Ageless

Throwing caution to the wind
dancing
running
skinny dipping in the river
secrets
singing in unison
off-key, on key, harmonized – back-up singing rock stars
cruising with the top down
THAT song…blast that song

Was that my back – my knee – my neck
the pain of play, of life, of age
Wait I need my glasses ~ there we go
What is gravity doing to my body – those used to be higher

They are playing THAT song,  Blast it!
throw caution to the wind
dance
run
skinny dip in the river
whisper secrets
sing loud, soft – any key
cruise with the top down
Smile – it’s life
We’re Ageless!
©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      

 

Advertisements

Message of the Water

I listened to the message of the water
as the waves lapped and splashed on the rocks

At first, I thought it was inviting me
to dive deep
to trust the cool darkness
and the baptizing waves

For the tiniest of seconds
my mind grew dark
as the tricky light of the clouds
passed across the sun

I turned and found the place
where the rocks were both
smooth and rough all at once
full of the earth’s energy
each stone delivering a surge
in both my hands and feet

The waves splashing against
the ancient log told me to
stop ~ listen to waves
feel ~ smell the cool, clean water air
taste the humidity
sit ~ breathe

I heard what the water had to say
its message soft, but loud and clear
it brought a smile to my face
and a relaxed peace to my heart

I listened, my heart listened and I received the message of the water

©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      

 

Fireworks and PTSD

We are heading into the week of 4th of July.  The holiday lands on a Thursday this year. The firework store billboards are now up, looming huge on the side of the road, and the fireworks-stands seem to pop up out of nowhere in the parking lot of strip malls. Business must be pretty good, because already many, many people are shooting off fireworks and firecrackers at all hours of the day and night.

I understand the fun and enjoyment some people may have from setting off fireworks. Although there are many legal fireworks for sale in the state where I live, there is a never-ending supply of both legal and illegal varieties lying in wait for the excited revelers to buy just across our state-line. There you can purchase the big ones, the percussion of which shakes the houses in the neighborhood.

We have become accustomed to many of our local county fairs shooting off a fireworks display at the end of the night before they close down for the day. But over the last few years, people are shooting them off at random times during the day, and the night. Sometimes at midnight or later, we will hear a loud percussive blast coming from somewhere in the neighborhood. Just one, loud blast that jolts you from sleep, and can cause great distress for animals, and young children.

Unfortunately for some of our combat veterans, the random fireworks/firecrackers going off can be extremely anxiety provoking and be triggering. For some vets with post-traumatic stress disorder, that string of firecrackers may sound like automatic weapons fire, and the big explosions may sound like the IEDs that threatened so many of their lives.

Flashbacks are a horrible reliving of past traumatic events. When you are setting off these illegal fireworks, chances are there is someone hearing them who are struggling with their combat-related trauma.  If you are unable to resist the urge to set-off those huge explosions, then please consider driving out somewhere that is less populated.

For many dogs, the sounds reverberating off the other houses can often make them disoriented and traumatized.  Their stress level becomes unbearable and some of our animals run away or get lost. There are numerous stories about the many dogs winding up in shelters, especially during the days right before and after the 4th of July.

If this is happening in your neighborhood, try talking to your neighbors who are setting off the big ones, or write them a letter. Often people don’t know that they may be causing harming to some of our vets, scaring our little children, or making our animals shake with fear.

In many neighborhoods where I live, the 4th of July has gone from, the ooh and ahh of fireworks displays at the local parks, to almost every house having their own sunup to sundown fireworks/firecrackers celebrations.

People who suffer from PTSD, (whether it is combat-induced or trauma-related) will try to do what they can to take care of themselves over the next week. Typically, I would escape to the secluded boundary waters canoe area for four days, coming back after the 4th. This year, I need to stay home and care for my dog who is becoming more and more agoraphobic the past few weeks with the increasing lighting of firecrackers at all hours of the day and night.

Please be courteous when setting off your fireworks and firecrackers at your home. Be thoughtful not only of our veterans but also the small children, the elderly, pets, and others who may suffer from illness and startle easily.

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

My mind is tired of mindfulness

There was a moment a couple of weeks ago when I became extremely angry at mindfulness. Extreme stress had taken an emotional and physical toll on my body in a way that I hadn’t experienced before, alarming all the health-care professionals in my life, which in turn alarmed me. At first, I was concerned, scared and confused. Then I got angry!  I heard myself say sarcastically, “Well I’m glad I spent all these years in a mindfulness, yoga and meditation practice. Look where that got me!” Then I laughed at my venomous response to fear, and at the absurdity (and the truth) of those words.

I’ve had a very steady and intentional mindfulness practice for over twenty-five years. I started it years ago when I needed to change the way I was dealing with tremendous stress and hopelessness. I had two very young children at the time and needed to find a way to stay present when all I wanted to do was run away physically, emotionally, and mentally. Twenty-five years ago, mindfulness was not mainstream, but that didn’t matter to me. I quietly sought out teachers, read books, and practiced what I learned. It became a way of life for me and I found in the silence of my struggle it kept me steady and fairly calm.

It isn’t lost on me that I found myself weary and angry the other day towards the very thing that helped me find solace all those years ago.  Sometimes fear will do that.

Over the years as I’ve learned to live and find ways to manage the symptoms of complex PTSD, I found an important part of my healing was learning to live mindfully with intention. At times managing symptoms while living mindfully felt incongruent; a paradox. I wondered if my desire to live a life that was mindful and felt meaningful to me would always be shadowed by how I have to cope day-to-day with my PTSD? Could I find a middle ground? To my surprise, I could find a middle ground and I felt like I was able to carve out a purposeful life that I lived with intention.

Then I experienced what chronic, and pervasive stress can do to one’s health. It was more than just the platitude that stress does terrible things to your body. I am in the throes of living what unrelenting stress has done to my body. Some of it has resolved, but there is still some lingering damage. As I sit in silence and let the thoughts come, I realize that if I had not been practicing all these years, that I may not be here today, or I may be curled up in a corner rocking. I am both on the mend physically, and I’m definitely not in the corner.

I try to honor being awake. The connectedness we have to all things, the impermanence of the moments both perfect and non-perfect, the beauty, the wonder, and the power of being present. I believe that sometimes I will grow weary and tired, and maybe I’ll misdirect my fear towards the very thing that is helping me heal. Perhaps that is also part of the practice of mindfulness.

Photo by Ashley Batz 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      

 

My Unchained Hands

They took my innocence at such a young age that I dreamed of climbing an apple tree and live like the squirrels.

They took my safety at such a young age that I wanted to live alone by a lake surrounded by cliffs so no one could find me, ever!

They took my choice to have my own interests at such a young age that I cringed when it came time for learning.  

They took my esteem and infused it with shame, humiliation, and embarrassment at such a young age that I wanted to become, and often felt invisible.

They took all those innate things away at such a young age that my ability to have trust, faith, security, self-esteem, hope or “person-ness” was stripped away.

Until it wasn’t!

Now “They” don’t have power over me.

Yes, there are effects from the trauma, but I prevail.

I no longer dream of living like a squirrel hidden high in a tree.
I’m open and free, dreaming of the turquoise sea
wave after gentle wave rocking me to sleep.

The more I heal the happier I am.

And when I lose my footing and start to fall
I reach out and grip the strong hands
of the many who share their strength and love
with a “chin-up girlfriend, we’ll get through this!”

I believe it, I trust it, yes, trust.

My person-ness is in tack
never to be stripped away again.

“They” took me away, I took me back
and when I nod good-night to the stars
and wake to the brand new day
I look at my hands, unchained
and know that I have prevailed.

success-846055_1280

©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

Changing the metaphor of my healing journey

For the first eight years that I was going through intensive therapy, myself and my therapist used the metaphor that I was climbing a mountain. I never realized how rocky, dangerous, and enormous that mountain range would become.  It was an intense and exhausting climb to loosen and try to break the grip of oppressive mental and emotional pain. Eventually, after summiting many peaks I found I had descended to the other side. I stood there, surveying what I had accomplished and began walking down the trail. Respecting the process I had just gone through, I knew that using the metaphor of climbing a mountain was perfect for me at the time.

For the past 12 years, I have been incorporating acupuncture into my self-care, and to help me manage my PTSD symptoms. When I was going through the worst of processing my trauma and felt exhausted and powerless, I remember my acupuncturist saying to me, “For years, you have been running from the tiger through the woods with a broken leg. Now you are in the meadow, the tiger is pacing far from you, and your caregivers are standing like sentries, guarding you as you rest and heal.” I will never forget when he said that to me. I felt safe, and that I was protected from the fear of telling the truth, from believing the lie that the truth must always remain buried. His reassurance that day reminded me to trust the process and continue the climb, now with an added image of resting in a meadow, protected from the tiger.

I have now been on my healing journey for 10 years. I no longer see the therapist that I climbed the metaphorical mountain range with. He took me as far as he could go, and our therapeutic relationship ended over two years ago. I have been seeing a new therapist for the past 16-months and it’s been a wonderful experience. She has taught me ways of acceptance and self-compassion that I never dreamed would ever be possible. It was the next step I needed to take, and the trajectory of my healing has been amazing.

I just went through a very difficult Spring. It happens; the triggers can get the best of me and pull me down for a while until I gain my footing. When I needed some reassurance my therapist reminded me (as she has often done the past 16-months) that I had successfully fought the tiger and won. She has been telling me for over a year, that I’m a warrior, a goddess who sits on the tiger and rides it proudly. I had never told her about my acupuncturist and the tiger metaphor he used all those years ago because she was using it differently. Her words and visuals are completely different. The tiger is my friend and provides me with the strength I need. I can sit on it and relax with my lotus flowers in my hands, and exhale breaths of safety.

My healing process has been an incredible test of pain, fear, exhaustion, and strength. It’s interesting for me to recognize that the metaphors I use to help me heal have changed along the way. Each metaphor, and visual providing me with what I need to live my life with courage, and resilience.

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

image source: Pixabay

Dance to the Music of the Earth

Dance to the music of the Earth
Move to the flow of the rain

Close your eyes and sway with the wind

Stomp in the puddles ~ lift your arms ~ let it go
Scream, pull, laugh hysterically, smile, cry
Don’t look, just move

Feel that? That’s You ~ Rooted~Empowered

Dance to the music of the Earth
We are rooted 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