smidgen of hope

SMIDGEN of HOPE

SMIDGEN of HOPE   What is your definition of hope? Do you even believe in the concept of hope? I know of people who have no belief in hope. Hope to them is foolish. Hope has kept me alive in certain periods of my life. It may also have contributed to my staying in situations for too long. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as: “A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. A person or thing that may help or save someone. Grounds for believing that something good may happen. archaic  A feeling of trust.” -- https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/hope As a child, I hoped the abuse would stop. My goal was to become perfect. Maybe that would prevent the abuse from occurring ever again. I had fantasies of someone saving me … a Prince Charming. The idea of hoping could be considered foolish. Yet fantasies and hope (however childish) of a better life kept me alive through terrible times. As a young adult, the Prince Charming did not come. I fell into a relationship of domestic violence with torture once I left my mother’s house. Leaving the abusive family of origin and moving into a DV (domestic ...
PTSD forever?

DOES PTSD LAST FOREVER?

DOES PTSD LAST FOREVER?   PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) … Our society is now familiar with the term. Many people still identify Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with war veterans. More people do also realize and acknowledge that any trauma victim may suffer from PTSD. My readers know that I dealt with Complex PTSD. This was due to the decades of abuse and torture that I endured from birth to almost 47 years of age. Amazingly, I have healed immensely. Pastoral counseling, therapy, NeurOptimal Neurofeedback, a women’s support group (WINGS Foundation) for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and a deep spiritual connection contributed to this healing. Two of my favorite books on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma are: “THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE:  BRAIN, MIND, AND BODY IN THE HEALING OF TRAUMA” by Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D. and “TRAUMA and RECOVERY: The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror” by Judith Herman, M.D. Herman’s words on torture, etc. are illuminating. I found this book to be tremendously helpful. In fact, I shared my reflections on parts of Herman’s book on my original website that I wrote before my trial for custodial ...
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 ...
just plain tired

JUST PLAIN TIRED!

JUST PLAIN TIRED   Are you just plain tired? That sentence sounds like a line from a commercial. There are times though when tiredness, lack of energy, inertia, and fatigue settles upon one’s body, mind, heart, and/or spirit. How do you cope when your body is physically worn? Do you allow your body to rest more? Are you compelled to stick to an exercise routine? Is your job physically challenging? Does your financial situation allow you the only option of continuing to push your body past its healthy limits? What is your personal response to mental fatigue? Are thoughts of problems and relationships issues roaming in your mind constantly? Rumination happens. It is unhealthy. People ruminate. It is common according to this article in the BBC Magazine titled, “Rumination: The danger of dwelling”. (Read: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24444431.) When you are emotionally tired, what are the symptoms? Do you cry more than usual? Do you find yourself often holding back tears? Is stoicism and lack of emotion signs? Are you short-tempered with strangers, acquaintances, and/or loved ones? Food may be a symptom. Eating more than needed, making unhealthy choices, or not eating much at all may occur. The song “Under Pressure” played as ...
jobs - are you frustrated?

JOBS – ARE YOU FRUSTRATED?

JOBS – ARE YOU FRUSTRATED?   Jobs are quite important to most of us. We need to work to support ourselves and often our family members. Work can also give us a purpose on a deeper level, if we are fortunate. Are you frustrated because your job does not pay a living wage? Are you frustrated because you cannot find a job? Does your frustration lie in knowing friends who are working quite hard and are quite underpaid? Are friends or acquaintances being forced to retire early and often without benefits? Have you noticed big shifts in our society? Elizabeth Gilbert answered a question of the day in a January Facebook post. The question was “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?” In her reply, she divided life into four categories. They are: hobby, job, career, and vocation. Today I will focus on jobs. In future posts, I will write about the other ones. (https://www.facebook.com/GilbertLiz/posts/948792035202912:0?__mref=message_bubble) Gilbert’s article is interesting and thought-provoking. She writes: “You don’t need to love your job: you just need to have a job and do it with respect. Of course, if you absolutely hate your job, by all means look for another one, but try to ...
feelings in the moment

FEELINGS in the MOMENT

FEELINGS in the MOMENT   Children show their feelings in the moment. If they are happy, you see their smiles. If children are sad, they cry. Young children and older ones who are abused often learn to hide their emotions. I know I did. In my abusive family-of-origin, I was often punished if I showed happiness. I learned to hide my emotions – sadness, joy, frustration, etc. When trauma occurs, whether a single incident such as one rape or constant abuse (including sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and spiritual abuse), we often deny the emotions that occur at the time. In long-term abuse, the victims many times choose not to let the pain and hurt show. As adults who have been traumatized, it is not uncommon to minimize the impact of the trauma. Abuse and trauma have a huge impact in our lives. Once a person begins to deal with the trauma – usually with the help of therapy – the victim starts to feel the deep and intense emotions. These feelings include pain, disappointment, despair, fear, and terror (especially if non-state torture was part of the victimization). Survivors may notice where in their bodies they contain the tension. Anxiety, panic, ...
adventure: leaving your comfort zone

ADVENTURE: LEAVING YOUR COMFORT ZONE

ADVENTURE: LEAVING YOUR COMFORT ZONE   Adventure, which requires you to leave your comfort zone, may be easy or difficult for you. How do you definite adventure? One of Mirriam Webster’s definitions for adventure is “an exciting or remarkable experience”.  Adventure can come in small or grand sizes. It can include newness, experiencing something different, or leaving your comfort zone. Many people live in their comfort zones with no desire to experience new people, places or things. Life though often and eventually brings change. These changes may include life bigger transitions such as death, illness, loss of job, etc. These experiences force individuals out of their comfort zones. My recommendation or suggestion is to leave one’s comfort zone willingly in small or even bigger ways. This free choice exercises a muscle-of-sorts – an “I am flexible” muscle. Think for a minute or two or three. What would be an adventure for you?  If you are accustomed to leaving your comfort zone, you may choose larger types of life situations as adventurous. If leaving your safety zone scares you; doing so in small ways may fit the bill. I recently received a henna tattoo on my forearm. It was a mini-adventure ...
resolutions gone?

RESOLUTIONS GONE?

RESOLUTIONS GONE?   Are the resolutions you made for 2017 forgotten or ignored? Did you resolve to make changes this year? Are you succeeding in keeping your resolutions? Ever notice in coffee shops how many people order coffee instead of flavored lattes in January? Many people buy less sweets, such as pastries and treats. Most likely New Year resolutions were made to lose weight or to eat healthy. Slowly, most individuals return to the sweet drinks that they favor. It makes me wonder how many individuals succeed in keeping the resolutions made and how long the success lasts. Resolutions can be made any time of the year and for any length you choose. It is possible to restart your day, your week, or your year. One lapse does not mean the entire day is a "failure". Begin it again! A setback can be quite temporary. Those who are Christians and participate in the Lenten season have a built-in second chance to keep any resolutions that were made for the new year. If they have not succeeded, Christians can start over on Ash Wednesday as Lent begin. It is easier to think, I will give up (fill in the blank) for ...
fear - what are you afraid of

FEAR – WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

FEAR – WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?   What do you fear? When you were a child, what were your fears? As a young adult, mature individual or older person, what were your fears? What are your fears now? Are they similar? One day as I was reading a book by Richard Rohr titled, “Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer”, I sat down with a piece of paper and pen. I wrote “What did I fear –“on the top of the page. I would suggest before you read any further – if time permits – that you take a blank piece of paper and write “What did I fear?” as the heading. Then sit, breathe, and let the words flow. Do not take a long time performing this exercise. If nothing comes to mind, no problem. How many of the items you feared occurred in your life? Of course, I was afraid on a daily basis that abuse or torture would occur. Unfortunately abuse was a given in my life. I did not even put it on my list. Here are a few of the items that made it to my fear list: Being alone, on the outskirts Being ...
endurance as love

ENDURANCE as LOVE

ENDURANCE as LOVE   Have you ever thought of endurance as love? Valentine’s Day is upon us. For many, it is a day to celebrate romantic love. Others give it the status of just another day. Some people celebrate the concept of love in general. Love is meant to be noticed and sometimes celebrated in big or in small ways. The writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan often resonate with me. Recently I reread an article titled, “Love, Human and Divine”. (See: http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_9.htm) “Every kind of power lies in this one thing which we call by the simple name: love. Charity, generosity, kindness, affection, endurance, tolerance, and patience – all these words are different aspects of one; they are different names of only one thing: love. Whether it is said, 'God is love,' or whatever name is given to it, all the names are the names of God; and yet every form of love, every name for love, has its own peculiar scope, has a peculiarity of its own. Love as kindness is one thing, love as tolerance is another, love as generosity is another, love as patience another; and yet from beginning to end it is just love. It is ...