my questions do not ask you to reflect on the past? The past is past. The past (good and bad) is important. It formed who you are today. Most of my inquiries are to encourage you to look at your present and your future. Do the inquiries cause you to probe deeper? Do the answers you provide ever contribute in a small way to performing better at work or in your personal life? Are you finding yourself welcoming silence or even meditating for short times? Do you seek to listen to a piece of music that resonates deeply within you and almost imperceptibly changes your mood? What we do and think today helps to form our lives tomorrow and in the future. The process of transformation may ...
Halloween - Holy Days - Mortality

HALLOWEEN AND HOLY DAYS (Meaning for Survivors & Thoughts on Mortality)

HALLOWEEN AND HOLY DAYS (MEANING FOR SURVIVORS & THOUGHTS ON MORTALITY)   Halloween and holy days, such as All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, Day of the Dead, and changing our clocks all occur within the next several days. Halloween has been a topic of conversation lately with a few of my friends. It is a secular holiday now ... one of candy and costumes. As a child, I liked Halloween. It was fun to dress in simple homemade costumes and to be free to roam the neighborhood with my friends. Receiving candy was great! My mother did not make a big amount of money in her job. We did not lack for food. Candy and sweets were limited due to financial constraints. As a kid, owning all that free candy was icing on the cake. In the Catholic calendar, All Saints’ Day is on November 1, 2015, the day after Halloween. All Souls’ Day is on November 2nd. Day of the Dead is also celebrated on November 2, 2015. I use the word “celebrated” because it is a Mexican tradition to celebrate the dead on that day. It is a joyous occasion. The Catholic Church has a tradition of ...
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 ...