finding new light and darkness

“I stopped looking for the light and decided to become the light instead.”

This quote is so true to what I feel is going on inside this past month.

Even as I sit here and write this blog, it feels different – there is a newness of this writing and the process of being open with where I am.

Like I shared with my therapist in session last week, “this past month has been the most healing in all the years of being in therapy.” I look forward to what this new light will bring to me as I continue to take steps; allowing myself to be the light, rather than finding the light to lead the way.

One of my biggest struggles in the 10 years I have been in therapy is being open and truthful when I am really going through a hard time, or really struggling with something! Well, doesn’t that sound contradicting seeing that therapy is “made” for helping when you are struggling and going through hard times?

Well, for me, as far back as I can remember, I have only allowed myself to be open about whatever struggles I am going through if I have come up with how to fix it or make it better, and then I ask for support and help as I move through it.

I have always had this fear that if I allow myself to be seen struggling, that I will be rejected or I will be punished or pay consequences for talking about how I feel.

I am a FIGHTER, and I like to show that side of me – not the side that struggles or needs help.

When my therapist and I work together in therapy, we work TOGETHER! I rarely allow myself to say “I need help, and I don’t have it figured out.”

This past month I came to this realization that there is more light in allowing myself to be who I am “in the moment” and allowing others to see me in that light.

I made a decision this past month that allows me to be authentic to the moment instead of always raising a wall to the hard and only allowing the wall to come down once its OK enough to be seen.

The same goes for my writing, a lot of times I wouldn’t write a blog unless there was a resolve or an understanding of something. I would write a blog about positive things that I have overcome rather than letting people know “HEY, I have struggled and I don’t have it all figured out and hey that’s OK.”

What I have come to realize is that, healing happens even in the moments that are not fixed, or don’t feel better. Healing can happen in the hardest of all struggles, and its OK to ask for support in that. I don’t have just to be supported when I have figured it all out – that I am loved, cared for “SEEN” in the darkness.

The past couple of weeks in therapy have been the most healing, the most supporting, the most open, and the most vulnerable I have ever experienced because I have allowed myself to be in both light and dark.

I am finally seeing myself taking steps back into the things that once used to be a huge part of my life. Like the church, writing more, being around my once close friends, and not because I have found the light, but because I have allowed myself to see the dark, and heal in the dark.

I am open to what is next. I am hoping that I am going to write more by allowing others to see not just the good healing steps in my life or the good healing steps in therapy, but being open to the struggles it took to take those steps. Even in the moments of saying “this is where I am, and I don’t have it figured out, and that is OK because I am supported.”

This is such a HUGE step for me because I never allowed myself to be fully seen or supported without me putting up a partition wall to the struggles until It was ok for others to see. This is such a new space for me and I look forward to seeing how it brings me to the places I long to be.

I look forward to writing and connecting with others more in this space and seeing what it does for me and how it heals and meds and where it leads me.

I look forward to writing the blogs that say “I am having a hard day, and ITS OK” or showing up in my life no matter where it is open to the dark, and not just the light knowing healing can happen in both.

So I hope you will all walk with me in both the light and dark and both Good and Hard as I continue to take steps on this amazingly un-perfect journey.

Continue Reading

awaken memories

The past couple of weeks I have been experiencing very strong, vivid dreams and memories of my past when I was a little child, and it’s been incredibly hard to sit with these memories that have come to me in my sleep.

I have written before about “crying wake up’s” that I experience once in a while – dreaming and then waking up crying out of my sleep. Well, its happening again only now it’s happening along with very vivid and strong memories of my past.

The moment I wake up with a dream like this, I try and grab my phone’s notepad app to write down whatever I can remember to capture as much as I can! If I fall back asleep without writing the dream down, I will forget details.

I have had crying wake up’s before! I had had bad dreams before, but this is different, this is vivid, and they are strong and painful even. These dreams have been effecting me and my personal life and connection to self.

My therapist and I have been talking about them more in session and the meaning behind them and what the dreams/memories may be trying to tell me. We have spoken about it, I have written about it, I even talked with someone who knew a lot about dreams from those abused in the past, or from abuse survivors.

The dreams and the wake up’s are the inner young child’s way of telling a story she holds! Sometimes when we work on healing for so long, the inner child begins to trust more, she begins to step away from the wall just enough to let images be visible from the young child’s perspective. My inner child is telling me a story of the past that needs my voice, needs healing, needs to be spoken for her to move on, and grow up to be the adult I am today.

I have been told many times that the inner child is stuck inside, and sometimes it takes years and years for the young inner child inside to finally be free and ready to accept the endured abuse and pain, and the story she holds to be told, to be felt, to be trusted!

I have been in therapy for ten years, and in these ten years, I have talked about my story many times in different ways. I have worked through a lot of the pain! I have worked through a lot of the images and the story behind my past. I have painfully stepped into my past.

But it’s different this time; I feel a different shift happening inside of me to where the young part of me feels present; particularly through these vivid, horrific, painful dreams.

These dreams feel so real like it’s happening all over again! It’s the closest I have been to the abuse since it has happened, and it’s scary and painful in ways I cannot describe.

So what do I do with this? At times I am afraid to shut my eyes to sleep at night. My therapist knows what “I had a crying wake up” means and just how hard that is for me – – but that doesn’t even touch just how painful these wake up’s are or have been these past couple weeks.

My husband has even experienced me struggling in my sleep many times this past month, and he has seen just how horrible it has been for me. The crying wake up’s, the wincing in my sleep, the struggle to get out of the situation I am in during these dreams.

What I have come to realize and understand is, this is not something to hurt me all over again, but more so a way for the young inner child within me to speak and show me what she holds. It’s her way of saying “this is what I hold, this is what I remember – and she looks for healing.

But what about all the years I have talked about my past? What about all the hard work I have done so far in working with the images and stories of my past? I thought I was healing? Why is this happening now? Well, This IS the healing! This is the young part of me healing!

Finally, she has trusted to come out of the dark shadows within and show me, to use my voice to talk about “her” feelings and “her” pain.

We all have an inner child! For those abused as a child, that inner child is “stuck” and “silenced” and driven to fear out of being told for many years that she is not allowed to talk about it!

Me as the adult I am today, I have told the story! I have re-lived the old images of the past- but the young inner child wasn’t ready yet, she stayed dormant to the healing until trust could build just enough to come out from behind the walls.

As the healing has happened within me over the years, the young inner child has finally become awaken to my truth, to the trust of my therapist who holds the story. I have spent ten years showing up and showing her trust, love, and connection. The young inner child has awakened to that healing I have worked so hard through – and now that young wounded child is here – listening and ready to heal.

A physical wound heals from the inside out – An emotional wound heals from the outside in! Think about it, emotional healing begins on the outside and works its way inward, and deep within is that wounded, scared little child stuck, now ready to heal and speak and talk and even feel, and that is what I have realized is happening inside of me.

I spoke with someone recently who specializes in healing the inner child, and she said to me “Karen, you are healing, the dreams and the wakeups are not there to hurt you, but to show you.”

Difficult to think about isn’t it? Doesn’t make it any easier to shut my eyes before bed knowing I could be shown yet another image of my past that is painful or hard to see – – but if I can heal another wound on the little girl inside of me, it’s worth going through the pain again.

It took me years and years to believe that I have an inner child. I didn’t want to believe it! I struggled with the thought that if I admitted to having an inner child, that something was wrong with me. I feel differently now – I welcome this journey, and I embrace whatever the inner child wants to show me, because I know, from the outside in, she is healing.

Continue Reading

the cure to healing is pain

EnergyTherapyLast weekend I was triggered by a memory/image from my past, and this trigger was one of the worst I have had in a very long time; the kind of trigger that pulls you from the now and throws you into a tailspin of fear, emotions from the past.

Over time in my work in therapy I have learned that triggers and or memories are “information” not “emergencies” – that these feelings and thoughts are here to tell a story to heal, not to harm me.

This trigger was a pretty big one, and its been hard to be present and connected to the now, when I feel I was thrown into my past.

I have done a lot of praying around this as I haven’t felt much like myself since this trigger, and one of the things that I realized was – maybe sitting with this trigger, feeling this trigger, feeling my

Continue Reading

new blog look – a new path ahead

CreateANewPathImageIt has been about 5 years since I have redone the look of my blog. I feel my writing has suffered at a standstill, and my blog has suffered in that as well.

I am taking many big steps and many big changes in my healing, in my life, in my self and this change was one of the big steps in reclaiming back my voice, and my writing!

My writing, blog, and myself went through some hard trials a couple years ago which pulled me away from my blog and my writing out of fear. But what the past year has really shown me, and what I have come to realize is – my writing, my blog, and the people I connect to through my writing is [ . . . . ]

Continue Reading

walking thru many changes

bigstock-New-you-old-you-48073835-e1426973137874As I sat in session yesterday, There was a moment I made a strong eye contact with my therapist when he asked me a hard question, and in that moment I felt a trust I have never felt even in the 8 1/2 years I have worked with my therapist on this healing journey.

I felt this newness in me, I felt like the young part (in that moment) let go of all the old messages and all the old fears and just allowed TRUST to be present and I felt heard, and I felt supported, and I felt a letting go in that moment – another change on this journey.

There have been so many changes going on inside of me the past couple of months. Some are noticeable, and some are only ones that can be felt and seen by me’ changes that only I can experience that have no words to explain.

One of the biggest changes is the work in therapy and the connection I have been able to hold onto – even from the younger part side of me that holds all those old messages from the past. I feel CONNECTED even in the hard days. I feel the old me fading and the new me emerging – but it doesn’t go without a fight to keep this going. It takes work, it takes trust, it takes consistency.

My therapist has used this quote to me the past couple weeks and that is “Nothing changes and yet everything changes” .. meaning as he said to me – “as you move through the many changes going on inside of you on this new path you are walking through, nothing changes in our work together, nothing changes in the support, care and love for you in this work, nothing changes in the connection and trust in our work together, and yet everything changes in such a good connecting way as I seek new ways this path is moving for you

So, what has changed? For me what I have noticed the most is the ability to trust the connection outside of therapy without disengaging out of safety and protection for self. Before I would create a wall outside of therapy out of fear of depending on the process of therapy an my therapist – making it really hard when I had my next session because we had to re-connect all over again, and the work became about connection and not healing.

I have/had this HUGE fear of dependency for such a long long time, and now for the first time ever, I am allowing myself to be connected even outside of therapy, to the process, to myself, and to the connection our work holds inside and outside.

One of the things my therapist says to me at the end of every session in a gentle way is – – “if you need any reminding or you need any support outside of session, lean in, all ways of connecting are here for you

Before – I would completely disconnect myself from that out of fear it meant I was dependent, and if I DID lean in, or reach out outside of therapy, there was such guilt and shame that it would disconnect me and we would have to work hard to re-build that connection

Now – I feel a new kind of acceptance, I feel I can now reach out anytime I need to and accept that it doesn’t mean dependency, it means I am struggling and its OK to ask for help, and nothing changes, because I am still my “independent self”. I have learned that a part of independence, is allowing myself good healthy attachment, connection and support, and the difference is, when I come back into therapy the day after, or after I lean in outside of session, there is no disconnection or shame – connection is already present.

This is a HUGE step for me; even writing about it is a huge acceptance to change and letting others see this change.

This is probably one of the biggest changes, because from day 1 in therapy – almost 9 years ago – the first thing I said to Andy my therapist was “The day I depend on you, is the day I quit this therapy” hahaha I remember the look on his face even today. I said to him “I am NOT dependent on you nor will I ever be, I am my OWN person!”

To this day, we still laugh when we talk about that, because it’s the one thing I truly feared the most. It’s an old message from my past – I was feared into depending on those who abused me and since then I feared ever going through that again.

This fear of dependency got in the way a lot in our work in therapy when I needed to lean on his support or accept talking about really hard things. It created a lot of projection in our work as well. We called it the “D” word! Didn’t even want to say the word Dependent!

“Healing is a process that takes time”

Now, I am not going to say its easy.. it takes work to continue with these new changes.. some days are harder than others. I still struggle with a battle going on inside of me between the young beliefs and the new beliefs. Some days the old messages from the past are louder than the truths I know today, But it’s here and I am working so hard to continue holding this newness in acceptance.

There are so many changes going on within me as I continue to work with the younger little me who holds the pain and wounds and old messages that  get in the way of living the way I want to live, and its a process! but as I work with these changes, its allowing me to seek these deep wounds and feelings I have never been able to reach because of those old barriers!

Emotions is another change for me. I am beginning to FEEL emotions for the first time and yet I am noticing there are some things I am NUMB to – but the difference is, I know when I am feeling and I now know when I am numb – where before I would disconnect and project those feelings on others. I feel present to all the things going on inside of me. I can’t say emotions is something I accept as I still struggle with that, but I can feel and understand what it is I am feeling now.

I am still struggling with isolation that I have been stuck in for a couple of years now, but I truly believe as these changes emerge within me, I will continue to take more steps out of that . . . .

The work between my therapist and I have been amazing, and I am truly blessed to have a wonderful therapist who is open and patient to all these changes emerging within me. He has really inspired me to find the trust in this journey, in the process, and in him. I don’t even have the words to express what a good kind-hearted person he is! Truly a blessing that God has placed on my path to healing.

I have always said this through the years of writing in my blog about my healing journey and around therapy and the work I do with my therapist and that is “healing is a process that takes time“, there are surface wounds, and then there are deep deep wounds that take a long time to get to, and its a process of getting there, and in that process comes changes – changes both good and hard, scary at times, painful and hardening – yet all those are healing!


 

** WORDPRESS.COM READERS ** if your reading this in the READER, you wont be able to respond with a comment unless you go to the link of my blog, I run a SELF HOSTED so you have to go to my blog to leave a comment .. go here to the link to read and leave a comment CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Continue Reading

thinking back – looking forward

forwardbackAs I look back on this past year, it was a very hard year for me on so many levels! But it has also been one of the most connecting and self changing years on my healing journey.

It began with the death of my mom last January 6th 2015, which set the stage for the beginning of a very hard year for me.

I was already struggling with self isolation from many things that happened a couple of years ago, and in that hard work of trying to move out of the isolation, adding my moms death was just another reason to pull back even more.

But then there is my healing journey, my work in therapy and the amazing work my therapist and I have done this past year has been absolutely amazing!

As we sat in therapy Tuesday, my therapist and I did a lot of reflecting back and forth about the good work we have done, and how blessed we both are for each other and the strong bond we re-built over this past year, and for that I am blessed that I can walk this amazing journey with so much trust, connection and acceptance.

As I look back on this hard hard year, I have seen where the hardness has changed me! I have seen the changes and for the first time in almost 9 years of therapy now, I can see how much I have changed and how connection to self, the work, and to my therapist has grown to a new acceptance.

My moms death opened my eyes to a new acceptance and healing for me. The self isolation made me see the places I can go and where I am stuck.

My therapist and I have re-created what “connection” means and what that looks like in our work! I have learned to accept connection more and when there is acceptance, there is healing, and in the healing I have learned to accept my worth!

I look back and I can’t believe how different I feel inside around connection and acceptance and learning how to “feel” my emotions and not be afraid of them – BECAUSE of that acceptance, BECAUSE of that connection I can finally feel worthy of.

Just a couple of years ago, connection was hard for me to accept, because I felt if I accepted connection like (leaning in for support, writing an email, or sending a text or whatever it was) it meant I was dependent or “too much” .. well I don’t feel that way anymore, when I lean in and connect, I feel a new acceptance that “I am worthy of being in connection” and that has made such a HUGE difference in my healing this year.

That has been the biggest change this past year, and because of this new found acceptance, it has made the bond between my therapist and I stronger, and that has made the healing take a really good turn on so many levels!

Looking forward I can see how this new acceptance is going to open doors for me to take more steps out of this self isolation! When I say self isolation that means “going back to church” “going out more without fearing things” “being open to being in the company of friends again like I used to” .. and then there are others things I am not ready to be open around this yet, but that time will come.

The self isolation also touches on many of my past hurts and triggers and that is also something else I am working so hard with – and will continue to as I take steps into the new year.

Emotions have always been a huge struggle for me, I am finally learning how to “FEEL” for the first time, really feel and that has opened many new healing paths for me as I talk about the hurt I still hold.

So, as I look back, there are many things that were HARD about this past year around the self isolation and self inner struggles and yet at the same time, this past year has been the year of learning to accept and trust the healing relationship and the healing journey!

As I look forward, I am scared and yet so excited to see what is next on this path to healing! not only are changes happening here at home for the good, but I am really looking forward to what my therapist and I are working so hard on in helping me out of this self isolation and more accepting support, love and care while learning to work with my emotions and feeling them more.

Someday I will be able to tell the story of what began this self isolation – but for now it’s good enough to just say “this is where I was, this is where I am, and this is where I look forward to being!

You will see a lot more writing from this year as I plan to take this new found acceptance and start writing more about my journey and not fear writing about it. I look forward to the connections I make in that.

I hope all of you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I love you all and thank you for the support this past year in my journey of both HARD and HEALING!

** WORDPRESS.COM READERS ** if your reading this in the READER, you wont be able to respond with a comment unless you go to the link of my blog, I run a SELF HOSTED so you have to go to my blog to leave a comment .. go here to the link to read and leave a comment
http://www.findingthegracewithin.com/thinking-back-looking-forward

Continue Reading

feeling my emotions

1082105247Yesterday when I woke up to get ready for therapy and the day ahead I knew it was going to be a really hard day – I just knew it and felt something really big inside tugging at me!

Emotions were really close to the surface from the moment I woke! Emotions scare me – – emotions make me want to run – – I hate feeling, and being with emotions; especially letting them be seen!

Yes even in therapy, even after 8 1/2 years of working thru my feelings and it still is a huge struggle for me!

When I showed up to therapy I knew from the moment I sat in the waiting room that this was going to be a hard struggle – sitting there waiting I even struggled with and debated on walking out and going home before he came out to get me – which I have never once done in 8 1/2 years of being in therapy.

But I stayed with it, I worked with the struggle in the waiting room and knew in that moment that “connection is found in working through the struggle, not running from the struggle”.

I knew from the moment I sat next to my therapist that the silence I felt wasn’t going to work, swallowing my emotions and feelings was not going to work like it once did, and so I gave in and let them just show up no matter how bad they felt!

My therapist took and held my hand and said “just breathe and let it be here” and when the emotions got big, he hugged me in those tears and told me I am supported, loved and cared for – even in the days I have tears, not just in the days I am strong with all the wisdom I bring and how strong I am.

My therapist knows my struggle with emotions, he has been a witness to this fear for over 8 years now, and he knows no matter how many tears I have shed, it still scares me to the core every time they show up.

The story behind the fear of emotions is so big that its something I still have such a hard time with no matter how many times I reminded that “your tears are SO OK!” – “however you feel is SO welcomed” “you are not alone”.

There is also a part of me that struggles with emotions on a level that “if I am expressing my emotions, if I am having emotions, it’s too much, or I am not being strong enough, or this is a step back instead of seeing it as a step forward.

I feel guilty and ashamed for having emotions, because I was abused into thinking that.

BUT – For the first ever, I just let go of my inner fear and just let the emotions be there, because it was too much work to sit in the silence!

I realized how bad it felt to be silent and disconnected vs letting the emotions be there and let go of that inner fear that holds them. I felt what the sadness felt like, I felt what the tears felt like, for the first time I was able to feel fully and not disconnect from my self or the young part.

I showed up yesterday regardless of how bad it felt inside, because I know deep inside God is along side of me taking those steps with me, and I know I am supported by a wonderful therapist who helps me to see that I am not alone in these big feelings, and my support is there in the connection if I allow the connection to be there.

Never have I FELT my emotions … I have cried many many tears, but never have I felt them or even felt what they meant and why there were there … never have I accepted them to be here.

and another step is made . . . .

** WORDPRESS.COM READERS ** if your reading this in the READER, you wont be able to respond with a comment unless you go to the link of my blog, I run a SELF HOSTED so you have to go to my blog to leave a comment .. go here to the link to read and leave a comment

feeling my emotions

Continue Reading

raw and vulnerable – facing my core emotions

rawI feel like the theme of my writing has been “its been a while since I have written”, and it’s true, it has been a while since I have written, and I think it’s because when I am working so hard internally, I become detached with everything else around me.

The work in therapy the past couple of weeks have been really hard but good work! My therapist keeps telling me “I am so proud of you, you are working so hard and you are on such a different path than you were just months ago” – and I believe that because I feel it.

I have been trusting and learning more and more of what it means to work with my feelings and emotions “as” I have them; not pushing them away until I can find empowerment over them.

I am still waking up in the middle of the night with “crying wake up’s”, and instead of forcing myself back to sleep like I normally do, I have been grabbing my phone or laptop when I wake, and write notes down on how I feel, what I woke feeling, and what the tears mean… I have even allowed myself to stay with the emotions and feel them instead of pushing them away by falling back to sleep.

It hasn’t been easy, and I hate the way it feels, but I do notice the more I do that and allow myself to be with the emotions that show up, the more connected I feel to talk about them.

My therapist always tells me “every tear is a tear of healing” “every tear has a story and meaning behind it” – when in the past I would think tears = weakness or tears = consequence.

I left session Friday feeling as if we peeled back an old scar and left it wide open to see all the insides exposed, and the only TRUE way to re-heal that old scar, is to take care of the insides instead of just throwing a band-aid over it.

Sometimes, we need to open old wounds so that we can treat it the way it should have been treated, so it can heal the way it needs to be healed – – and that is with truth and understanding. If we don’t get to the CORE of our wounds, it will never fully heal.

I have been working so hard on looking into those wounds and facing the core of how they got wounded, and a part of the healing has been about feeling and accepting.

Something I have really struggled with in the past was “acceptance” – acceptance of support, love and care from my therapist in therapy, and I didn’t realize just how needed that is in the process of healing, and how accepting those things doesn’t mean “dependence” – it means I am saying YES to me and YES to the younger parts that never had the support I have now.

The other night, I felt some really big feelings and I leaned in and emailed my therapist (which I don’t normally do unless I ABSOLUTELY need it; even though he tells me to lean in anytime I need it) .. well I leaned in and I opened myself up to support at a real vulnerable time IN the emotions, and he was so proud of me for leaning in and by leaning in and talking about my feelings, I was able to accept his support back and know “I am not alone and I am heard and supported” ..

It helped! It helped heal a little bit of that wound in the corner that still has a hard time healing. I took a small step and in that step I learned to accept.

So, in my quietness lately, I have been really work hard within, and I am really hoping that I can take this acceptance and start writing more about this important process! I hope to write more because when I write and connect with others, I do notice healing happening there as well …..

So, as I sit here on this Sunday morning, I am thinking about the week ahead and I am looking forward to see where this path continues to take me in therapy and in the steps I am making all around my healing.

Acceptance, being with these emotions that show up, and really facing the core feelings and emotions that show up and what they mean ….

I am learning more and as much as that is scary, it’s equally exiting to know I am finally facing the wounds that need to heal the way they should have healed.

** WORDPRESS.COM READERS ** if your reading this in the READER, you wont be able to respond with a comment unless you go to the link of my blog, I run a SELF HOSTED so you have to go to my blog to leave a comment .. go here to the link to read and leave a comment

raw and vulnerable – facing my core emotions

Continue Reading