Going towards and welcoming in difficult thoughts and feelings.

Over the long period I had in isolation following the end of my marriage and the following head injury I used to hear an inner voice that came from inner guidance saying over and over : ‘what you resist, persists’. It was on my mind reading through some of Russell Harris’s book The Happiness Trap today and also after a fellow blogger recently replied to a comment I left on his blog which dealt with opening up to others and sharing about his young self’s struggle with insecurity.

In AA I was taught to look into myself. Sadly I never got a sponsor and the person I shared with a lot had avoidance issues, that only came to light a long way down the track but I was grateful at one point to be introduced to a form of calm abiding meditation which is a little similar to techniques Harris promotes in his book which involves opening up space to allow difficult feelings and thoughts in while just noticing them without attaching..

A moment ago I read through some writing in the book Calming The Emotional Storm by Sheri Van Dijk where she talks of how this practice can often be very difficult for people with OCD who suffer intrusive thoughts they cannot seem to control. People with OCD thinking tend to judge themselves for their thoughts and much of Sheri’s book concerns learning how not to judge thoughts and feelings as well as other people as good and bad, to quote her:

Remember the more you try to resist something or push it away, the stronger it will get, so with obsessive thoughts the more you try to stop thinking about them, the more you’ll keep thinking them.

Instead she advises as Harris does to just accept that the thought is there without pushing it a way… Harris actually recommends using a process of expansion where by you let a painful sensation or thought expand and give it space which then allows it to rise up fully and dissipate. This he believes is more workable than positive affirmations which often our minds just end up refuting.

Sadly, many of us tend to make value judgments and many of us struggle with unwanted thoughts and feelings.. It is a revelation to think that allowing them these to be and accepting them without attaching too much could help us, but it seems to. I have been using this practice this afternoon and it has borne good fruit. I realise lately how much I have made things harder for myself with struggling against realities and battling with the sensations in my body… trying to fight them only ends up hurting me more, it then makes me crabby and more likely to lash out at someone. There is another way.. which involves opening our heart and mind just to allow the thoughts and feelings in, as we watch them come and go as they are bound to do, for such is the nature of the human mind.

Fall and rise

Thoughts come and go

I watch them rise

Following the breath

It is no surprise

They ebb and flow

Sometimes a feeling comes

With the tide

Centering within

I recognise it may be

Loneliness

With the thought

That no one cares

Just a thought

And these tears

If I just allow myself

To ride the breath

All of these feelings come and go

Just like the breath

Just like the tide

And I am the observer

Standing on the shore of my mind

Watching the ocean

Fall and rise

Feeling the love that washes in

With the welcoming

And then letting go

Of thoughts and feelings

Of loneliness

An angel smiled

An angel smiled at me today

There were tears in my eyes

An ocean brimming inside

A wave I rode to reach your shore

Stars falling through heaven

As I realised

The truth of the way

You adored

Me

Oh precious symmetry

You are my welcome place

Freeing as an ocean breeze

My longing

And the arriving

Of a devotion that leaves me

Weak at the knees

An answer to the silent sadness

I carried over all of these years

My final reprieve

My starlight

My soul song

My sacred moonbeam

The Universe’s response

To my heart’s deepest prayer

Spoken in earnest at night fall

Witnessed by angels

The ancestral wave ; dusk reflections

Sometimes I hear my ancestors on the breeze. I had one such moment at the park down by the lake today after doing a reading on the 11th step (conscious contact with higher power). It was then a magpie alighted on the table only a few feet away and looked me straight in the eyes..

At times like these I recognise my kinship and feel myself to be a shaman of kinds not to make myself more than I am but that gap between the worlds, of liminal space, well sometimes it just opens up to me before the inner critic has dissed it with some kind of admonishment and I feel things or sense things or energies around me… as open my conscious awareness to the gap opening up between the two worlds.

Then there is the also bittersweet loneliness of this time of night when I am aware of others coming home to family, parents, husbands, wives or lovers and I think of the ancestral information my second cousin was given many years about how fraught this time of night was when my GG granddad used to come home drunk… I think of how my own marriage dissolved as demons called me home and I had this great sense of darkness wash around me when the pull back happened all around the time of the Saturn Pluto opposition in 2011 and of how I went on to suffer spinning attacks at this time of night for years and years and years which felt deeply associated with the spiral DNA helix…

I think of battles with my living sis and how I sometimes cast her as the villain.. sure she has been insensitive at times to my feelings, calling me the tissue queen and naughty little tantrum thrower but I am a 60’s not a 50’s baby and I did not like to tow the line. As Mum’s favorite my sister bonded with her in a more adult way which is complex for my sis now she is passed… Later in life we both had such different bonds with Mum and in the end, as I got sober and started to work through feelings Mum opened up even more and even cried with me at times about Nana’s hardness and unavailability and I began to understand the resonances.. Knowing all of this now does make it a bit easier to see the loneliness as perhaps something essential that may possibly only be temporary for my life is far from over at 58 years of age (fingers crossed!)

Who knows if I am not the villain either from someone else’s perspective (possibly my dogs who got in trouble for digging up the ivy out back to bury a bone earlier today.) I have a shadow and a dark side I know it. Reading some traits of bi polar today I resonated with a few of them… the need to go go to at times, and to suffer crying bouts, to doubt one’s value and worth, to have difficulty modulating impulses and sleep and wake patterns, that said such are the traits associated with Complex PTSD which makes me feel am I deluded in feeling a tad ‘shamanic’ at times?

Like it or not we are dual beings in a black and white universe, not that its the universe that ascribes to monocrome rather the powers that be that much prefer to draw clear lines in the sand that the incoming tide will surely erase every single time. So I will be happy tonight to call myself a mystic dreamer who feels more at home in reverie and imaginal space at times and in the end could not ‘cut’ it in the outside world.

To this day I see myself still creating my own reality while trying my level best to understand that of others, but lately it seems more and more apparent to me that perception is open to multiple levels of morphing akin to what goggles you are wearing and that there are seasons of the soul that reason will never in a trillion years begin to fully encompass the depth and complexity of, nor understand.

And so it is at night I turn to embrace and swim in the soup of ancestral waves as they wash over, longing for the reality of a human body to share a cosy night in with.. Seems like years since I felt the touch of a man’s skin on mine and felt that deliciousness of being enfolded in a loving embrace turning to find the reflection of my soul in another being’s eyes (other than those of my trusty dog Jazzie). Anyway for what its worth here is a run of consciousness outpouring as I wait for sweet potato to bake. Together or alone I am still far more grounded in my soul than I was a few years ago.. Does that rhyme?? Maybe

Where ever you are.I hope you are swimming too.. happy Thursday!

Poetry: She Went Away

Just beautiful ❤

RecoveryWise

The angel is gone
she went away
will she return
again some day?

Verse rang true
touched my heart
lady grace right
from the start.

Penned and painted
such loveliness
her impressions of
life I do miss.

She kept me glad
and full of glee
the love has gone
with her poetry.

But still I hear
her gentle sighs
they whisper through
the darkened skies.

The angel has gone
she went away
I hope she returns
to me some day.

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Worries : afternoon update

I spoke to my sister’s oldest son today to see how he was faring in the face of all Sue is going through.. It was good to touch base but later I worried for my sister as she mixed up key facts in the wake of this latest ECT.. such as that he and his oldest son visited her last weekend and were not at the snow as she told me.. she also forgot things that happened on Saturday when I visited..

I feel my sister has already lost so many memories my fears are now for dementia. but that is me.. I am not going to nurture worry, I try to keep an open mind but these thoughts run over my mind.

Speaking to him I realise we all have a different take on how to cope.. His advice was not to help at all with clothes and to change the subject.. she has enough clothes he said. My Al Anon program encourages me to keep the focus on me not my sister and I do have a higher power to give these worries to. I realised too today, that at times I need to just go visit and be with her and not ‘try’, that thing a friend told me her sponsor said a few weeks ago comes to mind. it was to trust more and to try less. That said in a technological universe in which medicine looks more to science than to the soul I sometimes wonder if we do place our trust in the right things.

For myself today has been a good day.. I got out into nature twice, bought myself two lovely chinese ceramic dishes for meals from the Chinese Art Shop and picked up some clothes I got altered just after Mum died.. those were sitting there for nearly 3 years but anyway, they didn’t seem concerned and one is a gorgeous top with Unicorn on it that I can wear in summer (photo to follow). The weather is warming up so its timely to have those now.

I have written today and found links to some great websites on breath work and ancestral trauma and also kept on top of the garden.. Life seems to be opening up for me, but I still worry for my sister. Getting upset I could not help with the tops seems so trivial now.. but I do feel better for not running around all over the place. I also feel grateful that over the past 48 hours I could reach out to two nephews, that would not have possible for me even one year ago. Today brought me so many blessings. After years of suicidal depression I feel so grateful to be alive.

Closer to love

We are getting

Closer to love

To all our wounded hearts

Were dreaming of

And missing in the silence

Of a thousand years buried under

As we wrestled with an ache

That caused our hearts to break

Over and over and over again

But this was the path of

Opening

Yes

Even this hungering

Of generations past

Contained the longing of all we could

Manifest now

Over the ages our cells gathered

This burden

As it rose within us

Society’s mind became closed to

Depth

Sky Gods ruled

While Earth our mother

She grieved

But those of us who are listening

With our ears to the ground

Of our being

Now begin

To speak the truth

We who are part of the shedding

Involved in a becoming

Are being shown the way

Our hearts can move

Closer and closer

To love

The power of presence : some thoughts

Sometimes the power of simply being present may give us more than a thousand words or attempts to ‘help’ that are really just frantic ways of running. It does not seem easy for many of us to be truly present with each other a lot of the time, let alone with ourselves and in PTSD when the fear/flight/fight system is activated the last thing we think to do is attend to the breath.. At such times for many of us who nearly did it can feel like we are truly dying…..

Being present with myself and my own breath is taking time.. Being present with my sister just for a couple of hours a week works better when there is not a lot said…and when I am not running around trying to fix something unfixable. Lately I feel even more love available in moments of presence and even gentle activity in nature.. I am noticing lately as I become more mindful that I tend to get more stressed when I am trying to clean or control my environment.. doing that and panicking comes as second nature as it is what I witnessed in childhood. Letting that pattern go and easing up on myself with the punishing self talk is taking time, seeing when the perfectionism overruns me and makes it hard to breathe even longer but it is happening thankfully.

My breath was arrested so many times (especially following the head trauma and taking on so much by going overseas alone in the aftermath of that fight with my Mum and sister) I got to the point I was paralysed nearly every day (and I chose to react that way. the didn’t force me to go, just made it uncomfortable for me to be grieving when all that emerged 11 years into sobriety)….Gaining effective insight and applying it diligently in action in regards to my breath and pacing myself sure takes time.

To breathe is to live

I often feel my breathing arrest.. At such times its a trigger for being trapped in the car with my lung punctured by a rib having fluid seep in while at the same time a paramedic tries to cover my face with a mask from behind. Breathing can also be arrested in grief as we adjust to the shock.. Some of us literally go on ‘holding our breath’ for years!

The following quotes are written by Dr Ariella Schwartz and are taken from her Facebook Page and linked article. They really spoke to me.. When breathe is gone so is life and the powerful ‘arrest’ Covid causes speaks to me of the air being frozen in someway as Saturn entered the Air sign Aquarius earlier in the year.

To breathe is to live. Grief is often felt as a heavy weight in the chest. We cannot take for granted the health of our body, our sense of safety in the world, of the cleanliness of our air. These precious gifts are our birthright; yet, they need to be protected. To breathe fully in the midst of intense times is an act of courage.

“Grief is profoundly raw and, at its core, a form of social communication. Consciously making space for grief is essential if we are to heal our collective wounds. When attending to each other’s grief, it is important to remember that grief needs presence. Nothing more. It is not necessary to say the “right” thing because there is no “right” thing to say. It is not necessary to have the answer because sometimes there are no answers. It is important to simply let each other know that we are there and that we are not afraid. Sometimes this involves being there and sitting in silence, breathing, or offering a nod of reassurance. Overall, being with someone in grief is about holding an outer container so that the person in grief can go on the inward journey needed during this vulnerable time. Some days you might be receiving support, and other days you might be giving support to another. However, so long as we all play our part in this exchange, we can facilitate an interconnected web of community.”