If the Dragonfly can do it…Why can’t I?

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

A Dragonfly, if one were to really look at it- with critical eye-,
does not look as if it were made to fly

With a body, some would say is much too long and
With wings of a transparency that makes rice paper look strong

the Dragonfly simply nods as if takes off
Showing me that flight relies mainly on belief

and if the Dragonfly can do it, then why can’t I?


I am a huge fan of animal totems. Ask my family members, our house is filled with them. I have been known to almost drive off the road as I try to catch a glimpse of birds or other creatures, I am sure are bringing me some message or meaning.

Dragonflies have been making an appearance in my life right now in big ways. Although there was the awkward moment in the grocery store, when my teenage stepdaughter pulled a balloon from the floral area and proclaimed “Oh, a butterfly. I really want a balloon.” My response was, “Uh, I think that is a dragonfly” (as I contemplated my concerns of the science curriculum in the local schools 🙂 ).

I finally decided to put pastels to paper and perhaps draw one of these creatures. I still can’t project ahead with my art right now. I used to have shapes in mind before drawing. Now, it is blank page and blank mind and then I just let it flow.

To me, the image indicates the impossible flights so many of us take in our lives. The overcoming of trials, tribulations, horrors (big and small), injustices, fears, anguishes, terrors, traumas, abuses, and more.

And I wonder when I hear some stories, how people have picked themselves up. And I think of the image of the dragonfly in this picture- leading with heart, flying with its impossible form through the darkness and flying towards the light.

And I like to think the dragonfly symbolizes so many of us.
—-
I did not know this, but there is a lot of research about dragonfly flight dynamics. I am a physiologist and not a physicist, so most of the information was well beyond me, but if you are interested you should check it out.

Letting Go of the Cruel People in Your Life.

Earth Love

Earth Love

Orbits

Your willingness
to enact such cruelty
upon another

only serves as reminder
that we live in the gravitational pull
of different worlds

and soon, our orbits
will cease to
cross paths

as I am flung, freely,
towards the Light
of my Being.


Not everyone in our lives always has the best intentions or the highest motivations. When someone in our lives is intentionally hurtful, we can question how/why we let this person in and what we can do about this.

Perhaps, as the poem describes, we come from different worlds. Perhaps we orbit different stars, and I like to believe as we grow and change our orbits will cross the path of these types less and less, as we free fall into the Light of our greatest selves.

You don’t Balance because You Don’t Believe

She Balances

She Balances

How much are you willing to suffer because you decide not to believe in your reality?

Equilibrium can not be mastered if your beliefs run counter to your reality.

In reality, you are a beautiful, divine, phenomenal person.

In your belief about yourself, you may be anything but these.

And this discord between who your really are and who you believe yourself to be will set a life pattern of teeter-tottering.

Because you do not believe yourself to be worthy, you will act as someone who must work to earn worth.

Because you do not believe yourself to be loving, you will act as someone who must earn love.

Because you do not believe yourself to be a “good” person, you will act as someone who must prove his or her “good-ness”.

You will begin on one end of the teeter-totter, butt planted firmly on the ground because this, for the moment is what you believe.

But there is that other end, up in the sky and free, and you will think “That is where I need to be”.

And you will crawl across that plank and you will cross that center point and you will think you have it made, until that “free” end comes crashing down upon the ground by your weight.

You wanted to climb and be free, but you forgot to leave the weight of your beliefs behind.

It is not that you need to be on the free end of life, up in the sky. That is never the intent. What you are seeking is an end to the teeter-tottering, the conflict between the reality of who you are and who you believe yourself to be.

You are a kind, loving, good, wonderful, beautiful, amazing, engaging, warm, full, sincere, divinely-inspired person.

This is your reality. May your beliefs no longer be in conflict with this reality.

This is written for those, like me, who have found themselves swinging up and down on the teeter-totter of self-defeating beliefs.

We have been seeking peace and perhaps forgotten, as I did, that with such damning, grounding beliefs, I would never find the equilibrium I was seeking.

I hope you find your balance, that sweet point between your divine beauty (your true reality) and who you believe yourself to be.

You do not write to vent or release…

Creating

Creating

…and free yourself of demons.

You write to dig and discover.

You are not looking to free yourself of anything.

You are writing to embrace what is uncovered.


We can only change that which is “ours”.

Some speak to the catharsis of writing, to the spewing forth and releasing of that which is hidden deep inside. There can be a sense of relief when dark secretes take flight as words across the page. And I will not deny this process.

However, the process, as so many discover, does not end in the ranting, the spewing, and the attempt at release.

What every writer and reader is looking for is not a ride along a wave of words released, but rather a chance to hold what another has embraced.

When I read the blogs of others, I see the power of writing not in the releasing, but rather in the holding of ideas, beliefs, memories, thoughts and feelings that have been uncovered and discovered.

I see these writers hold up these items, some treasures, some dark and deadly, to the light of their sharp mind and verbal skills. And I realize these items, held by these writers, never stood a chance, because the writer as creator will transform them, coddled as they are in his or her grip.

If I release you, I will never hold you and I may deny you are mine.

If I hold you, I own the power to transform you.

And this is what I see so many writers doing.

Why Art Heals and Moves us from “Survive” to “Thrive”

Healing Bridge

Healing Bridge

I recently wrote about how the brain responds to trauma and abuse. Survival instincts emerge and one of the repercussions is the communication between the brain hemispheres lessens.

We move from holistic integration to fragment-ous snapshots of people and events, as the brain’s focus restricts and constricts, eliminating in order to focus on the task at hand- surviving.

This is why abuse and trauma survivors can recount events with an almost rote tone, as they make a list of violations they have suffered. In such instances, the left-brain, the one that reads like an instruction manual, dominates. A to B to C, and the sequence continues.

What is severed is the connection with the right brain. The one that gives the story context, emotion, and nuance. This is why in awakening from abuse and trauma, people may be super-sensitive to smells, touch, position of items and so on.

These are often referred to as “triggers”. These are the cues and clues the right-brain is tracking to give context to its version of the story of what happened.

It is not healthy to have the brain split in this manner. One-half handling some details disconnecting from the other half handling other details. So, how do we fix this?

Art…art…and more art… I do not mean necessarily drawing or painting. I mean “art” in its truest sense- anything beyond the constrained linear. Storytelling is an art, as is journaling, as is painting, as is drawing, as is collaging, as is composing, as is poetry writing and on and on and on.

Why is art so important?

Art creates the bridge between the right and left brain. You can not create art without both halves communicating. If you only use your left brain, your writing will read like a set of directions. If you use only the right brain, your work is filled with nuance and context and moves absolutely no where.

And this is why art heals so beautifully.

Art forces us to tell both sides of our stories – most importantly to ourselves.

Please don’t say to yourself, “Well I am really not artistic.” Seriously, I draw pictures where the primary shape is a heart. It seems to be the limit of my abilities, but that does not stop me from expressing.

There are many ways for you to use art to heal: write, write, and write some more. You are storytelling to yourself and others as you do.

If drawing really freaks you out, get out old magazines or find images on-line, print them out and make a collage. Cut out words and phrases that mean something to you. Let your right and left brains talk and see what is woven between them.

Or try an art therapy book- Drawing from the Heart by Barbara Ganin is an excellent choice.

You were meant to thrive in this world and you can only do that when you are intact- let art be your bridge to wholeness.

Who is the Gatekeeper of Your Life? The Answer Better Be “You”

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper


This past weekend, we had a family dynamic that had me sliding into insane thinking.

I had asked my husband and stepkids to do something for me. I actually classified this as a “NEED” of mine. It was that important. And they failed to get this thing done.

And this is where it got frightening in a “what am I thinking?” aspect. When they did not complete this thing, here is where my mind went on its glorious arc of insane thinking:

I had the thought “Am I not lovable? Is there something wrong with me that someone does not want to do something important for me? Is there some type of defect I carry that someone who cares about me does not care enough to put my need first?” (Actually, the question was not “Is there a defect…” My mind assumed there was. The real question was: “What defect is there within me that make me unlovable?” )

Those of you who struggle with a sense of self will have no problem understanding what I am writing about. The old childhood fears has moved front and center to whack me upside the head with their whisper of “Kim, you simply are not lovable…enough….If you were, then these things would not happen to you.”

I could spend this blog psycho-analyzing this, but I prefer my art do it for me. And the image above is what came to me.

It represents in some weird way to me, a creation myth. (Yes, entire cultures are built around creation myths, and I think it is fine to sit in my office and come up with my own 🙂 ).

Anyway, the world is built and supported by the bull’s horns. But the horns, to me, also look like a ship underneath a red moon (1st chakra, survival). IN the boat are 8 blue circles (blue= spiritual, 8 is a sacred number- 7 chakras plus the Divine. ) Ships with passengers are very common in creation myths and I liked the symbolism of building a complete life to travel across the horizons.

The sides of the bull’s heads are “fish” symbols. I was thinking of the symbol for Pisces, also associated with yin-yang.

The snake in the middle is kundalini energy, the energy of life.

Here is what I took from the image:
The bull is my gatekeeper- strong, solid, protective. It is balanced by the energy of Pisces. However, this balancing does not make it weak, it makes it stronger because it is balanced. The bull has no problem protecting and carrying my world (self) on its horns.

What the bull does, though, is decide what life energy (snake) gets to rise up to touch my life. In this picture, the snake is moving upward to touch the 8 circles of my life, but this is not always the case.

I GET TO DECIDE WHAT ENERGY to let into my life. The fact my husband and stepkids let me down is their energy not mine. And the bull knows this.

Most of us who have been deeply wounded know how sincerely difficult it is to be gatekeepers in our own lives. We let our defenses go years ago, and have been building them ever since.
I hope this image inspires you to protect that which is most dear to you- your sense of self.

The quote below appeared on a blog recently: I LOVE IT! Most of our neurotic behavior is due to avoidance of legitimate pain. – John Bradshaw

To Fear or Not to Fear: Two Images to Help

Some of us have lived in tremendous fear in our lives. Some of us still do.

I want to speak a little bit about what fear does to us and some images that may help you as they have helped me.

One things fear does is narrow our focus- completely- to ensure our survival.

Fear activates the sympathetic nervous systems (SNS). Now, the SNS is wonderful, awesome and a key component of survival. The SNS handles your “fight or flight” system. And it is designed to do one thing and one thing only to the best of its ability- keep you alive. Such a clear, bottom-line goal, and it will not deviate from it.

The SNS integrates with almost every system of the body. When it is activated, it is all systems go: Pupils dilate, HR increases, bronchioles dilates, blood sugar increases, blood flow to the digestive organs and kidneys lessen and so on.

There is no in-between state here. You don’t get to choose to dilate the pupils but not elevate the HR or blood sugar. Such options are removed.

Think about it- have you ever been frightened by something silly- a book falling off a table or something? What happens? Before you know it- you’re breathing heavy, your eyes are wide, you are pale for a moment and so on. Your SNS is doing its job.

But this single-pointed focus costs you. It does not deal with gray areas, states of in-between, or nuance. When it is “On” it is “On” full-force. So committed to its goal, it removes many options from the table.

The SNS and single-pointed focus is fine in survival situations, but what of “normal” life. Life is not meant to be lived in this state of activation, because what happens when you activate the SNS is that you lose many of your options. You don’t get to ebb and flow and adapt to life on varying levels. It is either all “on” or not.

And this is what I feel fear does to us symbolically. When we are in a fear-ful state, we do not see we are surrounded by options. Fear constricts us and our sense of choices. Options are removed to reduce everything to single-pointedness- survival. This is how I draw it.

The Fear State

The Fear State

You are the vesica pisces in the center (divine integration), but half the light/color options are removed. In fear, you only operate with a portion of your available options. The rest seems as if they are mentally removed into the darkness.

But, truly in life, we are surrounded by 360 degrees of light and options. I drew it this way:

Options

Options

It has a red spiral in the middle indicating generation and the 1st chakra (survival), spinning a person around so you can see all 360 degrees of potential that surround you in any moment.

I don’t know if these images help or not, but I have thought of them so many times during the past days, as I have whispered to myself “Kim, you always have options, all of them are available to you all of the time.” )

Why Abuse Victims often feel they are Swimming Upstream

Going with the Current

Going with the Current

I believe there are certain principles to life. Good, solid principles about the way the Universe works. When in alignment of these principles, there is a sense of comfort, continuation and hope internally despite whatever external circumstances may prevail.

For those who have suffered abuse, the messages received have been training in flaunting these Universal principles. ( By “abuse” I am not simply referring to spousal abuse or abuse of children. You can be abused at work, as well as home. Sometimes entire situations are abusive, for example, as in war and control by regimes and so on.)

Where the Universe works on love, you learned fear.
Where the Universe works on freedom, you learned bondage.
Where the Universe works on hope, you learned fearful anticipation.
Where the Universe works on rhythm, you learned discord.
Where the Universe works on truth, you learned denial.
Where the Universe works on continuity, you learned chaos.
Where the Universe works on creativity, you learned destruction.
Where the Universe works on encouragement, you learned belittlement.
Where the Universe works on empathy, you learned cruelty.
Where the Universe work on trust, you learned second-guessing.
Where the Universe works on balance, you learned extremism.

You learned all of this and more at the hands of your abuser.

For all this time, you have been swimming upstream of how the Universe works
and you have been trying to get home ever since.

Is it any wonder you feel tired, distraught and at wit’s end?

Swimming upstream does not change the direction of the current. For once, stop and rest, and let the current turn you around in alignment with the principles, I know your Heart holds so dear.

—–
Abuse always leaves its mark. Sometimes it is difficult to remember our true selves and what beliefs we hold are true when confronted with the manipulation and terror of abuse.

Abuse tried to teach you horrible lessons, but you know better. I know you do.

Well, There goes the Vocabulary… (Why you may not be able to find the words)

Kim's Coat of Arms (if she had one)

Kim’s Coat of Arms (if she had one)

Keep writing. Keep thinking. Keep growing. The words will come. Let them appear on your pallet, even those you feel are “unworthy”. There are only 3 primary colors and yet we end up with a breath-taking spectrum. Even the most simple, basic words can lend themselves to a world of beauty

The blank page is a writer’s pallet. It becomes the place to mix, match and manipulate the colors of writing- the chosen words.

The “right” word for an author has an almost tangible feel to it. It symbolically rolls through the fingertips and rolls off the tongue and mind. Even readers detect when the choice of words are particularly apt. We tend to label this as being “poetic” whether or not the writing appeared in anything even resembling a poem.

But what happens when the words you so seek can not be found?

This happening is not uncommon, but there are times, I believe, in which a very specific reason may exist for you being unable to find the correct words.

I have always liked the image of the chakra system. Chakras are 7 primary energy centers (there are more) in the body, beginning in the pelvic area and ending on the top of the head. Each chakra is associated with a certain energy dynamic.

I believe each chakra in addition to having its own energy also has its own vocabulary. And this is where word selection can fly out the window.

If one is dealing with the 7th chakra, spirituality, it is almost easy to write of the universal sense of love and light. Ditto for the fourth or heart chakra. When you are in that space, love, romance, compassion, rose-tinted glasses leap off the page.

What happens though when you are trying to write and create from a weakened chakra state. Lately, I have been reading many books about emotional abuse. Abuse in any form is a first chakra issue. When you see yourself on the page of a book dealing with emotional abuse, you are knocked for a loop. You begin to feel you do not know or trust your life (first chakra issue).

And this is what can happen, when you try to create from a place of injury or distortion, you will not be able to find the vocabulary to say what you mean.

For example, the first chakra is centered on such basic issues, I find when I think of writing or speaking about this, my vocabulary becomes very basic and black and white. Things are right or they are wrong. I mention the word “fight” a lot, as in “I am fighting for my emotional survival.” The issue of survival creeps onto the page. Things appear with very sharp borders- I can vs. I can not. I will not vs. I will. There are few gray areas and little subtlety in the first chakra. It is either survive or die trying, symbolically.

So I will look at myself and my journal during these times and think “This is horrible. I can’t even express myself clearly.” Of course, I can not. The issues are base in nature and my vocabulary reflects this.

In fact, when one is dealing with abuse and first chakra issues, we need blunt, un-nuanced words. It is very dangerous in such a situation to be taking flights of fancy into the 7th chakra of “Isn’t everything just love and light?”.

It is not only on the written page that this loss of vocabulary may occur. When one is struggling with issues, coming to a new awareness, and trying to express new feelings and thoughts, it can be very, very easy to end up being judged. People will say, “Well, you are not making sense.” or “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

If this happens with verbal or written communication, do not give it a second thought. Do not judge yourself. You are creating a new life and sometimes it takes a little time for a new vocabulary to emerge. So, you may stutter. You may speak or write and say, “Well, that is not exactly what I mean, but I hope you understand what I am saying.”

You may even read your own blog, as I am doing today, and think “Ugh. I am not even sure if I am making sense but I don’t know what else to do.”

You may want to repeat yourself again and again, as you try out new combinations. You may want to have the “same” conversation several times- trying out new words and thoughts.

This is perfectly o.k.! Creating art and writing are continual processes, not puctuated moments.

.

God Spoke and You are the Chosen One

Holding Strong

Holding Strong

What if for today, we pretend?

We pretend that on today God spoke and You, yes You, were the chosen One.

No more excuses. No more longing. No more wishful thinking. No more insane world creating.

God spoke and You, yes You, were the choice.

Only it is not just for today. The choice was made before the Heavens were bent to give the sky.

God chose you to be You.

Now only if you would do the same and choose yourself.

The world is awaiting for You, yes You, to choose and to understand You, being You, are the chosen One.

Amen.