Just before waking yesterday I found myself briefly suspended in a kind of sleepy half state. A place somewhere just over the rainbow where happy little bluebirds of consciousness fly, bringing joy to all who witness them.
Whilst in this suspended dreamlike state I found myself overlooking a vast forest canopy that was bathed in the golden light of the sun. I had no form I could identify with. I was simply an observer and I did so happily.
The canopy was dense and I knew that hardly any light would reach the forest floor. I wondered what this would mean for the future of the forest.
I was reminded then of a forest fire. How the destruction of the old clears a path for the sun and then over time, as if by magic, a whole new forest takes the place of the old.
There are many things planted in the earth, unseen and unknown to us, waiting patiently for the first rays of sun to fall upon them to start the process of growth. Awakening life.
It seems to me that the process of spiritual awakening is like a forest fire. Deep within us are seeds of consciousness that wait patiently for the first rays of sun, the light of awareness to reach us. But in order for this light to reach us we may first have to experience some kind of destruction or change in our lives. It may be painful. But rest assured that once we have been touched by the light of awareness our growth will be unstoppable, and over time magical things will occur for us that awaken us to our true nature and our connection to all that is.
May the light of awareness fall upon you and fill your heart with joy.
Two nights ago I had a dream I’d like to share with you.
I was a child again playing outside and exploring nature with two of my friends from primary school. As we were playing we found a children’s book and so we sat down together to read it. In it was written a single poem…
She looked upon the garden one last time.
The clock on the mantle said it was time.
With moistened eyes she drew the curtain,
and closed her eyes to life, uncertain.
Oh apple with your rosy, golden hue,
what sweet delight I’ve found in you.
I hold you in my hands so dear,
and as I remember, alas I tear.
At the memory of my mother’s voice, as she relayed your passing.
And the freshly plucked apple I held so dear,
but I knew that too was dying.
I held an apple the next year too,
in memory of you.
And marvelled at the apple tree,
that grew, and grew and grew.
For not only did it give apples again,
the next year,
and each thereafter,
but it grew taller too.
As if it knew that the woman who had planted the seed,
had not gone from us,
but had returned to the earth,
to begin her life anew.
I really have no idea why I dreamt about this poem, or why I felt compelled to write it down in the middle of the night. In my dream the book had beautiful illustrations that suited the story perfectly but I don’t have the skills to bring those to life. I can only write the poem. I hope you enjoy it.
Wishing you much love as always,
I hope this blog post finds you well as we deal with the current challenges of our time.
I wanted to share with you an extract from one of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho, as written in his book, Manual of the warrior of light.
The warrior of light has learned that God uses solitude to teach us how to live with other people.
He uses rage to show us the infinite value of peace. He uses boredom to underline the importance of adventure and spontaneity.
God uses silence to teach us to use words responsibly. He uses tiredness so that we can understand the value in waking up. He uses illness to underline the blessing of good health.
God uses fire to teach us about water. He uses earth so we can understand the value of air. He uses death to show us the importance of life.
I’d like to use this time of solitude to reconnect with my soul and truly listen to my heart’s desires.
Life, like us, is precious and fragile, and each new day presents us with an opportunity to embrace all that is good.
I’ve much to be grateful for and moving forward I would like to channel my energies into all those things that give my life value.
When the lockdown ends I pray that we are all able to connect with those dear to us and embrace new friends. If you think about it, we are all friends of friends, it’s just that we haven’t all met.
I pray we are all able to find peace and have the freedom to live our lives according to our own values and beliefs.
And I pray that we all realise that misfortune is not necessarily a malevolent force that works against us, but one that has the power to steer us in a different direction towards greater things. Greater peace, greater understanding and unconditional love.
Wishing you much love, peace and good health during this time and always.
Today I made the first entry into a happiness diary that was given to me by a friend. The diary encourages you to record anything that makes you smile each day over the course of a year.
Walking my dog today I passed a house, and as I was passing, a man who I am assuming was in his late fifties, practically skipped out of the doorway singing a song. Seeing this made my heart smile today.
And straight away I thought, that’s going in the happiness diary! And then I thought, how incredible it is that this man, who I’ve never seen before, has absolutely no idea that his joyful energy will be the first thing I record in my happiness diary! And as I thought about that and actually filled in the diary I thought, why not blog about it?
So this man, who I am assuming is in his late fifties, has absolutely no idea that today he has been written about not only in a strangers happiness diary but also in her blog.
My point is this, whether we know it or not, our presence in this world matters and we have the power to make others happy just by being ourselves.
So let’s focus on what makes us happy as we move into the new year, for the benefit of others and ourselves.
With much love always,
Firstly, apologies to my followers for the lack of posts lately.
I’ve made a lot of changes in my life over the past few months. I’ve changed jobs, taken on some new voluntary work and started college.
All of these steps I have taken in pursuit of a dream I have of creating a not for profit community interest company, offering practical and emotional support to women whose lives have been affected by abuse.
I am happy to report that I am well on my way to trialing my first official twelve week programme, with the support of an experienced counsellor and yoga teacher.
As exciting as all this is, unfortunately I have also been experiencing a lot of fear, which has for a time silenced me in terms of writing.
Which brings me onto what I wanted to discuss, doubt and fear.
Recently a friend recommended I read a book called ‘The body keeps the score’, by Bessel Van Der Kolk, which is all about the ‘mind, brain, and body in the transformation of trauma’.
I have almost finished reading it and have found its content fascinating. Did you know that trauma, and in particular sexual abuse, can have as much of a physical effect on the brain as a stroke?
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has experienced trauma and to all those working with traumatised people.
Near the beginning of the book there is a quote I read that reminded me of something I wrote ten years ago.
“Doubts are like our fears and should be treated as such. They will never a leave a person who grows continuously. When you begin to doubt, know that you are in a moment of potential glorious change. Now isn’t that magnificent.”
I wrote this after completing my first six minute mile. I was on a treadmill and approaching the end of my fourth mile. I had five miles to run in total and I realised that if I upped my pace to a six minute mile, I’d finish my run in 34 minutes, which at the time would mean a new personal best for me. I didn’t know if I could achieve it but I was willing to try.
I increased my pace and after the first three minutes I began to doubt myself. I then became afraid that I might fall off the treadmill. And as my lungs began to worker harder than they ever had before I was hit with an almost overwhelming urge to hit the stop button, or reduce my pace right down to a steady jog, however I persevered, and to my surprise I completed the last two minutes without the overwhelming feeling that I needed to stop.
And so I realised that for as long as I was aiming for new goals in my life, it was likely that at some point on that journey I would encounter doubt and fear.
Plunging into the unknown is scary. There are no guarantees of success. However, I truly believe that self doubt, like fear, is there only as a guide to help protect you. A personal invitation to step outside of your comfort zone, and not, an instruction to ‘hit the stop button’.
And so I will leave you now with the quote I read which inspired this post.
“The greater the doubt, the greater the awakening; the smaller the doubt, the smaller the awakening. No doubt, no awakening.” C.-C. Chang.
So go on and take a leap of faith once in a while, the results may transform you.
With much love to you,
I was three years old the first time I watched the darkness disappear. I didn’t know it was a sunrise.
All I knew was that somehow, the darkness that had created a fear in me and taken away my vision, was now slowly being replaced by light, and there was nothing the sleeping monster could do to stop it.
I instinctively knew that this light was bigger than me. It was bigger than the sleeping monster. It was even bigger than the darkness, and this knowledge gave my heart courage.
Little by little the light made its gentle way over the backs of the chairs, over the sleeping monster, and over me, filling the room and restoring my vision.
As I looked out of the window I could see all that I thought the darkness had stolen and I knew then that I need not be afraid of the dark.
Today I have experienced an unexpected trigger.
Psych central describes a trigger as ‘something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma’.
Triggers are usually set off by something associated with one or more of the five senses – smell, sound, sight, touch and taste.
Today my trigger happened like this…I was out walking the dog when I noticed a parked car that had its rear passenger door open. As I passed the car I was hit with a new car smell that took me right back to being a 13 year old girl, stuck in the back of a car that was taking me to be trafficked.
The smell filled my nose and even my mouth and I felt like my breath had been taken away. My head was filled with the view I had as a 13 year old girl sat in the back of the car. I could feel the fear I experienced then as though it was happening to me right now.
As you can imagine this experience was extremely upsetting and completely unwelcome and unwanted.
Triggers can happen at anytime and are just one of the realties of life after abuse that many survivour’s have to endure. They are very open ended in that they can occur at any time after experiencing trauma and there is no way to predict how long a person could be affected by them.
I personally have accepted the fact that I could be affected by triggers for the rest of my life. This acceptance has gone a long way towards helping me deal with triggers as and when they happen.
So what can you do to help yourself after experiencing a trigger?
Here’s what I did today…
- Immediately after the trigger I was able to recognise and accept the situation for what it was.
- I then reminded myself that I was no longer a 13 year old girl in a situation I could not control, but an adult living a life of my own choosing.
- I then practised gratitude, giving thanks for as many things I could think of that I am thankful for right now, today.
- I then used some of my five senses to help keep me grounded in the present moment, focussing on what I was experiencing now.
After the initial fear and panic created by a particularly upsetting trigger has passed, I know that I am usually left with a deep sense of sadness that lingers around usually until the next day, so for the rest of that day I am mindful of taking care of myself.
For me this might mean taking some time to myself or reaching out to someone I trust. I might have a bubble bath, watch a film or read a book.
Today I have reached out to you.
I hope that my thoughts on triggers and how to cope with them will be useful to any readers who are experiencing them too.
Please do not suffer in silence. There are many organisations and counsellors out there who know how to help you help yourself if you are struggling.
Thanks for reading,
Today marks one year since my story of fighting back was published.
Sharing my story is just one of the ways I have fought back and I have done so not only for myself, but for anyone else out there who may need a reminder that they are not alone, there is always hope, and that much beauty can be found from pain.
I am incredibly thankful to all of the readers who have taken the time to read my story, and to all those who have reached out to let me know how much my story has helped them.
I had no idea of just how many people I would reach when my story was first published and from so many different parts of the world too!
I hope that my story will continue to help and inspire others for many years to come.
With much love and gratitude,