Learned Instinct

churning

What do you do when you are worried?

How do you act when you feel harmed?

If angered, wronged, misheard, left out?

What do you do when someone threatens?

How do you manage double binds

That tangle up your mind?

 

Do you cower away?

Do you lash out?

Do you curl into a ball under the covers

And turn off all reaction, action, light?

Does your body compensate

In sweet diversions

Or does your gut churn ire

Into acid

And shuts down?

Do you sob, mope, break down

Break something

Break someone?

 

Does your heart thunder in your eardrums

As your blood pressure spikes red

Behind your eyes

Or does it plummet

Grayish

Into numb?

 

Do you respond in kind

To wound another

To give as good as you had gotten

To show who’s boss

To cut to size any potential bully

So they stay down?

 

Or do you shrink

Into wall flowered corners

Get by through fading into

Silence

Till all turmoil passes

And you can seek the bits you hadn’t managed

To protect

And tentatively try to

Patch life up?

 

When feelings flood, how do you manage:

Float on? Hold tight? Spit out? Swirl dizzyingly in the eddies?

Drown?

 

What is the language of reaction

In your body?

Does your mind

Command

Reflexively

Or does it find a pause

Between a stimuli and action

To weave insight to choice

And sort true danger from benign?

 

Do you collapse

Into outdated paths

Formed by a not-good-enough childhood

And unhealed histories

Still near

Or has your palette widened

To allow volition

Over instinct

And

Kindness — to yourself, to others —

To find courage

Over fear?

 

 

For The Daily Post

What we see; why we don’t

now where...

Photo Credit: A.M.

“How come they didn’t see it happening?”

“How could they let this happen?”

“How is it possible that it took place and no one knew?”

“How can they say they didn’t see?”

“Can people really be this blind?”

“Don’t they care?”

“Don’t they see?”

 

Maybe they didn’t. The improbable is possible. People can be that blind. Even when they care, they may not see.

It is easy to see what one wants, what’s congruent, what matches assumptions or views or held beliefs. It is easy to recognize what one had learned already, to follow perceptions already accepted, ways familiar … easier to understand words that resonate with what does not burden with new challenges or calls for reassessment or brings up shame.

Shame. People don’t like to see what brings up shame.

The very whiff of it can bring on denial. Projection. Deflection. Blame of others. Avoidance. Cold shoulder. Dismissal. Refusal. Minimization of the pain of others to avoid feeling one has done wrong, seen wrong, is wrong.

Shame tugs along with hate and violence, in words or action or both. Inflicting pain on others might get justified or explained away … A way to keep downtrodden what one thinks should stay unnoticed, un-make-wave-able, quiet, under rugs, buried. Unseen.

It takes time, heart, and bravery to crack and drain shame.

It is easier to blame. To point fingers. To make “an other” to scapegoat or distance from. To claim misfortune due to one’s abilities, affiliation, religion, political leanings, nationality, age, gender, race, vocation, location, possessions or lack thereof.

To yell “false claims”, “exaggeration”, “attention seeking” or the newest term: “fake news.”

Shaming is a weapon of pseudo self-preservation for those who need to ensure the pain of another remains unseen and one’s own comfort can stand unprovoked.

Shame silences:

Unspoken words of wounded children

Pleas of disrespected women

The worlds of the oppressed, belittled, turned against them.

The desperate, the lost … unanswered. Unaccepted. Unacceptable.

Unseen.

 

It does not need to so remain.

To face what was already there but eyes were closed to, is the first step to unmaking shame. To healing pain.

May we find ways to see. May we take heart to act. May we become for others what we need or needed them to see in us, to do for us, to hold with gentleness.

May the unseen become the visible.

May shame be drained.

each other

 

For The Daily Post

What PTSD teaches us about human frailty and resilience

The link below will lead you to one of the best interviews about PTSD I have ever seen, hands down.

The fact that Rachel Yehuda is my cousin is an added bonus–I am ever so proud of her: for the person she is, for the work she does, for the wisdom and empathy she imparts, for how she has literally changed the field of PTSD in the last 25 years.

(I recommend reading the transcript, not just viewing the snippet of video on the site)

Take a look. Take a read. You will be glad to have taken the time:

Ingenius: Rachel Yehuda

http://nautil.us/issue/31/stress/ingenious-rachel-Yehuda

 

experience

A New Year Blessing

2015 2016

May it be a year of peace

A year of calm

A year of heart

Of reason.

May it be a year of kindness

Of compassion

Of humanity and understanding.

May it be a year of healing

For this Mother Earth

And all who are together on it.

May it be a year of wisdom

Of light over darkness

Love over hate

Acceptance over ignorance

Courage over fear.

May it be the year where violence recedes

Where patience and respect for one another

Become more valued

Than greed

And need for power.

May it be a year of history remembered

Not repeated.

A year of repair

Not more destruction

Of healing

Not added wounding.

May it be a year where we truly do

Value the future

Of our children

Of humanity

This planet home.

May it be

A happy new year.

A year of joy

Where we could know

Each day by blessed day

That we the people

Are finally

Together

Finding our way.

Keep a light on

May you always keep a light on

In your heart

Your place of better knowing.

May you always keep a light on

Even when it may well seem

The only one

For miles around.

May you always keep a light on

To turn cold

Into warmth inviting

And isolation

Into welcome home.

A lifestyle of Kindness

kindness1

A lifestyle of kindness.

I love that.

If more of us take it on; just imagine the world we would be living in,

the ripples of compassion we will be creating.

A lifestyle of kindness.

Can you see it growing?

Can you feel the depth of healing it can cultivate.

A lifestyle of kindness.

Oh let’s.

Let’s!

On Summer Solstice and the balance of dark and light

summer solstics stone Ireland

As summer solstice arrives, I find myself wondering about the metaphoric increase of light and the ongoing balance of light and dark, the constant shifting from more of one to more of the other and the very brief points of apex on either. We are not meant to be static. Not the planet, not even within the same season–there is constant change. Even as summer formally begins, it begins the long path to the opposite.

Dark to me does not necessarily have the connotation of evil–though it can indeed also mean the absence of light on heart and soul levels–rather it often represents for me all that is hibernating, what is nascent and unborn, the things that await clarifying, the times of preparation, incubation, anticipation, hibernation, rest …

Dark carries in it the potential of enlightenment, the tender differentiation of color in pre-dawn, the realization of upcoming sunshine and the end of opaque unknown.

In the summer solstice, dark is at its shortest, but it is not eliminated, nor should it be. Without dark, there is no contrast. Without dark, it is difficult to find rest or space for incubating thought and creativity, for wonder and imagination, for small things needing sheltering still until they grow enough to face the light.

I am reminded of this as even in the longest day arrives, the path to increasing dark is already beginning–slow and steady from now to the winter solstice, a drop-by-drop addition to the night and its many potentials.

Don’t get me wrong, for all the sheltering potential of sapphire skies and starlit hours, I love long days. I adore the long twilight of summer evenings, the seemingly endless time to be outside in the sun. So much so that I remember wondering–as a child reading about another child’s life in Lapland–what it had to be like to live above the Arctic Circle in a summer of continuous light (only in the summer, please … the freezing cold is not something I am enamored with even considering …).

Someone I know swears by the healing properties of experiencing these dark-less days. She finds that it calibrates her body’s internal needs: she eats when hungry, sleeps when tired, works until the work is done. To her, a fortnight in the Arctic summer is a remedy for most that ails her.

Another friend who spent some of her childhood in Sweden told me that she loved it for the first two days then found it suffocating. “I’d hide under the bed and drape a blanket over the sides to get a place of darkness. I needed time to breathe some night. My brain wanted to rest.”

I can understand both the freedom that a time of continuous light allows, and the need for respite from it. For all the adoration of light–and I indeed adore it–there is the inherent balance of all things. Even my friend who prescribes Arctic summers makes time for breaks from productivity.

A sage woman once told me: “We all seek the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel itself has value in leading you to it.”

May this Summer Solstice become a day of balance for you. May it support your outward creativity and your inward incubation of new being and new doing. May it hold the hint of winter in the making–the cooling and the slower pace already forming.

Happy Summer Solstice to you.

And for all who celebrate it–also a Happy Father’s Day!

summer solstice mandala

From Pintrest: thisenchantedpixie.org