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 ...
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 ...

THE CONCEPT OF SERVICE

THE CONCEPT OF SERVICE   What is your concept of service? Whether you receive payment or not, "serving" another can still be the main focus of our action or actions. Twelve-step programs focus on recovery, unity, and service. Service in these programs may include attending meetings, being a sponsor, setting up chairs and/or coffee, joining committees, and/or attending the group’s business meetings. When I was unemployed, I chose to volunteer. Volunteering helped me to not isolate as well as helped those I served. One avenue I chose was to prepare and serve food to the working poor and homeless. It was rewarding. Serving others can be a gift to the giver and the receiver. Not all of us choose to delegate a portion of our time in that manner. Life gets busy. Our careers, families, and our personal lives take time and energy. Recently I had the opportunity to help a couple pack their household goods to relocate. It made me realize how much I miss serving/giving in that way. My life has become filled; and, I have neglected that type of service. Service changes my focus. The spotlight is not on me. I put my attention and focus on ...
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 ...

ACKNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND KNOW YOUR BODY (AS A SURVIVOR OF ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE)

ACKNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND KNOW YOUR BODY (AS A SURVIVOR OF ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE)   Our bodies as victims of rape, incest, domestic violence, abuse and/or torture suffer when the trauma occurs. The trauma affects us physically, mentally, emotionally and often spiritually. Many times, especially if the abuse is repeated, a victim escapes her body and the pain through dissociation. When the incident (or incidences of abuse) ends, the victim can become separate or stay separate from her or his own body. Often times, survivors are not very aware of how their bodies feel at any given point in time. Many survivors treat their physical bodies poorly. Self harm, cutting, alcohol, drugs, and overeating are common. If you ask a survivor where they feel anger, sadness or any emotion in her body, the person may not be in touch enough to answer. Eventually through the survivor’s healing process, the body is acknowledged, experienced, known, and loved. There are many healing modalities. Trauma-based yoga (and yoga in general) has been shown through research to facilitate healing. On September 12, 2015, I attended and presented a workshop entitled, “Survivor’s Resume” at the WINGS Foundation Conference in Denver, Colorado. The WINGS Conference is an ...
survivor's self compassion (after abuse)

SELF COMPASSION: ONE ASPECT OF SELF CARE AFTER SURVIVING ABUSE

SELF COMPASSION ONE ASPECT OF SELF CARE AFTER SURVIVING ABUSE   Self compassion can be a difficult attribute to acquire or regain after surviving any type of abuse – rape, incest, extreme abuse, ritual abuse, domestic violence, etc. Many times the victim has a difficult time not blaming oneself. The blame and shame survivors feel afterwards can cause a toxic poison to run through their lives. How can a survivor care for oneself with gentleness and compassion when one feels such shame, blame, and a sense of deep unworthiness? Acquiring self compassion is a progression. Through the process of healing (whether via therapy, non-invasive neurofeedback, and/or other methods), survivors gradually shed the shame, the blame, and the sense of worthlessness. I know I did. As I healed, I realized how little self compassion I extended toward myself. The perfection part of me demanded more of myself than I did of anyone else. Would I treat a friend through words or actions like I treated myself? Definitely not. As time passes, I am more able to treat myself with the loving care I know I deserve. I can see how much progress I have made in this area in the last ...

SELF CARE: REST AND RECREATION – MAKING TIME FOR FUN

SELF CARE: REST AND RECREATION MAKING TIME FOR FUN!   How do you define “fun” for yourself? How do you enjoy spending your free time? Do you have free time? Do work and home duties fill your life leaving no time to spare? Is self care on your list of priorities? As survivors of abuse, we might have a tendency to neglect the rest and recreation segment of our lives. In general, our society focuses on working hard, making a living, buying material goods, and keeping busy. The state of the U.S. economy has made it a necessity for many people to work more than one job. It can be quite difficult to maintain a balance between work and play. A balance though is needed. It is imperative that we get the proper amount of sleep. Relaxation and recreation are necessary for us to gain and keep a proper perspective on life in general. Today I went to see a movie! Oh, I have plenty of work that needs to be accomplished as well as household chores. I, as many survivors of abuse, tend to push myself too hard. I knew that taking a break would be helpful in more ...
freedom after speaking of abuse and/or torture

FREEDOM TO SPEAK OF THE ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE

FREEDOM TO SPEAK OF THE ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE   When was the first time you felt the freedom to speak of the incest, rape, abuse and/or torture you experienced? Did you always recall the abuse or did you put it aside, repress it, or deny it until you were forced to face the truth or until you were safe and strong enough to do so? If you always remembered the abuse or are in a current abusive domestic violence relationship or relationship with abuse of any kind, sharing your story with someone is the first step to healing. To those, like me, who repressed our pasts (of sexual abuse, incest, human trafficking, physical abuse, ritual abuse, and/or torture); we had to awaken to ourselves. Individuals have asked me how I can be so open with my life’s story. Some have questioned the relief I feel after sharing my extensive history of abuse, incest, and torture. This post will begin to answer those inquiries. At age 45, I began to recover bits and pieces of my gruesome past. These memories arrived almost always when I was alone. Fortunately, I was in therapy at the time I started letting the abuse return ...

SELF CARE AND CREATING SPACE

SELF CARE AND CREATING SPACE   When is the last time you created an empty, peaceful space for yourself whether physically or in your mind? As human beings living in a consumer society with an overload of media and activity, it is necessary for us to take a break from the action of the world. This break could be filed under self care. I tend to read books and articles of many types. Spiritually, I enjoy reading books with meaning to me including materials of multiple religious and spiritual views. In this blog, I mention a book with a definite Christian slant. Some of you may scoff at the writing style because of this perspective. Others of you will lean towards it because of the religious view of Christianity. For me, although the author addresses her past of child abuse through the Christian lens, Bonnie Gray speaks to survivors’ hearts when she talks of dealing with her past. Her book, “finding spiritual whitespace: awakening your soul to rest” contains some concrete ideas on how to create space and a thought-provoking section on joy. Bonnie Gray did not face the abuse of her past until she was around 40 years old ...