“When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.” ~Chinese Proverb

I have an intense fear of sharing my opinions or experiences. I am afraid of upsetting people or making them feel that I am trying to influence them so I err on staying quiet and trusting that my actions will speak louder. Yet this proverb has given me a bit of courage to share some things that sadly I feel judged upon.  Here is a list of things that have been shared with me and my family have benefited immensely from:

  • natural, conscious, peaceful, respectful, positive, attachment, child-honoring and trust-based parenting
  • Home birth
  • breastfeeding (throughout the night and extended)
  • co-sleeping/ family bed
  • no circumcision
  • baby sign language
  • cloth diapers
  • elimination communication
  • unschooling  http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/earl_stevens.html
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • Zumba
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing  http://www.emdr.com/general-information/what-is-emdr/what-is-emdr.html
  • Individual and Couples Counseling
  • Reading self-help books
  • Mindfulness
  • the practice of Non-violence (in thoughts, actions, words) http://www.cnvc.org/
  • Vitalistic chiropractic care
  • acupuncture
  • herbalist
  • real food
  • trauma-informed care
  • neuroscience
  • epigenetics
  • essential oils
  • fasting
  • radical acceptance

This list is not exhaustive and what works for some will not work for everyone. I believe there are many ways to the same end point (equifinality) so there really is no wrong or right way. What matters most is being able to tune into your heart amongst all the noise of other’s opinions and egos, to follow your light, having an open mind, and that you make well-informed decisions that best meets your needs in compassionate and respectful ways. It’s how you do it and not specifically what you do.

What “LIGHT” means to me…

“But it will always be that the prophet is the first victim of his own message, and only later do people say, ‘Oh, now I understand.'” ~Joseph Girzone Joshua: A Parable for Today

Mmmmm….has parent changed me?

Do you want the short answer or the long one?

Based on a gloriously harmonious day or on a –stressed out, exhausted, I feel like a rag and I want to throttle you- days? …

Parenthood has defiantly thrown me to these extremes as well as everything that falls in between. So the short answer is yes, parenting has changed me tremendously from reacting with fear to responding with love. It has been the most challenging experience I have ever undertaken as well as given me a hearty dose of humility, empathy, and resilience. It has spiritually, emotional, mentally, and physically healed me.

The long answer: I was born hardwired for fear and hyper-sensitive. Experiencing or even witnessing violence, especially during the crucial period of brain development under age of five significantly affects brain development and can make a child feel scared, anxious, worried, confused, angry, and insecure. This list of feelings sums up my battles in life to a “T” and parenting triggered every one of these vulnerabilities.

You see, even with extensive experience working with children and degrees in elementary education, psychology, human development & family studies and marriage and family therapy, I still felt inadequate and unprepared for parenthood. I even had a self-imposed rule to wait till I was married for 5 years before having children. I began joking with my partner that we needed to have kids so I could have more credentials for my practice as I specialized in children and parenting issues.

After a snowball effect of interventions and traumatic labor, my first son was born 5 months shy of my 5th wedding anniversary, yet I was too tired and hungry to hold him. The natural concoction of bonding hormones was disturbed and my predisposition lead to post-partum depression. I spent a large part of his first year just going through the motions, feeling like a failure and even resentful. Then the anxiety and shame over what I thought I should be doing kicked into overdrive and robbed much of my joy.

During this time, I also worked with families involved with Department of Family Services providing in-home, intensive family therapy. After a couple miscarriages and another pregnancy, I took part in intensive therapeutic and parenting trainings that introduced me to how trauma affects brain development and regulation abilities in children. The light bulbs went off in my head like a fireworks display. So much of my life made sense and new connections made. Then I had another traumatic labor, this time ending with a stillbirth.

WOW…talk about turning your life upside down…try holding a dead baby…your baby.

Althou1935_1079097454232_8939_ngh this was extremely painful, the perspective it gave me toward life and parenting was astounding. You can read more about my processing of the stillbirth here. It encouraged me to truly process my grief, to dig deeper, try harder, and keep learning. I took more trainings on understanding brain development and healing trauma. Having a child actually gave me more compassion and understanding for the 24/7 demands of parenting and complexities of the parent/child relationship.

I chose to put my relationship with my child first and take responsibility for getting my own and his vital needs met.  I chose not to conceive again till I had no fears about the pregnancy and accepted the reality that I may never have another live birth. I did eventually go onto to have a positive and empowering birth experience with my daughter who I had a home, water birth with. I had to consciously filter out other’s opinions and outside influences to tune into my mind/body/soul connections and innate intelligence. I was better able to parent from my heart and less from my trauma.

My relationship with my children has been a mirror to my soul. The reflection is not always pretty, yet I can easily see when my intention, thoughts, feelings, and actions do not match and align them. I am blessed to have 4 angels, 2 children, a supportive partner, and a peacefully chaotic family. As the more I focus my energy on the integrity of my relationships, the more I have of the gloriously harmonious days. Now don’t get me wrong, I am human and still have those other days yet they have shortened into moments, happen less often, and are easily remedied with a hug, silly face, or a happy song. I can truly feel how every day is a gift.

This has been more like my medium answer because honestly, I could go on and on about how evolutionary principles, attachment science, quantum physics, and a love-based paradigm shift could maximize human potential and heal the world…But I’ll just leave you with my poetic version of how parenthood changed me:

lessons from my son meme

“I’m sorry that you’re hurting so desperately right now.
I know how painful the seconds, and minutes, and days can be, how long the nights are.
I understand how very hard hanging on is, and how much courage it takes.
I ask though that you hold onto one day at a time.
Just one day, and slowly this despair will pass.
The feelings you fear you’re trapped in will serve their purpose, and then fade away.
Difficult to imagine isn’t it?
Almost impossible to believe when every cell in your body
it seems cries out in agony, desperately in need of comfort.
When it feels like the only thing in the whole world that can touch
your pain and banish it is beyond your grasp.
And after all this time, the assurance that you will heal
has become an empty, broken promise.
Just let one tiny cell in your body continue to believe in the promise of healing.
Just one. You can surrender every other cell to your despair.
Just that one little cell of faith that you can heal and be whole again
is enough to keep you going, is enough to lead you through the darkness.
Although it can’t banish your suffering, it can sustain you
until the time comes for you to let your pain go.
And the letting go can only occur in it’s own time,
as much as we would like to push the pain away forever.
Hold on.
Hold on to appreciate the beauty of the earth,
to feel the songs of the birds in your heart,
to learn and to teach,
to laugh a genuine laugh,
to dance on the beach,
to rest peacefully,
to experience contentment,
to want to be no other place but in the here and now,
to trust in yourself,
and to trust your life.
Hold on because it’s worth the terrible waiting.
Hold on because you are worthy.
Hold on because the wisdom that will follow you out of this darkness will be a tremendous gift.
Hold on because you have so much love and joy waiting to be experienced.
Hold on because life is precious, even though it can bring terrible losses.
Hold on because there is so much that you can’t now imagine waiting ahead on your journey
…a destiny that only you can fulfill.
Hold on although you’re exhausted and your grasp is shaky,
and you want more than anything to let go sometimes, hold on even though.
Please hold on.
So much in life can be difficult, even impossible to understand.
I know, I know…So many of us have cried in despair, why? why? Why?
and still the answers and the comfort failed to show.
Survival can be a long and lonely road,
in spite of all those who’ve stumbled down the path before you.
And it can be a treacherous, torturous journey…
so easy to get lost, and yet impossible to avoid even one painful step.
And the light, the light at the end of the dark tunnel for so long cannot be seen,
although eventually you’ll begin to feel its’ warmth as you move forward.
And forward you must move
in order to get through the hell of remembering, of despair, of rage, of grief.
Keep looking forward please.
Rest if you must,
doubt your ability to survive the journey if you have to,
but never let go of the guide ropes,
although when you close your fingers around them, your hands feel empty,
they are there.
Please trust me, they are there.
When you’re exhausted, when all you have to count on is a weakened, weary faith,
hold on.
When you think you want to die,
hold on until you recognize that it’s not death you seek,
but for the pain to go away.
Hold on, because this darkness will surely fade away.”

~Tammie Byram Fowles

“Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, From despair to hope, from fear to trust, lead us from hatred to love, from war to peace; let peace fill our hearts, let peace fill our world, let peace fill our universe.

“Still all the angry cries, still all the angry guns, Still now your people die, earth’s sons and daughters. Let Justice roll, let mercy pour down, come and teach us Your way of compassion.

“Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, from despair to hope, from fear to trust, lead us from hatred to love, from war to peace; let peace fill our hearts, let peace fill our world, let peace fill our universe.

“So many lonely hearts, so many broken lives, longing for love to break into their darkness. Come, teach us love, come, teach us peace, come and teach us Your way of compassion.

“Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, From despair to hope, from fear to trust, lead us from hatred to love, from war to peace; peace fill our hearts, let peace fill our world, let peace fill our universe.

“Let justice ever roll, let mercy fill the earth, let us begin to grow into your people. We can be love, we can be peace, we can be Your way of compassion.

“Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, from despair to hope, from fear to trust, lead us from hatred to love, from war to peace; Let peace fill our hearts, let peace fill our world, let peace fill our universe……..Peace.”

“The core beliefs of children who have experienced secure and compromised attachments in the early years are as follows:

Secure Attachment:

  • Self. “I am good, wanted, worthwhile, competent, and lovable.”
  • Caregivers. “They are appropriately responsive to my needs, sensitive, dependable, caring, trustworthy.”
  • Life. “My world feels safe; life is worth living.”

Compromised Attachment:

  • Self. “I am bad, unwanted, worthless, helpless, and unlovable.”
  • Caregivers. “They are unresponsive to my needs, insensitive, hurtful, and untrustworthy.”
  • Life. “My world feels unsafe; life is painful and burdensome.”

“The goal of Corrective Attachment Parenting is not merely to change childrens’ behavior, but rather to change their negative core beliefs. This is quite challenging, because core beliefs are rigid, automatic, and associated with self-protection and survival. Your relationship with your child becomes the pathway to change and healing. Without change, negative core beliefs formed early in life remain fixed into adulthood, with severe social and emotional consequences.” ~Terry Levy http://www.evergreenpsychotherapycenter.com/memory-impacts-child-core-beliefs/

I too have been so low

Where death appears as a friend

My body, mind, and soul molten

Rationalizing this as a favor to all

Why would I want to add more suffering?

 …wasted space…

…BREATHE…

 …feel that edge…

  …see who gave you life…

Why punish her labor of love?

Through another’s lens

I am a miracle

My body, mind, and soul awaken

Trusting my innate intelligence

A safe place for all.

 

 

I strongly believe that where you choose to focus your attention and energy is what you will get more of. The past election was challenging to say the least. I have to focus hard not to fuel any more attention for “Zaphod Beeblebrox,” now #45 (my family’s way to say you-know-who with giving him as little as possible of our energy), I can’t help but get triggered by all the surrounding victim-blaming and crazy-making comments. I go right back to all the times it happened to me and the decades of emotional pain and suffering.

I feel rage and want to shake the world… You cannot possibly understand the layers of internal torment a survivor goes through before they even utter a word about one incident and I can guarantee that for every one incident there are plenty more. I was 11 years old when I woke up in the middle of the night at a sleepover being molested. I was 16 when I first told someone, 31 before I made a report. That is 20 years and the cascade of negative effects that engulfed me are beyond years or words.

I would wish everyday for it not to be true, well at least everyday I was conscious for and not a disconnected robot. When triggered, I would play every second through my head over and over again wondering: How can this happen?… But then again, how could it not…I didn’t even know that it wasn’t supposed to happen.  What I learned most from society, religion, and at home was that men are allowed to do whatever they want to get their needs met and women are meant to serve and be submissive. I never knew I had a choice nor had any skills to know how to say “no” even if I was known I had the right…

The daily battle of getting out of bed and desperately wanting to escape… the hypocrisy, the madness, the suffering. Then on top of it all, you are trained to put on a happy face and pretend everything is fine because god forbid you to call any negative attention to you or upset anyone. When you can’t sleep at night and the touch of anyone, even those you love, makes you freeze and want to crawl out of your skin… And then again, you still have to pretend; I a woman, this is the role I must play. It is the only life you know…

Thank goodness for graduate school and specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy that I learned that I had rights and the skills to stand up for myself. Reporting is one of the scariest things I have ever had to do. Fortunately, I discovered that often times the actions that are the scariest to do, are the ones that will eventually transform us the most. I started to make the biggest strides in my healing after I finally made the report in my 30’s.

I am dumbfounded that people can’t see how scary it is to report. You’re exposed again, reliving the assault yet this time magnified and re-traumatized. It is gut-wrenching enough within your own mind, body, and soul, can you even imagine your most vulnerable parts being broadcasted!?  I assure you, no amount of money or so-called “publicity” would every make up for this suffering.

When I hear a person share their story, I just want to hug them, listen with compassion, and hold their hand through this seemingly endless journey of being able to trust and feel joy and pleasure again.  I choose to put my energy and attention for empowering and supporting people. I want everyone to know that no one has the right to touch you without your conscious and informed consent and you have the right to change your mind at any time. I believe this video sums it up nicely:

 

I also believe that everything and person has value, so hoping that “Zaphod Beeblebrox” is a motivating force to awaken and elevate our collective consciousness for a compassionate and relationship-rich society where we are all responsible.

For more on my story and supportive links, read forgiving sexual abuse.

How does one survive the brink of madness?

Seems impossible to describe my throes…

I can touch god but just as quick,

The rug is pulled from my feet and the wool over my eyes

I am worthy of nothing, an “it” to despise

Longing to rid this disguise

Terrified no one will oblige

The double edge sword we all parade

The bed we’ve made

Too comfortable to escape

Trapped by delusions

My gut aches

Conditioned to swallow the pills

My voice, a diminished 7th, shrills

I betray myself convinced I am serving

I wage a war against the pacifist in me

Knowing acceptance is half the battle

I leap…

Mesmerized by faith

Cradled in waves

I surrender,

Embrace.

 

~compassiondw 5/20/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people have been asking for a short video that explains the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, the groundbreaking epidemiological research that revealed the link between childhood trauma and the adult onset of chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence. KPJR Films, which came out with Paper Tigers last year […]

via Five-minute video primer about Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — ACEs Too High

“One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ~Bob Marley

There is no doubt what a healing agent music is. The instant I play my favorite music, my mood is elevated and I am instantly motivated to tackle the worst of chores or problems. I often want to share my favorite songs but then I talk my self out of it as music is such a personal experience. One song can bring joy to one, yet trigger another to despair or anger. As I am on a mission to heal and not harm, I err on the side of caution.

Very early in my relationship with my partner, we would debate on what is good music. He was big on the technicality and diversity of music where as I strongly felt that no one has the right to judge what music is good or bad for another. I believe that what ever music moves you, gets you to sing, dance, smile, or at the very least, get you to forget your suffering for a few moments, then that is good music.  With all the suffering we have in the world, the last thing I want to do is judge another for something that brings them joy. We need more safe places to process and express negative thoughts and feelings and music is the ultimate medium.

Music has kept people alive and given hope through out civilizations and horrendous periods of time like the during the Holocaust and slavery. I have started a YouTube station of all my favorite songs throughout my life  and my son asked why so many of my songs were depressing. I told him because I was suffering from depression and those songs saved me. To know that someone else could express how I was feeling, validated my pain and made me feel I was not alone. As I healed, I discovered the moments I would break out in song and dance are my purest expressions of happiness…

Happiness is

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2013/12/17/health-benefits-music/4053401/

 

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