Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year From Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker

I am hoping that you all had a wonderful Christmas this year. In saying that, I know that for many survivors, Christmas and other holidays are not always happy. Too many memories seem to come up of past childhood holidays that were very unhappy. In my own childhood, holidays meant my dad was off work, which meant more opportunies for drinking, also more opportunities for his little trips to town which meant more sexual abuse events for me to endure.  When my dad got drunk, he was like his dad and got mean.  Not physically mean, usually, but verbally, emotionally mean which can have longer lasting effects upon others than physical abuse where the bruises eventually go away. I don't mean to sound like I am downplaying physical abuse.  I would never do that.  I know that some have died and many have nearly died from physical abuse.  Emotional abuse leaves long lasting scars that may never go away.

This Christmas, I didn't experience any of those memories or thoughts about my childhood. I did share one good memory from when I was about 8 years old with my son-in-law while we were talking about the existence of Santa Claus.  We were at my paternal grandparents' house, spending the night on Christmas Eve.  My dad came from a family of 13 kids.  He was the 3rd from the oldest so I grew up with the younger ones. Around 8:00 p.m. all of the kids were made to go to bed.  I remember being so excited about Santa coming the next morning. I don't think that my dad was the only one of the older siblings who was visiting their parents' house that night. The house was full of kids and adults.  I remember the adults seemed as excited as the kids all were. I rarely slept when we were at my grandparents' house even when it wasn't Christmas because I always got stuck sleeping in the middle of two other kids. I would get too hot to sleep. With the excitement of Christmas, I laid there most of the night listening to the excited talking of the adults in the rest of the house. They got to bed sometime in the early hours of the morning.  The kids started waking up at daylight.  We couldn't open any presents until the grown-ups were awake. I don't remember what I got as a gift from Santa.  I just remember the wonderment of Santa and Christmas.  That is one of the good memories of childhood that I cherish.

This Christmas was full of good memories too.  Around my birthday on December 11, we exchanged Christmas gifts with our son and his wife.  On December 18, Daniel and I got on a bus to go to Boise, Idaho where our daughter and her family live.  Daniel decided that he wanted to spend Christmas with our grandchildren this year.  We have not spent a Christmas with our daughter since her oldest daughter was eight months old.  We have four grandchildren that we wanted to celebrate Christmas with. We had a wonderful week of visiting with them - Christmas shopping after we got to Idaho, going out to eat at a nearby Mall where Daniel loves a chicken dish at a cajun restaurant in their Food Court, a baptism for our middle two grandchildren into the Mormom church, visiting with all of our son-in-law's family that came for the baptism, Christmas Eve dinner with our daughter and her family at our son-in-law's cousins' house.  Best of all was watching our grandchildren open all of their presents Christmas morning.  We drove to the nearby Sawtooth Mountains the day after Christmas to experience the beauty of the mountains and snow.  We saw cross-country skiers, antelope, snow mobilers, and beautiful snow covered mountains. 

Daniel loved the time at our daughter's but hated the two bus trips.  The last one was the worst.  We watched our last bus driver break up a fight and threaten to kick two people off the bus.  We had one young man who was probably on drugs of some kind.  He talked loudly almost non-stop until about 3:00 a.m. when he finally shut up and went to sleep.  No one woke him up at our Ft. Smith, Arkansas stop because we were all tired of his talking and cursing.  He was just loud enough that the bus driver could ignore him.  We left Oklahoma City 45 minutes late and so when we got to Little Rock at 6:40 a.m. on December 30, we had missed our connection to Hot Springs by about 30 minutes.  I called our son and daughter-in-law to let them know that the next bus to Hot Springs was at 7:00 p.m.  Our son was already at work.  Our daughter-in-law came to N. Little Rock to pick us up after I was able to give her the address for the bus station.  An employee of the bus station told us that the bus from Oklahoma City was always late and that we should call for a taxi to take us home.  I told him I would only do that if the bus station was willing to pay the bill.  He said no they wouldn't do that. 

On Monday, I plan to call the bus company and complain.  At two of our transfer points, we were the last ones on the bus and filled it to capacity.  One of those stops there weren't any more passengers waiting to get on the bus.  At the second stop, about 8-10 people were in line behind us and had to wait for the next bus to come along.  All of this may have been because we were traveling for the holidays but I was not impressed by customer service at all or by most of the bus drivers.  Daniel says we won't travel by bus again.  I kept a good mood until we missed our bus in N. Little Rock.  I remained nice to the bus personel but I will make an official complaint.  We had to put gas in our son's car after our daughter-in-law came and got us.  We stopped in Benton, Arkansas at Waffle House on the way home for breakfast.  Instead of getting home around 7:00 a.m., we got home around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.  Our journey was a great experience overall with only minor frustrations along the way. 

I am glad that I had my husband Daniel to experience the adventure with me.  The highlight of the trip was the day after Christmas when our oldest granddaughter posted a comment on her Facebook page saying that our visit was the best Christmas present that she had ever received.  That made our day.

Today is the last day of 2011.  It has been a year of struggle and triumph, tears and joy, awe and wonder. Some experiences I would not want to repeat.  Those hopefully were lessons that I learned so they don't have to be repeated.  They were mostly relationship lessons which can sometimes be the hardest when people get hurt and friendships end. My best friend had a heart attack and I didn't know about it for several weeks because we weren't speaking at the time. That was a first for us. We have never had any major disagreements like this before. I am very glad that she survived and so has our friendship.  It scared us both.  The year ended with our trip to Idaho and back home.  We had a great time.

I want to end this year of 2011 on a good note as I wish all of my readers and friends a very Happy New Year for 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Healing Tools That I Have Learned

Some important healing tools that I have learned and used over the years are as follows:

1. I can't fix someone else's problems but I can listen because sometimes a good listener is all that is needed. Become an active listener instead of planning what you are going to say when the other person shuts up.

2.  If someone else's words upset me or make me angry, I need to look at where my reaction is coming from. What wounded part of me is feeling the anger, hate, fear or confusion? What can I do to change from reacting to acting? My upset is mine, not the other person's.

3.  Don't attack someone else because of what I am feeling.  I sometimes fail miserably at this one.  I have to think and act or not, rather than react to what I feel. I can do a lot of harm if I simply react out of my hurt, anger or fear. I can say I am sorry and make changes in my behavior if need be to make things right.

4.  Look at my own feelings and figure out where they are coming from. What do I still need to heal?  What steps can I take to heal these feelings? My feelings are my responsibility. The other person rarely sets out just to make me upset. What I do with my feelings is my own responsibility. I can choose to heal. I can make the committment to do my own healing work.

5.  Share from my own experiences rather than offering advice.  Advice makes me sound healthier, stronger, wiser - whatever superior word that my ego likes to add to make me appear better.  I am not any of those things.  I am equally wise and unwise, healthy and not so healthy, strong and weak in different areas and at different times.  I don't need to feed my ego to be the person I am or to be the person that I want to become. I am better than I was and I still have a long way to go to be who I want to be. Some days I am healthy and some days I am dysfunctional.  Some days I am a kind person and some days I can be mean and irritable.

6.  When I attack others, I am coming from my own place of woundedness which is something that I don't want to do.  Rather than attack, I try to look at what is going on inside of me.  Again, sometimes I am not so good at doing this one in a healthy manner. Progress is more important than perfection.

7.  My truth is my truth.  It may not be yours. I don't have the right to use my truth as absolute to attack you with.  I don't know your story.  You don't know mine.  Even when you share a part of your story here, it is just a part of your story so I can't and shouldn't make judgments about you or your story.  I ask the same consideration from you about me and my stories. I hope to always treat others with dignity and expect the same from others toward me.

8.  I am just as human, just as fallible as everyone else. Life is a constant journey with many ups and downs.  Many times I fall and have to get back up. It is the getting back up that is most important. Baby steps are better than no steps at all. Holding someone else's hand when I get scared helps. Lending someone else a helping hand helps them but it also helps me to become a better person.  Shared experiences and shared hope make for an easier journey.

9. I may be further along on my healing path than some others but it only takes one trigger to make me feel like that hurting, frightened child again. I have learned to take the time to comfort that child as my parents never did.  Reparenting my inner child has been an important step in healing.

10.  If I leave at the very first sign of trouble, how does anything get resolved.  Running away doesn't help.  It just keeps me in denial that I have a problem.

These healing tools were part of a comment that I left on the blog Emerging From Broken.  Here is a link to the article that I commented on:

What healing tools help you in your life?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas For 2011

I want to wish all of my subscribers Merry Christmas for 2011. I appreciate you reading my blog and also leaving you comments and letting me know what you think and feel after reading my posts.

Christmas can bring on a confusing mixture of thoughts, memories and feelings for survivors. Some Christmases, like this one, are full of joy, excitement and peace with myself and with the world.

Other Christmases can bring memories of the past, from my childhood of incest and emotional abuse.  Christmas, as a child, meant that my dad would be off for a few extra days which meant more drinking in excess.  I can't tell you what year my dad went from being an occasional heavy drinker to being an alcoholic. In my memory, my grandfather was always an alcoholic who was a binge drinker who drank on weekends until he would pass out usually on Saturday night. My dad was very attached to his father so we spent almost every weekend with my grandparents at their house. For me the weekends with my paternal grandparents started around the age of seven. Before that a lot of my time was spent with my maternal grandmother and the uncle that lived with her. For those of you who are new to my blog, these extended visits started when I was two years old and got whooping cough.  I couldn't stay at home because if my baby brother got the disease, he could have died from it. My point in revisiting this is to let you know that the family disease of alcoholism has always been a part of my life and played a big part in my painful memories around Christmas.

My father and grandfather were both mean drunks.  Because of this, many of my Christmases were not filled with happy memories. Some Christmases, those memories come up and are in my face. Those Christmases are sad. I used to try to stuff my way through those days with food.  When that didn't work, I tried to just ignore the feelings.  Neither of those methods of coping worked for me for very long. The feelings were still there. I have learned that I just have to feel what I feel. There is no way around feelings. Letting myself be sad or letting myself be happy is not just ok but is very necessary if I want to be healthy physically and emotionally.

This year, I am happy and excited. My husband and I are going on an adventure. I have never done this before. My husband has, but for shorter distances. As a Saggittarian, I am supposed to be adventurous. As a child that was kept hidden in me as was many other things along with the secret of incest.

We are going to visit our daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren. We are not driving. We are going by bus which will take two days.  When we get to Boise, our daughter is going to pick us up and take us out for breakfast.  Then we will probably go back to her house and crash from lack of sleep.  I doubt either of us will get much sleep on a moving bus.

We are going from Hot Springs to Little Rock, Arkansas to Kansas City, Missouri to Denver, Colorado to Laramie, Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah to Boise, Idaho. We will have many short stops along the way to pick up and let off more passengers. Our longest layover is five hours in Kansas City.

We come back a different way. The route stays the same from Boise to Denver. Rather than going through Kansas and Missouri, we come back through Amarillo, Texas to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Ft. Smith, Arkansas to Little Rock and then on to Hot Springs in time for an early breakfast and then to crash in our own bed at home. Our longest layover on the return trip is five minutes short of three hours in Salt Lake City.

We get to see our two middle grandchildren being baptised into the Mormon church a day or so before Christmas. Our daughter and son-in-law are excited about that. I am excited for them to be raising their children in the religion of their choice. I didn't have that as a child. Neither of my parents went to church. My son-in-law was raised Mormon, my daughter was raised in the Church of Christ as was my husband. I am happy that they have a church family that they are happy with and that loves them.

This will be the first Christmas that we have spent with our daughter since her oldest daughter was a baby of eight months. Shortly after that Christmas, they moved to Idaho.  Our youngest grandson who just turned six less than a month ago keeps asking his mom if today is the day that grandma and grandpa are coming.  Our oldest grandson will turn ten on the day that we leave Hot Springs.  He will have to wait for us to tell him Happy Birthday when he sees us two days later in person. He was born seven days after my birthday.  Both of our grandsons are Saggittarians like their grandma.

I have my next post already written and scheduled to come out on December 26. Please feel free to post comments but I may be a little slow in getting them published along with my reply.  I will probably have limited access to a computer once I get to my daughter's.  I will have the two days there and two days back on the bus that I won't have access to a computer at all. Thank you all for your patience. With my daughter and grandchildren around, I won't be spending much time on the computer.

Sending love and Christmas blessings to you all. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Below I am sharing some of my blog posts from Christmases past for those of you who weren't here to read them the first time.

Related Articles:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year To All @

The Spirit Of Christmas @

Christmas Is Over For 2008 @

Cry When You Need To @

Shutting Down To Get Through The Holidays @

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Attitude Of Gratitude Changes The Way You Feel

This week a friend of mine asked me to be her Gratitude Buddy for the week.  That means that each day we send each other through an email, a list of three things that we are grateful for each day.  I immediately accepted her request to be her Gratitude Buddy. I challenge each of you who reads this to find your own Gratitude Buddy for the week.  You might want to even extend the time for a month or more if you think that you feel better by starting your day with thinking about what you are grateful for.

Here are some of the things that I expressed gratitude for over the past few days:

1. I am grateful for my friendships. They enrich my life.
2. I am grateful to be at a place in my life where I can look at my expectations and let go of them when other people are involved.
3. I am grateful for the best friend that I have in my husband.
4. Today I am grateful for the warmth of the beautiful sunshine outside my window as I sit and type on my computer. The sunshine always cheers me, especially in the cold Winter months.
5. I am grateful for the people in my life who teach me lessons about myself.
6. I am grateful to my guardian angels who protect me and to my guides who do their work even when I get so busy that I forget to ask for their guidance. I ask for a most benevolent outcome for this day.

Feel free to share a few things that you are grateful for here in the comment section of my blog and then go find yourself a Gratitude Buddy to share with.
Merry Christmas to all of my Christian friends here on Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Life Is For Living, Loving, Seeking New Adventures, Not For Doing Housework

Thanksgiving has come and gone. November ended yesterday. November was a month of little writing on my part as my regular readers know.  November is usually my busiest month of the year.  My in-laws, who bless my life with their love and presence, come to our house for Thanksgiving. That means lots of cleaning on my part to get ready for 9-12 people to occupy my house for an extended weekend.  The first company usually comes on Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday.  The rest arrive early Thanksgiving morning and they are usually all gone by sometime Saturday or Sunday.  I enjoy the noise and activity in our house when everyone arrives.  I also enjoy the peace and quiet when just Daniel and I are left. This was our first Thanksgiving dinner with our daughter-in-law and son with us.  Last year would have been our first but I had to cancel Thanksgiving at my house because I had pneumonia this time last year.  Our daughter-in-law graciously provided Thanksgiving dinner for my husband last year from the huge meal provided at their deer camp.  I was too sick to cook or want to eat much. Our son and daughter-in-law both like to deer hunt.  They aren't able to this year because a few weeks ago, our son was showing off and fell off of a horse and dislocated his elbow so he is just now able to start using his arm again after many doctor visits and physical therapy.  He just went back to work this week after about a month off. Just because our children grow up doesn't mean that we get to stop worrying about them.

With all of my cleaning activities, I haven't been here much or had the time to keep up with my usual blogs that I read.  I am terribly behind with Facebook and my Twitter accounts.  I even got an email from Facebook this week telling me that I had 90 notifications or comments on there.  That has never happened before. I didn't know that Facebook did that. Apparently they do notice when we aren't active on there.

Those that know me well know that I am not a good housekeeper.  I am not lazy.  There are just so many other things that I would rather be doing than cleaning house.  That is why my November cleaning spree is such a big deal. I know that part of it comes from my childhood of being the child responsible for most of the cleaning that happened in our home. My dad could come in and always find something that wasn't done right (to his way of thinking).  He never complimented. He always tore down with his angry words and sarcasm.

I am a little bit of a pack rat.  Just ask anybody who comes into my home. I have stacks of papers all over the place in the office around my computer and in my bedroom around the book shelves, which I need more of.  I collect papers because some part of me loves knowledge and after 4 or 5 computers crashing over the years and losing everything, I make copies of everything that I want to remember or that I think I might need. 

I also collect books.  Right now I have more books that I have book shelf space for.  I love books and reading.  Books saved my sanity as a child.  As an adult, books have given me my path to healing from incest. Very little of my healing has come about from counseling.  Most of my healing has happened through talking in support groups and to close friends and writing in various notebooks and journals. All of my genealogy research takes up one entire 5 shelf bookcase with books and notebooks of information collected over the past 10 years.

I am a Saggittarian with a birthday coming up within the next few weeks.  That means I am adventurous and can flit from topic to topic in a day, or in a conversation.  A lot of things hold my attention for a short time before I move on to something else. I love people and I love knowledge which may or may not lead me to wisdom.  I love quilting and making my own jewelry.  Housework is not one of those things that holds my focus for very long.  I would rather be on the computer talking to you guys or listening & watching a utube video or a Blog Talk Radio broadcast from one of my many friends online who produce them, for my listening pleasure. I am never bored.  There is too much that I want to see and do.  At almost 60 years old, I don't seem to be slowing down much. 

I need a maid, but then I would have to clean before the maid came so she wouldn't think that I was utterly hopeless at housework.  I can hear my dad's voice shouting and telling me how lazy and how slow I am.  "Grandma was slow but she was old." was one of his favorite sayings that I hated.

I hope that all of my American friends had a glorious Thanksgiving. I hope that the gratitude that you felt at Thanksgiving will continue to color your life as you leave the year 2011 behind in about a month and we all move into 2012.  2012 will be a year of new beginnings for all of us just like every year that came before it.