Saturday, 11 August 2018

Reconnection

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Much has happened, some of which I’ll share over the next few months but for today I will reconnect both with anyone reading this - pause to reconnect for 30 seconds - that was a mini love hug cuddle lovely moment x.  I’m back in the UK for a long overdue kidney stone removal.  I didn’t want to leave my beloved Kefalonia, my grandkids, my daughter and my quirky Greek house.  Now I am back a day, and back on the fen which I bemoan for its flatness, I now have time to breathe.

And breathing is very much something I am in need of.  This morning, inspired by the gorgeous goddess who is taking her own breathing space in my Greek house, I took my coffee out to the paddock where the sun was shining right in front of me, and I did a sun salutation.  Just one.  That one was the first embodied stretch I have done in a very long time.  Will it make me supple? Of course not.
Not a solitary sun solution on its own.  I then sat with my back to a beautiful tree and did five minutes meditation.  Will that make me more peaceful and stress free?   No not five minutes.  I then walked a short but very beautiful walk along the river and back through the trees with the sun dappling the way for me.  Will that make me fit for my operation next week. No, fit as I need to be.

However, what it did do was to calm my mind, help me ground into the earths energies, reconnect with my soul and Mother Earth.  What it will do, will be to help me start my day in a beautiful gentle and wild way.

And yes, if I do this every day for the next ten days, some things will change, a little, for the better.  I will feel more supple.  I will be more peaceful and I will be just a little bit fitter for my forthcoming operation.



My ego and inner critic came storming in at the first stretch this morning.  The chatter and squawking nearly deafened me.  I smiled and carried on anyway.  The got the message.  This lady is reconnecting no matter what.  They went away shuttering amongst themselves.  This mornings thirty minutes have started a quiet revolution.  I am feeling good.


Friday, 20 October 2017

#Metoo

#Metoo

I've thought long and hard about writing this post.  It's been a very long time since I've written any post at all - over 3 years.

Up until this morning, I hadn't any idea about the debate around should or shouldn't the women from Hollywood have spoken up now.  I naively thought it was a campaign gathering momentum to raise awareness about the magnitude of world wide abuse.  It brought up some uncomfortable emotions which are never really very far from the surface of my being.

I'm writing this post because I have to write this post.  I am writing this post for all of the beautiful women that I have had the privilege of holding a space for over the years.  A space in which they have been able to share their stories.  Sharing nervously, tentatively, fearfully and shamefully, yes shamefully.  Nearly always shamefully.  That is what abuse does to a person. It shrouds us in an invisible second layer of skin.  A skin of shame.  No matter how may times we as grown adults hear 'It wasn't you fault' 'You weren't to blame', the shame doesn't go away.  Not fully.  Not really.  We might think it does.  It can become masked, covered over, hidden by indignation, anger, self medicating behaviour, aggression, depression and a myriad of other clever cloaks.  As abused adults we don't FEEL that we weren't to blame.  We visit our abuse with the eyes of an adult, not the eyes of a confused 2 year old toddler, a hesitant 4 year old, a confused 6 year old, a terrified 8 year old, a needy 10 year old. The shame deepens, ever darker as we grow older.

We may have tried to speak out.  We may have been ridiculed, further shamed, not believed, ignored. It's not surprising that many abused adults find it difficult to trust, are over vigilant and still harbour
deep rooted feelings of unworthiness, self loathing, insecurity and poor body image among other feelings.  We spend so much time & energy on trying to keep a lid on our past, our dirty secret, fearful that it might taint our future, spoil our successes, and ruin our carefully placed masks which
we wear to tell the world we are ok, we are doing well, we love our lives.  We also crumble in varying degrees of undoing with the slightest feel of humiliation. The smallest remark or off toe may set us spiraling into the shame of a small child. It's an all too familiar place of feeling stupid, angry, tearful, defensive, hesitant, unsure or just plain alone and insignificant.  This doesn't always happen and not always with such frequency but it does happen.  Many women in my groups discuss how and why this happens.

I was shocked today whilst reading some comments about #metoo from a few women in a group I belong to.  They totally trounced all over a woman who was trying to explain how it felt to carry the pain of her abuse inside.  She wasn't being heard.  Bad enough the abuse happened, but being coldly told to go and get some help without any compassion, served only to make her feel worse. For gods sake women, we have to stick together now more than ever, don't we?  My heart pained when I continued to read more women pleadingly ask for understanding, trying to explain how the #metoo had helped them to have the courage to tell the world that it had happened to hem also.

I debated long and hard as to whether I would add #metoo, several days ago to my timeline. I decided  I would. The feeling of relief that doing this gave me and continues to give me is palatable. It's huge  even. I don't feel quite so alone any more. I didn't have to describe anything, nor give a blow by blow account of what happened to me or say anything about the vile abuse rendered upon me by several different men over a pretty long period of time.  I just added my quiet little reflective #metoo and immediately felt part of something bigger. It wasn't just me.  I wasn't alone with it any more.

I've spent a large, a very large part of my life, in self enquiry, counseling, training, self awareness and on every kind of self help course book tape cd you can shake a stick at.  I've journaled, written poetry, painted my feelings, worked with some of the best. Ive screamed, cried felt terrified, alone, dirty, stupid, useless and a host of other less than positive feelings.  I went to the police a few years ago to report the man who raped me when I was eight years old.  He was down as an uncle at the local nursery and was taking two little under fives to school. The police, sympathetic though they were, told me there was nothing they could do.  I had to deal with several detectives, all male and was offered their apologies and a suggestion get someone to beat him up.  They were sorry.  I went to the school who listened to me with an air of disbelief, they were sorry, there was nothing they could do.  I went to social services, who told me the children were already on the at risk register, but as the uncle wasn't on the sex offenders list, they were sorry, there was nothing they could do. I was cautioned by well meaning friends not to take a private prosecution out, that I would be destroyed.  The police told me not to set up a survivors group as it would be seen as coercion should someone say my abuser had also abused them.  They were sorry.  The only person who wasn't sorry was my abuser who took great delight in knowing he was above the law, and used to stand opposite my shop and smirk.  Once he actually came into my shop laughing.  Everyone was sorry.  He wasn't. I backed down. It had taken me 40 years to speak out, speak up, tell my story.  Still I wasn't being heard.

I'm not sure those who so viciously disagree with the campaign, truly understand how absolutely terrifying it is to find the courage, the voice, the strength to actually speak out. Shame and fear have a way of robbing your voice, your confidence and your resilience.  Fear of being ridiculed, disbelieved, thought bad of, even as an adult keeps you quiet.  You're reliving those feelings through the emotions of a child.   Seeing the campaign gather pace, unlocked something in me. Someone else was brave enough to come forward, lighting a way.  Someone else was probably feeling the way I frequently feel, especially since losing my mother and wondering why why why...unanswered questions never to be known.  Seeing others post, encouraged me to post and light up someone else's path.

This isn't about men bashing, persecution or mob mentality to slay all guys who come close.  This for me is more about stepping into my feline energy a bit more, claiming my right to be a happy lusty sexual mid life woman, without the complications of old tapes ruminating in my mind. It's about honesty with judgement, being heard, making collective boundaries, no meaning no.  It's about coming forward to say 'it's ok, I understand, I believe you, you're safe, you're ok, you don't have to justify anything, you're loved and your story matters.

We still have lives to live, lessons to learn, lessons to teach, daughters and sons to education, stories to tell and be a vessel for others to be able to tell theirs.  We have boundaries to make, to uphold and to strengthen. Let's not forget that by collectively showing the world that this is just not going to go away, that the magnitude of the problem we dealing with here, needs radical attention, transparency and the correct actions taken to send a clear message that abuse of any kind will not be tolerated.  Its a tall order and one which might never get truly sorted out, that said if enough people, make enough noise and continue to make enough noise by their stories, their passion, their presence and their energy.  Maybe just maybe we might some real and lasting changes.  We have to try and keep trying.

We are all, as they say, just walking each other home, in the only way we know how.  Hash tagging #me too is my way of saying that both you and I matter.  That's all I can say.  That's all I am going to say.  Everything else is just too deep, too personal and too painful.  I haven't sat still on it. I've just been really quiet about it. Until now.  #metoo










Sunday, 27 July 2014

Doing the work.


I have been back in the UK a week now.  It felt strange coming back to the relative quiet of the mysterious fens here in Burwell.  We have a tiny barn conversion (courtesy of my in laws) in around 22 acres, my husbands parents live a stone throw from us.  I wasn't quite sure how I was going to handle my father in laws constant visiting several times a day.  It started off well but has become a bit of an issue.  I am practising patience and boundary lines in my head.  It's difficult.  Any kind of introspection - god forbid mental illness should ever be mentioned) is seen as weakness in this family.  Work work and more work is the cure for everything could be their mantra.  If only that were true.  That very sentiment plays a huge part in how I have come to end up in this pile of angst.  I am taking time to rest. To heal. To restore.  Getting out on a market, opening a shop, doing trade fairs are not part of this remit.  How to get that across to people who have only ever known 'work till you drop and then some more' is more of a herculean task than I care to take on.  Approval, with its hungry head lurks ever near.  It's time to look it squarely in the eye and say 'no more'.  For some people more is never enough.  It's time for me to let go of that childhood need.  The only person right now I need validation from is myself.  It's scary but I am sitting with it.

A lovely friend phoned me several times.  I didn't pick up for a while.  She nagged me to get to see the doctor about my still swollen feet, legs and bump on the shin.  I gave in and went, which wasn't so bad.  The doctor was quite lovely, despite my evident fear of actually being in her surgery.  I'm sure this abject fear of hospitals and doctors has been reinforced from when they told me my father had three months to live.  He didn't want to know, and I held that tragic information for several weeks until I could hold it no more.  I was as I had been for many years, the parent of my family.  I was 32 years old, feeling like a hundred and really only a scared kid myself.  The real underlying fear, I am sure is fear of death, buried deep since childhood.  I wonder if one of my abusers used to threaten me with this.  As with most of my memories about my childhood abuse, I don't remember actual conversations.  Only the pivotal ones, where my conscious thought began to realise this was wrong. Not normal.  I could never find the word no.  But I digress.  I met my friend for lunch after seeing the doctor.  I have to have some routine blood tests for kidney function, (being on water tablets necessitates this) and a general all round MOT of bloods.  I put it to the back of my mind and enjoy catching up with this dear friend.

After my monthly session with Shelley via skype, I began thinking about the stuff we talked about.  She helped me to see it was no accident that the good looking Greek doctor told me to rest for 'a year', just as it was no accident that I had previously declared a 'year off to restore' (obviously I hadn't been doing much restoration!) It also seemed quite strange that I hadn't got any firm bookings for my normally quite busy 1:1 retreats in Kefalonia for the latter part of the summer.  This was the first year in several years that I wasn't booked up.  I couldn't understand it, despite several large ads being placed which I don't normally do.  I was beginning to understand.   Shelley with her wonderful insights and well placed observations was helping me to understand my own psyche and where it was trying to take me.  I knew it was time to stop and begin the thaw.  I also knew from previous trainings I had taken and counselling I had received that Shelley was more than special.  She 'got' me.  Not many others had.  I had never really connected or felt safe enough to show my vulnerability, on a couple of occasions when, in desperation I had opened up - they just weren't experienced enough to hold the space for me or to take me on the next part of my healing.  Some felt threatened by my depth of self enquiry I had already learned from or by the insight I already had.  Shelley felt different.  She didn't try to box me in, label me or coerce me in to doing or being anything.  She patiently waits until I 'get it' which sometimes is a while and she has this most amazing knack of just as I think I know something, she'll turn it on its head and I realise I actually don't know anything much about myself as I previously thought.  She highlights where I am living in shame, fear or overwhelm.  She is helping me to feel. Her work to me and with me is invaluable.  I am both nervous and excited to be finally taking pen to paper and doing the work.  She's also helping me to piece some of the information that threatens to explode from my ever busy mind, into a kind of sense of order.  Helping me work out where my thoughts have come from.  She's also helping me to get out of my head and into my body, to let emotion float up, to thaw, to process and to understand.  Stagnant energy that's what I have stored for such a long time.  Art and writing I know will help me to shift and move this.  Then I hope I will have so much more to share with the guests that come to me for healing.  In my own healing I hope I will be better equipped to help them.


I also made a decision this week.  I have revisited the work of Dr Lucia Capaccione.  She is also an expressive arts therapist and I did, a few years ago decide to do a year long training with her.  It didn't happen for a variety of reasons at the time.  The birth of my wonderful grandson Spiro, our return to summer living in Greece, and probably because I was just not ready to open up and being the journey I am now beginning.  I am working in conjunction with Shelley Klammer and the work of Dr Lucia Capaccione to explore and understand more of how my thinking and choices have led me to now.  Art and more importantly my version of art will be my guide and companion.  It's art from my soul, my psyche, my core self, my authentic self.  It doesn't require analysing nor approval.  It's for me to fathom out, use and restore.

It feels right to be doing this work.  Despite the voices that threaten to halt me, the sneering ones, the bullying ones, the ridiculing ones that take delight in my distress.  I am doing a little each day, safe in the knowledge that this is leading me to a better place. A place of nurturing, love and kindness.  I still have many of life's challenging hurdles to clamber over, but with the never ending quiet - and I do mean quiet - support from my husband, my real friends and my family, I know I can get there.  I am also stronger than I quite believe at the moment.  This I know.

This week thus far has been an emotional one.  A tearful one. An uncertain one.  Yet in my quiet solitude, my slow minded state, I have found the first inklings of what an emotional thaw feels like.  Soft tears have fallen.  I have moved my body with gentle stretching and back exercises.  Taken a small walk, gathered natures gifts, eaten well and felt quite out of my comfort zone that bulldozes through feelings with more plastic plaster coverings, sneakily disguised as good ideas, money making, egotistical salves to soothe fears.  I realise this is what I do to 'make' myself feel better.  I realise they have been shiny bright bling trinkets which don't hold their shine for very long.  A surface level soother to prevent the authentic real feelings from showing up.  For the first time in a long time I am urging myself to just be.  To look within and outside for my salvation.  To deal with confrontation in a caring kind adult manner where it is safe to be heard, and not resort back to the child who doesn't know quite how to address the adults overbearing bullying.  It's not feeling easy.  That little child who has got me to hear still wants the power.  The problem is she is isn't equipped to handle the consequences.  It's OK for me to gently tell her to move over, my real self will protect her and take the reins for a while.  Bugger this is hard work but it seems to be what I need right now.  Now if I could just explain this whole thing to my father in law who is hoovering yet again to invade my sacred space, without him declaring me 'potty'.  Now that would be a breakthrough for both of us!  Celebrating the first Sunday I have not trekked out to car boots for shiny things which I really don't need.  Grateful for sunshine, space, green grass, yoga mat, yogurt, fruit, seeds and this blog.









Saturday, 26 July 2014

Diary of An Unfinished Woman: Such a long while!

Diary of An Unfinished Woman: Such a long while!: It's been such a long while since I last blogged, over a year in which much and little has happened!  At the start of this year, I for...