Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Body/Mind Connection

The Mystery within...
I had a freak accident this past January while walking in a wood with my son and our dogs.  A six inch rotted tree limb fell on my head, knocking me to the ground and temporarily stunning me.  Our walk ended abruptly with a trip to the Emergency Room where I received five staples to close the bloody gash on my head.  Later, when I told my acupuncturist what happened she said,  “It looks like the universe is trying to tell you something.”  I told her, “I’m all ears.”

It will soon be June and I am still feeling residual effects from that bump on the head.   I’m now seeing an Occupational Therapist for cranial sacral massage to see if she can help put things back in order so when I bend over to tie my shoes I can do it without pain in my eyes and head.  We are making progress along with unexpected discovery.

As my therapist’s caring and skillful hands worked to realign what the tree limb had disturbed, traumatic memories from my childhood came flooding back with surprising emotional intensity.  My strong reaction recalled my reading of Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk’s book, “The Body Keeps the Score” and his words regarding abuse, “The body needs to learn the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present.”  The mystery deepens for me on the body/mind connection and the many layers of slow healing needed from past abuse.  I also became aware there are real steps to successful forgiveness of the other that cannot be passed over lightly.

I reviewed some of Robert Enright’s writing on the process of forgiveness, particularly his caution that we not forgive prematurely before we gain real insight into how much the past injury has affected our life.  Enright states, “A fundamental step in coming to offer forgiveness to an offender is clarifying the nature of the offense and how it has compromised one’s life.”  I guess my body has recently reminded me of that.   

Coming in contact with those strong emotions still hiding in my body was a real surprise. I am grateful for their revelation along with the knowledge that healing from abuse is slow work, and the fundamental steps to real forgiveness cannot be passed over lightly.  It also left me knowing how open and non-judgmental I need to be toward others on their own healing journeys and forgiveness.

What if the universe could be gentler in telling us what we need to know?  Would we still learn?             

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Invitation to Reflect

The Mystery within...
Three additional works have been added to the Comfort Messages section of my blog for your enjoyment and reflection.  They are Rumi’s “Guest House” found under Accepting What Is; Reverend Safire Rose’s “She Let Go” found under Letting Go; and Sister Simone Campbell’s “Ode to an Unmade Bed" found under Priorities. 

Rumi’s “Guest House” helps me look for the gift in whatever life presents; Reverend Safire Rose’s “She Let Go” shows me the simple power in releasing past hurts; and Sister Simone Campbell’s “Ode to an Unmade Bed” touches my heart through understanding what is really important.  Each of these authors helps me be more real in the real world.

Wishing you acceptance for what is, the simple power in letting go of past hurts, and a comforted and grateful heart. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Nourishing Differences

The Mystery within...
I was very fortunate to have recently attended a writers’ workshop in Mineral Point, Wisconsin at Shake Rag Alley.  For three days I interacted with other writers in quaint surroundings, mostly without the intrusion  of electronics—no TV, radio, computer, and I made only one phone call to my daughter to let her know when I would arrive home. 

Our instructor encouraged pencil and paper for recording our thoughts for our writing assignments.  She said a different thought process is involved between brain, pencil and paper verses fingers, keyboard and screen.  I knew that from when I recorded events from my days during the years I cared for my aging parents.  For three years yellow, green and blue spiral notebook entries piled up from which “God Never Hurries” was drawn.  I didn’t own a computer then and I am glad, for my writing would have been different without the movement of my hand held pencil across the blue, wide lined white paper.  I do need to confess that for our last writing assignment at Shake Rag I did revert to recording it on my laptop because of limited time and ease of reading it aloud in class.  It was the assignment where all participants provided a written critique.  So I got away with nothing and valued the insights shared.   

I learned when I am hesitant to write about a life experience it most likely is the most important thing I should write about.  I was reminded using everyday life descriptors keeps my writing real.  Another valuable tip I used to practice, but fell away from, was always keeping paper and pen handy, especially at my bedside table, to record thoughts to develop later.  Most important thoughts would come to me upon awakening to inform my first memoire.  Just last night I had a thought, but was too tired to turn on the light and write it down and now it is gone--hopefully not forever.

I was struck how diverse each of our writings were in this memoire class.  I believe the thing we all have in common is our differences.  It is what gives life its color, allows us to learn from one another, and grow from experiences shared.

Although it is always pleasant to return home, I truly miss the interaction with other writers in our rustic surroundings, and mostly absent electronics.  I would like to hang onto the  nourishing feeling I had of being more real in a more simple  world. 

Did I pencil and paper this reflection first?  No.  But I am  modifying my exposure to some of the of today’s electronic intrusions and am aware of feeling the better off for it.

What if we more often had the opportunity to realize a more nourishing real world? 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Love's Conundrum

"This above all, refuse to be a victim."
Margaret Atwood

If the ultimate goal in life is to love, serve and forgive, what keeps me from realizing that goal on a daily basis?  The puzzle for me was, and probably will always be, to first love, serve and forgive myself so I can then do likewise to all others.  Serious tragedies have brought me to my knees--the suicide of my husband at age 42 and youngest son at age 21; and patriarchal abuse from my father and church were all dark shadows in my life that came to a head when I was faced with my aging parents care needs.  But gold was hidden in all that darkness.  It led me to question everything I had been taught and to reflect often on what love is and is not.

For me the puzzle was, and still is, knowing when to first say, “Yes” to my needs and “No” to others’ requests, needs or demands.  Overcoming fear, and understanding its gifts, will probably always challenge me.  Gavin De Becker, in his book “The Gift of Fear” wrote:  “Natures greatest accomplishment, the human brain, is never more efficient or invested than when its host is at risk.  Then intuition is catapulted to another level entirely, a height at which it can be accurately be called graceful, even miraculous.”  And, “Intuition connects us to the natural world and to our nature.”  Fear’s gift to me was a heightened sense of presence to everything and everyone around me.   

Within the gift of being present I came to know a Presence that resides within me, in all others, and everything.  Comfort and answers to my troubles came from that Presence through the beauty and power of nature, small groups of helpful people, and reflecting on and writing about whatever showed up in my life each day.     

I suspect fear is at the heart of all difficulty in loving, serving, and forgiving ones self and the other.  Fear is a both/and thing and can shed light on love’s conundrum to love, serve and forgive the other and myself.  

What if we all looked to our struggles for the gifts hidden within more often?