gems wisdom

LIVING with CHRONIC COMPLEX PTSD

LIVING with CHRONIC COMPLEX PTSD   Are you living with chronic complex PTSD? Do you feel ashamed because you or others think you should be better by now? Are your expectations of healing realistic for you? Do you think that after x-amount of months or years of therapy, group therapy, self-help books, etc. that your healing should be finished or at least you should feel more healed?! Are you feeling pressured from others to get better or be better or act better? What is in your control? What expectations are realistic for you? It is difficult to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or any illness or disorder. An illness or disorder that is not visible may provide different challenges. People tend to have more compassion for a person who has visible wounds, a cast, a wheelchair, etc. or who is recovering from a heart attack or stroke or cancer. When I lived in Germany, I was given the opportunity to perform an act of kindness. Someone asked me to give a ride to an elderly couple that I had never met. This small deed led to a friendship of special proportions. Denise and her husband lived in another part …

summer

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER   How I spent my summer seems to be an appropriate topic for this time of year! Kids, of all ages, are returning to school in many areas of the country. This summer was unusual for me. Circumstances afforded me more free time to not only deal with life issues, but also to spend time on the healing path. I love to read. Books, websites, blogs, and newspapers were all chosen by me. There were days when I found myself reading three books at one time as well as times when no books were in my hands. In this post, I will share some of my favorites as well as a bit of my life during these months. Here are titles of several books which I recommend. “Same Time, Next Week: True Stories of Working Through Mental Illness” --  Lee Gutkind  (The title is self-explanatory. The strength, courage, and the realities of the situations woven throughout the stories make the book worth reading.) “The Broken Girls” – Simone St. James (pure entertainment of a suspense novel with a tad of historical fiction) “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” – Dalai Lama ...
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 ...
rediscovering childhood passion

REDISCOVERING a CHILDHOOD PASSION

REDISCOVERING a CHILDHOOD PASSION   Reading was a childhood passion of mine. It was an inexpensive form of entertainment and a way to escape the world of abuse. I read almost any book I could find in my house. As the youngest child in the family, many books were over my head. It did not stop me from reading them! My sister, Linda, belonged to a book club. I enjoyed reading international cookbooks and the classics. Biographies and fiction enthralled me. Years later, I sought out the classics to read them with an adult perspective and understanding. Career counselors and life coaches often ask a client what was his or her childhood passion. What activity did you enjoy as a child? The career counselor or life coach may wonder if a childhood passion might hold a key to a possible career. In my case, reading lends itself to knowledge, insight and enjoyment. I have not found a career of reading! My mother valued reading and education. She was an avid reader who kept a list of all the books she read over the decades. I have many memories of her trying to catch up on a weeks’ worth of newspapers ...
spiritual sweet spot

SPIRITUAL SWEET SPOT

SPIRITUAL SWEET SPOT   When is the last time you felt a connection with someone on a deep, ethereal level – on an interior heart level – spiritual as some choose to label it? I like the term spiritual sweet spot. Take a moment, if time allows … Breathe … naturally … relax … Center yourself. Think of a spiritual sweet spot. Close your eyes, if it helps. Breathe … just be ... If you recalled a memory of connection with a person on that deep level, how did you feel as you remembered? How do you feel now? In the case where nothing came to mind or thoughts would not quiet, no worries. Try it another time, if you desire. I experienced a spiritual sweet spot recently. One of the qualities of a spiritual sweet spot is that it usually occurs without warning. One normally cannot create the spiritual sweet spot or forecast it. Part of my working landscape includes a job at a coffee shop. This job gives me the opportunity for connection with coworkers and customers of various ages. I like my customers and the feeling is mutual. The coffee shop is quite busy so my conversations ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
synchronicity

SYNCHRONICITY: MOMENTS to PONDER

SYNCHRONICITY: MOMENTS to PONDER   Synchronicity offers us moments to ponder. Synchronicity is defined in the Webster Dictionary as: the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung. A few links that may be of interest to you on this subject are: http://www.voidspace.org.uk/psychology/jung_synchronicity.shtml  “Jung and Synchronicity – The Mystery of Chance” http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_synchronicity03.htm  “The Philosophical Concept of Synchronicity” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX_nMwYa-nw  “Carl Jung – Synchronicity” Recently an old childhood friend had been in my thoughts for a few months. Reminders of her and our friendship kept popping into my mind. I used Google to find her. One day, I sent her an e-mail. She responded immediately. Later that week, we connected twice via telephone. We had lost touch somewhere around 2000. There was much to share between two old friends. I told her my story … of the abuse in my past (in both my childhood and my marriage) … of becoming a protective parent to protect my daughter … of my trial and ...