From My Heart – In Gratitude

I’m very emotional today after receiving so much response to my last post, including two reblogs  I just felt the need to share my feelings here.

In that post I feel like a deep part of me expressed itself and others connected too because we all have the child deep inside, the deepest most authentic part of us which sometimes gets so buried, lost, confused and hidden as well as separated from deep feelings of joy, connection, wholeness, peace.

It is really sad to say but over time I got to be very ashamed of this part of myself. I felt like it was too young, too full of energy, too much to be in this life and that this part of me would overcome others too, and I guess at times that part when it started to unthaw sometimes expressed extreme feeling held under wraps for years which were too much for some but you know what I’ve realised? These feelings I had of being overwhelming are for me a deep imprint of how it felt for my Mum to deal with my energy as a small child.

My Mum was a fair deal older when I was born in the 60s.  I was a mistake in that the pregnancy wasn’t planned.  Deep down I don’t thing at that point in time Mum was much interested in being a Mum, she wanted to work and was frustrated at being at home.  For a long time I was left.   There was also long period where she would put me in a harness with a lead when we had to go out.

As I’ve shared somewhere else here, after my oldest sister died a year ago I found a lot of letters she had kept that Mum wrote to her after she married and moved overseas. At that stage I was only about 3 but the letters were full of my Mum not being able to spend time with me, with feeling overcome by my liveliness and with being surprised when in the light of attention given by other relatives I was actually less seeking of attention than I obviously was when she had so little time to spend with me.

I’ve had a long journey to come to terms with this fact, to understand that a long time ago my Mum, too had to put her little girl away and be a strong adult before she was really grown up. There just wasn’t anyone there to be with her at lonely moments, my Grandmother had to go out to work, it was during the depression in Australia following the First World War, and my Grandfather had passed away when my Mum was only 7. My Grandmother would leave my mother alone in the mornings and at night, she had to get herself dinner, and get up in the mornings, long after Nana had left to clean offices, get herself dressed and off school.

Often Mum played hooky and when she was in class if she wasn’t being abused by the Nun’s she was being pulled out of classes to clean the chapel. Mum developed cleaning issues, I can still remember feeling very stressed and anxious when the vacuum would come out and when things fell into mess or chaos she may fly off the handle at home. I got to be hypervigilant for the flaring nostrils which were a sign of her displeasure. Things may fly across the room including hairbrushes.

Recently my therapist said to me that perhaps for my Mum I represented chaos, a chaos that she needed to control. This left me with scars that have taken a long time to come to awareness within me. Inside me I still feel today the part of me that is very young but also very wise and loving, I have fear around expressing that young self, and I have needed to learn how to parent her on a better way than either I or my own mother was parented.

I am aware today of the many times I turned against that true self in me and kept her in prison in all kinds of ways. Yesterday’s reconnection with this part of me that I shared about wasn’t the first time I had connected with her so deeply but it was a very powerful connection.

As I write this blog I feel the child where she is living inside my body, I feel her hunger for life, the trapped energy that wants to release and dance and tell the truth but at times still can be judged within me for being too out of control. I think one of the things alcohol did for me was enable me to live out this part of myself and release the inhibitions and insecurities I carried, but unfortunately I had repressed so many other young, raw feelings, it also unleashed those too, but not in a way by which I could become aware.

I remember once years ago at the local dance club I used to frequent in my twenties making a really good friend who saw this child part of me as the most essential part of me. As I grew up I learned to be serious, to adapt and to hide this part of me that was so full of need, so full of love, so full of life. I learned to be ashamed of her and that strikes me as so very awful.

I’m feeling a huge outflow of sadness this morning but it’s a good kind of sadness and gratitude for the way that earlier blog connected for others. In the blogging world I guess 7 likes aren’t huge. And it’s not so much the likes but the sense that I have touched others and then their response has touched me deeply too, that a part of me was recognised and connected for others.

So this in one way is a post of gratitude as an outpouring of the happiness and positive emotion I feel for the responses that came back. Thank you for sharing your comments.  They mean the world to me.   A big hug to everyone out there in cyberspace who got it and supported my post with reblogs and who continue to inspire with their own writing and expression.

Entering the wound – Liberating the body’s truth

images (20)

I have been sharing a little about the craniosacral treatment I have been undergoing lately to help me unwind from a life time of trauma.   My body began to bear the impact from a young age of being in a family where feelings and needs were not noticed, mirrored, affirmed and attended to.

As the youngest child in a much older family that was geared towards achievement and success there was no time to spend with anyone much.  My creative solution was to turn inward, towards books and imaginary friends.  There was a fairly happy period between the ages of three and seven when our family moved next door to a family with two children around the same age as I.  I nearly lived at their place and finally had the siblings I longed for.  Sadly this was taken away soon.

At the age of seven we moved into a shell of a house in one of the more affluent streets of my home town that was being constructed and away from the cosier comfort of our little suburban home.   Mum and Dad were working hard and wanted to upgrade to a better environment.  Energetically it was empty, dead and cold a symptom of my family’s empty focus on things rather than relationships.   I see that home as the place where we all went finally into the dark. Dad never came out of that home alive.  It was an 88 house, the number of death, destruction and regeneration.

Throughout my childhood my parents were  preoccupied and involved, they showed a dismissive, jokey attitude to my needs, as if my needs made so sense.

This was highlighted this year when following my eldest sisters death some letters my mother wrote came to light.  My eldest sister Jude took me out of that environment from time to time.  I don’t remember being cuddled or hugged.  I remember longing for my Mum to stay home from work just one day when I was sick.  She would instead leave me with a plate of jatz crackers and cheese and the recorded version of the story of Peter and the Wolf.

I have never looked into the deeper psychological dynamics of that tale, but suffice to say it was a fairly scary and traumatising tale to leave a little girl alone with.  I remember one times having so longed for my mum’s attention I developed a stomach ache and a doctor was called in and I was given an enema.  I felt sick inside and although I did not have words for the feeling then – violated.  I now know that to have been a form of emotional abuse.  That realisation has taken some years.  My mother lacked the empathy to see into her daughters heart.

Just sharing this brings up inner voices of admonishment and castigation.  “You think you had it tough?”  Today it is important that I know how alone I felt.  What the true inner reality of it was. When I started to heal the real work began.  To have my emotional reality validated was a huge ask.  And often I went to the wrong people.

Learning who I could and could not ask for validation and empathy is, of course, one of the hardest issues to confront when we have been abused and are healing from narcissistic abuse.  We are used to not being understood or validated and as a result we question our own reality.  Also when the truths we have to tell and share in order to find freedom are confronting for others, especially the narcissistic abuser who sees nothing wrong with their actions or justifies them, its doubly hard,

Luckily the craniosacral approach for me allows the living felt, embedded experiences of my life to arise naturally to awareness in order to be connected to and understood.  Under the warmth of the therapists touch I am accessing the hurting places especially deep in my abdomen where abandonment traumas, imprints and memories are stored.  Tissues of our inner body, the fascia, tighten in response to trauma.  We don’t always feel this tightening but in my case, over many years of repression and struggle to express with the wrong people, it has led to a twisted condition that never allows me a full nights sleep and pulls at me in the day, affecting digestion and assimilation.  On some days the tearing has completely immobilised me.

Today in writing this blog I lost a portion of it, The was a painstaking period of typing whilst Worpress went into extreme slow mo.  I had been sharing about how under the touch of my therapists hands I was swept back with the cranial rhythm by 30 years (an entire Saturn cycle for the astrologically minded) to the first anniversary of my fathers death.  January 1986,   I am in Switzerland staying with a woman my friends and I met while travelling and partying in Greece.  We had gone to her place in Switzerland after being invited there, my friends hoping to find work, me following the thread of connections I had made at that time.  My friends eventually left me there to go back to Belgium.  I found a job working for a UK company based there  Early that year I fell pregnant following a one night stand.  I decided to terminate the pregnancy.  I felt ashamed and alone.  In Switzerland such a procedure was performed under general anaesthesia.

My friend had promised to collect me from the hospital.  After a hour of waiting for her she did not show.  I called to find her drunk at her local tavern.  “I’m not your fucking mother.” she screamed at me.  “Find your own way home.”.  Outside it was minus 5.  I made my way to the bus stop in the snow.  At home I crawled into my little bed, a single mattress on the floor, folded up inside myself.  Inside my womb the cold dark emptiness of hollowed out need mirrored by the cold outside.    It was just another or many secrets carried for years.  I am not sure if I was capable then even of tears.  Those tears came many years later.

I have just recalled that just over 10 years ago as part of my healing I wrote the baby who I called Freya a letter.   It speaks of somethings I did not recall today.

The blackest pain, the darkest night.  I had travelled to the UK a short time following Dad’s death and my partner Jim telling me he didn’t want to see me any more as Dad’s death was too hard.  I connected with him for a time overseas and he betrayed me a year before I fell pregnant with you, Freya.  Everything was unresolved – I was a fierce creative, suffering wounds I didn’t know consciously.  Onto a mad binge of drinking and sex.   After my time on the Greek Island Ios I tried to break away from that excessive party world and crowd and travelled alone through Spain, Italy and France  – returning to Lausanne only intending to pass through. 

Blind, unconscious I got caught up with Heidi.  Sue and Carmel left me in Switzerland just before Christmas and in January you were conceived in a night of passion but I was shamed for the encounter was with a friend of Heidi’s who was involved with another woman and this I did not know.    The termination took place in a Swiss hospital.  I have deep images of a white room, of coming around alone.  Heidi did not show.  There was snow on the ground.  I waited in a bus stop on the top of the hill.  I was very scared.  

Heidi cursed me when I got home.  “I’m not your fucking mother.”  She hated her own mother.  Her mother hatred fuelled her addiction.  I was drawn into her web by resonances between us.  She must have been an echo of my mother abandonment wound, the deep wound that fuelled my own addictive hunger, Freya,  I don’t want to imply I was a victim, but I was alone, unconscious of the roots of my own deep abandoment.   

I  slept on small single mattress, A few days following the procedure Jean Pierre, your father, brought around a single rose.  I was not home.    Writing these memories now it seems impossible that I could have borne the isolation of carrying this secret for so long.  I shared it only with Sue in a letter I wrote.  She to some degree expressed the loneliness and anguish that I split off.  I treated myself and allowed myself to be treated as a discarded thing that was not worthy of attention.  In the process you were conceived and then your life was sacrificed, Freya. 

I have remembered the pain and anguish of loosing you Freya.  I am reminded every month when my blood flows  At this time I remember it all.  That was 17 years ago this January.  I accept it now, I allow this grief a place. The grief got buried deep, but over these past few years it has begun to be grieved.  Like all of the griefs we suffer,  a portion remains and becomes the seeding of who we become.  You are always with me, the memory of you living inside me, if only briefly.  I won’t forget you or that part of my past, hard as it was.  Today I can even see some light in it.   If you had come to term, today you would be 17.   I could not care for you, darling, sweetheart.  I did not yet know how to love and care for myself. 

I have just retrieved that letter from my underwear draw where I keep it in a white mesh underwear bag,  It feels good to give it air.  To release it, to understand more the part of me that suffered such guilt over these things.  To realise it was all part of a far larger pattern than I could even see then, when I wrote it in 2003.  I can see today that having Freya could have been part of my healing, too.  But it was not the decision I could endure at that time.

One year after writing this letter, my marriage went into the fire.  I could not give my husband the child he longed for, had terminated another pregnancy which occurred less than a year after I got sober.  In unthawing I was suffering depression at times.  The depression followed a termination of  therapy in the UK that could bring me healing and understanding of the core of the narcissistic damage I suffered in my family.   But my journey was to lead me back to Australia to the cocoon that was the genesis of the wound, so that over 10 long years I could wrestle here with my demons and my angel could be birthed through the process that seeds new awareness.

My husband told me in 2003, not long after I wrote this letter, along with five others to the other aborted children  “I want back the happy girl I married, not this person I see in front of me now.”  It was a slap in the face but he spoke for his own need to erase a deeper truth about painful choices that wounded my capacity to connect deeply.

Within a year or two he left me and shortly found a less damaged partner who could eventually give him a child.  The ultimate hurt, he shared this with my mother many month before he told me.  Was he protecting me?  It must have been hard for him.  He could not hold me in my pain.  Over long years I have been no stranger to invalidated pain.

Maybe my need to heal, to feel my pain not only over this but over the loss of my father was too much of a mirror.  He had lost his own Dad to cancer at the same age as I.  He was suffering a similar depression (from unresolved feelings) when we moved back to his home town in Cambridge.  I now understand why.  It was all part of our journey.  I was to spend 10 more long years in the dark, bringing this all to consciousness.

This morning I awoke following a craniosacral session yesterday.  Miraculously my body after a week of severe twisting and contorting, settled.  The Sun crossed over my natal Pluto in the first house on Tuesday, awakening the imprints of Chiron Pluto, Saturn, Mars, Moon pattern laid down over 52 solar cycles.

The 35th anniversary of my car crash is very close at hand. I have had a wracking cough and my body has been throwing up a lot of gunk this week, purging me of the impacted secret and embedded substance that has choked and clogged me over these cocoon years.

I am aware of how much love it takes to heal.  And of how far I have travelled and of the gifts of sobriety which allows me to feel the truth of what I had to repress and struggled so painfully to truthfully feel and heal.

This morning I am grateful for the sunshine, for my little dog Jasper who has waited so patiently and is longing for the company of the dog park.  I am grateful that today I am not stuck in Post Traumatic freeze, that I can venture out and embrace the light, warmth, company and sunshine and connect with the present, not sucked down by the past.  Mostly I am grateful for the love that allows me to feel and to heal what has been buried.

Taking comfort from silence

Things have been inwardly and outwardly turbulent and tumultuous ever since the April eclipse. I lost my sister, reconnected with my nephews, had a falling out with my therapist, found two new counsellors, deepened connection with certain friends and made a move away from others, walked my puppy, made new connections at the park and cared for my home, cried some days, hibernated on the foggy peasouper ones (like today), revelled in the infrequent sunny ones,  lit the fire, read some lovely books and bought myself a new pair of  sheepskin boots and an electric blanket.

These have been the mundane aspects of my daily life and very precious to me when I reflect, that while caught up in them I have not always been aware of the preciousness of the fact I am alive on such a beautiful planet.  Today I am being reminded of the wonderful quality of gratitude. The warmth it bestows.  I am grateful for the days on which I can be grateful.  And also, what is emerging in me is the realisation that I am relishing moments in silence, when I can  just be with what is occurring.  Modern life seems to me these day so busy. There is much we can do, a hundred diversions, thousands of blogs to read and yet beyond all this human busyness and activity it occurs to me that the silent stillness of nature and the present moment is calling out to my soul to be heard, witnessed, reverenced and loved.  Today, I am feeling the deepening calling in my soul  of presence.

Its a bit of a paradox that here I am writing about presence, silence and stillness.  Often when I am with people and there is a lot of noise the words of this song come into my mind :  “Everybody’s talking at me, I can’t hear a word they’re saying, only the echoes of their mind”.   Perhaps I have been in deep grief and crying and someone asks me what the tears are about. At that moment I don’t want to say anything or be taken away from what is emerging in and through the vale of tears.  I long for the other person just to be able to acknowledge the feeling of what it is, beyond all of the words.

Possibly its a Neptune thing.  When people are talking I am not just listening with my ears to the worlds but listening with my heart and feeling in more deeply to the emotional subtext of what they are saying, into the energy of their expression.  It occurred yesterday when I was in a meeting and certain people were sharing from their experience, inside my body something was vibrating, attuning and responding and perhaps even amplifying that energy.  It may be a quality that I have always possessed and was not aware of before, perhaps part of being an empath.  At the moment I am more aware of this quality of receptivity and of how important it is for my soul to have times of quietness and stillness times when I move away from all the energies out there which form a sea that can infiltrate me and pull me in. I seek a dynamic balance of inward and outward and feel that struggle as it has played out over many years, especially as Saturn, planet of boundaries stations to move forward, three degrees from natal Neptune in the third.

In the middle of writing this, my puppy Jasper came up to me and looked at me with his gorgeous deep brown eyes.  I picked him up cuddled him and sang him a song which he liked I think. That experience was so beautiful to me, a gift beyond words  And somehow he tuned in to todays’ energy of quiet stillness, as he is now sitting quietly patiently by my side waiting for his walk that has been a long time coming.  I’m grateful today for an overcast peasouper with gentle rain which gives me the  permission to dwell inward, reflect and write, much as Jasper needs his exercise. Sharing such a day is such a sweet solitary pleasure, one I long for and which has not occurred over the past week.

And I am so grateful for Jasper.  The lovely one who does not search for an explanation for tears, who is happy to draw close to my side when I am sad and just be with me in the present moment, not asking for any explanations.

I remember getting really annoyed with a lady in a writer’s group of which I was a part who one day was trying to tell the group that people were superior to animals.  As Carolyn Baker writes in her essay on the wild self.

Every animal with whom I have developed a relationship . …has been a teacher.  Each has “spoken” to me in a different way, whether by lying beside me as I cried, warning me of impending danger, or just looking deeply into my eyes.  Similarly, animals I have encountered in the wilds of nature have instructed me, comforted me, warmed me, and enchanted me.

Enchantment, now there is a beautiful word.  I think I will leave you with it.

Bodies at rest, and in motion

imagesCABYQKJ0

I really enjoy the still quiet moments in life.  I think that is why first thing in the morning and dusk are two of my most favourite times of day. There is either a quietness and a stillness that is pregnant or the feeling of things winding down as we  move towards the close of the day and I find that time of dusk particularly poignant and special.  If I could have designed my life, perhaps the feeling is that I would have been most comfortable living inside a cocoon where it was warm and safe and loving.  My growing up years were not like this, so probably its what I was missing then that I yearn for now.  And sometimes it hard to face that so much has been left behind and I am living on my own with my lovely dog Jasper, who while writing that just came to say hello and remind me its time for an early morning walk an opportunity which will be lost if I continue to write this blog.

The truth is that following the ending of my marriage I did go into a retreat.  It was self imposed and I think in a way it was a reaction not only to the grief of that loss but the others that I was trying to process after years of substance abuse which numbed the pain.  I Iived alone and wrote and wrote, trying I guess to birth myself as a writer, to feel deeply into myself and my past, to grieve, to understand, to make sense of it all.. to heal.. very difficult to do in isolation and then a relationship came into my life which was very challenging and I started to be pulled into someone else’s world but since mine was not yet fully birthed it was a constant struggle and so after time, that struggle ended in yet another painful separation.

The situation we were living in had been torn apart as my ex had wanted to travel.  I was longing instead for a home, having done heaps of travelling in my early twenties, but because I wanted to be with him I went along on his journey.  When he chose to end it suddenly, after I had made the decision to travel back east to spend Christmas and some more time with my mother and a cousin who had come to Australia for the first time from Holland, as well as with my sister’s family it was a very deep pain.  This new loss occurred around the anniversary of my father’s death. At that time I had also suffered the ending of another relationship. This time however I would not be sent away and when I consider the repeating pattern that occurred perhaps offering a new opportunity for repair, maybe at a subconscious level it was just too hard to rejoin my partner again as that return would have reminded me of the hard leaving that took place as I began my earlier travels so quickly following my father’s death, all at my mother’s insistence. I have noticed with this a current loss she very much uses distancing tactics when painful emotions threaten.

My partner’s decision to end our relationship due to my delay in returning to meet him caused me so much pain. I just could not go back to the situation in which I had been living when I met him.  A very quiet and solitary life at the South Coast in the house my father built just a few short years before his death.

I do believe all these griefs and my response to them did lead, in time to a kind of paralysis or at least the desire to build and inhabit a cocoon.  During my South Coast retreat and prior to meeting my ex partner I just was not moving or exercising much  I was also suffering the Post Traumatic Stress of two accidents on the anniversary of my husband’s leaving which were in some strange way repeats of a far earlier time of trauma where I nearly lost my life and my sister had a cerebral bleed.  I was in a lot of pain and the pain had four components, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The planets of sudden change and trauma are Uranus and Pluto.  Both planets are placed in my first house of identity. As I look back at this life I see that change, trauma and loss are indeed huge factors that have shaped who I am as a person.  I tend to be very inward, I do love to relate to others, but I feel deeply and am introspective.   I find groups difficult being a more one on one person and due to the pain and consequences of the PTSD at times it is very hard to get moving.  As a strongly fixed sign person at times I get stuck in ruts and like to have certain routines, perhaps its a need for control of some kind after all the sudden change I have been forced to go through.

This week I am really becoming aware though that some habits of mine need to be changed.  I did recently suffer the loss of my eldest sister which was yet another shock though in some way a relief for her as the situation she lived in and the bodily difficulties she had made it very difficult for her every day…. she lived with a lot of pain.  That I now see was and is a necessary ending.  The fundamental structure of my life is changing.  I have spent the last few weeks sorting out her things and treasuring her memories and possessions in the absence of any other care in my family for these things.

I went to see someone the other day to deal with my grief.  She was telling me that the way we have dealt with grief has roots in the responses of those to the massive deaths that befell them following the First World War.  At that time there was not much talk of trauma and there was an implicit belief that people had to just get on and let go.  She reminded me that in this day and age we are too influenced by this ideal, for if we suffer a loss the loss is always there and yet we can and must at some stage I guess make a decision to not let that sadness stop us in our tracks totally and keep moving forward holding the grief lovingly with both hands but not making a trophy of it.   Those later ideas or image are actually mine.  She also reminded me that there is a dual process model of grief that is now understood, That is at times we are going to be deeply immobilised by the loss and unable to concentrate and function and yet on other days we will be back in “real” time and able to move forward.

Yesterday I had a day of immobilisation.  My grief  was submerged and I was so tired all I could really do was rest, garden, potter and rest more.  I had a light dinner as I was feeling so clogged up yesterday.  Today there is a different feel to the day and I am aware of the need for movement.  At times its hard to keep moving forward and I guess at times its not always ideal.  Its good too to be able to be still, to be able to inhabit the body fully and meet and accept the emotions and thoughts moving through us.  And perhaps there is a need to be able to achieve a balance of both as the pendulum swings back and forth to call us towards what ever is necessary for us to experience at the time.  I kept getting a phrase going round in my brain while Mars was retrograde for the past few months.  It was “bodies at rest, and in motion”.  Perhaps it was an intuitive harbinger of this blog.

Today I am aware how precious the ability to inhabit a moving body is, even if at times the body can be a source of pain.  I am glad today to have mine and will go now with my dog out into nature to experience it and give thanks for the life and body that is mine and for the gifts even of these painful losses which have in so many ways shaped who I am.