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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Brene' Brown and Vulnerability

This is a really good talk on vulnerability and why it is at the core of what we (all of us who are trying to find ourselves, who are in therapy, who are dealing with life from a point of view of reality) struggle with.
Brene' Brown on Vulnerability

Especially intereresting to me was the part about numbing. We can't numb out the pain without also numbing out the joy. That's the crux of it. If you have twenty minutes, this Brene' Brown is very funny and serious and has a message I believe we all need to hear (a few times).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


In the girl’s bathroom
With the lock in place
Excitement belies the tragic

Rescued from a puddle
Smudged, stained and streaked
Damaged, but made of magic

In large, round letters
Another girl’s name
Things rarely go as planned

With eyes closed tight
Imagine the right name
Blue on white, in a careful hand

Under the sticky flap
Cartoon princess waves
A glorious pink and white dream

Icon of acceptance
You are invited!
Throat aches a private scream

One more exclamation
I hope you can come!
Inside ricochets Not you!

Shred the envelope
Deep scratches in skin
Reinventing what is true

The evidence gone
Re-pocket the prize
And unlock the bathroom door

While deceitful mirrors
Reflect a standard child
Fears and flaws stand on the tile floor

It's a part of childhood abuse and neglect that often goes unseen, or at least unmentioned. When things are so wrong at home, it's as if there is a mark left on us that everyone can see. We are different. We are separate. We are not accepted by our peers, not included in the normal rights of passage and made to feel even more alone.

The shyness and introverted behavior we exhibit labels us as different. Those we meet sense this and their reaction is to back off, at the least - or to add to the harm with further abuse in the form of teasing, mocking and bullying. In turn, this reaction from others reinforces the notion that the flaw is within us - that we are the ones who were at fault all along.

It isn't true. It was never true. I was not flawed and deserving of abuse, and neither were you. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Smoother Ground

There are as many roads to Spirit as there are souls to walk them.

When I first began this journey to self, I was so confused. I was unsure where or how or even if I should begin. Then, I reached a point in my life where the pain of living was worse than the fear of diving into it. I gritted my teeth and made a decision that I was going to try to figure out why I was so unhappy.

The key seemed to be somewhere in my childhood, which pointed me towards therapy, but I doubted there was much hope in that realm. I knew myself better than they ever could, right? What could they possibly tell me that I didn’t already know?

Those questions make me smile now, the way a mother might smile at a toddler who is trying to fit a square puzzle piece into a star-shaped hole. Hindsight sheds a completely different light on everything.

In May of 2007, when I first resigned myself to the fact that I could not find my way alone, I sifted through names of therapists in the phone book and on line, wondering how to choose. It felt so entirely random, like spinning blindly round and round and then stumbling forward onto whatever path happened to be in front of me.

The path turned out to be dark, steep, and uneven. I stumbled often and hit the ground hard. Even though I tried to grab onto anything within reach, I was unable to see the one who was always there, ready to catch me. The word lost is so fitting. I felt utterly and hopelessly lost. Often I had no idea there was a path at all as I crawled through the muck of memory, the pain of the past, and all the ugly and shameful secrets I’d kept even from myself.

My life is so different now. The path I’m on is warm and well lit, and mostly smooth and safe. I can see for miles and the view is spectacular. Sometimes I falter and fall anyway, but I’m much quicker at finding the hand that is always there to help me up. I tend to the scrapes and bruises, and I cry and shout if I need to, and then I get up and look around me, remembering who I am.

It’s most amazing to look back. When I search that path behind me, I see that nothing was really random or left to chance, and I was never really on my own, at all. Every step and stumble was waiting for me, planned with care to bring me to this time and place, where I’m meant to be.

And also, when I look back, I see some very sad and angry people who are still lost. My parents wander a darkened path. It will never make sense to me because that is not part of my journey. I can’t walk it for them as much as they would like me to. With care, I can give them what I have to give but I will never let them drag me away from my path for very long, again.

Sometimes I have hope, even for them. Maybe they will notice how bright and balmy it is here where I am. Maybe a little of this light will filter through and show them where to safely take a step and illuminate the hand that is there, always there, to help them up from the depths into which they’ve fallen.

Even if that is not how it happens, what we all go through is eventually going to lead us to the place we're meant to be. That makes the stumbles less terrifying, the ground less hard and rocky, the getting up so much easier, and the walk itself wondrous and joyful - which is more than I ever imagined possible.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

More on Unconditional Love and Boundaries

Ilene Wolf's website, HEAL (Healing Emotionally Abused Lives) is one I check in with from time to time. Ilene, a survivor of emotional abuse, calls herself a writer/teacher/activist. Besides those she helps online, Ilene has helped a lot of people in the area where she lives through "care circles" which she runs, public speaking and personal life-coaching. Her insights have been helpful to me on more than one occasion as I’ve processed things from my past.

Recently, a discussion she had posted in the “Howl” (which is her blog at HEAL) was about unconditional love and boundaries. These are concepts I’ve been trying to understand and redefining for some time.

In the week before I wrote this blog entry (which shows some of the growth I attained about boundaries) I read what Ilene had to say about unconditional love.

She said:
Many times, when we’re connected with someone, be that someone a parent, a child, a sibling, a spouse, a friend, or some other relationship, we may look at a person’s behavior and say something like:

I don’t like or approve of the behavior but I still (unconditionally) love the person.

Given that pronouncement, we can proceed with taking actions that can demonstrate love for the person while simultaneously maintaining appropriate and healthy personal boundaries.

In some cases, this may mean taking actions that may “appear” as being “harsh” towards the badly
behaved person. In other cases it may mean expanding the physical or emotional “distance” between yourself and the badly behaved person. You can do these things while still loving the badly behaved person unconditionally.
I read this and thought, how on earth can you call it unconditional love if you have to sometimes distance yourself from a person?

I posted this question:
If you take the love away, even briefly, that doesn't sound unconditional... If you have to set specific boundaries around the relationship - that is a condition, isn't it?
It made sense to me at the time, but I believe I've found the flaw in my logic.

There were a few responses to my question, but one – posted by another reader at HEAL - really helped me visualize the concept of unconditional love. Maybe it was taking the human element out of it that made it so clear, or maybe it was just having a good concrete example to which I could relate. I thought her answer might be helpful to others, so I asked if she minded me using it here in my blog. Since she had no objection, here is what she said:

I greatly enjoy ice cream. But I know that I'm not going to have just a little and that is bad for my goal of keeping in shape and healthy. But do I still "love" ice cream "unconditionally"? Yes, of course. It is just that I have learned over time that I am better off without it around. And, I have also learned there are other foods that I can enjoy sensibly and/or are healthy for me
See, the flaw in my logic lay in my definition of love. Love isn’t about spending time with someone, holding their hand, or putting up with their crap… unconditional love simply means that even if you can never be around the person you still accept them for who they are. C called it "accepting their Being-ness."

Sounds simple enough, right? Haha, sure...

I am moving towards a kind of acceptance of my parents that is different from what I've experienced in the past. I don’t have to be with them or do the things they want me to be or put up with their crap. I just have to accept that they are who they are, and then I have the option to set boundaries around behaviors that don't suit me.

I'm still working on writing out exactly what those boundaries will look like, but the world has opened up so much around it. I see options I didn’t see before, possibilities I couldn’t comprehend, and I have hope that I will (this time) be successful in setting healthy boundaries with my parents when they return from Florida in the spring.

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.