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    hope that no matter what difficulties arise in family, health, or finances, a family can survive it and get to the other side. 'How' is not just one response, rather it's an evolving idea. Solutions present themselves as you go along the path. As you seek the thing it is you want to achieve, so will an idea come to you. I do not attribute it to a god or a religion, though I may have one or both of those. This is life. Hope. Live with me,... 



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    Entries in healing (31)


    My Current Mantra

    One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, recently posted a story of grace on her Facebook wall. In it she came up with some of my new favorite phrases which bring humor and perspective to the 'tiny psychotic control issues' we carry. One of them I went and found a new mantra for, to release me from "a disease of good ideas for other people." So far, it's super helpful. My other favorite that I like to think of when someone I am close to is working hard on recovery is, "This is THEIR hero journey: you don’t get to run beside them with juice boxes, Chapstick, and your control freak ways." This applies to so many facets of life, parenting, caregiving, marriage, rehabilitation, etc etc. Seriously, funny. Now, I breathe... 


     -mantra: 'ok great mother of the universe, you deal with this, I can’t do it.'


    Heroes and Healers: Featured Resource

    Trager MethodBarbara Nehman Austin, Texas

    "Utilizing gentle, non-intrusive, natural movements, The Trager Approach helps release deep-seated physical and mental patterns and facilitates deep relaxation, increased physical mobility, and mental clarity. These patterns may have developed in response to accidents, illnesses, or any kind of physical or emotional trauma, including the stress of everyday life." 
    I was introduced to the Trager Method through practitioner Barbara Nehman this summer, and was amazed at how happy and joyful I became after one table session. The work we did was comforting and gentle, opening and awakening. Trager is a great tool for veterans and caregivers, helping to work through issues of trauma, addiction, pain, emotional release, sexuality, and so much more. Fill out the comment form on my website if you are interested in contact information and I will be glad to direct you to this wonderful resource! 



    It's You I'm Fighting For

    All the beauty that's been lost before
    wants to find us again


    Oh the milestones U2 has played soundtrack to in our life...

    When my husband and I were first dating in high school I showed up at his window one late night. As I stayed the night over, sleeping on his chest, the entire album of Achtung Baby played on repeat to drown out any talking we did. He fell asleep, but I was too excited to be there with him to sleep. I just laid there listening to it over and over "Love is blindness...I don't wanna see, won't you wrap the night, around me..." Fast forward to the morning he deployed to Iraq, three kids later and living on post housing. I was terrified and my heart was breaking in a million pieces having to say goodbye to him not knowing the outcome of his return. We had this tiny kitchen that made an L-shape in the townhouse, and we danced... "In a little while surely you'll be mine, in a little while I'll be there, in a little while this hurt will hurt no more I'll be home, the night takes a deep breath, and the daylight has no end, if I crawl, if I come crawling home, will you be there?" I'll never forget that dance. 

    Imagine now the beauty of this new release by U2, as we rebuild our lives and re-learn about love and healing after so much turmoil... "The sea wants to kiss the golden shore, the sunlight warms your skin. All the beauty that's been lost before wants to find us again... I can't fight you anymore, it's you I'm fighting for. The sea throws rock together but time leaves us polished stones. We can't fall any further, if we can't feel ordinary love. We cannot reach any higher, if we can't deal with ordinary love..." So to this, this morning, we danced. And my husband sings it to me with his acoustic guitar and rusty voice. And U2 keeps soundtracking...and I love. 

    Life is amazing and beautiful. 


    the words on the paper freed us

    There was one moment, a place in time that spiraled downward. It broke hearts, it dashed expectations, it brought down low. It made you question every decision you ever made in life and wonder where your sanity was. It tortured, it ripped souls. It bred the very existence of doubt. It created isolation, loneliness, and desperation of life. There was one tiny little thing though, a minuscule glimmer shimmering in your eye. You called it hope, possibility, chance. You were too stubborn to let it go, so you followed it down the path. What once looked like a doomed arrangement began to show shoots of tiny baby spring growth just peeking out of the dirt in the ground. Sometimes, those shoots seemed like they wouldn’t make it. Some died. Others grew and replaced them. Finally, there was a foundation of them to walk upon that felt good on the bottoms of your souls. And they flourished, and they are growing in many different colors, and they are getting stronger,… and you simply cannot believe happiness returned. Not only did it, it came to those once dark, lonely, torn apart places. You never moved from your house, you never altered your existence, you never traded in your relationships for newer ones, no matter how justified the others made it seem you should. You trusted your ideas. Then you gave them the time and the chance they needed. They grew. Today you wake up with warmth around you. Still surprised, peace greets you when you open your eyes. And you are grateful. A whole lifetime you dreamed of knowing what love was and you, lucky soul, get to experience it today. With them. What once was broken has been made whole. And you are grateful.  And it all became ok.  


    There Are No Shoulds

    We have been having a good time lately, we meaning me. I have been choosing to do things I love to do, and doing them daily to help me stay happy. It’s working too. Being outdoors in the sun, doing yoga, meditating, riding my bike and feeling relaxed, and writing. So I’ve made them all a priority in the day. It sort of started as, “I love this and I have to do it all the time!” type of obsession. And I told myself “it’s ok to do something I love everyday,..” so I kept doing it. Then doubt started to creep in. Actually, it was always there but as the newness of things wore if it got louder and louder. At first I felt spoiled, like I didn’t deserve it. “Who was I to do something I loved every day? Why should I get to? Who am I to leave the prison of fear and worry and go outside and feel alive? Shouldn’t I be inside huddled in a corner figuring out how to get out of debt, write enough thank you notes to everyone who has helped us, feel bad about the ones I forgot to send, ruminate about my expectations vs my reality, be concerned about ways people felt let down by me because my personal capacities couldn’t contain their needs… instead of cycling down a sunny trail? Aren’t I not allowed to enjoy life this often yet until I right all my wrongs? Mustn’t I dig myself out of it unpleasantly and uncomfortably because I should feel bad for the things I did imperfectly?” And so all the dark thoughts went in my head. I did not realize how much I was still allowing these ideas to stop me from being present and whole. 

    But every time I moved my foot one more revolution on that star through the crisp air of an Austin mild winter, I learned to get farther from these lies. No, being inside feeling ashamed will not help me heal, recover, or build to what I need to become to move through this phase and past that other phase of life. This bike, this trail, the ground beneath me and the feel of how a season changes from day to day on my skin are exactly what I need. That moment on the yoga mat that I opened up my heart to the sky and became willing, that is what I needed all along. Moving the pencil across the paper and through every page of the notebook until the lead is all gone and my heart is all poured, breathing into my belly and feeling the air move through me as the figure eight of an infinity circle up one side of my body, through the middle, and down the other, blowing out the un-ending thoughts with my breath as if they are clouds floating away and relieving me of the burden carrying them all the time, my mind clears. And I am here, and it’s all about now, and finally I can feel it in my body and see it with my eyes without being afraid. And it’s all ok. I feel I belong here now. And my life is deserving of happiness and some time in the sunshine. So I glow. 


    Editing Your Life's Stories Can Create Happier Endings

    The following excerpt is from a story NPR released about overcoming traumatic events in one's life... I love it. Take a look: 

    ...'The process is called "story editing." ...small tweaks in the interpretation of life events can reap huge benefits.

    The idea is that if you believe you are something else — perhaps smarter, more socially at ease — you can allow for profound changes to occur.

    You can try story-editing yourself at home with these writing exercises. Simply pick a troubling event. And write about it for 15 minutes each day for four days. That's it.' 

    read more


    Ask for Nothing

    "I say, it’s time to renegotiate what touch means to us."

    She can say so well what I have been trying to figure out... 

    "Over the years, this repetition of unsafe touch left me feeling like a turtle pulled deep into her shell. Each time I would peak myself out of the shell I gained further assurance that there was just something about me—he couldn’t help it. It was up to me to make sure I didn’t continually cause this to happen. I needed to erase myself. I needed to become dead. I began to retreat. I would run to bed and pretend to be asleep before my husband would come up. I shut all my physiological and energetic doors. I became a prisoner in my own body... 

    Then I began to practice yoga. I began to trust. I began to allow myself to feel my body once again. I began to come alive. But I was starting to understand a different kind of touch. It is the kind of touch that asks for nothing—that does not push—listening to the receiver before offering more. This touch offers support. It is a conversation without words. It says, “I am here. I will help you trust when you are ready. I will support you in going where you want to go. When you are ready to go there.” It is mindful and considerate yet given fully and without doubt or hesitation. It is an exchange of energy."

    read more: Sexual Healing Through Yoga


    'The most important lesson after looking at 83,000 brain scans'

    'What if we evaluated and treated troubled brains rather than simply warehousing them in toxic stressful environments' 

    "Our imaging work also taught us that mild traumatic brain injury was a major cause of psychiatric illness that ruined peoples lives and virtually no one knew about it because they would see psychiatrists for things like temper problems, anxiety, drpession, and insomnia and they would never look so they would never know."

    "We are in a pending disaster with the hundrends and thousands of soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and virtually no one os looking at the function of their brain."


    Living in the present, reacting to the past

    In response to my recent freak out about abusive tendencies and family dynamics, my brilliant psychobiological couple’s therapist called a family session. My concern was that I had been making all the wrong decisions, letting my kids live with ptsd moments from time to time and ruining their lives. I'd say I have this type of hyper focus on my husband’s behavior.

    I saw a trend in my upbringing with an emotionally manipulative mom and my willingness to tolerate outlandish emotional moments in my marriage, and it became blatantly obvious after a run in with her a couple weeks ago followed up immediately by another with my spouse, eerily similar. Maybe I had allowed to much mistreatment because I didn’t know different. Maybe we deserved better. But, the question I couldn’t answer: what was considered normal and tolerable in a family and what is crossing the line? There have been so many variables, positive changes, setbacks, efforts, strides, and regressions I couldn’t tell what progress was anymore. Surely, everyone in any family has bad moments, frustrations, yelling, and saying things they regret. Perhaps, also, the important piece and the difference is repair.

    Her way of addressing my concerns was seeing the family together, checking in, and observing how we all interact. And it went great. My husband and I left there both feeling like we had done a good job parenting, and the kids were so connected and healthy. Everyone left feeling like we are a team, we all realized we had some good qualities with a lot to offer each other, and that our life wasn’t all hard or bad. This was refreshing.

    So now it has me thinking, what am I reacting to? Why am I on a negative loop? It seems a little late to be calling out abuse, shit has hit the fan in a much worse way years ago and I didn’t have the courage to go to a women’s shelter. So why now? Am I wanting some sort of validation for the past? Have I lost all of my tolerance because I haven’t dealt with those issues? I do know leading up to this event I asked myself, am I just stretched so thin over the years I’ve become extremely intolerant of anything? Even as incidents get smaller, fewer between, and easier to resolve I can’t take them anymore.

    So, how do I see things as they truly are now, rather than through the lens of previous happenings or even childhood echos? I think I finally found a place in life to realize it’s ok to stop reacting. It’s time to search through what went on and find healing. Things are actually safe, and it is time to correct the response and learn to live again, and to trust.


    Family Relief

    We were invited to participate in Operation Purple's Healing Adventures last weekend in the Hill Country of Texas. After speaking with them about all the dietary restrictions our family had, and their graciously accomodating, we set off! I wasn't sure what to expect, and was a little apprehensive. But this was one of those trips where the good stuff is still setting in after it is over, and we are all realizing how well they did to bring us back together as a family and remind us what support and understanding feels like. 

    Here is the goal of Operation Purple's Healing Family Adventure, "We've tailored a special retreat program that is designed to support wounded service members and their families. We celebrate rediscovering family-fun and togetherness after an injury. We combine family-focused activities with outdoor exploration to encourage each family’s growth. Specially adapted communication activities developed by FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress™), ensure families return home stronger.  We are climbing, hiking, canoeing, bonding, eating s’mores, and more!"

    And that is exactly what they delivered. Everyone in our family did brave and awesome things, we watched as three of our kiddos teamed up to canoe together and created a pretty good system of cooperating, paddling in unison, counting it off outloud in threes. It was adorable. Marco and I also very nervously looked on as Shelemyah decided she was going to climb the high ropes course, and zip line from 45 feet, no matter what. The support staff made everything possible. She is very proud of herself, as are we. Furthermore, may I note, not only did they provide a healing weekend, they treated us with respect. I have been on sponsored caregiver retreats in the past and made to feel like an irresponsible child becasue of the amount of oversight and lack of freedom to make our own decisions. I love how we were treated as the capable adults and families that we are. Bravo National Military Family Association, you've got it right. Thank you for everything. 


    'Through Smoke I See the Solid Ground'

    I sat across from his chair and watched him. He grabbed his hands and his mind finally dove to that place he didn't want to go. All I could think were the lyrics I had just listened to, wishing they could reach out and touch him "the war is over now..." and I wanted to say it was all going to be ok. As he tries to separate who he is from what he is suffering, I just sit there and watch. I am tangled up in the mess of it all, and often times exhausted from what it is like to see and be affected by as well. But I know he won't stop trying. He has proven that time and again. As many times as I have seen him feel taken over, I have seen him stand back up and achieve better. So why should I stop trying... 

    "I know your only thought is how to win back what you lost, cover eyes with frost and fill our brains with poison." "But the time will come for crippling walls once mighty to crumble down..." and we will be at peace again. I love who you are, never change. 

    {soundtrack:War is Over}

    lyrics by Lowland Hum


    He Said

    "I'm going to live an extra 15 years...

    so I give that time back to you..."


    'I’ve learned not to want the quiet of the room with no one around'

    I didn’t get here by accident. I very purposefully trudged through a lot of shit to still be present in this moment. When I realize that, I also realize I still don’t fully accept it. Accept life or it’s circumstances, the way things turned out for the better even. I don’t think I deserve it. I cannot believe I am saying this, because I will express verbally that I do deserve it. But in the end, I feel guilty. This is completely annoying. I am afraid to tell you what is working and going well, because I don’t want to brag. But I had no reservations about telling you what went utterly and completely wrong on a moment to moment basis. I am afraid I will annoy you, or seem to be rubbing success in your face. It isn’t my intention, but that’s what goes through my head. 

    I had a dream, lots of them actually, a long while ago. One of the most prominent was to heal. Before I got married it was to create my own healthier family and heal through that, when that fell apart I hoped it could be repaired and restored to it’s original intention. 

    It was restored. 

    And I am not sure I believe it just yet. There are days I really do, and days I feel like I am on the outside of this life of ours looking in on it. Most days are the latter. This also is very annoying. 

    Mindfulness they say, practice it they say. I do. It’s weird. I like it, it just is not what I call home yet. Like a crazy panicking cat clinging to a wall with it’s claws barely holding on is how my soul feels inside this body, always screaming to leave, never settling into it’s surroundings. I’d like very much for that to change.




    She Felt Like She Was Pretending to Know What She Was Doing

    Part (1)

    She didn't always want to get back up....


    Telling Our Kids Not To Be Afraid

    It is already a difficult task to explain bombings, tragedy, and death to our children. Coupled with PTSD, keeping our kids feeling safe when we are most likely managing our own trigger, can almost be out of reach. 

    Take a deep breath, and read over these ideas.

    Make them a part of your parenting toolbox for future events or questions. Better yet, remind the child in you who may not have been told theses things that it's going to be OK. 

    I am thankful to the organizations who published this information for us who might not have been taught how to handle traumatizing news. 

    "But what I've realized over the past few years is that information may reduce anxiety, but media saturation generates anxiety, fear, blame, and even rage. Many of the news outlets are fighting for ratings as we're fighting to breathe and put one foot in front of the other." 

    Resources for Parents by Brene Brown

    During disasters and tragedies I often find myself drawn to the news. I want to know exactly what's happening as it's happening. I want to feel connected and informed... continue article



    Lessons for Heroes and Healers

    Lessons for Heroes and Healers is a Google plus community that teaches and supports. Learn tips and share ideas on how to heal from combat experiences.

    Rebuilding is a community wide event, this platform is appropriate for anyone involved in bringing about recovery from combat experience: veterans, spouses, family members, and community helpers alike. This is not a catch all group collecting everything that is out there, rather a carefully curated source to filter some of the noise, and share what is the most effective. 

    We believe in Post-Traumatic Growth.

    Some categories include: 

    Getting Organized: Foundational tools to help you set up and prepare for the journey of advocacy and recovery.

    Read, Watch, Learn: An articles section that will hold a cache of news, scientific research, opinion, and healing method ideas, all which lend toward growth and recovery.

    Gather Your Resources: This section will share organizations, companies, and foundations great to get connected with. We are not meant to do this alone, allow support from others in your life. 

    ...and more. See for yourself today, contribute to the collective voice what has truly helped you. Do join us. 



    It's a humbling and equally invigorating experience to have people pour into our lives. I am so grateful. Beginning to feel nourished to grow and pay it forward...
    Thank you to the people.


    Dance of the Day 

    Again, early in the morning along with the sunrise.... we danced


    Sisters, Oh Sisters

    I hope you feel safe in your home with your sweet families every night as you go over your kids work from school. I hope you know that the threat of attack upon your neighborhood is minimal as you sleep soundly at night. I hope your husband greets you gently at the door and delivers flowers to your office by day. 

    Your countries' veterans next door paid for you to have that peace. Their wives and kids watch the terror of the war in his eyes each day he comes home, and they wonder if the night will be smooth tonight or not. Or if he kept his job this day. Will it be full of emotional regulation and staving off PTSD triggering upsets, or will they get the very rare gift of one night just being calm inside their homes. These veteran wives absorb constant, extreme levels of anxiety so their children won't feel as much of the shock, they cope with the depression of their spouses hoping if they give him that time he will feel better tomorrow. We carry on, we run everything he can no longer handle, we choose to live a life less than our dreams for your peace. 

    Wives of America, don't you understand? Your neighbors need you. Your kindness, your warmth, your understanding, your acceptance, your smile. Even, if it doesn't inconvenience you too much from ballet and soccer schedules...Your help. 

    Closing your doors in our faces and ignoring us as we pass, is that how you show your gratefulness for the price we pay for you? Our husbands are not the only ones who experienced an aspect of war, it never leaves the family for the rest of our days here in this world. 

    How can we ever heal when our communities turn their backs on one another...the healthy have so much to offer the unhealthy, the rich to the poor, the stable to the unstable, the sound to the confused. Sisters, oh sisters, wake up and see what is going on outside your doors. 


    Yoga for Vets