+SURVIVAL EMOTION OF ANGER

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First, a note to blog subscribers:  Please always click on a new blog post TITLE when it appears in your email.  I am a master of ongoing tweaks and edits.

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Now – following my last post,  +ON BEHALF OF MY SCOTTISH WOMAN WARRIOR SELF….., I would like to say a few more words about ANGER as I see this powerful life enhancing or destroying emotion —

The simplest way I can think about anger is to understand that as a primal-primary emotion it is the FIRST response of a body after a startle reaction when some demand from the environment is required for survival.

In this simplified description I suggest that an inner state of peaceful calm (connectedness)  is SUPPOSED to be the center set point for our entire being.  Of course when severe abuse and trauma in the earliest months and years of our development present challenges that never let us experience this inner state of peaceful calm — within our earliest attachment relationship environments — it is not likely that our center set point actually grows to be a reality for us.  (Described elsewhere on this blog….)

But the way things SHOULD work optimally gives us a first reaction of anger — which is, to me, actually a power response that utilizes KNOWN responses to solve ‘a problem’ so that we can get back ASAP to the NORMAL state of peaceful calm.

If our first ANGER (fight) response does not work, we are likely to move to the next ‘spot’ in the survival cycle:  FEAR (flight).  In a state of fear we are forced to find SOMETHING else within our known repertoire of responses to danger and threat that we can try out in order to solve this environmental ‘problem’ we have been challenged with.

If we know NOTHING that seems to be working to solve this problem-challenge we then move on to the next spot in the cycle:  SADNESS (freeze).

In this spot we are, I suspect, most open to learning something entirely NEW that we can add to our repertoire of effective responses.

If we can learn or find nothing new, and nothing we knew before works, and certainly — if we are moving around in this cycle — our first immediate anger response did not work (and yes, I have an expanded idea of what anger is…), we are in danger of perpetually being stuck in this sadness, this pain, this grief….

And we do NOT get to return to a center place of peaceful calm until something – or someone – is found to assist toward solution of this environmental problem-challenge.

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All of this is presented in the simplest, shortest format I can think of right now.  My point is that anger is essential to our survival – when this response is called for.  So are the emotions of fear and sadness.  It is not being able to solve life’s problems effectively that is the problem in the short and the long run – not the problems themselves and certainly not our emotions.

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I am presenting here the first two chapters of the book I am writing that will cover up to my age of being nearly 11 (to middle childhood).  These chapters are approaching final edit stage – they are not there yet.

I was surprised to find as I worked toward finalized format for this book which I at present am calling “A Shrinking Pinhole of Light,” that the book actually begins with experiences I had at age 14.

*Book Chapters approaching edit: A Shrinking Pinhole of Light

I write of my first experience with ANGER at what happened to me growing up in the second chapter at this link.  Today I am thinking that had I known better, I would have been thrilled to see the first appearance in my conscious awareness of my own Scottish warrior woman at this first time I had ever encountered a memory of my abusive childhood.  Before this time I had simply found no context to ever bring the first 18 years of my life up — to myself or to anyone else.

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Anger at injustice.  That is a concept of great importance to me.  Every time I feel anger I can track that emotion to an injustice!  Warriors fight against injustice.  How that fight is fought, whom it is fought against, and what the success of the fight becomes — can only matter if we can acknowledge that ANGER is NOT our enemy.

This can be a very tough realization to come by for those, like myself, who have been the targets of insane brutal violent abuse.  But it was not Mother’s ANGER and RAGE that hurt me — alone.  It was what her mental illness DID with anger and rage that hurt me.

Without ‘anger’ our species would not be here.  As a note, I am Netflix streaming a series from the history channel on the American Revolution.  Without anger at injustice we would never have had a revolution, never would have won the one we had, and would not be a nation.  That Americans perpetrated criminal injustices against others IS a part of the story.

Yet becoming caught like a fly on sticky paper in the cycles (revolutions) of anger at injustice is destructive.  Finding ways to learn what we need to know/do to solve problems to be restored (or brought for the first time ever) to an inner state of peaceful calm (connectedness) – as individuals, as nations, as a species — is the end goal.

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+ON BEHALF OF MY SCOTTISH WOMAN WARRIOR SELF…..

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It seems possible to imagine far more than what can be known.  I have been thinking recently about my Scottish ancestry.  While there is so little actually known about the tracks in the past that led to the DNA I carry, I have discovered that on my mother’s father’s father’s father’s side Scottish ancestors landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia around 1840.  On my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s side Scottish ancestors landed on Prince Edward Island.

It doesn’t take very long moving forward in time for the connections to people of our past to be lost completely.  I find myself wondering about how different my world today might appear if I had been born with my lineage all laid out in a line going back and back and back – how far?  How would it help me to know myself better today if I could see a wide long road backward that would show me where I came from?

Would I understand my urges and tendencies, my personality, my traits, my inner perspective on life, my options, my choices better if I DID actually know whose DNA I carry?  Would I be able to understand that my own teeny segment of life time belongs to a connected bigger picture of familial destiny, of progressing missions that can never be completed in just MY lifetime but in fact belong to my family branch of the tree of humankind – which if I knew all the branches of this tree it would appear to tower around me so widely I might find comfort in the fact that I have never been alone in facing any single challenge of my lifetime?

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Mainstream America seems to have a rather peculiar cultural notion that each of us is – an INDIVIDUAL.  As I age (I am 60 now) I find myself wondering what benefit there might be in perpetrating a conception of personhood that leaves every one of us in midair disconnected in essence from everybody else.  Where is there balance in such an idea?  Where is there wisdom?  Where is there truth?

Isn’t this mainstream American notion self-limiting by definition?  One single leaf living out a fragile short lifetime seen perhaps connected tenuously to whatever ‘relatives’ we might claim of the very long stream of REAL relations we have left ‘back there’ or ‘out there’ – out of sight.  Out of memory.  Of no concern or consequence to us as the individuals we either crave ourselves to be – or claim ourselves to be.

What of my flock?  Who are my birds-of-a-feather?

Even if I extend my thinking back to the last series of migrations that began out of Africa 40,000 yeas ago (never mind the migrations that began 90,000 years ago) I would track my heritage back at least 2,000 generations to end up in the same place as would everyone else of my species — right here on 25,000-miles-around planet earth.  But 2,000 generations left traveling this quite-small planet seemed in my family’s case to have all spent their time traveling to and remaining somewhere on the British Isles (with the single French exception that I know of).

Several years ago our family tracked our migrations through my brother’s DNA contribution to the National Geographic’s Genographic Project.  This is what we discovered of my father’s traveling ancestors out of Africa:  CLICK HERE.  (I don’t know if this link will work without our specific code…..)  Yes, that was a very long walk over a relatively long period of time – many people walked the walk out of Africa to end up someplace else.

One of my nephews paid to have my mother’s side of the family’s journey discovered.  Although I have never seen those results I trust that her ancestors followed the exact same pathway that my father’s did – right to the British Isles.

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I bring all this up today because I am thinking not only about what I do not know specifically about myself linked to a specific branch of the human family tree, but also about the equally nonexistent information I do not have about ANGER.

While this might seem like an arbitrary connection of thoughts, I don’t think so.

I was raised by a psychotic, neurotic, severely mentally ill (most probably Borderline Personality Disorder) insanely abusive mother.  My mother’s madness and her psychosis was focused on me even though I really had NOTHING to do with what so disturbed Mother.  I was abused as if I WAS Mother herself – as if I was the forever condemned hopelessly evil child self Mother could not tolerate within herself.

Mother’s weapon was RAGE.  Primal, destroying, evil-acting RAGE.

Wherever in our family line on Mother’s side this rage-filled madness came from (other than most obviously from Mother’s own infant-child abuse history) I will never know.  Mother – dark auburn haired, brilliant green eyes – was a stunning beauty in her youth.  I have the brilliant blue eyes and dark hair my father had.  And yet I wonder today, “Was Mother descended from a line of Scottish warrior women?”

If so, as I rather oddly discovered through a resonation within my own body-brain-mind this week, I am also carrying an ancestral memory-reality from those same Scottish warrior women that Mother was.

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There was one very often repeated anger-related story about me that Mother kept alive in her abuse litany of me all the way through my childhood until I left home 18.  I remember the story, and imagine I can remember the moments during which the story was born.  But now, over 55 years later, I can’t say if I was 2, 3 or 4 at the time this story-event took place.

Mother recounted what a willful, disobedient child I was from the time I was born because of what I did on this one day Grandmother came to visit our home.  In some way I do not know I ‘misbehaved’ and was sent to my room.  “You pounded your fists on the wall all the way down the hallway to your room,” Mother repeated and repeated over the years.

At the very young age I was then I still had the capacity to feel angry.  Mother very successfully beat that ability out of me.  Where did my anger go?

I never fought my abusive mother after this event.  Mother made sure I not only would not, but that I could not.

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Did I always have the seeds of a Scottish warrior woman within me?  Was it in part this same DNA link that – once gone so terribly awry – became so insanely dangerous and wildly abusive in Mother?

I ask because I FELT that Scottish warrior woman potential in myself this past week.  A friend of mine on facebook, a woman in Alaska I went to school with as a child, made these comments to me once I expressed to her my realization:

Linda Ann My Brave Scottish Warrior Goddess~~ I CAN SOOOOOOOOOOOOO SEE YOU IN YOUR WARRIOR GARB!! My VISION of you is thus: You’re wearing some kind of helmet (leather possibly??) Your long WILD hair has braids here & there w/feathers & the teeth of vanquished enemies &/or animals that sent to the Great Beyond!! You have a long Animal Skin Cape (not sure what animal it’s from), you have a large, long spear in one hand & a decorated shield in the other & a bow & quiver slung over your shoulder!! You are POWERFUL & FEARLESS!! The crowds part in great respect & reverence as you pass thru on your horse, to the Castle…………. quite a Vision you make my Darling!!!! ;} ox KEEP THE FAITH MY SISTER!!”

Yes, I just wish I was a good enough of an artist to draw this VERY, VERY CLEAR, VISION I had of you!!!!! all I can say is: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” I don’t think you know just how STRONG your inner core really is my dear one!!!! It’s akin to STEEL!!!!!!”

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Where ARE our warrior women in today’s American world?  How do we translate what might feel like anger and rage into an awareness that we have the RIGHT and the OBLIGATION to notice wrongful actions and injustices around us – and we have the RIGHT and the OBLIGATION to act on behalf of what we deeply know to be right and good and truthful?

I learned from birth at the hands of an out-of-control brutally violent madwoman that being compliant to Mother was the only way I could stay alive.

I learned as an American woman that being nicey-nice is not only expected of me as an adult member of our society, it is demanded of me.

It seems I have learned to become an expert ‘crow-eater’.  Does that way of being in the world actually suit me, or does it contribute not to my healing and growth but to my own demise?  What of those women warrior ways of 3,500 years ago and before?

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Just because I happened to appear at a time in history and a place on this planet where the Scottish warrior woman I very probably am – or in essence I would NEVER have been able to survive my mother’s abuse – has NO PLACE to appear does not mean that I don’t need to find my own pathway to acknowledging this vital part of who I am.

This seems a strange realization for me to be having now that I am 60.  How much more fun it would probably have been to have understood this from the time I was 18 and entering the outside world.  And yet as I shift my thinking by looking through my newly-discovered lens of probable truth – because I FELT this powerful Scottish warrior woman inside of myself this week – I am beginning to see the patterns of what I have done with my life’s energy for all these 60 years as stemming from this warrior.

I am not a leaf that has fallen from this strong family branch of the tree of humankind.  To the best of my ability I have always thrived against all odds.  It seems very probable that I have my ancient Scottish warrior women ancestors to thank for this truth.  And I have my friend to thank for the powerful imagery that attends to this important aspect of who I have always been and still am today.

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+THINKING ABOUT ABUSED CHILDREN AND THEIR FRIENDSHIP WITH ANIMALS

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The cover story for the most recent issue of TIME magazine, ‘The Surprising Science of Animal Friendships’ is behind what is called a ‘buywall’ – meaning that you must pick up a hardcopy issue of the magazine or subscribe online to read the article.

Here is a short article by the author of the article hosted on Discover Magazine’s webpage:

Animal Friendships: My cover story for Time magazine

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I am reminded of two of my blog stories that long time readers will have seen before.  The first is about friendship between chickens.  The other is about friendship between a woman and a very large bull snake:

+EARTH DAY: In Honor of the Grieving Chicken

+HITCHING A RIDE WITH KIND STRANGERS

Here is another interesting blog post from the past:

+THINKING ABOUT ANIMALS, PEOPLE, COMPASSION

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An important segment of my childhood revolved around my age 8 friendship with my pet black bunny rabbit named Peter.  That the end of Peter brought greatest grief to me can never erase the power that my bond with this pet had to expand the circle of emotion possible within my child-self as I lived in a dim, darkened disaster of a childhood.

And yet IF – and that small world is a huge one considering the abuse of my childhood – my single living attachment had been to some human rather than to a small fuzzy rabbit – perhaps the loss of my one and only friend in the world would not have felt quite so devastating to me.

Yet in light of this TIME magazine article I find myself thinking this morning that if chickens and snakes can form friendships, then perhaps my Peter also had a friendship relationship with me!  I’ve never before today considered this possibility – that my friendship with Peter had meaning not only to ME, but also had meaning to my pet.

Eventually – perhaps quite soon as I get back to working through the drafts of my first book – I will need to return to this cold rainy Alaskan evening.  I will need to face my memory of this story one last time as I work to write my final version.  These links are to other versions of the story – but they cannot speak of my whole version until I write this story one last time:

+REWRITING MY STORY OF PETER THE BLACK RABBIT

*Comment on Age 8 – My Black Rabbit Peter

+BLACK RABBIT

*AGE 8 – MY BLACK RABBIT, PETER

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I have written before on this blog (3 years ago) about what I consider important about how we severe infant-child abuse survivors relate to our own memories.  It takes great care and wisdom to tell or to write some of the stories we know.  There is much information under the surface of the words and images that become entwined with our stories – this is very often the case even when we remember the special relationships we had with the animal world of our childhood.

*THE DANGERS OF MEMORY RETRIEVAL

*FURTHER UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT DISSOCIATION

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+THE MOST IMPORTANT 9 MONTHS OF OUR LIFE

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I want to introduce an article that brings important points to consider as we think about people, including our self.  I think that the fact my mother was not in her full-blown psychosis concerning me, and was probably not yet fully swallowed up by the severity of her Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) mental illness while she carried me for the first nine months of my life, is probably THE most important resiliency factor that allowed me to survive the terrible abuse that happened to me once I was born.

Please consider taking a little time to read this article:

How the First Nine Months Shape the Rest of Your Life

By Annie Murphy Paul, TIME Magazine, Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What makes us the way we are? Why are some people predisposed to be anxious, overweight or asthmatic? How is it that some of us are prone to heart attacks, diabetes or high blood pressure?

There’s a list of conventional answers to these questions. We are the way we are because it’s in our genes: the DNA we inherited at conception. We turn out the way we do because of our childhood experiences: how we were treated and what we took in, especially during those crucial first three years. Or our health and well-being stem from the lifestyle choices we make as adults: what kind of diet we consume, how much exercise we get.  (See 5 pregnancy myths debunked.)

But there’s another powerful source of influence you may not have considered: your life as a fetus. The kind and quantity of nutrition you received in the womb; the pollutants, drugs and infections you were exposed to during gestation; your mother’s health, stress level and state of mind while she was pregnant with you — all these factors shaped you as a baby and a child and continue to affect you to this day.”
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2021065,00.html#ixzz1nIoJdgHC

(If the text image for this article appears too small on your screen, be sure to hold down the ‘control’ key and hit the ‘+’ sign to make it larger.)

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I was conceived around Thanksgiving 1950.  I was my parents’ 2nd child of the 6 they were to bring into this world.  I believe that Mother was as fine as she could be while she carried me.  I was a wanted child.  Both of my parents were physically healthy (with the exception of the seed of the terrible BPD disease Mother carried within her during the time she carried me) at this time in their lives.

I think about the womb conditions that might have existed for my mother during her first 9 months of life.  (Mother was born December 21, 1925.)  I have two interesting pieces of writing by my mother’s mother:

What seems possible is that, as Grandmother describes in part in her writings here, by the time my mother was conceived it was very clear that Grandfather did NOT want children.  Did Grandmother experience stress/distress about this fact as she carried my mother?  If she did, it IS entirely possible that Mother was negatively affected by the ‘state of the world’ she was being born into before she took her first breath.  It seems possible to me that Mother experienced trauma altered development that put her at risk before she was ever born.

I did not experience risk factors in Mother’s womb.  Mother’s fertility was celebrated, as was the fact that their ‘pretend fairy tale’ family was growing.

That Mother’s babies were to her nothing but living dolls is a part of the much larger picture of the story of her – mine – and my siblings’ lives.  That babies were by definition tied to Mother’s inadequate, traumatic, abusive childhood meant that all of us were forever trapped in Mother’s delusions as they prevented ANY ONE OF US from being real people in our own right.

See:  *MY MOTHER NEVER OUTGREW HER DOLLS

But, for today’s point, I am forever grateful that my earliest beginnings were OK.  My body pre-birth was allowed to follow a trajectory toward strength and health without being altered by trauma.  The psychotic break Mother suffered bringing breech-birth me into the world was the end of anything like a trauma-free life for me.  Yet if there had not been the near-heaven of my first 9 months I don’t believe I would have had any chance at all of surviving what Mother did to me for the next 18 years.

I do not believe that my mother had this critical advantage that I did.  But of course nobody alive will ever know.

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+I SO TRIED TO BE AN INVISIBLE CHILD IN MAD MOTHER’S MAD WORLD

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Today I feel like a character in some Wizard of Oz story that hasn’t been invented yet!!  Well, except if I feel like this character then maybe it HAS been invented!!  Thinking about life can be SO confusing!

Here’s a bit of a context.  I just this morning created my very first facebook event page for the drum and dance group from the Congo whose bookings in our fairly remote area I have been working on these past two weeks.  (There are some previous posts about this process if you scroll down here a ways.)

Here is the event page link!

https://www.facebook.com/events/330901813613605/

All well and fine — except — this is how I ended up feeling as I completed that page!  I sent this note to people I love and who love and support and care and encourage me every day of my life!

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I just want to share this with you

how sad it is that as I just created my facebook event page I have this terrible, overshadowing and nearly overwhelming feeling

That I DID/AM DOING something terribly wrong

and that I am risking getting into terrible trouble

that I have created a disaster

that I made/am making a terrible mistake

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How deeply rooted this feeling is in my BODY — of course from long ago — but what a personal ‘show stopper’ to be this afraid of putting myself out there, taking a risk —

I strongly suspect these same feelings are deeply tied to my trying to write a book

In this event’s case I am moving forward — but at a very high price personally.  It’s like I am stepping off of the top of a very high cliff into thin air — and I KNOW there is nowhere for me to go but DOWN

This has to, in part, be about from childhood trying my absolute hardest to NEVER BE NOTICED, never put myself out visibly in any way — because my being alive carried such horrific consequences alone — let alone what would happen if I became VISIBLE

Interestingly, this is (as I write this) so tied to my discovery in the book writing that Mother’s horrible psychosis with me at the center of it was that she HAD to keep me invisible!!!!

I cannot feel any joy in what I am doing here with my own actions.  I want to disappear and HIDE and to be never found or seen from again!!!!

very sad
very scary

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This immediate response from my son who is not quite 27:

I know it seems overwhelming trying to organize such an event on your own but I know you can do it! You’ve a very capable person who can accomplish a lot when you put your mind to it. Everything will work out in the end, I promise!

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It is an additional risk in spite of how I feel to even be able to tell anyone else!  Yet I CHOSE to speak.  I choose to speak these feelings here.

In a wider circle of implications as I mentioned in my note, some of my difficulties in my book writing process are most likely tied to this deepest need I was created to feel through continual insane abuse that included long periods of isolation and solitary confinement during the 18 years of my early ‘first’ life — to forever be INVISIBLE!

Being invisible, for me as a child, was likely tied to a wish that I was not alive at all.  While I could not articulate this awareness in word or thought, this was the very real message I received from my home environment.

As I move forward in my life one venture at a time I am coming to understand that what the isolation and solitary confinement did to me was a whole other level of ‘damage’ on top of all the other insane abuse.  The need to remain invisible, to non-exist as an entity in my own right, means that I am not comfortable swimming out into the bigger waters of life and making any ripples!!

I tried to be a ripple-less child!  Mother ALWAYS noticed me.  Her psychosis demanded that I be the center of her attention.  I have worked out in my book writing why this was so — but today I am hit with feelings related to this madness that are very real.

But I will not let these ancient feelings in my body stop me no matter how uncomfortable I may feel.

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+REPERCUSSIONS THROUGH A LIFESPAN FROM EARLY TRAUMAS

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I suppose because the 18 years of severe abuse I suffered was so bad and nearly without reprieve, and because I had nobody who noticed, nobody who cared, nobody to help me and nobody to love me, my healing journey has had to take me down pathways of learning that very few people have had to travel down to find what they need to make sense of their past and present experiences.

But it is not just my ‘past experiences’ that I struggle to make sense out of.  I struggle, as many early chaos and trauma survivors do, to understand HOW I experience my life every moment and WHY things that happen within me do not seem to happen within other people.

Most infant and child abuse survivors experience what society-at-large can simply refer to in some general way as ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’.  Now that I understand that ‘depression’ IS an ‘anxiety disorder’ I can begin to learn how my experiences rest upon a common ground.

I also know that traveling from common ground down to bedrock — as I link how my body interacts and reacts to situations in my life today to one another like placing pieces of a puzzle into their final resting places in my understanding — means that I now understand that my brain is a part of my Central Nervous System (CNS) that was deeply affected during my most formative stages of early development before my age of two by severe and continuing TRAUMA.

This fact cannot be separated on the bedrock level of my body from the trauma-caused changes to the development of my Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), my vagus nerve system, my stress reaction-calm reaction system, or from the development of my immune system.  EVERYTHING about my being in a body in the world was affected by the severe stress and distress of repeating chaos and severe trauma.

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It is easy to see that nothing in our ‘analog’ system of medical sciences is grounded in HOLISTIC thinking or healing.  In western worldview everything can be split apart into increasingly smaller bits and pieces as if these parts exist as separate pieces of the whole.

We are interactional beings on all levels.  Viewed in this reality — which is the TRUE reality — there could not have been any way for me to stay alive without the WHOLENESS of who I am being impacted and changed through exposure to insane and brutal abuse.

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Underneath all changes it is the fact that my entire early (through age 18) human attachment environment was based on evil and hurtful actions toward me.  I therefore HAD to come out of that mess as an adult person with an insecure attachment disorder.  For my purposes today I write about MINE – although there are degrees and names for these degrees of insecure attachment patterns.

Mine is an attachment disorder down in the listing of severity named ‘Disorganized-Disoriented’ insecure attachment.  Dissociation is built fundamentally into this pattern of being in the world quite simply because chaos is not a stable factor in building a little person.

When I write about ‘trauma triggers’ it is important to think in terms that have NEVER been simple for me to visualize or to understand.  THRESHOLD is a word that I imagine as if I am thinking about a doorway threshold.

When people say “So and so has a high threshold for pain,” for example, or say “So and so has a low threshold for pain,” (or for stress, or for whatever) I have a hard time figuring out what the MEAN!!

If I see a HIGH THRESHOLD I see a doorway whose opening is decreased.  I see a person having to step UP over this high threshold to enter or exist a space.

If I see a LOW THRESHOLD I see this doorway as being virtually nonexistent so that a person can simply breeze across it without having to step up over the threshold.

So a HIGH threshold decreases the amount of anything that comes in?  Not quite.  A high threshold for pain means, then, that the person having the pain is not as likely to FEEL it or to be bothered by it as is a person with a LOW threshold for pain.

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Pain of emotional distress, including deep grief and sadness of depression is very real.  But for the moment I also want to mention what STRESSES and DISTRESSES a person in life — an experience having to do with what some so simply CALL anxiety.

Do I have a high or a low threshold for anxiety?

I am puzzled every time I try to think in these terms.  I would say I have a LOW threshold for anxiety because I feel LOTS of it.  Anxiety seems to stream through great open doorways into my experiences of life with no problem at all!

But then I would also say I have a very high threshold for handling anxiety I feel smoothly and easily?  In other words, my effectiveness for preventing and coping with anxiety must attempt to come over a threshold that is so high it very nearly fills the doorway of “Gee, no big deal here at all, I can easily handle such and such!”

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Skip the image of threshold.  I prefer apple cart images.  “Tip over the apple cart.”

OK, so it does not take much stimulation from my environment to ‘disorganize-disorient’ me and SPLAT there go my apples all over the place.  Easily tipped over apple cart, that’s me on the range of ‘how much anxiety can I easily handle’?

I am ALWAYS and continually trying to monitor my environment for trauma triggers that to normal people do not even exist.  Social demands, too much noise, detecting TOO much information in the environment (hyper vigilance and hyper perceptibility), etc.

Solutions?  Yet to be determined.  Now if I have a well-built apple cart, solid with wide wheel base and great wide wheels — and then only put one or two apples in there — good for me!

If I have a rickety, shaky, frail old applecart with skinny, tiny wheels and one GIGANTIC load of apples in there – well, not so good.  Over everything is likely to go — and ‘disorganization-disorientation’ is very likely to consume me.

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My right imaginal brain hemisphere can, if I let myself pay attention to it, absolutely delight itself with all kinds of combinations of various carts and loads of apples trying to cross through doorways with all kinds of high and low thresholds — but I stop myself right here……

None of this is FUN!  None of this is EASY for survivors of severe and chronic chaos and trauma during their earliest body-brain formative years.  We could not predict anything stable in our lives.  Normal variations on ’cause and effect’ did not exist.  We did not get to learn about life while we were kept safe and secure by those who loved us.

Nope.

But now that I have found the bedrock of how that MESS in the beginning of my life translated into trauma changes in me as I formed physiologically at the start of my life, I can now begin to understand that I have to pay very, very close attention to that beginning intimation, the first CLUES that I get that I am risking becoming ‘disorganized’ and ‘disoriented’.

Usually it is too late to sidestep these reactions once they are upon me.  I have to try to see into the future so I can be prepared to sidestep before the ‘disorganization’ and ‘disorientation’ hits me.

It is too late when I am in mid conversation socially in a stressful environment and there I am — one question is asked, one more person joins the conversation, one LOUD unexpected noise demands my instant attention once my hyper startle response is alerted — AND — my brain seems to stop.

I suddenly see faces before me with mouths flapping around while I vaguely in the distance here a stream of sound that I SHOULD be able to translate into words — but I cannot.  I cannot THINK in anything like a normal way at these points — because something else is happening to me.

I won’t go into any more detail about what these dissociation moments feel like.  We survivors of severe chronic early traumatic stress already know this kind of a scenario and millions of other related ones.

All I need to say at this moment is…………..

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+A BETTER WORLD, A BETTER FUTURE?

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Again I have been awake since long before dawn.  Awake – and full of ‘it’.  Full of thoughts, yes, connected to my own self and my own small life, my own small corner of existence being granted to me for as long as I breath.

But I am also full of thoughts about this community where I reside, this nation, other nations, the state of the world.  Through all of these tangled thoughts with their underlying yet undetected variety of emotions I find myself thinking about trauma.  Of course.  Thinking about trauma — one way or another — is my THING — as the existence of this blog suggests.

No sane person on earth, I shouldn’t think, would suggest that INCREASING levels of trauma in life is a GOOD thing.  Yet how much power does any single person actually possess to fight back against both the threat and the reality of increases of trauma in our lives and around our planet?

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I have my own background in trauma.  Enough so, given my first 18 years being captured in my mother’s psychotic insanely abusive hell that I can at least begin to imagine what larger and larger ripples around the globe of increasing levels of trauma can do toward bringing about the end of human civilization if not human life.

What might I do to help fight back against trauma and its increases?

Is this fight a worthy battle?

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OK.  I will attempt to look for a moment at the BIGGER PICTURE.  Perhaps there is something about this bigger picture that will comfort me.

The simple place I begin is in my understanding of the research that shows that our human species had finally grown up enough on all levels by 140,000 years ago to wake up the potential of what’s called the FOXP2 gene that led to our development of language.  We are certainly not alone as a species who utilizes the potential of this gene.

But what we have, as a species, been able to accomplish with our FOXP2 is so far above and beyond what any other species seems to have accomplished as to nearly bar comparison between species — even though the gene is, well, just a gene!

So, there we all were together as a small band of people in Africa doing what all human babies can do — learning how to talk.

This process must have taken 50,000 years.

I guess in the bigger picture that’s NOTHING!

So, then around 90,000 years ago some group of very adventurous and evidently capable individuals decided to tour the world and off into the wild yonder they hiked.  (See National Geographic’s genographic project)

The series of migrations out of Africa for our species lasted for another 40,000 years.

In the end the human species/race beat out around 17 other hominid species.

Here we are.  Spread around the world.  Growing by billions in short spans of time.

Thinking we are so smart.  A collection of people enclosed within national boundaries acting like a bunch or spoiled-rotten preschoolers duking it out as if we can go on like this forever.

I don’t THINK SO!

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We can go on perhaps for a little while longer fighting with one another over the stupidest things only human beings can imagine.  We can continue to allow as a species ever increasing ripples of trauma to spread and spread, contaminating the future for everyone on this planet.

Or we can wake the hell up!

The wake up call that we need to hear is NOT for somebody else.  It is for each of us as individual members of a social species whose individual lives are intimately linked to one another and to life of this planet.

We can keep our vision focused on our belly button or our left big toe.  We can continue to lose sight of what really matters in this lifetime by holding on as tightly as we can to our superstitions, our vain imaginings about what reality is, our prejudices, our ignorance.

Because the problem with humans is that God gave us all a vote.  He gave us all the power of free will and free choice.  He gave us the right to choose what is best for our species or not.

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My mother, God bless her dead cotton socks, had absolute tyrannical evil abusive power over me for 18 years as her daughter.  Nobody stopped her.  She terrorized my 5 siblings through their proximity to the abuse Mother did to me.  But her range of power to act like an evil madwoman did not expand outside of her own home.

Yes, she was a dictator in her own sphere.  But she was not a nation.  When individuals bind themselves together as a nation with harmful intentions and ignorance, there is a vast price to pay sooner or later.  The price is and will be — trauma.

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As individuals it is very hard for us to look inside our own hearts and examine our own actions – including our thoughts – to see what it is we believe and do that is actually adding to trauma rather than to peaceful balance.  When we left Africa to roam the planet there were very, very few of us.  Groups found their spot, stuck around, changed the shape of their body and facial features, changed skin colors, developed languages and cultures that suited the environment they lived in.

Now we hate one another for these differences.  We close ourselves ever more tightly into the cocoon of our individual lives, shut our eyes — and what?  Wait for someone else to solve the problems of the world?

In a magical universe of childhood imagination perhaps that would work.  But in real life positive change happens as enough individuals decide to, choose to stretch their individual abilities and link up with one another to come up with a plan of action and then accomplish positive changes.  As we combine our life forces in an increasing effort to look tough traumas straight in the face — and say “No!  We wish to live a different life” — we can change the direction our entire species is heading into for the future.

Passive compliance with an inadequate status quo is not responsible living.

Combining our positive personal resources, heart to heart, into grassroot change on every level of human community is a choice we can make.

Or not……

But in the BIGGER PICTURE what each one of the 7 billion people on this planet chooses to do — or not to do — matters.  That we are at a ‘tipping point’ for the betterment or for the traumatic obliteration of human civilization seems obvious to me.

But, then, what’s another 140,000 years?  Or longer?  Would we rather erase ourselves and start over than make the effort necessary to ensure humanity moves from this point forward rather than backward in our development?

Are we willing to let the bullies win?  Not a wise choice……

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+THOUGHT WANDERINGS LONG BEFORE DAWN

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I would say that this post is a letter to God, but I know ahead of time I will no doubt wander so far off track that God might suggest I first get my thoughts in order and quit roaming around so much before I begin speaking to Him.

Not REALLY a concern, I know.  God knows everything all of the time.  He has ALWAYS known everything, everything about everything from the beginning that had no beginning to the end that has no end.  (Pardon me for mentioning this, but here we all are sandwiched between “had” and “has.”)

No, I am not really worried that God will miss the point of whatever it is I wish to say in this early predawn of morning.  Up since two a.m.  Nothing new about that for me as I edge past age 60.  Nothing new about my noticing that not only is it darkest before the dawn but also COLDEST before the dawn.  Nothing new about me waiting waiting waiting to hear the first rooster’s crow before the light of the sun begins to think about warming this spot on earth.

But, I find myself more than waiting for today’s dawn now that I hear that first single rooster call and the last of the coyotes’ howls as they grab their final morsels of food for this nighttime.  I find myself thinking that if God were to grant me ONE personal wish — not a wish for peace on earth on this day when Iran is to tell the world exactly what they might be doing with their nuclear prowess — I know what I would wish for.

It’s not that my wish is unrelated to anything going on in my life.  I could possibly even track my thoughts of recent days to find out how this one personal wish I would ask of God THIS morning became a seed and sprouted into a thought to be written here.

What I would wish for…..

God, I wish for you to show me for TWO LONG FULL MINUTES — as you grant me during this same two minutes an immense and unusual ability to know the essence of all things around the globe  — the true state of the planet, the entire planet Earth — 500 years in the future.

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500 years in the future, God.  Just 500 years!  Please!

I want to know what becomes of us humans.  I want to know if we begin to fulfill the potential You have placed in each of us individually.  I want to know that there is hope our civilizations will come out far more than OK by 500 years into the future.

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I find myself thinking about riches, but the riches I would hope for our species on this planet have very little to do with material gain or material power.  The riches I hope for are of our soul — our impressive important soul.

There is a soul of our species.  Each person’s soul is a part of that soul.  As I think about my hopes for us 500 years in the future I find myself thinking primarily about the riches of EDUCATION.

I am not at all sure that we can ever be more than what we know.

I don’t know very much.

In the future, if education was one of humanity’s most PRIMARY goals, if we valued what we all know together — and then ACTED in unison toward making what we know manifest in the world — we would all be different.

We would be better.

We would all, in unison, make certain of that fact.

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These thoughts I am having and my desire to see 500 years into the future might seem oddly rooted and tied with an invisible umbilical cord to my thoughts about music.

I found myself outside in the cold darkness wondering if the universe of music is as big as anything that can ever be.  God and His Word.  I cannot imagine a Word without a sound.  Sound is music.

For some rather odd (to me right now) reason it seems at least in this American culture we define our reality as we share it together in terms of what we can SEE and TOUCH, what we can hold in our hands.  No doubt my wondering about defining reality in terms of what it SOUNDS like has a great deal to do with this project I am involved with to find musical performance opportunities for the 8-member drum group from Congo that is planning to show up in our little towns by the Mexican border (see recent posts) by the 8th of March.

Drums.  Big drums.  SOUND.  And, when SOUND becomes clear and powerful rhythm what do we have?

Life.

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In my little body, in my little life, I am stretching.  I am being educated.  Even if this drum group from Congo ends up in Hong Kong or India on the 8th of March (they flew off to Bangkok last Sunday) instead of this high desert tiny little world of ours, I have been changed during these days since new possibilities arrived in my consciousness last week.

I also think about all kinds of mundane things right now, of course.  I think about how I can’t quite see how I think I can venture to the women’s homeless shelter to sleep while I give these 8 drummers and their artistic director this house to be their own for the 5 or so nights they will be here.

I shudder, physically shudder at the thought of being locked into a building from such and such a time until such and such a time — when I sleep so little and get up in the darkness and roam around so much.  Roam around in my house, roam around outside of my house, sit at the keyboard with my fingers wandering around in a very tiny universe of 88 keys and their sound.

In the meantime while God deliberates my wish, what are the options here?  (Not a question unrelated to “What will the world be like in 500 years?”)

The best I have come up with so far before this day’s sun appears is that I will remain in this house in the smaller back room while the group is here.  This is a small house filled with the material things I seem to think I want around me.  My weaving loom and spinning wheel and all related attachments, all my art supplies, my sewing machine, bags of rags to crochet into rugs to give away to people far poorer than I am, all of my plants hiding inside from the winter so they can stay alive — where is there room for 10 people to sleep in here?

Bunk beds.  Don’t have any.  OK, idea:  Once the group arrives we simply move as much furniture (my very used second hand furniture) OUT of the house and INTO the yard.  Next step of THIS plan?  I suppose, it would be to make sure I borrow enough folding chairs from someone in town to seat all 10 of us should anyone ever wish to sit down.

And for sleeping?  Borrow sleeping bags.

True, an unusual plan but I am an unusual person.

Next thought?

My next thought is the only logical one I can come up with right now:  “Who in the universe knows?”

Answer is the same one it has always been for all of us, “God, from Whom all good humor flows, is the only One Who knows.”

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+LIFE. NOTHING BUT A PERHAPS PLAN?

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Perhaps I have been doing nothing during all the minutes of my life that have passed since I wrote my last post here but stirring up dust and chasing my own tail.  The jury is still out on that one, and might remain out for some time to come.  What I do know is that I have talked to more people in the area I live, made more phone calls, sent out more emails in this past week than I have in the entire 12+ years I have lived here.

What does all this mean?  What will happen?  What will become of my efforts to provide a place for this fantastic drum group from Congo to come to in our dusty high desert area (on the American-Mexican border line)?  I have as of this moment absolutely not one solitary solid clue!

What I do seem to know through my friend (as mentioned in previous post before this one) is that all eight members of this band have boarded a jet on the east coast at this moment and are about to lift into the air in flight to perform at a festival in Bangkok, Thailand.

They were mysteriously (mostly) sent coupons to redeem yesterday for their tickets.  The group was not sure that the tickets weren’t part of some scam.  Nope.  Yesterday was redemption day and sure enough there were the tickets and off they go into the wild blue yonder!

Meanwhile I am unsure about how to proceed toward arranging paying gigs for this group SHOULD they actually, really appear on my doorstep on Thursday, March 8th as PERHAPS planned!

How can anything be PERHAPS planned?

I don’t claim to know, but PERHAPS planning seems to be the human lot in life on this earth!

Nobody has any grant money here to pay this group.  Our area is poor and getting poorer.  Would anyone pay cover charges to see this group?  Buy tickets?  Give adequate donations at a performance in a park?

Where will 8 people from Congo stay?

If this PERHAPS plan moves forward into the future I will give the group my humble little house while I figure out where I will sleep elsewhere — wherever elsewhere turns up!

This entire venture appears to run on nothing but global love, high hopes, trust in one another (I have certainly never (yet) met these people!), and FAITH in God.

Can things go wrong!  Oh, glory glory could they go wrong.  But again, what exactly does WRONG mean?

Embarrassment and local humiliation for me, I suppose.  Hours invested in contacting people for venues.  Hours of expressed and hopefully shared hopes with others in my community.  All come to naught if the group changes course in mid air and lands elsewhere upon return than the near middle of nowhere — and instead lands where the lights are brighter and the bucks are bigger?

Do I give up?  I can’t wait until they (supposedly) re-land in America as PERHAPS planned on February 28th to make the connections here that would provide any hope of performance and pay for the group.  Time is extremely short as it is should they indeed appear here on the 8th.

Well, I imagine their tickets are at this moment of lift off targeted to re-land the group where PERHAPS planned come that date.  But what could happen from this moment forward is ONLY known by God – and none of the rest of us.

But isn’t that just plain LIFE??????

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8:30 am – word just in – ALL IS A GO!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi17S7Xb16A;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S3NOx0kcIg;
http://dance.wayne.edu/news.php?id=7251;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shZUdNOENGo,

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+MY HEART’S DESIRE: TO BRING THIS 8-MAN PROFESSIONAL CONGO DRUM GROUP TO OUR SMALL TOWN TO PERFORM

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I am diving in, trying something I have never tried before.  Here are some related links to what has captivated my heart, my attention and currently all of my energy:

A fantastic group is coming to Tucson to perform for this big musical event in Old Tucson March 17th:

PLAYING FOR UNITY IN DIVERSITY! |

www.PlayingForUnityInDiversity.com

The One World Music Festival is aimed at promoting the unity of cultures, races, and religions. In doing so, we encourage communities to come together to express themselves in a celebration of music and arts.

The link for the Kongo drum group, Ngoma Za Kongo  The French/English speaking group is in America on a Tourist Visa from the Congo to tour for one year:

http://www.playingforunityindiversity.com/artists/ngoma-za-kongo
There is a video on the side at this link of their performance with the whole 16-member group, but there are 8 of them coming here.

Here are more links to their videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi17S7Xb16A;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S3NOx0kcIg;
http://dance.wayne.edu/news.php?id=7251;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shZUdNOENGo,

The Artistic Director has informed me the group is willing to come 90 miles south of Tucson to our small town of 5,500 from Thursday, March 8th to Wednesday, March 14th.  Where to house them?  I have no clue.  Where will they perform?  Don’t know.  I am hard at work on this……

I have spent this entire day trying to find out where the group might be able to perform here and who will PAY them.  The public schools would love to have them perform for students — which is my heart’s desire.  But the schools have no money with the exception of the very small school in the town of 700 I live in.  They have $200.  Each performance at a school costs $650.

How to raise the money in this totally strapped area?

The group will also do drumming workshops.  They dropped their fee from $15 to $10 per person for our town – very generous!

I am checking on all avenues for public performances here, as well – but the group would like to have $1,200 for each.  That seems like a million to me right now!

I can only do my best.  I am learning a lot – and meeting a lot of very enthusiastic people around town during this process!

Time will tell how this all works out.  I really have no idea how to do any of this – so I just jumped in to do my best.  I will let you know how this all comes about – which I hope it can and will!

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