Enveloped, Rested But Reopened

  In the midst of pain there is a tendency to want to curl up. It feels very much like protection to envelop the most sensitive parts from exposure to outward battering. 

After some of my most heart wrenching moments, I found myself curled in a ball clutching my heart in a desperate attempt to shield it. Enveloped in a few moments of solace.  The problem that developed was dependence on the place that felt safe and distanced from potential discomfort. Even a caccoon which is designed to swaddle the caterpillar during metamorphisis becomes a cage to the butterfly unless she is able to break herself free when it’s time to fly.   Everyone needs a place of respite. A safe place where we can go and rest and feel comforted, and protected, and secure.   But if we remain there too long our ability to function becomes atrophied like unused muscles. Withered. Wasting away.

While we think we are protecting ourselves, it’s easy to lose our ability to freely trust or love or hope. Protection can turn to entrapment. We might begin to feel insecure, doubt ourselves, or fear the pain more than we desire to live fully. At some point we have to allow ourselves to uncurl. 

Open up.

Re-enter our messy, beautiful life.

When the sting of pain begins to wain, extend, move and stretch. Reach for the fullness of life.

Pain is a part of life. We can’t escape it. 

And we can’t hide from it.  “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~Buechner


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suffering is optional

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do

not

suffer

needlessly.

your

heart

has

options.

refuse

to

linger

in

the

pain,

suffering

is

optional.

How Containment Prevents Growth

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are you self-contained?

containment is a way to keep something bad from spreading.

if a child gets chicken pox, he/she won’t be allowed back in school until they’re not contagious anymore. the school’s aiming for containment of the disease.

containment is also a foreign policy strategy. if one country is stirring up trouble, other countries can join together and enact a policy of containment, to isolate the rogue country and keep it from causing chaos outside its borders.

in a nuclear reactor, the containment system is the back-up system that’s supposed to keep dangerous radiation from leaking out when there’s an accident.

the human heart will self-contain when it has experienced great pain, in an attempt to prevent the pain from spreading.

while some forms of containment are beneficial, containment in the heart is not.

heart containment will stunt your growth.

we hope for protection.

we end up busy building a comfort zone- afraid of taking risks, stepping out, trying new things or expanding our horizons.

once we are contained within the walls of this comfort zone…

we are protected from our future…

we are protected from our present…

and we are protecting our past!

-John Steele

while we are preserving our past…protecting it and it’s impact on our heart, we protect or prevent the possibilities available in our present and future.

the question is often posed, “why do bad things happen to good people?”

John Steele posed one of the best possibilities i have ever heard. his answer was this:

so that your experience will speak louder than someone else’s pain.

someone going through a similar situation will gain hope by seeing you conquer your pain, overcome your difficulty, thrive, live, grow and expand into your future better than ever.

20131017-215239.jpgwhat has you confined…

contained…

Imprisoned!

let it go!

spread out!

expand!

grow!

think big!

think bigger than your pain!

there is life to live!

and i promise, you don’t want to miss a minute of it.

do you know someone that this post would encourage? someone sitting in their comfort zone too fearful of the possibility of a wounded heart? please pass the post along…hopefully they will find inspiration to think bigger than their pain!

i’m so happy that i could share my heart with you today! thank you for stopping by!

see you soon,
D

look inside your heart to help regulate behaviour

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absolutely, as i always say….look inside your heart!

Being Hurt Does Not Equal Broken

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there is a difference in hurt and broken. your dream after loss, pain and hurt might look different; you might have to find another way…but you do not have to remain in a painful state and quit.

the year following my accident where my fiancé was killed, my sister and her family were in a terrible crash. this crash was not fatal but as a result, our family was thrown into the midst of tragedy once again. my nephew was a baby then but survived the accident with few injuries. my brother-in-law received broken bones but recovered fully. my sister sustained a major spinal cord injury. i will never forget walking into that hospital and seeing her lying there with the halo collar along with her other visible injuries. i nearly passed out.

i don’t even remember when the news came that she would never walk again.

there are four children in our family. all of us have very different personalities. my sister was always on the go. she was the life of the party and always had friends everywhere. she could light up a room. she seemed to always be laughing. she was adventurous. in her teenage years, she worked 2-3 jobs. i would say she was a go-getter. her dream was to be a mother. i don’t remember how many children she wanted but she wanted children to nurture and pour herself into.  motherhood.

we were sitting in a hospital with the doctors telling us that she was a quadriplegic which means no movement from the neck down. devastating news. although we did not understand fully what that meant, we and she thought that her dream of more children was over. there were months of rehabilitation that followed. the doctors expected, as a part of the grieving process, for depression to set in. yet, this young woman worked and fought through many difficult days and tears to recover as much as she possibly could. the doctors were amazed that she began to grip with one hand and had limited motion in the other. it seems like a small thing but for her it meant that some simple tasks like brushing her hair, brushing her teeth and eventually some vacuuming the floor could be tasks she could continue to do. she later had a van customized and is able to drive.

she was learning to re-enter her life using her zest for life and strong desire to live as fully as was possible for her. she was amazing! she still is!

then she sprung it on me. she had exciting news. i remember the grin on her face. it was like a sun beam. it seemed to light her entire being. she was pregnant. WHAT? i was stunned. how? what? when? you know, all the questions that seem to surface when you think that a dream is over but suddenly realize…it’s not. the rehabilitation center and the doctors had a plan. it was amazing.

nine months later, my niece was born. two weeks prior to my sister’s due date, she had a C-section and was holding this precious, beautiful baby girl. she needed help with day to day care for herself and the baby but her dream of motherhood was not dead…it was just different.

my sister's beautiful children

my sister’s beautiful children

there have been many struggles along the way. it has not been an easy road. however, her commitment to her dream caused her to fight, work harder, face challenges (that i might not have had the will for), to love, to feel and to live so that she could fulfil what was strong in her heart.

my nephew, my sister's grand babies and neice

my nephew, my sister’s grand babies and neice

my niece and my sister's grandson

my niece and my sister’s grandson

i used to laugh, when her two children were little and needed to be disciplined, she would say to them, “come over here” and they would trot right over knowing that momma was going to be administering punishment.

she had to heal physically, she had to come to terms with the changes in her life, she had to keep fighting through the difficult days, she had to keep her focus, she has to live each day one at a time never giving up, and develop new steps when they are required for wholeness. some of these things she must revisit on a daily basis. there are still physical healings that she must strive for. there will be emotional healings that must occur. there will also be seemingly overwhelming life directions that will become necessary for wholeness to be maintained.

there are varying degrees of pain. absolutely. what we individually have gone through brings as much pain in it’s way as the next person’s pain does in their life. however, we can gain inspiration from the victories others have achieved.

my sister has overcome many obstacles and has more to overcome. she inspires me that no matter how much pain i am in at the moment, i am not broken and i can keep looking for new ways to thrive and live a full life – full of my dream of happiness. you can as well.

Gran & Lan

just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean you are broken.

recognizing the depth of emotional wounds

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pain is nature’s wisdom. you know how i love wisdom. pain is intended to help protect us from damage to our bodies. it’s a survival tool. pain helps us recognize what to avoid. if we didn’t feel pain, we would become so damaged that our lives would soon come to an end. pain helps us stay safe, alive and growing.Dee's photos 491

emotional pain is designed to keep us alert. learning what we are dealing with, gives us insight on how to deal with the pain. much like learning CPR and first aid, understanding the types of wounds we will experience, we can gain wisdom and tips on coping with emotional pain when it is required.

physical pain comes in varying degrees. simple wounds (1=minimal) like bruising, bumps, scraps, cramps, spasms, headaches and burns can usually be treated easily with rest and simple treatments. more severe wounds (10=severe) like broken bones, 2nd and 3rd degree burns, cancer, and other more serious illnesses require the help of a doctor or hospital.

emotional wounds come in varying degrees as well. the lower the degree of pain inflicted (1=minimal), the level of treatment and time required for healing to take place can be minimal. the higher the degree of pain (10=severe), typically, more effort, patience and time is required for healing to occur.

emotional wounds need the same type of attention and treatment as physical wounds, in order for the most effective healing to occur and to prevent infection and/or scarring. just as untreated physical wounds can lead to infection, untreated emotional wounds can lead to infected feelings of anger, rage, moodiness, hopelessness, irritability, frustration, anxiety, sadness, insecurity, fear, and unhappiness. if the infection is allowed to persist it can contaminate your entire life and possibly leave scarring.

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physically and emotionally, the treatment process is similar:

  1. Clean the Wound
  2. Destroy the Contaminants
  3. Treat the Wound
  4. Protect the Wound

you need to realize that time does not heal all wounds. ignoring the wound will not make it go away. rehearsing the wound alone does not bring closure  – often it keeps the wound bleeding. revenge does not cure the wound.

before healing  treatment can be applied, you need to understand the degree and depth of the wound and how old the wound is. only then can you determine what must be done.

example: someone insults or embarrasses you. assuming you are dealing with this issue alone, you might feel the wound is small or minor, like a physical bruise, scrape or bump. the pain you might feel might include anger, hurt, fear or indifference. you might feel the depth of the wound to be surface. if the wound is fairly recent and you are dealing with the impact, the solution may be minor. you will probably have no physical symptoms as a result of the emotional pain. most people have the skills for treating this kind of wound. you will be able to realize the comments made are not a realistic description of who you are and how you conduct your life. you can confront the person who made them and set healthy boundaries for going forward. you can treat the wound with forgiveness and find the ability to move on to be quite simple.

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so, what if it’s a deeper wound?

i gave you a generic list of some of my emotional wounds. one of my deeper wounds was the death of my fiancé. this is a good example of having a deep wound.

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i was a shy, timid young woman in my twenties. like most young women, i dreamed of finding mister right. why, i am not sure. seriously, at the time, i was far too immature in my thinking. i sometimes wonder if we don’t train little girls to dream of a magical wedding and a happily ever after without the life skills to prepare for reality. nonetheless, i met an amazing young man during my college years. we fell in love, planned a future together and began making preparations for getting married.

graduation from college occurred on Friday night. my family, some friends, Craig and i attended graduation and then stayed over the weekend to make some wedding plans. once they were complete, we headed toward my home in Illinois approximately 8 hours away. the plan was for Craig to stay with us for a while so that he and my family could get to know one another better. he would then travel home and detour to Colorado where we planned to live and work with youth following the wedding.

we had a blast traveling toward my home. my dad is quite the jokester and Craig had a great sense of humor so he played along…i remember lots of laughing and joy.

thirteen miles from home, one of the cars needed gas. my parents decided to go on home and leave us “kids” to get the gas and then head home. however, before we made it home, the car that Craig, my baby sister and i were in, was struck by a drunken driver. my 8-year-old sister received minor injuries but witnessed the entire event. i was unconscious most of the time but came-to for brief amounts of time. Craig was fatally wounded.

the car that was following ours

the car that was following ours

i had never really experienced loss like this before. i was in hospital with fairly serious injuries as well; broken jaw, lacerations, concussion, and others. as well, because i had a concussion, i remember very little of the week following the accident. during that week, this precious man that i loved was laid to rest and i was not able to attend.

in one event, i suffered:

  1. major injuries to my body
  2. loss of a loved one and no closure for the loss
  3. and the end of an important relationship
  4. loss of my a dream
  5. change of direction in my life
  6. lost memory of the event

the loss in itself was traumatizing. the loss of my memory concerning the accident details added distress. not being able to attend the funeral and my memory loss brought great torment. needless to say, my family, Craig’s family and i were not equipped for this event. the wound was deep and severe. we all attempted recover the best we knew how. yet, this wound remained unhealed in my heart for many years. the result was deep impact to many areas of my life.

in addition, because this wound was not healing properly, minor emotional wounds – like being stopped by a policeman for a broken tail light – became bigger problems than they needed to be.

i required help with this wound. i am very grateful for the help i received. that was 30 years ago now. i have a scar. the wound is no longer painful. the scar, however, reminds me that i had been blessed to have loved but i also lost. i can now be grateful for the time i was given and i hold precious memories. i have been able to come to terms with the loss and move forward and live.

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whether minor or severe, the treatment process can be applied. we will look at that in future posts.

today, hopefully, you can use the information to assess the wound. ask yourself these questions:

  1. did the emotional pain cause a small, surface or large, deep wound?
  2. when did the emotional pain occur?
  3. what am i feeling as a result?
  4. am i having any physical symptoms as a result of the emotional pain?

once the wound is assessed, let’s look at how to apply the treatment. as always as with physical wounds, if symptoms persist…see a professional.

feel free to download my  Emotional Wounds PDF. it describes some common emotional wounds to help you identify what you might be dealing with.

we’ll keep walking through the steps. i would love for you to join me,

D

unity – body, soul and spirit…the three working together for wholeness

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i have passed the 100 post goalpost for my blog. celebrate. celebrate. ok, i’m not throwing a party exactly. i am using it as part of my daily gratitude attitude. therefore, i am celebrating. if you have enjoyed any part of this journey with me…i would adore the fact that you smile at my celebration.

let’s review for a minute. in my posts 9 warnings that your emotional well-being might be at risk and what sea glass taught me about emotional healing, i have discussed how to recognize who needs emotional healing. basically, we all need healing for wounded emotions just like we all need physical healing from time to time.

today, let’s look at the function of our emotions in relation to our entire being.

when we use the word “I” to describe ourselves, most often we are referring to our body. i am 5’2″, i weigh (??…no, way am i telling you that…i’m not being that transparent today…forget it..lol), i have brown eyes, and brown hair. we are describing the solid, visible part of who we are.

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however, we are made up of three parts in our being. we sort of recognize it but most of our focus is based on the part we can actually see and touch. we have a soul/heart/emotional part and we have a spirit part to our being (both invisible). the physical part is easiest to relate to, therefore, receives most of our attention. although, a healthy, well balanced body is vital for the other two parts of our being to even exist, we must realize that without the three parts working independently in a healthy way – the unity of the whole can not achieve successful living.

the body functions so that we are mobile, can process information, and take action. in order for it to operate, the components must remain in a purified state. that is why it is so important not to put junk into it. my diesel van will not tolerate regular gas without shutting down. the body, we know, is the same. put rubbish in…problems occur in it’s ability to function properly. end of story. the body has a system that warns it of harm and danger. the system is called our senses; taste, sight, smell, hearing and touch. we utilize this system to alert the body of potential danger.

the spirit functions so that we can process moral right and wrong – so that our being can make choices that move us in the direction of success and a safe environment. it’s the foundation of our value system. keeping a purified spirit is also vital for it to function properly. now, i can hear some of you saying…well, if you are going to talk to me about GOD…i don’t want to hear it. that’s ok. i understand that there are people who don’t believe that God even exists. if they do believe in a god, it might not be what i believe. got it! please, no hateful comments. i will be happy to respect where you are. please respect mine. however, it does not change the fact that we have a spirit. that spirit is the part of our being that keeps us making choices between right and wrong. the spirit also has a system; faith, hope, reverence, worship, and prayer. this system works like our senses do. they are key indicators and provide warning signs of potential danger. example: don’t steal that, don’t cheat on your wife, don’t over spend or you will find yourself in financial trouble. it also is the part of our being that drives us toward worship, admiration and reverence. we all have seen the negative effects of setting our values aside in order to attain gratifying goal. i ignored my conscience many times so that i could eat rubbish that added many unwanted pounds of weight to my body. been there. done that.

the soul/heart/emotional part of our being is intended to keep us alert, growing, creative and enjoying our lives. the system the soul has for functioning involves our feelings. they are a gauge, as you have heard me say before, intended to help protect our heart/soul from damage. our emotions store information and play back messages that warn us that something is not as it should be.

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the unity of the three functioning independently but together is a confusing concept. however, we have to get our heads around it, somehow, in order to be whole and live the best life possible. any functioning body – human, relationship, marriage, business or team – operating outside of unity will not remain in a healthy state for a prolonged amount of time. it’s wisdom. period. we have all seen things fall apart as soon as unity does. have you ever felt like “i’m falling apart?” maybe…just maybe there is some truth in that.

when any part of the whole acts solely, independently and in its own best interest, the other parts suffer. this act is called rebellion. the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention. the evidence is easy to see in light of visible things; society, governments, friendships, children/family and so on. we are all amazed when we see blatant rebellion. it’s a bit disturbing even when we can understand a part of the viewpoint behind it. the end result is usually devastation even when the point has been made.

my point today is that in order for emotional well-being to be maintained, we must unify the parts. each part of the person must function in a healthy way. when one or more of the parts are not functioning as they were designed to, we must take intentional, purposeful action to restore and heal the wounded part for the betterment of the whole.

therefore, emotional healing requires that we work on these functions:

  • cognitive – our thought processes and how we interpret information both past and present
  • spirit work – understand our value system and truth
  • emotional – what, why and how we feel
  • behavioural – our habits, actions and reactions

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when i was battling with bulimia, here is how the breakdown occurred. emotional trauma lead to my mind thinking that i was pretty much worthless. this message reverberated over and over in my life -usually because i kept telling myself i was worthless. a negative event would reinforce this “lie” as truth. faith (what we believe) comes by hearing. well, i heard the message loud and clear until all of me believed it to my core. this caused my heart to ache. none of us want to be worthless. we, i, wanted to have value. i wanted to feel accepted and significant. however, the message that my thinking was confirming to me was that every negative event in my life confirmed…no worth. it was very painful. by not adjusting the message to one of truth, i could not receive proper relief. therefore, my emotions were screaming at me that something was WRONG…”i should not feel this way”. when the pain continued, my behaviour and habits moved into destructive patterns that put my body at risk. i was attempting to quiet the screaming emotions. bulimia = painful event + wrong thinking (cognitive) + wrong belief (spirit) + painful emotions (feelings) + addictive or destructive habits (behaviour). it became a terribly painful cycle. a cycle that i desperately wanted help to get out of.

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want to know something cool? we all get wounded…yes! body, soul and spirit…we all have had wounds to these parts of our being! AND we all can heal. there is a way for healing to occur for all three parts of our being. there is a way to restore each part to proper, free function so that they can work in a united way called wholeness.

i hope you will keep following my heart as i share how this is possible.

tomorrow, we will look at what emotional wounds look like and how they interrelate throughout our being.

i look forward to meeting again. thanks for stopping by,

D

i moved beyond the pain to build…way of life..Forgive

i sat among thorns/insigh from a woman's heart

i sat among the thorns

they pierced my heart

and filled my eyes with tears

my wounded soul would now retain

the wisdom learned for years

anger blinds the eyes to love

revenge too much to pay

a fortress wall to shield the heart

will not remove the pain

pity builds a victim mind

which chains me to deep fear

discomfort stirs my spirit on

and drives me from despair

what’s left behind

i did not need

a shedding of the waste

for only then i start to taste

 the truth i came to know

the thorns were meant

bring to me

damage unrepaired

i moved beyond the pain to build

a gentle place to live

for from my wounded heart

will flow

a way of life…

Forgive.