It’s been a long time since I wrote my last blog post, and even longer since I did so regularly. Today, I finally feel ready to start to blog again. A little. I’ve missed it. As a way to begin, and to share part of my healing journey, I’m going to start with a rough journal entry I wrote (on paper) yesterday.
Journal Entry – September 30, 2020
I love the peacefulness and calm I feel sitting and journalling by the water, listening to the slight waves against the shore when a boat travels past, listening to the birds chirping close by and in the distance. Feeling the soft breeze of the wind and the warmth of the sun against my face. As I take small sips of my sweet tea, I notice that I am here … completely present … providing myself with the time, love, peacefulness, calm, gentleness, and understanding that I so need and deserve.
I’ve been through a great deal … more than any one person should have to endure. It has been an ongoing journey. With life, there will be many ongoing challenges, especially if one has to deal with any toxic people with any regularity, and who doesn’t have to do that.
As I sit here, I watch the small dried up pieces of seaweed being blown softly across the sand. I see a couple in a canoe, paddling in graceful harmony in front of me. I see an elderly man, fully dressed, long pants, short-sleeved shirt, boots, gloves and a hat, paddle in front of me on his paddle-board. I see a few fishing boats quickly pass and watch as the waves they make against the shore – starting as large rolling waves and slowly dissipating into small ripples against the sand. I see birds flying gracefully in the sky – both near and far. I hear the chatter of a few people in the distance. I am present and enjoying being present.
As I sat on the sand with my back up against a tree stump, writing what I notice, an elderly man (65-70 years old, I think) approached me from behind. Apparently, I was sitting in his “spot” … the mid-point of his walk. We chatted for a short time. In a very blunt manner, he asked what I was doing. I sat on the sand with my journal on my lap, pen in hand. I told him that I was doing some writing. He responded, “Oh, like a journal… writing about all the mistakes you’ve made and how you wished you would have done things differently?” “No,” I responded. “More writing with kindness and compassion for what I have been through in life lately.” “Oh, so you aren’t beating yourself up? A lot of people do that.” He said. I assured him that I was trying to avoid doing that and, instead, trying to show myself love and compassion. He went on to tell me a story of when he was younger, in the midst of beating himself up for something he had done, a decision he had made, his sister commented, “Why don’t you try to be kind to yourself.” At the time, he said he was taken back by that idea, but agreed that it was a good idea. While challenging, he continued to be kinder to himself from that day forward. (Quite ahead of his (and his sister’s) time, I’d say)
Then, before this gentleman and I got any deeper into the conversation, he promptly changed the subject. It was almost like he realized how vulnerable this conversation had become so suddenly. “Boy, there’s a lot of smoke around here again. The smoke is here from California… should be gone by Friday the experts say. I couldn’t even go for a walk for a few days when the smoke was so bad a couple of weeks ago.” After agreeing how bad the smoke had been, this fine gentleman wished me a nice day. I thanked him for his “spot” and he walked off.
I see a few butterflies fluttering about. Two seals are swimming in the distance, every so often popping their heads up out of the water to take a look around. A couple paddle by me on twin kayaks … one paddling a half-kayak length ahead of the other. I hear crickets chirping around me while a couple small planes fly overhead.
As I got ready to leave, I noticed this plant growing in the middle of the sand. So interesting and unexpected. So lovely.
Those who know me, know that I have been on quite a journey these past 5 years (and some who know me well would say it’s been a much longer journey). I have done a great deal of inner work these past 5 years, working closely with a therapist. In addition to individual counselling, I have also participated in therapeutic re-enactment groups. These re-enactment groups have been powerful to my recovery and to limit the flashbacks of particular events. I am grateful for my counsellor and those in the group therapy sessions. Such powerful learning together, through one another’s stories.
While I have read and listened to countless books over the past 5 years, I am currently listening to Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff. She also hosts a website entitled Self-Compassion. There you will find research and information about Self-Compassion, Self-Compassion Test, Guided Exercises and many resources. In her book, Dr. Neff talks about how Self-Compassion is a major protective factor against anxiety and depression. So, if you are suffering from either of these, as many of us are during this challenging time, this might be a great book or website to check out.
I will blog some more about different things I am learning in Dr. Neff’s book. But for now, I plan on just continuing to be present and to notice the things around me – the sights, sounds, tastes, and feelings. I will continue to heal.
What have you been noticing lately?
What are you missing by not taking the time to notice?
What conversations are you missing by not providing time and space to connect?
How are you with providing yourself with Self-Compassion?