Pain and beauty

This week I had a very bad nightmare about being sexually abused. It was so bad that it made me physically sick. It is hard to get yourself ready to face the day ahead after a nightmare like that. I felt like I had been sexually abused all over again.

For me, some days are easier to get through than others after a bad night but on this particular day I felt like I was just going through the motions. I felt lost, lonely and disconnected from everything and everyone. My pain would not subside and it demanded all of my attention. Pain is great at doing that!

No matter how hard I tried to focus on the present moment my thoughts kept drifting back to the nightmare I’d had, which then triggered other memories of past abuse that left me reeling. By the end of the day I was physically and mentally exhausted.

From experience I knew that if I wanted this pain to pass there was nothing left for me to do but accept the fact that I was hurting and actually let myself hurt. I was reluctant to do this because I knew it would be unpleasant and uncomfortable, and let’s face it, who wants to feel like that? This knowledge made me angry.

From experience I know that it is sometimes easier to sit with the anger that so often accompanies pain. Feeling angry can dull the sense of pain you are feeling. Sometimes feeling angry can give you a sense of control when in reality, we often have no control over the things that have caused us pain.

From experience I know that anger can prevent you from accepting what has been which in turn prevents you from accepting what is and being able to move forward with your life. When you begin to release your anger and start to feel the pain behind it you can easily become overwhelmed. It is a scary process. I would like to share with you some thoughts I have when I am dealing with my own pain in relation to being abused.

When I was being sexually abused I was not safe. I lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety. Survival was my greatest concern. So great was this concern that it was virtually impossible for me to envision a future for myself. I couldn’t imagine a world beyond the one I was accustomed to and I didn’t expect to survive past the age of 16. My world was tiny.

Today, at the age of 30 I am finally safe and I am no longer subject to abuse. When I am having a difficult day and am troubled by memories of abuse I remind myself of some of the things I know now that I was unaware of back then. A lot of these things are to do with nature and the planet we live on.

When I am in pain because of unwanted memories of past abuse I find it incredible to think that as I was being abused and living through the loneliest times of my life, thousands of miles away from Denver House there were families of wild African elephants travelling together and very probably giving and receiving more love in their family unit than I had ever experienced in my own.

There were exotic looking flowers and plants bursting with colour and life that I had no idea existed. There were amazing foods that I had yet to taste. The list goes on…

I take great comfort from these thoughts because they have taught me that the world is so much bigger than my own personal pain and suffering. I believe that there is so much more beauty than pain in the world when you are ready and willing to see it. I know that I won’t ever be able to erase from my heart the pain I’ve known but I am grateful that I have been able to find the beauty in it.

African elephant family
Lady’s slipper orchid
Roasted purple potato



Unconditional love

A few months agoIMG_1454 my dog discovered a frog in the back garden (see photograph). Those of you reading this post having read my book will know that my mother used to kill frogs for her own amusement as a child. I was reminded of this fact myself after I had finished rescuing our unexpected visitor and setting it free.

As I look at this photograph today and think about my mother I am reminded of a quote by the Roman playwright, Terence.


“I am human, nothing human can be alien to me.”


When I first read this quote I had some difficulty believing it to be true. Now however, I am inclined to believe it, for although I can not comprehend what it is that has caused my mother to do some of the terrible things she has done, she is still my mother, and she is still a human being.

When I think of my mother as a human being I picture a damaged woman. A woman who has been so affected by her circumstances that she is unable to feel empathy or even love. It is ironic that I can only empathise with her because of her own mistreatment of me.

It is also perhaps ironic  that my mother  has unintentionally taught me everything I know about unconditional love. And let me tell you that there is freedom to be found in unconditional love.

Who knows what it is that leads us to make the decisions we make? Who can say for certain what they would or would not be capable of when faced with a particular set of circumstances? We are only human after all.

What I do know is that I love my mother unconditionally and that I do not need a relationship with her to be able to do this. I do not need her to take responsibility for her actions. I do not need an apology.

I love my mother unconditionally because I too am a human being. I am a human being that is capable of love. I have a choice in everything I do. I choose to love because it sets me free. It also sets my mother free.


First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

This week I received an advance copy of my book.

For many years now I have wanted to share my story.

The thought that I may be able to help others by sharing my own experiences has been an important factor in my own recovery and healing process. It has given my suffering meaning and with this I am able to rise each morning, count my blessings and, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, ‘live deliberately’.

Well…I try!

Unfortunately this week I have also been plagued with nightmares. It has been exhausting.

Last night I had some particularly disturbing nightmares about the abuse I suffered whilst living at Denver House. After waking for a third time I called for my dog. She knows this routine well now. She dived under the covers, turned herself around and then settled down next to me with her head resting on the opposite pillow.

Having her next to me and listening to her breathing (snoring) helped me to ground myself in the present and go back to sleep.

This time I had a wonderful dream that I would like to share with you.

I dreamt that I was cycling along a winding, cobbled road that climbed a steep hill. I was tired and it was dark. The bike I had was not suited to the road I was riding along which made the journey difficult but I would not allow myself to stop. I had a sense that I was almost where I needed to be although I had no idea where I was or where I was going.

I kept on cycling until I reached a flat surface on the hill. I stopped just as the sun began to rise. As it rose it spilled light over everything below it, revealing a beautiful town just on the other side of the hill. Beyond the town I could see the ocean glistening.

I like the way the light of the sun takes the place of the night’s darkness each morning.

I am grateful that I am enveloped by this light every day no matter how long the night before it.

The sunrise reminds me that light finds it’s way into all places in the same way that our inner light will shine through an open heart and wash over all of the darkness we have known.

Let us promise to keep rising and shining!