Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walking Through Illusion, Book Review

The following is my book review of the "Walking Through Illusion" by Betsy Otter Thompson.

When I first started reading this book, I was not sure what to expect. Because of my own history and experiences, religious-oriented books do not tend to attract my attention. Actually, these types of books can really upset the apple cart in my life and make for some miserable days. It is healing that I am still working through.

So when I began reading this, I was pleasantly surprised. It was not a “religious” book but one of spirituality applied to the context of growth in life. The many chapters and stories were of course based on well known religious figures, but the interpretations and applications were much different. It was not like I was sitting down in church listening to regurgitated statements of belief, but of words that really went to the heart of personal growth. The words formed a picture of events that gave way to personal reflection.

There are so many parts of this book that I could comment about and that touched me, but then you would be reading my words instead of reading the book! It would be better if you read the book, because I’m sure you will find things that really speak to you in your current life that maybe didn’t speak the same way at this point in my life. I believe this is one of those books you could read a hundred times and get a hundred different reflections from it. There is so much to this book.

Some of my favorite sections were:

Chapter 2: It is amazing that when we stop and think about things, we often hope for those moments in life where we can be happy and enjoy them. It is something we wish for like a “gift” that we are waiting to receive. Yet, we find out eventually that we give ourselves the greatest gift when we accept it in the way that it is presented to our lives.

Chapter 5: Often I focus on what I don’t have or what others have in life that I do not have. When I do that, I put myself down into lower depths of depression. I miss the support and love that I actually do have because while it is there staring me in the face, I am too busy measuring the things that will not bring about my happiness.

Chapter 6: This touched my life very deeply because I know that I have had to deal with the changes in how I view religion and spirituality. Coming from my own background of rigid religious belief systems to where I am now has been a difficult transformation. These days I am more focused with how I connect spiritually with myself, and how I evolve in awareness as an individual. Just reading about the author’s experiences at the end of the chapter help give me that moment of realizing, I’m not the only one on this journey.

Chapter 9: Sometimes it is so easy to look at life and be upset with all that is not happening. It is much harder to accept everything in our life as the way our life is meant to be. However, it depends upon what we put out there as to what we will get back. Abundance is not so much the wealth we possess in the world but the size of our heart. I can so identify with this because I have struggled through rough financial times, and I am slowly learning that my abundance is not in terms of money but the gems that I discover within myself. My life is full of abundance and all too often I focus on what I don’t have rather than what I do have.

Chapter 11: Coming into this world, I have been met with many horrible experiences. It is easy for me to look at my life and determine that this person or that person caused me great harm. There is no denying that fact, but when I focus on this view only, I miss the fact that all these experiences are making me what I am today. Slowly I am learning to accept these parts of myself as ways that help push me further and have actually made my life so rich and full.

Chapter 14: In her quote at the beginning of this chapter, I was warmed by this thought and challenged at the same time: “When we choose to see love in our life or we don’t, why don’t we make things easier and choose to see the love. “ It is there for us and all we need to do is stop and change our thoughts. The love will get us further in our life and it will help us put the other parts of our life in a different perspective.

Chapter 20: This chapter is so much about what my life continues to unfold in my own personal awareness and evolution. I know that memories do come up and with them I connect to the emotions that I feel. However, the way through them is to connect them within the body and to find where that emotion resides. Once that has been identified, so much deep stored energy can be released. The body and the mind can become more whole. Just like the author said in this book, the ego does find ways to try and knock you off course. I have found that it has used every trick in the book in my own life to keep me living in fear, instead of becoming aware of the love within myself.

These parts I have described here are just sections that really stood out to me. Much of what you would get from the book depends upon where you have traveled, and where you currently are traveling along the journey of your life. We all have experiences that have brought us to the moment we are at and those experiences can move us forward. Walking Through Illusion gives the reader of this book another viewpoint and another frame of reference for further awareness and healing in their life. To truly be human, the evolution and awareness of our life is critical.

To me, the ideal way to read this book would be to take a chapter at a time and read it, ponder it, and then see how it applies to your life. It would be great for a time of meditation. Of course, with the book split up into chapters focusing on a particular topic, you could turn to it when you were experiencing times that matched one of the chapters. Whatever way you decide to read and use this book, it will help you grow and become better acquainted with not only who you are, but all that you are.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Follow Your Inner Guidance

Standing alone in life can be one of the most difficult moments we face. When life's experiences and your convictions are all you have, it can feel as if your feet are not stable for the moment. It may not feel as if you are up for the task.

So many events, moments, people and influences will try to sway you from side to side. You must remain steadfast in following your inner guidance. You must hang on to what you know even if it is faint or difficult to describe in words. Yes, it is true that you cannot ignore the input of others so long as it does not pull you off your own course.

There is a time for rigidity in life and there is a time for merging various parts together as one source. Just as there are seasons, so are there moments of change in our lives. All that we participate with for our lives is part of a process.

Let us move forward with conviction and peace. While we focus on the goal in front of us, let us not close our eyes to the beauty that surrounds. When we feel like we are being pulled off course, help us to stay steadfast in the course we have plotted. We never must forget the stars that give us our location or the winds that take us to the next point in our journey.

(Above Picture taken at Key Largo, FL - (c) 08/31/02)

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oprah - Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, Part 2

This post is about my experience being part of the 200 male survivors on show airing November 5 and November 12. Please tune into the Oprah show to view these episodes and spread the word to all your friends. This post is part two of a two part series.

(Continued from Part 1 on October 28, 2010)

Sitting in a room of 200 male survivors was something that I had never experienced before. I have been to conferences with female survivors but not in a situation like this. To say this experience and being in a room full of male survivors was powerful is an understatement. I will never ever forget this experience and I will never forget the faces of those in this studio and the ones that I got to meet. There were guys from all over the country and Canada there from all walks of life. There were guys that were married, single, fathers, straight, gay and everything in-between. We all were there speaking with one voice.

While there are many ways she could have taken the show and many things she highlighted, their main focus was on telling the world in a dramatic way that there are many male survivors in this world. More importantly, Oprah and her staff wanted to give a voice to male survivors of child sexual abuse so that others out there who are too afraid to speak out, will have the courage to face what was done to them. It is so difficult living in silence and for men who were abused; it is extremely difficult to speak out or to acknowledge what happened.

Boys are taught from an early age that you are to be strong and in control. Boys are not allowed to show weakness and most of the time, emotions are discouraged from an early age. Boys are taught you have to be a man which means most of the time to deny feelings and emotions in our society. Because of this, when the shame and guilt of child sexual abuse is thrust upon young boys, they feel like they cannot speak out. For to speak out shows weakness and little boys are not supposed to go down that road. That is why this show is so critical because the world needs to realize that boys are molested and abused. The world needs to realize that there are many others out there. Each male survivor that feels like they are all alone, will see firsthand in a dramatic way that there are many more out there that have experienced these things.

While the show could have gone in many different directions, they chose to keep the focus very narrow as to what I just described. I wish that they would have acknowledged more gays that have been abused but there is such a stigma in our society. The underlying thought is that if you are a male survivor, you are going to go out and molest other children, especially if you’re gay. Of course, this is such a load of BS and a very backwards view. Most people who are male survivors do not go on to molest children and just because you are gay does not mean a thing on this. I know many male survivors who question their sexuality, wondering if the abuse made them gay. One wise person once told me that being abused by a man does not make you any more gay than being abused by a woman makes you straight. Those were some wise words that more of this world needs to understand.

I also wish the show would have gone more into recovery and the people who had really turned their lives around. However, we would have been there forever taping these episodes because that is a lot of ground to cover. My hope is that Oprah or Tyler Perry or someone else will do a show on survivors that have really healed and reclaimed their lives. There is hope and possibility from those who have struggled through the pains and horrors of the past. This show however, just touches on these subjects because there was not enough time to go into all of that.

Overall, I’m happy with the way the show will most likely appear and think that it is going to be a powerful statement to the world. I hope each person that can, will tune in and watch this because we as a society need to understand that these things are going on all around us. We can hide our head in the sand like many of us do, but until we confront this epidemic problem head on; we’ll continue to destroy the lives of many of our young boys.

Statistics show that 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused before the age of 16. Think about that for a moment. Identify 6 boys or men that you know and then realize that most likely; one of these has been abused. That is a mind blowing thought. Yet, we as a society hide our heads in the sand and when situations confront us or appear before our eyes, we tend to discount and dismiss what our mind is throwing up as warning signs. Too many times, we do not want to get involved or we want to believe the problem will just go away. Too many times, we feel if we just talk to the potential perp, that the problem will go away. These perps know how to seduce children and they know how to do it right before the watchful eyes of those around the children. They laugh and mock those who fail to see it. Perps are not stupid. Perps are not just some strange looking man on the street corner. They are fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, preachers, deacons, teachers, community leaders and the list could go on and on. More often than not, the perps are known to the children and their families.

Anyway, I’m almost off track of what this write up was about. As you will see when you watch the show, many of these things will come out from the interviews that are aired. You will see how difficult the struggle is to reclaim your life and how often survivors of child sexual abuse act out as a result. You will see how alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual addictions, relationship issues, depression, anxiety and many other things tends to be the normal life for survivors of child sexual abuse. Each person on this show is a testament to the strength and endurance of the human spirit because none of these things are easy to live through.

There is so much I could tell about this entire experience but it would get too long for anyone to read. I met so many wonderful men there and I felt safe with them. Some of them I got to interact with more than others and will most likely forge long term friendships with them. Each person there impacted my life in a dramatic way and I will always be grateful for the experience. I am so excited that Oprah is using her life and her media platform to highlight a big problem tearing apart our society.

It was interesting that even the producer who initially interviewed me on the phone was a male survivor. Yet, until this show was about ready to tape, he had not disclosed that to anyone. He most likely will be featured on the show. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for him to hear story after story and put this show together. I am overjoyed when I see someone making a big difference by being true and honest with themselves.

How all of this is going to impact my life, I am not sure at this moment. It is one of those life changing moments though that has helped me to see, I do not need to be silent. I do not need to live in fear of what my abusers may or may not do to me. They’ve already taken so much from me and they have thrown me aside to find my own way in the world. From this point forward, I don’t plan on standing in the silent shadows any longer. If my abusers do not like that, then it is they that will have to get over it. I’m taking back my life. I’m claiming what is mine.

So tune in on November 5 because this episode will be one that will impact the world and will hopefully begin a new dialogue where male survivors feel empowered to reach out and heal the wounds that were inflicted upon them. May each of us that survived these horrible moments find peace, comfort and healing. May society and the world stop allowing these things to remain hidden in the dark corners of humanity.

And as I write these words, I am well acquainted with the fact that the impact of this show is hitting me hard emotionally. It has challenged me to the core and I am reconnecting with the strength I hold within myself.

Mark your calendars or set your TIVO to record the show on November 5 and November 12. Send an email and post a link on Facebook to let all your friends know about this very important show. I realize there are probably other questions that someone reading this may want to ask and know but until the show airs, I'll probably refrain a little from posting much more. Feel free to leave a question through the comment feature and what I feel I can answer at this point, I will do that for everyone to see.

Keep checking back as all of this takes place because as I connect with this show again, I'll most likely be sharing more about how it impacted me and the effects on male survivors and our world.

Other Resources: The Male Survivor Organization

(Above Picture (c) 10/28/10)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oprah - Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, Part 1

This post is about my experience being part of the 200 male survivors on show airing November 5 and November 12. Please tune into the Oprah show to view these episodes and spread the word to all your friends. This post is part one of a two part series.

The days and weeks leading up to the taping of the Oprah show on Oct 20, 2010 were like riding an emotional roller coaster. There were ups and downs and loops and jerks and just about everything you can imagine. I went through the fears of what I would say if I was going to be on the show and would I feel safe to speak my truth. It wasn’t easy and finally a few days before we were to fly up there, I found a peace within myself. I am now at a point in life, where I really do not care what my abusers say or think. If they do not like me speaking out about the horrific things they did to me and others, than I’m sorry, but to be very blunt, that is their problem!

Taking off for Chicago was fun because Jeff and I rarely get to fly anywhere and we don’t take too many trips because of how expensive it is to travel. This trip was paid completely by Oprah. From the initial contacts with her staff to the point of travel arrangements and then at every point during the trip, the staff of Oprah were extremely professional, compassionate and top notch. I cannot say enough about them because I was very impressed.

Arriving in Chicago early in the morning gave us some time to get to the hotel and then do a little exploring. We were extremely tired because of getting up so early that we did not go too far but just walked around downtown. The hotel we stayed in was one of the nicest we have ever stayed in. It was fun just to be in the downtown part of Chicago and I took plenty of pictures. While most of the people that flew in for this show arrived around the same time and were transported by bus, we were taken by a car service. So we didn’t get to connect with all the others at that point.

That night, not knowing everyone was getting together for dinner in the hotel, we stumbled upon everyone with the right timing of when we chose to eat. We met some very interesting people and had fun getting to know a few people. The camaraderie that everyone felt there was out of this world. There was such a strong bond there with people who were strangers, yet we all felt the common connection. While I was a little shy and nervous, it didn’t take long to just fit right in. At the end, there was a grand piano in the lobby and one of the guys talked me into just playing on it. Here I was in a hotel lobby creating music in the moment on the beautiful grand piano.

The next morning, we had to be up at 4am to get on the bus and head to the studio. That was not easy and we were all very tired. Getting to the studios, you go through security and then have to check in any sharp objects and cell phones, cameras, coats, etc until you are leaving the building. I was extremely nervous and in fact, I could barely eat.

As we all started to be seated in the studio, they informed us that we were going to screen the episode that was actually airing this day on the Oprah show. The episode was of Tyler Perry coming out as a male survivor. Viewing Tyler Perry’s story on the screen, there was hardly a dry eye in the place. Hearing about the beatings, the molestation and all that he endured was heartbreaking. I cried throughout this show because some of his experiences hit so close to my heart. It was not easy to see this episode so early in the morning and it left me feeling numb. I had to focus on my breathing just to stay centered and grounded.

After that, they started getting everyone in place so the taping could begin. When Oprah came out, everyone was so happy to see her and she seemed to be genuinely happy to see everyone there. Oprah appeared to me to be just as down to earth and genuine in person as she did on TV. In fact, at one point during the taping she talked about how her back was hurting that morning because the dog decided it was going to take up most of the bed when she tried to sleep that night. That’s a small insignificant story but it just showed to us how real she is. She was very accessible throughout the taping and very responsive to all that were there. I thought there would be many ground rules laid down but the taping took place in the way that things unfolded. I thought there would be more staged and rehearsed moments but it truly happened as we were watching it take place. How it will all be edited together and shown on TV, I have no idea.

One of the most powerful moments of the show came at the beginning. I’m not sure I will be able to watch this part of the show without crying because it was so powerful. Before coming to Chicago, we had been asked to email a photo of ourselves around the time of the abuse. While the picture I submitted was not necessarily when things happened, it was the best quality picture I could find. The studio took our submitted pictures and blew them up to 8x11 size and handed them out to each of us. When you see the show, you most likely will see these pictures. I won’t give any more of it away but as I type this, I’m almost in tears. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – well, maybe in this case, it is worth a few million words.

I’m not completely certain but I believe there will be two shows out of this taping. One will be on November 5 and the other will be a week later on November 12. There was just too much material for her to cover in one show. So, set your VCR/TIVO or whatever you use to record the show if you can’t be home to watch it. I believe it will be a powerful show when they get done editing it together and I doubt many will be able to sit through it without being affected by the content. For now, I’m not sure if I will show up in the show or not because it depends upon the editing and what they include and what they have to omit. There was so much information and segments that were taped so it will be interesting to see the final show.

Jeff and I were sitting directly behind Oprah, the guests and Tyler Perry during the taping. It will be interesting to see how things look in the show because for most of the time, we got to see the backs of everyone with Oprah but the faces of the audience. I’ve never been in a studio like that but we could see the Teleprompters and cameras with the red lights indicating which ones were on and being used. It felt surreal sitting there with Oprah and Tyler Perry as this unfolded.

There were 200 male survivors that she flew in for the taping of this show. While she tried to use as many of the stories as she could, so many people were not able to talk. However, everyone that was a part of the audience was just as important as those who were highlighted. Oprah made the statement that never before had 200 male survivors been assembled before at one time to tape a show such as this. It was truly a historic moment. According to what one of the guys shared on a forum, there were over 10,000 applications submitted to be on the show and out of that, only 200 were chosen. I feel extremely fortunate that I was there.

Come back tomorrow for part 2 of this series and mark your calendars or set your TIVO to record the show on November 5 and November 12. Send an email and post a link on Facebook to let all your friends know about this very important show.

For Part 2 on my experiences on Oprah, click here

(Above Picture (c) 10/28/10)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hope & Possibility Through Trauma - My Story Excerpt

My Story (To Be Continued), page 6

This is an excerpt from my new book, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma.

It all started on a warm, sunny, late summer day. The horrendous events leading up to this time would forever change my life! These events were not just what had happened in the previous couple of months, but also things that had happened a long time ago in my life. However, the more recent events played such a key role in what would happen this day.

Sitting through the church service was excruciating; not for what the preacher said, but because my back hurt with extreme pain. It was more pain than anyone could ever imagine. I sat there during the church service just hoping that it would go away. A couple of Tylenol, which normally stopped the pain, did not have one ounce of effect on me that day.

So when I finally got home after avoiding so many of my friends, giving an excuse of having so many things to get done, I left church and went home to take a nap. I was so tired.

Little did I realize, this nap would be a life-changing point, after which no day would be the same as before. For once I shut my eyes, a new world was rotated into view: a world that was nothing I had ever known or experienced before.

Upon waking up from my restful nap, I felt somewhat refreshed. Even as this feeling felt good, I realized that I had wasted so much time that day. There was too much to do and accomplish for me to be taking a nap that afternoon. As I sprang to my feet, something unexpectedly terrible happened! The pain was gone from my back, but surprisingly, so was the strength in my legs.

Lying on the floor in a very stunned state of mind, I pulled myself back up to the couch. Not being one to give up, I once again sprang to my feet, although just a little slower this time, thinking that I had not completely awakened. Once again, THUD! I dropped to the floor!

To read more, see the rest of my story in my new book, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma.

(c) Don Shetterly, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Intense Back & Shoulder Pain, Part 2

A recent trip that I made regarding a gathering of male survivors getting together was powerful and emotional. While it was a very good thing that took place, it is sure kicking the emotions up right now. I'm feeling a wide range of emotions and body issues as a result. Yesterday's post explains it more.

Of course, I woke up this morning to intense pain again in my back, especially my upper back. It is like a very intense burning pain that hurts like hell. Sorry to be so blunt but this is not easy. To describe it as painful is an understatement.

I do know and realize that this is connected to the emotions that have been kicked up this last week. I'm not surprised that this pain has happened. I'm not completely sure what is coming up or why, but I do know that this is part of my healing process.

Yesterday after I woke up in intense pain, I managed to get myself to the fitness center. I not only focused on exercise but I really focused on my breathing and connection to my body. I was not concerned with how much I did in my workout as I was connecting with every muscle fiber as much as I could. It felt good to tire myself out on the treadmill and weight machines. It felt good to almost exhaust my body.

After the workout, I followed it up with some time before the hot and dry sauna as well as the pool. The pool was very cold because the heater was not working but I still went in and did my anger release that I know so well.

Leaving the fitness center, I felt more relaxed, centered and a greater calmness within my body. The pains had disappeared and overall, I felt very good. Of course, that all ended early this morning when the intense pains started back in.

This has been an intense week and I remind myself that all of this is part of the process. It is not an end point and it is not a marathon that I must run in the fastest time. It is a process. As long as I don't let myself get overwhelmed by the fear and I allow myself to travel through the process, I will find the other side. When I find the other side, I will find a deeper level of healing. Until then, the days are rocky and rough but I know that I've been through so much that I can go through this as well.

Further Reading: Intense Back & Shoulder Pain, Part 1

(Above Picture taken at Chicago, IL - (c) 10/19/10)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Intense Back & Shoulder Pain, Part 1

In the middle of the night, I woke up with some intense back and shoulder pain. It is a burning pain that feels like prickly needles are stabbing me one right after another. It is pain that hurts so badly and actually made it very difficult to lay in the bed or sleep. I have not experienced pain this intensely or this hurtful for a long time.

For anyone that knows me, I no longer reach for pain pills or pain relievers to deal with pain such as this. I now realize in my life that doing so will not really take "the pain" away, it will just mask it. Yes, there are times when I just want to say, I don't want to feel the pain but I know deep down that this is misleading. I'm sure there are many that are reading this that what I am saying makes absolutely no sense. There are others reading this that some of what I am saying makes sense.

One of the things that I have learned is that pain is a messenger in our body. It is a connection to something that is trying to get our attention. Attempting to determine what that is may not always be easy and in fact it often seems more difficult than we want it to be.

Usually when pain comes up, our first reaction is oh my gawd, what is wrong with me? We may answer it in ways such as "I slept wrong last night", "I worked out at the fitness center too much", "I did to much physical work" or a number of other explanations. You can probably come up with a million more that fit for your own life. Remember, pain is a messenger in our body and is a connection to something that is trying to get our attention.

After we have gone through the first reaction, we normally start looking for things to relieve the pain. It may be through pain relievers, pain pills like Oxycondone, Darvocet and others. It may be through various forms of body work that only focus on "relieving" the pain rather than going into it. We might even turn towards alcohol and other drugs to numb ourselves from the pain.

Who can blame anyone though for reaching for something to try and numb the pain especially if it in the back, shoulders and neck. These pains feel debilitating and paralyzing. They are scary and they limit our functions in life. Many times they are also exhausting. There is nothing like back, shoulder or neck pain to stop you dead in your tracks. However, if you understand that pain is a messenger, than an episode like this does not have to keep you down.

One of the biggest things that keeps us down is the fear that comes up with these episodes of pain. Fear disguises itself in many ways from the misdirected actions in what may start the pain or what actually relieve the pain. Instead of stopping and listening to what is the underlying message to the pain, we turn to things to numb ourselves from the pain. While that is a short term fix, it will not ultimately connect us to that which the body is trying to tell us. We may believe it does and we may feel "healed" in the moment, but this is a false illusion. At some point in the future, the message will come back until we listen, heed its purpose and release whatever is stored in our body.

Before anyone thinks that I'm just being strange or radical in how I view this, I have been through moments where I had to go to the Emergency Room to get injections so that the pain and muscle stiffness would subside. I've been through moments where my body shut down so badly because I wouldn't listen to it and I was paralyzed to the point of almost breathing my last breath. I know first hand what can happen to a body and I know first hand the pain pills, pain relievers and other methods I used to numb myself from the pain.

I see so many healing bodywork modalities that focus on telling people they "relieve pain". As well intentioned as these people are, they are missing something. I do understand that people go through these things and the pain or situation "disappears". It may disappear for a long time but that does not mean it is gone. If you have not listened to or dealt with the message, it still has residence in your body. It is still stored energy that is locked within your body and your mind. To just relieve the pain, is an illusion. I realize that many do not like to hear this said but it is the truth and there are many people including myself that can give evidence to this. It is not some new age thought. It is a real concept based upon science.

So, lets get back to my situation for a moment. As I write this, I feel the intense pain in my body. It is consuming my energy and I feel miserable at this moment. However, I know that I need to stop today and listen to the pain. I need to allow myself to not go into the fear but to just connect with whatever it is that is coming up through my body. I have an idea of what it may be but I will be in the moment, just allowing it to shine through. For I know from my past experience, that if I allow myself to connect with it, I can move through it. Any other method of numbing the pain is not going to make this happen. I can try to fool myself like our society is so trained to do or I can look past the illusion and really bring forward some deep healing.

Stay tuned of course for the follow up to this. As this unfolds, I will write more about what came up and what I did to allow that to happen. Most likely, I will get on my massage table today and just allow myself to go into some of this to bring it on through my body and release it. Numbing myself or going into fear by trying to just relieve the pain is not going to get me to that point. Sure, I could do those things but at some point, these messages from within will get my attention.

Further Reading: Intense Back & Shoulder Pain, Part 2

(Above Picture taken Chiacgo, IL - (c) 10/19/10)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Release Anger Through Affirmations

There are events that happen in our day which cause upset and frustration. Sometimes it is not only people but events that can cause anger. While we sometimes can put the happy face on when this takes place, these moments do bother us. If we do not find ways to release anger from these moments, it will have a serious impact on our body, mind and spirit.

For a long time in my life while growing up, I witnessed people holding a grudge when someone did something to them that they were angered by. These people could hold a grudge for a long and did not let go of it easily. It was almost as if holding the grudge or the anger of the moment was as vital as taking the next breath of air.

If you look at events in the news that relate to power and control such as politics, you can quickly see how people hold anger for one another. In fact, it has become so common place that the lines have blurred so badly. In most instances of politics, we cannot even begin to see that this is taking place. Wars have been started because anger could not be released. Organizations, movements and laws passed have taken place out of anger.

Sometimes anger is very justified, so please do not think I am saying it has no place. It is a very valid emotion that we often hold on to while society shuns it in fear. Often it is difficult for others we are around to deal with our anger because of their own life experiences. Please note that I am not talking so much about rage, but about anger.

Anger is a difficult emotion for many because all too often, we have seen it abused and misdirected. Many have never learned healthy ways to release anger and so it builds up until we either stuff it deep inside, or we come out swinging. There are many ways that we hide our anger which involve self medication. Self medication can come in the form of alcohol, drugs, non stop workaholics, depression, anxiety, muscles tension, muscle pain, hives and itching, physical symptoms, avoidance and many other ways.

Of course, the trick in life is to find ways to release anger. I know for me, it took many years to realize that it was okay to let anger out. I had been taught like so many others that you did not show anger and that it was wrong to do this. It took me a long time to realize that there were safe ways to release anger that did not involve abusing myself or others like I had been shown all my life. I am not the world's best example of dealing with anger in my own life but I am learning more each day how to release anger.

In Doreen Virtue's CD, Chakra Meditation, there is one track called "Evening Meditation" that has an affirmation I am finding very helpful in releasing anger. It is a wonderful meditation CD that I truly love and when life gets so difficult, I use this CD. The affirmation she states in this track is as follows: "I am willing to release that part of me which angers me when I think of you."

When I hear these words, it helps put the moment of anger or frustration in perspective. It helps me see that I do have a choice and the ability or power to release the anger I am feeling. If you repeat this affirmation, you will most likely feel a similar effect of release upon your mind and your body. I would urge you to try hearing Doreen speak these words or even just repeating them to yourself and see what impact it has upon your life.

Realizing we have the ability to release anger of these moments is so powerful. Holding the anger and frustration in, only diminishes our life and robs of us our power. The moments of anger and frustration will most likely show up in life. However, if we find ways to release anger, we will find a greater piece of mind. For many people, this is a process and the more we exercise it, the stronger we will become.

For more information about Doreen Virtue's CD, Chakra Meditation, please visit iTunes or Amazon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Power Within You

This morning when I selected the angel therapy card on my iPhone app (Healing With The Angels) developed by Doreen Virtue, it really spoke to me. Most of the time, the cards that I select are so appropriate for that moment. This was no exception.

Here are the main thoughts that spoke to me from this card:

1) You now allow yourself to express your power.
2) You have all of the power of your Creator within you!
3) All the power of Divine love, wisdom and intelligence is available to you.

While there was much more this card said, these points really were what I needed to hear in this moment. Sometimes it is difficult to see the power within ourselves. Sometimes my self confidence is lacking so much that I feel like a jelly fish floating along in life.

The day I selected this card, I had a meeting with someone about a project. It was a project I had been working on for over a month and was hoping to get a final commitment on it so I could move forward. It mean a substantial financial income to me for the moment and was very much needed. Before going to this meeting, I was beginning to doubt myself and the self confidence issues were coming to the surface. After reading what this card said, I felt a power come over me that gave me confidence and helped me to act with a manner of confidence in the meeting. The meeting was successful.

Even when we think that we don't have the power to do something or we don't recognize the power within our self, it is there. We do have access to it if we choose to connect with it. Sometimes, just the reminder of that is all that we need.

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Experience The Process

Sometimes it is difficult to allow ourselves to sit in the darkness of confusion, fear and the unknown. It is times like these, which show us the way forward. It is during these times that we allow ourselves a moment of awareness in order to find the truths for our lives. If we short circuit this process out of fear, we may be holding our self back from further awareness. May we allow ourselves to live in the moment, regardless of what that entails, so we may learn all we need to from the experience.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spiritual Muscles and Growth

I saw this posted on Dr. Stacey Greene's Facebook page and thought it was an excellent thing to share. The following quote is from Concept Therapy.

Crisis show us much about Life in relation to our self. When we can see the unlimited potential in the face of disaster/fear; we are "peeping" behind the curtain of an awareness of moving life. Spiritual muscular powers are being developed, that will never be weakened again; ..and potential strengths of "Love & Grace" cannot be...stopped or thwarted again.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just Be My Friend

Just be my friend and walk with me through the meadows of life. While you walk, don't be alarmed if I become afraid of taking a step into a forest that is on my path and part of my journey. Try not to worry about me as I walk through this forest alone, searching for the other side.

Know that I will keep walking my journey and keep putting one foot in front of the other until I reach the meadow to reunite once again. It may take me some time to find my way, but in due time, I will find my steps.

Sometimes, I just need to know that you are waiting on the other side of this dark part of my journey. Sometimes just knowing you are there and listening to my tears is more comfort than I could ever imagine at that moment.

Please know that you cannot walk my path for me no matter how much you would like to do this. It is not your path and even if you walked it for me, I would be missing a major part of my own journey.

As difficult as it may be for you to only watch as I walk through these dark moments, please realize that you are truly offering much more to me than you may currently realize. Sometimes, the silence and withdrawing is the moments where I am trying to figure out how to place my feet on my path. Taking my eyes off those moments, only delays me from taking another step.

And know that as I walk, my thoughts of having a dear friend as close as you walking with me in spirit, is energy to my feet and sustenance to my body. It is the glue that helps keep all of us walking onward into and through those difficult moments.

In life, the one that shines the flashlight is as vital as the one that is taking a step. Sometimes, without a dear friend holding the flashlight, finding the path becomes much harder. It isn't that I always will be in a difficult moment because there will come many more days where I have the privilege of shining the flashlight for you on your own journey.

(Above Picture taken at Wekiwa Springs - (c) 12/25/07)

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Give A Smiley Project

Today, I am launching a new project called "Give A Smiley Project". There are so many negative events happening in our days and our lives, that I just wanted to see if this small little idea could take off and really impact everyone in the world in a positive way. I have no idea what will happen but it all starts with passing a smile along to someone who has impacted our life. I won't give anymore details away here right now because you can read all about it on my website. For more information, go to There is nothing to buy, no spam and it is just something that will hopefully give you a smile.

While I'm launching this idea on the web, it is meant to be something personal that is given face to face or through the mail. The internet is fine and allows many close connections, but this is something that is much greater than that. It allows a more personal connection in this endeavor.

Please share this with your friends and pass it on!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Play Hard And Rest

Every time I start experiencing stressful moments in life where I feel like I've got more to complete in a day than is possible to accomplish, I'm reminded by my cats to play hard and rest. Watching them as they play hard one minute and then they are sprawled out on the floor resting the next is a vivid example that we as humans should consider following.

Ever since we got our two kittens from the cat rescue organization, Candy's Cats, these two have played hard together. They are brother and sister which really does help. We do encourage the playfulness with them and spend much time playing with them as well. We have done this since they were kittens. When they want us to play, we stop and play.

Never does a day go by that they are not running, chasing, pouncing and playing hard with each other. It is fun to watch and sometimes it feels like a herd of tornadoes running through the house. However, if you watch them, they will go at it strong for several minutes and then all of the sudden they get quiet. The next thing they do is lay on their back sprawled out as if nothing is going on. They might actually go from playing hard to cleaning and grooming themselves but most of the time, it is complete rest after a moment of playing hard with each other.

As kids, we most likely did this same thing where we played hard and then we came inside for a rest. It wasn't something we thought about or knew we needed to do these things. It just happened because we were being kids. It was all in the moment living much like our cats live.

As adults, we tend to lose the ways of being a kid. Yes, I know there are responsibilities and jobs and family to take care of in our lives. Often these responsibilities take away from our time to play or relax or just enjoy life. It is all too easy to get caught up in a million activities or causes which may be noble and justified but sometimes they can rob us of our playtime in life.

Playtime is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. By playtime, I mean finding things that you enjoy doing from crafts or walks in the wood to spending time out in the sun having fun. These are things in life which are just pure enjoyment to you and there is no work or worry or other stress that you need to connect with when you are having play time. If you are not sure what playtime really is, just connect back to when you were a child. What did you do as a child to have fun? What do you enjoy doing now?

Learn to play hard and then after you have played hard, take some time to just rest and live in the moment of now. There should be no expectations of how long this should go or any other thing that may be on your mind. Just be in the moment like cats are where nothing else matters for them. Resting gives you the connection of pushing yourself into enjoyment and fun, then allowing yourself to drop down and connect to the greatest parts within yourself. Observe how your body feels during the rest time and see if there is any change in muscle tension or pains. Most likely, you will notice a sense of relief and less pain.

One of the best ways to release stress is by pushing your nervous system up and then letting it drop down. Taking time to clean out those closets in your body where stress is hiding gives way for you to allow yourself relaxation and a deeper peace. Playing hard helps push your nervous system up, if you really allow yourself to just let loose and have fun. Then by taking time to rest afterward, you are allowing yourself to connect to the deeper peace and relaxation that your body needs. Through the connection between these two things, you will have released much stress in your body and your life.

I'm sure we all know what it means to play hard but some of us may have forgotten to allow ourselves to do this. That is perfectly okay because what you do in today's moment is totally up to you. You can go out and spend some time today playing and having fun, enjoy life to the fullest! You can be creative in how you do that and maybe step outside of your comfort zone, giving yourself permission to just let loose!

If you are not spending regular time playing in life, I urge you to give this a try. Step out of your comfort zone and see what happens. Even if you are extremely busy, an afternoon of playing hard, then resting will most likely give you more focus, clarity, and energy for your day. You may be surprised at just how much more productive you are.

Our bodies are not meant to be pushed constantly or to their limits without a way to release the stress and build up of emotions. Our nervous systems are resilient but the more stress and past trauma we hold against within our body, the less resilient they are. When we overwhelm our bodies in this way, they react through physical messages that try to get our attention so that we can reverse course and become aware of our connection between our mind, body and spirit.

To live in the moment, is one of the greatest gifts of awareness that we can give ourselves. To be mindful in our day will return many rewards back to us. We really are the masters of our health and well being. Through playing hard and resting, we give ourselves the chance to stop, connect and discover a little more about ourselves. It truly does a body good!

(Above Picture taken of Corey And Topanga (our Kittens) - (c) 10/03/10)

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hope & Possibility Through Trauma (Pre-Sale)

Announcing today, the pre-sale for my new book, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma. If you go to the following link on my website, , you will see more information about my book and a buy now button. I have included information about the book as well as some excerpts, the index, table of contents and other sections. At this moment, it is only available for purchase through the pre-sale. Once the pre-sale is over, it should not be very long before it will be available on Amazon.

If you buy a copy of my book through the pre-sale, the price is reduced from what it will be selling for on Amazon, and I will personally autograph each one. It may take me a few weeks before I am able to autograph and send a copy of the book to you. The pre-sale begins today and ends on October 24, 2010.

So go to the link above and read all about it, then click "for more information" that gives some of the finer details. If you live in the United States, the buy it now button will go to PayPal. You can pay by PayPal or by credit card. If you live outside of the US, please contact me through the website and we can determine what the shipping costs will be for you.

If you have any questions, please contact me through the website. I'll try to respond as quickly as I can. This is an exciting time for me as I have been working many months on bringing this book together. My hope is that those who read it will realize there is Hope And Possibility Through Trauma!

About The Book

Suffering from a somatoform disorder (also known as a conversion disorder) in 1991, Don Shetterly was paralyzed and not able to walk or take care of himself. Traumatic moments of child abuse he lived through from an early age had finally caught up with him. At age 26, Don was set on a path that in order to survive and live, he had to heal those deep dark corners of his life. While this book is not a direct account of all that happened, the words here do form a picture of hope and possibility through trauma. Often when Don's world was upside down and it seemed as if he could not make it, he turned to writing to help piece the moments of his life back together. These writings have come together into a book depicting the path of healing in his life. While it has not been an easy journey, Don wants others to know that no matter what you have been through in life, there is hope and possibility through trauma.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Release Worry And Fear

There are many things I am worried about in life. From my finances, to friendships and my professional life, there are nonstop flights to worry land every day.

I feel as if I do not have the strength to continue. My body feels tired and weary to continue the fight. Self confidence is at an all time low in my mind. Yesterday was one of the lowest moments I can remember.

In addition, I feel so all alone. The little things in life get magnified a thousand times. It seems there is little hope to find my way through what I am experiencing. The darkness of the difficult moments haunt my life.

My body feels worn down and bruised to the bone. It feels like I have nowhere to turn or anyone to turn to that may help me. I feel as if I have to walk alone through this part of my journey. There is no road map. There are no directions. The manual for my life cannot be found.

Once again though, I keep getting reminded that I need to release my resistance to what I am experiencing. Oh, how that sounds like something I need in my life. It sounds almost like music to my ears. With doubt and trepidation, I fully want to embrace this with a hug. Yet, all I see is a porcupine with long needles sticking out.

For me to release worry, I wonder how someone actually makes this happen. What are the secrets? What does one actually do to release worry? If only I had the answers. If only I knew what I needed to do.

I cling to all that I do not want in my life out of an overabundance of fear. Fear is all I seem to know. Fear is my currency and my wealth in life. Fear is my abundance.

Even as badly as I want to release worry in my life, I feel as if I would be cutting off the flow of sustenance to my life. It is frightening and difficult to think that a world without worry could exist. It seems like a fantasy! It does not seem real!

So the question I ask of myself today, is how do I release worry? What steps do I take? Where is the book describing this process?

All I know to do in this moment is to continue my search to understand how to release fear (opps, I mean worry. Did I just write fear?). Maybe the key is in my mistake of words. Maybe it isn't worry that I need to release but the fears I need to let go in my life.

Would that not be a shocker if fear was the root cause of my worry? Have I not heard this lesson before in my life? Have I not cursed these difficult steps in previous days? Of course, I know the answers to these questions I ask.

Maybe I just need to stop and acknowledge my fears. Maybe I need to realize my fears are very alive right now and are trying to take over my life. In fact, they are doing a very good job of it at this moment.

Then, if I can see and describe my fears, maybe I will fully recognize them when they appear. If I can recognize them, then I can begin to close the door on them, not giving them access to my life. If I stop giving them access to my life, then maybe I will begin to release the fears. As I release the fears, I will be removing the energy of worry that is paralyzing my life.

It all seems easy to accomplish. However, I know how difficult it is to identify and let go of the fears. Until I allow myself to have the courage to do this, my fears and my worry will control my life.

I know this is what I need to do, and I feel my feet shaking and my body trembling. May I find the courage to face my fears. May I find the strength within myself to stand on my shaking feet. May I have the wisdom to find my way through these difficult moments.

(Above Picture taken - (c) 10/09/10)

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Feeling Shunned By Life

At times it feels like life is too tough. I feel the challenges I face are more than any one person should have to deal with. I wonder when things will get better or if they ever will. Situations of concern stack upon each other as if there is no end in sight.

Time and time again, I struggle with these things that hit me. It feels like a wall of water crashing into me. I feel as if there are no good days ahead. It is hard to convince myself that things will get better. The end seems like it is nowhere in sight.

During these times, life appears to be filled with the absence of those I know. I feel all alone and shunned. I feel as if I am not good enough and that no one wants me. I cry out in silence, only to be heard by ears that seem like they cannot hear. No matter how many tears I shed of desperation, there are never enough.

So what do I do? How do I not feel shunned by those who mean so much to me? Maybe someone would try and convince me that this is not the case, but within y heart, I ache for a morsel of love. It feels hopeless to me. I fear there is no end to the hell I live through.

Yet, I know this is not the first time I have ever felt this way. Truly, it has been my constant companion throughout my life. It has been my friend that has constantly stuck with me. However, I do not want this friend. I want to be free of feeling shunned by life. I want to feel like I fit in this world before my days are complete.

Because I am such a highly sensitive person, this is much more difficult to deal with. Everything seems to hit me much more intensely then most in this world. I feel things that I can barely put into perspective. These things become overwhelming. They give me no rest.

Everywhere I turn; my mind seems to be filled with more questions than answers. While I know that the answer lie within me, I knock on the door but no one answers. It all seems futile. It all seems like there is no point. I am filled with exhaustion.

I do recognize that feeling shunned by life and like an outcast has some strong, biological connections for me. There are many pains of old, which grace my mind. I also know that this too shall pass. My current moment of despair will flow into calmer waters. There will be peace in my life once again.

For now I must ask myself and the pain that I am experiencing, why are you here? What is your purpose? Why have you showed up once again? For these experiences are trying to teach me those hard learned lessons of life. They are showing me moments of greater awareness. They are offering me a greater connectedness to myself.

I humbly try to accept and learn from my feelings of being shunned by life. I humbly try to realize that not everyone is out there to get me, even when it feels that way. I humbly try to love and accept myself even through these difficult times in life.

If I allow myself to travel this journey, through the fear of being shunned, I will become stronger. I know I will grow in ways that I cannot imagine. Please, may I find the strength I need in order to complete this leg of my journey.

(Above Picture taken at St Augustine Beach, FL - (c) 08/13/09)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some Days I Feel Alone

The following was written in my journal on Oct 8, 2010.

As much as I've worked on this issue, there are still times that I feel so all alone. I am very sensitive anyway and so the slightest thing can make me feel shunned by others. But when people get quiet or don't communicate, I go bonkers inside thinking the worst. I've got a few people in life that are doing this to me at the moment and it is driving me nuts! They may not even mean anything by it but yeessh, I'm like enough. And it seems like there are times when this really bugs me more than others. This is one of those times! Some days I feel alone!

(Picture taken at Green Springs Park, Deltona, FL - (c) 05/11/10)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trauma Recovery: Stages Of Anger

For me, I had to go through the stage of anger and that anger was intense. It got directed at many people and some were completely innocent, not even connected to my abuse. I did some very dangerous things at one point in my healing and could have really hurt many other innocent people. Fortunately, those times are long past but I am sad for this stage of my healing.

I believe we all have different ways that we go through healing and not one method is right for all. The anger is an important segment of it and as rough as it may get, it needs to come out.

For years, I just kept it all in because I had been raised that "anger" was wrong and inappropriate at least coming from me. Other family members could get angry but I could not. It took me a long time to allow myself to get in touch with that anger. Yes, I would bottle it up inside and cause my own self physical problems (such as a nervous stomach and ulcer, migraine headaches, vomiting, anxiety) but the only way it came out was when it exploded out of me. I had to learn that there are much safer and more appropriate ways to let it out. Actually feeling anger and connecting to it is part of being human. Holding it in is not very healthy.

As far as God goes - I was raised in a home where so much of my abuse happened at the hands of those that said God told them to do this to me. Points can be made that this isn't a true Christian, etc but the fact remains, that what I endured was so mixed up in religion that my brain has a difficult time separating the two out. I have come light years through this but God has heard his fair share of me screaming at him and calling him every name in the book. Again, it was part of my healing that I had to go through. I see God differently now though but I do understand those that blame God. I can really understand that and feel that pain.

All of the emotions and feelings that we go through in recovery are vital to our own growth. Hopefully we don't stay in those moments forever but without allowing ourselves to experience all of these painful healing moments, it is hard to fully release all of it. That takes different paths and shapes for each one of us.

And all I know for a fact is, I'm not as angry of a person as I once was. I don't hold all the anger in like I once did. I've learned many ways to let it all go and release the anger from my body as it comes up.

See Also:

1) Trauma: Release Anger In The Pool

2) Ways To Release Anger

(Above Picture from my book, A Journey Through Words. Poem entitled "Show Me Your Face" - (c) 05/06/99)

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Seasons In Life

It is amazing how things change from one day to the next. Take for example, how the weather may go from high temperatures to much lower temperatures. It just happens. There may be some scientific explanation, but no one really controls what the temperature will be from one day to the next.

Then we pass from winter and spring into summer and fall. Again, it just happens. You barely notice it is taking place until the weather patterns changed and the temperature signals a new season. Even then, it may not be a direct demarcation that can pinpoint when one season ends and a new season starts.

So to, it is like our days. Moments connect together and then they change. We may not see the point where it could be proven that we did change. All we may notice initially is the differences and challenges we face in one day. The intensity or feel of them may be different as we move through our own moments. This may give rise to a new season in our life, without fully knowing it has taken place. Not until we look back on the footprints in the sand, do we see our life as having passed through another season.

While we are taught there are four seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall, there are many seasons in our life. For each season, there is a time for it to be a part of our existence. When it is finished, it will be like leaves falling from a tree, signaling a new moment in time. The ending of a season gives way to something different for our life. It gives us the opportunity to experience new moments, new challenges and different seasons.

(Above Picture taken in West Virginia - (c) 10/07/10)

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Male Survivor's Story by NLT

Here is a video of someone that is a male survivor of child abuse. In this video, he talks about the abuse that he went through as well as the wide impact of child abuse in males. I applaud him for sharing his story in this way. It takes much courage and strength to do this.

It is estimated that 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused before the age of 16.

If you or someone you know has experienced this, please don't feel like you are alone. There are others out there. Go to for more information and to connect with others that are healing from the effects of this horrible plague attacking our society.

Male Survivor's Purpose: We are committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trauma Recovery: Intense Healing Moments

Life, healing and trauma recovery can really get intense. It does not take much to make ordinary moments into stress filled days. The little things connect with moments from the past that often appear as fireworks shooting into the sky.

It could be a simple word spoken or a photograph from days gone by. It may even be a sight, a smell or a sound. Our brains are so intricate and complex with nerve pathways connecting the amygdala to the conscious moments of the past.

I am amazed at just how intense healing moments can sneak up and attack. For me, this is the same story I have written about and discussed, yet the power behind it is strong beyond belief. The emotional charge it holds, acts as if I am its slave. The memories that lie open for me to view make my eyes want to close with disgust. My body reacts as if it is in battle fighting all enemies known and unknown.

During the intense moments of healing, I feel as if I am all alone. It seems that no one truly understands. It feels as if everyone disappears. I reach out but I feel no hand to grasp. Are they there, I wonder? Am I on my own just like I have been throughout my life?

It is a confusing time of anguish as I sift the nuggets of gold from the rocks. I'm really not sure from one day to the next, how to make it through the moment. Rest, peace, and comfort seem illusive to me. They evade me with gusto.

The only thing I know to do is to continue putting one foot in front of the other. Even though the head winds are strong, I must not stop. I must not quit. I have come so far. For in these difficult moments, may I never forget that I have walked through similar times.

Let me be as a bird on the power line, observing all that is going on. Help me to realize that these intense moments are pushing me through the fire into greater awareness. Help me understand that these intense moments may challenge me to the limits physically, emotionally, and mentally. Let me not forget that I know I am much greater than the sum of these attacks.

Keep me hopeful that these moments will soon pass. May I remember that the calm water amongst the clear blue skies will emerge with beauty, hope and a renewed strength for my life.

(Above Picture taken - (c) 08/19/10)

*Read other articles on Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trauma: Biological Connections

When you have lost the most basic biological connections you have in life, everything seems to lack the proper foundation. Many in our world go without these biological connections. I am not referring only to an absent father or a missing parent. This is much deeper than that.

One of those biological connections is to be wanted from birth. To be looked upon as something parents do not want is a recipe for disaster. Even if it is subtle and not intentional, this lack of connection has profound life-long effects. In my case, when I was a baby, my father was sick with a contagious illness. For some unknown reason to me, I was also in the hospital. My mother had to make a choice of either visiting my father or me but because of the contagious illness my father had, she could not visit both of us. For some reason, my mother chose to be near my dad while he recovered. Of course, I was so young that I don't remember the details but to this day, I feel the rejection. It has been a devastating event that has impacted me throughout my life.

Another biological connection I missed was having a father that was not there for me emotionally. My memories of him at an early age was an abusive and angry person. Saying he had a temper would have been a gross understatement. Emotionally he was numb to his own feelings and so there was no way he could connect with anyone in the family. With me being a highly sensitive person, it was a recipe for disaster in my life. My father's idea of emotions was found in his controlling, manipulative and abusive actions we were part of each day of our life.

The ultimate biological connection I missed was to be raped and violated sexually as a child. By the time I was five years old, I was introduced to a world of trauma. The trauma and abuse did not begin to stop until I moved to college. Once my father began to slow down on the daily abuse with me, my older brother picked up the pace. We were taught to hold these secrets within ourselves by reinforcement through physical, verbal and emotional abuse. My body did not know what normal was when it came to touch. Touch had been replaced by trauma. My body only knew that it was being violated at the whim of those who were my caretakers. Instead of showing me love and affection, my caretakers in life were the ones manipulating all that a young child holds sacred in this world. This affected me for many years to come and there is still not a day that goes by where the effects are not felt. The shame and guilt carried as a result of these acts was tremendous.

After I was hospitalized for paralysis, I suffered a harsh treatment from the family giving me the silent treatment. Even though this biological connection had been disrupted before in my life, this time is was permanent. Once again, having a family completely reject you through some of the most hate filled words of a letter was painful beyond imagination. The only way to survive this torment and trauma was cutting off all ties with them. Their silent treatment and manipulation was the final dagger to my heart. By silent treatment, I imply that unless you did as the family expected, you were the outcast. Various forms of the silent treatment were used to bring you back in line, if you did not come to your senses as the family would suggest.

Through each of these severed biological connections, I was forced into a world of trauma and banishment. Not having these connections, stole the foundations of my life from me. While I have worked to build the foundations later in my life, I find that it is extremely difficult. For when these things are missed, it is as if you are putting half baked bricks together without cement in building the walls of your life. There is no way that these walls can stand the test of time.

So with courage, determination and hard work, I have been able to deconstruct some of these walls and begin building up my own walls. It is neither an easy process or a fast one. Missing those biological connections so early in life has clouded my view of what others consider to be normal experiences. I continue to build the walls of my life replacing those missed biological connections with new experiences.

Anyone who has experienced these things in life, knows that the steps to healing are difficult and few really understand the process. In order to survive and grow in life, it becomes a necessary step of healing. The bumps and bruises along the way are painful but each time a block is added to the wall, there is cause for celebration and joy.

(Above Picture taken - (c) 12/05/06)

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Curse Of Being Sensitive

Some people observe others who are happy, sad, depressed, or angry. For me personally, I not only observe this in others but then I feel all of their happy, sad, depressed, or angry feelings. I can feel these things in others from a distance. I can feel these things as a collective feeling of the environment around me. It is as if I'm watching scene after scene in a movie. It is no more difficult than that for me to pick up.

Of course, there is much more to it than my simple description above. It is highly involved. Often I fear that I pick up more than each individual actually realizes is going on within their own mind and body. Most likely, if people actually knew all that I picked up, they would run away from me in a frightened state of panic. I choose to keep this to myself in many ways as a result.

I do realize I am one of those highly sensitive people. Some days, I consider this to be a curse. Even though I know it is helpful to me in life in many different ways, being so sensitive is a heavy responsibility and load that I carry. My interaction with people are not just hello and goodbye. If it were only that easy, I would rejoice. My interactions are much more than this. I would not know what it meant, to be around others and not pick anything up.

While I do not ask for this and some days I curse it, I know it is who I am. I realize that many days I do not fully realize all that I pick up from others. It feels like a flood of information gushing from a giant hose. If I searched for a valve to stop it, I would not find one. Even after living with this all of my life, I still do not understand it. It scares and frightens me. Some days I have no rest from it.

I have been told that being sensitive is a good thing. Yet, at times in life, I feel tormented by it. When I was a young child, I grew up in an atmosphere that did not welcome it. My sensitivity did not fit in. Often, I was overwhelmed by all the insensitivity I lived around. My body felt all that was going on, while my eyes witnessed the events and my ears heard the cries. There were never enough silent tears of anguish for me to shed.

To this day and moment, I feel from such a distance to all that is going on around me. I am not even certain what all it is that I am picking up. It feels like information overload. I seek moments of peace far away from the lights, sounds, actions, movements and people. As I wrote in a poem that when I feel bombs bursting, I seek safety in the ground.

This world and this life is not an easy one to be a highly sensitive person. I have no idea if there is an easy way to live with this or if it will always be this difficult. I have no idea the shape or dimensions this side of me will take as I grow in life. Will it become clearer to me or will it disappear completely?

I would like to believe that with time, I will begin to understand more the ability that I possess. I would like to know that it would be there when it was most beneficial and would give me peace when it was not necessary. I would enjoy finding more moments of peace within my day even if this sensitivity remains on high alert. This is my hope.

(Above Picture - (c) 08/19/10)

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Friday, October 8, 2010

I Was Silenced

Some days I want to act as if nothing ever happened to me in life. I want to feel like my life was one of living a normal life like so many others do in our country. I want to not have to think for one more minute in my life about the horrors of hell that I've been through. Many say that this is something you can do if you want to. I say, they have not walked a mile in my shoes.

So many things that I remember and so many things that connect me back to my childhood days are nothing but pain, suffering and misery. Yes, there were some good moments and fun things that happened, but in amongst those things, the horrors came out in force. It was as if you had one moment that was fun and exciting, the horror was mixed within it so that you could not tell one from the other. They were separate but one and the same.

It angers me to no end every time these things crop up and fill my conscious thoughts. They have distorted every view of life that I hold and robbed me of so many things I long for. There is not a day that goes by where I don't listen to the screams of these haunted shadows in the corner. There is not a day that goes by where my actions, my thoughts and my hopes are not influenced by what took place.

The hell that I live through and the hell that invades my body feels like a never ending supply of nourishment that I'd rather not eat. The vile of puke that invades my mouth when I see the pictures of those that did the things to me fills my every sense with disgust filth. I often wonder, do I really have the energy, the courage and the determination to see the fight through that lies before my eyes. I keep telling myself yes, but then I'm constantly reminded of the hell in life.

My mind will never understand what was done to me. My heart will never accept the lies that were told to me. Yet my mind and my heart often struggle to communicate. I'll never know what true love of a father is or for that matter, what true love from those who bore me really means in life. I did not experience it. There is no explanation that can make up for all that was done. The words of our language are not that powerful and broad.

Healing has shown itself to me but there feels like a million miles that await beyond my grasp. It feels like a carrot that dangles in the wind, enticing me forward only to mock my slowness in reaching to capture it. While I cannot discount how far I have walked on this journey, I become angry at times that I even must walk this journey. I question why does it exist? I question why must I be the one to walk the thousands of miles.

Never in a million years will I understand why I endured the pain of many lifetimes in this current existence. I know all I can do is prove my abusers wrong by coming out victorious in the end. This the greatest arrow I can unleash upon their existence in life.

It is a story that many have tried to silence me on. It is however, a story that must be told. For if I allow this story to lie in a secret grave, I am only allowing it to feed upon others in our midst. There are far too many that tread upon the waters of life as if none of this ever happens when in fact, it often happens right before their very own eyes.

One day, I'll be able to write with detail and clarity all that happened in my life. The abusers will be held up to the light of day for all that they did and their dirty lies and secrets will no longer inhabit a home within my body. One day, they will answer for all that they inflicted upon me and others, and they too will have to account for every bit of it. Of course, they that did this to me and others, know exactly their identity.

One day, there will be freedom from these things and the pains and hurts of the past will diminish with time. With hope, the body and the mind will be able to travel onward in life putting the distance of a thousand oceans between all that happened. I was silenced for too many years of my life but no longer will I live in silence. This story must be told. The facts must show through and the abusers be held to the light.

(Above Picture taken at Deltona, FL - (c) 11/03/09)

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fear Of New Beginnings

New beginnings in life can be scary and full of challenges. We are so familiar with what we know in life, that the unknown and the unfamiliar are strangers to us. It is like we are traveling into a foggy night. It is a road we have never traveled. Often, our fears seem insurmountable.

Without new beginnings, our life would become dull and boring. We would not grow and evolve the way we were meant. We would be sitting on the sidelines staring at what was taking place, rather than being part of life.

Sometimes we feel pulled and pushed in certain directions. While these influences may be noble and positive, they may be holding us back in our lives. These influences can come in many shapes and sizes. It is up to each one of us to determine where we will place our feet on the bridge of the path we are walking.

It is fine if we do not necessarily know where to place our feet as we take a step. Part of our journey is not knowing what lies ahead. With courage, we allow ourselves to take a step in discovery. We allow ourselves to push past the fears that are lined up around us.

Taking the step gets us from the unfamiliar to the familiar in our lives. It is in the energy of that motion that we will find our power and strength to continue walking along our journey.

(Above Picture taken at the Lighthouse, Ponce Inlet, FL - (c) 09/14/10)

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