Sunday, November 28, 2010

"story"...or "Story"?


Everyone has a story. 

And it was when I learned how to tell the difference between "story" (little s) and "Story" (big S) that I began to understand the power of 


"story" I came to view from a writers perspective as "backstory".

"story" lays the groundwork, tells who the players are, give atmosphere and lays a foundation for the ending, like in a novel.

Its the framework for a creative ending.

But - if the entire novel is written only about the "backstory" that lays the framework the last chapter never gets written.

We are stuck in WRITERS HELL....

That file on our hard drive that is never quite finished

and causing us all kinds of irritation

or distress.

It is when we move from laying the groundwork, setting the stage and telling the backstory to telling about the emotion, the experiences and the drama behind our feelings about the 'story", like when we

 step to the edge of the mountain,

that we begin to see how the story might evolve and in time come to a conclusion worthy of a pulitzer...

so to speak:)

Throughout my journey, when I was stuck on "story" that focussed on what others had done or things that had happened TO me - I was stuck in anger, resentment, hatred and rumination...

not resolution.

I was stuck in the pain of the past. 

In time, I learned to recognize this was where I was at by who and what my focus was on. 

If the focus of my story was on the things that had happened; the people, the places, the things going on that I'd had no choice in - well, those were things that I could not change. 

(God, grant me serenity....)

These were those things I was truly powerless over - people and past circumstances.

That was backstory; the details, the players...the who, what, when and where of my bigger "Story" and the framework for the final chapter. 

It was in shifting my Story to be about me, my anger at being violated, my power and my choice taken from me, to feel both the anger and the grief, to tell why this was important to me that I was able to move myself into, through and out of the healing process and

give meaning to the backstory by telling MY story.

Getting entangled in "story" made it impossible to tell my "Story" and write that new ending where I am

no longer 

a victim

and much more

than a survivor

where I am

creating and living my best life

each day....

in spite of the past I'd had.

See the post: It is Unwritten....(today is where your book begins:))

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How do I? I will. ~Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse~

I. Can. Do. This.
Photo Credit              

Some days this journey is difficult.


Sometimes it just plain sucks. 

In honor of those all who are on on this journey and as a contribution to the Blog Carnival against Child abuse...

This is a re-post from December 2009 but it seemed appropriate for today as a reminder that the road to freedom from the past is full of potholes and yet there is hope...

How do I?...I will.

how do I do this
how do I see
that I am not limited
in what I can be?

how do I go forward
leave the past behind
how do I get there
what will I find?

somehow I have to
reach for that ring
Some way I'll get there
I'll be free and I'll sing

standing at the top of that mountain
ready to reach for the stars
no longer fearful
no longer scared
I know that I will go far

this day I will get there
you know that I will
no longer a victim
I stand free and will
let go of the memories
grieve the past
no longer helpless
I am free at last

Originally published December 2, 2009

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cultivating the Power Within

The Power of Light
October 29 2010

In my last post The Power Within  I introduced the idea that it was by understanding that I held the key to my freedom from the past within myself that I found my way to the light. 

So in today's post I wanted to take a brief look at part of the "how" behind cultivating that power that each of us holds within ourselves if we can only learn how to tap into it....

One of the first things we can do to learn to cultivate intrinsic change on purpose is to choose to live in conscious awareness of our thoughts, without judgement, simply noticing the thoughts that pass through our mind.

Upon noticing a thought we can check our physical being; where do I "feel" this thought in my body? Is my throat tight, my stomach full of butterflies? Is my back tense, my brow furrowed or do I feel electrified and alert?

Do I feel fear? Sadness? Joy? Excitement? Anger? What is my initial impulse? Do I suddenly want to dance and shout or do I feel the urge to run, or fight or the need to sob and cry? 

I can use this insight to create a sense of self awareness, connecting the outcome of my actions to the initial thoughts that are fueling my emotional responses that - in the past had someone asked me "why" I'd done or said something I might have replied with "I don't know". 

Instead I can learn to cultivate the power within myself to create the change that will change my life by cultivating that practice of self awareness. 

Here's to living in the light:)

You may also like: Empowering Solutions and Shamash Alidina; cultivating a practice of Mindful Awareness. Click here to listen

Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Power Within


It was when I stopped seeking for my solutions outside of myself that I found the power within myself to create the change that changed my life by owning my own power to overcome the symptoms of distress instead of coping, managing, medicating and in general avoiding it.

I know, I know...what is all this about "The Power Within"? This sounds more like a motivational tag line for an upcoming Tony Robbins seminar than anything useful.

Well, yeah. 

Until I actually discovered that the key to my living beyond the emotional and cognitive distress that haunted me and influenced my life-after-trauma-and-all-bad-things

really did come from within myself

not anyone or anything

not a tip

a trick

or a really great therapist.

But from within myself. 

Don't get me wrong...

Tips, tricks and a good therapy relationship...those external resources we seek out and find are very often helpful in our journey from

there (darkness)


here (living in the light:))

but they are not the solution

the "fix"

or the 


of our healing or our peace. 

The thing is that these external resources were useless to me without this insight and I stayed mired in the bog of 



resentments, panic, anxiety, depression, dissociation, physical illness, pain, distress and in general 

I felt hopeless that anything could be different


helpless that I could change anything about my life.

I felt and believed I was completely powerless.

I had no clue as to why I could not find my way out of that dark place. 

I could see there was a light shining at the end of that dark tunnel.

But I didn't know how to get there.

Until I discovered that I held the power to free myself from the pain of the past by learning to pull my 

thoughts and feelings

out of the past and into today.

This did not happen all at once. 

There were no bells and whistles that went off, no celebration telling me that I'd arrived...

"Yay! You are now done!"

There was no magic wand that anyone could wave over me to say 

"it is done"

in a deep wizardy kind of voice:)


There was me, myself and I

practicing catching the thoughts that said things like

I'm scared

I'm stupid

What the sucks and then you die 

so why bother?

Give it up

I can't do this any more

and learning to identify those thoughts as coming from the source of the bad things in my life and that I had adopted those thoughts as my truth..

my belief system that my entire being and life was based on.

I had firmly believed that I was worthless and powerless to change my life or choose who I wanted to be each day.

And no amount of "you shouldn't think like that" could change that belief without some effort on my part.

It's very much like reprogramming a computer that was infected by a virus...sometimes the virus can be hidden but when we realize that something is wrong with out output we can follow the symptoms back to the source of the problem to the operating system and clean up the hard drive and we get new output...we get new results when we remove it instead of just masking it, avoiding dealing with it or pretending it never happened. 

And so it is in this journey from


to here

we don't arrive all at once, there is no software program to run, no pill, no therapist that can wipe our hard drive clean for us. They can guide us but when it comes down to it we find our own power to catch the virus

clean and rewrite the hard drive

and we don't do it all at once

but by

putting one foot in front of the other

one day at a time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Making Peace with the Past


I'd spent 17 years in America's mental health system, my history of trauma and abuse neglected and dismissed as unimportant. Yet it was only upon leaving this system that had denied my life experiences as having any impact on my life that I began to find healing and make peace with the past. I began to explore and understand the role of emotions in healing from the pain of the past and all that goes with it in human emotional pain and the physical response to cognitive distress. 

I knew I was making progress in my healing journey as I began to move from wanting and needing the  comfort of another and became able to finally sit with my own pain instead of striving to avoid it. 

Was this an easy thing to do?

Very simply...

Hell no. 

I was taught early on that my thoughts, feelings and choices were wrong and that to have an original thought or feeling of my own, to take any self initiated action would result in somehow being minimized and discredited, abused and left to understand that I was


So no; it was not easy to learn to sit with and face my past and the reality of what was my truth.

It was not easy to realize that no matter how hard I tried I could not create the perfect world today for myself where I was valuable and honored by striving to finally be accepted as good enough or that I had finally done something...anything...right enough.

It was not easy to fully face the reality that there was no 

quick fix

no magic pill 

to take away my pain

but that 

to heal from the loss of all that should have been and
that which will never be
is to embrace that which was
and is.

Today I Cried


Saturday, November 6, 2010

No More Shame: 200 Men Stand Together


Part of this healing journey is having our our trauma experiences validated by others....

This week has been groundbreaking in the area of breaking the shame and the silence around sexual abuse.  Oprah Winfrey invited 200 adult men to come forward and tell their stories.

Generation after generation of sexual abuse is happening around the world. Yet - the stories are often never told.  In therapy many of us have been told that the past had nothing to do with our today, to just get over it, move on; we are often labeled and medicated.  

Our very being is denied when these life changing experiences are dismissed as inconsequential and unimportant by others. 

Today, abuse of all forms are still not freely shared or discussed


 it is in the telling of the story and having it validated as horrible by another human being that allows us to finally begin to move on and begin to create a life beyond this kind of life experience.

There is a time to put the past to rest, to move on, to create the life we want for ourselves but when we are denied this part of the healing process and forced to carry these burdens alone in time our pain will surface in a myriad of symptoms and very often become a distraction to the real issues that are overlooked. 

The only way out

is through.

With that said; this broadcast may be triggering to those who have survived childhood sexual abuse yet at the same time there are great hints at how to begin this healing journey. 

Please make sure you are in a safe, supportive place if you are concerned that you may be triggered...

Please follow the link below to watch this in its entirety on

200 Adult Men Who Were Molested Come Forward on Oprah

For resources to support your own healing journey check out our Resources page

Monday, November 1, 2010

From Stuck to Un-Stuck


Finding myself in a "stuck" place where all I could do was talk about a life event or those involved in it became a signpost telling me where I was in my journey.

I've learned that I could get myself "un-stuck" if I could shift to talking and thinking in terms of how the event affected me instead of what others have done, didn't do or should have done...

Very often the first emotion I would feel around a particular life event that came up in my healing journey was anger, especially if my initial perceptions and feelings around this event had been denied by others in some way.

It was through learning to validate my own experiences and the emotional pain around it that I was able to make the mind shift from anger and rumination to acceptance and resolution. 

This is where I discovered what it meant to "go through" to "get out of" the pain of the past as I allowed the initial anger to be the door to grief and grief the key to my freedom. 

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I Believed