Letting go of the Strings that Hold you Hostage

I just spent four wonderful days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Words can’t describe the beauty, tranquility, and uniqueness of this vast and pristine wilderness. There were times when I was just so overcome with the ineffable beauty that I found myself tearing up. We went to the boundary waters last week because I’m so triggered by the sound of fireworks and firecrackers that it’s nearly impossible for me to function or manage my PTSD symptoms.

The meditative pace of canoeing on the lakes, with no other people in sight, gave me plenty of time for reflection. There were times when I wasn’t thinking or reflecting at all, and there were times when the safety of my two camping/canoeing mates and a wonderful dog named Rocket (who became my fill-in therapy dog) had me feeling so relaxed and safe that I could go deep and accept another layer of the truth. The safety and nonjudgemental impact of my environment let me explore the even bigger picture of what happened to me and how I fit into it.

Unfortunately, the first night we arrived, I had to go into the woods to brush my teeth and find a latrine and I had a terrible flashback. My travel mates and I didn’t think that this would be an issue on the trip. But going into the woods at night triggered an extremely intense three-dimensional flashback.

Reflecting on it the next day, while paddling, I started to ask myself some questions as I continue to come to terms with what happened to me in my past. I didn’t let the night before ruin my experience, it opened my mind to the possibility to some greater depth of healing.  I became resolute that I didn’t want certain triggers to ruin the rest of my life, and I would try to find a way to express this to my therapist so we could actively work on it. Today I read an article talking about moral injury and PTSD. How it can leave a person feeling trapped and isolated , and that moral injury is the wound that is the slowest to be healed. Because I’m an eternal optimist, I understood that even though it is the slowest wound, it can still be healed.

I have a series of mantras that I say to myself. The mantra that was given to me by my most valued teacher who is now transitioning to my friend is, “Your beauty, your strengths, and your talent far outweigh any deficits you may have.”   I kept saying that mantra to myself over and over the four days of our trip. Right now in my life, I have a lot of deficits that I have to work around, and I try to do with grace, a good sense of humor, and a strong command of the f-word.

I’m not a sweet, innocent, naive about the world woman. I wish I was, but I’m not. My history makes those descriptors  impossible when describing me. I am a person who is kind, loving, deeply compassionate, philosophical, with an insatiable need to constantly learn and stretch my brain and grow.  My trip to the boundary waters really brought to the forefront who I was as a person because of, and in spite of my past. I’m not interested in trying to be who I’m not any longer, to fit into what I perceive is the “normal” attractive, have a big circle of friends woman.  I found I’m even more resolute in my stance to employ another gift of a mantra, given to me one evening in a sage green office long ago: ” Let go of the strings that hold you hostage. Take the step to free yourself and look towards the unknown.”



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




37 thoughts on “Letting go of the Strings that Hold you Hostage

  1. That is so true. Sometimes just when you exhale, something is triggering. It gets exhausing sometimes. Im glad you had a 4 day retreat. Its just good to reset sometimes. Have a good evening! Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just returned from a similar 4 day personal retreat only to be met with another threat by a recent abuser. People dont understand how you can let something go…bit if it slams you again…you have to deal with it again. Blech

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yonason, Thank You for your thoughtful and validating comment. That really means a lot to me! Yes, my writing does help form a community of people who can relate, people who are interested, and people who have loved ones in their lives who have been through trauma. I have received so many unexpected gifts and connections from writing Untangled. I am very blessed and grateful that I have a wonderful support system in my everyday life. I have a loving husband, children and friends who make the world a wonderful place to live in. Thank You again! Be well, Alexis


  4. Alexis, it’s hard for me to even try to imagine leaving behind the horrors you experienced, especially in a society such as ours where people are so detached from one another or — perhaps worse — bound to each other by the most vapid and superficial associations. I’m sure that your writing helps you recover a sense of community and common purpose, and I pray that you find those even more in your flesh and blood relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Benevolent_Son

    Thank you for your response (brought a smile to my face), and I’m glad we can understand each other even when we’re miles apart. I also wish for you to have a wonderful day 🙂 Many blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank You so very much! Your feedback brought tears to my eyes, and I feel your wonderful support. We are all on this healing journey and I know for sure it helps when we get to cheer each other on. Have a wonderful day! 💜 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Benevolent_Son

    It’s amazing how optomistic you are despite having to struggle more so than the average person. Know that your shared mantra most definitely suits you, for your words reflect strength, talent, and beauty.

    Well done and keep up the good work!
    Many blessings 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It does take a lot of time and I have found its not ever a linear process. Which can be SO frustrating. Thank You for reading this a second time and for your feedback! Have a wonderful rest of your day. 🙂 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for your feedback. I was so interested in the way that article on moral injury landed and resonated, I ordered a book about it. Have a wonderful day today. 💜 Alexis


  10. So glad you got to experience calmness and serenity on your trip! And how wonderful that you were able to fight through your flashback and see it as a pathway to deeper healing. You are a wise woman! Interesting thoughts on moral injury, I’ll have to look into that.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Thank You for your comment. It was a wonderful way to spend the holiday. I would go back in a second! The last mantra has gotten me through many a day! It is absolutely my pleasure when I visit your blog! We have a great community 🙂 Alexis


  12. Sounds like an eventful trip on many levels. It looks exquisitely beautiful. You can almost smell the crisp, fresh air just by looking at the photo 🙂 Th last mantra is awesome!
    I want to thank you too, for you visit to my blog. I truly appreciate it

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Queen Bee

    It’s quite different to your usual posts in style…I happen to really like it, and I love it when you can tell people are really opening themselves up and exploring themselves and their experiences, and trusting the reader to be let into that 💜😆😁

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I recently came across a newish technique which is incredibly simple but has a scientific background in how it breaks the link of stress etc. in the brain. I used it very successfully to overcome a period where I was having panic attacks and in researching it I understand it has been used very successfully to help with PTSD. You may have already tried it but if not it’s maybe worth a try. It’s called the Havening technique… Good luck! x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Queen Bee

    Fantastic post! I really heard your voice there-you express yourself so well. What a wonderful healing and learning experience that trip was-you are so brave and I admire you so much xXx I feel privileged to have such a special friend 😃💛😘

    Liked by 1 person

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