sunday in reflection – thankful

I am starting something new for Sunday nights – a reflection of inner healing. I am a person of reflection, and I love using encouragement in my writing, it helps to move through the tougher days and moments.

I am a part of this organization called “Waking Lotus” .. they encourage inner healing challenges daily, so thought I would bring it to my blog once a week on Sunday nights.

Each Sunday I will put up an encouraging word, you can share it in the comments, email me, or just do this exercise alone.. see where it takes you!

The challenge for tonight they posted was “thankful”

Tonight I encourage you to write down five things for which you are thankful for.

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For me, this was so easy! I am a person of gratitude, appriciation! I am constnatly telling people around me how much I am thankful for them! IN FACT, I have said it over and over again in therapy.. I cannot heal, if I cannot appriciate or speak about my gratitude, it is just as healing to talk about the “good” as it is to talk about the “bad” or the “hard.

5 Things? this was hard to narrow it down..

  • GOD – I appreciate God in my life guiding me in the direction that I need each day.. he is the only one who truly knows my strengths and my weaknesses. I appreciate God for all that he is, and all the strength he gives me day in and day out.
  • MY FAMILY – I am so thankful and I appreciate my children so much! They are such good kids, and I appreciate how loving and caring they are, and I am blessed everyday for their goodness and big heart. I am thankful for my wonderful husband for who I have been married to for 20 years! He is the best man I have ever met in my life – my best friend!
  • MY SUPPORT – I am thankful for my support everyday for helping me heal in this journey. I am thankful for my therapist Andy who has truly walked this journey with me for 5 years, Someone I can trust fully and whole heartily! I am thankful for my close friends who have supported me in this long journey I have been on, and have accepted me and all my flaws going through it. I so much appreciate all the people I have in my life!
  • SECOND CHANCE – I am thankful for the second chance I have in life to make it right from the wrong that was done upon me. I am thankful that I am given a path of light for me to see and walk towards. I am thankful that I have the ability to rise above and work through the pain and suffering that I endured my whole life.
  • LIFE – I am thankful for life, and even though I was handed a bad deck of cards since I was born, I look at it this way, the ability to heal from something so painful, gives me a new meaning of life every single day that I wake up! It’s worth fighting for! It’s painful and hard, but it’s LIFE – a life that I can heal from and move through.
What are you thankful for today? Share it with us.. email me.. or just go and sit with it for a while before going to bed.. it may change your day, your mood, and your outlook going forward in the week!
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writing excercise – building strength!

I am in week 2 of my “creative writing” class. Saturday mornings lesson was to post a photo of you that you would not normally post, and describe yourself in 3 adjectives – take a risk, write about you, describe yourself in a riskful way, be creative yet take the fear by the neck and write about it.

I chose this photo of me when I was at the height of my “body building”. I wouldn’t normally share this photo, so I guess I took the risk on that aspect.

There are only very few people who have seen this photo, and it’s pretty much the photo I take out when I need to feel strong, or when I need to remind myself of where I can be, and how strong I can be internally as well. I believe I was even very shy about taking this photo and wanted it over and done with quick for my “before and after shots”.

I had a website called “reflections of me” for the gym testimonials that were private between close friends and family, but it went public so I took it down.

I am a shy person, until I get to know someone. I never like a photo of myself (hence the reason I change my profile photo so many times). I am never satisfied, always picking out my flaws, always feel I am not good enough, I put myself down alot.. but this photo reminds me of when I felt strong, and how I could feel internally. I actually can say I like this photo a little.. I really do!

The only place I felt like I fit in was at the gym. When I lost my 161 pounds, and started to weight lift, I felt powerful and strong. I felt like I had all this power over my past. When I lifted weights I would think about “them” a lot – the abusers. I thought about the abuse a lot. But not matter how many weights I lifted; I still knew the physical would never fix the emotional.

The gym was my sanctuary at one time. It was a place where I could go and be whatever I wanted to be – flaws and all. I was accepted, I was rooted on, I was strong and people respected me. I could look absolutely horrible in the gym, and not be judged!

The kind of pain I experienced in the gym was the GOOD pain, not the bad pain! It was the kind of pain that made you stronger, not weaker! It was the kind of pain I was in control of, not someone else’s control.

I stopped lifting weights 2 years into my therapy. I found that it was getting harder and harder to be there physically, and then show up in therapy with Andy emotionally. I was to the point of complete exhaustion trying to pull of both – so I decided to take a leave from the weight lifting, and concentrate on my emotional healing.

3 years have passed and a huge part of me wants to try and do both – emotional and physical healing! But I am not quite there yet. I loved the feeling I had when I was at the gym. I loved how good I felt about myself, but I also remember how I felt leaving the gym, all my insecurities were right back, the shield was put back up, and I never thought I was good enough.

Weight lifting was a very hard thing to do! You had to put all your energy and all your strength into it! I got to the point of bench pressing 150 pounds, and being able to push out 100 pushups in a row! I was at the top of my game. I was doing cross-fit training, I was doing 5k’s and people started to ask me on the street “wow do you lift weights?”.. But no one knew what was under it all!

No one knew that no matter how much I lifted weights, no matter what I wore, how I looked, I still did not feel good about myself inside – I still hated myself, and even today I still struggle with my appearance and self worth. Today I still pick myself apart, feel gross about my body at times, but It’s getting a little better over time; learning to find my self worth within.

Today I still go the gym, and workout, but I dont body build and lift like I used to, I tried, but it’s not there yet, it’s not there the way it was before, because internally something is still stopping me.

I have learned over the years in therapy of why I feel this way about myself, and why it’s a struggle to love my body and myself – the abusers took that away, and I am trying to find it back.

My therapist has tried to encourage me to get back into the weight lifting, but we both know that no matter how much I do it, I still need to feel good about myself “inside” to work hard again on the outside. I still cannot workout in front of the mirror, but I know I will get there someday.

I am feeling closer to that. I am really coming out of my shell and starting to feel a little self-worth on the outside. I am starting to become less and less shy about my body. I am starting to look at myself more and say “you look pretty today”. I am trying hard to see that no matter what they did to me, I am still me, and I am GOOD enough.

So, the risk? How will I feel having this post and photo up? I am already having anxiety about posting this photo and entry, but I guess this is a part of the internal work, just as much as the “creative writing” work. It’s healing and it’s taking a risk.

If I was to describe myself in 3 adjectives? I would say “loving, quiet and funny” – I love to make jokes and prank with people, I have always been known to be a very quiet person, and I am very loving, I am compassionate and have compassion for other people. I love to love!

The “strong” part is what I am working on again both internally and externally. Someday it will come back, and I will be both, but right now I am working on me, the inside of me, so that I can get back, look at myself in the mirror in the gym and say “I am worthy!”.

Jeff goins writes, if you don’t feel uncomfortable writing this piece, you’re not vulnerable enough – MISSION ACCOMPLSHED.

 

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accompishment and celebration

Today was about accomplishment and celebration in my healing. Today was one of my favorite days in this journey I have been on; regardless of still feeling sad and weak.

For years in my healing, when I have gone through something hard to the point of feeling really weak and I don’t want to admit it – I tend to run off, hide and lick my own wounds.

Sometimes, I care so much about my damn independence that I won’t let people help when I feel REALLY weak.

I have gone into disconnection because of it in the past, and that sometimes leads to “tension” in my work, and the people around me.

I also tend to get very defensive when I am not feeling as strong. I will try and make people mad with me so that they won’t have to support me in my “rougher moments”.

I tend to feel guilty when I feel weak and have the need for support, so I run and rather take care of it on my own. The feeling of need scares me, and sometimes I run when I feel a need for help, or extra support.

I get defensive and start putting up my shields, so that I can run and tend to myself not having to worry about dragging anyone else into my misery that I am feeling at the moment.

Today, going into session on the heels of writing that very hard write about my mom last night, I was having a tough time. I had a rough night sleeping, I was feeling guilty for how hard of a time I have had this week. I felt horrible for exposing my mom as I did, but at the same time it’s my pain, and I need to heal, but it still hurt.

When I got there today, the energy in the room wasn’t good, I was picking up off energy all around me, I was defensive and hyper vigilant, expectations for both of us were not met that we both thought were there, and it caused a “tension”.

I was reminded today that tension is bound to happen when you work so long together and on very hard hard stuff, and this is some very hard stuff.

Normally when this happens, I would shut down, get quiet, swallow it, and disconnect and tend to my own wounds later – Today however was different. Today I made a change, today I chose “connection and support” over “disconnection and isolation”.

I stood up in my anger and defensiveness, he stood up in his frustrations of not knowing what was there and why, and the tension was broke! We both stood on the edge of disconnection, and decided to turn, talk, solve, and not allow disconnection to take me.

I finally allowed myself to say “I NEED SUPPORT” in this weak place! I did not run to the corner and lick my own wounds. I finally accepted that I can have people around me that love and support me and not run off to tend to the weakness and only be accepted in strength!

I AM WORTHY EVEN IN MY WEAKNESS!

We sat and talked about it for 90 minutes, found where the tension was, found why I was defending myself, figure it out, worked it through, I accepted, I cried, I found my voice, I read the blog from last night that I wrote, I figured out what I was trying to do, we connected, and I moved through it.

I realized today that I am worthy even in my weakness to those around me. I don’t always have to be this strong person who heals all the time. I dont have to be this person who has to SMILE when I dont feel like smiling! I realized today I am just as strong in this tough week I had, as I was strong a month ago.

I gave up my independence that I am so adimient about, and I allowed being dependent on someone today.

I said the words “I NEED SUPPORT”.. 3 words I hardly ever ask for.

Celebration and Accomplishment!

We laughed about our growlness! We got up and both did a dance together, it was actually pretty funny and embarrassing, but I felt happy in that moment!

Today I am sitting here with a smile on my face because now I don’t have to go run into a corner and lick my wounds in my independence. NOW I am accepting support from everyone around me – today is the first day I don’t feel guilty for “needing” support.

I may still feel sad about my mom and what I wrote last night, and I may still be at a tough patch right now with my emotions, but today is different because I am allowing myself to be OK with that, and allow and accept support in “connection”

Celebration and accomplishment!

Today, I smile

 

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giving myself voice..

When I first started this blog last year, it began in little thoughts. I started off using the “photo” to tell the story of what I was writing, and then slowly it became writing the story, and finding a photo to help tell the story.

As I continued to write and be inspired by a couple of people, I noticed more and more that my voice was being heard, and my stories were longer and more authentic to how I was feeling inside.

In the past 2 months I have noticed that my voice is getting stronger and stronger. My feelings are sitting at the surface and I am using that as a tool to put my voice out there to be heard.

Today’s blog writing I am inspired by one of my mentors “Keith Jennings” who’s blog topic was “finding your voice”.

Today in session I had small emotions here and there, but today was about talking. Today was about talking through my heart and my soul – just like I write.

Today I talked for 2 hours and had a good conversation – I was giving myself voice. It was a conversation of understanding, compassion, my feelings, some joys, some sorrows, thoughts, wonder, laughter, fears, problem solving, and much more!

I found that giving myself voice today, was just as healing as giving myself emotions yesterday.

I never ever had a voice growing up. I was silenced from the age of 5. Everything was a secret. Everything was hush to keep quiet. Everything was black and dark.

Anything that I did give voice to; was on paper inside the closet. I had no one to talk to, I had no outlet. The only outlet I had was within me, or the paper I created my thoughts on – to be hidden behind the walls in the closet.

When I was 9 years old, I taped my voice and thoughts on this little plastic fisher price tape recorder that I had gotten for my birthday from Mrs. Bell. I would talk into it, save the tapes by hiding them as well in the walls of my closet. I saved those tapes and put them in a lock box when I was 18 years old. I held onto her voice all these years.

6 months ago, I took those tapes out of the lock box, and I shared them in therapy. I was finally ready to take that risk and take them out of the dark. We both had racing hearts at the thought of opening her voice up to be heard.

We sat and listened to that 9 year old on those tapes, as we both sat there in tears hearing my voice finally being heard after all these years. Finally giving her voice; the little girl we have been healing for years and years.

I had no idea what was on those tapes, but to hear that little girls pain (me at 9) – was heart breaking! It was so hard to hear, that we had to take breaks between listen to each tape. We needed to take breaks and talk about the depth of her cry for help; a little girl only wanting to be heard.

One of the greatest joys that came out of listening to those tapes was “GIVING HER VOICE”. She was finally heard, and today, I am being heard. I am blogging my healing, I am reaching out to others; I am reading my blogs in therapy, along with working through my timeline.

All of my healing today is about “giving myself voice” – something I never had before. My voice was caught behind the lies and the darkness, and today just as we did 6 months ago, when listening to the tapes of that 9 year old – today I am giving myself voice, and finding ways to heal through it.

Having a voice also comes with its consequences and risks. You see and feel everything you never saw or felt before. You realize what was under that darkness and silence. You hear things you never knew you felt; you hear your own pain as you are crying the tears.

I working on my timeline in this journey is a part of that (voice being heard). It’s a part of being with the hard, but opening the wound and shutting it with truth.

Every day when I sit to write in my blog, I am giving myself voice. When I sit down to write my blog, the VERY first thing I think about is “she would be so happy that she is being heard”; that 9 year old that longed for a voice to be heard.

It’s hard, it’s good, it’s healing, and I am honored to share it with everyone who reads this. My hope is that my healing, my hurt, and my pain are also helping others through their own healing – through “my voice” and my “truth”.

 

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ANGER .. with no escape

Anger circled back around again Saturday later afternoon, just as the sad emotions did earlier that morning.

I think when we honor our emotions in some way or form; along comes out other things that were right behind it.

Anger is the emotion that I have the hardest time honoring. I have felt and honored fear, sadness, doubt, confusion, hope, joy, happiness, excitment, and wonder – but anger is the one emotion I have a hard time getting close to, or touching.

When I am angry, that is the one emotion that I swallow the most. I block it out. I do whatever I can to not look at it, or be with it.

People have told me that I am the most calm person they have ever met! I am quiet, I don’t make a loud entrance. I am very reserved, calm and soft spoken, I move quietly and I am gentle – if only people knew what I hold inside.

Anger is one of the biggest emotions that we have worked on over and over for years in therapy! We have touched it, and then backed away from it leaving it alone for a little while. We have gone back into it, and then gave me a break. We have reopened it, worked with it again, and then backed away from it  – it’s that hard to be with.

We have worked with my anger many times. We have throw pillows, I have practiced pushing on and against my therapist hands while standing to get my anger out. He has had me punch pillows while him holding them; trying to find the words to match the action – to no avail.

We have tried having me write things down on paper and ripping them up with big anger words! I have stomped and kicked, and wrestled and thrown more pillows – still to no avail.

No matter how many times I have worked with anger, I still have a hard time fully letting it go and letting it out. When I get to certain point, I shut it down to the old messages, and I swallow it. I put it away, and yet it’s there, in a very big way! Just like the crying but bigger!

I have tried going to the gym and working it out by lifting heavy weights, or running miles and miles to get it out. I have taken kickboxing classes – still to no avail.

If I work with anger, no words come out. If I put the words out there, no anger comes out. It’s built in that I cannot be with this emotion! it’s toxic, because deep inside, I know I am angry!

I have been told over and over “you are filled with big anger and rightfully so!”

I AM angry, I am very angry! I am angry that the people of my past who hurt me, are living life, and I am here healing from the damage they created in me. I am angry that I have 42 scars on my body, which all of them I have to heal!

I am angry that not ONE person in my family has ever tried to come forward and help me heal through this. I am angry that I missed out on so much of my life because of what they did to me. I am so angry that my mom is still in bed, still sick, still thinking of herself.

I am angry that the man who raped me, it out of prison on good behavior! I am angry that I go to therapy 4 days a week working on my healing, working my ASS off with very hard emotions – while everyone who hurt me is totally oblivious to the HELL they have put on me!

I am angry that I cannot make love to my husband the way I would like to, because THEY took that away from me. I am angry that I never got to cry at my Nana’s funeral because I didn’t know HOW. I am angry that not ONE person that knew me as a child, had NO idea that I was being abused, beaten and neglected; that no one cared to check in with me (the quiet little girl who never went outside to play).

I’m angry that now that I lifted the Vail of their lies, I see everything and it hurts like hell to know I was HAD by my whole family; my flesh and blood.

I am so angry that no matter how much I type about why I am angry, I still am holding the anger inside! I am angry that I am still angry, and that I have to hold it.

I think for once in my blog writing, I don’t have a resolve for this. I think for the first time I can say, this is one thing I don’t know how to do. This is one thing I have yet to open up. Anger is the one thing that still resides deep in my soul.

We talked about it a couple of days ago in session. We know it’s there, we know we have to circle back around and honor it, but it scares me.

Anger shows up in small bits and pieces. I notice it in small bouts, but then I go back to “calm, gentle and reserved”.

The day my father smashed my head into the counter 3 times, was the day I labeled anger as “NEVER GO THERE” – EVER!

This is another part of my healing that I need to open up and close with truth. Sometimes I feel I am close to honoring it, but then I put it back away, deep inside, until it surfaces again.

I think being with my emotions and bringing those out last Tuesday, is what brought all these other emotions to the surface. It brought anger and everything else that was deep inside – and it’s just a matter of time of when it will show up.

I dont know why the anger showed up Saturday afternoon into the evening, and I dont know why I cried Saturday morning out of the blue while looking out the window, but what I do know is, it’s information, and I know I need to pay attention to it, and honor it.

I will go to church today, (have my one coffee I am allowed on Sunday for lent) – I’ll be calm and quiet like I always am –  I will pray, and I will go back to being who I am minus the anger. I will swallow it again, until it circles back around. It’s a vicious circle, but one that I truly know I eventually have to open up, and close with truth.

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