It’s Party Time!!! Come right in ūüĎ°ūüĎĘūüĎěūüé∂

Jackie is hosting another fabulous get-together. Be sure and check out her meet-n-greet!

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Juice[1]

Hop in, grab a drink and let’s get this party started.

You are most welcome do make yourself comfortable.

Refreshments are nicely arranged down the page: Drinks, Chocolates, Cakes, Donuts, freshly squeezed juice, Coffee, Tea and so much more. :-)

We even have an Intercontinental Chef in the house. Go right ahead¬†¬†and place your ordersūüėČJust the little rules of play:

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Spirit Mirror

I stand in front of a mirror. Not the kind of mirror that reflects your outside self, it is the kind of mirror that reflects your psyche. It’s the kind of mirror that reflects how you think, emote, or not emote,¬†and¬†feel. It is the kind of mirror that reflects back the years of psychological and emotional damage. I call it my spirit mirror.

It took a lot of courage to approach¬†this mirror the first time. ¬†I was terrified¬†because I knew that if I tried to stand in front of this mirror before,¬† I wouldn’t have seen any reflection. I felt like a nobody with no-body. But something compelled me to look at the effects of the trauma and how it damaged my mind, and spirit¬†and¬†left my soul in tattered ruin.

Countless times, I could only stand looking into that mirror for mere seconds before running away in shame. But I was determined to keep going back. Each time I went back, ¬†I began to have the courage to view my reflection and started to name what I saw. Even though it was difficult to see myself, I’m glad I was brave enough to stand in front of that mirror and look deeper into my spirit.

At first, all I could name was the lies that were told to my soul. The lies that perpetrators tell their victims to legitimize what they are doing or have done. At that time, all I could see was the hurt, pain, fear, and wretchedness of the first twenty years of my life.

Then to my amazement, as I stood steadfast in front of my spirit mirror, I began to see a light emerge from my core. My reflection of who I am, who I wanted to be and what they couldn’t take from me, started emitting a stronger and stronger¬†beacon of hope. At first, it was hard to trust the truth of the mirror. I could have turned away, and continued to believe the lies, or I could believe my truth, and trust my reflection.

There are still times when I stand in front of that self-mirror and find myself seeing a reflection of who I was before I began my healing journey. The difference is now I have the courage to stand there, to refuse to look away in shame and wait for my inner light to shine through, giving me hope that I have the courage to face each day, to stay the course, to heal.

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photo:pixaby

Creating and restructuring my life’s purpose

The past eight years has been a whirlwind¬†of change for me. My life turned upside down because of my post-traumatic stress disorder and I had to decide, both consciously and unconsciously¬†to heal, to change, or I would most probably die. It’s a sobering thought as I sit down to write this, but it was true. One day, very early on in therapy, my therapist and I were discussing the book The Alchemist, and he asked me to go home and think about what I wanted my personal legend to be and report back to him next session. I took that homework very seriously, and I decided that my personal legend was to know¬†the entire truth of my past, live with my eyes wide open, blinders off. To continually operate¬†in a place of self-discovery, growth, and change. I knew how I was going to meet some of those goals, but was at a loss on how¬†I was going to maintain the intention of what I wanted my life’s purpose to look like as I continue to grow and change through time and experience.

I know the definition of my life’s purpose is who I want to be. I know I’m the author of my¬†own story, and I get to choose how I want to be in the world. At this point in my life, it’s about choices and being proactive rather than reactive. It’s about aligning my personal values and beliefs with my actions and words¬†while maintaining my integrity.

At the beginning of my endeavor it often looked like a question/answer session. What does it mean to live life with my eyes wide open? Is it about knowing and accepting the past without forgetting it, so I can become my version of complete? Or is it a metamorphosis of who I was, who I am and who I will be? Maybe it’s all three. As I think about how I want to spend my life and who I want to be, I am guided by a more mature and spiritual¬†self because of the time I spent in therapy, meditation, growth and self-reflection.

I love that we live in a time where self-discovery is an accepted way of life. I spent so much time in fear and hiding, squelching any dream of a life lived, only a life survived. Now, most times, I am able to live, speak, listen and learn from a place of safety and truth. Discovering the wonder and accepting of life and what it has to offer. Not getting in the way of who I am, and instead letting myself be who I am, without my ego reminding me of the should haves, did nots, or can nots.

Self-discovery also comes with the knowledge that the truth often hurts and is uncomfortable on many levels including physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. There were times when I would begin processing a memory and I had to fight not to ignore it, or repress it again. I learned that by repressing what I had painfully remembered was making a choice to live in fear. If I wanted to live my life’s purpose, I had to begin to learn to forget how to forget. It wasn’t¬†an easy path or the path of least resistance, but it was the only way I could see to begin to create the life I wanted.

My PTSD was the catalyst of¬†change for me. I had to face certain truths about myself, and was forced to look at the direction my life was going. Was I going to continue to¬†allow¬†my perpetrators to define who I am¬†and how I live my life? Or¬†do I find the strength to uncover who I really am at my core and how I want to live my life moving forward.¬†¬†My illness gave me the choice to put my foot down and say, “enough is enough. I am not going to ride the tide of fortune and misfortune anymore. I’m going to make different choices because I have the power to do so.”

It’s been a very painful, yet purposeful journey the past eight years. I am resolute on my goal of living¬†with my eyes wide open, blinders off. To continually operate¬†in a place of self-discovery, growth, and change.¬† Creating and restructuring my life’s purpose, choosing who I want to be is a life long, ever changing, non-linear journey but it’s empowering to know that often with each change, I grow and emerge stronger than before.

 

I’ve Got Your Back

‚ÄúI’ve got your back‚ÄĚ were the most important and powerful words I had ever heard seven¬†years ago. I was panicked, wondering how was I ever going to have the strength to get through the next moment, let alone the next day. To risk facing the unknown of my repressed past, while breaking the code of silence that was deeply ingrained in my psyche. In those early days of word vomiting memories that were coming fast and furious, going into one¬†crisis after another, dissociating, and having no sense of safety.

At that point, I had already realized that the hard work happened when you got home, between therapy sessions. The processing of what was talked about during our sessions, trying to incorporate the tools he was teaching me for distress tolerance and trying to feel safe enough to just-sit with it all. At the same time learning ways to manage all the other terrible, awful PTSD symptoms that already had an unrelenting grip on my life.

One evening, as I stood up to leave my therapist’s office, a sense of panic overwhelmed me. Not only panic of what I was facing¬†but the panic of attachment. I knew I would be too much for him, he would bail, he would himself panic and become as frightened by what he was hearing, as I was in telling him. But something happened when I turned around to walk out of his door. He said to me, “I’ve got your back.”

Those four little words hit me with the softness of the kindest hug, and the safety of the bravest shield. I believed him the moment he said those words to me. Even though I knew I had to still fight for my life, my mental health, my freedom from the skeleton hands of the past that kept trying to pull me down each time I made any progress, those words landed through the layers.

That night, I was able to trust that I could handle my journey. I could walk with my head up, eyes forward. Those words made me feel that I would be able to face the past and the resulting effects of my trauma head on. I knew that if I stumble, fall, trip, panic, see monsters, fight programming that my therapist would help me stand back up, dust off, and keep moving forward.

The other night, I had a huge breakthrough. In fact, the leap forward in healing was astounding to me. I could feel it happening, but then it all clicked and I was propelled even further down my path. Wonderful? Yes! ¬†Hard-fought and earned? Yes! Frightening because I am now understanding and learning to look through a different lens? Yes? Healing can be wonderful, hard-fought, and frightening. Not because¬†I don’t want to heal, it’s because it is unfamiliar to look at things Not¬†just through the lens of survival.

I understood (which was just a small part of my leap forward) that just because I will come to the end of therapy, that didn’t mean my PTSD symptoms would be gone. In my mind, I ¬†had really counted on therapy equaled cured. In my case, it isn’t going to work that way. I will have to manage my symptoms for years and years to come. The effects of my trauma. But that’s okay, it really is okay, because¬†I have the tools to work within those deficits.

When I was expressing the panic, the unsettledness of what was happening to me and how I was going to walk in this new light, this turn in my journey, my therapist without any thought said, “it’s okay, you’re safe, I’ve got your back.” Those four little words again. Just like that evening seven years ago, they again, had a profound effect on me. The most powerful, healing words I have ever heard.

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Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856