Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My son and d-day anniversary

Yesterday was d-day anniversary. 3 years ago. And a beautiful video popped up on my facebook of my son when he was 2, my baby was 2 MONTHS and my oldest was 4, and I had just kicked out my husband about a week prior and recieved full disclosure the same day of this video. The video was of my son, singing "I am a child of God" to my baby.  I literally cant remember him being so sweet when he was two. Trauma blinded me to my own children and I missed that year of his life. Sometimes, I hated him. I needed my children to disappear so I could figure out our future. But life is funny that way. It doesn't ever pause. It just keeos pressing forward, leaving whatever wreckage in it's path.

So I sobbed. Ive watched the tiny video, of my little angels, bringing what was surely  the only light into our home for that day, over and over and over. What was he like? What did he smell like? What did he laugh about? What did he love? When did he learn the words to "I am a child of God" in his broken toddler language? When did he learn to be so tender and sweet with his baby sister?  How did he get so big, so fast?

So, when I picked him up from school yesterday I just tried to take him all in. He had stories and he wanted to tell me all the kids names he can remember from his class and I got them all junior frostys from wendys and he was so thrilled about ice cream. I want him to know, every day for the rest of his life,that I truly cherish him. His freckles and his smile and his tricks and silly things he says and does and his long eyelashes and the little sore on his lip because he still sucks his fingers at nighttime when no one is watching. His little skin and bones skeletal frame. What a dare devil he is and how he loves the next scary, thrilling or adventurous thing. I just adore him. I dont want to look back and say "I dont remember him like that" about any stage ever again.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I saw him go through a cocoon

Last night I couldn't say this to H, so I will say it here. We might be selling our food truck. Better said, H might be selling HIS food truck. It has been the source of so much pain in our lives. H went into addict mode, blamed me, God, and his entire family for the failures of the last 4 years. At which point I said, "I can't empathize with blame," and went to bed.

What I see, is a prison of sorts. A place that constantly made him face pain. The first year, he would blame everything on his older brother. But as his brother slowly handed over the reins to him, it became very hard for him to blame anyone. Every time I stepped into the food truck, something became my fault, so I stopped going into, or around, or being involved at all in the food truck. I continually saw ways we could improve business and many many times tried sharing, even tried doing the things. But it always only led to resentment from him, and then I resented him, and then not just our food truck was struggling but then our marriage was suffering too.. So I continued to step out, learning my lesson  over and over.  When the addiction came to the forefront of our marriage, all H had was his precious food truck. And the pain poured on thicker and thicker. He had pushed everyone away, including God. It was just him and the food truck. Everyday, due to some error that either could, or could not have been prevented, something went wrong. Some set back came. Literally every day. He was  sleeping on his dad's couch, with a wife and three kids living in an apartment that depended on him to provide for their needs... He was trying to face all his demons, go to meetings, check in twice a day with a sponsor, write his step 4 inventory and work part time at a warehouse to make up for where the food truck lacked...

H's rock bottom, came in that little food truck... As he held onto condiment bottles for support while he cried in the fetal position.

Slowly, facing this ridiculous tiny prison every day, I started to see this boy become a man. I started to see him make better choices. He was planning out all the things that could go wrong and doing all he could to prevent them, for the first time ever. He was taking care of business. He became determined. He began soaring through recovery, handing out food with a smile. He began feeling the rewards of his hard work, and he thanked God for it.

He went into that food truck like a caterpillar, eating too much, thinking of only itself, eating its way into a bound up wound up mess. Then, he had to stay in the cocoon, for a period of intensity, darkness, prison...

Somewhere along the way, he also took time to take classes to work toward becoming a teacher. He finished those classes but for some reason, the cocoon phase wasn't over yet and he waited a whole year and a half to actually work toward getting hired as a teacher...

Becoming a school teacher was his butterfly moment. I even took a picture of him standing in his new class room and he organically put his arms out wide like "look at me! I own this!"... He had spread his wings.

All along I thought the food truck was how we were supposed to make our mark in this world. How we were supposed to make our way in this world. It fell into our lap, his brother GAVE it to him at a time when he could've at least sold it for $50,000, if not more. And it was a gift of transformation. Im beginning to wonder if the Lord ever meant for us to "go big" with it at all, or if His purposes were higher than that. Maybe God intended for H to GO BIG, THROUGH IT. To blossom, to BECOME. To find HIMSELF, inside that tiny prison.

But I cant share this with him. Right now all he can see are the prison walls continuing to close in on him. He thinks liberation comes from selling the food truck. I think he already found liberation, when through recovery and the food truck, he learned how to live.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My body was the missing leg of the table

All my life I have worked so hard to be enough.
Mind: I have tried to be intellectual and smart and full my mind with good things. I have a bachelor degree. I love school and I always sat in the front row and strived for A's. Even still, if I need to learn a new skill etc, I still do what it takes to learn it and teach it if necessary.

Spirit: I have tried to follow in the footsteps of my father's and follow the light I feel within me. I have read the scriptures and prayed and listened. I have done all that I can to invite the spirit into my home and into my life. I have sought the Saviors face and I have found healing through repentance and the atonement. I have made covenants with Heavenly Father and I have done all that I can to take them seriously and strive to uphold them fully.

Emotional: I attended my first therapist when I was 11. Then again when I was 13. Then again when I was 18. And 21. And 26, 27, 28. I began attending the family support group addiction recovery program in 2008 and I still go. That's 8 years. I have worked through the healing through Christ manual almost 3 times, the arp manual once. I have had two sponsors and done four step 4 inventories. I have journaled since I was 12 and read many other therapist recommended books. I have gone through ptsd and am coming out on the other side. I have allowed myself to feel, and I have learned how to feel and express those feelings until I feel supported. I have found support.

Body: I have restricted my body. I have denied it, starting at age 4 or 5. It never seemed to be enough, so I used and abused it as a way to find control in my life. I hated it. I hurt it. I complained about it. I loathed it. I wished it would disappear. I made it do whatever I wanted it to: Sex with my husband, intense workouts, starvation. Have four babies.

I became really strong willed at denying myself. I know the scriptures call us carnal, sensual and devilish. They say things like, "deny the flesh" & to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh: 2 Cor. 7:1."  So I clung to those. I mean Jesus even says if Thy hand offend thee, cut it off. If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out.

Likewise, in yoga we learn that the body is a part of nature. It ia just like the seasons, or the trees, always changing. We are taught not to attach to the body, or cling to it, or anything in nature. It's futile because it is always changing.  Swami Satchidananda compares us, trying to stop our body from changing, to someone trying to dam a river and keep all the water right where it is. No matter what you do, you HAVE to let some water pass. You cannot stop ALL the water from flowing. And you spend tremendous effort trying to do so.

But neither the Gospel message nor the yoga message ever fully sound like they are encouraging us to just embrace our bodies and cling to them. The scriptures teach that in the resurrection our bodies will be changed from this natural state, to a resurrected state. And yoga specifically says don't cling to the body.

However, I completely ignored the other scriptures that talk about how we are created in the image and likeness of God. I did not understand how my body was a temple, besides that it housed my spirit. I have always known my spirit was so important. But the Savior made a big point of emphasizing the body, his body:
"for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" Luke 24:39.
In fact, he completed the atonement and THEN went on to compete the RESURRECTION. Making it possible for ALL of us to be reunited with our BODIES... forever. Those were his two main missions on earth, reunite us with the Father by enduring the at-one-ment and becoming resurrected, reuniting us with our BODIES and granting us eternal life with that body.

When the Savior returns in his second coming.. We will know him and it says, "when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2

We also know that we are to become like the Father is, D&C 84:38 "And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him." That all happens WITH our body. With THIS body.

You know... This one. The one I have denied and rejected all this time.

Yoga also teaches that it is through the sensations of nature and the body, that we find liberation, that we find our true selves. Not our static body, but our ever changing body.. The one that feels lots of things. Pain, anxiety, fear, depression, joy, excitement, compassion, forgiveness, tension, relief, relaxation, tingles, throbbing, heart beats and breaths, exhaustion and energy.

It is all there, the answers are all there. The road signs all point to the importance of our bodies. But its one thing to know these things, it's another thing to actually apply them to THIS body. This one. Right here....

Then I combine that with something personal that I have learned about myself....
My aura personality...
My aura personality is in the body family. This means that I process everything first with my body. (As opposed to emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, etc.) I fought this realization for over a year. I had this confirmed and reconfirmed to me multiple times, that I am a green amber. My body comes first. Naturally I sense and experience everything through my body first, my spirit second. (My second layer is crystal, in the "spirit" family.)

And now I know. I just know. I have to, I need to, and I WANT to make friends with my body. No wonder I have always felt so stuck.

Ive felt like my entire life is this hike up a steep mountain in muddy terrain. My feet are heavy, I exert a million times more force, grit, willpower and maybe even faith than anyone in my ancestry... And than most people around me. While everyone else seems to be happy, my head is down focusing on the climb. Trying to find peace and healing... And really really striving to see the face of the Savior. That is what I want with all my heart.

I could not be WHOLE, while denying a main aspect of myself. It is like I was missing one leg to my table so no matter what worthy pursuits I put on the table, I could never get them to stay up there because the TABLE couldnt hold them!!!

And I KNOW that the Savior will help me in this. For the first tine ever, I feel so deeply that this IS a worthy pursuit. I feel all the faulty core beliefs beginning to shed, and be removed. I have never felt FREE. I feel like I am being squeezed through the eye of a needle, but what is on the other side, is liberation.

Whats been really amazing about this, is that now that I am ready to hear it, God is showing me door after door that have previously been closed to me, now opening... All because im willing to listen to my body.

 I am learning how my relationship with my body, also affects my relationship with all people around me. My husband, my children. When I live fully present in my body, feeling all the sensations, I am more forgiving, understanding, compassionate and accepting. Things just flow in and out of me, and my life, with far less struggle.

And as I care for my body, listening to my hunger cues, sending love to the places that need it, resting when I need it, moving my body when I need it, taking care to get enough water, going pee when my body says so... Simple things really, I am happy.

Other bodies bring in some extra challenges. Im up against media mesaages and comparisons that have come at me every day since the day I was born. So I am gentle with my pace. I make amends with my body when I slip and tell it something negative. And I recommit to being friends again and again.

This is the missing piece.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My kids trigger trauma

Recently my eyes have been opened to a horrifying truth that I am struggling to hold, make sense of, and move through. My kids trigger trauma in me. My son triggers it worst. But actually, even the girls trigger it. Some of the trauma is related to h's sex addiction. Some of it isn't. Some of it is just from extra guilt that I apparently still carry from a broken childhood where I felt like stuff was my fault and I had failed. Sometimes, all my kids have to do is make a mess, and show the slightest reluctance to cleaning it up, and I feel again that I have failed.

My son happens to also be the strongest personality of all of our children. He takes all of life by the bulls horns. If I say no, and he is determined, he definitely finds a way to make whatever it is, happen. (Trigger, fail). When I try to reason with him, he happens to be the personality where thinking through something comes AFTER the movement has already begun and once there is momentum in a certain direction, it is IMPOSSIBLE to stop him, and highly unlikely that I will change his course. (Trigger, failure). If I CAN get him to pause to argue with me, he is unreasonable. HE is unreasonable because he is 5, but it feels a lot like the 5 years of unreasonable I faced with h's hidden addiction.. Because arguing with an addict feels like arguing with a child.... So therefore arguing with a child (terrifyingly) feels like arguing with an addict. (Trigger... And now I'm the one who's actually being unreasonable.)

I've been in observation mode of this yucky guilt that's has been happening probably since I first received the title of mother, for several weeks now. I want to be this benevolent, patient, consistent, nurturing mother... But I find that about half of the time I am instead ragey, unpredictable, and yelling, demanding and attempting to control. This, then fills me with even more shame than the initial trigger and I spiral.

What I've noticed that's happening is:
-I feel shame immediately upon being triggered. (Hence the words trigger, fail. The trigger says, you have failed and then it goes on and on with that.)
-I hear the messages and react.
-I feel pain, so my heart starts to close. Only a little at first and then
-I begin trying to control. When the controlling doesn't work,
-my heart closes more and more until
- I no longer see my children.

Instead, I only see trauma. I see "the hideous creatures I have created", (which is such a LIE!!!) I get ask caught up believing the lies and I see nothing but trauma and pain and shame.

I'm not entirely sure why I was never able to see this recipe playing out before now. But I will say, right now I'm pregnant (yay#! Im truly so excited about this) and pregnancy has knocked me off my feet. I felt like I was handling recovery and life very well, that h and I were in such a great place, I was feeling "normal" again after so many years of the un-normal, ptsd, betrayal trauma I had to swim through. So finally we decided, to both of our astonishment, that God was calling us again to bring another precious life into this world...

It took lots of convincing, by the Lord, and the moment we agreed, we became pregnant. (I mean "moment," when I say it!) And immediately I found myself completely flooded with the most intense emotions again. Too intense. Emotions and reactions that don't match the situation. More pain to sort though, and learn from. Which sucks.

Some of my health professionals and friends have told me that pregnancy can retrigger trauma. Another more spiritual friend suggested that maybe the spirit of the baby is so pure and righteous, that just having it near me all the time is like a purifying refiners fire. I'm definitely feeling all of the above.

But truth be told, I really have always parented this way. Fear based. Shame based. This pregnancy, with these extreme emotions, is just allowing my eyes to be opened to see it. I bring every pain into this role called mother and whether I like it or not, whether I want it to or not, it spills all over my children like a sticky tar. Sure they are resilient, quick to forgive, quick to move on... But are they ever really fully the same?

I am so extremely hard on myself. It's not my lack of trying, or caring, or loving that has me acting like this. It's the perfectionism, the pain, which triggers fear, which triggers control, which triggers shame that has me here. It's all this unseen pressure that mostly I put on myself, to make these children be better... Better than everything and everyone I've ever known.

I don't want my son to become an addict. I don't want to get a phone call one day from him in jail and I don't want to get a phone call from him wife some day in tears about how he has destroyed their family's life. I'm terrified of that. I don't want my girls to conform to society. I don't want media to destroy their happiness, I don't want them to feel like they have to stay small. I don't want them to form addictions just to cope with the pressures of life. And I want them to be strong and brave and aware enough to reasonably spot an addict when they see one- not marry one!

And yet all these plans don't matter. Because really I have no control over how their lives turn out. Being an addict, could very well be in the cards for them. Hitting rock bottoms of some form or another had to happen in everyone's lives... I just want to be in charge of the rock bottoms they face! Not too low! Not too much pain!! Not too ugly and dark... This is not my job. I will drive them straight to the thing I'm afraid of, if I continue to parent them, if I continue to relationship with them, this way.

I once watched an interview where a therapist asked, "what do you think the parents interview with God will be? Do you think He will ask if we kept them active in the church? Do you think He will ask if we kept them from sinning? Do you think He will measure how well you kept them from addiction?" Then he gives his thoughts. He says, "I think the only question will be, did you learn to love them?"

I believe this.
 I do.
I just don't know how to heal, change, become whole-r, enough to get out of this pain/fear place.

Another friend shared a friend of a friend's experience that also touched me. Again, a therapist asking hard questions asked, "if you could know right now that none of those horrible things would happen for your children. You knew FOR SURE. Would you parent them differently?" She responded that, yes, she would. And then he asked, "can you parent them that way, now? Without the guarantee?"

I want to parent their true selves. I want to only see them as who they are, not the choices they make. I want to be free of all this pain and fear and control. I NEVER want to close my heart to my own children. I want them to know that no matter what they've done, or what mistakes they've made, my love for them is not negotiable. This is, of course TRUE. But the way that I treat them now, does not convey that.

I feel fairly certain the answer doesn't lay in parenting techniques. It lays in a deeper layer of healing from all I have been through. And it's scary.

So for now, I observe my patterns. I try to keep my heart open. I pray my guts out when I feel or notice a trigger. And I'm praying God sends me guidance in something somewhere. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am the resource queen... So im fighting the skeptic in me that says there is no hope, nothing can help me, I've already done it all. Im sure, I hope, that's not true.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

When the whole school rumored I was a "slut"

Recently, my 17 year old, LDS sister in law made some poor choices, cheating on her boyfriend with this seeming "bad boy," "cool guy," at school. It happened once, and she feels awful about it. And it got me really thinking, trying to understand where she was really coming from. Her mom is hammering "integrity" but I feel like integrity is an easy byproduct when all your other morals and values are in line. Especially when you've grown up with the Gospel teachings. I don't think her weakness is a lack of integrity. But she will now have to struggle, as a natural consequence of her choice, to restore her integrity, especially in the eyes of others.  But as I tried to put myself in her shoes, I made a lot of guesses. Maybe it's just lust. Maybe it's feeling a lack of worthiness. Maybe she is addicted to "being desired". I don't know the extent of ALL her choices involving boys but apparently the extent of the cheating was "making out". I don't think the big "S" word is on the table yet in her life... Though you can never be too sure these days. I dread for her the feeling of the rumors around school today... Because I know that feeling. And I honestly, for those days where it was ALL anyone could talk about, I honestly wished I could just die.

So I took some time this morning. I put my hands on my heart. I assured MY inner child that she is safe. And I walked through the pain of some of my repeated choices that I made in high school.  The shame, the guilt, the filth I felt.

Sure, I'm sure Satan is there when we make these lust driven choices. But he plays on some major weakness. Some deeply held pain, or faulty core belief, in order to persuade us that this is what we want, that this is a "good" or sometimes even a "necessary" choice.

So I walked through it. And oh man, it was painful. I have addressed repentance already with these items... But really only to scratch the surface. I've been far from finding a total place of peace and healing and acceptance.

To paint the picture for you, I was absolutely gorgeous in high school. I spent a lot of time every morning making sure I was runway ready. Every day. I was a junior in high school, and I was friends with everyone at my school. Everyone knew who I was, I chose who I wanted to spend my time with and I spent a lot of weekend time at parties with the seniors. Thankfully, I became friends with a mormon girl who also went to the parties but was convicted not to drink alcohol. I was inspired and after a few months I decided I wouldn't drink either. But that didn't keep my friend from making lots of wild choices with boys. She was desired by all the boys, I was jealous. She had big boobs and I didn't and I was sure that was what made the difference. All the boys at the parties, just never seemed very interested in me. And I hated that. I never had a boyfriend my junior or senior year, though I desperately wanted one. And, truth be told, I was terrified of the boys. I could hardly speak around them, though I hid my great fear of them behind an heir of sarcasm and, "I'm better than you." It probably made no sense because I am otherwise an extremely bubbly, giggly, nice person! Anyways, my friend had her choice of any guy at school and so she basically chose them all, while I felt such a deep deep rejection. Such a hole. Sixrh a lack of love and belonging in my life. My other best friend, beautiful, funny, caring, a natural leader, found herself in the ssrme situation. We would often sit in our cars talking about it. Things like, "I mean, were so cute! We're so amazing! Everyone loves us! So why arent we getting asked out?!"

So, one night, late late at night, I snuck out my window to go to a party. This was a common occurrence my junior year. I showed up and everyone was getting tired, lots of people were spending the night at this house and two boys were still awake. One, was the boy I LOVED, I was obsessed with him. The other, was just a guy in my class who was also always at the senior parties. A "cool" guy. The one I was obsessed with, fell asleep, or pretended he was asleep, while the other guy and I kept talking. It was so late. I felt unusually free, not so afraid, not trying so hard to be someone that I wasn't. I have no idea why. Maybe because it was nearly dawn and I had snuck our, therefore deeming myself rebellious and free. Maybe it was because he was surprisingly nice and very easy to talk to... But in this perfectly horrid combination, that's when it happened.

What happened?

Well, for a sense of dignity, and to keep this out of the porn-literature genre, I will not say exactly WHAT happened. But I will say this. In the Christian world (as I was not Mormon yet) there was lots and lots of teaching about chastity. I felt very convicted in my promise to abstinence before marriage. However, I would often ask, "but wheres the line?" In other words, "what IS sex, and what ISN'T sex?" It seemed obvious that only true intercourse was sex, but surely other things were bad.. Right? I was so confused. There was very litle teaching in all my church years about listening to your conscience,or following the still-small-voice. Or any of that. In fact, we were taught that our emotions were not to be trusted. We should follow the rules with all reason and logic.

Well, reason and logic weren't with me this night. Even when it was over, I asked myself why? Why him? I didn't even like him! I figured that I had ruined my chances with the guy I liked. But yet I felt so good at the same time. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I felt proud. I felt, somehow, more worthy than I was before. For just a few minutes, all that guy cared about was me. And THAT, my friends, is exactly what I was searching for.

Of course, until Monday rolled around. My own conscience was working on me, but it flew into high gear when I realized HOW MANY people knew what I had done. All the guys were making jokes. Most the girls didnt know what to think. I denied it every time publicly... Then ran to my best friend sobbing, confessing my sins and how horrible I felt. It took about a week. Seeing him was awkward. We didn't even have feelings for each other.  Then, finally it was over. There was a new juicy gossip for everyone the following weekend and I was grateful that it didn't involve me, this time.

To my surprise, and I never did put these facts together until way after the fact, the guy I liked the MOST, started paying a little more attention to me after that. A little about him: He was the football star, drove a big red truck, very well known family in the community, and ALL the girls swooned over him. He could have had any girl he put his attention to. This was THE GUY. The one my heart was set on. What did I like about him? I liked everything I just told you. I didn't care about his heart, I didn't care about the fact that he really really still looked like more of a boy than a man. I didn't care that he made fun of people and said horrible profanities to anyone he felt like. I didn't care that he cheated in class,or that he was drunk every weekend. I ignored all the signs that this was someone I should stay away from. Let alone all the girls that it was rumoured he had used.

Guys, I wanted him because everyone wanted him. And if I got him, I could prove to myself that I WAS worthy, after all.

But I didn't want a one night stand with him. What girl really wants that? Not me, I wanted his heart,I wanted his devotion, I wanted all his attention. I wanted him to really want me. It became a game, a quest of great importance.  I had to be skillful, I had to try really hard to be everything... Meaning every thing I'm not.

And finally, the moment came. It was the summer before he would go off to college. It was just me and him. He was finally paying attnetion to just me. It felt too good to be true. He wasn't even tactful. He didn't even pretend to care about me, but I was so blinded that I ignored all the red sirens going off in my heart and soul. And I gave him what he wanted. And when it was over, the shame was immediate. I KNEW I had just allowed myself to be used. And THAT feeling, was so much worse than the time earlier in the year when everyone was gossiping about me.

Truthfully, I knew for a long time that pursuing him wasn't what I really wanted. But I ignored all my thoughts and feelings because the REAL reason (which I did not see AT ALL, at the time) was way WAY too huge, and important, and soul corroding to just give up on it. If being with this guy, wasn't going to answer the hole I felt in my soul, then what would?!

Exactly. That is exactly the subconscious question I felt as I began to realize that this guy was not an answer to anything!
He did call me one more time. He invited me to a pool party at his friends house. I went. I found myself in a bedroom, alone with him again. And I felt so cold towards him. I played the part,I continued to act all infatuated with him. Until he again expressed his intent to use me. And I just sat there. I didnt leave, I didn't speak. I felt such deep pain in my soul, and such absolute anger toward him, that I just sat there with my arms crossed and glared at him. I wondered how someone could be SO SELFISH. I wondered how I could've ever allowed myself to like him. I wondered why I ever allowed myself BACK into the same situation,thinking, hoping, that he would actually care about me this time. Like somehow he could magically show a new leaf in just one night. It felt good to reject him, but it felt terrible to know that he really didnt care about me.

But the truth is, I was using him too. I didnt really care about him either. It was easy to blame him, that's what girls do. Just blame it all on the horny guy who clearly is no good, I dont need to accept any reaponsibility for this situation. Really, I could only think of myself too. I objectified him as much as he objectified me, but we showed it in different ways.

But it wasnt just my pursuit of my football star that showed my desperate need to be seen and loved. It was in my perfect outfits every day. It was in my desire to please my teachers. It was in all my leadership roles, and clubs. It was in my popularity contest. It was in my immodest clothes. It was in my choices to go to parties. It was in my fear of boys.

Fear of boys; this one seems like it needs a little more exploring. They held the key to my worthiness. Somehow, some where, between media messages and a natural desire for companionship and romance in my life, I felt like these boys held all the power. The power to crush or uplift my soul.

I lived with my aunt and uncle. It was more of a boarding house than a home. There was no one in my life fully invested in me, except me. All my loving ancestors had died. My dad had died. My mom was on drugs. I kept going to church bc I knew God cared too... I just didn't always know why that was relevant.

When the church finally came into my life, the end of my senior year, of course I accepted it! It was the biggest breath of fresh air I had ever received. It filled me in a way that nothing else had, or could. And slowly, over time, I learned through the Gospel, who I really am. The value I really have. What it really means to be a daughter of God. That I am good, and whole, and wonderful just as I am. I don't need to try to be someone that I'm not. I can just be me, and in the arms of the Savior, I am ok, I am loved. It took me years of being in the Gospel to fully understand these things. I still sttuggle to shake the shame and tendencies toward perfectionism. And then, with the Gospel combined with a little yoga, I got to meet my Spirit. My true self. With the guidance of my therapist I got to meet my inner child, and talk to her, and see the beauty in her, and I've learned to love her.

So, I put my hand on my heart. I tell her how much I love her. I tell her how very sorry I am for the years of pain and heavy, empty, emotions that she felt. I tell her that I understand her, I understand her choices, I understand why she felt the way she did. I tell her I'm sorry for all the years of shame and perfectionism. I tell her, "you are truly wonderful, just as you are." And most of all, I tell her that I will never leave her alone... My true self, my Spirit self, my pre-existence self who is wise and eternal, is here, holding her hand, and she doesn't have to face life alone.

And then, my thoughts return to my sweet sister in law. Is this why she made the choice she made? Will the shame of the gossip costume her today? Do I tell her how very very well I can relate? And most of all, how do I, someone who really loves her and wants to support her, convey to her that she is whole. How can I possibly give her this gift that I have received? Is it completely necessary for her to travail this course of heartache like I did? When she has no idea that she is broken (like me), when she thinks she's hot stuff (like I did), when she's gorgeous and popular (like I was), is there really any conveying to her that boys are not the answer.... To a question she doesn't even know she's seeking an answer to? To a hole she doesn't even know she is trying to fill?

I want to tell her that her divine worth is the answer to the insecurities in her heart.  I want to tell her that she is wonderful, she is worthy of love and belonging and she doesnt have to look any further than her own heart to find that. I want to tell her that God approves of her, that she doesn't have to try so hard, or show off her cute legs, or be desired by all the boys, to feel the love of God rush through her like a calm summer breeze. I want to tell her that she has a wise woman within her, that its her true self, and that I trust her, and that God trusts her, and that it's ok for HER to trust her.

But I just dont know how.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The inevitable heart wall

I am receiving greater spiritual sensitivity lately. With that comes greater intuition, especially with my own self.  Every time h goes through something, without thought, without the DESIRE to shield myself, without ANY motive to distance myself from him, or guard myself against him... My subconscious forms a heart wall.

It was about a year and a half ago that I learned the concept of the heart wall, from the book The Untethered Soul. It was a beautifully painful concept as I realized how difficult of an endeavor I was undertaking with the vow to"keep my heart open."

I made the choice, that's the first step. Then I had to shift my thinking each and every day. I began being aware of my habit to immediately choose of in situations of pain, and I worked to allow everything to move through me, instead of get stuck inside of me. I have spent nearly ALL my recovery efforts just trying to keep my heart open, it is extremely insightful!

So fast forward to now, I feel that I've mostly forgiven my husband of the past. The pain still comes up all the time and we have to talk about it all still more than we would choose to, but its good. It's so good, necessary work. And when an old pattern shows up in my husband, I see it, I feel the trigger, I work through it, he works through it, I talk about it, he talks about it, we each use various means for support, there's ultimately lots of vulnerability and sharing and respect and understanding... It sounds all really great right?! Looks like, we are processing this the best way possible right?! But then.... There's this heart wall.

Literally every time.

It's so frustrating!

We end up building greater trust. H ultimately ends up amazing me even, lately, with his self awareness, ability to own, humility to reach out, DESIRE for God's will, ability to listen and understand me even as he struggles... But even with all of this, the heart wall factory doesn't know when to stop it!!!

What it feels like when I have a heart wall, is just a general distance. A lack of closeness. In fact, for me, it's much easier for me to be best friends with H... It's much HARDER for me to be romantic partners with him. All girls need a best friend, and he makes a really sweet one... usually, a really safe one... but it's letting him into my heart, in "that way" that is a struggle.  FOR ME, this is what heart walls look like. They are so super subtle. They are invisible obviously to the senses... They are only perceivable to the spiritually sensitive. And even though H bumps into them most often, they affect everyone around me.  Including my relationship with Heavenly Father.  And then, I feel totally alone, because everyone is OUTSIDE my wall... even though I am the one who put them there.

Thankfully, in all my visits to energy healers throughout this journey I have learned how to get rid of heart walls. Our subconscious is just trying to"keep us safe" but"paying it safe" is not always the best answer... Especially in love. Love almost always requires that you play JUST OUTSIDE of the safe box.  It is so hard, in love, because so much is at stake.  Especially when we have experienced first hand just HOW MUCH POWER our husbands really hold, to crush us up into bits....

All it takes is a prayer of faith and a sincere desire.
"Do I have heart walls? Do I have hidden heart walls? Do I need to know what they are made of? What are they made of? Through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ I ask that these heart walls be removed, with faith that they will be removed. I ask that they be replaced with _______.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen"

It takes some interesting intuition to figure out what they are made out of. Sometimes I don't need to know, sometimes I do, in order for my subconscious to be validated to be able to heal. One time it was made of water. One time it was made of steel from a space ship, a durable impenetrable material. Sometimes they are a mile wide. Sometimes it's just a sturdy cage. But all can be made free through a simple awareness, and prayer of faith.

Today, I replaced my heart cage with the light of Christ and flowers, which are vulnerable, receptive, bright and playful...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wedding anniversary

May 16, 2008 we were married in the temple. We both said "romantic" things to each other constantly like "you brought light to the darkness," "you saved me," "I can't go on without you." We fought constantly. We were still in college.

May 16, 2009 we were about to have our first baby. We went to a lake resort nearby and I couldn't eat any of the food because I was sick and hugely pregnant. We often drew pictures for each other and wrote elaborate notes about our love for each other. I began attending the church's family support group because of my mom. I often felt that I was really screwed up.

May 16, 2010 we were in the middle of the grind. Both of us still in college, living in married stident housing, a colicky baby and life felt hard. I was in the depths of depression, and yet the simplicity of our lives was really beautiful. This summer we went to Hawaii, my first and only time.. With our little darling baby. It was a trip that carried us through the hard times of the following year. I was still attending the family support group and seeing a counselor for my depression.

May 16, 2011, about to have our second child and BOTH of us, graduating college. I was terrified, it was time to be grown-ups and we knew I would be a stay at home mom. But I had no idea what he wanted to do following graduation. We found a place to work in exchange for rent in the middle of nowhere and h struggled, a lot. I quit counseling and felt that I was doing much better with my own depression. H I started attending the arp because I thought it might help him find more confidence. I worked the arp for PSAS.

May 16, 2012 H confessed to a pornography addiction. I was in denial for almost an entire year after his confession and we got pregnant with our third child. I went back to school for masters credits to become a school teacher. I finished working the arp with a sponsor. H began attending the pasg specific meeting, and I thought he made addiction recovery look easy.

(Feb. Or March 2013 H relapsed, before this be was viewing porn nearly weekly, sometimes more, for most of our marriage without me having any idea.)

May 16, 2013, about to have our third child (Yes, they all have summer birthdays) life was dark dark dark. I went to counseling to try to fix myself and finally realized I was not the problem. In October of this year H moved out and lived on his dad's couch for almost 6 months. This was the darkest year of my life. After attending ARP and FSG for so long, I stopped going because I couldn't see how they could help me feel better. Betrayal trauma finally hit when I got full disclosure.

(March 2014 H relapsed)
May 16, 2014 we spent our anniversary trying to rectify the previous places we lived during our marriage, trying rewrite the narratives that we both had in our heads. I was so glad to have H back in the home but I was so scared and hesitant and broken. My real recovery journey from betrayal trauma began when I started my yoga teacher training in this year. I began regifting trust. I discovered my eating disorder and began working the steps for both trauma and ED recovery.

(March 2015 H relapsed)
May 16, 2015 H had relapsed in March and was out of the house again for about 2 months. We had a date and I was mourning the loss of our marriage. I thought there was no returning after this final relapse. To my total surprise, the recovery of our marriage began taking huge strides. This year required a LOT of work from me, to constantly stay just outside my comfort zone, and begin to take chances with H again. This entire year, H has had to "understand" me, and has generally been stronger and doing better than me.

May 16, 2016
We are trying for another baby. Thats the level of trust we're at... I feel so scared still. However, I know that my fear is not a manifestation of reality, the Spirit has spoken and we are listening. Our marriage recovery continues to take huge strides. I continue to lag behind H in a lot of ways,  but spiritually I feel like we are beginning to be on the same page. It is all I can do to keep an open heart in a true, real marriage that requires openness, honesty, vulnerability and a level of connection that I previously felt unconfortable with... What has had happened in our family, in our lives, is a miracle.

I found a quote in a book of marriage scraps that I made of our first two years of marriage. The quote was on the first page of the book. By Howard W Hunter:

"Whatever the Lord lays His hands upon, lives. If He lays His hands upon a marriage, it lives. If He is allowed to lay His hands upon a family, it lives."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Learning to listen, together

It was our anniversary date yesterday. Last year, we weren't living together. This year (I'm excited to announce) we're trying to get pregnant. That whole journey will need to be saved for another post. Last year, I was so so low, I didn't really think out was possible that we could make it, that our marriage could survive. This year, I feel more safety than I ever have in our marriage, ever. Yes, I'm still up and down like crazy.... Truly, the biggest challenge I face right now is to follow my heart, and follow the promptings. My ego, my default, WANTS to play it safe, stay small, stay at a distance, keep some walls up.... But love is never this way. I'm constantly being asked to stretch, by my heart, by the Spirit, and by the voice of the Lord. Right now, my husband and I both are trying to listen to and follow the Lord.

On our date yesterday I saw us grow individually, and learn from each other, and I saw our marriage grow.

His listening experience:
We talked about going to the temple. It was in the plans but then we got about an hour later start than planned. We knew we would have to eliminate something from our plans... We were going to go to the temple at 1:30. I suggested we just not go. We could go another day. But when? The conversation went back and forth. Finally over lunch, around 2:00, I said, "you decide." I have learned that Sometimes I have to do this in our marriage. I think its how I can support him to lead. Leading comes as one of my natural tendencies, but it's not really a "natural tendency" for my husband. When he is healthy, and in full recovery mode, he is very capable of leading and does it well. Its just not EASY for him.

 He took some time, and finally said, let's go the temple. On the way there he kicked himself for not making it more of a priority to just go at 1:30. He was owning the fact that he didnt seize the moment to lead, and say, COME ON WE CAN STILL MAKE IT!! He said, "that was my chance to lead as patriarch, but I didn't just do it. I didnt just get us there." I just tried to empathize with him as he waded through his feelings.

When we got to the sealing room, my sister missionary, who leads the family support group for women, was there with her husband, and a BUNCH of their family names. Notice I said she is "MY" sister missionary. She is like a mother to me. The sealings started at 4pm. It was at that moment, I knew we had gotten there right on time. The Lord knew that we would falter and flail and wander and then ultimately choose, at JUST the right time, to go to the temple. He knew my husbands weakness, but he remained teachable and humble and he got us there right when God wanted us there. Last year around this time, I went to her home to receive a blessing from her husband because my husband had just moved out and I was devastated. This year, we were doing sealings in the temple with them. It was such a special time, I was so emotional. The Spirit was so strong.

My listening experience:

We were going to do a bike ride, but when we got out of the temple it was blustering, windy and cold. It was the bike ride that had to be eliminated from the plans of the day. So we went to dinner. I love seafood, and my husband loves buffets. So we went to a seafood buffet.  We got there and were so excited with anticipation. We found out the buffet had been remodeled, it was all white marble now and so fancy looking,which made us even more excited. We got through about 20 minutes of waiting, finally received a table and then went to get food. At this point my husband actually THANKED me for being so excited (buffets are HIS thing and are always a little hard for me. I am in recovery for an eating disorder.) As soon as I grabbed my plate, the spirit spoke pretty clearly. It said, "this is wrong." I heard it. And then deliberately disobeyed. We had plates in hand! We were past the point of no return! (Those were the excuses, easily identifiable now as voices of the adversary in objection to the voice of the Lord which so clearly spoke to me.) I resolved to be mindful about my food choices and try hard not to waste food, or gorge.  I didn't mention a word of this to my husband. But as we sat and ate, I became bombarded. I am an empath. It can be used as a gift or a weakness depending. All of a sudden, I could feel every negative energy of everyone within sight from our table. I could tell you who was feeling which emotions, I became keenly aware of an older couple who were fighting quietly. Subtly shifting their negative energy back and forth, taking turns to leave the table to gamble in the casino. (Yes, I live in nevada, so all the nicest restsurants are in the middle of casino/hotels.) I was drowning. I felt like my spirit was being pulled in a million different directions. Ive been in casinos a million times since I was a kid. But all of a sudden between the lights, the loud noises, the smell of cigarette smoke, everyones depressed energy, feeding their addictions to food and gambling, and all this food being gorged around me, I felt like I was going to be consumed.  My husband happily ate and talked with me. I prayed for relief and grounded myself, and still felt horrible. I talked to hubs about how I was feeling but never mentioned the prompting that I had ignored earlier... I hadn't yet equated the prompting with anything that I was experiencing.  I decided to go find a bathroom for some solitude. I stood in the stall in a forward fold (yoga pose) for about 5 minutes, feeling like the biggest weirdo...And a little crazy, trying to breath deeply and use all my recovery tools to get out of this. I still felt awful.

It was a withdrawal of the Spirit, but I hadnt recognized it yet. If at any time I had really been able to see how I had caused this because of my super quick choice not to obey the spirit, I wouldve just done the hard thing, and told my husband I needed to leave.  I was not ready to see that, so i didn't see it.

I went back to our table for dessert and my husband scooted really close to me, like right up next to me, in this huge booth. And I just kind of slumpled there in defeat. I told him I had considered running out, and how crazy and horribly I felt. He sat with me in it. His sitting so close to me, was his way of empathizing, without really understanding what I was experiencing, he was with me in it. And after about 5 minutes, I felt completely calm.  He has this gift of being even-keel. I am always ALL OVER THE PLACE, and he is not easily budged from his place of homeostasis. (As with any gift, this is also his weakness that kept him away from his feelings for years and kept him running to his addiction to maintain his status-quo, happy-go-lucky attitude. Today it manifested as a true strength.) I really believe in my moment of weakness, his natural energy was there to strengthen and comfort me. And that's where I felt our marriage bond strengthen and grow, through all this.

On the way home, I decidely told him that I don't think I ever want to go to a buffet again. To my total astonishment, he said, "I agree." God had slowly been working on his heart the whole time.  We discussed it for a while, we talked about how we will need to hold each other accountable in the future when we think we want to go again. And then, after ALL that was out,

I told him about the prompting that I received, but ignored.

At first he was sad, almost like with the attitude of like, "no wonder you had such an awful time!" But then as we thought about it, we both agreed that he would've been SO upset if I had told him when it happened and actually asked that we leave.

 BUT THAT WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE! That is what I SHOULD'VE done! But God knew that in my weakness, it would give my husand a chance to catch up to the Spirit that was also prompting HIM, and together, we can now obey the promptings that we have both received.

I wanted to share this because this is a window into what recovery looks like for us right now. There was his recovery, and my recovery, to start out. There was basically no recovery of the marriage. But now were in a different place and recovery of the marriage actually works because he and I are both still working our own recoveries with ownership. I never thought we couls have a marriage like this. Before, it was either he or I who would be doing well while the other one pouted and was defensive. We both have a goal right now to draw closer to the Lord, and it was beautiful for me to see that we could actually support and strengthen each other even in our weaknesses. That his energy could actually help me when I was drowning. That in both cases we could sit with each other in our weaknesses, as we worked to transform those weaknesses to strengths. We didn't end in a fight, and we both recognized and resolved to choose better next time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In pain and mad at myself

I called a non-wopa friend today.  A fellow yogini friend.  I was struggling, with trauma, and I'm so sick of it. I wanted solutions. I wanted her to tell me what to do to fix myself. Yoga has answers, yoga has solutions to sanity. I have felt it before! So I talked, and I didn't want empathy. Through my tears, I focused very little on my pain, and told her all about the things that need fixing.

"My heart is to too hard," I said.
 "I'm stuck in the past," I said.
 "I'm not sure how to live more open hearted, and care free," I said.
"I want to be more like you and you're your husband," I said.

Then she said :

"Self compassion."

And then she repeated back to me what she heard.

"You feel pain, you want the pain to go away, and your mad at YOURSELF because you dont know how."

This is why every once in a while, I need a yogini friend. Profound, and sucky all at the same time. I knew I could've called a wopa. I know lots of wopas, (wife of porn addict). And I knew they would've empathized, and loved me through it, right in the pain. But sometimes I think "YA BUT WERE ALL CRAZY!! I need an OUTSIDE perspective."

Whats really funny, is my yoga friend, did the same exact thing. And she said, "if I were in your shoes, I don't think I could have a totally trusting heart either!"

So there you have it friends.

After I finished my conversation With her, I started trying to get the the bottom of the pain.

Why so much pain?!?!

And so I talked to a seasoned warrior sister. You know, there arent that many seasoned warrior sisters. "Life-after-recovery" type sisters. And I discovered, that I am in a new trauma, or grieving of sorts. Im grieving because my relationship is NORMAL. I'm greiving because last month, my husband didnt relapse, as I was ready for him to. Im greiving all the unhealthy attachments that he had to me. This is insane!!

And yet it is very very real. I don't know HOW to be in a healthy marriage because I have never been in one, until now.

Everyone's "marriage recovery road" is so vastly different, because we, as individuals, are so vastly different... Now is when we start living life, embracing our strengths and weaknesses and actually making a difference in this world TOGETHER.... And it's weird.

Now is when I start fully embracing him for ALL of him, including the darkness that has been a very real part of his life, for MOST of his life. And when I show up, totally exposed.And together, with a few more wrinkles and gray hairs, a few more sags and chubs, 3 marvelous and chaotic children, and a teachers salary... And we create our destiny.

I'm not so sure that I am ready for this.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mother's guilt

This morning I woke up with intense mothers guilt. I haven't felt it this internally in quite a while. Any time something happens in my life that knocks me off my equilibrium, I end up eventually feeling this mothers guilt. This spring break I had plans of spending so much time with my kids. I wanted to explore and create and adventure and play with them until we could play no more. I wanted to work around the yard and teach them things they aren't learning through school.

Monday of spring break rolled around and I found out about a family member in need. We had what she needed so we offered to take it to her, and did that. When w got there, we found out she needed more. So we made another trip to her the next day. When wet got there, we found out what she REALLY needed most of all... And that was to come home with us for a while. It shifted everything. I was so happy to help, and I am still happy that we helped. But it out my kids on the backburner, as a matter of fact.  And wouldn't you know it, once we took her back, we have all been sick. There goes all my plans out the window.
Unfortunately, I got to see my weaknesses really up close, and clearly. Some weaknesses that I thought maybe had been buried, showed up again as my patience and physical mental and emotional self was tested and tried and stretched.

I was cranky and feisty and critical of my kids and my husband. At times I took out my frustrations on them instead of taking than out on this lovely, but very difficult family member. I became Lee's tolerant of the kid's messes and fights. And my husband began shutting down as his natural default response to me when I act like this. I saw it all as it was happening. I said sorry quickly and tried hard not to keep doing it... But I just kept doing it. I hate that.  I hate hurting the o ones I love most.

And in all of it, I completely lost sight of my eating disorder recovery. And it felt impossible to slow down because my work load increased by a lot.

So we took her back last Tuesday... And I've still been in the same mode the whole test of the week. I prayed yesterday that my heart could be softened through General Conference...And then I woke up with mother's guilt.
My connection with my kids didn't grow like I hoped it would over spring break... But their connection with their family member grew so much.
It wasn't the adventure I imagined, but it was the adventure that God had in mind for us.
I didn't get to teach the kids gardening, or better animal care. But I did teach them something they never learn at school... I taught them service. Pure hated, Christ like service, to a family member in need.  That's a pretty valuable lesson.
I didn't get to spend a lot of time with just them, but they definitely strengthened their relationship with each other.
I am pushing them away by always criticizing what they do, but I don't always do this. I surrender this, Dear Lord please guide my tongue.
I'm too harsh, especially on my son. I fear that I am causing him to feel so much shame and I don't want that. I want him to feel like he is wonderful, his ideas are possible, he is good, he is of worth to me and to the world and to God. Dear Lord, pass help me to see how I can cultivate more self worth in him and less shame.
I haven't taken hardly any time, ever, to pay with the baby of the family. She usually has the kids to pay with, but I used to really pay with the other two kids at this age. I need to make her more of a priority.
I don't play with my kids enough in general. Maybe I am to too hard on my self and have to high of standards. Maybe I should put the tv away again for a little while.
I did teach them all to ride their bikes better this spring break. Each kid is working on the next bike up and they are all doing great.

I'm happy to surrender to the Lord's plan for our life, service is so important to me and I really love my family member. But I guys I didn't recognize that it was a sacrifice of these . Every service is a sacrifice, and I knew it was a sacrifice of our home, our good, our time, our focus. I just didn't realize that meant the kid's would have too make sacrifices too. I just wanted to be everything for everyone, but I can't.

Now, life still go back to normal. School starts Monday, along with the old routine. But I want to do better and be better. I want to be more present with my kids and I want to slow down and take better care of my body. I want to eat 5x's a day and exercise once a day. I want to feel and experience and embrace spring... To be aware of it. And I don't want to miss a moment with my kids. I want to wake up early and get my devotional time in before they wake up. I want to make them breakfast and not be in a hurry on their way to school.  I want to spend 5 minutes with each of them separately in the morning and at night. I can do this. Lord please help me to do this...

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Today is interesting. It is good, because it definitely will be better than last year.  But it is amazing how much of the past is still stored within me.  I can't just be grateful that this year is better.  I feel a deep pull into darkness and I really dont want to go there...

I went to bed with a decent amount of fear about today.  But then I had this dream, which was very telling...

My deepest fear is that I am not worth love. I am not worth being loved. And that the reason this has happened to me, is because I deserve it.

My dream didn't actually have anything to do with my husband or the deep betrayals that I have faced in my adult life.  I was with my mom (of course, she is always the most frightening).  She wanted to buy me a beading set, and she saw one for $8, but then couldn't find it again. I showed her one for $10, and then she shamed me. She said things like, "I'm not made of money" and "How dare you," and I couldn't believe that she wouldn't just pay the few extra dollars.  It is the emotions in our dreams that are the windows of insight into our subconscious.

Though this dream may sound inconsequential to you, It's no surprise to me that I woke up COMPLETELY traumatized by this dream.  I grew up in trauma, my whole childhood was full of trauma.  And, as the experts always say, I thought everything was my fault.  It was hard not to. I looked around at other kids my age and they just didnt seem to have the hard life experiences that I had.  The trauma culminated when my dad died of cancer after winning custody of me, and I tried living with my mom, but ended up running away from her in the middle of the desert.  I was 12 and completely alone.  All my worst fears were realized.  I felt rejected, alone, unworthy of two parents who could just love me and raise me the way they ought to. I wondered what I ever did to deserve this kind of rejection and abandonment.

  Everything shifted in me.  By a miracle, I made it out of that day (that story can be saved for another day).  The emotional wounds that I recieved from that day, and the subconcious downloads, faulty core beliefs, that I received from that day, have often felt impossible to rewrite.  From that day on, I was no longer myself.  I became what everyone wanted me to be, I worked so hard to be perfect, to be good, to be sexy, to be trendy, to be popular. To be everyones favorite person.  To be everything to everyone.

Of course I did that.  Because my faulty core belief was, "if I don't, no one will love me.  Because me, as I am, is not worthy of love."

So, a year ago, when my husband confessed a betrayal... after a YEAR of safety and sobreity.... I did the same thing.

I can't believe it. But I did.  I guess I thought by now, I should know better.  But I really didn't "fall apart" last year.  H moved out for the second time, and I just pressed forward like the strong warrior woman that I am.  I felt prompted by God to ask him to move back into the home WAY before I was actually ready to have him move back in, so I did it.  And I just smiled all the way.  And just beared it all.  I had to because, again, "I'm not really worth of love."  I had to do the strong things, and perform perfect, and bla bla bla..... I am glad I obeyed the voice of the Lord, things have obviously worked out... but my heart hasn't been free ever since...

I don't believe this anymore.... I really don't.... but my inner child, that sweet little girl who was abused and abandoned, still fears that maybe, just maybe it is still true.  So, today, I will sit with her. I will hold her hand and love her. Maybe one day she will feel completely safe, with me.  I can't ever be sure of what my husband will do, or anyone else, for that matter. But I can be there for her, and I can maintain my spiritual resilience and always be sure of the unconditional love I feel from God, and my Savior Jesus Christ, who both have NEVER abandoned me.  I can look for the ancestors that protect and love and guide me from the other side of the veil.  Like my sweet Daddy (this also happens to be his birthday).  And I can surround myself with wonderful people who I know love and support me.

I am worthy of love and belonging.  I do not, and did not deserve to be betrayed, or abandoned.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Today, I am grieving. I don't want it. In fact, I want out. But I don't have that option. In fact, I don't get to choose grief or no grief. The more I resist it, the more it seems to consume me. If I try to run from it, I get swallowed up in depression from trying to numb out and ignore it. So yesterday I decided to accept it. I'm grieving.

I have lost someone. A child. I don't know my childs name, or gender. I didn't even carry this child. This child, my child, is ready to come to our family. I want my child to come to our family. But we can't. To sum it up, it would be irrational and irresponsible to bring our child into our family right now. I know that, H knows that, and it seems even Heavenly Father agrees. And so after months of feeling like maybe we could, maybe we should, late night discussions and lots of tears and emotions, it's very clear that we can't. And its killing me. And im grieving.

I'm  trying to accept this. To accept that we are not where I thought we would be by this time. To accept that the addiction has affected this, has affected where we are financially and emotionally, has affected my husband's career path... To accept that my children still qualify for Medicaid, 7 years later.. That we're barely getting by and that consequences of my husbands addiction still affect us every day. I'm trying to accept.

How can it be God's will?

It takes everything in me not to blame my husband. I want to heap it all on his shoulders and I want him to fix it and fix it all NOW. Which isn't fair. And then the voice of lame sympathy comes to my mind. It says, "hey it could be worse..."

Whats underlying all this is an issue that is all mine. I can't put it in my husband. It's my problem.

I'm demanding perfection and I cannot accept that we are less than that. I am coming face to face with my perfectionism.

Can I love my husband, in his mess? He has been vulnerable with me, he has changed, he has shown himself, he is exposed. He is no longer the stoic knight in shining armor who feels nothing and performs perfectly every time. He is real. And I must choose wether or not I can embrace him, ALL OF HIM, or live in regret of "what could have been". It's complicated.

Sometimes I can love him and be vulnerable with him. I can say, "your addiction has really hurt me and has hurt our family, and I'm in pain about it" while letting him hold me. And other times I want to push him out of everything, out of all my circles and out of all my barriers and keep him far, far away.

Compounding this issue is the fact that his one year sobriety date is coming up, again. It feels more like a relapse date, than a sobreity date. So trauma keeps me missing the mark by just a little, every time. 3 years in a row, we have had a relapse in March. H didn't even live with us last April.

I'm greiving. It's taking everything in me to not push everyone away and put back up all the heart walls that I worked so hard to bring down last year.

It's scary to try to navigate this place again, because I feel no hope. And hope is naturally a part of who I am.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The bath is safe, I'll hide here forever

The water is warm. When I stick my face all the way in and blow bubbles, it sounds like a sweet lullaby that can calm any fears, quiet any headaches, relax any sore muscles. I'm vulnerable, I'm naked afer all. But im still somehow safe from the edge of life. The details fall to the background and my mind becomes full of things it likes, things it gets full of when its safe. Like redecorating my bedroom, or creating the cutest valentine decorations. Or thinking about the beauty of my children, or of nature, or of our wonderful world.

So naturally I made a heart wall 20 miles long out of water. (My energy healer told me so). And im distant, from everyone, and everything. It's a "safe distance". But its lonely, I dont like feeling distant.

Cant I be safe, in my little watery cocoon, but still have connection at the same time?

No, I don't believe so. The one person I'm the most afraid of is the one person I want so badly to be on the inside with me.

 If he gets in, then I have no more need for the wall.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Conversations with my little girl within

When I first started on this journey, it was like any little glimpse at my little girl within was so hard and shocking. Shocking to learn how I really felt about things. I would have a short glimpse and then close the door again for another month until I was in therapy again and she would bring in the inner child again. It was had to find her words, hard to find her feelings, hard to really know what she was saying. I would cry every single time.

There was a work in trust. After all I had never listened to her before, ever. I never just let myself FEEL anything without shaming myself for feeling. Shaming myself for feeling, meant specifically shaming her.

My step four inventory was the beginning of really making amends with her. I've done a couple step 4's but the format for this last one came through divine inspiration. I began listing anything in my life that I felt pain about. Any little thing. Then I listed all the feelings that came with the experiences. And the last column was to identify what unhealthy behaviors came from what events. It was brutally hard work. I would work it for about 30 mins, then need about an hour of self care in order to function in my day. But I needed it so badly. I sat with myself day after day and empathized. No one ever empathized in my childhood. There werent many people available to guide me and hold me and love me through my extremely painful experiences. I was nearly on my own as a child, going through things that would surely knock an adult down. And so I sat with myself. I honored the unhealthy behaviors even, acknowledging how they served me for a time, when I had no other tools.

It seemed to me that I was only about midway through when the prompting came that I was finished. I was so surprised, being the recovering perfectionist that I am. But it makes sense to me now, because right after I finished, I began seeing Elizabeth, my therapist, who guided me to this inner-child work.
Now, my whole approach at life has shifted. I hear her, my inner child, a lot more often. Throughout the day, I put my hand on my heart and empathize with her fears and concerns. I encourage her and validate her and send lots of love to her.
When im doing this, its easy to take care of myself. It's easy to eat, and drink water, and exercize, and journal when needed, and play when needed. She has been the key to my self care. And now she is becoming the key to my ability to access the love that is so abundantly available to me all around.  Because I have this relationship with her (with myself) the voices of shame and E.D. and perfectionism are much smaller, ALMOST inconsequential. When I started journaling, I had three columns. One for little girl, one for wise woman, and one for the negative voices. The negative voices just about kept she and I apart, kept ME away from MYSELF. And now, when I journal, I nearly never need three columns. Just the two, a conversation between she and I,

between my heart and my head,

 between my spirit self and my human self,
between my playful self and my responsible self...
Usually that is all that I need.

So I empathize, I show compassion, we become one, and we can then take the Savior's hand and conquor anything, face anything this life throws our way.

I'm slightly nuts sounding, im sure. Refering to myself as a "we" and all that. But I am okay with it. In okay with going to whatever quirky extreme that I need to in order to access that deep reservoir of peace and contentment, and by so doing, breaking chains of my ancestry. I link arms with my inner child, and then link arms with all my ancestors in a union of eternity and they cheer us on as we do the work of salvation for the whole lineage.

I am so truly grateful to my Heavenly Father for guiding and leading me by the hand through this recovery journey.  Maybe one day I will be able to envision H by my side in this big chain of eternity. Holding not just my hand, by my little girl-within's hand too.  I think we're getting there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

seeing into my heart

I have actually never had this happen before. I have  started and stopped this post 4 times!!! I dont know how to adequately portray just what I am feeling this Christmas.

There was this family, MY family.    Founded upon right principles, principles full of light and goodness, that sounded really really good.  But years of confusion and decay came upon this family.  From the outside looking in, the family looked whole, and complete. But from the inside, cold hard black hearts were slowly overtaking all the light.  Finally the darkness and decay beame all consuming and it became apparent that this family was falling apart.  Appearances could no longer be kept up.  

A total surrender was all that was left.  A total surrender was the last dwindling thread of hope.  Darkness continued to prevail, for years, as this family began receiving new hearts.  Little flickers of light would appear, only to be squandered by the cold damp darkness of resentments, lies and confusion.  Recovery efforts felt all consuming, yet futile.  Days of sobriety became months of sobriety which became only hours of sobriety.  Discouragement and hopelessness reigned.  The darkness, as dreadful as it was, became familiar and hard to image anything else.
Over time, the family learned how to cling to those little flickers of light that frequently appeared. How to preserve them, how to fight for them.  Every section of their blackened hearts, crusted over with pride, hatred and FEAR, insane amounts of fear, had to be blasted by the light.  The light came both as a refreshing breath of hope, and a painful ripping away of identity and security. 

This family rested upon shoulders.  It was lifted up by Bishops, stake presidents, temple presidents, missionaries, relief society presidents, family, friends, recovery friends, young women babysitters, visiting teachers, home teachers (long beautiful painstaking hours with home teachers), sponsors, the bishop's storehouse, beautiful ward family members giving service anonymously.  All these shoulders lending themselves in the service of the Savior's.  How much gratitude I feel as I look back at the many many people who shouldered MY FAMILY over these last years.  

This family learned to cling to the light.  And one day, the light became more overpowering than the darkness.  It happened subtly, so subtly that I almost didnt notice it.  I almost didnt realize that fear isnt constantly baring down on my chest anymore.  I almost didnt realize that the children arent waking up a million times every night just to make sure that daddy is still in bed.  I almost didnt realize that tangible feeling of the Spirit in our home, for the first time.  Or the shift in the focus of our family, from healing and pain to service, and nurturing the children.  That love has replaced pride.  That truth, that precious "rarest gem", has replaced the constant deciet of "pretending perfect".  That humility and brokenness feel  more comfortable.  That vulnerability and authenticity have given my heart room to love, especially room to love myself.  Isolation is replaced with connection.   

We surrendered, and continued to surrender.  We clung to the light, and continued to cling.  And Christ, just as he promised, transformed our family.  

After all this time, after all this struggle, we are here in this place, and I am full of gratitude.  

I am not saying we have "arrived". I am not saying we are "recovered".  Things that I wished for throughout this whole process but have realized those dont exist.  We can never return to that place of "pretending perfect" again. And I don't want that anymore.

But I do feel that this family has been liberated.  I feel the amazing power of the atonement in our lives.  And I feel so much gratitude for that sweet little baby, who came to earth 2000 years ago to liberate my family today.  

I see a family, still being carried by the Savior, and not fighting it anymore.  I feel ready to do, and become, whatever He has destined for us.  

This is my Christmas Spirit.  These are the tears that I have shed this month when pondering the Savior.  This is the joy I feel as I give and receive love in my family.  For me, this is what Christmas is all about.  

Merry Christmas  

Monday, November 30, 2015

always wishing i could disappear, gratitude for my space

ever since I was very young, about 12, I wanted to disappear.  Suicide was a constant contemplation.  When things get hard in my life, even now, suicidal thoughts appear as an immediate default. I am sure that is because this has been my default for over 15 years now.  I have different tools now, than I did then.  I know that my suicidal thought pattern is a warning signal to me that I need to change something in my life, I need to stand up for myself, or protect myself, or nourish myself.

But back then, it was real, it was scary, it was so deeply painful, and it was a secret.
I never told a soul, because the one time I did, I was made to believe that I was bad, and wrong, and inherently flawed. I felt like I was a mistake. That day, when my uncle was in my face shaming me for being depressed, my energy shifted.  I think in that moment, he transferred all of his shame to me.  He demanded total self control, total supremacy of feelings, and really total control of all.  He holds himself to this high, impossible and unhealthy standard, and I am certain it comes with loads of shame. It is not possible. And so that day, I received his outlook on life, in every fiber of my being.

This realization has hit me really hard.  I actually felt like I was a mistake.  Any time I showed up, anywhere, doing ANYTHING, I felt shame.  I felt shame for the way I walked, talked, dressed.  I felt shame for the way my voice sounded, for my thoughts and feelings, and for my whole life.  My brother's favorite tease was to tell me I had a big nose.  I actually dont have a nose that would strike anyone as disproportionate, but I think he tried it once, and liked the shame that he saw wash over me.  So he said it again and again and again. It was like tapping into a deep reservoir always there, waiting to remind me that I was a failure and a mistake.

It is no wonder that I developed an eating disorder.  Two guiding principles governed my secrets: control everything and disappear.

I was meditating last week to a guided meditation by a guy who really is no good at doing meditations.  But as I sat there, he said one thing that completely illuminated my soul to a new concept that had never occurred to me. He said, "give gratitude for the space that you occupy".  And then, as it so often does during meditation, a flood of inspiration came to me.
Before we were born, we were spirits.  We had no matter, we took up no physical space here on this earth.  But then, our great time arrived.  Our opportunity to come to earth.  We came into a tiny body, but it was ours, it is our own physical space.  It changes throughout life, but no matter what, it is ours.  And now, I sit here today, occupying my space.  Like a silhouette, its my beautiful sacred space that I occupy, and only me.  It's mine and only mine, and no matter what I do, I WILL ALWAYS OCCUPY SPACE on this earth, forever more.  No matter how much my shame tells me I want to disappear, or hide, I cant.  Even after I die, and my bones either become ashes or disintegrate, they will always be matter, and they will always take up some space here on this earth.  And one day, this blessed body that I have spent my whole life cursing, will be my constant companion, for ALL ETERNITY!  It is a gift! It is such a sacred gift.  God gave us a space, and it is only OURS, no one elses. 

It is my sacred space.

And this, then begs the question:

How do I show up in my space?
Today, I show up with gratitude, wonder and awe at this beautiful life. I show up with an open heart to give and receive love. And with courage, to offer all that I have in the service of my fellow beings and my Maker.

Have you ever given thanks to God for the sacred space that you occupy?