For Those Who Feel Helpless

Heart wrenching. Yeah, that’s what it’s been.

After talking to a coworker about current events, I felt her pain. We have both lost people we love to Covid. When my mom broke her hip and was in the hospital, my brother and I couldn’t see her. Visitors were limited to two – my dad and his pastor. They were the only ones who could be there. These rules keep us safe, but they are heavy on the heart. It’s worse if your family has Covid because no one is going inside.

Without physical contact, how can we be of service to others? I’m no doctor or nurse who can treat a Covid patient. I write. I talk with friends and family. I pray for people in the world and those close to me. I can intend to do good. I can hold space for love and healing.

The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.

Ovid, Roman poet

What can we do?

To some, a prayer or a word of encouragement isn’t their thing. I hear you. Action is your cure. So, take action. Join a team with a cause. Don’t use this time as an excuse for immobility. Frozen injustice is still injustice. We participate in the not caring, by turning away. And yes, I know – I am guilty at times. Satisfaction is around the corner. Read, The Keys to Life

Intention, Holding Space, What?

Action is force. It shows you have power, which is why we need action after a tragedy. A hurricane hits the coast, and people volunteer to help. It’s only after years and years of losses when the feeling of injury has set up house. This is when our power is dragging. When our batteries are low, we can’t muscle another show of strength. The next generation can fight. There may be a way to prevent power outages in our society.

If we are together, as a team, then we’re making a pact. In the old days, these contracts were sacred. As kids, we would save each other a seat on the bus or in the cafeteria. These are examples of holding space. And we can keep each other strong.

“It takes two flints to make a fire.”

Louisa May Alcott (Novelist)

I’ll keep sharing my thoughts with you. And I’ll continue reading yours. Thank you for being here with me.

Fighting

I struggle with “I am worthy of asking for help”
I struggle with “I am loved enough”
I struggle with “I can have the ability to do - the power - the authority even”
Am I enough?

I want to promote myself
I want to set boundaries - and not to back down
I want to accept all of me.

Yet, that includes my struggles and tears, and body pain.
- janetkwest.com

The Keys to Life

This is an updated version ofWants, Desires, and, Actions

There is an inherent order to life. It’s as old as the earth herself. Desire plus response equals fulfillment. A baby’s cry causes a mother to feed her baby. Want plus action equals satisfaction. It’s how we all function.

I grew up in a time when, as the saying goes, men kept their word, and a handshake was as good as a contract. I’ve known people who practically killed themselves to finish something, not because they wanted it, but because they promised to do it. They desired to be trustworthy. Honest. Culture has shifted, and we now allow more leniency on contracts. Marriages end. Jobs change. We’re more flexible. Some would say that society’s gone downhill because of this—some, but not me. People still do what they desire the most; it’s just that what we want has changed.

Woman on patio

The secret is promoted by many as a hidden treasure, a hoarded bit of knowledge. But it’s as simple as scratching an itch. So the next time you have a desire or urge to accomplish something, ask yourself how big your appetite is? The next time your back itches, how desperate are you to relieve that itch? What hoops will you jump through? Which laws will you break? How many zombies will you kill? Your craving will tell you how dedicated you’ll be to achieving your goal. It’s not just willpower; there’s desire too.

You Already Have Permission

Just saying.

You have permission to create, to speak up, and stand up.

You have permission to be generous, to fail, and to be vulnerable.

You have permission to own your words, to matter and to help.

No need to wait. —- Seth Godin

Like Nike’s ad – Just do it.

It’s different from planning, pushing, and forcing life to conform. They’re two different viewpoints, two different stories, as diverse as a Mac and a PC. Nike and Reebok.

Emotional healing

My forest has dark shadows.

My parents make bizarre statements, “But I thought your headaches would be gone by now.” And I feel as if I have failed. So I start to explain the process of migraines and how treatments work. And the difference between the cervical spine issue. I’ve been stuck in a perpetual defense for long enough.

Exhaustion.

Next time I talk to them, I want to hear the words and not react. I don’t want to answer or explain. It’s about paying attention to my emotions. My parent’s words are not important. I have to separate the two. This is how I heal.

Turn on a light.

By naming the emotion I can plot its place on my map. Label the bastard. Nail it. When it becomes recognizable then I can see it clearly. Read The Jungle of My Emotions to understand more.

More to read –

The Busyness of Being

Ideas excite me, wake me. I feel the novelty bubble up like soapy suds flooding out of the washing machine. I know joy. At that exact moment, there’s a lie hiding among the zeal of promise. If you scratch away the top layer, you’ll find the untruth—everything would be perfect if I tried harder.

I expect by finishing my tasks, I will feel at peace, and I will enjoy my life, knowing I have things in place. But life doesn’t cycle in that manner. There’s always something that breaks and issues to solve. There’s another needling, prickly urge. And I scratch.

Restless

I’ve often griped about my mom not sitting still. She would get up and down to get things, all in the name of taking care of her family. It was as if she had Mexican jumping beans in her veins. She annoyed me by continually asking if we wanted something else to eat or drink. Do we need a napkin to wipe our not yet dirty faces? As the perfect hostess, she didn’t want to leave anything undone.

Mom called it, “Fretting.” I’ve heard it said as, “Worrying the bone.” At the age of 55, I not only understand, but I have the diagnosis—Attention Deficit Disorder along with anxiety.

Bubbles

I want to do so many things. Travel. Take pictures of places I’ve seen. Buy a rug. Clean the closet. Paint the bedroom. Redecorate. Change something.

Hypervigilance, OCD, and Anxiety- someone save me from me.

I want to write a short story about the dream I had last night. Edit my other stories. Work on a new article that came to me while I was showering. Update blog pages. And I want—more.

Today, I am stressed. I’m having surgery again. In my head, I think if I get everything prepared, all will be fine. No mistakes. I now laugh at my arrogance. I’m not in charge. Fear makes me cling to control. Anxiety isn’t shut off like a water tap, so my brain gives me soap bubbles of new ideas. At least in my doing, I’m distracted from my pain.

For more

If you relate to any of these things and are needing help, please ask. Talk to a doctor or a counselor. I have a great psychiatrist who works with me.
 
I’ve studied my issues for years. My education is in childhood development, so I understand the importance of the developing mind. Trauma and PTSD are real. Abuse of any type can scar a person and even change their personality from upbeat and positive into a frightened, self-loathing person.
 
There’s counseling available, even online. Heal the pain. Namaste. You are worth it.

Living Today – After Pain

I hurt for years. It was bad. The pain enveloped me, which made it impossible for my senses to find clear guidance. I don’t want to go through it again, nor anyone else. For the love of God, let it stop with me. The rolling tide of generational abuse doesn’t need to continue. People pleasing, bowing to bullies, and narcissistic abuse should not be normal everyday life. But it was my life.

I never knew what it meant to be “Present.”

Working with therapists on emotional healing and emotional literacy to recognize my pain has helped me see more panorama.

A child recites her alphabet. She sounds out the letters, combining them, and struggling to form words. When the connection happens inside the child’s mind, it resembles magic, but it’s not. With enough stimulation and fuel, one begins creating words. They will comprehend. Looking back at the alphabet, I don’t grasp why reciting the ABC’s helped me become a proficient reader. I know that it works, and I know that I practiced until I learned. It’s training in the most basic form.

I couldn’t understand the purpose of therapy even though I knew it would be helpful.

Becoming a healthy person takes a process. Some of the stuff I have in me may never completely heal, and I need to live with the limitations of who I am. Overall, I have made significant progress. So can you. Commit to doing the work and learn how to live.

I live now. If I become angry because a coworker says a thing, I’m offended now. I have worked on my emotional literacy and I can respond to the anger itself.

You need tools

What is Emotional Literacy? It’s the ability to identify the feelings you are experiencing. Most people are shallow in noticing our feelings. Feeling scared is different than me knowing I’m terrified and panicked. Name your emotion.

#Trauma: I evaluate the emotion. Is my flashback from an older, emotionally charged time? My childhood was angry. (This is part of the emotional literacy.)

#Emotion: If it is new and not something with a deep root, I handle it differently. Current emotions deserve a valid response also. We have rights as humans and must care about ourselves.

The first step to developing empathy is emotional literacy, or the ability to read or recognize your own emotions and the emotions of others so that you can figure out what they are feeling.

Children and Empathy: Teaching Emotional Literary

Excerpt from The Jungle of My Emotions – “This rage is my jungle. I should know my way through it by now, but I don’t. A therapist will tell you to name the emotions. Instead of rage, get down to the baser emotions. Fear. Insecurity. Feeling utterly alone and vulnerable. When I was negotiating, I was taking it personally. She was attacking me and saying I was wrong. Backed into a corner, I felt powerless. So, I defended my territory.”

Related Content

Emotions And Flashbacks

We know emotions. They’re healthy, normal. A pet is sick or dies, and we are sad. If it is sunny outside, this could be a good day. We become excited. We plan for an adventure. There’s a hike, a few hours at the zoo with our family, or maybe the pool. A little sunburn isn’t bad. Even a tantrum from the three-year-old doesn’t spoil a day. Emotions are flavors added to the stewpot.

I’ve had weeks of crying jags for no apparent reason, and I’m bewildered as to what started them. I can’t recall an emotion. Am I sad? Angry? Sometimes I’ll stare at the wall or want to hide under the covers because life seems too much. It’s the tsunami crashing over my plans to move forward into a good life. I write lists and can’t seem to accomplish the tasks.

The difference in simple terms between an emotion and a flashback is the logic. I can be disappointed in an immediate event or happy about it. If I’m having a flashback, it’s illogical. I may be disappointed about the experience but also accuse others that they did this on purpose. I’ll feel like going into a dark hole for a longer time or rage about someone letting me down. And perhaps they did. The flashback has magnified the pain.

Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions (‘amygdala hijackings’) to the frightening circumstances of childhood. They are typically experienced as intense and confusing episodes of fear and/or despair – or as sorrowful and/or enraged reactions to this fear and despair.  Flashback Management

Pete Walker

How can you tell if someone has a flashback?  

“Flashbacks sometimes feel as though they come out of nowhere, but there are often early physical or emotional warning signs. These signs could include a change in mood, feeling pressure in your chest, or suddenly sweating. Becoming aware of the early signs of flashbacks may help you manage or prevent them.”

RAINN.ORG

There is a time in our childhood before we could name an emotion when we create patterns of feeling. It’s possible our parents were busy and tired. My dad worked two and sometimes three jobs. Mom helped when we had a business—three kids and not a lot of money. As the third child, it was a challenge to be noticed. I needed more than they could give. I cried with ear infections, and mom was exhausted. She needed a break. And there wasn’t one in sight anywhere for her. Now, it’s still difficult for me to ask for help.

Peaceful Warrior

One tool Richard Grannon teaches in his YouTube videos is for emotions. Many of us are not aware of our feelings. I wrote about this in a previous post, The Jungle of My Emotions. We befriend our emotions, even the ugly ones, and they soon become familiar. Name them as to recognize them. Are you afraid? Or are you feeling betrayed? This method has been helpful for me.

A decent way to do this is to set a timer for three times a day. Mine is 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 8:00 PM. When the timer chimes, check-in with yourself. Are you bored, lost, sad, or feeling angry? Being aware of yourself is a start. There is plenty of help if you need it.

I don’t know your life or your family, only you know them. You swim in those emotions deep. It takes a near miracle, as the fish pulled from the water, to realize life can be different. I do have hope for me, and I have hope for you. If you can relate to any of this, follow some of the links. There is help. It can get better.

Resources:

Rick Hanson Ph.D.-The Foundations of Well Being 

Richard Grannon-The Spartan Life Coach

Pete Walker-Flashback Management

My thanks to Wade Harris for the featured photograph. Find him on Flickr or Instagram.

The Jungle of My Emotions

I get caught up in the anger. My emotions of rage, betrayal, and wrongness engulf me. There’s no compassion, only my problem. Monkey mind is in control, and I struggle to make sense of the chaos.

Maybe you don’t have this problem, but emotions are painful for me. I was trying to negotiate a bill with my homeowners association which should have been a logical discussion. But I was PISSED. How dare they say this is my bill. They agreed to pay. With each thought, my temper guzzled a gallon of gasoline before striking a match. I had an ice cube’s chance in hell to win really. I’m one against the organization and the proof I was using was vague. But emotions are the fire in our belly that keeps us fighting even when the odds are against us. Yet, sometimes we win.

This rage is my jungle. I should know my way through it by now, but I don’t. A therapist will tell you to name the emotions. Instead of rage, get down to the baser emotions. Fear. Insecurity. Feeling utterly alone and vulnerable. When I was negotiating, I was taking it personally. She was attacking me and saying I was wrong. Backed into a corner, I felt powerless. So, I defended my territory.

Here’s my thought, over time, if I keep walking back through my jungle, I will have markers on my emotions, and I will see them and their triggers. My jungle will have paths with directional markings. But I have to be brave enough to walk into it with my eyes open. Face my demons. Lose some battles. But, someday, I won’t be walking around blind anymore.

“Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.” #StillIRise #MayaAngelou

Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Smell of dust after rain

The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a game I like to play because I love word games.  I took the idea from an episode of Doctor Who, Season 6. In that episode the companions to The Doctor, Amy and Rory had a locked door to open. They were given the pass code, but not told how to use it. Now we are all familiar with passwords and security codes. A jumbled bit of numbers and letters. Very secret things. The password was Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Petrichor. First the couple tried saying the words, Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Petrichor (smell of dust after rain.) Nothing happened. The door didn’t open. Then Amy tried a different way. Instead of just saying the words, she imagined the words. She felt the words. She pulled out the emotional link from inside of her that matched the words of the pass code. Crimson (crisp red flag flying in the breeze), Eleven (her eleventh birthday cake), Delight (the day of her wedding), Petrichor (a water  droplet hitting the dirt.) The doors open.

Once an idea is opened, many can run with it. Today many are revealing ideas. Opening doors. Exposing secrets. Teaching long forgotten truths to those around us. It’s not enough any more to merely go through the motions and do the job. The more effective way of living, the one that causes us to engage our emotions, demands our active cooperation. These aren’t new methods. They are forgotten tools. These were common in times past by Druids and Shamans. Modern commercials grab us and persuade us to buy their product by using our emotions. For example, Jif brand peanut butter once used the phrase, “Choosy mothers choose Jif.” As if to say, only mothers that give a damn about their children choose Jif. And if you don’t buy Jif peanut butter, you are an unfit mother. Much like the days when humanity learned about little things called germs causing disease, today we are learning to use more of our minds. Learning to open doors by engaging our entire selves.

Wake up. We are learning to fly by intention instead of brute strength. It’s a new day. Pay attention. We are learning new ways of seeing the world. New ways and long forgotten ways. If germs make us sick, what about our emotions and the emotions of others around us. I agree that actions count, but actions without connection is dry and blows away.

English: Emotions English: Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My game is simple. I want to use the game to learn a new way of being. I want to engage my emotions with words. Random words or thought out ones. Why? Because I’m now aware of being able to do this. Because I believe humanity is evolving.

Buddhism teaches us to “be” no matter where we are or what we are doing. If you are washing the dishes, be there washing the dishes. If you are eating, be aware of eating. I admit that most of the time I avoid the unpleasant and forget to pay attention during the pleasant. Being awake in the Now is a habit to practice.

We learned well how to be robots and act out our parts. We learned our roles. We learned to put things in boxes and to analyze and dissect. We can take things apart to see how they once worked. We learned to distract ourselves when things are painful or boring and when everything is pleasant we are afraid it won’t last.

Four words: Crimson, Eleven, Delight, Petrichor (the smell of dust after rain.) Or try picking your own four words: Color, Number, Feeling, Smell.

Don’t Let Go of My Hand

Hold my hand and take me away
Hold my hand and take me away (Photo credit: (davide))

From the depths of my heart. Truly.

Oh I’m hoping you’ll understand and not let go of my hand.  – In For the Kill, La Roux.

I love music. I have no talent whatsoever, but I can listen as well as the next person. The lyrics catch me completely off guard sometimes.

We are a species who love stories. Movies, books, plays. It doesn’t matter what form it is. We can relate. And once the story has wrapped itself around us, it can jolt us. Even linger in our minds, when another person could have said the same thing to us and we would have walked away wondering what they were talking about.

Sometimes when I’m in a conversation, I have to remind myself to stay quiet and listen to the other person. I really don’t want to cut in or stop them talking. I just want to relate. This song is one that caught me off guard. The lyrics, the voice, and the story. Isn’t this what we all want?

We want someone to listen and understand. And not let go of us. Hear me, they cry. Please stay with me. There was a suicide recently at a local school. It’s hard for us to understand how a teenager can have a troubled life. Like illness and disease though, emotional pain does not know age or wealth as a dividing line. It does not respect you just because you are a good person or a pretty person. Suicide doesn’t only come because someone has a difficult circumstance. Suicide is an out for pain also. And when you are in pain all you can think of is stopping it. It’s the irritating ticking noise inside someones head that never ends. They see no solution.

I don’t know the child’s story or the family’s. All I know is that I am sorry. So sorry for their loss. And I hope that there is someone nearby who will understand and not let go of their hand.