Soul-Repair

The injury of a frayed
and tattered soul, repaired
by being seen, being heard
and loved.

Reminded and mirrored
that the truth of who
we are at our core
has always been there
it just needed acknowledgment
and tender loving care.

The pain and suffering
eased by a witness who
listens with respect
with belief, sadness, and anger
at the injustice of what had been.

Learning to trust that the
frayed and tattered soul
is safe, and it’s okay to mend.
To cease inserting that second arrow.

With compassion, tenderly nurture
your present and future self.
Connect and attach
begin to feel whole.

Breathe…rest in it as long as you can.
Let yourself be one.
Exhale, knowing that injuries heal
frayed edges become softer, and the light will begin to shine through.

©Alexis Rose, Photo by Andrei Lazarev on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Setting of the Summer Sun

As I looked in the rearview mirror

the setting of the summer sun

orange and round in the sky

is witness to the compassion of those

who reach out and provide strength. 

©words and photo: Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

 

 

 

 

©Alexis Rose, Photo: Shelley Bauer

 

 

 

Resting In My Thinking Place

I have found myself deep inside that thinking place of mine.  I don’t hang out here very often. I believe it’s because for the past nine years I have been in an almost constant goal-setting mode while learning to live with PTSD, and experiencing great growth and change.  I haven’t really allowed myself to just sit and think for a while.

Resting in my thinking place I have been pondering change. Change is a fact of life. Our bodies change, as do our cognitive abilities. Our circumstances change, the weather changes and so do the seasons. We change our minds, our clothes and our cell phones. Sometimes we embrace change, but sometimes change can be frightening. The fear of the unknown, and the anticipation of what could be can often be paralyzing; the feeling of vulnerability can prevent us from moving forward.

But change is inevitable. There are unforeseen events that occur daily. Some may feel insignificant or be a nuisance such as a flat tire. Some are life-altering such as the diagnosis of a terminal illness or a disability that has progressed to the point of impacting income streams. Even then, we have the ability to choose how we handle the challenges in our lives. We can use the momentum of change to keep growing as a person.

Since I was diagnosed with PTSD, I have had to change almost everything about my life. I had to learn how to cope with sometimes debilitating symptoms, adjust to the dramatic change in my financial situation, understand the continued lasting effects of my trauma, and accept that my ability to be self-sufficient is now somewhat limited.

I realize that nothing stays constant and there is always change. In the context of what I am writing about,  I believe there are two kinds of change. One is the day-to-day events that happen all around us, and the second kind of change is mindful and purposeful. It takes courage to work through both. It is a courageous person who is willing to purposefully seek change and personal growth.

Right now, we have some incredible life changes to navigate in my family. My husband has had to face his continued decline in his abilities due to a neurological disorder, called Essential Tremor. As a commercial cabinet maker, the fact that he is no longer able to use his hands to successfully do his job has been devastating for him. Yes, he knew this day would come, but I’m not sure you can ever be prepared to hear, this day is here.

The change in my family has brought to the surface an immense amount of fear and anxiety for all of us. Fear for the future, fear of declining health, and fear of the unknown. It also brought out anger, disbelief, confusion, and definitely grief.

In my thinking place, I smile at the knowledge that change also can bring compassion. It has been amazing in my life the amount of compassion and support I receive. I have seen the same compassion, support, and offers to step in and help from people, who are the voices of reason and action when emotions run high, and decisions seem impossible as my husband deals with new challenges.

We also must have self-compassion. To be as kind to ourselves as others are to us. To stop the negative self-talk, and shame spiral that often brings us down to a level where we begin to shut-down and push away. Taking responsibility for our lives and having self-compassion brings a sense of freedom and empowerment. With that freedom, a calmness and understanding create the peace of mind, the knowledge that things change, it’s inevitable and that is part of living a very lived life.

As I think about all the change I have experienced in the past nine years, and now what my husband must face, I acknowledge how huge this undertaking has been. Allowing myself to feel tired, introspective, and content, I can rest in my thinking place. I’m not sure what happens next…Maybe I’ll have to think about that.

image source: pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Mindfulness and Grief

My mindfulness and meditation practice is extremely important to me. Some mindfulness masters teach that you cannot fully begin to meditate until you have wept deeply. I once read a story of a Zen teacher who flirted with meditation for years before he decided to commit. He recalled how he wept openly and often for two years and only after he had grieved for many things in his life was he able to sit in silence.

Recently, as I was sitting outside enjoying a beautiful day, I began to feel the pull of profound grief and sadness for the life I had uncovered: the loss, the pain, the torture, the years that I clung to survival as my only way of life. I was sad for the years of having no hope, no dreams, and no promises made, thinking that whoever came into my life would leave. I don’t dwell there very long anymore, but sometimes, it’s a place I walk through after being triggered.

I began to recall the lesson about weeping. I thought about the many times during guided meditation that I would begin to shed tears, not weeping, but feeling the unmistakable wetness. Feeling the tears stream down my cheeks, I stopped and pulled myself back to reality. The reality of kids, shopping lists, or work.

At the time, I didn’t understand that perhaps those tears marked the beginning of my spirit wanting to open up, cleanse myself through grief, and help guide me on my path. I didn’t understand that there is openness after grief, and it is an important part of life and growth.

Before I came inside to write this, I grabbed a fuzzy that was floating in the air, made a wish, and blew it away. I wished I could go away deep in the woods without the sounds of the world and just sit, just be with the sounds of nature, and the fog coming up from the ground at dusk.

I thought about a story I once read of a girl in a silver boat who had gone through the woods and came out on a beautiful shore.

Though I yearn to go into the woods without the sounds of the world, it can be a difficult experience.  I get triggered in the woods; bad things happened to me in the woods, and, still, I love the woods! My desire to go into the woods to find a simple, peaceful experience, is coupled directly with traumas that are so triggering that going there is a challenge.

Mindfulness requires me to stay in the present. After I experience a flashback bringing myself back to the present can be difficult, especially if I’m in the woods. Yet, I want to be in the woods, I feel connectedness in the woods. It’s a paradox.

I realize that the girl in the silver boat and the Zen master who said they wept for years are stories. They are metaphors that help show us another way. They provide hope and give us the strength to keep trying, keep breathing.

I have been wonderfully surprised that some mindfulness teachers are saying, if a person is working through trauma, perhaps just sitting and meditating is not the best path at the moment. Practicing mindfulness is important, being able to sit with the feelings as they come is important, but forcing yourself to sit for a prescribed period of time may be counterproductive.

For me, that is the reality of my practice. Sometimes I can sit for a minute, sometimes longer. I accept that this is the process of healing and that meditation is just one tool in my toolbox.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had many conversations with people about grief and loss. Often trying to define it, and the many ways it can manifest itself. The feelings that sneak up on us, reminding us that loss comes in many forms and can be caused by many things. Some are overt experiences, some are insidious vestiges leftover from long ago. Staying mindfully non-judgemental when the feelings of loss and grief creep in seems to be a common struggle. It can be difficult to navigate.

Living mindfully, staying present, and surfing the waves of emotion as they come is my goal. I set my intention every morning; I try to evolve and know that without shedding the tears, feeling the words, and experiencing the grief, no matter how many times it rears its’ head, my beautiful, internal gnarly scar of survival will have a hard time staying rooted in place.

Photo by Janet Rosauer

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

The Tender Ground of Acceptance

Years of muscle straining, oxygen deprived, mind exploding, grief-laden work to manage the grip of the skeleton hands of the past.

The rocky terrain and deep crevasses that held the traps of programmed words ready to pull me down into oblivion.

Deafening winds, echoes of the past knocking me down, pushing me sideways, making it hard to grip the rope.

The storm passes, allowing time to pause, to rest, to catch my breath.

So many times, wanting to give up, and give in to the beast of symptoms.

Instead, I chose to trust.  knowing, that I would be guided through the sharpest peaks and deepest valleys.

Summiting many times, thinking there were no more hidden mountains. Then catching glimpse of the last, gnarly climb looming just around the bend.

Everything inside me screams, “No, leave it,” but I realize that climbing all but that last steep incline would leave me stuck, and breathless. Allowing just enough space for the blinders of denial to slowly creep back into place.

I push through. One last climb to release the locked, cold grip of the past.

Then quietly, I make a gentle descent. The thick, foreboding, dangerously tricky mountain range looming steadfastly behind me.

Scar tissue begins to replace open wounds.

I work to accept my abilities in the wake of my past. A sense of accomplishment for not giving in to the siren call of hopelessness that still tries to fill my sometimes fragile, yet strong whole-self.

The arduous climb, my trust in the process, the quiet, gentle descent. The exhalation of living fully in the truth. My truth.

I have slain the beast, and with the Warriors’ call of accomplishment, I rest on the tender ground of acceptance.

©Alexis Rose, Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph