Roots

This week has been full of emotional challenges for me. I have had to ‘dig deep’ to keep myself focussed and get through it. Thursday was by far the worst day I have had for a long time.

I woke up after having an unpleasant dream about Denver House. In the dream I was an adult and had returned to the children’s home. I walked into the office to find that the whole of the front window had been removed. Beyond that I noticed a flower bed that was full of dead sunflowers. In my dream I climbed through the hole where the window had been. I then sat amongst the dead sunflowers and wept as I cradled their crumpled remains in my hands.

Thursday was also a very bright and sunny day. For me this can trigger very unpleasant memories and feelings about my childhood, but I was determined not to be dragged down, so I got myself out of bed and went for a run. Feeling brighter I decided to finish my workout with some kettlebell exercises. As I was finishing my last set of repetitions I happened to look up at the light fitting on the ceiling and was horrified to see my mothers living room window reflected in it instead of my own. Sometimes things like that can happen when I am having a difficult day.

I was due to attend an appointment so I tried to push the incident out of my mind and concentrate on that instead. On the way there I made the mistake of buying a magazine that contained an article about my book, based on an interview I gave. I was early for my appointment so decided to read it. I wasn’t happy with what the journalist had written and my resolve not to be dragged down dissolved.

I felt distracted during my appointment and was fighting hard not to let my emotions get the better of me. I lost that fight. I returned to my car to see that I had been given a parking ticket because I had mistakenly placed my ticket face down on the dashboard. I am smiling as I write this now, but I certainly wasn’t smiling then!

Later that evening, after taking a class at the boxing gym, I decided to call in the shop and buy something for my dinner. On the way out I noticed that I had been short changed. I returned home to find that someone had parked in my space. That almost never happens and I just couldn’t wait to go to bed. Please keep reading as there is a happy ending I promise you!

On Friday morning I attended a course designed to improve self esteem and confidence. I was dubious about it at first but as the day progressed I could feel my mood improving. On my way home I had what I can only describe as a revelation about why I struggle so much on sunny days, and it has truly been life changing for me.

I realised that the reason that a sunny day affects me is not because it reminds me of not being able to move around in my room as a child, but because it reminds me that I was not able to be myself as a child. Any form of self expression was punished so severely that I learnt to sit in the middle of my room and not move or express myself at all, and that is what causes my depression on sunny days.

I have learnt to fear being myself and it has made me desperately unhappy. I have such a strong sense of who I am, and having to keep that hidden away takes a lot of energy and focus, and it is exhausting.

I know now that it is time for me to be.

On Saturday morning the sun was shining, and for the first time in at least twenty years, I couldn’t wait to go outside and enjoy it. I was excited and as I made my way to the gym I felt blessed and allowed myself to be happy, knowing that it is safe to do so.

I imagined my four year old self sat on my knee as I drove, and in my mind I explained to her that she is now blooming and that all of her time spent in the darkness has made her light so strong, that now she has broken through, nothing will ever be able to hide it away again.

I imagined how I might have felt hearing those words as a four year old, and as I was doing so I had to stop at a crossing. A young girl of about four or five was crossing the road with what I assumed to be her father. The little girl was happily chatting away and her father was attentive and smiling and holding her hand. The girl waved at me and smiled and I waved back. I explained to my four year old self that she was free to be herself now just like the girl who had waved.

The sun has been a recurrent theme for me this week. The sun never gave up shining on me even when I had given up on the sun. Don’t ever give up on yourself, even when everything seems grey, because you never know when the sun is going to break through, and pull you through.

Roots

The roots of a flower are in constant darkness. They find nourishment in this darkness so that the flower is able to grow continuously towards the light. Like a flower, we too are in need of the ability to find nourishment in darkness if we are to blossom.

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When I am in need of shelter

Hot wet tears scald my cheek.

Oh what I’d give, for the courage to speak.

But when I open my mouth,

All I can say is I’m sorry.

I’m ashamed of my feelings.

I’m scared of them too.

How could I ever explain that to you?

So I put pen to paper,

And hope that in time,

I will be able tell you, what goes on inside.

It’s lonely here. I’m tired and aching.

I don’t want to give up, but my soul,

its breaking.

Who can I turn to?

Who can I trust?

When I am in need of shelter.

With no loving family to embrace,

No lovers arms as a resting place,

I look to the sky and I hope for the best as I pray to the universe for the answer.

And as I taste the saltiness of my tears,

I am reminded that just as the waves are a part of the ocean, I too am a part of something much bigger.

And the thought soothes me,

For a while.

The writing on the wall

The following short story is based on a dream I had.

I hope you enjoy it.

It was a day like any other, or so it seemed to some. I don’t believe any two days are alike. There is always something new to be discovered if you look hard enough. A young flower may have found the strength to blossom on the morning after a night of heavy rain, whilst another may have succumbed to it and been destroyed.

My point is, that there is always something different. Maybe something has been added, or maybe something has been taken away, but whatever the difference, each day that passes is undeniably different to the one that went before it. Life does not stand still.

I found this day to be a strange one. I was a stranger, in a strange town, in a strange country, amongst a strange people. I wondered if I was seen as strange here. Perhaps strange is a word that best describes our own feelings about something new, rather than being a true account of whatever it is we believe we are describing. A word we associate with fear that we use to describe something that we are afraid of.

On the morning after my first night in this new country I woke at first light and set off to explore it. Many travellers before me have come to explore this country and it is said that many of them are never seen again. It is a magical country, I am told, and contains within its very essence, the very first sparks of love and peace that have existed long before the dawn of time. Here, I am told, you can find happiness and freedom if your heart is pure and your intentions good.

I hadn’t been travelling for long when I came across a tower made of stone. It reminded me of the towers I had discovered in the fairy tales I had read to myself as a child. This one was different though. It climbed high into the sky and had no visible entrance or way of access to the room I could see at the top of it. I called out hoping for assistance but was disappointed when none was offered. The tower was empty and I was alone.

As we are in an age of technology, I decided to take out my phone and call a friend for advice. But I was left disappointed again, for although this time I was given a response, it was not one I wanted to hear. My friend was adamant that I should stay away from the tower at all costs. The tower was a magic one and there was no one alive who could claim to have climbed it.

It was apparently, an impossible task to reach the room at the top of the tower and that it was precisely at this point, at the foot of the tower where I was stood, where the travellers before me had disappeared. I thanked my friend for their advice but I would not be deterred. I was sure of the pureness of my heart and I knew that my intentions were good. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to know peace and freedom.

I took another step towards the tower and decided that I would try to feel for a secret or hidden door. I placed both hands on the tower and in a flash I was transported to the room at the top it. The room had a stone floor, a stone ceiling and stone walls. There was no doorway but it did have a window.

I took a closer look around and noticed that from floor to ceiling there were rows upon rows of ancient writings etched onto the walls. There were many writings that had been written in languages I could recognise but not understand, and there were many that had been written in what I knew must be, as yet undiscovered languages. The writings that were written in my native language talked of peace and love.

I was astounded and the experience was one of enlightenment. I felt those words and their meanings flow through me and merge with my soul. It was almost as if I had ceased to exist and had been reborn. I was now the writing on the wall. But all too soon the reality of my situation descended upon me and my feelings of enlightenment gave way to feelings of fear. There was no doorway in this room, only a window. How was I going to get out?

I placed my hands on the wall as I had done outside of the tower but nothing happened. I panicked and again rang my friend for advice. My friend was sorry for my predicament but did not believe that anyone could help me now that I was actually inside the tower. For it was a magic tower after all and there was no one alive to explain its mysteries. I promptly said my goodbyes and hurled my phone out of the window. I was angry and frustrated.

I paced around the room for hours, reading and re-reading the ancient writings. When I could read no more I went and sat in the middle of the room. I looked towards the window and felt my anger and frustration return. What good was a magic tower full of ancient wisdom if the people of the land could not find and access it? I had managed to enter it and absorb its teachings, but what use was I if I could not escape from the tower?

Immediately after this chain of thought my eyes were drawn to a carving of a rain cloud as the rain fell from it. I could not remember viewing this particular carving and had no idea how I had missed it, but I knew immediately what I had to do now in order to escape from the tower. I had to wait for the rain.

I now understood the magic of the tower and its message to me was clear. I had become exactly like the tower. Over the years, I realised that I had been building my own magic tower in order to protect myself. As the days passed the walls grew higher and higher until one day the only room I had left to be myself in, was the room inside of my head.

In an attempt to protect myself from all that was unfamiliar to me I had walled myself in and separated myself from people and even my own emotions, and all that was visible to anyone looking in my direction was the tower that I had built. So great was this tower that there was no one alive who could climb it. Like the magical tower, I was full of wisdom, but what use was that if I did not share it. I was full of love, but what did that matter if I could not give or receive it?

As I contemplated this it began to rain and instead of trying to shelter from it I went to the window and embraced it. I felt it wash away all that was unnecessary and useless to me now. I closed my eyes in gratitude and when I opened them I found myself back at the foot of the tower where it had all began. And there I stood in the rain, visible, happy and at peace, refreshed and ready to start my life anew; ready to share my wisdom.

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Angels and Demons

A weary traveller was sent an angel and a demon to accompany him on his journey towards a destination that had been marked out on a map and given to him by God. Along the way the angel revealed many blessings whilst the demon revealed only curses.

The traveller chose to remain silent during the journey. He keenly observed his traveling companions and listened intently as they spoke, fascinated by their different interpretations of the path they were travelling along. To him, the path had been an ordinary one until the arrival of the angel and the demon.

The traveller noticed that when the angel spoke he felt renewed, as though he had only just begun his journey. He felt connected to the world around him and was stunned by its beauty. When the demon spoke he felt deflated and alone, and everything around him seemed to wither and lose its sparkle.

Upon arrival, the angel took a step forward and named the destination that had been marked out on the map, heaven. The demon stepped forward to call it hell. Then the traveller stepped forward and smiled as he realised what the purpose of his travelling companions had been.

As the traveller thought about the journey he had just completed he fell to his knees in gratitude, ignoring the demon and counting his blessings like the angel, and thanking God for both of his travelling companions who ensured that he reached his destination.

I believe that heaven and hell are states of mind.

It is easy to switch back and forth between these states, especially after enduring abuse, and this can be exhausting for both adults and children alike.

Make sure that you surround yourself with angels.

As children we have no control over this but as adults we most definitely do.

Trust your instincts. A persons energy will tell you all you need to know. Pay attention to how the people around you make you feel. It is important.

You are important.

And let’s not forget to count our blessings!

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Do you believe in God?

I was recently asked the question, “Do you believe in God?”As today is Easter Sunday I will attempt to answer it.

I do believe in God, however for me, God is not a “being” or something that is associated with any kind of organised religion.

I wrote the note below six years ago when I was still in a dark place. I hope it goes some way to explaining exactly what it is that I think of when I think of the word, God.

My tears will not be in vain.

My anguish will not be without reward.

My suffering will lead me to peace and I shall know joy in heaven.

For heaven is on earth, and in death, with these words, I will be immortalised forever more as a messenger of the kingdom of God.

For maybe God is a petal from a flower, or a simple blade of grass.

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Wishing you a wonderful Easter,

Love,

Zoe