Tag Archives: family pain

Yes, Samantha, You Are In The Flow

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Yes, Samantha, You Are In The Flow

I hope you get on this site soon Samantha. We met last night in a serendipitous turn of events and had a lengthy conversation covering so many topics. I want you to know that you are in the flow of life and more importantly, you are the flow. And, you inspired my flow here on my blog.

I have been where you are and when so many doors close then it is easy to reach out and close more of them – making the assumption that this is the outcome that will happen anyway, so let’s just get it over with. It becomes an instinct to hesitate walking through another door, fearful that it will close on our nose too.

You are resilient and strong. Just from a 2 hour conversation, I know this about you. Be bold. Put yourself out there again with your voice and your musical gifts and say Yes when doors begin to open.

We talked about Efforting vs. Being. Efforting is when we struggle to make things happen, exhausting ourselves, and sometimes others, in the process. Being is allowing action steps to be inspired and intentional that feel good rather than heavy and burdensome. Our to-do list comes from our mental mind more than our heart when we are full of efforting – and we feel weary when we think about doing these things. When we shift into having our heart engaged, we shift into inspired actions that leave us feeling excited and hopeful.

You are a beautiful being that I am happy to have met you in the alley behind Goodwill on a lovely Friday night in Boulder, CO. Start asking yourself, what if I am doing everything right? What if I am right where I am supposed to be all the time? What if this experience is to help me learn more about me and about the world around me? What if this is to help me grow and stretch myself in ways that I cannot imagine?

Stay tuned, Samantha for posts about other things that we spoke of that I feel compelled to share here –  neoroplasticity, pain and letting go, movement and stillness, there are no guarantees, why did this happen to me?, travel and serendipity of events, and more. Thank YOU for showing up and getting my voice rolling again – YOU inspired me to publish some shit!

You are having a Great Life Samantha. Enjoy.

Love, Angela

 

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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 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Keep up the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath work to connect you with your body. Use calming mantras to help bring balance into your body and mind. Practice yoga.

2. Define your intentions using Contrast and Clarity statements. Let these begin to saturate your awareness and open up your energy to a new way of living and being. More yoga.

3. Take action.

Whatever your situation is, chances are that you have some literal action steps to take to find resolution. Make a list of all the things you can think of to help resolve the mess and create a desirable outcome. If you don’t know literally what to do to solve your problem, gather information. Google it – we have so much information at our fingertips. Read up on the topic if it is foreign to you. Call professionals.

I once took advantage of a legal firms free consultation only to have the attorney tell me I didn’t need to hire him because I had done the action steps needed and just needed to continue on the path I had started. I went to see him because I had let self-doubt creep in and decided I should use a pro. I love the integrity of that attorney!

Now that you have your ACTION LIST we are going to use a simple green light, yellow light, and red light system to get them done. Is there one or two that are time sensitive? Prioritize and tackle these first. (Don’t worry if one of these is a red light item, I cover that in the next post.)

Go through the list and highlight or circle all the actions items that are EASY for you literally, emotionally, and mentally. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for them to be completed. Do one of these items today to experience success.

Go through the list and highlight or star all the actions items that require a measure of RESOLVE for you to complete. With each item note what the obstacle is: logistical, emotional, mental. Sometimes success on our EASY items make this set of items seem more do-able. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for these to be completed.

I know, there are still items on your list. We cover the IMPOSSIBLE tomorrow. For today, stay focused on what you can accomplish.

As you talk to folks that you need to talk to, such as, the banker, the lawyer, the social worker, etc. Be polite, kind, humble, grateful, courteous, and NOT a VICTIM. Lots of situations in life make us feel victimized and I am here to challenge you to not be a victim in the way you to talk to people. Listen to yourself as you talk, be mindful of statements that blame others or lead you to shift responsibility. You will recognize it when you hear it.

You are not a victim anymore. You are taking charge of the situation. Also, do not be self-condemning in your statements, nor shame-based in your language. You are being pro-active now – you deserve to hold your head up during this clean-up process. Intimidation is often projected in shit-storms and you can choose to not be intimidated. Shake it off – don’t allow someone’s judgment of you to enter your head. I will cover strategies that will help you let all of these things go in future posts.

Last, but not least, before you make these phone calls, I am going to suggest you set the intention to forgive yourself for being in this shit-storm. Begin thinking that this is all going to work out and release yourself from those harsh judgments that just cause headaches, stomach upset, inflammation, and a host of other dis-eases.

My experiences with shit-storms have taught me alot about myself and how I grab onto responsibility that is not mine and how I carried shame and guilt with me everywhere. I learned how to allow my fear to just exist and found it helpful to acknowledge it when talking to the person that is assisting me, when appropriate. I way over apologized too – I had so many regrets, but regrets are the contrast – let them go.

I allowed myself to be in the shit-storms of bankruptcy and foreclosure. I say allowed, because I believe that I could have chosen differently and had different outcomes. In the end, neither killed me. In fact, I sold my house and got a bit of the equity. The stress was overwhelming at times, but I would pull back and make a list and do what was EASY to work up the energy to do the IMPOSSIBLE. (We cover the IMPOSSIBLE in the next post.)

Did you find a yoga class yet? Yes? Fantastic! Go again. No? Seriously, get on it. Today is a great day to connect with your Self in the practice of yoga. There are so many types of yoga and thousands of teachers. Did you try it once and not like it? Try it again! A different teacher and a different type can make all the difference. Let yoga be part of your new life.

This is part 3 of a 7 part series on Self-Care. #yourturnchallenge

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Day 2: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Keep up the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath work to connect you with your body. Use calming mantras to help bring balance in. Do yoga.

2. Define your intentions.

It might seem silly to have to articulate “I would like to move past this pile of shit I am sitting in.” However, knowing what you DO want is an important part of the process. Taking time to reflect on what you don’t like often helps create the list of what you do like.

Make a contrast and desire list: I don’t like how this shit smells turns into I really like the smell of roses and lilacs. Feel free to tear off the ‘don’t like’ half of the page and have a burning ceremony. At the very least cut it off and keep the ‘like’ portion of the page to help you define your intentions.

This is a critical step that helps create a sense of safety. Be clear about your boundaries for self-work. Feel free to use the general intentions below as a guide to get started, however, I encourage you to re-write them to reflect you and your language, thoughts, and desires. Add in the important aspects of what you are working on being as specific as possible. I wrote out some intentions regarding healing from childhood trauma that you might find useful.

When reviewing my stinky shit, I only want to address the aspects of it that are critical to my moving past it. (Contrast statement: I don’t want to wallow in this any longer than I need to.)

When I feel stuck, I am choosing to be open to new solutions, especially ones that stretch and flex my Self in different ways. (Contrast statement: I have done this before and this revolving door is getting old.)

If a core belief of mine is challenged during this work, I am open to changing a core belief. (Contrast statement: I like looking at the same four walls, it has given me safety, but I am feeling very limited.)

When I feel stuck, I am open to asking for help and support from the appropriate resources. (Contrast statement: I don’t know how to get out of this shit alone. I keep trying and not succeeding.)

All during this healing process (yep, this is called healing) I am expecting the next right action step to feel natural and intuitive. (Contrast statement: I never know what to do next, I circle and spin but don’t do anything because I am afraid it is the wrong thing to do.)

I am going to surround myself with people and messages of hope, change, transformation, support, and love. (Contrast statement: Everyone I know is in this same shit or something that smells just as awful. Some of them have been wallowing in it for years.)

Remember, these are just samples – create your own. Words are just as powerful as our breath. Use them mindfully.

There is so much more living waiting for us – it doesn’t always come easy. There is pain in life, this much we know. Let’s start a healing revolution and inspire everyone to work with the aches and pains of life to find freedom and happiness. We won’t get there alone or in the same box of shit, but we can create a kinder, gentler life.

Did you find a yoga class yet? Yes? Go again. No? Get on it. It is never too late to start yoga. Read stories on Huffington Post about yoga changing lives through Give Back Yoga Foundation

This is part 2 of a 7 part series on Self-Care. #yourturnchallenge

Day 2: The Yoga of Self-Care

Oh Christmas Tree

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Oh Christmas Tree

My friend
Visited her family one
Christmas Eve
Along came Casey

Yippee, a car trip!
New house
Intriguing smells
Lots of new friends

Innocent excitement
Wooden table leg
Resembles a tree
Lifting his leg comes naturally

Family reacts
Hot tempers
Loud voices
Sharp words

Casey confused
My friend defeated
Christmas joy extinguished
Pissy holiday

What if
Christmas joy triumphed?
Ha, ha, ha
Ho, ho, ho

Look what present Casey gave us!
True gifts
Love, laughter
Innocence honored

Feelings spared
People whole
Casey loved
Christmas joy celebrated

Funny family story, 20 years old
Remember when?
Ha, ha, ha!
Ho, ho, ho!

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

Angela’s Voice / The Missing Puzzle Piece

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Angela’s Voice / The Missing Puzzle Piece

Journal Entry / May 20, 1996

My dream last night was of me as a little girl in the car and angry about where we were going. I couldn’t tell anyone why, but I was terrified of visiting this place.

The scene changes in my dream: the little girl took my hand and led me to a wall where there was a puzzle hanging. It was a puzzle representing my life. All the events and people I had experienced were in this picture. There was a general sense of chaos visible and palpable when I looked at this puzzle. I noted there was one piece missing in the lower right hand quadrant.

Then she motioned for me to lean over and examine something in her hand as she strained to lift it higher: It was a puzzle piece. Without saying a word she expressed the importance of what was on that puzzle piece. She was right, it was important. I looked in her eyes and nodded, acknowledging her wisdom and my understanding. Then she carefully placed it in the puzzle on the wall. In an instant the chaotic energy that had been overlaying the puzzle vanished. There was a thread from that piece to every person and event portrayed in the puzzle. Instantly, everything made perfect sense. My entire being resonated with relief and freedom with this new information.

The dream is crystal clear this morning except what was on the single puzzle piece.

Journal Entry / December 25, 2010

Fourteen years of this dream and I finally know what is on the puzzle piece. The chaos in my life is gone, seemingly evaporated overnight. I am still, very still. There is an understanding of myself that I have been longing for my whole adult life. I now have memories that my brain chose to bury at the age of 3. I don’t know where these memories will take me, but my physical body is in a state of relief. I am acutely aware that my body has been spending enormous amounts of energy holding these memories inside. The freedom and liberation is immense.

Journal Entry / April 10, 2012

As each memory emerges, I experience a state of shock. I consciously navigate acceptance and integration of this new information into my story. Reliving the trauma is difficult. But I recognize that I cannot heal from that which I do not remember. How can I heal the wounds of rape if I can’t acknowledge that it happened? Awareness and acceptance have been critical to navigating the storms of the past as I pick up and hold the broken debris. These relics lead me to a deeper understanding of myself. Healing and the ability to choose differently emerge from the brokenness.

I am continually amazed that everything I did before seeking professional help was exactly what the experts are guiding me through now, 17 months after the first memory emerged. I am grateful that I had such a connection to my innate wisdom. I have been guided efficiently through this journey. God has provided the people, resources and support that I needed at exactly the right moment – all I had to do was ask.

I believe that as we each commit to healing our wounds, whatever they are, that we create a healing ripple of energy into our immediate family and friends that spreads out over the Earth. I visualize that healing energy rippling out across the world frequently – some days it is what keeps me going. However, most days the ability to move forward and continue to heal, come from the inner freedom and healing that I have already experienced. The healed part of my soul reaches out to the wounded places and beckons me inside.