Another Paragraph …or Two

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Above you will find the Hay House Radio Interview I did for Finding Heart Horse

I thought I would post another sneak peek for those that haven’t read it. Remember, the proceeds go to Covenant House, Vancouver, B.C.

There is always hope.

This is from the prolog About A Horse. You can find the first part in my previous post Finding Heart Horse…one year later.

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When my parents took me to visit my aunt and uncle who lived on a farm, I quickly and quietly made my way into the world of the barn where the horse’s lived. I would nestle into the golden straw, inhaling the fragrant honey dust, as hours magically disappeared. Listening to an orchestra of barnyard sounds while enveloped in the dusty air brought me a perfect peace.

It was into that perfect peace that my Heart Horse first made his appearance.

Just as if he were a real horse, my Heart Horse danced and pranced and snorted with joy. Sometimes when he was afraid, I could feel him inside my own heart, racing around frantically, as if to warn me of pending danger. Other times he stood quietly in the grass, munching on crispy red apples and appearing deep in thought, as if to just let me know he was near. And sometimes he galloped wildly free of restraint, tickling me with his unrestrained joy. But those happy and free rides were rare. Mostly he stood guard.

Old Uncle Willy understood my love of horses. He understood my connection to them and my ache to be closer to such a strangely forbidden desire. Uncle Willy always seemed to know where to look for me whenever we went to the farm. And he always seemed to know to look for me, when others hadn’t thought to.

One morning when I was huddled under a mountain of straw in the corner of Ginger’s stall; Uncle Willy came looking for me. He found me hiding there, buried under a pile of golden grass and crying, as Ginger stood over me with her warm breath tickling my neck as if to say, everything will be okay.

I was hiding in there because my cousin had told me, yet again, that I wasn’t real family. It seemed that each time she said that, it hurt a little bit more. Sometimes she even said it front of my mother, but instead of telling her to stop telling such awful lies, my mother would just agree. That really stung. And it made me sad.

I wasn’t sure what they meant by not being “real” family, I was just as real as they were, but I was sad that they even thought such a thing. After all, I had the pictures. My parents holding me when I was a newborn, teaching me piano when I was a toddler, posing me in front of furniture or houses or relatives to take my picture when I was a child. What could they possibly mean that I wasn’t real family? I didn’t understand at all, but I knew that there was something about me that was different. I just had no idea what it was.

Uncle Willy seemed to understand why I was crying, but he didn’t ask me about it. Instead, he told me a story about the Rocky Mountains and the wild horses that lived there. With his soft and comforting words, my uncle told me all about how magnificent it was to see a thundering herd suddenly appear in a lush green valley in the mountains. What Uncle Willy told me that day in the barn gave me the strength and desire to survive the cruel and hurtful comments of my cousin.

“Claire, you wouldn’t believe how amazing these horses are!” he told me. “They sound just like a train going by at a hundred miles an hour when they come galloping out of the mountains. Their manes blow behind them in flashes of black, silver and gold, like flying flags!” I listened to Uncle Willy’s fantastic story, enthralled.

“Tell me more, Uncle Willy! Tell me more!” I pleaded.

“Oh, it’s amazing, Claire, just amazing. You can even hear the different types of snorts and whinnies—they sound just like they’re talking! Then all of a sudden in a gust of wind and dust they’ll be gone. But . . .” and he looked left and right, like he was about to tell me a secret, then lowered his voice to a near whisper, “When they’re gone, you’re left with a feeling of magic. You know what it’s like to be free and wild but still be a part of a family. A really big family!” The images Uncle Willy conjured completely enchanted me, and I’d practically forgotten my cousins’ spiteful words.

“I tell ya girl,” he added, “Someday you have to go there. It’ll change you forever.” I watched as he got a faraway look in his eyes and sighed as if he were there that very moment. I snuggled into the straw and closed my eyes, wishing I were there, too.

“Someday,” he promised me, “when you’re older, you can go there. You’ll see for yourself how beautiful those horses are. And here’s the best part!” He smiled, and then said, “If you can catch a wild horse, it’s yours! It will belong to you and only you for the rest of its life. That’s the rule.” Uncle Willy tousled my hair and pulled me upright with a grin. “Come on, now. Let’s go inside and get some ice cream!”

I couldn’t believe my ears. If what Uncle Willy said was true, and it had to be or he wouldn’t have said it, I could actually have my own horse some day! I brushed all the straw off of my clothes and went back to the house with Uncle Willy for two big bowls of chocolate ice cream. But I couldn’t pay attention to anything else he said. All I could think about were those wild horses.

As excited as I was about pursuing wild horses, in the weeks and months that followed I knew better than to talk to anyone about my dreams. I had learned how quickly people will snuff out your dreams if you say them out loud. So I buried those words inside my Heart Horse, assuring him he would have company some day. He whinnied softly inside my heart, swaying back and forth as if to say, we will wait, we will wait, we will wait.



Don’t Believe Everything You Think

ImageI have this bumper sticker and everyday when I get into the car I read it.  I know I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve done a great deal of thinking lately about how we and our thoughts about ourselves shape our reality.  I think it follows writing Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets.

I wish, I had known at an earlier age that I am, in fact, not my story but life has a way of unfolding just as it should, when it should.

I also know that I am not my thoughts.  I don’t have to believe them especially when what they are telling me isn’t what reality is showing me.  It causes a great deal of suffering when we let our thoughts control our life.

A great deal of conversation goes on within the adoptee community about PTSD but most of us suffer from other trauma’s, post primal wound, that also  classify as criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD.  Since this is Bell’s “Let’s Talk” week in Canada I thought it was a good time to bring up the subject again.  Having open conversation about mental health is crutial to eliminating the stigma and providing a way to speak out.

I don’t have to describe what the symptoms of PTSD are to most of you reading this and if you need further clarification, please take the time to look it up.  It brings me back to my many years of trauma, the rapes, the abuse, the feelings of unworthiness related to being given away.  It goes on and on.  It also boils down to believing those thoughts now or not.

I lived from a place of fear most of my life.  Fear of being found out, fear of not being good enough, fear of being unloveable, fear of not belonging, fear after fear.  All, based on thought.  Some of those belief systems as adoptees know, are so deeply rooted it takes years to uncover them and try to untangle the roots imbedded in our psyche.

Ultimately, everything we want, everything we are looking for is inside us already.  When you go inside and find your own happiness you discover that what already exists is unchanging, immovable, ever present….just waiting for you to find it.  You are the only one that can end your own suffering.

I know!  Go figure.  It’s as simple or as complicated as you chose to make it.  Even those of us with severe PTSD can, with work and love for self are able to emerge from the darkness we have existed in.  No teacher needed, although it helps to have a guide, a support, a spiritual base but ultimatly its you and only you that can change your thoughts.  You can decide to not believe everything you think.

There are, of course times we need various methods to assist us along the way.  Don’t get me wrong.  Appropriate care is mandatory if you are not at a place in your life where you can manage.  I can only speak for myself and now in my 6th decade as much as I accept that life works in ways that it’s meant to. I am astonished at the depth of pain and fear I lived in.  As an imposter.  As a chameleon.  As someone not present in today.

I’ve heard the lesson many times in my Buddhist teachings….If you are not living in your own life, if you are living in someone else’s  business you will only bring suffering to yourself.  So, if you are mentally living in someone else’s business and are feeling hurt or lonely pay attention.  You are not living in your own life.

Having lived in a state of severe PTSD and disassociation for many years I can now recognize with clarity the past triggers and the belief systems that kept me safe until I was ready to dig through the dirt and uncover them one by one.  Reunion was the catalyst and my writing became my therapy.  I relived each and every moment of trauma that had been locked away for so long.  I could smell the smells and feel the fear and pain.  I was there.  Right there.  Momemt by moment in each story told and I now understand why it was hidden for so long.  I had to live.  To survive.  To care for ailing adoptive parents and most of all care for my daughter.  There wasn’t time to open The Wall of Secrets.  There wasn’t time to allow myself to break down the walls and let the barriers fall.

I knew once I opened those drawers that held my secrets my world would change drastically and I wasn’t sure I could get to the other side in one piece.  I became totally fragmented during the process and everyone around me just figured that’s who I was, never thinking of the magnitude of the process of reunion and all the primal wound brings along with my life traumas.  Interesting, now that I can reflect on the past few years.  Why didn’t they see?  Why wasn’t there compassion and understanding instead of irritation and dismissal?

That’s why, this week is important.  People need to speak out, educate, speak their own truths about depression, anxiety, disassociation, whatever it is you suffer from.  The only way one will find understanding and throw off the stigma is to speak out loud or in-between the covers of a book.

Back to us…back to us and our thoughts.

A thought really is harmless unless you believe it.  It’s not the thought itself but the attachment to the thought that causes our suffering.  Once you attach to it, you believe it to be true.  Without inquiring, without question you/we believe it.

Imagine!  All those nasty, demeaning, harmful, despicable thoughts….are nothing more than that.  Yet, when we get attached to them we believe them to be so.  Can you imagine if…just if…it weren’t  so..if they weren’t true and all this time, you “thought” they were!

This subject, i think will have to be several blogs as it’s so much of human conditioning and I so want to write my way and your way through this process to a place where we KNOW we aren’t our thoughts.

You can’t control them.  Don’t let anyone tell you it’s possible, it isn’t but what you can do is meet them with understanding.  They will, then, let go of you.

It’s a practice.  It’s a process.  This being aware of our thoughts,  Inquiring if they are in fact true and then letting them go with perhaps a chuckle.  Say to yourself..hmm..now that was interesting..why on earth would I think that to be true.

A Facebook post has resurfaced the last few days.  One that is especially pertinent for trauma victims, PTSD, Adoptees.  Perhaps you aren’t aware it even exists.  We do the best we can at the time and as we grow and open our walls of secrets we learn that it’s okay to be uncomfortable and walk through the discomfort and pain to expose our coping skills and with time change them.  I’ll post it at the bottom and you can give its some thought.  I want to look at the thoughts behind some of my suffering over the years in my next post.  I have many and I’m still digging them out and I’m also discovering that most of them just aren’t true.  You will find the same.  I promise.

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Day 9 of Self-Love Challenge

No matter what I sit down to write it all goes back to that Primal Wound.  I know that adoptee’s don’t own exclusive rights to “feelings” of any kind or beliefs, or thoughts.  Everyone experiences these things to different degree’s.  There is something so deeply ingrained within an adoptee’s psyche that until you peel back the layers and are willing to do the dirty work you will never understand why you do the things you do.

I have spent many years peeling back the layers.  Like an onion, there have been many.  As I mentioned in a previous post it takes 21 days to change a habit, maybe longer if it is one that is so deeply ingrained we don’t even recognize at the time where it is coming from.

Today’s self love challenge turned out to be something other than I had intended.  I’m flexible, and as I began to realize the error of my ways I decided to once again challenge myself.

Growth is all about challenging the self we are comfortable with, the old habits, the old thoughts.  All old..and although I have been deliberately challenging myself these last few years I’m down to the core now.  That’s a deep, dark place that wants to hang on to the old beliefs.  It’s comfortable down there.  Nobody knows about you, thinks about you, cares about you.  The thing is, if you want to grow and be free of the old restrains you have to dig around in that dirt and pull out the diamonds and shine them up.

 i have been doing this for some time, and actually have found some shiny things down there.  Imagine that!  By shiny things I mean the dirty ol’ tapes and beliefs about me that not only came attached from birth but from a life of abuse and neglect which just reinforced what was already there.  I want to shine.  I want to feel joy and pleasure that I know intellectually.  I want to feel it in my heart and soul and to do that…well, ya gotta go deep.

It is my journey to dig in the dirt.  Maybe I was a gardner or miner in my past life.  My plan is to do as much digging as I can now so I don’t have to do it again when I return.  

We are all born with a buddha spirit, or a core of goodness and perfection with a side dish of self worth.  Well, some of us are.  They have proven now that a babe in utero actually feels and learns energetically from its mother.  If the mother is stressed and the babe not wanted, it knows it before it even enters this world.  If the babe is loved and cared for and anxiously awaited that too is transmitted.  Okay, so an adopted person then is one that is not wanted for whatever reason.  Energetically that passes to the babe for 9 months and then when you do take your first breath that is taken too.  The umbilical cord is cut and your mother disappears.  Even if she didn’t want you there still was a connection energetically and the Primal Wound has now occurred.

Some may not believe in energy.  If you are a non believer do some research.  We are nothing but energy, our thoughts, our bodies, our surroundings,  all energy running at different frequencies/speeds.

If you sit in a Monastery the energy is palpable, penetrating and wonderfully warm and all encompassing.  If you sit in a bus station, it too has energy of a different kind.  Chaotic, cold and impatient.  You can feel both and I know which one I choose.  That’s why I want to shine up my own diamonds so I can be in total chaos and yet be peaceful and centred.  So dig in the dirt I will.

I always, from a very young age considered myself independent.  I would imagine that was because I had to look after myself.  This independence followed me throughout the years becoming stronger and more tightly woven in it’s rational.  I didn’t need anybody,  I never asked for help.  I survived on my own and was sure I could survive anything without assistance.  I was rather proud of that fact.

What’s the saying, “No man is an Island”?  Yeah..sure…not in my world.  In my world you can’t trust anyone.  They always leave, or hurt you.  You can’t depend on them to be there when needed.  I mean, come on….If your own Mother didn’t want you, how could you be worthy of anything especially someones time or care, besides….I was good at being a survivor, of being a loner, of doing it myself.

What I was so proud of then, the independence turned out to be a lack of self worth.  Plain and simple.  How could I be worthy when in utero, i wasn’t wanted or loved and then given away.

The realization of this fact came in a rush of pain one day.  To think that all those years I was proud of my independence and in reality all it was….was that i felt i wasn’t worthy.  What did that mean then?  What did that have to do with everyday life as i lived it.  A lot, in fact, a huge part of life.

It’s been quite the process uncovering the layers of protection but as each one comes off I feel lighter, truer, more authentically the real me and I quite like it.  I have a few friends that I can thank for seeing me through the learning curve.  Small moments of kindness out of the blue bring me to tears and touch my heart in ways i never thought possible.

Small moments that most people take for granted and never give  another thought, I sit and think and analyze and question and quite often cry.  In my 6th decade I feel blessed to be digging deep and shining up my diamonds.  Some never find them, while others never look.

I am worthy of receiving.  I am open to breaking habits that don’t serve me well.

Cognitive Dissonance is what it’s called. A battle of the two worlds and the good guys are winning.  Not without a lot of discomfort mind you.  It’s warm and cozy to live in the world of old beliefs.  I’m breaking free and shining my diamonds as I dig in the dirt.

Thank you Bill.  I bet you didn’t expect to be the topic of today’s self-love challenge.  I graciously accept your offer.Image