************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last year, after I incorporated the first set of lost memories from my childhood, I did not feel relief, nor did I have a sense of accomplishment. Instead, I had a strong sense that this was only the beginning.

This image came into my head, and to me it seemed to illustrate a feeling that I was just waiting to drown in all that was coming my way.

When my eleven-year-old daughter saw this drawing, she said, "The girl will float up to the top, and when it gets full, she'll swim out."

I do believe she's right.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What Integration Means to Me

Once again, I'm deleting the text that I will be using in my memoir. I've left the image and the comments
~Shen 2-21-12

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An Awareness of the Grace of God

One of my odd quirks is that I have a very hard time understanding metaphors or allegorical speech. I know it's odd. I create metaphors all the time in my writing and so some people find this surprising. 
Because of my concrete view of the world, I have a hard time knowing what is meant by simple "old sayings" like:

A rolling stone gathers no moss (well, it couldn't possibly while it was moving, but, it can't roll forever, and eventually, when it stops, moss might grow on it... right?)

Don't cry over spilled milk (it’s only milk, why would I cry, unless it was the only milk I had and I had a hungry child, and then we both might cry...?)

Don’t burn your bridges behind you (well, no, that would be stupid. What if I wanted to go back? But if the bridge was dangerous, maybe there's a way around…?)

You get the idea. For some reason it seems to me that people are purposely saying something other than what they are trying to say, and then everyone but me seems to get know what it's supposed to mean.

So, I have trouble with a lot of what I read, and it seems to be especially true when I read books on religion, philosophy, and spirituality. The language sounds pretty and deep and intriguing, but I don’t know what they are trying to say.

Recently, someone I admire gave me a book called “Practicing the Presence”, by Joel S. Goldsmith. She suggested that I read it one paragraph at a time, and meditate on each paragraph until I understood it.

Today I read the first two paragraphs (they were quite short). I read them both about a dozen times. I thought deeply about each word, phrase, and sentence for quite a while.

I pulled it out again, about an hour ago, hoping that some meaning would have seeped into my brain, but if it did, it was like water running through a sieve. (See, I can come up with a metaphor and likely you know what I mean. If I look at it too closely, I wonder how thoughts could be water, and where they would go if they ran through my mind and out again... but that's beside the point.)

So, I spent the last hour deciphering the words and rewriting what I think it means in a way that make sense to me.

Here are the original words from the book:

The secret of harmonious living is the development of spiritual consciousness. In that consciousness, fear and anxiety disappear, and life becomes meaningful with fulfillment as its keynote.
The degree of spiritual consciousness which we attain can be measured by the extent to which we relinquish our dependence on the external world of form, and place our faith and confidence in something greater than ourselves, in the Infinite Invisible, which can surmount any and every obstacle. It is an awareness of the grace of God.
Here is how I broke it down:

The secret of (What I am searching for/trying to understand)

harmonious living (feeling like I am living the life I want to live/knowing that I am exactly where I should be)

is the development of (develop/grow)

spiritual consciousness. (a connection to God.)

In that consciousness, (When I feel connected to God,)

fear and anxiety disappear, and life

becomes meaningful (feels worthwhile)

with fulfillment (I had to look this up because I didn’t have a clear idea of what was meant by fulfillment in this context)

Fulfillment: a feeling of satisfaction at having achieved your desires
• the act of consummating something (a desire or promise etc)

fulfilling - Which causes fulfillment; emotionally or artistically satisfying

with fulfillment (hope/contentment/satisfaction)

as its keynote. (at my center)

The degree of spiritual consciousness which we attain (My closeness to God)

can be measured by

the extent to which we relinquish our dependence (how much I can let go of)

on the external world of form, (the physical world)

and place our faith and confidence in (and trust)

something greater than ourselves, in the Infinite Invisible, (God)

which can surmount any and every obstacle. (to take me down the path I am meant to be on.)

It is an awareness of the grace of God. (Again, this phrase – the Grace of God – I had heard numerous times but still was not sure what it really meant.)

From wikipedia: The New Testament word that is usually translated "grace" is in Greek charis (χαρις). which literally means "that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness".
From a website about faith: When we speak of God's grace, we mean all the good gifts we enjoy freely in life. There are so many. We could spend a lifetime celebrating them: blackberries, buttercups, moonlight, salamanders, etc. A more summary approach is to affirm that life itself is the fundamental gift, with all its delights. For us, the gift of life includes the wondrous gift of being human, finding ourselves plopped down in the midst of the larger gift of creation. That is the bedrock of grace—creation, life, human being. As humans, we are given a unique place in the created order. The creation stories in Genesis are ways of celebrating this original grace. In the stories, God pronounces all creation, including humankind, very good, that is, full of grace.

It (my connection to God)

is an awareness (is knowing/trusting)

of the Grace of God (the gifts God has for me)

And this is my final interpretation of the passage:

The way to be who I am meant to be is to grow in my connection to God. When I feel connected to God, fear and anxiety disappear, and life feels worthwhile. When I feel connected to God, hope, contentment and satisfaction are at my center. My closeness to God can be measured by how much of the physical world I can turn over to God and how much I can trust God to take me down the path I am meant to be on. If I trust in God I will receive the gifts he has for me. I will find my true path and feel peace in knowing that I am exactly where I need to be.

I put this all here because I am hoping that some of you can tell me if this feels right? I still can’t seem to look at what was written in that book and read it to mean what I wrote… so did I embellish and invent what I wrote or is that what others would also find in these two paragraphs?

Friday, July 17, 2009

What is Failure?

Yesterday, someone asked me to think about the word "failure." She told me to notice how much I use it to refer to my own life, both out loud and in thoughts. I realize that I do, in fact, use that word quite often. I seem to dictate to myself that I am a failure every time I can't do something perfectly, no matter how many things I am doing well.

I subscribe to a daily online meditation called "Today's Gift." This morning, the meditation was fittingly about failure. Here it is:

What's the difference between success and failure? Ideal conditions? Half again as much effort? Twice the talent? Ten times "the breaks"? Or is it simply that some people have what it takes and some people don't?

Vince Lombardi, the football coach who brought the Green Bay Packers from fifteen losing seasons to successive world championships, thought success was a matter of inches. A bit more concentration, one extra push in practice, a consistent second effort for a tiny additional gain. He didn't ask his players to be something other than they were - he asked them to improve their best an inch at a time. He knew inches add up, in life as in sports.

In life as in football, it is often the little things that count: going to meetings when we feel like staying home, or speaking our minds, no matter how insignificant our opinion may seem. When we feel like simply hiding - inches make the difference.

Today, I will be aware that I am a champion in the making. I may not make a complete turnaround today, but I will make progress.

So, what are your thoughts? What constitutes success? How can one know when it is really failure, and when is it just self-abuse?

Monday, July 13, 2009


I had a remarkable session with my therapist this afternoon. I needed it. Yesterday was a lost day. I was in and out of myself all day, and it felt like the world was closing in.

A lot of my anxiety was being triggered by my therapist leaving town. It isn't the first time she's left town since I've been seeing her. It isn't the first time I've totally freaked out about it, either, but I think she and I both thought that I was in good enough shape that I wouldn't havesuch a tremendous melt-down this time.

So along with the anxiety, I felt like a complete failure all day because I wasn't able to pull myself out of the downward spiral. Everyone I talked to was telling me I needed to be more self-sufficient, that I couldn't always be dependent on someone else. Every time I heard that I felt more anxious, more like a failure and steadily grew more angry.

Can't they see that I am more self sufficient?
Does anyone realize that it is really hard all the time and that ninety percent of the time I am doing it on my own??

I don't know what I wanted as I wandered from one source to another looking for comfort, yesterday. What can anyone else do to pull me out of that hole? I can say that the one thing that I found the most reassuring was when I talked to a friend on a support site and told her how I was feeling. I said I was doing it a lot, but I just couldn't do it all the time.

She said, "I understand that. Nobody can do it all the time."

I think my anxiety level dropped about fifty percent just to hear someone tell me that I really was not expected to do it on my own all the time.

Thanks to everyone who was around for me yesterday. It meant a lot.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Daddy's Girl

There are things that never were
Things I'll never see
How do I forgive the things
That can never be?

The Shadow of That Which Never Was

Gains in Therapy

After I sent the first Alternate Hand Writing I'd done to my therapist, I regretted it. It seemed too strange, too “crazy” and I was afraid she would judge me in some way. This has been a common fear throughout therapy. I was judged so relentlessly growing up, that it’s hard to remember that my therapist has never judged me at all.

As I fretted over what her response to my left/right writing would be, a memory popped into my head out of nowhere. It wasn't a new memory, but for some reason it seemed to have a lot of new emotion attached to it. Maybe it's because I didn't acknowledge my feelings much, as a child. I let them build to the breaking point and the, often, I dissociated from my life. Emotions were a pretty foreign thing to me. Mostly, I didn't acknowledge my feelings at all until I reached the breaking point, and then I often dissociated.

But in that moment so many years later, after doing the left/right writing, I felt anger, indignation, sadness, and resentment all pounding in my head, together. I had to keep reminding myself that this was progress. It sure wasn't fun and it would have been easier to just avoid them in one of the myriad of tried-and-true distractions I'd developed in my life.
But I didn't.

The image is of the Resources, the protective side of me, the nurturing side of me and my "Spiritual Core Self" as described in the DNMS process. The Resourses are holding the two dissociated parts that I felt inside, that day, They are (I am) keeping them (me) safe.

At the same time, it felt as if the Resourses were keeping "me" (the part of me that most often feels like me) safe from the dissociated parts. It was like setting a boundary with my own memories and feelings, so that I could put the work on hold until my next appointment with my therapist.

This is something that has been a real struggle for me - trying to work on things when it is time to work and put them aside when it isn't. And this is a small bit of encouragement that I will not always have to wallow helplessly in every feeling that emerges.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Images and Tools

A Brief Reprieve

For more than a week after Father’s Day, 2008, I had the longest string of good days I had experienced in years. We got two puppies, that week, I spent a lot of time with my children, and I felt generally happy and full of energy. My journal entries were all positive and incredulous, with an underlying fear that the fall would come.

Back to Work

The big drop in mood did indeed come, and a rush of reactive, memory-induced anxiety came along with it. I say memory-induced not because I remembered something specific, but because I was aware that the feelings I was experiencing were not about anything that was currently happening in my life. I knew that they were driven by things from my past.

This understanding was, in itself, a big step in the right direction. In the past I had always viewed my moodswings as something beyond my control - something that happened to me sometimes, often out-of-the-blue, for no apparent reason. Understanding that these mood swings were caused by something felt like hope because it meant I might be able to find the cause and be in control of my life in a whole new way.

One tool I've used a number of times to help me figure out what part of my past is triggering my present anxiety is “Alternate Hand Writing”. Briefly, the idea is to talk to the part-of-self that is being triggered, whether it is a dissociated part or just a set of memories from the past.

With the dominant hand (for me this is my right hand), I ask questions. The questions are directed at the triggered part-of-self as if this was a separate person. With the non-dominant hand (my left hand) I answer the questions.

Every time I've tried this, I would have a nagging doubt in the back of my mind as to whether any answer to my questions would come. I needn't have worried. Almost always, the answer popped into my head soon after I switched the pen to my left hand. It felt almost mystical or magical, the answers almost seeming to write themselves.

This is a tool anyone can use, any time. It can help you identify what you're feeling and why. I've included examples in my memoir, "Through the Tiger's Door".

Friday, July 3, 2009

More Images

I constantly question whether or not I'm right about my past.
Maybe I'm the one who doesn't remember?  
Maybe I'm wrong?

These are reasons sent to me by my therapist as to why I should trust my own feelings about my parents:

Your children have trouble being around them.
Your husband sees their dysfunction.
Your siblings are not running to spend lots of time with them.......
And that is only as your parents are older and less capable of creating harm.

This drawing is meant to represent the boundary between me and my father. The little child is the wounded part of me that doesn't feel safe around him. In the center are my DNMS Resources - the adult parts of me. There is also a "me" watching from the side, to make sure everything is going okay. She is the one that will determine if something is not the way it should be and take action. The child can trust her to set a boundary when she begins to feel overwhelmed and reactive.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Opening the Door to Me

As my life becomes more my own, I find myself creating much more hopeful images. Here are a few I created during the Summer of 2008.

The comments below are about both the images here, and the text I've deleted (2-21-12) as I continue to write my memoir.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And the Award Goes To...

As promised, I am passing on the award that I won yesterday.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite blogs, all of which I have recently discovered and all of which completely deserve the "One Lovely Blog" award!






In accepting yesterday's award, I am also awarded the pleasure of passing it on to a few others. Also, use this link to visit Mountainmama's blog when you have the chance. 

Congratulations to all the recipients! I hope you have as much fun with it as I did.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.