Reflection and Hope

I hope that 2012 has been kind to some.  For me, it was a difficult year.  2012 was also a year of tremendous learning, but as one of my best friends says… “Education isn’t cheap, you get it one way or the other”.

So, goodbye 2012, I don’t think I’m going to miss you.  It’s been a year of: reconnection with family, new friends, the sweetest love and saddest loss, many births and deaths and broken hearts.

I feel like I have a clear path of intent for 2013, not that I expect it to go according to plan.  But, if I get my way…  I will get a chance to work on a lot of the issues that I have been accepting and that I would really love to grow up around.

It makes sense that I would have a lot of the issues that I have especially since I grew up as I did.  I have this sneaky side to me and it comes from not being able to have privacy and living in a cult(ure) of exposure, public humiliation and forced confession.  Sometimes I feel that to have something of my own, I need to hide it.

This sneaky behavior shows up for me in food, drink, money, sex, in just about every aspect of my life.  It has affected every relationship that I have been in.  I don’t want to have this anymore.  I want to be as trustworthy as I tell myself that I am.  These ghosts that I carry in my heart and memory still harm my life, since I was programmed to give everything away.

I need to able to have boundaries and be able to move past these habits and the really destructive consequences of them.  That is my hope.  By going really deep inside, I hope that I will find the balance and healing, so that these issues can be resolved.

dancing with myself

Alrighty, I’ve had trouble finding words.  So, how do you blog if you are out of words?  I want to incorporate my weight struggle um journey um bullshit with people.  I want to express how movement and dance has helped me heal from a lot of my trauma.  What if I started documenting my body as it is, doing what it loves to do?  Am I ready to dance online?  It would be a new level of openness and vulnerability.  I could get made fun of.  I probably will because some people won’t understand why an overweight woman would dance on the internet.  Well fuck em.  I mean bless their hearts (I am trying to get used to living in the south) and I think those mean the same thing here.

Opening myself up to more healing, more vulnerability, more power, more ridicule, more everything.  I plan to shoot my first video on Friday with the help of E.  I have no idea how this will work out.

Will people understand dancing to express emotions?  Will people see that sacred movement can help you connect with your body and move through pain.  Or will they see a fat chick gyrating?  Will I be able to move past my fear enough to actually post it?

I guess we’ll find out.

balance

So a recent comment from one of my dear friends got me thinking.  I post a lot of negatives and bad memories.  I felt like this gives the impression that my life is mostly darkness and sadness.

This is not the case and I will try to post more positive things too.  Because if this blog is about my recovery from spiritual abuse and ptsd, I should talk about some of the amazing strides in my recovery that have happened.

This requires a shift in my mindset and being able to talk about good things in itself is a huge recovery.  And now, thanks to my friend, I feel like this mental shift is another good step for me.

I am now able to relax on my own.  Before it required cocktails to make me capable of turning down my hyper vigilance and paranoia.  I haven’t done any binge drinking since I was in Sacramento last January and now only have maybe two alcoholic drinks a month.  The change that this has created in my mental health is huge.  For one thing, it’s really helped with my impulse control issues.  I am able to work on keeping my boundaries and relax socially without chemical aid.  It’s a process and I am working on it, but I feel really proud of my growth here.

I am now able to differentiate negative feelings.  My default feelings were guilt and shame and that is very deep coding from the church.  “If something is wrong it’s probably my fault and I should feel terrible and confess.”  This was a truth whether or not the situation was real.

My capacity for emotional and sexual intimacy is so much greater because my heart and mind are learning to be calm.  This has been a huge joy in my life and something that I’ve always wanted.

I can see a future.  People with ptsd usually can’t see a future because all they see is doom or assume an early death.  I no longer want an early death and a lot of the darkness has cleared away so that I can see a future.  That future includes pursuing college and having kids.  I want to create a family with E.  Our love is so big that I now trust that a child would have a good life.  This is something that I had denied myself before because I felt like I was a toxic poison.

My move across the country has been a great decision.   Not only am I near my brother and his family which is amazing, but I’ve left many triggers and expectations behind.  A lot of the expectations were mine and I would behave according to a script of who I felt I had to be.  Now, I am completely out of context and I can be a much more authentic me.  Part of me really regrets that I couldn’t do that where I was.  But I couldn’t, I know that part of my coding and brain washing is to try to give people what they want.  But, in a lot of ways I couldn’t see who I was anymore.  I needed to see me in a new way to test out the waters.  It’s been a wonderful and totally bittersweet decision.

There are a lot of struggles but I am really tackling them and looking them in the face.  I am not as haunted as I was.  I purge a lot of that here and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.  But my life is so much better.

Thank you for putting that comment on my blog, honey.  It’s opened up my mind in more ways I can express myself and that is something you’ve always done for me.  You have been a sister to me for so long and I am grateful that you are in my life and in my blood.

So I was cooking and I got burned

by the universe… The oven rack burned a stripe over the scar from my car accident.  The two marks now make the shape of the rune, Nauthiz.  So, E and I pulled out his handy-dandy book of runes to see what was up with that.  We couldn’t tell if it was right side up or not.

From The Book of Runes by Ralph H. Blum.

#7Nauthiz: Constraint / Necessity / Pain

The necessity of dealing with severe Constraint ls the lesson of Nauthiz. The positive aspects of this Rune represent the limitations we directly cause ourselves; its negative

Old scar and new burn make a rune?

Old scar and new burn make a rune?

side attracts limitations from those around us. Both are equally difficult to handle.

The role of Nauthiz is to identify our shadow, our dark and repressed side, places where growth has been stunted, resulting in weaknesses that we project onto others. Don’t take this world personally, this Rune is saying: Work with the shadow, examine what: inside you magnetizes misfortune into your life. When at last you can look upon Nauthiz with a smile, you will recognize the troubles, denials, and setbacks of life as your teachers, guides and allies.

The need for restraint is unquestionable here. Drawing this Rune indicates that there will be holdups, reasons to reconsider your plans carefully. There is work to be done on your self. So take it on with good will and show perseverance.

This is a time to pay off old debts, to restore, if not harmony, at least balance. So mend, restore, redress – when fishermen can’t go to sea they repair nets. Let the Constraints of the time serve you in righting your relationship to your Self. Be mindful that rectification comes before progress. And once again, consider the uses of adversity.

Reversed: As part of the Cycle of initiation, Nauthiz is the great teacher disguised as the bringer of pain and limitation. It has been said that only at the point of greatest darkness do we become aware of the Light within us by which we come to recognize the true creative power of the self.

When something within us is disowned, that which is disowned wreaks havoc. A cleansing is required here; in undertaking it you fund a will and strengthen character. Begin with what is most difficult and proceed to what is easy. Or, conversely, begin with what is easy and proceed to what is most difficult. Either way, remember that “suffering,” in its original sense, merely meant “undergoing.” Thus you are required to undergo the dark side of your passage, and bring it in to the Light. Controlling your anger, restraining your impulses, keeping your faith firm all this is at issue here. Modesty and good temper are essential at such a time.”

I mean I’m not being weird right?  It would be weird if the virgin Mary got burned into my arm.  And these are things that I work with constantly, me and my shadow…  How funny that getting a burn made an image that made me stop and read something that made me again reflect on how I need to slow down and repair so that I can find a way for my true creative power to come out.

The world is hysterical.  I don’t know if I believe in this world, but it sure makes me giggle.

Here’s a new feeling

Rage.

I have to say that I’ve done a lot of work to peel off the whys of abuse.  I’ve walked many paths.  I’ve marveled at so many people’s rage.  I didn’t get it.  Now I do.  In the last month, starting in the middle of the road trip, I do.

Rage.

So many friends have had rage because they couldn’t protect me.  I said it was fine.  But from a different vantage, from this different angle, I see different pathways and how history that I thought I knew – form different pictures.  I want to throw up.

Now I know more and can see patterns and history and a much larger picture is coming together.  And this picture is not redeeming: I am learning how some families struggle with certain demons for generations.

The more I speak out, the more I can see back and am aware of what created the environment that makes a family susceptible to a cult.  A family is taught shame and secrets.  A family is taught that they are so flawed that there is no hope for them.  I want to know where this dark mythology started in my blood.

I have deep compassion.  But I have rage.  Because these lies have scarred just about everybody I love.  And now that I see the patterns, now that I am 3,000 miles away – I can see clearly.

Rage.  It took a lot of therapy to find mine.  And it was hard to name, but I drew a straight line to it in a cliche shower epiphany this morning.  Now that I know it, I can’t unknow it.  I’m straight up pissed off.

It’s not just why me and why my family.  It’s why anyone.  I want to start with me and mine.  Only love and compassion will fight this.  This is beyond morality and judgement, they doesn’t exist in this level.  There is only love, non-judgement and compassion.

I have to dig deeper, ask questions, publicly gut myself and write about it.  I have to be someone who sheds light and helps it stop.

ouch

Life is better for me sober.  I have to say I miss some of the social situations in which there was a lot of drinking, but it’s still better for me to stay away for now.  My last real binge was in Sacramento, where apparently I do most of my drinking, on January 29.  So, it’s been a long time.  I don’t think I’ve had as much as a glass of wine in about three months.

But there’s this part now, where other people are getting used to my sobriety now.  And they are telling me how my drinking affected them.  How things I thought were hilarious, were in fact-horrible.  I feel really humbled and grateful because I get to heal a lot of relationships.  It’s the hardest when it’s from E, BFF or M and they are telling me about pain that my drinking has caused.  They keep sticking with me and I love them so much.

It’s overwhelming and I try not to get self-loathing.  In a lot of ways, I was coping the best I could then and now I can cope better.  I trust the people who are supposed to stay in my life will do so.  But I’m sure that, same as with the divorce – I may lose some more in the process.

This triggers something in me, because I need to keep solid on my emotional boundaries.  The church forced us to confess every thought, every feeling.  And I don’t have to do that anymore, but that is really hard.  I think that feeling like I owed everyone everything that was in me, was one of the reasons that I needed to be numb – or have an excuse when I drank.  Or maybe alcohol is delicious and I’m a drunk.

Obviously still working on it.  I don’t know if I need a why.  What happened to me was big, and I needed to slow down my brain – stop the hyper-vigilance and coast for a while.  Most sufferers of PTSD self medicate in some way, and I think that I’ve been working really hard and caring for myself in a lot of ways, and now having a really caring, understanding partner, these parts are coming together to take these shaky steps of trust towards dropping this crutch.

possession is 9 points of the problem

I haven’t actually talked about spiritual stuff here in a while.  So, let’s get weird.  I don’t remember how old I was when I was baptized with the holy spirit.  The bible says that some are gifted with tongues, but everyone in our church got that gift.

I remember, everyone praying and anointing me and the gift being given.  I remember trying to speak in tongues.  Being told that it’s ok if it comes out slow, if I only get one word in the beginning.  I felt immense fear and pressure, because I wanted to get it right.  What if the devil was going to speak through me?  I was scared, because I’d already had several exorcisms deliverances by the time I was baptized by the holy spirit.

I uttered a mumbled jumble of a word, and to my relief people around me rejoiced.  I was told to repeat it and repeat it.  Then I got another word and then another word.  On our winter retreats when we fasted for three days, it got easier because we were more trance-like.   Eventually I would get the feeling of being taken over, and I really loved it.

About three years ago, I saw a spiritual leader because I was feeling very confused about my life and she looked at/in/through me and said that I had no spiritual boundaries.  And that was probably one of the reasons that when I drank I drank too much because I love the feeling of being taken over.

Which of course leads me to Greek mythology.  You see the maenads, were worshipers of Dionysus.  And the maenads embody the wild, dancing intoxication.  The fully giving over of one’s self to the trance like power.  The spiritual leader told me that I needed to start learning how to basically stop leaving myself wide open to  possessing wild women who have no regard for me and leave me scratched, bruised, remorseful and sad the next day.

Dionysus, being the Greek god of wine, is also the god of madness.  The greater and the lesser madness.  He created wine for the greeks enjoyment but if they over indulge and have too much, they will be taken over by the greater madness and the maenads will get all flesh rippy and cannibalistic and generally gross.

He is not the obese overindulgent Bacchus of the Romans.  Dionysus wants balance, he wants you to find your joy and your lesser madness, so that you don’t get lost into the greater madness.

So, right now in my journey of sobriety I am weatherproofing this thing.  I was opened up for channeling as a child and it still happens sometimes.  It’s like having a cat door in your soul and a raccoon gets in, kinda.

I just want to make sure that I’m the only one in here making decisions.  I’m sure, this post makes me sound insane.  But, well, my life has been fricking weird.

problems with authority 2

I have a friend that I used to spend a lot more time with.  He had a degree in Native American studies and we had really interesting chats.  He was a vagabond.  He slept where he chose in the open, when he was in trouble with the law he would call on protection on the native local spirits for help.  He’s affected my mind a lot, because I met him at a time where I felt very confined personally but my professional and personal status were a lot higher than they are now.

We talked about status, and what that meant.  At the time, I felt it was an important tool to build something and I was building a business and a reputation.  I needed to be at certain places and events.  And I genuinely cared about many people at those events.  He was fascinated because he had never heard that side of status.

We talked about business, and I told him about my love of service and my customer.  And I think he thought that most business was power hungry, tree hating, evil doers.  I confided in him how burnt out I felt, and how I felt like I had worked my way into an unchangeable situation.

He talked about ownership and how nobody can own land or people, even if there are contracts.  I wasn’t sure I agreed.  But it gave me something to think about.  He slept where he pleased and at that present time he was bunking at Sutter’s fort.  When he would get in trouble with authority, he would call on Tecumseh and I think Tecumseh’s spirit would protect him, or the cops would be shaken at the guy invoking Indian spirits.

But he got me thinking about what I was trying to accomplish on the path I was on.  What is ownership.  What can you really own?  (I’ll save you super deep comparisons to the musical Rent…)  And I met him just when I was starting to feel really confined and a bit rebellious.

That was when I decided that cities can’t own streets.  And I began be become very morally indignant against parking rules, meters, zones, everything.

And it was very gratifying to act out in this little way, I didn’t care that I was getting a few parking tickets, I was very lucky.  I was acting out against “the man”.  I didn’t think about words like “entitled” or anything like that.  They don’t own the road, they can’t make rules that one minute it’s ok to park there and one minute it’s not.

So I got some parking tickets, and then I moved to LA.  It’s different in LA…

So given the choice between my autonomy and a consequence, I again chose the consequence.  Seems that’s how I roll.

a gift of a dream last night

I’ve been self employed for over 10 years and last night I had a dream of my last employer.  I was the sole tech for the small business and also a project coordinator.  To quote the great AEJ, “when he canned me”… “he said I was inadequate”.

And I see how that has poisoned me in so many ways.  This CEO and I didn’t get along.  There were cultural differences, there were socio-economic differences, there were “hey she’s working with tools on a server and has boobs at the same time” issues.

This job was my leap from being a corporate rising star and ladder climber to small business.  It was my jump from being a cog in a vast IT wheel to being The Wheel.  I had a big learning curve.  But my dream last night also let me in on how many ways it was a completely sabotaging environment.

The saddest thing is how I had never been fired before.  I knit that word “inadequate” into my scar tissue and wore it.  I owned it.  The thing I realized this morning is how many personal and professional boundaries I have crossed to be the one who would “go there” who would “do it”.  Who would be rock star enough at the cost of my own personal sanity and health.

Because after 10 years, I didn’t even remember who I was proving wrong anymore.  I just knew that I was on a mission to kick some ass, no matter how bruised my foot was.

I feel like last night’s dream was such a gift.  I feel like I can work on letting that go.  I can do what I can do.  I can trust in the brilliance and the experience that I have and I don’t have to get all crazy about it.  I don’t have to compromise my happiness, balance, loved ones, plans, whatever so that some scary monster from a decade ago who hopefully doesn’t remember me any more won’t be right.

Of course, being the highly enlightened being that I am.  I changed all the server passwords to “inadequate”.

And, the lessons learned from being a solo tech in a small company is the inspiration for us to start that small company that we started.  So, thanks scary monster.  And thanks dream.

The Siren

 

The Siren

The Siren

I took a side step on my journey and scaled a cliff, the beautiful cliff of a mountain.  I heard a song that I had always heard and I wanted to know if I could sing it.   The Siren is the daughter of Terpsichore the muse of dance.  But the Siren is hungry for people, and I had always been told that I was hungry like that. 

So I struck a deal with the Siren and the other sirens and we sat for a while.  Some of their sailors , sailed by while we sat and talked.  The Sirens fluffed their feathers and sang and the sailors were helpless and beguiled by their song leaving their lives and possessions on their ships.  The Siren asked me to do her some tasks around the cliff, since I was there and I saw the bones, the gold from past shipwrecks.
Spanish Christian/Pagan Siren-owl-jackal

Spanish Christian/Pagan Siren-owl-jackal

The wine flowed and they sang and danced in celebration of their latest victory which would sate them for a while.  Then they would anxiously wait for the next boat, the next reason to preen their feathers, the next sailors with gold and food and wine.  I would make sure the piles of bones and gore were no longer visable for the new batch.
I’m not a Siren.  Not even related.  I may have known their dad…  Climbing that cliff was very important for me to do.  Some lessons are learned the hard way.  I realized I didn’t belong on that cliff.  You can’t change a Siren from her very nature, she is as she should be and perfect in that.  The world need’s Sirens. 
Ulysses

Ulysses

A boat came around the bend.  A man was bound to the mast.  He could hear their song.  The Sirens were in a frenzy that he didn’t jump ship and come to him for devouring.  While they were trying to coax him.  I jumped on and stowed away.

Odysseus

Odysseus