I’ve been thinking a lot about these two things today. I’ve met children during my time teaching that just really struggled to self regulate even though they were trying. Most of the time they managed. Most of the time they were surviving among peers and teachers who were waiting for the next time. And, the next time always arrived.
What I know, is that when the time arrived, they could not recognize that they needed to use a self regulation technique because they were in the throws of a anger/sadness/safety-loss episode. Most of those kids were survivors of trauma, and self-regulation for a trauma survivor is dependent on the absence of triggers. Being triggered, I’ve noticed through watching children, requires a response. If the response doesn’t happen immediately then that emotionally loaded gun is a walking explosive looking for another place to happen. And it will. That is why schools need spaces where a triggered child can process and counselors, if not psychologists are always in the building as contributing school staff.
And what about adults who are trauma sufferers? Vodka certainly isn’t the answer and neither are masking drugs, prescribed long-term. Trauma happens. In many guises. Many times, unpredictably. In fact a trauma survivor can traumatize another, we know that, but what have we done about it?
Step One: Canada is attempting to recognize, normalize, and de-stigmatize mental health.
Step Two: Mental Health specialists are beginning the process of educating the public on the many diverse mental health illnesses.
Step Three: Mental Health experts and the workplace are beginning to advocate for mental ‘fitness’, which may or more likely may not prevent mental illness from occurring.
These steps obviously aren’t enough to fix anything but they are a beginning.
A logical next step would be to ensure that counselling, psychologist and psychiatric visits are covered by our medical plans.
I would also argue that there is a huge need for many, many safe havens specific to particular mental illnesses, staffed with highly skilled psychologists, educators, alternative health practitioners, and psychiatrists who team together to help patients name, manage, and work through recovery. And because I’m focused on trauma sufferers, I would add that these havens need to be immersed in nature.
I’ve often thought, that if I were to land a $ windfall, I’d establish such a place as a model. A safe haven specifically for female sufferers of physical and emotional abuse. A place where they could rest, express, and right themselves. A place where tears, talk, and stillness were considered not just acceptable but important steps toward recovery. A place, when a valley hits and they need support, they could be welcomed back to.
If you have some thoughts, I would love to hear them….
May, 2017. It’s been winter coat cold and bathing suit hot. It’s been lie on the couch dull and over the top fun. May has been memorably odd. There’s been quirky good visits, specimen tree murders, indescribable natural beauty and some history repeating itself. May, 2017. It’s also the month I finally decided to give notice to my 30+ year employer; and even though I’m tired of that life enriching, energy sucking, soul stretching, pocketbook shrinking career, I’m not ready for the rocker just yet.
May, 2017. It’s time to get serious about how I want to reinvent my skills. Combined with the life teachings I’ve acquired, I know I can still serve. This time, completely on my terms.
Today at the grocery store I ran into an old friend I haven’t spent time with in ages. He reminisced about the delicious multi-course meals I’d prepare when we got together and then decided I needed to open a restaurant. I used to think I’d do that one day. Now…no. I don’t cook much, I limit gluten, and consider carefully what will and will not cause heartburn or wakefulness in my nights. I suspect many people over the age of 55 do. Life changes. It felt nice to be remembered fondly, though. One day, just for fun, maybe we will get together for a dinner party again.
I think about life coaching, I think about running a gift shop, I think about writing a book or six, I think about travel writing, I think about curriculum design for business and education, I think about marketing my art and pattern designs for use on products, I think about doing government contract work, I think about offering art workshops off and on-line, I think about offering destination art classes, …and I get overwhelmed because I want to do it all. Because I could do any of those things and myriad more. I have the skill and money and learning flows easily to me. for example, I’m learning more about art all the time. Two weeks ago I picked up a painting at a thrift shop based on what I recognized in the techniques. It turned out to be worth the 8$ and 3420$ more! Maybe I’ll become a picker! No! …and so…it’s time to create a vision board for myself to keep me on track.
A vision board always helps me create commitment because I can clearly see and be reminded of the destination I will arrive at. Most importantly, a vision board gets me focused on clearing out clutter, distraction, and energy vampires. For me,this is possibly the hardest step on any new path. I get attached. I get loyal. And I find myself serving the clutter long after it’s stopped serving me. I know what I want, and clearing gets me there faster.
I know what I want. I see it. I breathe it. Screw the vision board…it’s procrastination. I’m on to clearing. Out I say! If it doesn’t serve me, It’s gone.
It’s one of my favourite Instagram tags. I choose my tags based on truths, not popularity. An every morning, every night moment of practicing gratitude attitude has been something I have practiced for the past three years. It helped lift me out of the mire my ‘superwoman’ life doused me in. it takes very little and it feels very good. In fact, it lights me up and calls for breath.
In one of my earlier posts I shared the mantra that works for me. To it, I add little details. For example this morning, I found myself expressing gratitude for my pup that was curled up next to me understanding everything I say, think and feel and trying her very best to meet my many needs, but especially, my need for love. I also expressed gratitude for my home. The birds were singing outside my window, my bed was feeling super comfy, and although the sun has been scare her, it is a comfortable temperature, just
perfect for getting into the garden.
When I steep in gratitude, I don’t find myself wanting for things. I have what I need and that leaves me in a state of calm grace. I do find myself attracting, things though. Things like warm smiles, conversations with strangers, good ideas, and more enough…be it a small unexpected check in the mail, a heart-shaped rock, or a rainbow on a walk with my dog.
This is also the attitude of the people I met in Bali. They were happy in place. Satisfied with the beauty of their tropical paradise. Through daily prayer and their Hindu traditions, they have found gratitude and satisfaction. Their way of being is good for earth, good for health, and
good for each other.
I urge you to make time for the daily gratitude attitude. Put it into your prayers or make it your prayers. Let life know what it is doing right for you so that it can continue to do it. Let appreciative inquiry shape everything you do. This one simple act will change you substantively.
I am the curious sort who loves to really understand things, but the more I find out, the less I seem to know. My knew questions include:
Does money enrich a life and make a person feel good if it’s been earned through psychological manipulation? I’m leaning into it must, because wouldn’t a person quit doing what they’re doing if it didn’t? And if they didn’t quit under those circumstances, but persevered because, well, money…then how could they live with themselves? So, if it feels good to psychologically manipulate another for money doesn’t that make them a psychopath? Or something like that?
I went to a ‘business’ conference last weekend, because I wanted to find out how to start my own business. It was a shit show. Seriously. It was pay to belong to my tribe because I’m God-like and know best or you are not who you say you are. It was shame, it was shunning, it was WWII you must wear a black ribbon but those of you who follow me get white. It was practiced fake tears and Oh poor you, I feel your pain so follow me, it was Machiavellian, it was corrosive.
Did I learn anything. Sure I learned a ton and I learned how easily a group of wanting, needing people can be turned, how easily they will follow, how badly they want a tribe, and how much they will pay for belonging. Belonging. Such a basic human need. Not. Being. Met. in today’s society. But money will buy it.
It scared me some, excited me a little, amazed me a lot. As usually I found beauty as well. It was there in the stories of the attendees. They were kind people, loving people, people trying to get by a little bit better than they are now.
There is so much to learn in this one great life.
This morning I awoke with one puffy eye and some knowing.
My eye is still puffy, despite antihistamine. I suspect the lesson is either that I can rest it a little today after I check my bed for a spider or that I should look out of my left eye when taking pictures or analyzing life.
I love to see new places. Variety gives my life the colour I crave. A few years back I was gifted this most wonderful adventure, and sacred it was. It was an otherworldly, dreamlike treasure trip to an unspoiled place. If you ever get to go, please leave it that way; leave it beautiful and unexploited and spiritual.
It’s been too long and I apologize. I’ve been sidetracked…in Bali! If you follow me on instagram you know that already from the pictures. The trip just came up. A can’t refuse it flight price popped up on the screen when I least expected it and when the universe does that for me I say YES! And suddenly, there I was walking in the rice paddy’s near Ubud, viewing the temples and getting to know the Balenese way of life, listening to the pounding surf at Bingin Beach, barefooting it on Gili Meno and snorkling next to a big old surprised sea turtle.
How glorious the sun felt on my cold, rain glazed skin. This winter was harsh on Vancouver Island! I was pale before I left and olive skinned girls just feel like something is missing when they are pale. It was quite a change to be in the intense, humid heat and with no time to prep the palid skin, I admit, I got a little burnt. No worries, Mate. Did I mention that Aussies are everywhere in that part of the world? Canadians aren’t.
We flew down on this new Chinese Airline called Xiamen with a few other Canadians taking advantage of the deal but Bali is a long way away from us Canadians. Twenty hours of flight each way from Vancouver. The dateline does essentially cancel the travel time out. Your butt, however, may not agree with that rationale. Mine definitely felt all twenty hours and it wasn’t super appreciative.
Bali isn’t a very big island and it’s populated. Traffic is heavy, but unusually polite. We witnessed no accidents but saw some gaping scrap wounds on the limbs of scootering tourists. It’s people are truly beautiful. Lovely to the sight, lovely to the heart. They are full of gratitude and ease, and are friendly and helpful. The island is struggling with the huge influx of tourism these past few years. Sewage smells, bottled drinking water, a ridiculous plastic product problem, and poorly planned development are visible symptoms of this. The beauty of another time can still be found, but you have work to do to find it.
For me, Bali did not trigger a soul connection the way the sacred valley did. Perhaps it was timing. Perhaps I should have visited longtimeago. I was twinged momentarily in Ubud as I gazed on the jungle as the sun lowered its gaze, and in the hot sun one day when when I found a moments salvation in the shade of a tree on the high side of the gorge. Bali just didn’t pull me into it’s arms, perhaps too many are asking too much of it already. Even places need boundaries.
Today I’ve downloaded LisaSonora’s 2017 30 Day Journal project. This years theme is Journey. I have participated in her journal projects for the past three years, replacing my morning pages with them, and I’ve always received gifts of personal insight and knowing as a result. Needless to say, I encourage you to do the same.
And yes, more snow here today, and it will continue to accumulate apparently. It’s beautiful but it limits my ability to get out and around! Yesterday’s artist date, I like them to fall with regularity on Saturdays, was me in the driveway building snow people. That’s something I haven’t done since my kids were small and it included round balls, twigs and carrots. Yesterday I explored the quality of the snow and how I could manipulate and sculpt a face into it. Time flew! My snow people look exactly like they should after a one off try, and this morning, they are veiled in those big angel wings that fell last night. I just might go outside and do the same thing for a little while today.