Undones, Do You Have Them?

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Having faced death several times myself and recently experiencing the deaths of two very special people, I find myself preoccupied with loss.

Adoptees tend to do that of course. Our beginnings in utero had already started the prewiring necessary for our survival which was begun with loss of our mother.

Of course, I’d like to be thinking of sunshine and rainbows, but the reality for all of us is that death is inevitable. It could be tonight even.. It will come whether you’re ready or not. That is a certainty and we don’t have many of those in this life.

My life has been filled with loss as most adoptees are. The loss of our mother, our family, our heritage, our genetic markers, our family dynamics. Each future loss such as the recent losses I’ve mentioned open that old wound.

Then of course you add in the numerous losses one tends to accumulate over the years and suddenly life appears to hold nothing but darkness, silence, the sound of tears dropping, emptiness, loss of health. Living with an illness that could at any moment take my life brings it all to the frontline.

Being a practicing Buddhist I’m well prepared for the inevitable. I don’t fear death at all and in fact, at times would welcome it. Most people living with Mast Cell Disease can attest to that when you’ve spent days in excruciating pain, vomiting into a pail, fighting the anaphylaxis demons with epinephrine.

That in no way means I want to die. It means I believe one has to prepare for their own death in order to live. A close encounter with death can bring a real awakening, a transformation in our whole approach to life.

The Nature of everything is illusory and ephemeral,

Those with dualistic perception regard suffering as happiness, Like they who lick the honey from a razor’s edge. How pitiful they who cling strongly to concrete reality:

Turn your attention within, my heart friends.

The above is a verse of a poem by contemporary master, Nyoshul Khenpo. It clearly outlines the need to reflect deeply on impermanence. It’s very difficult to turn our attention within and so easy to allow our old habits, our set patterns to rule us! To reflect on this, slowly brings us wisdom. Watch how you repeatedly fall into the same old habits that always bring you suffering. Again, and again, and again. With observance and practice we can slowly emerge and change.

Your Undones…

Your undones are that persistent, niggling, feeling that is sent to you from The Universe, Your Higher Self, how ever you think of what is “out there”. It’s telling you that you have unfinished business. Business that will pester you, stress you and take your energy until you complete it. Mental nags are undones. They remind you that you have broken agreements with yourself and time and time again you’ll notice they rob you of your self respect. Creativity…gone. True joy…gone. Internal peace…gone. You are able to get back all of those things if you complete your undones.

Right now in your mind I’m sure you can identify several. I know I can. They could be unresolved conflicts, withheld forgiveness, appreciation not mentioned, love not given, goals not met, promises not kept. Your life is probably full of many more not mentioned. They come in every size, shape, and in each and every area of your life. Check your basement. It’s probably full of undones.

Let this sink in…You won’t find peace until these undones are completed. Just remember, life is short and very unpredictable.

Hay House Radio Interview for Finding Heart Horse (I still have free Ebook Stubs to giveaway)

IMG_3394 When you write your story, bear your soul, your heart, your life with the world there is no going back.  Brene Brown says vulnerability=courage.   The more vulnerable you are with others in life the more you become filled with courage.

Most of you know the back story, have watched the video and now will hear the interview.  Yet,  I still feel very vulnerable.  I also am filled with courage.

I’ve worked for days on The Wall of Secrets,

 today the self publishing process has begun.

I still have Ebook stubs to giveaway,  if you are interested drop me a line at thealmostdaughter@gmail.com

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Here is the Hay House Radio Interview..it’s still airing on Bright, New Voices

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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Secrets and Lies….An Adoptees Nightmare

I’ve always wondered why I’ve been such a stickler when it comes to secrets and lies.  I just can’t tolerate even a little white lie told for my benefit.  Honesty is paramount in my world.  I don’t care if it hurts me I’d rather know the truth.  My insistence has caused many rifts in my growing years and been the cause of many relationships going down the tubes.  Most people take secrets and lies in stride, as a normal part of life.

 I don’t.  I can’t.  I won’t.

ImageI’m around three in this picture and already caught in the world of secrets and lies of adoption.  Stuck in the twilight zone and suffering PTSD at three is something no one would understand back then in the early 50’s.  I look at her and my eyes fill with tears.  I only have a few pictures and they all have the same blank look, the clenched fist and at that time I refused to wear socks for some reason.  My adoptive mother being the perfectionist she was, was always so angry at me.  Pictures that had must be perfect….were anything but.

 Smile..smile..come on smile.

 Over and over but never the perfect picture.  The truth always showed and she didn’t want anyone to know the “perfect family” was sick.  Sick with secrets and lies.

“A family is only as sick as the secrets it keeps”

John Bradshaw

Secrecy erects barriers to forming a healthy identity.  Sealed records  and false birth certificates implicitly ask for an extreme form of denial.  Nowhere in the history of psychology will you see that denial is a positive strategy for forming a sense of self and dealing with reality.  It wasn’t until I threatened with a lawyer when my daughter was around 6 that I finally got “my last name”.  Once you have your own child, the importance of finding out genetic information becomes priority and the search intensifies.  I had no information or medical history until I was 50 and by then, so much damage was done, but for my daughter, she now has something I never had.  Information, history, heritage, existence.

Nancy Verrier believes that the nine months spent in utero  establishes a connection with energetic transmission of either positive or negative emotions.  Then, with the severing of the connection, the primal wound is created.  This affects the adoptees sense of Self and most often manifests in a sense of loss, basic mistrust, anxiety and depression.  You lived nine months in utero trauma and were born only to experience the worst trauma of all.  You can’t tell me, if you really look at that little girl above that none of those things exist.

Within secrets and lies you find shame.  What a person withholds from another becomes a hidden truth when if fact, it’s reality might be questioned were it allowed to reach the light of day.  That’s why it’s so very important for everyone to tell their story, to share the traumas and secrets and set yourself free.  Even in everyday life, communication in an honest way clears up many illusions turned secret.

Brene Brown has many videos on her research about shame.  It’s epidemic and it’s fostered with all the secrets and lies we live.  No wonder we have such a physically and emotionally sick society.  Once you can bare your truest self to select people, it makes space for a new kind of connection in your lives.

As an adoptee you grow up pretending you are someone else’s child and of course, the topic is seldom discussed at least in my era.  You were trained , act as if genetically you belonged.  That only works so long until you begin to discover genetic traits that “your family” can’t accept.  Adoption isn’t talked about,  The church family don’t know you aren’t really who you say you are.  The people across the street, the kids you go to school with and sometimes, you don’t know yourself until a later age.

In some twisted way, when I look at the picture..how would she understand that her mother didn’t want her or couldn’t keep her.  How could an already traumatized child grasp that.  I can’t even get into the words used such as “chosen”.  Yet, the truth is what we need and want.

 A new direction in adoption needs to be followed where the truth is faced head on.  No matter what age.  A child can sense a parents discomfort and blame themselves.  These indirect messages such as relatives commenting on how much so and so looks like their mother affect adopted children greatly.  Blood related people don’t realize the frequency of these biological references but Adoptees do.

It’s no wonder then, that myself and many adoptees can sense a secret or lie hidden behind a false smile or statement and refuse to tolerate anything but open and honest relationships.

 It takes an instant to break the trust and a lifetime to repair the damage, if ever.

I’ve lived as most adoptees, a life of dualities..the person you show the world and the person you have no identity for.  Now that I’ve been able to fit some of the genetic puzzle pieces in the blank spaces and write my story I am lighter, free of the fear and shame of being discovered.

 I now exist.

Setting Heart Horse Free

ImageSitting on my table for the last few days has been the story of life until age 20.

I’ve held it, opened it, moved it around, read a line or two, shed a tear or two and felt very vulnerable.

I’m finally, after 8 years of writing, setting the first part of this journey free.  Into the world Heart Horse goes, and I’m ready.  Bring it on.

Bring on whatever you have to say, in fact, I really want to hear it.

I want you to convince me adoption doesn’t have ramifications.

I want you to convince me abuse doesn’t leave scars.

I want you to convince me that the Primal Wound and  In Utero Learning doesn’t exist and create a lifetime of ingrained belief systems that make it so difficult to know and feel loved.

 I would love to know that all those things mean nothing and the slate will be wiped clean with a bit of therapy.  I know better.  The damage is done.  The scars are deep and the pain unrelenting, affecting everyone around us.  All we can do is learn to “manage” these beliefs.

Brene’ Brown’s interview with Elizabeth Gilbert was inspiring.

 Elizabeth said, “I live a creative life, and you can’t be creative without being vulnerable.

 I believe that Creativity and Fear are basically conjoined twins;  they share all the same major organs, and cannot be separated, one from the other, without killing them both.  And you don’t want to murder Creativity just to destroy Fear.”

FINDING HEART HORSE is my journey of search and survival.  There are things in  Finding Heart Horse that will make you squirm in distaste and repulsion.  There are horrors described by a 16 year old that no one should ever endure.  The raw life of living on the streets in the late 60’s when drugs and peace were the norm.  Unfortunately it quickly turned into wars and violence that spilled into my world.

 Looking back I now see that my entire life has been spent in the never-ending search.

The search for where I belonged.

The search for acceptance and love.  The search for my tribe, my family, my roots.

The only thing that kept me alive was “Heart Horse” and the dream of someday catching a wild horse.  Without him, i wouldn’t be here to write.

It’s only one part of the journey.  The Wall of Secrets will be out soon and is part of “the all”.  Without The Wall filled with drawers to store my many traumas and secrets, I would not have survived.

As I hold my book and feel it’s energy…..books do have energy you know…a sense of peace, a vibration of knowing and acceptance radiates from the pages.  As Heart Horse  is being set free, so am I.

Mark Epstein in his book “The Trauma of Everyday Life” says;

By not fighting with his internal wounds, by not insisting on making them go away,

by not recruiting everyone in his intimate life to save him from his feelings of abandonment,

by simply resting with them the way we do in meditation, he could learn,

as the Buddha did, that he already was the love he thought he lacked.”

FINDING HEART HORSE is now available on Amazon, Chapters.Indigo

It will be a brave journey you take when you enter my world.  Please leave and honest review.

Learn what adoption does to a person, what abuse creates and together we can and will make a change.

A portion of the proceeds from these books will go to Covenant House, Vancouver

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