The Red Cloak

This is artwork I did today with my family. We’ve been making art together, and it feels so good. We each made our own piece today, but sometimes we make one piece together. I love making art. I has been a while since I’ve made space for really making art, and now I remember how therapeutic it is.  When art is therapy, it is about the process and not the product.

This painting is about what is processing inside of me now–there are themes of the shadow of a child, the red protective cloak, facing the strength of the tree which gives life and is firmly rooted, the winds of change, cycle of life, release of the old, room for the new, room to grow, birds, leaves, and feathers. There might be more that I am not seeing and will see as time goes on.

Little Red Riding Hood has significance here, and I am not sure yet what it is.  She was a significant character in my childhood and is still significant in my Early Recollections. Some people see her as a metaphor for sexual awakening and temptation, or on the other hand, for learning about deceit.  It can be a symbol for maturity and coming of age.  The woods are exciting and dangerous at the same time, and can allude to temptation, courage, sexuality, and maturity again. Maybe there is possibility and potential, there is courage to face the unknown. Maybe there is a need to be virtuous and fighting the temptation to go astray.

What do you see?

 

Scan

Growth and Movement

What is life without growth and movement?

In Adlerian terms, movement equals life.  Once movement ceases, there is no life.  We have the choice in which direction and how to move in our own life.  When we fully own that responsibility, we can align with our true selves and live a healthy and purposeful life.

I have been thinking about this lately, during a time of intense challenge that has me growing and moving more quickly than I’ve done in a long time.  I am quite busy with learning and growing and changing, and it is scary and also wonderful.  Challenges are opportunities for growth and change.

I am also beginning the “parting” process between Anna’s babyhood and me.  It’s a process I’ve been dreading for a while, and I’ve seen it coming.  I am a griever.  Letting go is hard for me.  It seems that the more I heal myself, the more easily I am able to make these transitions without getting stuck in the grief process.  I have cried a few times about the “no more babies” topic, and maybe I will some more. And really, we can grieve and be grateful at the same time.  Happy it happened, sad that it’s over, and life goes on.  Making room for the new, all in the name of movement and change.

 

 

Aries New Moon 2014

Tonight is Aries New Moon, or Treasure-map-making day.  

This will be my third year of making a Treasure Map, and it is something I really enjoy and that helps keep me focused on my goals for the year.  It is really fun to see what comes of it and what doesn’t–and usually it works out for the best, even if I don’t end up getting what I wanted initially.  A couple of years ago on my treasure map, I wanted another baby and a farm.  Well, that did not happen, and something else happened instead.  I learned who I am, and I learned that what I needed was not a baby or a farm.  I was presented with other opportunities and also with closure and the ability to let go.  We don’t always know what is best for us.  Sometimes we can trust that only the best will come to us, and if we keep our eyes open, it will come.

Treasure Map 2014

1. Become a doula

2. Get an internship that fits my life perfectly

3. Enjoy speaking/sharing my thoughts in groups

4. Heal what needs healing

5. Healthy, harmonious, and meaningful relationships

6. Good physical and mental health for Alan, Mia, Anna and me

7. Make wise decisions

8. Feel calm and at peace.

Inviting healing and positive energy: I deserve love and I matter!

My friend Alyssa got me to thinking about this, so I have her to thank for this post.

When we’re in pain, we want to express it and feel it, and this is an important part of the healing process.  If we stay in this part of the process, however, we can get stuck here.  Being stuck in feeling the pain and negative energy invites more of it into our lives, and we soon find ourselves surrounded by painful situations.

I’ve come to believe in this Law of Attraction, and although I forget to practice it much of the time, it helps so much when I do remember that we are in charge of our thoughts.  Our thoughts shape our feelings, perceptions, and our lives.  Like attracts like. Our word choices and where we put our energy are very important in this Law of Attraction. When I first heard about this, I did not believe it.  Then I practiced it and saw things change.  Our thoughts and beliefs really do attract or repel people and situations.  Our mindsets and attitudes shape our existence.  It’s wild.

The last couple of weeks or more, I have been in a cycle of some serious purging of old feelings, memories, and beliefs.  My class has a hand in this, and it’s been helpful. I’ve gone through this several times in my adult life, but this time is the most deep and intense healing session I’ve ever experienced. Medical nomenclature would call it PTSD, but since I am not a big fan of labels, let’s call it “healing”!  Let’s also say that I invited this; I put it into the universe that I wanted to heal, once and for all, so that I could move forward in my own life and on my journey to becoming a therapist.  I am tired of that wall in front of me and I am truly willing and ready to let it go now. And that kicked things into full gear.

I have periods of calm between the storms, and that is wonderful and also necessary.  It makes me think of the process of birth, and how we have contractions for a short time and then a period of rest.  Like birth can be, some of it is so uncomfortable and I am not sure I can handle it.  Then I think of my choices: move through it and keep an eye on my ultimate goal, or give up and succumb to the pain, going back to my old ways and keeping my old belief systems.

When I am in the thick of it and feeling like I want to quit or die: if I remember, I do a little bilateral stimulation, affirmations, and/or the “5 things” trick I learned from my friend, Meghan.  The “5 Things” trick works like this: when you are in your right brain, ie all emotion and no rationality, look around the room at 5 separate objects and label them.  It works almost immediately to connect you once again to your left brain and gets you to thinking more rationally.  Still, I have to feel the discomfort until my body is able to let it go.  It’s that discomfort that’s so hard to face.

The crappy result of all of this healing I am going through is that I have a very low threshold for other stress in my life. Needless to say, this affects my family and especially Alan. Luckily they are extremely forgiving, and amazingly, they continue to love me.  Then I have to pinch myself sometimes.  This continued love, despite my mistakes, goes against my mistaken beliefs that I have to be good to earn love.  They love me as I am, no matter what. That’s pretty wonderful and it’s also hard to believe sometimes. I deserve to be loved! I MATTER!

I am visualizing, thanks to Alan’s intuitive input, that there is a dark grey cloud inside of my body and it is slowly coming out, turning to dust and flying out the window.  That really helps me.  I can control the speed at which it comes out, and I can do it at the pace I am able to.  Then I can release it and send it away.

Anna had her 5th birthday this weekend.  Despite my emotional roller coaster ride, plus dealing with the sentimentalism I always feel on my kids’ birthdays, it was a delightful day.  Anna is a bundle of joy and delight, and she fills my heart with love.  Children are such a gift.  Love is such a gift.

 

Quote that I like

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.  ~ Martha Graham

PTSD

I am having a PTSD flareup right now and unpleasant memories are emerging for me to process.  It is rather uncomfortable.  Don’t worry–I am in good hands and getting the help I need to heal.

The PTSD has been brought on by the digging I’ve been doing, and it’s a very good thing.  In order to heal, we have to feel and process those uncomfortable feelings and memories.  My gut reaction is to escape it, to run away somewhere and do something that feels safe and be away from other people.  Like going to some isolated retreat and lying down in the middle of a field, with the sun on my face, sounds of birds and wind and water.  That is the place that makes me feel good.

Because I am so concerned with power and control, I’ve never succumbed to substances as a form of escape–that would be giving away my power.  I’ve also rarely succumbed to me real emotions, but rather stifled them and covered them up with something else, like anxiety, for instance. However, power and control have been my addiction.  Controlling my experience so that it feels safe to me, in the form of isolating myself physically and emotionally, and using forms of escape to soothe and distract me from the pain–that has been and is my addiction.  The addiction is in place to escape the pain of humiliation and shame, of being violated and overpowered.  It’s the pain of betrayal and confusion and not knowing how to trust myself or anyone else.

My experience has given me a passion for something, and I know it has a purpose.  When I have a PTSD flareup, it only feeds this fire I have to make things better for myself and others.  I want to break the cycle and spread the gospel to never, ever hit a child physically or emotionally.  The effects of child abuse affect all of society–its costs reach far and wide beyond the walls of our homes.  Imagine a world without child abuse–and what would come of that.  Imagine a world full of adults who have never known the pain of physical or emotional violence firsthand.

Sometimes it is hard to accept and embrace my experience, because I would so much rather have had something else that didn’t hurt so much.  I am looking forward to a future in which I can trust people and seek comfort from them, be free of chronic fear and anxiety, and let my guard down–and break those beliefs that I made so many years ago.  My life is different now.  I am safe, truly.  It’s time that I believe that.

 

Horizontal striving

I am thinking and feeling my way through this concept today, another Adlerian cornerstone:

Vertical striving versus horizontal striving.

All neuroses stem from living on the vertical axis, which means we rank ourselves in comparison to others.  We all do it from time to time in different situations and so forth.  When we live on the vertical axis all the time, we are not able to contribute to our community in a productive way. Life becomes a ranking game where you either win or lose.

Living on the horizontal axis means that we live under the belief that all people are equal.  No head is higher than one’s own, and no head is lower.  When we live this way, we cooperate and contribute.  When we live on the horizontal axis, we are not nervous, depressed, lonely, or overwhelmed all the time.  We feel good enough and we feel that all others are good enough, too.

This is where I am today, because I am really trying to remove that veil of inferiority that I’ve put over my head and had there for a long time.  I have been living vertically; I am either better than, or less than others, and feel like I am constantly being ranked.  It’s time to let that go.  It’s time to stop feeling scared and nervous about people.

Maybe by writing it here, I will be able to release this old and unhelpful perspective I’ve been living with.  This is something I really, really want to let go of.

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