Dancing Candle, Dancing Mind

I’m sitting here in meditation, staring at a candle flame, trying to just be within each moment. Just sitting there, watching this little flame.

It’s an unusual candlelight, this one. Although there are no drafts or fans or otherwise air movement about, this little flame is dancing about like crazy. Up and down amd left and right. Nearly sputtering out then bursting forth ablaze again.

As I sit here I realize that this little candlelight is doing exactly what my mind is doing just now. Nearly going out into dissociated haze. Jumping alight with this slim thread of what feels like peace that I’ve been chasing all day. Dancing left dancing right. Am i under threat or not? Do I cut my losses and run, to never see my therapist again? Or to go in tomorrow after a three-week absence and spill my guts about how much I have been struggling and how even though i know it’s only a case of the transference bug I still have the feeling that she will be going away from me soon?

Up down left right dance Splinty dance.

And then as I sit here I realize that despite the wild machinations and meanderings that this little flame is going through…..it remains lit. There is a commitment to itself, as if to say hey I may be a crazy little flame and I may be all over the place, but I am still giving off light and color and warmth. I’m still here.

And so it is with me. Banged up as i may be, as anxious as I seem to need myself to be, I’m still here.

So I will be jumpy and twitchy and be unable to keep still–yes. But I made it. I know that this show is just the drama queens’ (the Teenagers’) way of saying we don’t like this this is just like all the rest. But it’s not.

It’s 2010. I am a grown woman. I have chosen to remain here. I may be dinged and the Voices may be screaming but my light’s still on.

Now the only remaining question is what do I do with the next 25 hours. Really–ya gotta laugh.

Dancing Candle, Dancing Mind

I am humbled and feel tremendous gratitude toward the courage, compassion and wisdom in the submissions posted for this month’s Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I know well how much guts it takes to put out our stories and the work involved in helpful steps we can take in order to gain and regain our lives. Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your stories, your wisdom, and your artwork. Ok, I’ll stop my ramblings now–on to the good stuff!

POETRY

I’m starting with the artsy stuff first because, well, I’m an artsy person.

Susan Kingsely-Smith gives us a work of great beauty. She says: There is hope there is Light. The Road to Freedom from the Past is full of potholes and yet there is hope TITLE How do I? I will

RIck Belden tells us of the pain in nogt being validated when we told. Heartbreaking TITLE scapegoat’s cross

ART THERAPY

Amanda Kobeshimi submits some beautiful photos that accompany a description of a survivor with a compelling tale of life with DID TITLE Season’s Greetings from the Demon World

HEALING/THERAPY

Always a popular topic, especially so during the holiday season, when so many of us struggle.

Laura aka Simply Green tells us how to use compassion to help your abused child TITLE Compassionate Parenting: Meeting Needs

One of my favorite writers, Darlene Ouimet, gives us a blog from Emerging From Broken on the beginning of her emotional healing. She tells it like the process thru healing was for her. I identify with and learn so much from her–if you don’t follow her you really should. TITLE The Beginning of Emotional Recovery :: Emerging From Broken

Pandora, a dear friend, says: This is a discussion about a therapy session in which an alter of mine came out, bringing with her all the hideous and abject horror of her experiences of systemic child sexual abuse. TITLE Child Minder – Paul:Week Four

Paul from Mind Parts says “here are some thoughts on what are the essential tools to healing from dissociation and trauma” TITLE Cultivating Skills

Darlene Ouimet shares one of my favorite blogposts as well. It’s a hot-button topic and one that puts me up on a soapbox quite often, too. TITLE Forgive The Abusers? A bit of a Rant :: Emerging from Broken

ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS

From Tracie fills us in on Awareness of new and obtrusive TSA procedures, a very hot topic for this busy holiday season TITLE Vacation Choice: Naked Pictures or Federally Mandated Molestation

The wise Patricia Singleton asks: “Are you aware of who you are because of your struggles in spite of your struggles? Now THAT is a good question! Read what she has to say TITLE A Short Biography – Who Am I?

Joanaa Tiger talks about the senselessness of violence giving us ten instances wherein warning signs could have been acted on to avert horrid crimes TITLE Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

AFTERMATH

VoicesUnsilenced is a very powerful writer of the aftermath of child abuse. She tells her story with courage and fortitude in the face of trauma. Here’s what she has to say TITLE won

Nesher gives a great informational piece on the aftermath of trauma. TITLE Childhood Abuse and Clinical Depression in Adults

SURVIVOR STORIES

My bud Hope For Trauma talks about the stress of the holiday season on her alters. I put this piece in this section because her words echo throughout the year. TITLE 5k’s & Turkey Burgers

From Tracie says “This is a great project for survivors to participate in.” It’s yet another way to speak out, tell your story, and obliterate the silence” TITLE My Name Is Project

Patrticia Singleton talks about choosing a position of gratitude throughout the year, not only during the holidays. Strong piece! TITLE Thanks Giving

Tim Fischer gives us a compelling survivor story. Spend a few moments with his powerful images and notice what your mind thinks about it TITLE The Ghost of Halloween Past

My dear DragonHeartSong takes a courageous look at multiples and their struggles TITLE The holidays approach – good news; bad news

IN THE NEWS

Paul at MindParts gives some thoughts on the recent Oprah Winfrey show with 200 men who have survived child abuse. Interesting TITLE Why I Did Not Appreciate Oprah’s “200 Men” Show

Steven and Debra give us a fabulous poem on recent changes at the TSA. Read this twice. TITLE Opt-out to the Beltway TSA and Their Airline CEO Cronies: Take Your Planes and Shove ‘Em

AND FINALLY…..HOLIDAY TRIGGERS!!!!!

Patricia Singleton says sometimes shutting down is all that you can do to get through the Holidays. Hear hear. TITLE Shutting Down To Get Through The Holidays

My buddy Sharon Sanquist gives us some survival tips on how to deal with moment-to-moment stressors and triggers during this challenging time for so many of us. She’s a great writer and has a way of bringing clarity to just about any confusing issue. Go down to Comments to read her valuable help!

Lisa Kift the ever-wise creator of the Relationship Toolkit also gives us some survival tips. If you haven’t been to her website–do so today. Skip down to the comments section to see what she has to say. If you’ve not been to Lisa’s Toolkit on her website — you need to go!

My good buddy Ravin has been through so much in her life. She has more compassion in her soul than any ten people I know. Read her story of what the Holidays are for her in the Comments section below. I prize her life and so should you!

I personally did not write a blog for dealing with the holidays because I lost track a day or two before Thanksgiving. Meaning I just faded away. Apparently some of the littles were out and about, why I do not know. Since I have been seeing the Mighty C, I’ve been co-conscious. My personal history is that Christmas Eves I was brutalized more than any other time of the year. So–I lost a few days. Could be worse, could be raining. I get used to it as the weeks pass, but it’s always a bumpy ride at the beginning of the season. My wife is great, she knows it’s a tough time for me. We always end up doing all the fun stuff that’s plentiful here. And it ends up being a good time as I get involved as an adult. But it’s a rough go for awhile.

Again, thanks so much to contributors here. It has been an amazing opportunity for me to be allowed the privilege to read and consider their strength, wisdom, and compassion. Happy Holidays where you can get them! And remember–it’ll be over soon 😉

Call for submissions-Carnival against Child Abuse

I will be hosting the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for November. Our theme, which you can choose to address or not, is….what else….ta daaaaaaa…..drumroll please….. HOLIDAY TRIGGERS! It’s a tough time for many survivors and thrivers. We’re shown all these images of perfect, happy homes, fried turkeys Santa Claus and dredles. Which for so many just didn’t ever exist. Oftentimes the abuse was ratcheted up a notch. Happy Holidays, indeed.

Feel free to say whatever the heck you want to about the Holiday Season in this month’s Carnival. Ranting and raving is allowed, please add “trigger” to rough stuff. It’s also a great time to talk about how you cope with it all (hint for you professionals out there especially!).

Your submission doesn’t have to be original, you know. You can submit something you wrote five years ago that works for you. Participatiuon is the buzzword here. Of course, you can just ignore this month’s theme and talk about any of our regular monthly topics:

-Advocacy and Awareness
-Aftermath
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Poetry
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The purpose of the Carnival Against Child Abuse is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal – are discussed. We highlight blog posts from child abuse survivor stories, survivor art and poetry, child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse aftermath that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery, and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.

I’m looking for new posts that you have written specifically for the carnival, or an old post from your archive. You are not limited to just one submission! I know that (surprise) I have alot to say about all of this stuff, so expect to see it. Again–participate! It’ll help you feel better!

You can submit your posts here using the form, or you can email your links to me at splinteredones@gmail.com

I’ll be taking submissions until midnight Tuesday November 23rd and the Carnival will be posted on Friday the 26th.

Thank you! I’m excited to read all of your fabulous submissions this month. Namaste _/|\_

Cat Therapy and CBT

I’ve been having abit of a bad day. I can’t seem to be able to relax, to just let things flow. My home has some bad mojo in it at the moment, but I’ve put up some pretty good boundaries and that shouldn’t be impacting me as much as I am allowing it to do so.

I’d had a bit of a shin thing going on, so my normal recourse in these situations, running, is out. I’ve gone down my list but I just can’t seem to get to my coping stuff today. It’s comprised of various creative outlets but today it feels like I’m made of cardboard, just a box of nothing much. My therapist would advise me to try doing something even if I don’t feel it and she would be right. But for some damn reason I just can’t get there from here. Even my meditation is off today.

Sometimes you’re the windshield sometimes you’re the bug. Today I am definitely the latter.

I was sitting on the couch, trying to be conscious of my breath, shedding each icky though as it arose, one after the other, when my huge cat Silas jumped up and laid down on the wide leather arm. He looked at me, closed his eyes, and instantly fell asleep. I absentmindedly started to scratch his favorite place, right behind the ears. He started to purr (Silas has the loudest purr of any cat I’ve ever owned, which is many many cats), leaned into my hands. His eyes opened, he gave me a good “meow”, then closed them again and renewed his pleasure mode of just digging being petted.

It hit me like a thunderbolt. Dharma was giving me a present of my cat just at that moment. I noticed how completely he was in each moment. Just being fuzzy, warm, comfy and cared for. He wasn’t thinking about the past or considering future paths. He wasn’t thinking about filing quarterly taxes he couldn’t seem to get to today.

Silas was just noticing how happy he was in each moment.

I petted my cat for twenty minutes, just noticing him noticing. I became aware that my body was releasing tension I hadn’t even realized was there. Just sitting there, listening to a deep rich cat purr and allowing him to be happy.

Allowing him to be happy. I forget to do that for myself. I have this life that is healing, but I’ve been missing the big point of why the healing is taking place. It’s not that running or painting or writing or playing piano make me happy in and of themselves. These activities allow me to give myself permission to experience myself thru their action. Sure, there’s dopamine release and endorphins when I’m running or doing yoga.

I’ve misunderstood CBT for a long, long time. I have always thought substitution of positive activities to be distractions from what is really going on. So it rankles as much as it helps. But just as thru the actions of my perpetrator the person I was had changed, it’s thru self-expression that I am able to learn who I am becoming.

As I type this I am staring at the light of a candle. I breathe softly on the wick and it moves. Thru action it is altered. It’s essence remains the same. It burns, plain and simple. I can directly impact its motion but it stays true to itself. Just burning, one moment at a time.

There is an essence in me that burns serenely. Just like the candle, just like Silas, who’s still sleep-purring next to me. It’s so simple and yet so hard. Now all I need is a cat I can put in my pocket and I’ll be all set. I’ve decided to rest for the remainder of this day. Non-harm to all sentient beings includes me, after all.

My Relationship

I have grown/recovered at a furious pace in the past five months. I look back and while I recognize that poor bescattered woman, she seems a thousand miles away.

I am running–outside. I am working. Not as much as I need to no but working at all is new for me so I’ll still keep it in the Win column. I meditate every day. I’m painting again and am teaching myself to play the piano. I am writing far far less than I ever have. I used to type the same things, over and over again for hours on end.

Now I write what I want. I am in the process of getting a trademark on a killer invention and I am getting together the book I was meant to write.

So I have all this really great growth stuff happening. And my relationship with my partner is beginning to weigh very heavily on my mind.

I love my partner and she loves me. We’ve been together for 17 years. We’ve gotten thru the loss of three parents, all within a year or so of one another. We’ve made it thru the worst of my illness.

I need for the basic dynamics of our relationship tp change with me. But I don’t know that it can. It isn’t up to me, really. I’d like to say that it is up to us, together. But I don’t know that I can.

I have been as flexible as I could be during the course of our relationship. Basically wifey runs the show. She’s very rigid in her thinking. Once she sets a neural pathway there is no changing it.

Like the sex thing. From out of nowhere a decade or so ago she declared that she was celibate. She could never explain it, never went into detail. Just…done. Lays down the line and that’s it. No questions no answers.

I’ve been very patient. Learned to not take it personally (she says it’s my fault but won’t elaborate), learned to just deal as best I can. I get laud every now and then–when she decides. Were I to ask for it all he’ll would break loose. Accusations w/out explanations, vindictiveness…..not pretty. So I just adapted.

She has a complete inability for intimacy. She had a horrid growing-up. Older siblings just brutal to her, alcoholic dad victim mother. Lots of emotional scarring. I get it.

But the bottom line is that as I get healthy this is going to have to be a healthier relationship. I love her, I really do. But I can’t live forever being emotionally and verbally abused. My patience wears thin.

Bullying is Nice and Packageable

It amazes me how many resources have been allocated from whatever other things they were doing to the issue of child bullying. As a lesbian, I was horrified but not surprised when in one week several gay kids killed themselves because of torment brought on by other assumedly non-gay kids. I was out as a teenager in the mid-seventies. It was not easy. I had other things going on in my life that made it easy for me to not really register the cruelty of my peers. But I was just lucky that they didn’t get to me, too.

There’s all this stuff about bullying, where do bullies come from how they’re all over cyberspace, what if my kid is a bully, how do I ensure my kid doesn’t become a bully. I saw something on twitter yesterday that said that over 70% of parents’ greatest fear for their children is that they’re a bully. Really, your greatest fear for your kids?

Celebrities have popped up all over the place, decrying bullying, contributing to support for gay teens, doing press releases and their celebrity thing. Donations donations donations. PR PR PR.

I will say this once and will erase any comments that ignore it: this is a very, very important social issue. Bullying is brutal on both parties. There is little protection a parent can give their kids if they’re victimized. Gay adults are bullied around by our government but kids–that’s just plain interpersonal cruelty at a very fragile time in a person’s life. I would never want to be a teenager again.

However. All this sudden and socially popular focus on bullies and their victims seems to me to be a tremendous luxury. Again–I am not diminishing the pain these poor kids have to deal with. There needs to be greater attention paid.

But when one looks from the eyes of a former child whose life was threatened and nearly taken, who has been thru horrendous sexual assault….I have got to say I find it all abit offensive.

Here’s the issue. Bullying is a new thing here, there are issues related to schooling children, teaching them compassion, fixing them if they’re violent little jerks. Is it the schools or is it the parents? Genetic? Tabula Rasa? These are questions that can be looked at without anybody’s hands actually getting too dirty. Oprah and Ellen and Alec Baldwin can stand up and say Hey There Don’t Be A Bully and it’s a neat little package. Sure, a few kids died, but nobody has to do any real soul searching, any digging up bodies, any dealing with mass wreckage wrought on little girls and boys by (mostly) people they know and trust. As has been going on since time began. Nobody wants to count the suicides.

Nobody has to deal with un-PC issues like sex trafficking, or RA or how survivors get thru their lives. That stuff is hard, the visual images and storytelling don’t really fit daytime or primetime TV. And who wants to hear about stuff that is so grotesque, so horrific such a nightmare.

We are out there, an army of CSA survivors. We tell our stories when we can, and many of us do. There’s an entire wing of psychology that tries to help us live the best lives we can from amongst the wreckage. There’s no secret, it happens every day. Every single day. To countless little girls and boys.

But despite our presence, nobody is going to galvanize in a couple of weeks a national effort to help us. There’s a line in the sand of what is dealable and what is not and nobody wants to see us. We’re not hard to find, it’s just…nobody wants to know. There will be an occasional sensationalistic thing on some tv show about a woman with 52 personalities and how weird she is. But nobody does a Purple Twibbon for us.

Where’s Ellen? Where’s Alec? Where are they? Patting themselves on the back for doing such a great job on the latest socially current fad. Where are the financial resources? Where’s the help? It’s sitting over here in my neighborhood, Heinousville. Just on the wrong side of the tracks.

Once again. I’m a lesbian, I think it’s horrid what kids have to deal with. There are always some cruel kids and there are way too few resources to help their poor victims. But I have waited for 48 years to get my cause to walk down the red carpet and get all the interviews. It’s sad and demeaning to get that you are just too dirty.

Get off your ass and save your children. Save your friend’s children. Package a Cause and sell it to America in a three=hour concert with texty donation setups. People are raping your children and you are not listening. Their lives are interrupted and stolen from them. Probably by somebody you know. Teach your kids how to say NO. To daddy, to mommy, to anybody who’s doing bad stuff or who says bad stuff. Pay attention to keeping them alive because a third of your daughters will face sexual assault by age 18.

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Permission to be Stronger

I have therapy homework this week. I asked for it, usually C will say go live your life then tell me about it. But this past Wednesday when I said just tell me what to think about this week I need a rest from my head, she gave me some. She didn’t just spit out a rote thisiswhatitellmyclientstodowhentheyaskforhomework kinda thing. She looked piercingly in the distance for a few minutes then started to talk.

She said think about giving yourself permission to be stronger. Give yourself permission to come into your own, to sort of give birth to the very strong woman who you are. She says I’d be interested in what you have to say about that. You don’t have to DO anything right now, you don’t have to CHANGE anything right now, don’t work that hard on it. Just entertain the idea and let me know what you came up with next week.

It’s a good assignment for me. I have lived my entire life from a perspective that dictates that I just respond to what comes flying at me. Good bad indifferent, I fend off the world. It saddens me to realize that at 50 years of age, some 38 years after my abuse stopped and nearly 15 years in therapy that I am still viewing the world from a victim stance. I asked her–my god when do I stop being a victim? She said you are very astute just getting that this is where your brain functions tells me you are beginning to get over it.

Whenever C talks about me taking charge of my own life I kinda freak. I know I do so because she will say wow check out your body language hon this is making you really anxious. Why is that?

It’s too much responsibility to have control over my life. C says you’re a successful businesswoman and after all that happened to you you’re still here. You have a relationship that might not be perfect but you’ve been able to keep it together for over 15 years and that is amazing. She says you’re already doing it, you are already taking control, you just don’t want to admit it. Why?

I say then I guess I don’t know. C says not so easy darlin’ you’ll have to think about it and open your mouth about it. She says I know it feels like you’re shooting in the dark right now but that’s okay because if you start to fall I will let you know and you can think about something else.

So here I am. My mind is going ummmmmm….got nothing. But there are some things I do know about this. I know that it scares me to let go of my primary perp. As horridly as I was mutilated by the man, he was all I had. I have the tendency to disregard my newborn health and progress as much as I treasure it. I suppose he has been with me my whole life and without him I still feel like I’m nothing. Nobody is there. Like shouting down an empty well.

As long as my perp has continued to strongly influence my behavior I am not alone. Somebody else knows what happened to me. And until I can really truly and fully let go of that self-perception as someone who was horridly abused as a kid and who had all these really horrendous things happen to her at least I have an identity.

For nothing will happen to me in the future that can have anything close to that kind of impact on me. Seems like my life was over at 12 when the bastard finally stopped going after me and just vanished into thin air.

And so I have held on to this identity I have some meaning in the world.

Just reading the words that are coming up on this screen causes me trememdous self-loathing, shame, a sense of being totally full of shit. Jesus. There it is again, victim victim victim. Even if it’s only me doing the abuse. This is what I know.

My readers will know that I am entranced by the concept of neuroplasticity. I see literal images in my mind of the old road and Springtime that’s new neural pathways. I’ve been having some great success with taking these gambles, and it gets easier to seek them out the more I do it. But this one causes me to completely recode my awareness of my place on the planet. From somebody whose only value is to be used as sadistic cruelty to an adult woman who controls her own destiny, who has tremendous power to determine her life.

So. How do I give myself permission to become myself? So far I’ve been doing okay trying to just change my behaviors and the messages coming at me from my mind. And then sit in C’s office and let her tell me the significance of acting as I have. “It’s your life, is that what you wanna do?” Yikes. I didn’t even know what she was talking about the first time the words came from her mouth. Now I’m getting an inkling of the concept. Scares the shit out of me.

One tiny piece at a time. This is the secret I suppose. So my little bit for the next few days is to think about letting that victim thing go. I can feel changes, a few at least. For instance, I no longer have to hang onto the idea that no one has ever suffered as much as I have. My entire life I have had to have “the worst” to justify my intense pain. Not so much any more. Not at all really. I now tend to embrace in my mere survival. I am comforted by not being so isolated, so totally alone in the history of my anguish. AS long as I was isolated from the rest of humanity I could remain some kind of monster. I am not alone so not isolated so not a monster.

I am a human being, a miracle of kids’ toughness and ingenuity. Just like everyone else on the planet. So I am much better able to establish an identity that is separate myself from other people in terms of human need. Boundaries? Son of a bitch, I have them. This is pretty damn huge for me.

As I’m typing I can hear the voices screeching. Now I can tell them to just shut up, which more and more often is working. I am like the first nuclear bomb test. Nobody knew if the thing was even going to work but by damn it did. And it changed the world.

Certainly there will be more to come on this topic but it is time to put it away for now. Because I said so. Because it’s good self care to put this away for now and go do something. I think I’ll take a little run.

“You’re Healing”

So I go in to see C, wondering how to describe what happened to me this past week. I talked for a few minutes, setting up the innocuous events that led to my going away.

After three or four minutes, during which C is listening to me intently, she says so you’ve had a traumatic event but you got over it in what, a couple of days? Congratulations that is great. See, your healing is showing. You’re healing.

Ergh. Avoid eye contact just sit there spacing out. Wow are you away someplace right now. Am I? Yes you are. I want to keep talking about this says C. Why is it so difficult for you to accept that you are getting better by leaps and bounds?

Well, for one it doesn’t feel like that just now. Just now all I feel is guilty.

C stares at me. Ok I’m going to stick with this for now anyway. Look at me. Look at me. Ok stay with me now. What bugs you about the idea that you’re healing? I don’t know sorry not good enough.

Well, it’s scary, makes me feel so vulnerable because I feel that while I’m
Busy being present and making new neuro-pathways I am defenseless.

You are not defenseless says C. Far from it. You were, yes very true. But you have enormous power as an adult woman in this society. So what is it?

I’m scared because it’s just so much responsibility. Ah HAH I knew it says C. Healing doesn’t mean you have to be Superwoman. She says if there was a Superwoman I’d follow her around like a dog. The line of dykes lining up for her would stretch across the country.

Hahahahaha I love it when you crack me up I say. I would be her Yoko Ono. Hahahahaha.

Anyway says C. All this work you’ve done over all these years, it’s paying off bigtime for you.

C says healing is about understanding what you want and don’t want and asserting those things in your life. It means that if something is too much you can let it go or communicate about it. It’s real power.

I have lived my entire life fending off what comes flying at me, hoping that whatever the next thing is it won’t be too horrific. So you’re saying it’s about making decisions, making choices? C says exactly yes. She says the more you trust your power and your healing the less time you’ll have to spend in triggerville.

It’s in trusting yourself. Look at me no look into my eyes. Silence silence. It’s about trusting yourself. Trusting your healing.

So I say so life and presence it’s a proactive thing as opposed to a reactive way of seeing the world? C looks, says yes yes that’s a good way to put it.

Silence for a moment. C says are you working on something or are you gone? No it’s just…when do I stop being a victim? C looks rather stunned. You are really wise for somebody who has just gotten thru a traumatic event. Silence. I say yeah well I’m so sick of it how do I make that transformation?

C says you’re doing it right now. Rebuilding those neural pathways. In bits and pieces. Not big stuff like this past weekend exactly but hey you got thru and you learned some important things. Right? No major damage except for that scratch over your eyebrow…did u hurt urself or anyone else? Nope. Did you get blasted or take a bunch of your drugs or go get hash or anything like that? Nope. How did u get that cut? Menopause zit aha chit-chat about hormones etc for abit.

Silence for abit. It’s so sad, the crap that happened to me, y’know? I am just so sad. C says I know. Hahaha yes I suppose you do. Why am I so sad? Because you are letting alot of shit go and there’s sadness to it.

So. I piece together three major points in that hour. C tells me to write them down but don’t think about them, I just don’t want them to be lost. I say shouldn’t I try to look into them, see how they make me tick? C says no. We’ve done enough hard work today I don’t want that to be diminished. You’re getting ahead of yourself we’ll pick them up when it’s time.

For now, think about trusting yourself. Think about healing and how freeing, how proactive. Just let that one rattle around in your head.

The biggest difference for me between C and all the others who came before her is that I believe that she is really listening to me. I believe that when she says something it’s what she honestly believes–not what she thinks I should hear. This lack of manipulation allows me to trust her and to value what she says to me. It makes me responsible and truly in charge. With help from her, not by making me lean on her. She shoots straight from the hip so I can hear her without having to decide whether she is full of shit or not. She is real.

Too many Heads

So I haven’t seen my therapist in two weeks. My shrink is out of town and wife has been on business trips. I have been left to my own devices to survive. And there has been increasing weirdness going on.

I don’t feel abandoned, oddly enough. A little bit neglected, but that’s very understandable. I am, after all, alone and a touch lonely. But I have been trying to stick to a structure everyday to keep myself occupied. Which has been helpful much of the time.

I’ve been getting up by 7, working out for an hour after waking up, then meditating getting cleaned up and working for some hours. Take a little break then practice plinking on my new keyboard. My efforts in all these areas seem to be paying off, albeit more slowly than I would like.

I have been trying valiantly to appreciate all these baby steps forward. Moving in the right direction able to do so much more now than just two months ago getting physically spiritually mentally and emotionally stronger blah blah blah di dah.

My problem is just this blah di dah thing. One head says stick to your new neural pathways, you’re growing a ton in the right direction and each little win is a huge victory at this point. It says your clothing doesn’t fit even if you’re not really losing weight. It says you have discovered that you have the family “gift” in music. It says you’re doing stuff to promote and take care of your business like you’ve never been able to do. Be excited by each of these gains, jump up and down, celebrate them. You feel great, right? and feeling great is, as the wizard of oz says, guess what it’s great. Whether you acknowledge it or not. It’s fabulous.

But another head says so you can run five minutes at a time with a minute’s rest before running the next five. You should be running triathlons like you used to do. Loser. It says you should be making over 300K like you used to. You should be able to play whatever you want, this stupid fucking plinking around is just ridiculous. You should be you should be you should be lots of negative stuff but primarily you should be feeling llike the loser idiot that you are.

There’s a head who already knows how to read music. It wants to be taken seriously and doesn’t like many of the songs we’re learning. Sometimes it pops up to share it’s knowledge and sometimes it doesn’t. Often it will show up for awhile, get disgusted with me and vanish to whence it came.

Heads say just shut the hell up man. You are so far down the loser ladder there’s not climbing up out of the pit. You’re just being a jackass by taking any pride in this stupid little shit. You should be you should be you should be.

It was mentioned to me by a wise friend that I am going down the self-flaggelations because it’s a familiar pathway. So in a sense, even though it doesn’t work out this way, I am trying to do a self-soothing thing by following the same old road I know.

That the new stuff, the feeling good about myself over anything is so new it appears to be dangerous. But it feels better.

Too many heads. Without a support system it could be alot worse than splitting off like this. I mean, I could be dead or in jail or drunk or something. But I’m not I am doing my best.

I will get to see C (the wizard) next week, then we’re off again for another two. I’ll be at my other house with my wife for some of that time, which will be very helpful. But it is hard to have everybody gone. Not a crisis or anything, just starting to get me down. I suppose that the idea here is to keep my head above water and hope the others drown along the way.

How meditation is freeing from control

OK, so in my last post I suppose that I did not do a very good job of explaining why meditation and qi gong are so freeing. Or how what seems like might be inviting chaos actually eliminates it with practice.

I have a sense that meditation can be a very scary idea. I mean, you’re just sitting there and god knows what awful things can pop into your head, right? And there you’ll be, sitting like an idiot with anxiety that is shooting the roof, all triggery and flashbacky and god knows what other.

What I think many people try to do to control their thoughts is to suppress them when they come up. Like pushing them down deep inside themselves. Oftentimes this effort includes some sort of behavior, like drinking or drugging or manipulating their food intake. Or they panic. We exert these behaviors to get away from our thoughts because it’s hard to do all that suppressing. So we do what we do to make that process easier.

But here’s the cold hard reality. It doesn’t work. By restricting or poisoning ourselves we hurt our bodies and that’s about it. Think about it. If these behavior worked, if suppression worked, wouldn’t the nightmares in our heads go away? The sad truth is that no they don’t. We may feel a temporary relief from them, but because we aren’t addressing them they just come back. Over and over and over again. So we end up chasing our own tail, repeating self-harming tactics as we give our scary thoughts more strength because we’re still afraid.

And so. Can we see where all the shit we do to not feel to not remember just won’t work unless we deal with them head-on? You know the shit we do doesn’t work or we wouldn’t continue to be so afraid.

Thoughts are just that, thoughts. They come and go all the time. The ones that stick around are the ones we pay attention to. They’re kinda like cats. Lolling about most of the time, wake up to clamor for attention, then go back to snoozing. If your cat receives no attention from you she’ll eventually go away.

This is why meditation is so great. It teaches you to let the nightmares come into your head, lets you see oh there’s that pile of hot mess — and then just let it go. You don’t feed the beast. My regular readers know that I perceive myself to be a black hole where fuckall badness gets into me and sucks down right onto my head. For me, meditation allows me to sit at the bottom of my black hole and see what horrors are out there. But if I just let them be, refocus my mind onto something else like moving my energy around or focusing on the smell of my incense, they stay out there in orbit. They don’t come crashing in on me because I just don’t give them that power.

As we practice it gets easier and easier to do this. Imagine sitting there breathing playing around with your qi, and suddenly you’re aware that a horrible memory has popped into your head. You have the power to say “Eww god I do not want to go there” — and you don’t. You focus your attention on the tools at your disposal to not get sucked in by the frightening whatever. And the thought, getting no attention, floats away. It’s gone.

So you are actually dealing with these scary thoughts by putting them in their right place, which is out there not bothering you. They come in, they go away. They come in, they go away. In, away. In, away.

You can always pay attention to your whatever thoughts whenever you want to. You can feed the beast but you can do it on your time, when you want to. Like in therapy or in creative endeavors or writing. They will never go away completely. But you have in you the power to not have them take over your life. You can shut them down. You can just leave them be.

I used to think that I HAD to give my full attention to my nightmares for a number of reasons. One, what happened to me was my identity. I was a victim and I did not see that by re-traumatizing myself constantly I would have no self-identification. Two, I had to re-injure myself repetitively to know I was alive. Three, to prove that what happened to me did indeed happen. Four, I didn’t know any other way to live. Five, I identified so strongly with my perpetrators that I couldn’t imagine them not in my life. That weird attachment thing is really just gross but there it was for me. Six, it seemed to me that as long as I kept the old shit alive nothing new or more horrific could happen to me. Seven, I was addicted to a crisis life. Eight, I really thought that by keeping an eye on my nightmares I was controlling them.

None of this was true. It’s about living the best, happiest life I can. And that means putting down the weapons. Meditating and doing qi work are the best ways I’ve found to really deal with my nightmares. I have the power to just walk away. And so do you. I hope this makes more sense. Meditation is control.

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