PTSD Conversation. November 21, 2022

Our body remembers and keeps track. This is a recently acquired piece of information that explains a whole lot of things for me.

Memory suppression is a coping mechanism our minds will use to help us survive life. That has been the truth of my formative years. I have to be intentional about allowing snippets of information to settle in my mind long enough to consider what they might mean. Doing this has been an enlightening experience and explained may things, but it didn’t start happening until I was willing to allow my mind to dwell on the visiting thoughts.

For many decades I refused to entertain the idea of abuse precisely because I had no concrete memories. I suspected but wouldn’t make an accusation I couldn’t prove. A decade or so ago my brother forced me to admit it was true. He used persuasive force so it was all good. I think he remembers more than he was willing to admit. His assertion came out of nowhere although I think he must have been thinking about it for quite some time. It was like he was on a mission to finally talk about it and now was the time.

So back to the body remembering thought. . . It’s kind of funny when I think about it because I have been on a quest for emotional healing for many decades. That would be proof of the body remembers where my mind doesn’t. Subconsciously I knew I had a deep need for healing in my life and over the years I’ve been driven to pursue it relentlessly. The motivation was I want to be well.

It’s something how books, conversations, lectures, stories, all sorts of things, cross my path just when I need them.

Like I said the body remembers concept showed up in the last year or so and it was so helpful. I had been paying attention before but now I was more intentional. Besides noticing physical responses, fight or flight, I started thinking more deeply about the reasons and implications of those reactions. I’ve known forever than I don’t have normal reactions or even interpretations to words or situations, but I want to.

The latest idea for me to explore builds on the last one. Your body remembers and is convinced that danger still exists and raises the alarm to protect you. That’s why we are triggered by anything remotely resembling past dangerous situations. I have many triggers and have yet to figure out what is behind most of them. There are so many because the worst of the abuse stretched over a decade and on top of that there were multiple people involved as well as multiple types of abuse. Both emotional and physical. Then there is the complication that the emotional abuse continued on much longer than a decade.

The idea today was that, to get past these reactions we have to face our triggers/fears, convince our internal memory that all is well and the danger is past. And mostly it is, that’s true.

For a while I have been thinking about changing thought patterns by laying down new memories over the old. Creating new neural pathways. I’ve been thinking about facing and figuring out what caused the triggers in order to understand the why of the triggers, by knowing what happened to me. Understanding what is behind the triggers helps us chase away the proverbial bogey man hiding under the bed or in the closet.

I can see now that finding a way to convince my body that the danger is past and I’m safe, is badly needed.

Easier said than done. But worth a try.

Today’s moment of revelation came in the form of a podcast. It was a valuable conversation between professionals, a clinical psychologist and a popular guest with several degrees in the mental health field. These two come at the conversation from different perspectives and it has given me food for thought that will be around for some time to come.

One more much needed building block on the journey.

Here is the link. They had so much more to say that is worth hearing.

https://youtu.be/B_373YVlnDA

Among many others they talked about answering the question – What do you want? a serious question that most of us cannot articulate. Possibly because no one has ever asked us that question. At least not in a serious, really wanting to know, kind of way. It’s usually more like – what do You want? That’s the first thought that popped into my head as I wrote the first question. Sad. Probably heard that version a lot as a kid.

I have to say they covered a lot of ground in the hour long podcast.

Anyway, their enlightening conversation was definitely worth the time.

Until next time

Hope this makes sense, didn’t leave enough time for needed rewrites.

Free books October 13, 2022

Can you believe it? It’s snowing in our part of the world. It’s coming down fast and furious but the flakes are too newly formed and much too small to live long. The snow is making a valiant effort though. There is a white strip forming along the fence rails in my yard. Someone 45 minutes away is seeing better progress than I am in the accumulation struggle. It’s fun to see the difference only a few miles can make.

It will be time to put up winter decorations in a couple of days, so says my grandson! I couldn’t agree more.

Snow is exciting but so are books.

BookRunes has a suggestion for us, but I have to warn you, it looks to be blatantly Christian. It also looks like it will deal with less-than-christian practices within the church. I’m sharing this because I want to read it. Maybe a few of you want to as well.

Carry Me Home (New England Inspirations Book 2)

Unlikely friends…

… can be the hardest to let go.

Amanda became a nurse to save as many lives as possible.

After her mother died while being swindled by a church leader, Amanda swore off religion and turned to medical science to solve all of life’s problems.

But when she loses her home and job, and struggles to make a new life in a new town, Amanda’s feeble beliefs can’t withstand the pressure.

Hector’s work on earth is done.

He spent 92 years living, and now he’s ready to spend eternity with his late wife in heaven.

But when a foolish accident lands him in the hospital, he’s saddled with a home nurse who wants to keep Hector alive as long as possible, much to his dismay.

When Amanda meets Hector, their personalities clash, but as they learn to open their hearts and listen to each other, they grow to realize the value of true friendship.

Fans of Karen Kingsbury will enjoy the realistic characters and faith-driven novels by Valerie Howard.

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Another interesting read showed up in the suggestion strip. It may be of a similar focus as the one above but less blatant. I’ve read the book that comes after this one but 2016 is in the far distant past and I don’t remember if I liked it. I’m looking forward to this short story anyway.

Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings): A Novella

Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister’s offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream–even if it means giving up the old?

In this charming novella, debut novelist Sarah Loudin Thomas introduces readers to Wise, West Virginia–a small town nestled in an Appalachian valley where the everyday miracles of life and faith play out in stories of healing, hope, and love.

Includes an excerpt of Miracle in a Dry Season, the first full-length novel in the Appalachian Blessings series–a book New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber called, “Wonderful, simply wonderful.”

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Time has passed and now it’s mostly raining with a few flakes here and there.

I was hoping to wait another week before the yard cleanup crew arrived, there are still a few trees slow to drop their leaves. Now I’m glad they were paying more attention to the weather than I was and they showed up yesterday to clean up the record setting pile of leaves.

It must be all the rain we’ve had this year.

There was trouble with my book order going through today. It’s a mystery why. Hopefully they will show up sometime soon

Hopefully it worked for you.

Happy Reading.

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This and that follow-up. October 09, 2022

Photo by Esranur Kalay on Pexels.com Precious Memories

Last post (October 8th) ended with the promise to-be-continued. I was attempting to publish before midnight to avoid breaking the daily posting chain, that was the reason for the abrupt ending. Needless to say I was too late and we are back to the beginning, again. It was a valiant try, I have to say.

So, I was part way through telling the story of my trip to the grocery store for my contribution to our turkey dinner today. I was working through my list and was having trouble finding the canned cranberry sauce that goes so well with turkey. It’s tart and makes for a nice pairing.

Anyway, here’s the part that was unusual and unforgettable. I spied a young woman stopped in the middle of the aisle looking over her grocery list and I decided to ask her if she knew where the cranberry sauce was. (they keep changing things around just about the time you figure out where things are) It appeared that her family didn’t have cranberry sauce as a tradition because she didn’t really know what I was talking about. I was at a loss as to how to describe it. In a way it is in a category all it’s own. Cranberry is a fruit that it is cooked up like the jam you would put on toast but it is used more like the mustard and ketchup you would add to a sandwich or spread on a hot dog bun. How in the world do you describe that to someone?

We were in the canned fruit aisle and after a complex discussion she thought it was at the end on the top shelf. I said I would check it out but continued on down the aisle away from the section she was describing. I was thinking that sometimes they have racks of seasonal things like cranberry sauce closer to the meat department and thought I would look there first. The cream cheese was on my way there and I was stopped, looking it over, when someone approached me from behind.

It was the young woman with a jar in her hand. She had gone back to look over the section she had in mind and found what she thought I was looking for. It was cranberries alright. A fancy version I had never seen before but it looked like it would work.

As I think back, the memorable thing about the encounter was her kindness. She took the time to look for the item I needed and then made the effort to find me and make sure this was what I wanted. What I expected was the usual response where people consider the discussion closed and continue on with their shopping. To have someone go to these lengths for a stranger and to fully engage like she cared was truly amazing. And deeply touching. I think there was a connection we both felt in that moment.

There were clues that we moved in different circles and probably had different life experiences. I knew that when I approached her. But it didn’t matter to me. I looked her in the eyes when we talked and it was a comfortable discussion, it didn’t matter to her either and we were contributing equally.

These encounters don’t happen nearly often enough but when they do they are unforgettable. Something significant passes between us and I, for one, will remember.

Sometimes it’s as little as catching someone’s eyes and smiling. This doesn’t seem like much but a smile can make our day.

It’s true that we all have a need to be seen. Not for show sake but for the deep need in our lonely or hurting hearts.

I will never forget a shopping trip where a father and son came around the end of an aisle I was waiting to go down. The encounter was seconds long and as they passed me I looked into the eyes of the man in the wheelchair and then into the eyes of the older man I assumed was his father pushing it. It shook me to my core. The meeting felt like it was meant to be. I can’t express what I saw in their eyes. I just knew they needed someone to look in their eyes and see them. To see their pain. I had no idea who they were or anything about them but I don’t think I will ever forget.

Looking into strangers eyes is not something I do often. I’m an introvert and making eye contact is not always easy or comfortable. I am open to the possibility though and as a result all of the memorable encounters have been spontaneous. Maybe my radar is set to recognize hurting people, I don’t know, but when I feel an inner urge to look up I go for it.

I mention this doesn’t come naturally because it would be easy to assume this is just an everyday part of who I am, and that not everyone is like me. Contrary to these impressions it isn’t easy for me. Anyone can do it if they are aware of people around them and are willing to be there for them in some small way. It’s worth it when you make contact with someone needing a smile and maybe a hello. I have many spontaneous encounters I could share and I’ve even joked about writing a book about what, in the moment, feels like a divine encounter.

In another setting I have discovered the importance of thoughtful eye contact.

I think it started out for me as self-protection, looking people in the eye to gauge their intentions for good or evil. To this day there continues to be some element of protectiveness in place when speaking to people I don’t know well. This is where the contact starts, but then it continues to a different level because now I’m interested in what they are saying, or not saying, and I want to know who they are. Some folks are uncomfortable with the intensity of such contact but most of the time it is welcomed and the response often turns into lengthy conversations. The truth is that most people are starving for meaningful contact. We all have a deep need to be seen, heard, and understood.

It still shocks me how deep the needs are out there.

Maybe this recognition of need comes easily to me because I have my own life’s deep unmet need. It takes one to know one as the old saying goes. Multiple interactions have also reinforced the certainty in my mind and heart.

Years ago there was a man who was convinced I was in love with him. I asked him why he would think that. He said it was because I treated him like he was a human being. He felt seen, heard, and worth something. I’m convinced he wouldn’t have thought that way if he was without an unmet need.

I think that was the beginning of the starvation awareness for me. I wish more of us would catch this vision, especially in everyday relationships. Just think of the positive revolution that could happen and what it would mean if we felt secure and valued and offered the same to others.

Have you noticed the deep need phenomenon in people around you?

They say it is more blessed to give than receive. It’s true.

There is something magical that happens inside of us when we set aside our own needs and step up to be there for others.

So this is the rest of the cranberry story. Like other past encounters I’m sure I will have a hard time forgetting this sweet young lady. I don’t even want to. I’m sure our few minutes together will reside in my precious memories box forever.

Try it, you will see I’m right.

More this and that May 06, 2022

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

It’s hard to know which is worse.

Watching the news, any and every news, sounds like a good idea so as not to be caught unaware. After awhile, though, this activity seems toxic and downright depressing.

Unbelievable too. Did he really just say that? Is he aware how his attitude is not helping his public image? Maybe he’s not worried about future re-elections.

It’s often said don’t believe what they say, watch what they do. When I first heard this piece of wisdom it was in relation to abusive men who would say all manner of things to get what they wanted, all the while not meaning any of it. Paying attention to what they do, to steer clear of manipulators, is sound advice.

It takes a lot of practice to go by actions rather than words, though. These people are highly gifted at sounding believable, especially if they put a lot of emotion in it. It’s very easy to believe they are for real. That’s why video footage, especially the unedited kind, exposes the truth. There are lots of undeniable eye opening caught on tape moments that leave us with our jaws dropping on the floor. Some of them are scenes that we can never unsee.

On one hand the state of our countries, Canada and the US, is highly depressing but on the other hand, some bleak looking situations are beginning to change. For awhile it appeared that the corporate and political world was jumping on the new ideas band wagon which did not bode well for many of us.

I think most of us have forgotten how loudly the bottom line speaks into their world. Many of their recent changes and positions were not in the best interest of average shoppers and when we began to change our spending habits they sat up and took notice.

Making changes in who we work for, where we shop, and a multitude of other areas, will surprise us with unexpected positive side effects. We may even find we are happier than we’ve ever been.

It’s hard to believe any of this will change bullies’ behavior but hey, you just never know. Maybe one day they will wake up and discover people’s opinion of them matters a great deal. Especially if they are running for office or working to become richer.

Oh, right, the question which is worse?

The political situation in Canada or the US.

So far, from what I can see listening to facts and opinions, Canada is winning. Not something to feel the least bit happy about.

Free books May 02, 2022

LPC Free books has two suggestions for us, both read and enjoyed several years ago. Stories with substance.

All The Way Home – Ann Tatlock

“Tatlock’s rich descriptions and characterizations are unusually fresh and inventive.”~Publishers Weekly

From a rough section of Los Angeles during the late Depression years, to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s in the South, this novel is a searing portrayal of one family trapped by alcoholism and another living the typical middle class life. A true American story told through the eyes of two girls, best friends, separated by the internment camps of World War II.

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Somewhere a Rainbow (Finding Love in the Low Country Book 4)

Brooke Haddon’s future looks gray… After her unfaithful husband is killed in an auto accident, she faces the challenge of rebuilding her life. With most of her money gone, she takes her five-year-old son to the honeymoon cottage on Hilton Head Island where her marriage began. As a single parent, she wonders how she will manage, and once she arrives on the island, she can’t imagine how she’ll be able to repair a cottage as broken down as her life.

When local carpenter Jake Randolph offers to help, Brooke immediately distrusts him. But as the months pass, she begins to think he may be different from the other men she has known. He begins to melt the emotional ice around her heart. Then Jake admits he’s concealing a secret past. Are Brooke’s hopes of a brighter future about to be destroyed. Or is there a rainbow beyond the storms of heartbreak?

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Two worthwhile reads. Awesome.

Happy Reading!

I’m Not Gonna Worry – April 27, 2022

A fellow blogger shared some tried and true rules for a good life. There were ten and one of them was Never worry.

I have been doing some of that this last while. Fussing over some possible changes coming in my life. Worrying because I don’t know if it will work out, how it will work out, should it work out. If it doesn’t what will I do.

I want to take on a challenge that will require more from me than I have ever put into anything I’ve ever done before. There is always a hurry up and wait time with these things. Maybe that isn’t a bad thing. My vision is being refined as the days go by. Maybe things won’t move until I have worked through all of the details just right.

I try not to indulge in worry because it doesn’t accomplish anything except to make me feel dejected and discouraged. Discouraged is a good word for the way I’ve felt the last week or two. Today’s beautiful sunny day following on the heels of a week or two of a winter storm helped significantly. There is nothing as cheerful as blue skies.

The thought of not worrying reminded me of a song that always lifts my sagging spirits.

I need to listen to it another time or two yet before lights out tonight.

Maybe this will help with end of winter sagging spirits for you too.

I hope it will.

Enjoy

How the Literary Journal Landscape Is and Isn’t Changing — Jane Friedman

An excellent, insightful, helpful article. A Must share. — For the Love of Books

Today’s guest post is a Q&A by Andrea A. Firth (@AndreaAFirth), a writer, editor, and teacher and cofounder of Diablo Writers’ Workshop. Getting published in literary journals is hard—still. Editors routinely say that they often have to turn down good writing. The submission cycle takes months, and months. But some things have changed. No more…

How the Literary Journal Landscape Is and Isn’t Changing — Jane Friedman

Thought for the night March 26, 2022

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Sometimes the goal we’ve set for ourselves does not materialize but something better does.

It’s easy to feel discouraged when the hoped for outcome does not happen. Watching something unfold I’m hearing this sentiment express.

As a uninvolved observer I’m seeing community happening where there was little to none. Individuals are being reminded of what can happen when they work together as a team.

It’s inspiring to this uninvolved observer.

This and that March 22, 2022

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I almost forgot! My daily post to keep the numbers rising for days in a row. Story of my life. Forgetting.

The reason I wasn’t paying attention is from wanting to know what is going on in the world. Podcasts. Some encouraging and some not so much. My favorites are the live streamers who film what is going on without adding commentary or opinion.

I think You Tube and their rules on content actually do us a favor. Actions speak louder than words. Simply watching is enlightening.

Peaceful, in the truest sense of the word, has more effect than any of us realized. We have been able to watch it happen.

More to say but must go. It’s almost tomorrow.