Tag Archives: childhood wounds

What Forgiveness Meant to Me – Literally

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What Forgiveness Meant to Me – Literally

I wrote about the 3 day retreat that ended with an unforgettable experience here. And I wrote a poem expressing my pain here. Now it is time to share exactly what freedom meant to me after the exercise of forgiveness. I had no idea what to expect – the possibilities were endless.

In the days following the retreat, I felt that my heart space had doubled in size. In my daily prayers I asked God to bring things up so I could let go of even more. I would think of old painful experiences and I forgave myself and others easily. Since I had tackled the biggie in my life, all these other wounds were senseless to hold on to. Sometimes tears accompanied my prayers of forgiveness, but overall, each time I practiced forgiveness, it just got easier and easier.

It seemed pointless to hang on to anything that weighed me down – forgiveness was my new happy pill and I dosed myself frequently.

The second miracle is that the SHAME that clouded my whole life, simply evaporated. I had not understood the roots of my shame until now. I had worked on it from so many angles, and now with the choice of forgiveness, it was gone.

An old journal entry describes my feelings:
“I feel like I am drowning in shame. I take more of it in with each breath. It stinks like rotting flesh. Its voice is eerily comforting as it fills my ear with lies. Sometimes I play hide and seek with shame trying to escape its grip. But I end up feeling naked and exposed and put out the SOS – Shame Oh Shame, please return. Wrap yourself around me like a cloak and help me feel safe again.

My head knows that being raped was never my fault, but I cannot release the grip of shame in my being. Ok, God, let’s heal this shit. Enough already. I am 46 and I have proven I can do shame – with gusto, flair, and grit. It is time to make a change.”

I don’t know if I can adequately express how much shame was woven into my being. I always had shameful thoughts about myself running my brain and body ragged. I used so many tools to neutralize this shame, but they only helped me keep my head above the drowning level.

Obviously this shame took root in my being just from the nature of the violence I endured. I think it was easy to allow shame to grow and perpetuate because so much of the world mirrored that I was not enough as a girl, as a woman, as a human.

I do still have moments when I feel vulnerable without that cloak of shame. I feel exposed and yet I realize that I was always the first one to attack myself. Being and sitting with vulnerability is a worth while practice.

There are many layers of vulnerability and just when one gets comfortable, another emerges, inviting us to expose more of our heart.

Freedom from shame and old wounds of unforgiveness would not have happened if the seed of wanting forgiveness to happen had never been planted. Even if it seems impossible for you to experience forgiving someone that harmed you, I encourage you to say, “Someday, I would like to be free from the weight of unforgiveness. Prepare my heart so when the moment arrives I step into the miracle of unfolding.”

The last little miracle to happen from this is that for 3 days after the retreat ended, I heard my grandpa saying “Angie” in quiet moments. Just before bed on the 3rd day, I said, “Ok, grandpa, I am listening.” He appeared in my mind’s eye sobbing and repeating “I’m sorry.” I thanked him for his apology and released him to continue his own journey. While it was completely unexpected to hear from him (he died 25 years ago) it was beautiful to feel his sincerity and hear his apology. I certainly was not anticipating this experience.

So, if his soul found a new level of peace, that was previously beyond imagination, I am a-ok with that.

Won’t you plant some heart seeds today?

In case you missed it, here is Part 1: Forgiving the Unforgivable

My Poem Related to this post: Feisty for $25

Read more about who the heck I am: https://iamangela.org/about/

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

My grandpa sold me for sex when I was a child. There is a poem here.

It is okay. Really. This story will show you how I am more than okay.

My grandpa also sexually assaulted me many times before he sold me. In navigating my healing, I found a level of compassion for him that was beyond my human capacity. I wrote about that here. But in early 2014 I realized my forgiveness had hit a wall. I saw his act of selling me as:

U n f o r g i v a b l e.

My journal says: “Grandpa, my forgiveness will not extend that far. I am pissed that I have so much damage to navigate from your evil-ness. If you were still alive, I would send you to jail. I want to feel safe and you stole that from me. I hate that I cannot still the voice that says I am less than the other people in the world. I hate that my worth, my value was put into dollars. Will I ever be able to forgive you? My anger is so huge, it feels like the Earth will shake and buildings will crumble if I let it out. I cannot imagine this rage being replaced with forgiveness.”

Even thought it seemed impossible, I wanted forgiveness for what it had to offer ME even though I had no idea of what it would feel like or look like. I did not know how unforgiveness was holding me back because I had carried it with me since I was 5 in an unconscious way. Now, I was willing to let go. But I needed help.

This was the condition of my heart and mind when I went to a Dances of Universal Peace Retreat in May of 2014 with a simple prayer, “Let this retreat serve my highest good.”

The first morning I was up with the sun writing, singing, and praying by the stream. Once the morning dance was about to begin I entered the lodge and a friend of mine greeted me by falling on the floor and kissing my bare feet. This took my words away – I had not ever been greeted like this before. He said, “Isn’t that how we are to greet Goddesses?” I mumbled something, unsure of how to be gracious about such a gesture. He smiled and asked that I take it in. I said I would work on it.

One of the dances was about Mitakoye Oyasin, A Lakota phrase meaning All My Relations. Mitakoye: All beings in all levels of creation. Oyasin: Call you & draw you closer to the deepest love of your soul. Somewhere in the course of the song, God pricked my heart and asked if I could bring my grandfather front and center to sing this song with him.

After a few tearful rounds of the song, I told God I would extend the olive branch and take one small step toward my grandfather. That was all I could manage in that moment. The edges of my heart started to ache. I was completely okay with taking my time navigating forgiveness. I had deep compassion for myself first. After all, this was a biggie.

After that song we had a silent meditation time and I opened my journal to write and God asked, “Could you kiss the feet of your grandfather and call him Beloved?” Then I wrote: “God prepare my heart. I want to run away right now.” And then I did – I ran to the stream and sobbed. Sobs that shook my being on every level, loosening the roots of unforgiveness.

All day my prayer was, “Prepare my heart.” I could not fathom how forgiveness might occur. My grandfather was dead so how would I know I had truly forgiven him? And because he was dead, a small voice said, “Well, you don’t have to really kiss his feet.” Part of me was relieved.

I also was being incredible gentle with myself with messages like:

“I might not find forgiveness until the last breath I take, and that is ok.”

“It might take 20 or 40 years to figure out how to forgive him, and that is ok.”

At the end of the first day I was exhausted.

Day 2: My heart chakra literally ached – it was being opened and stretched and expanded.

My prayer by late morning was, “Oh God, Sustainer of my Soul.” I felt the weight of my anger in my being and it was heavy and frightening. Once again I ran to the stream, dropped to my knees, and this time I threw rocks in water yelling “FUCK YOU!” over and over – covering all the reasons I was angry with him. My anger spilled out into the quick moving stream and she carried it away.

Then I climbed on some huge trees that had been pulled up by the floods of the previous fall. I wrapped my arms and legs around the trunk of one and cried into the tree:

I am sorry for
my little girl inside,
all 5 year old children with out love,
what you did to yourself grandpa,
what you did to humanity,
the beautiful trees that are dead now from the flood,
the space in me that seemed dead for 41 years,
the effort it has taken to resurrect that space, to learn to breathe in that space,
all the physical pain that I feel,
the land torn apart by the flood water,
my little girl that has felt uprooted and lost since that very first time of being sold,
my Self having felt displaced, not valued, unloved, and unlovable.

Then I said “I LOVE YOU” to all these aspects. This emotionally laden process just kept unfolding. Yes, it was painful – and beautiful. I was surrounded by God’s love and Mother Earth, offering infinite support. God was totally leading the way to forgiveness – these sure weren’t my ideas!

Then I had a picture enter my minds eye: a ceremony where my friend stands in as my grandfather and I kiss his feet and I hug him and call him Beloved Grandfather. I immediately gave myself permission for this ceremony to be many months, if not years away from happening. And perhaps, the first time it is done, I call it practice.

By the end of day 2 I asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather. He said he would be honored. I explain that I have no desire to rush this process, it could be the next day or many years away.

Day 3 I woke with a headache from all the emotional processing. The dances that morning were soothing and I continued my prayers, “God, prepare my heart, sustain my soul.” During the silent meditation time I wrote out my Healing Intentions:

1. Heal ME. This is for me and only me. I feel the ache and the weight of unforgiveness and I am tired of dragging it around. Fill up that space where unforgiveness has lived with love and wisdom.
2. Reach across TIME and extend the choice of healing to my grandfather, because it is never just about me and my healing.
3. Let my forgiveness ripple out into the WORLD to further heal all crimes against humanity in this spectrum.
4. Allow me to remember this was a crime against himself and all of humanity as much as it was a crime against me.

At the end of the morning, we were seated in a circle sharing our retreat experiences. There was a silence and God prompted me. I shared that my grandfather had committed crimes against me as a child and God had prepared me to forgive him. I had asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather and I invited anyone to witness this ceremony. My friend started removing his socks as one of the leaders said, “How about now?” My reply was, “I am ready.” My heart really was ready – I was not forcing anything to happen, it was completely ready in all ways. It was miraculous.

I kneeled, kissed his feet, and called him “Beloved Grandfather” in an embrace. I felt infinitely lighter immediately.

I went deep inside and stretched my heart so much it felt like the sun had taken up residence. I am still in awe at the way God supported me in this process. It was not practice. It was, and is, forgiveness – the real thing.

Forgiveness is freedom. I took a chance, I said yes, I want this healed. I trusted the process and stepped into the opportunity that God provided, and I found JOY.

Keep reading: Part 2 What Forgiveness Meant to Me, Literally

Read more about who the heck I am: https://iamangela.org/about/

feisty for $25

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feisty for $25

twenty five dollars changes hands over my head
dirty blue and white striped mattress
iron headboard
hot, heavy air
sweaty, dirty man
hands bound to the headboard
my body twists away
my feet kick fast, furious
i fight
with all that i am, i fight
with a chuckle he says
“just what i ordered. i like me some feisty”
my 5 year old brain scrambles in horror
my fight is desirable, enticing
how can i not fight?
fight or no fight, he wins
he unties me
tells me to run for the road
i fall, twist my ankle on the broken, dry dirt
grandpa is there
he chuckles at my tears, my fear
he carries me to the car

angela clark
04/2015
http://www.iamangela.org

I share this poem today to celebrate my truth, my freedom, and my healing. And to acknowledge that it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. My birthday is today. I am in the mountains singing and dancing with my whole being. Finding joy on a regular basis for the first time in my life.

I believe there are others from northern, rural Iowa from the early 70’s that had this experience. It is time we do all we can to stop these crimes. Even though it was 42 years ago, I want to do what I can to stop children from being sold for sex in every part of the world. Let’s start in our families and our neighborhoods. It starts by talking about it. Openly and honestly.

Help me celebrate healing and consider giving $25 to http://givebackyoga.org/donate-today  I volunteer with this organization and tremendous healing can happen through yoga.

Thank you for hearing my story and honoring my voice.

Day 6: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 6: The Yoga of Self-Care

Why am I writing about self-care? All I had learned and understood was how to live in survival mode which is chaos and mayhem. Very exhausting. Self-care was a vague and foreign concept – something I am still cultivating an understanding within myself. I believe listening to my body is the foundation for learning how best to take care of myself. It has taken me years to develop healthier habits. And I am still very much a work in progress. Consistency is my challenge. I find myself in a state of resistance or flat out self-sabotage regularly.

There are so many reasons why we, as a culture, resist premium self-care habits in the midst of our platinum and luxurious lives. In my opinion, the lives we are working so hard to maintain, are layers of distraction for avoiding ourselves. I am ready for something different.

I choose to give myself permission to take extraordinary and exquisite care of myself. I give you permission to do it too.

Why all this emphasis on yoga? It spoke to me. Attending weekly Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes taught me what consistency meant for my body. Anytime I see a mat, I feel my body hum. It longs to spend more time on the mat in various states of rest and stretching.

TRAUMA YOGA

Contrary. Oxymoron.
Like me.
Two halves that should not fit.
But must reside in the same body.
The wounded half. The healed half.
I wonder, “How is this yoga different?
My curiosity invites me.
My trauma qualifies me.
My trauma body shows up.
Longing to find my yoga body.

No Eastern ambiance.
Just a conference room.
Filled with a sense of safety.
Created just for me.
And the millions of eligible souls.
Small classes, by design.
No challenge for perfecting the pose.
No call for deepening the experience.
My eyelids shutter closed.

It is just me and the teacher’s calm voice.
My body responds with a small rocking motion.
My self-soothing visits each pose.
Resources on Suicide Prevention keep me company during tree pose.
I smirk at the irony.
Memories of my 15-year vigil with Suicide.
And now I am doing yoga with Suicide.

Several weeks go by uneventfully.
Then my whole being hears the word “choice.”
My body shudders in response.
My mind keeps repeating:
Choice, choices, choice, choices, choice, choices
This is my awakening
I can move a little
Or a lot
Or not at all
The past is not here

Today means
No violent authority
No need to resist
No one holding me down
No one demanding, expecting
It is just me

I immerse myself in the experience of safety and choice
Body memories spasm and sputter, ready to escape
Captive no more
A spinal twist wrings out ancient tears

Yoga connects me to my body
Helps me feel whole
Shows me the path of gentleness
I begin to see a wider landscape of the future
To feel more freedom than pain
To resemble healing more than trauma

Only a teacher than understands
Trauma is ready to witness the depth of my pain
Only a teacher that understands
Yoga will appreciate the stretch of my courage
Today
I practice
The Yoga of Courage
I practice
The Yoga of Choice
I practice
Freedom Yoga

Photo, of the author in tree pose, is by http://www.brittripleyphotography.com/

Previously published on http://givebackyoga.org/trauma-sensitive-yoga-for-rape-survivors-reflections-from-a-poet

This is part 6 of a 7 part series on self-care.

Day 4: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 4: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Always begin with the breath – take it   d e e p   and   s l o w. Your body dances when you breath mindfully.

2. Post your intentions. Sing them, chant them, have FUN with them, do art with them!

3. Make the ACTION LIST. Do the EASY items first.

4. Work through the IMPOSSIBLE.

The items left seem IMPOSSIBLE or they wouldn’t still be waiting for attention. Getting to the root of IMPOSSIBLE will take time, effort, and, emotional attention. Healing these roots will make all the difference in the current situation and create different outcomes in the future. The same old shit won’t trigger you into fear-based thinking. I am cheering you through this shift – it is such a worthwhile journey.

Fear is an awesome manufacturer of procrastination. Likewise, anger can be an awesome springboard for action.

I give you permission to be pissed at the situation or circumstances. Allow the emotions to flow. Just take the piss (and the victim) out of your voice once you are enlisting the help of others. The goal is to navigate this with as much grace and healing as possible, which means how to treat others through this process is important. Keep your civility and integrity intact.

When facing the IMPOSSIBLE, it is time to remember you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, learning how to ask and receive help might be an important lesson for you. It certainly was for me. Now is the time to reach into your toolbox or see a practitioner that can help you find the source of pain, hurt or trauma that is probably at the root of IMPOSSIBLE. For me, Emotional Freedom Technique (aka EFT or Tapping) is a wonderful self-help tool that will take me to the root of my blockage. Use what works for you. I also highly recommend therapy and counseling professionals that can help you navigate shitty times especially if you have PTSD, complex trauma, anxiety disorder, or severe depression. I have a history of all of these and the professionals in my life always helped me pull through. Remember, it is Your Turn to give yourself the experience of courage and freedom using whatever tools make you feel safe and comfortable.

Simple solutions that have used: I made an appointment with a close friend and ask them to be with me during the hard part, whether it was a phone call or appointment. Sometimes all I need is an accountability friend. I ask them to poke me to make sure it got done when I promised it would be done. I have friends that would just let me talk about the possibilities out loud, sometimes giving helpful suggestions, but mostly listening. Talking it through (out loud to yourself even!) can be an important shift. Make a list of trusted professionals, friends, and family members that you can call upon as you navigate this shit storm.

As you read through the IMPOSSIBLE ACTION ITEMS, I have some self-help tools to share:

Where do you feel the tension in your body? What happens if you breath into this space? Use the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath to open up space in your body and mind to navigate this differently than you have before.

Notice your self-talk during this process. Can it be addressed by one of the new intentions you created?

What personality of fear is showing up right now? Panic, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, frustration, anger, shame, guilt, intimidation? Stretch your body – do any movement that will help your body let go of the physical tension that has been launched. Dance, shake, laugh, walk, run, stretch and be vocal during this process.

If you feel comfortable doing this alone, ask yourself what is the earliest memory you have of feeling just like this. This might be the root of this trigger. Once you have identified a situation (typically from childhood or young adulthood) then start using the tools you know to begin to work through this old hurt. Again, totally cool to work through this with a pro if that feels best.

Journaling is a great tool right now. It can be as simple as a list of how you are feeling. You can send an email to your self or use pen and paper. I believe your body needs for you to acknowledge these feelings and emotions to begin the healing process. Here are some prompts:

This makes me feel ____ or feel like ______ or remember ______
I don’t know why but this word/action/emotion makes me ________
When I think of ______ I hear/smell/taste/feel/see _______
My <body part> hurts and has a message for me ___________

Honor yourself with some yoga. Find a community that takes care of themselves and you will find a community that cares about you.

This is part 4 of a 7 part series on self-care.

Firefighter

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Firefighter

Rape creates fire
Deep within
Bubbles like lava
Searches for air

Escape

Eruption

My friend
At the tender age of 5
Used a match
On her parent’s bed
Fighting for innocence
Burning for justice
Fight fire with fire

Pull ALL the alarms
Let the fire trucks scream with you
Save your Self
We need (s)heroes like you

Water and Air

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Water and Air

My friend looks thirsty
I offer
water
No thanks wooshes out with a breath of
air

She dislikes
water
she drinks
air
carbonated and sweetened

When she was 3 and 4 her grandfather
held her head under
water
her eyes wide open begging for
air

Shitty game pappy
rape me, drown me
terror to silence
too much water
not enough air

Grown up now
learning to drink
water
learning to breathe
air

Remembering and healing
the elements of Earth
vital to life
water
air

Letter to Grandpa

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Letter to Grandpa

Dear Grandpa,
It has been 3 years since the first memory emerged of you violating me in my tender years, revealing
that my persistent nightmares of rape were rooted in truth. These memories have been fragile shadows
always present in my life, waiting to be unearthed with care and respect.

In the earliest memories I did not know you, the perpetrator. The face on this male energy was a
black cloud of pain, rage, and self-loathing that pulled compassion from me. As unbelievable as it seems,
my compassion for you was spontaneously more palpable than for my Self; your pain was wildly vivid
and accessible to me. My core Being felt the enormity of your angst, your struggle.

I think of this witnessing as a gift.

The impact of your self-loathing during my remembering brought me to my knees inside because I,
too, have loathed myself so completely that I was left gasping for breath and fighting with life. I finally
understood the errant seed that had taken root so long ago.

After a few weeks, your face, your smell, your voice emerged from that black cloud. I had two
grandpa’s then, one that was in the photos of my recorded milestones and the other that was this monster
and master of violence.

Soon, I found anger for you and your choices. I yelled until I lacked voice once again and punched
the boxing bag wishing it was you, except then you wouldn’t be dead. You did make things easier by
exiting before you harmed another generation. I think it was the only way you knew how to stop. My son,
your first great grandchild, was due any day so you exercised a rare bit of courage, and you died.

It seems a strange package, but anger for you delivered me to compassion for my Self. Finally
my unexpressed childhood was exposed. Grief and sorrow were first in line for all the years of black
depression, migraines, anxieties, and unfounded fears that left me feeling gutted of the ability to
experience basic pleasure in the micro or the macro of living.

It seems ridiculously backwards: compassion for you before my Self. However, I have accepted that
healing unfolds in mysterious and miraculous ways. Grandpa, I know you hated who you were. I don’t
believe in hell as an afterlife. I believe in healing. And healing in hell would be next to impossible.

I keep searching for healing, Grandpa, seeking more freedom. What if you had chosen to feel the
world through my heart? What if you had stepped into my skin, felt the vast cavern of fear and silence
that held no markings for the path to healing and voice? Perhaps you would have found the strength to put
a stop to this cycle of violence. Maybe you would have found compassion for your wounded Self in that
space of Me.

Because compassion was my deliverer, I see a Circle of Compassion that holds every living being. I
believe if we intentionally move through the circle, we will be richer and deeper as individuals, naturally
stronger and more connected as a community. It means we find our place on this circle and diligently
move forward until we experience the weak, the sick, the young, the old, the strong, the healthy, the rich,
the poor, the neglected, the abusers, the victims, the rapists, the advocates, the care givers, the judges and the animals, the Earth —leaving no living being untouched.

What if by visiting the depths of all that we have in common with each other we heal our deeply held
wounds?

Living with compassion does not mean a life free of pain, but rather a life where communication,
reconciliation, restoration, and healing are honorable, sought after experiences.

What if we begin to imagine a world that does not understand the words violence, abuse, rape, neglect, and discrimination?

Somehow I know you are listening, Grandpa.

—Angie, The Feisty One

Angela’s Voice / January 28, 2011 / Journal Entry

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Angela’s Voice / January 28, 2011 / Journal Entry

I vomited up disappointment tonight.

I realized my HUGE fear of disappointing people.
This fear has driven me to overcommit, over-deliver, and please, please, please at the expense of my health, my self-care, my well-being.
It was an energetic vomiting of being told not to be a disappointment by my grandpa. The mental tape, literally in his voice, was “Don’t disappoint me Angie.”

I remembered all the ways I feel disappointed by others and all the ways I feel I disappoint others. And I saw all the situations I put myself into that are impossible for me to come out on top, so I disappoint everyone involved.

God it hurt. I cried out. I sobbed. I yelled. I rocked back and forth holding my gut – the home of this fear for so many years.

During this experience, I had the thought that I should reach out to a friend because it was one of those dark moments that good friends want to help you through. One of those moments that a friend wishes she would have been called on when she hears about it later. As I started scrolling through my telephone contacts, I asked myself, “What do I want from someone right now?” The answer was to be held and rocked; to be assured that I will get better. I wanted my mom. Since calling my mom was not an option, I kept scrolling – looking for the friend that would support me best in this moment.

I didn’t get very far before I realized that the no one could be my mom in that moment more than my mom. Asking someone to try to fill her shoes would be unfair. And, I knew, with Divine clarity, that my perfect mom friend resided within me. I didn’t need my mother; I could reach out and hold and rock that child within that needed loved and reassured better than anyone else. I literally held and rocked myself, whispering the nurturing, loving words that I longed to hear in that moment. I invited God to also wrap arms of love and protection around me. I cried and keened with that hurting child as a mother and as a friend. And it was perfect. There was no disappointment, just love and comfort.

In the end, the message was (and is) “Angie, you are enough. In every moment, you are enough.” There is not much room for disappointment when we are enough.

This is an invitation to search for all that you are looking for within yourself, be your own witness. Invite God into the experience and know that you hold all the keys to your own healing. Love yourself the way that no one else can love you – deeply and profoundly – this is where you find God and where you find yourself.

-Angela Rae Clark, 2006 TYIG Seedling still finding her way in the Inner Garden world. Angela is sharing part of her 2011 experience of healing from emerging memories of rape, torture and trauma involving the grandfather that is mentioned in this article. She is immensely grateful for the TYIG tools and experiences to draw upon. Deb, Diane and the TYIG friends are a constant inspiration and source of love and support. Angela offers others support and healing through her healing arts practice, The Ki Inside. http://www.TheKiInside.com

Friendship

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Friendship

Journal Entry / May 6, 2011

What if we all allowed ourselves to have a fear friend? Someone that will work to fully understand our fear and to assure us we are capable of working through it. God, I think I could use a fear friend. (Maybe two?)

There are days I am afraid of these repressed memories. Afraid they will swallow me up, that I won’t find my way back.

I am terrified that I will be labeled crazy for the rest of my life.

Afraid I won’t find someone to love me for who I am today – a woman with an ugly past.

I am afraid that I won’t ever have another date or the thrill of falling in love.

I am afraid that I will have a trigger or reaction that hurts someone else.

I am afraid that I’ll take so long to find my way that it won’t matter anymore.

I am afraid that I will lose friends because I am not the same person I used to be.

I am afraid that I won’t find peace because I won’t find all my memories, leaving me unable to heal completely.

I am afraid that my capacity for joy – sacred holy joy of life and living will never be mine. That the glimpses I have had are all I get.

**End of journal entry. Additional reflections:

A few years back, I realized a pattern: I had a limited amount of intimacy in my life. I had done an excellent job at creating plenty of relationships where I was needed by others more than I allowed myself to be needed by another. I sat with the awareness and watched it play out time and time again. I managed to catch myself in moments of intimacy with friends here and there but mostly, I kept myself too busy for intimate moments to reach me on a regular basis. I longed for intimacy but was terrified of the prospect of needing someone, depending on someone, which was my definition of intimacy. I longed for a spiritual partner, but didn’t put myself into the dating world.

When old childhood memories began to emerge, I didn’t have any choice but to become deeply intimate with myself on all levels. Finding that space within my Self, where my fears are born, was the first step to knowing intimacy. Next I asked God to be my first witness, my trusted friend.

Intimacy is about sharing and supporting more than needing to be needed. Intimacy is about honoring each other with unconditional love and grace. Do I still have bouts of fear? Almost daily butterflies ripple in my gut when I choose to share more of who I am; open up to receive love rather than just give, which is my old pattern.

Intimacy means reaching out especially when fetal position in my bed is all that seems safe. When it seems I know something about intimacy, it asks more of me. And I laugh with God (and cry) in the knowledge that I know nothing, absolutely nothing, about intimacy. Somehow, I manage to keep showing up for practice. Gratefully, a few forgiving friends show up too.

Spring is about lifting your face unabashedly into the reflection of a friend, stretching and lifting your whole heart in an effort to grow and blossom – allowing the rain to soften us and the sun to warm us.

-Angela Rae Clark, 2006 Tending Your Inner Garden Seedling still finding ways to blossom in the world. Angela is sharing part of her recent experience of healing from emerging memories of childhood rape, torture and trauma. She is immensely grateful to have the TYIG tools and experiences to draw upon during this journey. Deb, Diane and the TYIG friends are a constant inspiration and source of love and support. Angela supports others through her healing arts practice, The Ki Inside. http://www.TheKiInside.com