Monday Mantra

Your inner beauty, your strengths
and your talent
Far outweigh any deficits
you may have.

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©words/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      

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The Quiet Descent to Tender Ground

Eight 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 were navigated at a snail’s pace of impatient mindfulness.

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

After every storm passed
I took the time to rest in the snow caves of acceptance.

So many times, wanting to give up, give in to the beast of symptoms.
But trusting, knowing, that my Sherpa would guide me 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!”
I intuitively understood that climbing all but that last steep incline would leave me stuck, and breathless. Allowing space for the blinders 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 emerging steadfastly behind me.

Scar tissue replaces open wounds.
I work to try and accept my abilities in the wake of my past.

A sense of accomplishment for not giving in to the siren call of hopelessness fills my fragile, resiliently strong whole self.

Committed to finishing that arduous climb and having trust in a committed therapist gave way to a quiet, gentle descent.

With calloused feet on the tender ground
I exhale gratitude every day.

Today, with the mountain range in the distance
I continue to heal on flat land with a warrior tiger as my teacher.

The quiet descent to tender ground holds fast and strong with truth,
with acceptance, and unwavering commitment to living in the light even on the darkest days.


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

©words and photo: Alexis Rose

So I was at a coffee shop the other day…

Last Sunday morning, I arrived early to meet a friend at a quiet suburban coffee shop. As I stepped inside, I stood face-to-face with a large man standing there with a pistol strapped to his belt in plain sight. Besides the workers, he and I were the only ones in the shop at that moment.

The way he was wearing his shirt he was obviously trying to show off his weapon. He had on a button down shirt that could easily cover both sides of his belt. One side was down, the other side was tucked precariously so his gun was showing in plain sight.

Two things struck me right away. The first was, why is this man standing here at 8:30 am with a gun hanging off his belt, and two, is he going to shoot us?  I have seen plenty of plainclothes police officers with their department-issued weapons and badges on their belts in plain sight, and my instincts told me this person is not an officer.

We live in a conceal and carry state. I don’t personally know anyone who walks around with a gun, so I’m not sure what that looks like, nor do I know the laws, but I was sure concealed meant out of sight. But to be honest with you, I’m not positive what the word “conceal” means when it comes to having a gun in public.

I am very triggered by guns. I have gun violence in my past and the mere sight of them causes me to experience increased anxiety and fear. I stood there frozen for a few seconds, and locked eyes with the guy then scanned the exits. I also noticed the workers were all laughing, singing, talking and relaxed. Just a group of young people working their shift and bonding with each other. I was confused and stood rooted in place until he sat down in the corner by the window.

Because I look at the world through a trauma-related lens, I sometimes need to know what is socially acceptable behavior and what is just extreme distrust in strangers. I honestly didn’t know what to do. In my mind, this person was either a bad-guy and we were all about to get shot, or I was going to ask him if he was a cop and that’s why his weapon was showing.

Intuitively, I thought there could be other possibilities and before I confronted this stranger with a gun, I texted a friend who often suggests other ways for me to look at things (probably the way most people look at social situations) and has saved me a lot of embarrassment throughout the years.  I asked him why a person would be sitting here with a pistol hanging off his belt. He told me to be aware, but most likely it’s just some guy who wants to prove that he can carry a gun. When my friend arrived she looked over at him and made the same determination.

It never occurred to me that I suggest to my friend that we go to another coffee shop because I felt uncomfortable sitting in the same place as this person who was openly carrying a gun. The point is, it didn’t matter why he was there or why he choose to have his weapon out in the open. He has the right to carry it, and he was exercising that right. This is not about him or his right to carry a gun. This is about me, and my feelings of internal safety.

I used to put myself in unsafe situations because I knew how to navigate the behavior around certain kinds of people. I stopped doing that a long, long time ago. I have learned the difference between perceived safety and real safety.  But when I came face-to-face with that guy a few days ago, I immediately got triggered into old patterns of fight/flight/freeze and responded by staying in a place where I didn’t feel safe.

This has all been very interesting to me. I now have it firmly ingrained my mind that I have the right to leave any situation where I don’t feel safe. That is not unreasonable and I don’t have to justify it to anyone. I feel like this was an important lesson for me to learn, and I definitely learned it.

Some people may not have even noticed or cared that this person had a pistol hanging off his belt. I did, but that’s just me. I wonder, What would you do in the same situation?

 

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

 

 

Wisdom reminded me too…

Breathe in
Breathe out
Surrender and release

Illness led me to rest
But I forgot to breathe

Triggers led me to
grounding techniques
But I forgot to exhale

Life situations led me
to worry
take action
then anxiously wait
resulting in exhaustion

Wisdom reminded me
Just Breathe
Just Be

Then I
breathed in
breathed out
surrendered and released

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pexels.com

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

The Woman Sitting in the Dark

Who is that woman sitting in the dark?

A mom, wife, friend

She is a survivor.

A reader, writer, hiker, dreamer

She is struggling.

A hopeful, helpful, optimistic. compassionate light

She is too weary to turn on the lights
or care about the monsters in her dreams.

A woman who works tirelessly to embrace her life
live in the truth, recognize joy. 

Where did she go? 

That’s her, over there, sitting in the dark.

Waiting…just waiting for the light of dawn.

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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

The Waves

Surfing the waves…

I feel thankful, I feel happy, I feel stunned.

I feel tired, I feel confused, I feel scared and sometimes terrified.

I feel sick.

I feel a sense of peace and connectedness to the world around me.

I feel hope, I feel calm.

I feel numb.

I’m full of anxiety, fear, doubt, distrust, restlessness.

I am up, I am down, I am happy and I am sad.

I feel fear, I feel safe. 

I feel content.

Emotions; We all have them, and they come and go like waves. Some of them are little sets of gentle ripples and some are as intense as a tsunami. Waves come, and waves go, each breaking on the shore of our mind and bodies, each is time-limited. 

I have learned to sit with the emotion, to understand that even the most intense feelings will soon ebb. Even though it sometimes feels like they take up all the space, I know that if I remember to breathe and sit for a moment that it will pass.

When I feel the intense emotions begin to rise, there are times I try for control. I want to balance perfectly and ride them to the shore with ease. But the reality of life is that even the most eloquent and prophetic surfer wipes out. It’s okay. Another set of emotional waves will come soon enough.  Sometimes gentle, sometimes stormy, sometimes so small they are barely noticeable. That’s normal, natural, human nature. 

I feel grateful.

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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

Reflections From My Inner Spirit Mirror

I stand in front of a mirror. It is not the kind of mirror that reflects your outside self, but 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 inner spirit mirror.

It took a lot of courage to approach this mirror the first time.  I was terrified because I knew that if I had 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 want 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.

Today when I stand in front of my inner spirit mirror, I see my reflection. I acknowledge the courage it took to stand there, to refuse to look away in shame. Now my inner light shines through, giving me hope that I can face each day, to stay the course, to continue to heal and grow. To trust, to believe that although at times, I’m still experiencing symptoms, what I see is the true reflection of me.

Excerpt from the book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels

photo: Janet Rosauer

Thank you for reading my new book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.