+MAKING A LIFE IN A MAKE-SHIFT WORLD – (and making some goat pen shade)

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The essence of this post has been in the back of my thoughts for many days.  Yesterday I took a few more pictures of my yard project knowing that they somehow illustrate whatever it is my mind does not seem to want to look at head-on.  Part of me knows if I continue to delay writing this post my related thoughts will eventually simply disappear.  This part of me does not REALLY want to know what some other part of me both knows and wants to write about.

I have no idea what needs to be said here, so the best I can do is follow the pictures.  I feel as if I am standing in front of a gate myself right now that I have never opened before.  For some reason it is very hard for me to enter in my writing, in words right now….

Gate to this garden I make and tend
Gate to this garden I make and tend (that’s the Mexican-American border fence in the back of the picture)
As I prepare for the miniature goats I hope to bring home this fall I have watched our summer high desert sun baking the goat pen I made - great need for shade....
As I prepare for the miniature goats I hope to bring home this fall I have watched our summer high afternoon desert sun baking the goat pen I made – great need for shade….  Gutter from cut 1/2 sheet of corrugated tin which I did have to buy

This writing is in part about how survivors of severe infant and child abuse make the best of their lives using everything useful that we can find.  We are able to make our lives out of what, I suppose, most ordinary people would never notice as important or useful.  We were not given a choice.  Nobody smoothed our way, gave us the ‘cream’ or the ‘gravy’.  In our malevolent early world of hostile deprivation and harm we marched on – and when someone knocked us over – we got up and marched on some more.

With the exception of screws and a few 2′ x 4′ boards here and there, as you can see in these pictures every object going into my east yard goat-hoped for project has been deemed useless and discarded by someone.

As I have done since the moment I was born to my abusive mentally ill mother, I continue to make the best out of whatever I can – with every effort to make what was ugly – beautiful.

In these pictures I am creating a dual-purpose structure out of pallets to both shade the goats and to collect and divert rainwater out to the new little Jujube tree I purchased at our local Farmers’ Market last Saturday.

The structure spans the width of the goat pen
The structure spans the width of the goat pen – to the right is the little night shelter goat ‘barn’
Both sides are angled to drain into the gutter at center.  This is tall enough for the goats to walk under - seemed silly to find lumber to put the whole thing way up into the air!
Both sides are angled to drain into the gutter at center. This is tall enough for the goats to walk under – seemed silly to find lumber to put the whole thing way up into the air!
The back support is made from part of a box spring frame holder I dug out of a garbage burn pile behind where the old shed used to be out back - ends rest on top of chunks of broken bricks buried in the ground
The back support is made from part of a box spring frame holder I dug out of a garbage burn pile behind where the old shed used to be out back – ends rest on top of chunks of broken bricks buried in the ground
Now - this is something that's an intimate part of today's little story....
Now – this is something that’s an intimate part of today’s little story….

I was proud of myself the day I figured out how I could create the gutter arrangement using this piece of ‘regular people’s’ usual gutter pieces – with a 10′ hose (that was the cheapest ACE had at $2.49 a foot) to run to the Jujube tree.  (Now I am smarter and stopped to dig vacuum cleaner hoses and metal tubes out of the throw-a-way trash at our local thrift store to use for the next water reclamation project.)

FORTUNATELY I had to wait for the silicone to dry overnight in this little drain I created – and it was just as I was drifting into sleep the night after I put this together that the thought HIT ME:  “There’s no way once this whole pallet shade structure is put together that I can clean it or keep it clean.  Everything that swooshes down the gutter will clog up my tidy little hose plan!”  I needed a filter and I needed to attach this thing where I could clean it out (all this is placed underneath Russian Olive trees that shed LOTS of little leaves!)

Solution needed…..

OK - that's where I want the rainwater to end up outside the goat pen
OK – that’s where I want the rainwater to end up outside the goat pen

Living as a survivor – not being REALLY able to plan things out smoothly — not being able to ‘mentally time travel’, as the neuroscientists call it, into the future.  I cannot PLAN the way I am supposed to be able to.

Yes, I am – along with many early abuse survivors – extremely ‘right brained’ – obvious at those many times when I find it so hard to even think in words.

I can FEEL the changes in the part of my brain – the higher cortex that in better and in MOST childhoods gets what it needs to grow and develop to operate properly – related to…..

AGAIN – please take a look at this important article about the changes in brain development due to infant-child abuse –

+Dr. Teicher’s ARTICLE ON TRAUMA ALTERED DEVELOPMENT

*Notes on Teicher

But – I do the best that I can – and now realizing I needed to change my thinking to get this project to come out as I wanted it to…..

Time for the TIES – taken off the bottom of T-shirts that I am tie-dying to make a baby blanket for my coming-into-the-world soon new grandson!

Gotta have a place for that morning coffee - to think and try to plan alternative solutions
Gotta have a place for that morning coffee – to think and try to plan alternative solutions
OK.  Time to put those T-shirt hem-ties into use.  Folded the other half of the sheet of roofing tin -
OK. Time to put those T-shirt hem-ties into use. Folded the other half of the sheet of roofing tin – making a ‘tube’ I can pull between the spaces in these pallets –
Up there tucked under those pieces of board where the long gutter drains is where I had planned initially to place my hose - NO way possible to get in there to clean the mess out!
Up there tucked under those pieces of board where the long gutter drains is where I had planned initially to place my hose – NO way possible to get in there to clean the mess out!
So I dare say what severe early abuse survivors are missing out on in abilities we make up for with sheer determination, creativity and ingenuity.  Now I can reach my irrigation filter - made from screen in an old door someone gave me a long time ago.  I KNEW I would need it someday
So I dare say what severe early abuse survivors are missing out on abilities we make up for with sheer determination, creativity and ingenuity (which is exactly what we used to survive our early hell). Now I can reach my irrigation filter – made from screen in an old door someone gave me a long time ago. I KNEW I would need it someday.  Not gorgeous to look at, held together with another T-shirt hem tie – and I will need to put a board over this whole get-up to keep the playful, curious, busy goats away from it….
And - yes - now the white hose drains the rain water (it WILL rain here soon!!) right to the new little Jujube tree!
And – yes – now the white hose drains the rain water (it WILL rain here soon!!) right to the new little Jujube tree!
This unpainted end of the pallet fence will be sculpted at the top (still the secret how) and stuccoed
This unpainted end of the pallet fence will be sculpted at the top (still the secret how) and stuccoed
Speaking of water runoff - not gonna happen unless those shade structure pallets are covered with something.  No $ for roofing tin - have materials to stucco the front of the fence - so - a stuccoed roof in progress!
Speaking of water runoff – not gonna happen unless those shade structure pallets are covered with something. No $ for roofing tin – have materials to stucco the front of the fence – so – a stuccoed roof in progress!  No $ for sand, so screed gravel out of adobe dirt to use in the cement mix instead – a little gritty but I think it will work!
Stucco roofing would not be my first choice - but hey - gotta do with what I have!
Stucco roofing would not be my first choice – but hey – gotta do with what I have!

And, a few garden pictures

New to the garden this year - Pink Yarrow
New to the garden this year – Pink Yarrow
Ava's Hummingbird Mint - 2nd year - first time blooming - a native plant from Colorado - but does take more water than a true Arizona native plant
Ava’s Hummingbird Mint – 2nd year – first time blooming – a native plant from Colorado – but does take more water than a true Arizona native plant
In our 100+ degree heat without rain takes effort to keep a garden alive - well.....
In our 100+ degree heat without rain it sure takes effort to keep a garden alive – well…..
The yard is on drip irrigation - but plants are not liberally or excessively watered - so even the corn must be tough
The yard is on drip irrigation – but plants are not liberally or excessively watered – so even the corn must be tough.  Jalapenos there behind the corn are doing well (there’s more in the front yard)

Thus ends today’s tour – although my words fail me in trying to talk about what it feels like to have been dished up a heaping plate of unbelievable overwhelming abuse and trauma for the first 18 years of my life — to survive that – to live with the changes those traumas did to my physiological development.

Not unlike how I was as a child, I have recently been having great difficulty making sense in ‘coherent words’ out of myself in the world.  My brain could not have possibly formed in ordinary ways given the conditions of my first 18 years of life.  I did the best I could – but my thinking has never followed what I imagine to be most people’s ‘ordinary patterns’.  Severe traumas are extraordinary events – and surviving them makes us extraordinary people.

It is often very hard for me not to compare myself to other people – in terms of ‘how successful is MY life?”  Not very it seems most of the time.  I REALLY have to work at affirming my own value and worth as a person.

Meanwhile, I make one ‘work related’ decision at a time – which for the most time occupies my thoughts so entirely that I don’t have any spare room in my mind for tearing myself down.  NEVER did a therapist – or any self-help book I have ever read — recognize that there are some of us who suffered abuse as infants and children in a mad and chaotic world that was so far past what most people can begin to imagine that……. well ……..

We know a different world.  We always have.  We always will.  But we are HERE and we ARE beautiful!  We made it out of our earliest years in hell – and whatever it takes to keep on making it we find – shifting, constantly shifting – adjusting – adapting – to whatever each day brings to us – so we will be here tomorrow, too.

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+DISSOCIATION AND OUT-OF-BODY-EXPERIENCE

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I do not want to write this post this morning, but if I refuse to write it the subject of my description of something I experienced yesterday will hang around to haunt and to irritate me for the rest of this day.

I write this post — because I can.  I strongly suspect that I also experience dissociation so commonly and thus so frequently also, in essence, BECAUSE I CAN.  It doesn’t take much of a stretch from that statement to this one:  I dissociate because I HAVE TO.

Being born to a psychotic Borderline Personality Disorder mother who believed the devil sent me to kill her during her breech-birth delivery of me — and who believed I was not human but the devil’s child for the rest of her quite-long life — meant that as my body-brain developed from the moment I was born my need to survive Mother was built right into me with every break I took for the next 18 years I lived under her insanely abusive reign of terror.

My mother was insane.  I can never speak about Mother’s who might be ‘just plain mean’.  My mother was mean all right.  But the biggest trouble came from the fact that she was a MAD WOMAN!

Nobody, of course, ever clued me into this fact.  I didn’t begin to figure this out — really — in all its horrible implications until I was over 50 years old.  I didn’t even begin to understand that I had been ABUSED until I was 30.

But now, at age 60, I am beginning to far more deeply understand that there must be a continuum with ‘loving mother’ being on one end, moving down through ‘adequate mother’ into ‘misguided but well-intentioned mother’  on down into the ‘oh this mother must be one of the very worst mothers ON EARTH’ kind of mother.  (I cringe in my essence at even using the word ‘mother’ at all to describe birthing humans such as mine was.)

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Because I have much more interesting things to do today outside in my yard that challenge me pleasantly I will keep this post as brief as I can.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon visiting a gentleman who seems to be the only person in this area I have lived in for the past 12 years that I feel very-mostly-safe with.  I can’t say I feel 100% safe with him because I have never experienced 100% safety in my lifetime and don’t see that I ever will.

But this man is up there at the very top of my as-safe-as-I-can-be in this lifetime rating.

Yet there I was, sitting across his picnic table with him under the shade of the very worn but still living Mulberry tree in his lovely yard in conversation about absolutely NOTHING that could have been interpreted as distressing.

I had noticed a tree near his back fence that my artistic and horticulturally-bent eye could see needed some trimming, pruning and shaping.  I could see that tree in a ‘future state’ where extraneous leaves, twigs and branches had been removed so that the tree could exist in a different 3-D shape.

As I talked with my friend I began to expose my inner self a bit as I described a recent email conversation with a dear friend – and artist-painter – who had viewed recent pictures of my garden I posted last week.

Her comment included praise, observation and recognition of the spectacular array of COLOR in those pictures I posted.  I responded to her comments by again viewing my own pictures — as I realized that as much as I MUST create color in my yard, and for as much as I have loved flowers since I was a very small child — it is not COLOR that I see first around me.  What I see are LINES and PATTERNS of turns and twists, overlaps, contrasts, displays of — SHAPES that exist in time cutting themselves into and through space.

My email friend is a painter.  She works primarily with color.  I could tell from her words that she must SEE the world differently than probably anyone else does who is not also a painter.

I am – though primitive and untutored – essentially a sculptor (sculptoress?).

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All fine and well as I used my spoken language ability to transmit to my very kind and wise beauty-loving friend yesterday the gist of these ideas.

And then, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, I clearly recognized that I was NOT IN THE BODY of the person who was sitting at that table.  I was NOT the person spewing words like so many tidbits of dandelion fluff through the air to my friend’s ears and mind.

I was in the air, behind and to the left of the version of Linda that was conversing.  But I was NOT anywhere near being absorbed in the conversation ‘we’ were having.

I did not notice at the time this dissociation occurred that I was feeling threatened.  And yet on some level and in some way obviously I WAS NOT feeling safe.  I left my body and floated with my OTHER wandering mind being completely aware once I understood what was happening that I was in these two places doing two totally different things at the same time.

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Talk about multi-tasking!

My spoken words sounded like water babbling over stones in a remote wilderness enclave far from civilization.  Once I noticed all these complications happening, I stopped talking about this subject, and my dissociation seemed to cease.

Was it the action of self-disclosing such a personal yet innocuous piece of information about myself as ‘how I see the world in patterns’ that so upset my connection with myself, with my friend, with the activities that were going on during those moments in time and space?

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As a sideline I have been thinking this past week about one of the fantastic videos my daughter sent me recently of my 27-month-old grandson – I will call Mike – who is rapidly developing the ability to communicate with others in words.

The video begins as Mike is seslf-involved in play inside the little tent I sent up to him (they live over 1500 miles away).  Once he becomes aware that his mother is filming him he exists the tent and begins to wander away from his play.  He spotted a pile of his DVDs.  Suddenly what had been his continuous stream of unintelligible (to outsiders) ‘baby talk’ SHIFTED into words of such clarity I was stunned.

Mike did not pause for one millisecond between the ‘babble’ and “I want to watch a movie now.”

In my thoughts since viewing this video I have walked around this event in my mind many times as I ponder the mystery of how humans developed spoken language in the first place (about 140,000 years ago), and how every individual human develops language abilities as they develop their body-brain in their toddlerhood.

Mike’s ‘intelligible’ words seemed to simply appear SHINING in their intent and perfect clarity from behind some sort of veil.  It seemed to me as I again and again watched this video that Mike exists in his universe on one side of a kind of divider-curtain where the sounds that he makes are all equally meaningful to him.

What, then, is happening as his continuous streams of sound move in and out of their connection in THIS world (big people world) to meaning?

My grandson is forming his complete whole integrated self – and transitioning this self into the world because he is safely and securely attached to his parents — so THAT HE CAN fully be a whole person in the world.

I never had any of his experiences – hence – I will NEVER be able to be a whole self-person in the world.

“Babble babble babble babble I want to watch a move now” – this kind of integration and smooth development of self and of its transition into the world was not possible in the insane universe I grew up in.

The only version of my whole self I ever knew and hence, with very few rare (even at BEST, partial) exceptions still only know, is myself being completely, absolutely alone.

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I mention this in connection to something that happens to me MOST of the time now when I am SPEAKING language to others and listening to other people’s language.  What I HEAR is mostly BABBLE!

Given the horrendously abusive, terrifying, traumatic early beginnings of my life there is no possible way that I learned language – or built language into my brain – in anything like a normal way.  When I experience the stress-distress of social human contact it is very easy – evidently – for my brain to separate SOUND from MEANING when I hear words spoken.

Yesterday was the first time I became so crystal-clearly aware of what is actually going on when this dissociation happens when I am the one speaking to somebody else.

I could liken the sensation for descriptive purposes to the common experience of having one’s ‘mind wander’, especially as this can happen when attempting to listen to someone speaking.

But when it happens when one’s own self is speaking?  Weird.  I am describing the experience of one’s self wandering away from one’s self.  One part of me was talking.  Another part of me, the part that ‘came to’ with awareness of what was going on, was not listening to or hearing a single word that ‘other’ part of me was saying.

My mind was wandering all right — right out of my body.  Then my mind, which seemed to be directly connected NOT to the me in the body on the bench looking at first the tree-in-need-of-trimming and then back to my friend’s face, was OUTSIDE in the air viewing the entire scene as if I was watching a movie — that I was NOT actually paying attention to — until I clearly noticed what was going on.

Prior to that noticing the me-in-the-air had actually been totally occupied (‘associated with’) an entirely DIFFERENT set of circumstances.

This is the first time I have been able to experience my mind wandering – from my mind wandering — as if there exists a series of pieces of experiences for me that are as intangibly connected to one another as were my grandson’s babbling words to his clearly articulated words that made perfect sense ‘in the big people’s world’.

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I don’t expect what I have just written to make sense to anyone other than to severe early abuse survivors whose body-brain was created in a malevolent environment of abuse, insanity, chaos, trauma and extreme distress.

I won’t even begin to claim that what I am describing and documenting really makes sense to me!

But my awareness of what was going on inside of me yesterday does begin to inform me about why being around human beings is so uncomfortable for me and so exhausting!

It seems that the core essence of who I have always been never ‘came down into the world’ or into my body – but rather floats around inside some other kind of world – perhaps not unlike the world that my grandson is healthily being able to integrate himself into as he matures through these most critically important developmental stages of his lifetime.

My grandson has ALWAYS been loved and safe.  I was NEVER loved and safe.  In my thinking it is MADNESS to ever think that people who are raised within such opposing universes will end up with a body-brain or experience in and of this world that is more than superficially similar.

NOBODY – it seems to me – REALLY wants to accept or discuss this fact!

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+LAST NIGHT’S UNUSUAL DREAM

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After nearly a week of sleeping very poorly, thanks to heat and to this neighborhood’s many dogs barking all night whose irresponsible owners and the county dog catcher do nothing about, I am actually amazed that I slept well last night – all night!

But even more surprisingly to me I woke up remembering most of a lengthy dream I was having as I slept.  I seldom remember my dreams any more, a loss I began noticing about 12 years ago.  I know I dream.  But the content of nearly all of them seems now to be left in that other world beyond my waking reach.

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What this dream is actually about I do not know.  Perhaps it is some kind of wishful thinking of mine that I am certainly not aware of other than the appearance in this dream of an unbelievable but intriguing process.

I recognized the woman who seemed to be in charge of a kind of soul transfer process.  In real life she has been dedicated for years to facilitating the development, growth and weekly happenings of our local farmers’ market.  The relevance of the fact that it was this woman, I will call her ‘Kate’, that had this significant job in my dream is not lost on me.

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The dream took place outdoors in some place I have never seen before.  The sky was crystal clear blue, the land flat as far as I could tell with lush farms divided by thriving old-tree windbreaks.  There were perhaps one hundred people gathered along the sides of what looked like an airport runway.

I was not a part of the activities, so I wandered around watching people as I overheard snippets of their conversations.  Eventually I could tell something specific was about to happen.  The oldest people in the crowd began to shift their positions as if on cue to line up down one side of the runway.  I had no idea what was going on or what was about to happen.

Kate then appeared with a group of children all between about 6 and 9 years old.  She lined the children up on the opposite side of the runway across from the elders.  What happened next was only tacitly visible — without being told I knew exactly what was taking place.

Kate now approached to tell me that normally nobody that was not directly involved in this process was allowed to be present, but that in my case an exception was being made.

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The gist of this procedure was a soul exchange.  Without adding any value judgment of my own at this point I suspect that some ‘high level’ agreements had been made that I, of course, knew nothing about.  Decisions had been made.  A ‘higher purpose’ was being fulfilled.

All very foreign to me…..

One by one down the lines the souls of the children were being exchanged for the souls of the aged ones.  The old souls with their great wisdom, knowledge, competence and accumulated information from their long lifetime of being extraordinarily good people were being exchanged so that all they had learned could go forward contributing to the betterment of humanity in increasingly important and complex ways.  The young souls of the children took their place inside the aging and soon to be dead bodies of the elders.

The children had been raised since birth with great kindness and spirituality, and appeared to be at complete aware peace with their shifting state of being.  They had not been chosen by anyone else.  Rather each child’s own soul had made its own decision to follow its unique destiny.  They were moving a great step closer to leaving this material world to soon move on to their Creator as they shifted into a body nearly ready to die while the souls of the elders were following their spiritual guidance to remain a great deal longer on earth to assist the human race in critically important ways toward advancement.

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The memory of the dream hangs around me like shimmering gauze drapery as I begin my day outside working on my garden projects.  The dream was clear.  I am choosing to know that it doesn’t matter at all what I think about it.  I am simply recording what I remember about one of the strangest dreams I ever remember having.

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+UPDATE ON THE BIG GARDEN FUN!! JUNE 14, 2012

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These past few days I can feel a lifeline connecting myself today with myself as a child.  Creativity.  It has always delighted me.  But this entire yard project is my work of art – way too large to hang on some gallery wall.  It is the gallery itself – and so much more.

Here are a few pictures – not quite up to date as the garden gate itself continues to evolve.  It has faint orange flowers painted below the curve of the top oval now.  I had nothing ‘right’ to work with today – so time will tell what the rains create out of my intent.

I was most fortunate to discover a can of linseed oil and some tubes of acrylic paint as I dug through boxes in my ‘craft room’ (as every room in my house actually is).  Of course water and oil do not mix – which made my painting prospects so much more delightful and curious.

The wood is scavenged for the gate and the entry way that it will hang from.  Very old, very dry, it soaked up the oil like this desert will soon soak up the rain.  The pigment in the acrylic paint makes splashes and splotches – most delightful.

I bought 2 boxes of 100 little silver washers each today and hopefully as many one inch black screws.  These will be added to the gate tomorrow – it seems most likely on the bottom.

But enough of these words.  Here are some pictures:

Although I have moved on (rather immediately as the mud and stone floor on my sunken whole/hole in the earth patio has been drying) to work on my gate - it wasn't that long ago I stuccoed the dirt under my planter down there
Although I have moved on (rather immediately as the mud and stone floor on my sunken whole/hole in the earth patio has been drying) to work on my gate – it wasn’t that long ago I stuccoed the dirt under my planter down there – here’s the stucco mesh (you can see the purple spindles back there – now a part of the garden gate!)
Scratch stucco – first coat cement mixed with dirt
Closing in my 'whole in the earth' sunken patio - large enough for 2 chairs, or some kind of reclining chaise lounge I do not (yet) own
Closing in my ‘whole in the earth’ sunken patio – large enough for 2 chairs, or some kind of reclining chaise lounge I do not (yet) own

Goat pen on the right - and where the garden gate will hang - quite a story about what's going on up there on top of this gateway!  Much more to come on THAT project!  Big FUN!
Goat pen on the right – and where the garden gate will hang – quite a story about what’s going on up there on top of this gateway! Much more to come on THAT project! Big FUN!
Grounding the gateway to the earth with earth adobe and stones, making this structure impressively sturdy when completed
Grounding the gateway to the earth with earth adobe and stones, making this structure impressively sturdy when completed
Again - the super fun project's beginning above the gateway (looking toward Mexico)  HINT:  getting read to stucco the pallet fence - and THEN SOME!!
Again – the super fun project’s beginning above the gateway (looking toward the Mexico border fences) HINT: getting read to stucco the pallet fence – and THEN SOME!!  Those old barn red boards standing to the left are the ones now stained/oiled for the garden gate.
Now - here's the garden gate coming into being!
Now – here’s the garden gate coming into being!
Recycled very OLD siding - stained/painted/oiled with the linseed.  My hands in spite of several washings still smell of the oil - a comforting smell to me, warm and reminding of the great forests I have been blessed to see in my life - and the life of the forest that was in every new and old board I ever lay my hands on - pallets included
Recycled very OLD siding – stained/painted/oiled with the linseed. My hands in spite of several washings still smell of the oil – a comforting smell to me, warm and reminding of the great forests I have been blessed to see in my life – and the life of the forest that was in every new and old board I ever lay my hands on – pallets included

I recently found out the reason why people knock on wood as per superstition:  To invoke the protection and aid from the wood spirits in trees.  Oh, and that’s the little goat house for the miniature goats I hope to have come live at my place come fall.  There’s an old plexi-glass window in their door – no latch yet.  My door is plumb, the pallet to it’s left was not square – oh well – adds character and dare I say, a certain CHARM!!

The garden gate oiled - and it is HEAVY, probably weighing 60 pounds, though I honestly cannot figure HOW it can weigh that much - and have NO IDEA how I am going to move and hang it alone.  Story of my life, EVERYTHING I do I do ALONE - and no idea even who to ask to help me (not good at asking for help, either).  But....
The garden gate oiled – and it is HEAVY, probably weighing 60 pounds, though I honestly cannot figure HOW it can weigh that much – and have NO IDEA how I am going to move and hang it alone. Story of my life, EVERYTHING I do I do ALONE – and no idea even who to ask to help me (not good at asking for help, either). But….

I found those spindles at our local thrift store 3 years ago, painted them and put them in their little frame WAITING for whatever it was they belonged to to appear!  I also bought heavy hinges and a latch today, pricey!!  Will have to get creative for handles….  I use screws, no nails!  I HATE working with nails, and as dry as it gets here in the high desert, I figure the screws will work better with dry wood — anywhere my 2 100′ extension cords can reach — I can work!!

I have been pondering a bit – what is the difference between a door and a gate?  How they are made?  What they separate?  One indoors, one outside?

“The Secret Garden” is one of my all-time favorite movies, and tells a story that could not have been properly told at all if there had been no garden gate!!

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+HOW MANY NEED THE QUIET?

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I know that every story that every severe child abuse survivor can tell of the past and of the present is unique.  I cannot speak of anything other than what I know as one of these survivors.  All I know is that today is one of those days I need quiet – not that my life is remotely busy or noisy as a rule.  Just that today I did go to town, kept my session out there in the world very brief, accomplished my few errands – and then I ran home ASAP to my quiet.

Somehow for some reason I cannot track I am sad inside today – not far from tears – a body memory I suppose that doesn’t seem to be triggered today by anything especially noteworthy or significant.  Just a blue day.

Partly I suspect I feel this because I did not get my daily dose of working hard on some outdoor project from the break of dawn until the day’s heat cooks me back indoors.  Because I went to town early hoping to buy a tree at the farmers’ market today – only the guy with the trees didn’t make it ’cause his truck broke down – I entirely missed the morning’s sweet cooler hours for work.  (see previous post on goat pen progress)

Breaking my familiar pattern seemed to break my day.  Something inside of me feel more broken, as well.  It is the hot hot dry dry and today very WINDY time of year here in the high desert.  This is an inhospitable time of year.  A harsh and forbidding time of year – unless one catches the day at exactly the right time.  Which today I chose to miss.

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Had I been able today to enjoy – or even to tolerate myself around people I could be visiting someone right now.  But, no, I am here and somewhat lonely although on days like this I have no hope that any available human contact is really going to fill me up in any way.  Empty.  Often the human contact part of who I am as a severe early abuse survivor just IS empty – and stays that way – ’cause (as a blog commenter mentioned this morning) there is no real hope that I can tolerate human contact for very long.

It’s too noisy.  It’s too confusing, too demanding, too exhausting.

Stones and adobe mud and plants struggling to endure and survive are very quiet.  Today – now – the wind is uneasy, fitful, waxing and waning unpredictably in strength.  Tired in the hot wind.  Tired around people.

Can one’s soul get tired, I wonder?  Or is our eternal soul strong always – just harder to connect with sometimes?  Certainly a SELF must get tired, a body gets tired.  I feel tired.  Yet I can be so impatient with this tiredness.

At those times I can either make peace with the reality of how I feel – and relax  – be kind and gentle and patient with myself.

Or, I can bemoan that I am ‘this way’ – although I know perfectly well how I got ‘this way’.

I do not believe there are any magic answers.  Because we are all so different I imagine we experience being survivors in different ways.  I am proud of myself that I do not seek ANY trauma drama to boost my adrenaline, go distract myself, to try to create solutions where there are none – not now.

The truth seems to be that I need much calm, much quiet.  If I knew someone who I could be with – and we could be peaceful and calm and quiet together….  Or is that an oxymoron?

I wouldn’t know.

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I seek shelter from the heat and from the wind.  How, where do I seek shelter from the other storms I feel?

In quiet, which is exactly where any rest I had away from Mother’s abuse happened during those 18 years.  Quiet.  In the center of a storm and when there is no storm at all.

Often, I cannot tell which is which.

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Previous post:

+PROGRESS OF THE GOAT PEN PROJECT – JUNE 9, 2012

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+PROGRESS OF THE GOAT PEN PROJECT – JUNE 9, 2012

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A desert garden in the pre-monsoon heat of June does little more than rest and wait for the rains – with a few exceptions!  The entire yard is on drip irrigation which keeps the roots of the plants alive until the flooding life giving waters return for their very short season – hopefully around 4 pm on the 4th of July – which is ‘the usual’!

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Adobe planter
Adobe planter
Last of the snapdragons before this heat drives them into dormancy
Last of the snapdragons before this heat drives them into dormancy
Quiet corner
Quiet corner
Waiting in heat for the rains to come - looking south toward adobe chicken coop - American-Mexican border fences right behind coop
Waiting in heat for the rains to come – looking south toward adobe chicken coop – American-Mexican border fences right behind coop

Lilac (with Larkspur) - in our climate is alive and growing - doubt it will ever bloom
Lilac (with Larkspur) – in our climate is alive and growing – doubt it will ever bloom
miniature goat corral on right of picture - looking north (there's a little goat house - right of picture with rolled wire fencing stored on top for now)
miniature goat corral on right of picture – looking north (there’s a little goat house – right of picture with rolled wire fencing stored on top for now)
finishing the adobe mine hole - not sure I can salvage those chairs!
finishing the adobe mine hole – not sure I can salvage those chairs!

Narrow planter by pallet fence
Narrow planter by pallet fence

new garden bed outside goat pen
new garden bed outside goat pen
adobe mine hole - progress for small sunken patio - morning quiet space
adobe mine hole – progress for small sunken patio – morning quiet space

adobe hole floor progress
adobe hole floor progress

This is the smaller of the Texas Ranger variety - they supposedly only bloom when it is going to rain - no sign of that happening - yet!!  So pretty!
This is the smaller of the Texas Ranger variety – they supposedly only bloom when it is going to rain – no sign of that happening – yet!! So pretty!

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+I HURT MY FRIEND: RUPTURE OF TRUST AND REPAIR IN RELATIONSHIPS

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Humans make mistakes in relationships, but being human it is not always easy to identify exactly what the mistake was — or how to repair a rupture that we accidentally caused.

Rupture and repair is a fundamental element of attachments in relationships.  In fact, in essence it can be said that all our attachment patterns are about repairing ruptures between self and others and self and the environment.  (Please see post links below)

I have accidentally hurt a very dear friend of mine.  Against all odds and against all of other people’s feelings and ideas about my relationship with this person, about this person, about what I did that caused a serious rupture in my very meaningful (though often difficult) friendship-relationship with this person — I KNOW myself, and after 12 years I know my friend.

About four years ago I gave two things of high value to my family away to this person.  I didn’t mean to.  I brought these items of great beauty that I had made nearly a quarter of a century ago over to show them to my friend.  His eyes lit up like Las Vegas on a moonless night.  He obviously thought I was gifting them to him.  I did not have the heart to tell him otherwise and these items passed from my life into the life of my friend.

I told my daughter the day this happened.  She immediately asked me to get the items back.  I did not have the heart to.  I did not have the guts to, either, as I knew there would be a most intense solar flareup once I took this action.

I waited these four years, but with the soon-to-happen birth of my second grandson coming, I knew that these two items which DO belong to my family and DO belong especially to my grandsons, needed to be retrieved.

Oh MY!!!!

So NOT an easy thing to do, and yes, the disastrous rupture in the heart of my friend and in our relationship happened.  Lots of fanfare, I might add.  When my ‘dominant male’ friend is challenged by anyone any time over anything — well……

Over a week later I am walking my own pathway concerning what I wish to do to repair this rupture.  The two original items are in the hands of my daughter.  I am going to make my friend one of ‘these’ of his very own – not an easy task.

His big tough feathers will not be soothed with my statement of intent, either.  His big tough feathers will return to a cute harmless twinkling-eyed state only when I complete and place in his hand an ‘item’ of equal beauty to the ones I very awkwardly gave and took back.

Meanwhile, Mr. Man’s essential self is going to remain in a huffy huff – and I accept that.  I did not mean to make a mess of this transaction.  One could suspect, even suggest, that a grown man might have taken this entire situation a great deal more gently – with grace – yet his dignity absolutely requires that there be an unforgettable price paid for this rupture – until it has been repaired.

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If you take a look at the links I post below there are statements of attachment theory fact regarding interactions and transactions between infants and toddlers and their earliest caregivers.  When a caregiver causes a rupture – which is ALWAYS the case prior to an infant’s age of one year old, the caregiver must initiate the repair.  (note:  after age one is the stage, also, that the nervous system of an infant has developed enough to experience the physiological shame reaction in response to a caregiver-toddler relationship rupture – that is meant in healthy normal ways to safely socialize new humans – see last three links below)

Once the increased independence of the infant after age one begins to create ruptures – (i.e., touching forbidden things, etc.) – it is again still the caregiver’s job to SHOW the little one how repairs are accomplished.

Some of us who were neglected and maltreated/abused when little received none of this adequate training – NEVER!

But we can learn.  Personally, this entire issue is about TRUST.  Infant brains begin to have patterns of trust (or lack of trust) built into them by age two months.  This fundamental brain circuitry is directly tied into all of our lifelong attachment patterns.

My friend did not have an easy beginning.  Neither did I.  Yet as I work my way through my current relationship mishap I realize I am gaining practice in how to recognize what is often at the core of discontent in relationships:  Breach of trust.

I value trust.  I value this relationship.  I value my friend’s right to react to my mistake in his own way.  I have some very real work to accomplish to make this new item for him.  At least now on my side of the rupture I have some smiles of my own.  I am working toward seeing another one on the face of my friend.

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+RUPTURE IN RELATIONSHIPS ALWAYS NEEDS REPAIR – MY MOTHER’S REPAIR LETTER 

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+PUKING IN THE HIGH CHAIR: PATTERNS OF RUPTURE AND REPAIR BEFORE THE AGE OF ONE

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+BEEN ABUSED? PATTERNS OF RUPTURE WITH OR WITHOUT REPAIR

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+THE PROCESS OF RUPTURE AND REPAIR NEED REPOSE AND RESTORATION

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Research notes:

*Siegel – attachment – insecure – “rupture and repair”

More related research notes:

++ DR. SCHORE ON SHAME

+SEIGEL ON SHAME

*The Shame Spectrum

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+REVISITING IMPORTANT POSTS FROM THE PAST ON OUR INTERNAL ‘POT’ SYSTEMS

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Back ‘in the day’, meaning just about three years ago, I discovered the information presented at this link

+MAJOR CANNABINOID – ENDOCANNABINOID FILES ARE SORTED NOW

This important research relates to our own internal ‘marijuana-pot’ systems.  They don’t sound to me like systems to be messed around with lightly!

I again post this information today in case it proves helpful or at least interesting to some of this blog’s readers.   I found these facts fascinating!

I am certain volumes of more recent information is available on the topic, but my own thinking and writing has moved into other directions in the three years since I put together the multiple posts that are included within the above link.  The topic came up today in a conversation with a friend and I promised to send this info on – so, here it is again!

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+HEALING, GROWTH – WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT

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I don’t know but it might be possible that if I treated myself with more respect I would use the term ‘healing’ less often for what I have been doing all of my adult life, and use the term ‘growing’ more often.

I was reminded as I wandered around my gardens before the sun fully reached the front side of the horizon this morning, as I checked on their condition and the state of their health like a volunteer nurse, that sometimes – maybe most of the time – what could count as growing is invisible.

I was happy a few weeks ago to hear one of our local county extension agents mention that this spring time of year in the high desert is not a time for vegetation to display a lavish gratitude for the lengthening days, warmth of sun, warmer night soil temperatures.  No, this time of year is a time of great resting for plants.  This idea, for someone who has spent much of their lifetime living in northern climes seems foreign.  But because I have this new information now I feel less like a poor gardener with my pale-ish peaked plants – and more like a patient watcher who need do nothing special at this time of year other than to water and to wait.

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Because our soil never freezes in the winter here plants spend impressive amounts of energy growing roots at that time of year.  It makes sense to me that NOW they need to rest as this entire area begins to get hotter and hotter before our July monsoon season begins.

Growth under the soil surface with massive root gain in winter will not show its power to grant new life above ground until the season is right.  The plants know.  They do not question, they do not feel any pressure to do anything other than what they know how naturally to do.

I think it’s much harder for some of us humans to live in this state of being perfectly fine with whatever conditions exist.  We have choice-making abilities that plants don’t have.  We can create CHANGE – oh boy, can we!

Changes all plants seem to desire to make are about survival and growth.  If there is damage done to a plant, it will respond the best it can – yes, to heal – but to a plant I suppose healing is the same thing as survival and growth.

As the witness to my garden’s life, and as the human I am, I would prefer to ALWAYS see great gobs of blossoms and yardage of new growth on every plant out there all of the time!!  Not the way life works!  Patterns and seasons, that’s more like it….

Yet it strikes me this tendency of mine to see achievement by my plants is why I so enjoy growing climbing roses rather than any other kind.  It’s not my desire to keep cutting a poor rose bush to ‘keep it in line/shape’.  I have 19 climbing roses in my garden – and I see the growth literally as the seasons go by – as their main canes grow longer and I can wind them further and further up their trellis or their fence.

I like to SEE growth!  It’s sure not easy to see in myself as I seem to travel mostly in repeating circles – never sure where I am going or where I have been.  I am so rarely sure I have made any progress at all!  Today I will aim at thinking like a plant:  “When it is the proper time, it will happen!”

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+HEALING: OUR JOB IS TO MAKE OUR LIFE BEAUTIFUL

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I am thinking about healing and telling our life story – especially about what the purpose is of conveying to self and to others our his- and her-stories of trauma and abuse.  Before I don my dirt-covered working and clothes and head out into my yard to dig around in mud, work with stone, make creative use of a big hole I made digging out soil to make adobe blocks, preparing for new animals to come into my life this fall, I want to take a moment here to write about healing from my ever-changing point of view.

I was conversing with one of my favorite friends on the telephone yesterday, and yet again realized how much I need to verbalize in spoken words my process and my progress through life.  As I was talking I came to understand that perhaps the fact I stopped dead in my book-writing work last October is actually a very GOOD sign that reflects the success of my healing efforts from my 18-year infancy and childhood of terrible abuse and trauma.

In the posts I wrote yesterday I spoke of how I conceptualize healing from traumas in words that belong to the telling of our abuse stories.  I conferred with another local wise friend yesterday about my ideas.  She affirmed my thoughts by saying that in her thinking, the verbalizing of trauma – not once, but over and over again (in the right settings to the right people with the right motives) – heals the affects of trauma on our lives and souls.

FEARING our trauma histories keeps a lack of love present – and therefore keeps the negative power active in our lives.

Our goal is to deactivate the power that fear had over us while we were under attack at the most important and vulnerable stages of our development, and also to now assert the great power of love in every way that we can TODAY.

All emotions tied to trauma histories came from the past.  Yet the fact that our body will never forget any of the negative feelings we experienced during attacks and brutalizations leaves us vulnerable in our present lives to re-experiencing these emotions any time we turn toward healing the impact that those traumas had upon us.

How do we have it both ways?  How do we remain positive in the present at the same time that approaching memories of trauma in our past brings with it the very real risk – and often the reality – of awakening those sleeping emotional giants within our body?

Tricky business beyond belief, I would say!  Be very careful!  But do not avoid healing work out of fear of what happened to us in the past!

Easier said than done.

It was exactly at the point in my book-writing work last fall when I came face-to-face with a terrific body memory that appeared ‘out of nowhere’ that caused me to re-experience at age 60 a terrific beating I received from Mother when I was 22 months old.

My writing has stopped dead in its tracks because I do fear being brought in my present back to my past should I get any closer to the final writing of my abuse memories for my book.

I do not want to risk any more body memories like THAT ONE appearing NOW!  My solution?  Leave it all alone.

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Yet as I spoke on the telephone with my far-northern friend yesterday it came to me in talking that perhaps I have accomplished ALREADY the best of what my healing work was intended to do all along!

Perhaps there really is no reason whatsoever – other than the completion of my book – to go any closer to my abuse memories.  Perhaps I have already won the race.  Why keep on running?

Perhaps I have won the battle against the ugly darkness of my past – why keep on fighting?

What I might have already done is exactly what I wrote about in yesterday’s posts.  Perhaps I have so cleared away the horrors on every level of my abuse and so clearly located and rescued my own perfect beautiful soul-self from those horrors caused by my abusers that there is nothing else to be accomplished by ever returning to work on my memories again!

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Hum!  Something to consider!

If what I am suspecting to be true IS TRUE – that means that NOW is the first time in my life I have been able to live, finally, without the shadow of the threat of fear – both of my past and of remembering my past.

True, I will always be coping with the changes trauma caused in my body as I developed under conditions of extreme traumatic stress.  My PTSD (so-called) for example, will never leave me.  In my present I learn every moment what that means.  I am like a sculptor working with the raw materials I have on hand (in my body-brain).  This in NO WAY means that I am limited in the amount of beauty I can create and maintain in myself and in my life.

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Once we face our memories – every single dang one of them that our soul has, for whatever reason, CHOSEN to keep for us, and deactivate the fear and sorrow, pain, suffering — stripping all negativity away from OUR SELF that never belonged to us in the first place — we are then free to accept love into every corner of our being-life in every way that we can.

How do we do this?

We absolutely honor our stories!  We put our life story into perfect order.

OUR STORY!

It is extremely helpful, and because of this I believe necessary, to know as much about the history of our family as we can as we work to put our story together – beautifully.

It is helpful to completely understand that the transmission of trauma through past generations is part of the much bigger picture of how – and why – abuse and trauma came to be heaped onto us.

It is helpful to know of the histories of our abusers so that we can more clearly take OUR story back from what (as yesterday’s posts mention) was NEVER a part of our story in the first place.  NEVER OURS!

We are building walls and fences, sculpting moats around our self-home —  as we sort out whose stuff was/is whose!

We have our life.  Everyone else has their life.  We have no use whatsoever for anything on our side of the fence-wall-moat that belongs to our abusers.

We only want what we love on our side!

We do not want pain, sorrow, suffering, fear, terror, hate, rage……. etc!

True, we are claiming power over our self in our healing journey and that exactly means that we empower our self by making increasingly conscious choices and decisions about what is GOOD for us and what is BAD for us.

Love is good.  Peace and calm and joy and forgiveness and much, much letting go is good for us.

Someone mentioned to me the other day that I sure am free to feel angry at my mother!

NOPE!  Why on earth would I CHOOSE to be angry at my mother?  She was in the ‘nearly sickest on earth’ group – and I KNOW that now.  I am not going to intentionally – or even unintentionally if I can help it – ever walk backward in my healing journey.

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When I listen to others speak of their traumas I most often very strongly battle with my temptation to despise, hate and condemn other abuser’s actions toward the person I am listening to.

Here again I am serving no good purpose by allowing myself to experience negative thoughts or emotions related to any person’s trauma history I hear.

Negative is negative, and it is the biggest part of goodness that we absolutely know the difference between right and wrong, between what exists on the side of truth and what exists on the side of the lie-evil.

I want no part of the darkness myself – and I choose not to want any part of the darkness related to anybody else’s trauma history, either.

I always have to consciously monitor and make wise, good choices any time I am near the ‘issue’ of horrible traumas done by people to people – especially done to little people!

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Once the darkness has been clearly recognized and identified as we work to heal by telling our stories of trauma to self and others – we are then moving ever closer to letting all that is harmful and hurtful simple GO!  Those who believe in God – whatever name, whatever spiritual pathway one might have connected to that recognition of a Supreme Unknowable Creator that has always sent Teachers to humanity – can release all that’s dark in that direction and walk away!

In other words, the goal of healing requires of us that we do not fear our past in any way.  We are only hunting for and gathering up what is good, and we increasingly learn how to leave what is rotten and bad alone!  Simply LEAVE IT ALONE!

Which is why at this point I realize OF COURSE I don’t want to work any more on my own book!  Go figure!

I also realize that as I make my own best choices it is entirely possible that I will simply will my intellectual property – every word I have written in blog form and in book draft form – to my three children.  I especially have one daughter who is a professional expert in writing and editing important thoughts into common-sense form.

If this is the way the future plays out, someday when she has time – with the input of my other two children – she can compose books to publish from what I have said, am saying, and will continue to say for the rest of my life about severe early trauma – and how to heal from it.  If destiny requires this, it will happen.

Meanwhile, I am under spiritual obligation to honor what feels good and not bad to me NOW.  If book writing feels bad to me, for whatever reason, then I simply choose not to feel bad!

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Life is fascinating.  Survivors have a far more interesting story to tell than most.  Too bad?  Yes, in many ways.  But I am absolutely NOT a fan of self-pity and I am so NOT a fan of whining and complaining!  If something in life needs to be taken care of, then we simply need to do the best that we can at turning in the direction of solving a problem – and get to work!

We can increase the beauty in our life!  We didn’t want those horrors that happened to us THEN – why on earth do we want them NOW?  As we heal we are learning to trust our own self – and in doing so we are in the process of loving our self more and more.  Once we do the work of identifying all that is NOT GOOD – we send it off and then ignore it the best we can for the rest of our life.  ALL THAT IS GOOD AND TRUE AND BEAUTIFUL BELONGS TO US!

I say, “Get greedy!  One can never have too much good or too little bad in one’s life!”

Now, it’s off to beautify myself I go!!  Out to play in my yard!

Thank you for listening – and for being YOU!

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Yesterday’s Posts:

+FREEDOM: HEALING SELF, HEALING OUR LIFE STORY, SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

+PRESERVING ONE’S SELF IN SILENCE

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