“We Got This!”

“We got this,” were the most important, comforting and powerful words I have heard in a long time.  Right before they were spoken to me, I was feeling panicked. Wondering how I was going to have the strength, to get through the next moment, let alone the next day. I didn’t know how I was going to muster up the courage to face the pain of an original wound, while at the same time deciding if it’s safe for me to break the code of silence that is still deeply ingrained in my psyche.

On that cold and snowy afternoon,  as I was getting ready 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 feared I would be too much for her, that she would bail, that she would panic and become frightened by what she was hearing. But then something completely unexpected happened. In a calm and reassuring voice, my therapist said, “We Got This!” Those words landed layers deep and made all the negative self-talk dissipate. Those three little words hit me with the softness of the kindest hug and the safety of the bravest shield and I believed her the moment she said them to me.

I still feel like I have to fight for my life, my mental health, and for the freedom from the skeleton hands of the past that keep trying to pull me down. I understand that the hard work of healing happens when I get home; between therapy sessions. Processing what was talked about, incorporating the tools for distress tolerance, trying to feel safe enough to just-sit with it all, while also managing my symptoms of PTSD often feels like a full-time job. That’s okay! I’m more than willing to do the things I need to do so I can live the life I want to live.

Since that day, I have been able to trust that I can handle this new step on my journey. Even though I feel like the ground beneath me is a bit wobbly, I can walk with my head up, eyes forward. I know if I stumble, panic, or feel the sour breath of the monsters, that, with help, I will keep moving forward.

I don’t know what sort of challenges I will be facing as I work to heal this wound that’s ready to be acknowledged. But I do know that with acceptance, self-compassion, and support, I will be able to work through whatever is next. How do I know? Because “We Got This!”

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

Pondering at 3 a.m.

At 3 a.m. this morning I was pondering the following…

Sitting at a crossroads. Your world has just crashed down around you. When the dust settles there has emerged two big shards that resemble paths. Each one reveals a choice.

One shard shines brightly in the middle to far distance. It offers a promise of a life well lived. Growth, change, showing up as your true authentic self. Vulnerable but with solid boundaries.

Although bright, those shards are extremely sharp, full of splinters and require conscious navigation. To pick that one requires hard work. Knowing with that commitment to do the work you will feel suffering. It’s painful as you look at things head-on and then do what is required to live the life you want to live. To be the person you want to be.

The other shard is smoother. Worn down to a pleasant sheen, some rough splinters, but they are easy to spot. That path entices you with the status quo. The worn out cushion and pillow that provides the comfort of sameness. The only work it requires if you choose it is that you’ll experience life as you know it. That can also be painful because you have chosen to commit to the way things are in your life.  You choose this because your habits, even if destructive at times can be comforting, even if the comfort is only for a moment.

Change can be scary. For some its that fear that keeps them comfortable in staying the course. Not easy, but comfortable. The habits of the mind, body, and soul are hard to break.

But, maybe behind you in the distance, a third shard has fallen and the crossroads has now offered another choice. Maybe there is a grayer, hazier choice. It has both the sharp shards of change to navigate and the rounder smoother call of status quo. Perhaps a middle way.

Could that be a possibility?  Maybe that’s the path that is more realistic and recognizes the personness in all of us? Perhaps, in reality, that is the path most of us are on. Weaving in and out of the need to change and the pull of status quo.

Maybe we don’t need to pick one or the other. Perhaps we pick all three of them. Take the time to rest on each one, to recognize our growth and reassess what and if we need to change.

I don’t know the answers…after all, it’s 3 a.m. and I probably should be sleeping.

When you experience your crossroads, which path do you choose? Or are you a traveler in life who can navigate all three?

image source: Pexels

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

Just do your best; You’ll find your how!

Change is a fact of life. Our bodies change, as do our cognitive abilities. Sometimes we embrace change, but sometimes change can be frightening. The fear of the unknown and the anticipation of what might be can be paralyzing; the feeling of vulnerability can prevent us from moving forward.

A few of my friends, including myself, have been going through significant grief, loss, and change the past year. Loss of many kinds, including illness, financial upheaval, deaths of loved ones, and watching how a progressive illness affects a family. We are also navigating aging in a society where becoming a woman of a certain age can make you feel irrelevant. Big.Tough.Stuff!

As I was talking with a friend yesterday, who was extremely distressed, I found the best thing I could do was to silently offer myself as her mirror. The grief and fear she is experiencing are (appropriately) palpable, but she is also doing some wonderful things both for herself and the community. Personal growth, and being of service to others is one of the constants in this person’s day-to-day life.

Sometimes, in the muck and mire of what life throws at us, we forget to see, and often don’t acknowledge that what we do, and who we are matters.

I go through feelings of irrelevance and self-doubt a lot. Especially when I can feel I am on the cusp of change. Right now, I have hit the pause button on many outside activities in my life. As I work to reconnect with myself; my center, I notice that my interests are heading in a different direction than they have been the past few years. That’s a natural progression for me, as I learn and grow. But, it’s also a bit scary. Although I still could be quite satisfied with the path I have been on, I’m also anxious to listen to what it is I may want to do next.

I find right now, that I am feeling the wind of change calling to me. Just as I was purposefully trying to be a mirror for my friend yesterday, I find I’m also seeking out the mirrors in my life. The ones who reflect back who I am without any masks. The person I have been working hard to become, without feeling shame, the need for perfection or control, but who can also firmly set personal boundaries.

As my friend and I were talking, she was describing to me an intensive class she will soon be taking. I started to think about the things I’m willing to let go of now, and the absolute openness of what will come next. Both of us began to get a bit stressed and animated over the, “how are we going to get through this?”

As my friend got up to grab some water, out of my mouth, from somewhere in that wise-mind of mine, I heard myself say the words, “Just do your best – You’ll find the how!”

I really believe those words were just a random thought that was passing by, but the words came out. We stared at each other in silence, stunned into the connectedness of knowing that it will be okay.

What happened next? We sat quietly next to each other, understanding that with change comes uncertainty. But that uncertainty only requires us to do our best, and trust that the how will reveal itself in its own perfect timing.

Photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis 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      

 

 

Plasticine Arms and Butterfly Wings

Made of wire
covered by plasticine
she moves through the world
with awkward grace.

For decades, inside the sturdy sculpture
sits the child; head down, hands wrapped around her knees
she begins to awaken.

The scar tissue that solidly formed
and held her in place
weakens and gives way.

Lifting her head
she unfurls her arms from her knees
and sees that translucent butterfly wings
have taken the place of limbs
that atrophied long ago.

On wobbly legs, the child stands
and breaks all but one of the sinewy tendrils that were holding her down.

Moving to the edge of the wire
she calls and gently flaps her wings
capturing the attention of the figure
made of wire.

Plasticine arms instintively
touch the spot where the dormant child
lived in dark solitude.

Both fear, and confusion begin to emanate
off the plastic arms and beautiful wings.

A sense of hope further weakens the wire
fueling the possibility of
wholeness, worthiness, and love.

Can the two become one?
Can the wire and plastic melt
into the flesh of humanness?

The child held down by that
last remaining chain
quietly sighs.

But, something has changed
There is a shift
and both the fearless child butterfly
and the awkwardly graceful plasticine adult
know that it is only a matter of time
before they are transformed and become one.

Like a phoenix, they will sit upon their tiger
let the hot sun melt away even more of yesterday’s pain
and live harmoniously, seamlessly, together as one.
©Alexis Rose, 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    

 

My PTSD – A Poem

Like so many others who live with PTSD or other chronic illness, people often ask me, “What does it feel like?”

My PTSD 

It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, hot, sunny, snowing  or raining

There is no telling when it’s going to strike.

Are they alive or dead?

Is that pain real or echoes from pain long ago that

Resurface with a memory?

It’s like being held hostage by your mind

Thinking that today would be the day I am free.

I look like everyone else

I know the difference between right and wrong.

Yet in my head, I sometimes can’t remember

The last ten minutes of my life, or what day, year or time it is.

Are those smells real or is that a smell from a place and time

when I was being held against my will.

Am I really hearing the sounds of helicopters, planes, cicadas or birds

Or it that the sound coming from a place that no longer exists and

Should never be talked about?

I want so much to be like everyone else.

So I will keep pulling myself up the rope,

Out of the clutches of PTSD and all the skeleton hands of the past that

Keep trying to pull me down.

I am like everyone else only my job is to live so I can live.

For now, that’s all I can ask of myself if I am going to have a future.

my PTSD

©Alexis Rose, photo: pixabay

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

 

Where Do You Get Your Oxygen From?

She is the embodiment
of the questions we pondered
on a sunny afternoon.

Knowing the hype of the
newest workshop and buzzwords
would all have their moment in time
we asked each other, What Comes Next?

What is…
The driver of contentment?
The reason to try one more day?
The song we sing to our inner-self?

With quiet wisdom, and wonderous curiosity
she asked, “Where Do We Get Our Oxygen From?”

Today I danced as if it was warm and sunny outside
As if the world can someday be just, fair and peaceful for All
Believing that alone and collectively we make a difference
to ourselves, our neighbors, and our world.

Smiling huge and with a nod to the snowbirds
soaring above me on this winter’s day
my thoughts went to my teacher, my friend
I thought back to that moment when she asked
“Where do we get our Oxygen from?”

And I answered aloud to that clear blue sky
I get my oxygen from
Love
Health
Family
Friendship
Kindness
Hope
Trust
Honesty
Laughter
Dance
Breath…Life

And I know without a doubt that my friend, my teacher
would look at all who reads/or hears this poem
and ask
“Where Do You Get Your Oxygen From?”


©Where do you get your Oxygen From, (A poem for Rosy) by Alexis Rose