What is Holding Your Pain for You?

A major part of my journey towards growth and wholeness has been unlearning, or as I call it, Unraveling.

Over the years I have coped with my pain in harmful ways. Harmful to me and harmful to others.

I had trouble holding my pain so I tried to gift it to others through projection.
I have had a long affair with food as a way to numb pain.
I used alcohol at times but it was never my numbing agent of choice.
I also dabbled with certain drugs, again, not my go-to though.
After I was raped I actually used sex to numb because I thought it would help me feel back in control, it didn’t.
My number one harmful coping device was shopping though. Above all else I LOVED to shop.

Shopping was great because it did the job of numbing the pain so I didn’t have to feel my feelings AND it is a socially acceptable action so no one would be trying to intervene and raise concerns. Yep I flew under the radar for years, I was just another woman with a closet full of clothes.

My shopping addiction had been riding shot gun with me for years by the time my husband came into the picture. This is when it started getting complicated. He was the first person to ever energetically hold up a mirror and say, I think we have a problem here.

I had been avoiding that mirror for over a decade – Now this guy shows up and wants to love me and care for me by telling the truth? Who the hell does he think he is?

Even with his compassionate honesty and my coming to terms with a really uncomfortable truth, it still took 6 years to get a handle on my unhealthy relationship with shopping. What I learned in the process is that it wasn’t just the act of shopping that I had to address, it was my deeply unhealthy relationship with money in general.

Since the age of 18 when I got my first job I had been using money to hold my pain for me. Just like I used food, and alcohol, and drugs, and sex, and even other people through projection. I was doing everything I could to run from my truths and NOT hold the pain they carry.

Last year I worked on my relationship with money, that work continues, and it has changed everything. It is part of what got me to the place of actively wanting to hold my pain, I know now this is the only way to the other side.

I have had a few epiphanies since unraveling my relationship with money. One being that less stuff actually brings me more joy and peace. Another a-ha moment was paying attention to what I spend money on when I have a more connected, intentional relationship with money – art supplies. It is not clothes or shoes or bags or anything to impact my appearance, it is art which is one way my soul communicates.

So, like the alchemist I am, I am turning my pain into something beautiful to share through art. My healed relationship with money is going to support me in this venture, so are my own words from this blog. I understand now that nothing and no one is meant to hold my pain for me AND it is okay to allow myself to be supported. Money can support me, my writing, my art, those whom I love – they can all support me as I hold my pain.

I believe I am stepping across a threshold into the life I was meant for.

This is BIG.

I am grateful for the knowledge that love heals and I no longer have to run from myself. I can hold my pain and all of my truths in love and be WHOLE.

 

what is holding your pain

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Are You My Mother?

This week started with me caught in the current of the river rapid I have long called mother. After the flood of emotions, I once again stabilized my vessel by freely accepting love from my husband and calling in my support from soul family and friends.

The week has carried on calmly.

Yesterday I started to make my plan for how to address the transgression that led to the emotional upheaval. In doing so I decided to call on the Universe and my own intuition for guidance and support.

I pulled cards from three decks – Self-care, Mother’s Wisdom, and Work Your Light.

My over arching question being what should I be doing about my mother?

The messages were clear. One in particular was clarity that I desperately needed.

While I have unraveling my attachment to my family of origin, specifically my mother, the feeling of being a motherless child has continued to rise and it is painful. That child does not want to be motherless. The world does not feel safe without a mother. My truth is, for so long my mother is part of what has made the world feel unsafe.

Still, this child has been searching. She does not want to be without a mother. Her question is, Who is my mother? If it is not her, than who? We have to have a mother!

I have felt like the little bird from the book. Abandoned and scared in my nest, then deciding – I will go find my mother. I search everywhere – in other relationships, in food, in shopping, in drinking, in work.. All along asking, Are you my Mother?

Are you the thing that can replace her?

Are you the thing that can bring the comfort I so long for?

Just like the bird I have discovered over and over the answer is No.

My husband is not my mother.
Ice cream is not my mother.
Clothing is not my mother.
Alcohol is not my mother.
Work is not my mother.

None of this will replace her. None of this will heal the wound she created. None of this will fill my void.

The card I pulled to answer the question, Who is my Mother? was Pachamama.

The words I read washed over me bringing me the comfort and truth I had been searching for;

You are within her and she is within you. You are inseparable from Pachamama. Sitting among the trees you can feel this bond. 

This is a truth I have known. I possess the mothering comfort I am seeking and it is all around me.

Our Oak tree’s name is Nana for a reason. She is maternal, she is comfort.

What I seek is within me as well. I do not need to look outside of myself for the love I am needing.

I am sitting with each message I received and the truth they are leading me towards.

I am grateful for guidance and support in all of it’s forms.
I am grateful for eruptions that bring deeper  connection to my truth.
I am grateful for the reminder that I am what I am seeking.

pachamama.jpg

Losing You Was My Becoming

Last night I struggled.

I was triggered during the day by something my mother said in passing and by bedtime I was unwound. I was face down in my husband’s lap balling. It did not stop there. I cried when we went to bed. I woke up an hour after going to bed and cried some more. My husband held me and talked me through it as best he could.

This morning he let me sleep. He got up with little bubby and handled the morning routine. Two hours later I came out to a quiet house. Little bubby was taking his first nap, my husband was sitting on the couch watching the news on low volume. I was greeted by his smile and by the wagging tail of my excited Lucy.

I pat Lucy’s head and crawled into my husband’s lap.

I have been holding in all the pain and grief. I have been trying so hard to remain functional. The lid is off.

I asked to feel my pain and The Universe obliged. I am in pain.

I have decided to attempt to talk honestly with my parents one last time about our dysfunction and working towards healing as a family. If this message falls on deaf ears, as my previous attempts have, that is it for me. I will not subject any of my babies (internal or little bubby) to this swamp.

I am raw and reeling and trying desperately to keep my head above water. AND there is a deep sense of peace rising from my power center because this is the decision that has been waiting to be made and finally I am here.

I never wanted to be here AND somehow I have known I was coming.

Right now I do not feel big. I do not feel much like a hero. I am though and even if I don’t feel it, I know it is true.

Because here I am, going through it, not running. I am doing hard things. It is so hard.

I am scooping everyone into my lap and I am walking out of this place we do not belong…

And I am not afraid.

losing you was my becoming

Running Through an Open Door

My lightening bolt hit almost immediately after finishing my last post.

Killer still hurts because I am trying to belong somewhere I no longer belong.

My family of origin is Catholic Republican. I grew up surrounded by the following messages:

No sex before marriage.
Your female body is inherently shameful.
As a woman you have no power.
Any woman who has sex out of wedlock is a slut.
Your female body is inherently wrong.
As a woman you belong to your father or husband, never, not ever to yourself.
Your female body is inherently bad.
The only thing worse than sex out of wedlock is pregnancy out of wedlock.
The only only thing worse than pregnancy out of wedlock is abortion.
Women who have abortions are KILLERS.

HOLY SHIT. Literally. This is religious, men-making-rules-that-disempower-women, bullshit.

I am NOT Catholic. I am NOT Republican. NONE OF THIS IS MY FUCKING TRUTH.

I would never believe any of this ridiculous bullshit about another woman, so why have I been carrying around these lies about myself?

I do not belong here, in your untruths, in your religion, in your politics. I do not belong anywhere that sees me as less worthy. I AM WORTHY. I AM MY OWN. I AM POWERFUL.

I release my need to belong in this place I do NOT belong. I am picking up ALL of myself and walking through that – now open – door to LOVE. I am no longer on the outside looking in.

I am not empty. I am not shameful or wrong or bad. I am not a slut. I AM NOT A KILLER.

I am a mother. I am a woman full to the brim with my sacred power. I am the owner of all of me, no one owns me. I am BIG. I AM BIG. I am the fucking hero of this story – I will always do the saving.

Come on sweet girl, you do not belong here anymore, we are going home.

my baby saved

Home in My Truth

I want to share with you one of my most sacred stories.

 

It is a story of pain. of grief. of fear. of shame. AND it is a story of love.

It is time. Time to LOVE myself openly. Time to feel any and all things that I feel about this OPENLY, FREELY, PUBLICLY, TRUTHFULLY.

With my hand at my heart I share with you something precious.

I was sixteen years old when my relationship with motherhood began.

I was afraid.

I wanted to be small. I remember that specifically.

I wanted to be small, a child, innocent, not capable of creation. I wanted to hide, I wanted to be saved, I wanted to disappear.

I was afraid.

I told my mother. I stared at the blue of my bed, tears in my eyes, and I slipped away.

She told my father.. I am not mad, I am disappointed.

They made the decision for me. I was a child, their child. They were saving me, I was letting them. I said nothing.

I was not saved.

My father was noticeably absent. He dropped my mother and I at the clinic and left. My mother dressed me that day. Like a child, she picked out my denim overalls and pale pink shirt, and my hat. It was important that I wear a hat so she could hide my face from the protesters. She was saving me.

I was not saved.

A woman took me into an office and talked to me about sex, how the female body works. My mother asked if the talk was necessary, she thought I was too young to be hearing it.

Years later looking back at the parts of this story I consciously remember, it amazes me how powerful denial can be.

If I treat her like a child and dress her like a child, she will be a child again and we will make this go away and she can be my baby again.

I am sorry Mom. I am sorry we had to experience this together. I am also sorry that I can no longer carry the burden of these untruths for you.

THIS HAPPENED.

I was not given anything for pain or comfort.

I know that I felt everything but I remember almost nothing.

I remember feeling empty.

An indescribable emptiness. The floor opened up and ate me up whole. This is where my largest void was created – in this room with my feet in stirrups where I was made empty.

This is where I became hard, rigid, AFRAID. This is where I was made empty.

I could not love myself anymore. The darkness enveloped me. It did not creep in slowly, it swallowed me whole in one gulp. Then I was gone, all that was left was empty.

Empty and shame and fear.

There are so many stories in this story. This pain is so layered there were times I never thought I would be able to unravel enough to tell any part of this story with clarity. I will start here, with this truth; when I was sixteen I became a mother, a mother who would never hold her baby.

This is my start. My BIGGEST moment. I am allowing YOU to see me in my most naked state of truth and love and pain. I do not know who you are, I do not know if you are safe.

What I do know is that I AM SAFE. I am safety.

I am no longer empty. I went so deep into myself to rescue this mother who was abandoned. I love her without exception. Without fear, without shame. I am in love with her and this is not dangerous, it is one of my most sacred truths; I love my darkness.

Nikoli

Re-Defining Safety

Fear, shame, and doubt popped up this morning to tell me untruths about the danger of what I am doing. They were warning me about the calamity that will come from allowing myself to walk openly out in the world with my heart exposed. What you are doing is dangerous – you will only get hurt! 

I scooped my little ones into my lap and held them close as I examined where these messages were coming from. What I did not do was believe the messages. I did not shrink. I can no longer pretend to be what I am not, and I am NOT small.

I started to wonder what these littles learned about love and about feeling things – any things, all things.

To love openly is dangerous.
To feel what we’re feeling openly, freely, publicly, truthfully is dangerous.

This is where disconnection happens. Right here in these untruths.

This is where we shut off our heart, our soul, our creativity, our ability to be with each other and experience connection.

We become hard, rigid, afraid, empty. We create a void and the only thing that can fill that void is the exact thing we are running from, the thing we told ourselves was dangerous. Love is the missing piece. Allowing ourselves to feel what we feel without shame, without fear – this is the only way to fill the void and reconnect with our truth about who and what we are. Some people call this our essence, some people say light and love, some people say sacred, some say holy. I like all of these words, right now the word that has been coming up for me is color. I am bright, boundless, exploding, illustrious color. The word is not what matters, the feeling that rises up when you know you are home in your truth – that is what matters.

When any part of me wants to play small I think I am ultimately looking for safety. I have to keep showing all parts of me over and over and over that we can be BIG and safe. I am comfort. I am love. I am safety – These arms, this heart, this lap, these words. I am safety AND I am NOT small.

I want to take a moment to recognize the monumental growth I have experienced when it comes to holding myself in love and sacredness. In years past when shame came to visit (multiple times a day) it was a tornado of an experience and I was always sucked in. Today it took me a matter of moments to say out loud, No. This is not my truth., and then hold the pieces of myself that were experiencing fear, shame, and doubt in love and gentleness. I am a good mother and all of me feels that truth deeply because of the way I have learned to love and nurture myself.

What I am doing is not dangerous, it is the most courageous thing I have ever done.

Sweet girl, 

You are. You know. All you have to do is trust.

daisy

We’ve Got to go Through It!

One of mine and my husband’s favorite stories to read little bubby is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It is all about we can do hard things.

We love the message, we love the cadence and rhythm, we love the beautiful illustrations, we love acting it out for little bubby. I particularly love the repetitive We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, Oh No, we’ve got to go through it!

That is important because it is true.

This book also hits on so much symbolism in my healing work; the river representing motherhood, the mud representing my trauma, the cave representing my safe space, the dark forest both haven and the unknown depending on perspective.

This book speaks to me.

So now on top of my mantras of I am not small, I can do hard things, I am done trying to belong where I do not belong, I am the hero of this story.. I have added on occasion I have to go through it! It is a reminder that there are no short cuts to healing – I have to feel the pain, I have to go through it.

Motherhood is my biggest BIG. This is the most important invitation I have ever been given, I understand that now.

bear hunt