Where did you go?

“I seem to myself, as in a dream,

An accidental guest in this dreadful body.”

Anna Akhmatova

The reality of asking that question is you didn’t go anywhere, I  wasn’t here.  I’ve missed you. I’ve missed being able to sit up and write.  I’ve missed being able to see clearly the words I want to write.  I miss sitting on my meditation cushion as I write..yes, I really do that!  I’ve missed knowing you are still connected and care.

My absence has been controlled by my misbehaving mast cells wrecking havoc within my already depleted encasing.  In the last 10 days I have been in the hospital, pumped full of drugs and released, feeling worse than I went in.  Wednesday I began a drug trial of injections that may, yes may, in 6 months or more help control my mast cells.  May…If I can tolerate the side effects.  It left me in a cold sweat, unable to move without retching, with horrid pain, electrical currents striking in various areas.  My bottle of water tastes like metal.  My toast like cardboard.  Well that might be the bread actually.  My throat is sore, head pounding, face swollen, everything from a normal mast cell day quadrupled.  Still, I may consider another next month.

Dr.Afrin’s Paper:

http://http://www.wjgnet.com/2218-6204/pdf/v3/i1/1.pdf

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The only way I can get thru this is to fall back on the beliefs that even this, is not permanent. This is just my life, nothing more. There is nothing wrong with it even tho’ I feel  sick in this moment.

 It will pass.

Once ReMoved=Trauma=PTSD

This video keeps appearing.

 I watch it each time with new eyes and new thoughts.  You know how things keep coming up.. several posts, several blogs, several fb messages are all relaying similar messages, so I’m compelled to write about it.

This time the video was posted on Covenant House FB page.  A portion of Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets proceeds go to support their efforts in assisting kids to find their way in the world in a healthy way.

One of the Facebook posts last night was about PTSD.  The words were so clear that I can’t help but repeat it here.

The mind replays what the Heart can’t Delete

Battles-

wars of mind, of memory, of body

The brain and body don’t forget trauma

The Heart Refuses To

There are over 400,000 children in foster care.  This film brings to awareness what some kids experience and to help adults understand life throughout the children’s eyes.  At the end she says it all;

“I am loveable.  I am worthy of care.”

How applicable in the adoptees world.  I can’t even begin to discuss the “re-homing” issue that is so prominently displayed on Facebook.  Pages, organizations, Craig’s List.  Places where, if you don’t like the child you “got”,  if they are too difficult to manage,  if they don’t suit your “fancy” you are free to re-home them….no strings attached.  Just like the little girl in the video..every day, adoptees appear on Craig’s List as giveaways.

When I was finally taken home as an infant it was on the condition that they “foster” me for two years perchance a boy became available.  If that boy had become available…I would have been given back, just like the sweet child above.  Just like the kids being re-homed on Craig’s List today.

IMG_2473She, with her perfect curls and homemade dress was not aware that her time, resting on the hopeful obtaining of a boy.  In the meantime, she was already being trained to perform on command…just in case.

When you consider the added burden of trauma that most foster, adopted, re-homed children experience, how amazing that many are the most compassionate, caring souls that roam the earth.  It is those who have dug their way out of the dark places and found the light that have the most understanding.  Those, who have lived with little are the first to give to others as they know what it’s like to have nothing.  Those who have had no one love them, no one in their corner are always the first to reach out to others. They know what it feels like to be alone in this world.

You would hope that people dealing with adoptees  (as well as other children of the system) would understand the effects of trauma and PTSD and have more compassion.  Not always.  In the real world, not the work world, it is practically never.  Everyone is so caught up in their own ego driven world they fail to really See,  Hear, Be Present For,  Have Compassion For …those who have struggled to find their way to the surface.

I speak as an adoptee who has navigated many trauma’s, abuse and rapes.  I speak as an adoptee who had held out hope of finding family after decades of search.  I speak as an adoptee who navigated a reunion where there was a Mother and siblings.  The Family I longed for all of my life.

 Looking back, I wonder if I had better understanding, if they had better understanding of my history of trauma, my PTSD, my impending diagnosis of Mastocytosis…would it have been different?  The constant tears, the fatigue, the grief and sadness was partly just that.  I know now that a huge part was mast cell degranulation affecting mast cells in the brain.  If understanding had been on the table on all sides what a difference it would have made.  It could have been a family healing…could have been.   As Bert Hellinger says in his books on family constellations…energetically there is something missing in their world as well, something isn’t right, a piece is missing when a child is given away.  Healing must be done as a whole family.

There is healing.  As the sweet child in the film says at the end;

“I am loveable. I am worthy.”

We can, with practice, spiritual or otherwise,  experience beautiful moments of the heart, a return to dignity, to the wise and gracious spirit that is found within always.  As we learn to navigate our difficulties with compassion and grace,  Joy will also return.

Life is trouble.. according to Zorba, and yet, your difficulties and sorrows do not define you.

They do not limit who you are.  Sometimes, when life is really overwhelming and the struggles great, you can mistake them for your life.  They are not the end of your story, they are just a small part of it,  a part of your path to great love and understanding,   Part of the intricate dance of love and humanity.

My hope is everyone will watch the video and give pause to thought.  For all of us,  but especially those of us who have been that little girl….let the spirit of self-compassion grow in you.  Sense how you can carry the soul of wisdom and compassion within your own heart.  Know that you will get through your difficulties with dignity and your capacity to love.

You are more than your story,  more than your trauma and pain,  more than your PTSD,  more, more, more

Remember who you really are and know you are loved

Book Signing..Toronto Hay House I Can Do It Conference

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I have been slow to blog these past few weeks as you would have seen in my recent Mast Cell blog I’ve been down for the count.  Yes, it was worth it!

I have many thoughts about my experience at the book signing being as it was my first and it still feels surreal that it was actually me sitting there signing a book that I had published!  I really just wanted to touch base with you and share a few pictures.  The best moment of the experience was when I was grabbing a few mouthfuls of lunch outside of the lobby and a couple of women came out after buying Finding Heart Horse to ask if I would sign it for them.

I was stunned!  Me?  You want me to sign my book?  You mean me?  To have purchased it and then sought me out was beyond my realm of being a newly published author.  Both were adoptees and yearning for more information and we spent some time discussing options that could be found online and in books.

Those moments I discovered, are the reason I’ve spent over eight yrs crafting my stories and putting them between the covers of Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets.

Those moments..are what it’s all about.  Those moments make every tear, every minute of reliving traumas so worthwhile.

For those of you writing, or thinking about writing, don’t ever stop.  Don’t give up no matter how many times you feel your words aren’t important enough, no matter how tired you get doing rewrite after rewrite.  Your stories will change people’s lives.  They will validate others and allow them to speak their truth.  Best of all…you will heal during the process and be free…finally.

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Forgive! Are you Crazy?

When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and discover

that the prisoner we set free is us.”

Lewis Smedes

The prompting for this post was a discussion of sorts on my friend’s blog. http://www.morningpageswriter.wordpress.com  Monsters of Our Childhood … last evening.  I can’t remember all the comments but it was about finding forgiveness for those that have abused us in horrible ways as children or adults.

I never even thought about forgiving the people who had abused me, raped me, given me away, caused me pain…the list is endless.  I was so filled with pain and disbelief in human nature that when someone said to me, “Someday, you will need to forgive them and move on,” I wanted to shoving their words down their throat.  How could I possible forgive.  I was handed over at birth with no name, no thought, no love.  Handed over to live in a nursery probably not even held for who knows how long and then fostered by a middle-aged couple for two years as they waited for a boy, which was what they wanted.  If a boy became available I would be “sent back”.  They finally settled.  She, not wanting children at all and he, wanting a boy to fish and hunt with.

They settled and I paid the price.

Forgive!  Are you crazy?  I’m given away only to be abused by strangers who didn’t want me in the first place.

Raped and nearly beaten to death, not once, but several times and you want me to forgive?

I could go on and on with the specifics which, now are just that…specifics.  It doesn’t matter how much has been done to me, with me, around me anymore.  I set out on a journey to heal and to heal I knew I would have to forgive and let go of the past.  I know the exact moment it began.

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The word is where we all get stuck, especially if you were indoctrinated as many of us were in religions where everything was our fault since we were born sinners anyway and meant to spend the rest of our lives atoning for our sins.  We were taught/brainwashed to believe that we deserved everything we got or at least I was.

If I fell and scraped my knee, I deserved it.  If I spent a night licking my wounds from words and hand mirrors, it was because i deserved it.

 Of course, then when I was first raped at 16, in my head I could hear her words, “Well, look what you were wearing, you are a child of Satan.  What do you expect.”

 When I was critically ill in the hospital at 17, I could smell her breath as she leaned over droplets of spit landing on my face and said, “Go ahead and die.  You weren’t meant to be born anyway.  You don’t deserve to be here.  You are dead to us.”

Forgive?  You want ME to FORGIVE?

I wish someone had said to me years ago, “You don’t have to forgive.  Forgiveness is for them.  Letting go is for you.  When you’ve expressed enough anger, enough sadness, enough fear, then you’ll be ready to think about letting go.”

If you remember nothing else, remember that.

The truth is that yes, forgiveness sets you free and yes, I did forgive and have compassion for her now.

Forgiveness is a form of realism.  It doesn’t deny, minimize or justify what others have done to us nor the pain we have suffered because of it.  What it does is encourage us to look squarely at those old wounds and see them for what they are.  It allows us to see just how much energy we have wasted and how we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.

Forgiveness is an internal process.  There is no forcing it and it sure doesn’t come easy no matter what you call it.  What it does do, is bring a great feeling of wellness and freedom.

Forgiveness/letting go means we no longer identify ourselves by our past injuries and injustices.  We are no longer Victims.  We can claim that right to stop hurting when we say we are tired of the pain and want to heal.  At that moment, forgiveness/letting go becomes a possibility.  We no longer want to punish those who hurt us, the pain from the past will no longer dictate how we live in the present, nor will it dictate our future.

Part of the healing is finding our own voices, speaking our truth, being vulnerable and courageous and writing blogs and books, speaking out loud our long-held secrets.  Dig through this layer and you will rescue your heart.

 This will be one of the most difficult parts of our journey only because our Ego doesn’t want to let go of the power that comes from being wronged.

Read that one again and again…

As long as we feel hurt and damaged we give ourselves the right to blame and judge.  We are the Victims.  Ego can point the finger and feel a certain power.  The Ego has to be put on the shelf for this one.  Forgiveness is an act of compassion but it doesn’t mean we forget.  It just means that there’s no longer an emotional charge from remembering.  It’s a gift to yourself.

You are worth having such a gift

Video Release of FINDING HEART HORSE

It’s proper that right below me as I write is my last post “Don’t Believe Everything You Think”.  I need to practice this now in this very moment.  Since being ill with Mast Cell Disease I have gained at least a person in size.  When I was watching the video I had to fight with my self concept issues and get over the thought I have to hide because I’ve changed in personal appearance.  So here we go…Mission accomplished.  Acceptance discovered and even a sprinkle of compassion thrown in to a person who has been through the fight of their life and continues daily with this unpredictable disease.  Inside her, the little girl who suffered through the real journey is healing and feeling loved for who she was and is..right now, in this moment.

Namaste to all

Roots…

ImageYou see the one that I am, not the one that I was.

But the one that I was is also still part of myself.

Jean Amery

I have been feeling a little ungrounded lately. For me, I need to connect with Mother Earth on a frequent basis to feel secure, to feel stable and present. When we are feeling off balance or scattered it’s important to “reground” ourselves.

What is that really? I used it here as a state of being, but what is it really? Again, for adoptee’s there is a much deeper meaning to the words “roots”. For those of us who have grown without roots its a place of non-existence. A place of frequent change. A place that may collapse at any minute.

Everyone needs grounding and roots in order to know themselves and become whole. Our body needs that energy connection to the earth to function optimally but our genetic markers also need to be grounded with the matching set, that is our roots, our heritage, our tribe.

Even when I was young and naive about such things I always returned to Mother Earth and nature in order to feel connected. Since I had no “real family” Mother Earth was the closest I could get to connection and feeling grounded.

As for adoptee’s in reunion or searching, what we look for is the energy connection that we have been denied and has kept us in that place of limbo regarding who we really are. A place of non-existence. I know it’s difficult for non adoptee’s to understand these concepts. You grew with roots, heritage, genetic markers. You grew because you had roots. Just as the tree’s need to have roots, just as the toaster needs to be plugged in, and be grounded, you grew.

You know when you feel off balance, uncentered. You get easily distracted, tense and fidgety. Your energy is low and your problems are heavy and covered in emotion. You need to rectify that with re-grounding. Whatever that process is for you.

In adoption, during search and reunion we walk a fine line, sometimes teetering over the edge, ravaged with grief and emotion never before felt. It brings forth all of the awareness that had been so carefully hidden. The awareness of what you have missed out on, what you weren’t part of and will never get back. It’s during these times we need each other. We need to remind each other that we need to take time to regroup, reground, regrow. We need to know we matter. We need to know we are enough and we are understood.

Reunion is only one stage of the journey in an adoptees life. It’s the place where we knit together the fragmented parts of stories we never had. Parts of ourselves we never knew. Stories and history that need to fit somewhere in the puzzle that has so many pieces missing. Quite often it’s the place where we feel more fragmented than ever, more alone, more frightened. This place of finding roots.

Of course, once you are there it’s much too late to turn back. At least you had a sense of control before. In this place of putting pieces back together there is no control, none. The universe takes over, the emotions reign supreme. It feels like being out in the ocean with a canoe and no paddles. You are tossed around by emotions you didn’t know existed, caught in the waves of a dark despair and depth of pain not known to the “rooted people”. An adoptee’s trauma is cellular. How do you repair that?

“Rooted People”, can you just for a moment, try to understand what that’s like. The turmoil, the pain, the confusion of reassembling your psyche after having it shattered into a million pieces? No, I imagine you can’t, because you see, you are rooted. You have a Mother who gave you roots. It would mean the world if you interested in understanding, of empathizing, of loving us through this period.

We know as adoptee’s, that it takes time and solitude a process that is usually out of our control. Our bodies and minds take the lead and usually crash, forcing us into a reclusive space to regroup.

When I was in that place, I spent a great deal of time trying to write through the pain and walking in the forests. I became obsessed with taking pictures of roots. I took the one above as I sat on a bench beside it, staring at the complexity of all that it means to have roots. A tree gets nourishment from it’s roots. Would I perhaps? A tree grows strong and extends its branches? Would I as well? Hours would be spent walking the forests looking at the roots and realizing how important they are to everything on this planet but especially to those who have none. I also clung to my spiritual practice as if my life depended on it, and it did.

In this age of the internet, finding your roots has become quite common and certainly much faster. It’s all the more important then for us to remain centred and to remember you are not alone. One of the most difficult things about hard times is that we often feel that we are going through them alone. But we are not alone. In the physical sense the internet provides reassurance that others are walking the same path and understand. I mean more of an internal knowing.

Our healing journey, our finding our roots is not always about overcoming the difficulties we’re experiencing, or about getting well, at least not completely. Sometimes, it’s about learning to accept more fully the way things are. We all have the capacity to heal and we need to discover what form that healing is to take.

I knew at a very young age as you will see in Finding Heart Horse, that my struggles were my path. I learned that grief and loss, suffering and pain, those dark nights of the soul, only got worse if I tried to ignore or deny or avoid them. I was always one to face my fears. It was the learning to work with them that took decades!

All in the name of finding my roots. My entire life has been about finding my roots and in order to do that i had to face the demons and difficulties head on. Life has made me stronger and I emerged more humble and grounded than ever before. The real tragedy is when someone refuses to acknowledge and respect their own suffering and instead, spreads it around unconsciously to others.

Yes, roots are important, very important. I continue to nourish mine so they will grow strong and hold me steady. The external knowledge and genetic discoveries were the foundation but it is my own gardening that is helping them to grow and branch out.

Nelson Mandela has been in the news lately. If you want to know how to survive, he is one of the world’s greatest teachers. One of his most precious teachings was about not taking anything personally. Because he was able to do that, he remained the kind, gentle and compassionate being he is. We all have that potential for wisdom.

To heal, remember your tender roots, the fragile, yet strong ones that held you up before your journey into the adoptee abyss of darkness and healing. There are no people stronger in spirit than the ones I’ve met on my Adoption Journey or in my Mastocytosis world. I’m sure there are other groups that have also experienced great suffering that have this resilience and strength as well. So, if you are reading this and feeling overwhelmed in your journey. You are not alone. Until your roots grow a bit stronger I am right beside you.

The warrior in your heart says stand your ground.

Feel the survival of a thousand years of ancestors in your muscles and your blood.

You have all the support you need in your bones.

Jack Kornfield

Self-Love Challenge

ImageThe supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.

-Victor Hugo

You’ll notice I left out the day I am on in the Self-Love Challenge.  This is because, for me, it will continue on for as long as I have.  I discovered after peeling back the layers over the years the last and hopefully final layer is learning to love and value myself as the being I intellectually know I am.  

Deanna, over at Adoptee Restoration is the inspiration for todays words and also the fact that right now, in this very moment I need so badly to know I am loved and to get that, I must look inside.

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  • How terrible it is to be ravaged by doubt as a human being, an adopted being, a lost street person or anyone that has suffered in this world and perhaps been shunned   How sad to not know the impact we make on others, to not have the faith to know that we matter, that we are cherished.  These are traits of many, not just adoptees.  In adoption these beliefs are hardwired in and we wander through life wondering and trying to figure out what it is that makes life so  difficult for us.  Turns out, its those deep seated beliefs, that we are unlovable, even though we the first ones to give,  the unworthy even thought we are the first to praise others.
  • I look at “her”….that little girl that I will probably post many pictures of as I get ready to decide which ones will go in my books.  I am struck by the blank, lost, and forgotten look.  She is me..she needs to be loved and nurtured.  I need constant reminding of that.  A persons heart is like a gas tank.  It needs to be constantly topped up with fuel if we expect it to work sufficiently, to have energy to move forward.  When these tanks are low or empty in some cases, our energy is the same..non existent.
  • I went to an I CAN DO IT conference last April in Vancouver.  Hay House puts them on.  I had been told by others that once you go to one, you will always go back again.  Because I was getting ready to publish and I am in line with their beliefs I decided to go.  My body fights against these things by setting off the mast cell cascade that leads to anaphylaxis and it was making it clear I should say home, where my environment is controlled.
  • I’ve never been one to avoid a challenge in that sense and something was pulling me, pushing me to go, so I went.
  • I found out it was true what others had said about going back, about being inspired, about feeling the LOVE and CONNECTION.  

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You could feel the energy in the room.  You could almost taste the sweetness of loving words floating from the stage.  I was soaking it up, word by word and wrapping my fragile, weakened heart in the love that was so profoundly there with these strangers.  Wayne Dyer spoke all morning and one sentence he said, penetrated my soul deeply.

He said, “Come from a place of LOVE not FEAR”

How many of us live in a place of fear?  Fear of being hurt. Fear of being rejected.  Fear of not having the love returned.  Fear of being …

What if….what if we lived our lives from a place of love instead?  Imagine that.  Instead of coming from the pain body, the hurt heart..if we could get out of ourselves and our ego’s just long enough to see the other person, really see them and come from a place of love.  I don’t mean the superficial coats we all wear.  Those brightly coloured coats of anger and hostility and defensiveness..i mean the real essence of the person.  Their heart, their goodness, their true being.  What if we chose to look there, instead of our own fear based projections.

Come from a place of Love, Come from a place of Love, not fear.

Our complete purpose on this earth and in this life is to do just that.  So it’s difficult..big deal.  It’s what matters in the end.  It’s what matters now .

There are only four questions of value in life.

 “What is sacred?  Of what is the spirit made?  What is worth dying for?  What is worth living for?”

 And the answer to all four, is LOVE.”

-Don Juan De Marco

 Yet, to come from a place of love takes practice.  That little adopted girl up there never felt love, never knew love.  She lives within this grownup middle aged body and needs reassurance, not rejection.  Love, not anger and patience.  Unfortunately, or fortunately  I get that it has to come from within.  It would be helpful to have the luxury of outside confirmation but ultimately the love for her has to be found within.

Come from a place of LOVE, not fear. 

What will matter in the final days of our lives is love, nothing more.  

Today I will nurture that inner child with love and acceptance.  It wasn’t her fault.  She is worthy and wanted, giving and of grace.

 She is Love, pure and simple LOVE.

Day 15 of Self Love-Challenge

When positive or joyous feelings and attitudes pass through each organ and circulate throughout our whole system, our physical and chemical energies are transformed and balanced.”

Tarthang TulkuImageAbove you see a Medicine Buddha Thanka.  A dear Tibetan friend brought it to me when he visited.  His father was a famous Thanka painter in Ladakh, and passed away while my friend was here. I am so blessed to have such a powerful gift and spirit in my meditation room.  In Buddhism, we are taught that everything has the power to heal and cure.  That means, anything we encounter in life.  The people, their actions, words, situations, everything.  That means the painful situations too.  They serve as beneficial medicine.

This is an important concept because it means that so often our well being is in our own hands.  The world and everything in it can be used to heal our heart and restore our health.  Words, relationships, medicines, diet, friends, massage, nature, crystals, prayer, animals…..The list is endless.

The Medicine Buddha is my personal spirit guide.  I require healing and I also had spent many years as a nurse, healing others.  Many mornings I sit in front of him and intellectually know, healing comes from the mind and yet, despite much practice, my heart still hurts.  It’s a lifelong practice, this healing.

I look at him, perfect in balance.  His internal and external harmony exists.  He sits in Lotus position and in a form such as Shakyamuni did.  Brilliant in sapphire blue he sits with his right hand holding a healing plant called myrobalan.  Sometimes. it’s as if he is actually handing it to me.  His fingers touch the earth, a place where I also find comfort.   His left hand is in mudra and holds a monk’s begging bowl that is filled with healing elixir called “the nectar of deathlessness.”

And yet, my heart still hurts.  My body is still in pain and ill.  I will continue for as long as it takes.  I want to be cleansed of the toxins from my past and present.  I want to be rid of the negativities,, the fears, illusions and karmic imprints.  The energy flows between us and amongst us all.  After all. thats all we are is energy.  We are all connected and are of one.  All of us.

It has been a difficult week and I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut by another mode of rejection.  Silly perhaps, but the energy swirls around me as I fend it off with my spiritual practice, understanding and forgiveness in my heart.  It doesn’t have to be this difficult when we all want the same things.  To be loved.  To be heard.  To be happy and wanted.  It really doesn’t have to be so hard..but it is.

Today’s practice and solitude are gifts to my body.  It can’t take any more battles and beatings from outside energies.  For too long, I pushed it and pushed it, demanding it perform under almost inhumane circumstances of the  chaotic energy of adoption and reunion, never mind the actual physical demands.  It tried to tell me, to show me, to make me pay attention but I, being the good little adoptee just kept going.  Now, even with the help of Medicine Buddha and  a healing package from Ayu Lhamo a Shaman in Ladakh my body weakens and screams in pain.

My mind, is learning to let go, despite not understanding, but knowing the realities of what is..With this comes healing.

When you try to become mindful of your your thoughts it covers almost everything.  The entirety of consciousness, all of our moods and emotional reactions.  It’s becoming aware of how we alone conceptually construct our world and it’s reality.  In this way, we can let go of who we used to be and be renewed.  It helps me deal with my sadness and also how I experience joy.  Acceptance and equanimity..that’s the ultimate goal.

Once we are no longer tied to who we used to be and how we think things should be….based on the past…We become free to be authentically who we are.

Center yourself in the moment and relax.

Let go of your thoughts.

Just let them come and go and settle down.

Breathe in through your nostrils.

Relax and breathe out, saying Ahhhh

Hold out your breath for a moment of emptiness .

Stay centred, and allow yourself a moment of being, just being….

So simple, so free and easy…..

Today, I will remember to accept myself as the person I am now, not the person I used to be.  I will re-energize and allow my body to feel the change and rest.  I will smile knowing I am on the right path.  I will just be….