So, another Mother's day has come and gone. I know for many of you it was a difficult day. Perhaps it was the first Mother's day you celebrated without your Mom because they recently transitioned back to the realm of Spirit, or perhaps Mother's day continues to be challenging for you because you didn't or don't have the best relationship with your Mom.
It's the latter to whom I'd like to speak in this moment.
The relationship between Mother and child is unlike any other relationship we have.
It sets the stage for our very existence! From the moment we enter her womb, we are marinating in the psychological, emotional and spiritual environment of our Mother as well as the energies of her external environment.
All of this takes up residence within our being on a cellular level, long before we make our entrance into the world.
And once we take that first breath of air into our lungs, then begins the earthly journey of our relationship with our Mom.
It takes time to heal the harm that was done if your relationship with the woman who gave you life was toxic and abusive, and/or lacking in some way, shape or form.
Messages which said you were unlovable, a burden, damaged and/or weird, too much, unwanted all become deeply ingrained and embedded within the marrow of your soul and within your physical, emotional and energetic bodies as well.
So, when holidays such as Mother's day roll around, it's understandable that you would have a challenging time.
It's understandable that posts of smiling Mothers with their children exclaiming 'Happy Mother's Day" may make you bristle inside, or touch that cavern of grief and longing for the Mother you never had.
It's understandable if you may judge the commercialism of the holiday rather than focusing on the beauty of the meaning behind the celebration as a subtle way of avoiding and feeling your heartache and pain.
It's understandable that you may hold your breath until the clock finally hits 12 MN and a new day has dawned, signaling the end of the Mother's day holiday.
Here's what I'd like to offer that will hopefully be of service to you not just when the next Mother's day rolls around, but in the here and now.
Just for a moment, oblige me and close your eyes.
Recall an image of yourself as a little girl or little boy...got it?
Ok great :-)
Now see yourself as you are right now as an adult and imagine yourself sitting in a place that feels safe and nurturing to you, wherever that may be.
When you have settled into that place, I want you to invite the little you to come and sit on your lap.
Once she or he is nestled there, I just want you to do one simple thing.
First and foremost look him or her directly in the eyes and say these 3 simple words..."I see you".
And as you repeat this I want you to pour into those 3 words all the love, compassion, tenderness, warmth, and kindness you can muster.
And then say These 3 words...."I love you" with as much heart sincerity to which you can genuinely connect and feel.within yourself.
You can repeat these two phrases as many times as you feel moved to do so. And when the words come to a natural place of rest and silence, let your little girl or little boy lay their head on your chest, and hold them in a loving embrace for as long as your heart so desires.
For those of us who didn't have nurturing relationships with our biological mothers when we were children, we get an amazing gift that others don't....the opportunity to Mother ourselves.
And it is a gift, because we can love on ourselves exactly the way we wished we had been loved when we were children.
We get to pour into our Being all of the goodness we should have and deserved to receive as a child, without limitation.
As you begin to heal your Mother wound, holidays such as Mother's day won't be as difficult or challenging.
Because you will have learned to nourish your inner child and fill that void within your heart and soul, you'll be able to join others as they joyously celebrate the relationship they have with their Mother without feeling jealous, resentful and/or sad.
No, this healing doesn't happen overnight, but it is totally possible!
It has taken me most of my life to learn how to Mother myself, but I can say that today the Mother wound which was created when my mother committed suicide when I was just 8 year's old, and which once swallowed me whole, no longer hurts as it did before.
The same healing is possible for you.
Namaste' and Much Love <3
It does not escape me that I am one of the fortunate ones who has healed from the impact of being physically and sexually abused as a child.
It has taken me my entire adulthood to heal the wounding I sustained from the abuse I suffered.
During my 30s while in therapy, I recovered repressed memories of being sexually assaulted and continually molested by my Grandmother’s paramour when I was just 3 year’s old.
The other memories of the physical abuse I endured at the hands of a maternal aunt were not buried, nor were they so easy to forget.
One of the worst memories of the physical abuse I suffered from her, (which plagued me for years), was when she had me pinned against a wall in a choke-hold when I was just 13 years old and I couldn’t breathe.
I truly thought I was going to die that day.
But what hurt me most about that particular incident was not the physical act of the abuse itself, (which in and of itself was horrendous enough), but it was the look in her eyes.
It was vacant and empty of anything except pure hatred for the niece, that perhaps out of obligation in addition to the mind-altering effects of the crack-cocaine she was abusing at the time, she had chosen to take in after my mother, (her sister), had committed suicide.
That look seared a wound in my heart which it has taken me my entire life from which to heal
I know all too well how it feels to be unwanted, unloved and to feel as if you are a wanderer on the planet without family or a place to call home.
Additionally, I had to heal my Mother wound which resulted from my Mom's suicide, the one that created the faulty, erroneous core belief that if my own Mother didn't want me and could abandon me, then of course no-oneelse would.
That one ran deep, and has taken me many years and much work to heal and resolve.
Trauma not only impacts the emotional and mental aspects of our Being, but it also impacts our physical well-being. This is why a holistic, therapeutic modality is most helpful when delving into healing from the ravaging effects of it.
It is also why when I was knee-deep in the belly of my own healing process (which began in earnest about 25 years ago) I sought out healing modalities which not only used talk therapy to help me process my emotions as it related to the child-hood trauma I experienced, but I also explored healing modalities which invited me into my body so that the residual wounding from the trauma I’d experienced could be brought to the surface, addressed, integrated, healed and resolved once and for all.
It takes courage to face the trauma you experienced as a child and to choose to address and heal from it.
Some take that courageous leap and some will go to their grave having never dealt with the trauma they suffered, at all!
And then there are those who will start their healing process and then retreat when things become challenging and the heat is turned up, as it most certainly will be if you are truly in an authentic, raw, real healing process.
Healing is messy, painful, challenging, uncomfortable and will bring up every imaginable thought and emotion you can think of, while you're in the throes of it.
Which is why many turn away from it, IF they choose to heal at all.
I get it. Truly I do.
I’ve been there done that, (ran from my own healing) multiple times throughout my life.
But I always came back and chose my healing over and over again. Thank God!
Because the alternative choice was simply more than I could bare.
Dysfunctional relationships whereby I continuously chose friendships and lovers who were replicas of the people who had abused me as a child; physical limitations and illness which stemmed from my addiction to food and ballooning up to almost 300 pounds when I was in my late 20s; constantly moving from pillar to post and struggling with money, because of the lack and poverty consciousness with which I was raised; seeking validation, acceptance, and love externally from those who were emotionally unavailable and oftentimes narcissistic, letting myself be used as a doormat, and manipulated and abused to meet others needs because having someplace and someone to whom I belonged was better than having no-one at all, (even at the expense of my own well-being); using my spiritual path to anesthetize myself from the pain of living, suffering from depression and panic attacks which crippled me and left me completely incapacitated for years, are just some of the ways unhealed, child-hood trauma manifested in my life.
That is until I stopped running from my past, did an about faced turn-around and looked the Boogey Man of my childhood trauma directly in the eye, and made the courageous choice to heal.
Today, my past does not rule my life. It is very much tattooed within my Being and is woven within the matrix of how I move in the world, but it no longer manifests in the dysfunctional ways I mentioned above.
I am no longer imprisoned by the childhood trauma I endured in the same way that I was earlier in my life.
I took a leap of faith into a profound journey of healing and am now reaping the fruit of having done so.
I now feel it to be my life and heart calling to support others as they too begin their unique journey of healing the wounding sustained from their experience of child-hood trauma.
Therefore, welcome. I'm so glad you're here. <3
If you were fortunate enough to be raised in a loving environment as a child, where messages of how precious, special and worthy of love you are were sewn into your Spirit, consider yourself blessed.
For those of us who received less than ideal early, childhood messaging, toxic ones such as ‘You’re unwanted, not lovable, unworthy of being seen and/or heard, don’t matter, you’re a burden....etc. etc....this is for you.
As children we came into this world fresh, full of innate love, light, wonder and innocence.
Like sponges we absorbed our early childhood experiences and the messaging we received about who we are. Those messages became deeply embedded within the marrow of our heart, mind, body and soul and still inform how we move in the world today.
Depending on the severity of those early, toxic messages and also whether it was coupled with experiences of abuse and/or neglect, it can take a lifetime to heal, rewire and release them. Our child-hood experiences set the stage for how we feel about ourselves and subsequently move in life and in our relationships with others.
As you take steps in your healing process to replace those unhealthy, limiting, old messages with ones which more accurately tell the truth of who you are, ones which nurture and support your Being, old, damaging tapes may unexpectedly rear their ugly heads again.
Someone may trigger you or remind you of your primary caregiver/s and bring to the surface very familiar feelings of not being good enough, un-loveable...or any other toxic messages you imbibed
as a child.
And then turn your attention inward and acknowledge all of the things you love about yourself.
Your mind may object by pointing out aspects of yourself that are still a work in progress by saying “Yeah but you haven’t changed this or that or you’re still having a problem with this..”
Simply thank it for its input, acknowledge the truth that those are still areas on which you’re working (so no denial or by-passing what’s still need of healing within you) and then SWIFTLY return to relishing all that is wonderful about yourself.
In those moments what’s needed is loving kindness and self- compassion, not self- judgement and self-criticism.
Keep it real, honest and genuine. Acknowledge and validate all that is to be celebrated about yourself.
It doesn’t have to be some monumental feat that you’ve accomplished, (although that is most certainly allowed as well :-) ), but it can be something as simple and special as loving the sound of your deep, belly laugh or the way you can bake a sweet potato pie that will make someone wanna slap their Mama” :-)!
The point is you must love your inner child now.
You can give him or her the love and nurturing they should have received but unfortunately did not when you were young.
Gradually these new messages of authentic Self-love will begin to flourish within you and cleanse out any residual, harmful messages which are poisonous to your Being.
It may seem as if you will never come to a place of real Self-love, but I promise you as long as you do the work to heal the wounding of your inner child, you most certainly will!
Don’t give up!
And if no-one has told you today that you are loved, know that I see you and even if we’ve never personally met, I’m holding space for yours and my inner child and the precious, adult Being we are today.
This past week I’ve been percolating and contemplating the origin of shame. It’s a universal experience we’ve all had at various times in our lives, but what is the root cause of it and what purpose, if any, does it serve.
I am particularly curious about it’s correlation to childhood trauma and the far reaching impact it has throughout the lifespan long after the initial, traumatic experience of childhood abuse has occurred.
Many of us who are survivors of childhood abuse and neglect have had to travel the arduous road of releasing guilt and self-blame for the abuse we suffered. However, the tentacles of shame are often the last of trauma's impact to loosen its’ poisonous grip on our lives.
Why is that ?
In asking this question I had to revisit some of the dark memories of the trauma I experienced as a child. When you are a victim of physical and especially sexual abuse, a message which says, ‘You’re bad, dirty, wrong, worthless’, is seared within your psyche and soul. And depending on your age at the time, and where you are developmentally, there is oftentimes an inability to process and make meaning of what is happening to you.
Being beaten with ironing chords, shoes, belts and whatever-else the abuser can get their hands on, especially when done in rage, communicates the message to you that not only are you Bad, but you are not wanted, you’re hated and worthless. You become a thing, less than human and certainly not loved. It is within this environmental soil that the energy of shame takes root and begins to proliferate within the psychological, emotional and spiritual marrow of an abused child.
They erroneously believe they are inherently flawed and lacking in some way. Why else would my Mother/father, auntie, uncle, cousin, Grandmother/father (because unfortunately, the abuser is more often than not a close family member or someone we know) treat me this way ? I must be the the problem. Something must be wrong with ‘Me’ becomes a core, unhealthy belief that takes up residence within you. Thus, shame takes over and transposes the actions of the abuser, along with the responsibility for the abuse, onto the abused child.
This is also the case in situations of sexual abuse, and emotional/verbal abuse and neglect. The origin of shame is the same.
When considering the purpose shame serves, I truly feel it is a catalyst for healing. It propels us into asking vitally important questions about who we are, our inherent worthiness and love-ability. It serves as the impetus to heal from the childhood trauma we endured.
But, once it’s purpose has been served, we must release it!
Shame becomes an insidious toxin that creeps into the crevices of every corner of our lives when we continue to live as if the messages we received as abused children are true.
Healing in earnest entails feeling the pain of the abuse and wounding that incurred as a result of it, and allowing that pain to be released and transformed into self love. The end result is the Full knowing and integration that not only were we not to blame for the abuse we suffered, but there is absolutely nothing wrong, bad, flawed, or shameful about us. It is then that shame dissipates like a vapor and we are left standing in the truth and beauty of who we really are.
At some point in time anyone who has survived some form of abuse, be it verbal/mental/emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, will go through the multi-layered process of reclaiming their voice, and their power. A friend of mine wrote the following poem that captures this perfectly:
“I gave my self a voice because everyone else was quiet.
They never spoke about it.
They never spoke about it.
I gave myself a voice”.
There is an insidious, poisonous , and deeply embedded belief for many of us who have survived some form of abuse, that we are not allowed to express our feelings about our experience, especially when those feelings are rage, anger, hurt or pain. Oftentimes, a silent message is communicated to us to stay mute and keep the peace, because God forbid we should upset our abuser or those that love them.
For years, I played small out of fear, stuffing every emotion that threatened to emerge from their secret hiding place within my psyche. I questioned my recollection of events, and even when finding the courage to say I had been physically and sexually abused, I still found it difficult not to blame myself. If only I had been a better, little girl, talked less, questioned less, been less rambunctious and rebellious, been less cute, then none of this would have happened to me. For years, I found ways to justify my abuser’s behavior, making excuses such as,”They didn’t ask for an additional mouth to feed.” I could not see that I was the victim.
And then in my early adulthood the suppressed rage, hurt and pain I felt began to boil over and was expressed in really unhealthy ways. I preferred to fight with complete strangers rather than address the ones within my family with whom I was really angry and who had hurt me.
It would take years of therapy and alternative healing to begin to process and heal the damage that was a result of early childhood trauma. I found my voice. And today
I am becoming more solid and grounded in that voice.
I refuse to apologize for my feelings of pain and anger, (which are fully justified, and don’t require anyone’s permission for me to feel them fully), anymore!!
I refuse to carry the burden of other people’s expectations and demands that I remain compliantly silent to maintain their sense of “Ok-ness’. The maintenance of their falsely constructed image of martyrdom is not my responsibility.
My responsibility is to live in truth, authentically and unapologetic-ally. I am responsible for my feelings and others are responsible for their feelings.
I reclaimed my power.
I discovered I had a voice and chose to speak.
So, for those of you who may be on the journey of discovering that you are not to blame for what happened to you. For those who are waking up out of the potent, anesthetizing, slumber of guilt and victim shaming, take courage and remain hopeful. You never have to apologize for your existence!
So, hold your head high Beloved and let your voice, finally be heard.