Lies

Daily Prompt: Whoa!

~*~

“I don’t understand you. What are you saying?”

The delinquent one stares me down with vacancy in his eyes. It’s as if I’m looking at a ghost; an empty shell of a man I once knew who is no more. He’s returned following weeks away studying for his masters degree. It’s Christmas break, and my birthday, and he’s made this haunting pronouncement.

“I don’t know if I love you anymore. I don’t know if I’ve ever really loved you.”

The world I know is crumbling beneath my feet.

“What? What do you mean?” I clutch the bannister for support.

“I haven’t thought about you at all while I’ve been away. You don’t mean anything to me anymore.”

Now the room is spinning.

Five years! Five years of my life; my heart; my devotion given to a man who doesn’t know if he’s ever really loved me. My knees wobble. What is happening? After all that I’ve done. All that I’ve sacrificed. What have I been living? An illusion? Did I marry an ideal and not a man?

“I can’t be here,” I mutter to myself. Brush past him and run upstairs. Slam the door to our room, throw myself on the non-marital bed. He’s been home two days and detonated a bomb of lies in my heart. I am blown away by his deceit. My carefully protected world falling in shrapnel pieces about me.

A torrent of pain floods the plains of my face as my mind spins with the surreal knowledge I am not loved. Not loved by a man who’d said for years he’d loved me.

Lies!! All lies ~ the memory of which tears at what’s left of my broken heart and plunges me into an abyss of despair the depths of which cannot be measured.

And he’s so not worth it.

~*~

In my experience life appears surreal after some kind of shock, good or otherwise, to the system.

I’ve known both. This fictional rendition of a real event is the first that came to mind.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

 

Gelato Fantasy

  Daily Prompt: 32 Flavours

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Gelato Fantasy

Vari-coloured gelato

Tempting every taste bud.

What to choose?

Wha’d ever you want!

It’s a vacation.

It’s Venizia …

On the Calle dei Fabri …

A minute from our hotel.

Gelato twice a day.

Molto bene!

Molto delizioso!

Nuff said!

Yummmmmm ….

~*~

Honestly … ice cream will never taste the same again.

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Why today?

Daily Prompt: A House Divided

Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides. Bonus points for a creative format (roundtable discussion, debate transcript, etc.).

~*~

“Divisive? Please, not on a Sunday.”

“Why not? What’s so special about Sunday?”

“It’s my day of rest. There are six other days of the week in which to consider and debate the chaotic nature of the world and I just don’t want to go there today. Is nothing sacred?”

“But why Sunday? What’s so special about this day? Why not Wednesday, or Thursday?”

“I remember when Sunday was the official day of rest. Stores and businesses were closed. Many people turned their thoughts to God and renewed their spirits for the week. Sunday offered a break from the wear and tear of the work-a-day week. It was a collective sigh of relief before beginning the weekly grind all over again. Now, every day runs into the next. Most people don’t rest and they’re burning out because the grind just keeps going. Sunday has become just another day of doing. I refuse to be caught up in it. I want this day to be one of being; of peace and quiet ~ to read a good book; take a walk in nature; to meditate and consider my blessings. So, I am not going to get involved in a divisive argument with you or anyone else about this or that or the other. If you wish to be thus engaged it’s best you find someone else who doesn’t mind corrupting the sanctity of this peaceful day with a pointless debate that could easily wait until tomorrow.”

“Alright then, no need to get your knickers in a knot.”

“Hmmm … I did rather, didn’t I?”

“Sounds to me like you need to rest.”

“Just my point, thank you.”

~*~

Thanks for visiting and enjoy a restful day.

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Leave of Absence

Twenty-Five

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

~*~

It would generally be agreed by the throng of writers inhabiting planet Earth that we are absolutely in need of every letter of the alphabet.

I, for one, would be bereft should any one letter be banned. Such an action would be unconscionable. Even for an engaging exercise such as this, one needs to realize that every letter has its place and deserves to be accorded the respect earned over hundreds of years of general usage.

To arbitrarily ban one little letter for no reason at all is altogether ridiculous and downright hurtful.

What did the letter do to be cast out of its fraternity of fellow word conjurers?

Why, nothing! Nothing at all.

Yet one, for the purposes of this exercise, does indeed find itself on the sidelines. A rest. A break, if one were to look upon it with an eye to the positive.

Yes, let’s look at it that way.

One letter has been granted a leave of absence today.

Can you guess which one?

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti 

The Heart Knows

Daily Prompt: Too Big to Fail

Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail (and tell us why you haven’t tried it yet).

~*~

You ask what is too big to fail?

Life.

Life is too big to fail.

To live from the heart;

To be free of emotional encumbrances

And the pains of past times

That swell inside because they will not be

Set free.

And why are they not set free?

Fear.

Fear of feeling.

Fear of failure.

Fear of imperfection.

Fear of death.

~*~

This is old.

Old lies plastered over

Real truth.

The truth that resides inside and says,

“Anything is possible. Believe.”

Thus, there is no heart’s desire so big

I will not throw my whole heart into it.

The heart knows what is truth.

And truth knows that all that stands

Between success and failure is

Fear.

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015 

Not Just Saturday Morning

Daily Prompt: Me Time

What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

~*~

I like quiet mornings and I’m fortunate to be able to incorporate a quiet start to my day every day.

My “me time” starts with a short meditation. About 10 minutes, timed by a nature sounds download on my iPad. My current goal is to be able to take two deep, cleansing breaths without a single thought crossing my mind. It’s a challenge, to be sure. Try it, if you don’t believe me.

It’s really interesting to work on quieting the mind while trying not to run a play-by-play or colour commentary in the process. Every time I catch myself I have to start again!

A fun challenge. The other day I actually did it … two whole breaths in empty space … barely.

Today, “me time” started with a meditative body scan ~ another exercise focused on the breath but this time involving a mental check-in with my body. I do this occasionally to feel where tension is sitting. It’s actually a cool exercise.

With my eyes closed and while taking deep, cleansing breaths, I mentally scan my body from head to toe and back again. I notice any areas that are holding tension. For instance, an unexplained knot in my stomach; a pain in my neck, a throb in my big toe, or feelings even more subtle than that. While focusing on that area, I breathe into it a few times and imagine the tension releasing. If the tension doesn’t release easily I imagine blowing a bubble around it to magnify the area. I then sit with it a moment to see if it has a message for me.

Sounds out there, possibly, but I’ve found that since learning to listen to my body and its wisdom I’ve been carrying around a lot less stress. This has freed up precious energy for more important things like living the expansive life. Tension, as I’ve learned, is energy that’s stuck. The more it settles in the more difficult it is to release. I try to be conscious of the tension I’m holding as much as possible, and release it.

Our bodies speak to us all the time, but most of us are so closed off we don’t hear it. It’s not until we have some kind of massive physiological meltdown that we are forced to listen to what our bodies have to say. In my case, adrenal fatigue took me out at the knees and forced me to pay attention to what my body had been trying to tell me for years. i.e. “This life you’re leading is too stressful. I need a break.” And by force my body took one!

This has taught me to listen to my body sooner rather than later. The other option is simply too debilitating.

After engaging mind, body and spirit in this way, “me time” continues with a shift into creative mode.

I play with my (water)colour pencils in a stream of consciousness meditative kind of way to see what surfaces. This gets the creative juices flowing and prepares me to write freely.

My “me time” is an opportunity to ground my awareness and nurture my creativity. And it doesn’t just happen on a Saturday morning … it happens every day.

Now … time for breakfast …

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Freeze and Thaw

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

~*~

As someone who’s spent her life surviving the slings and arrows of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the point of almost burning out my adrenal glands, I suppose I could speak volumes on this subject.

To the overwhelmed nervous system almost anything can trigger the heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness of the adrenal rush … and not in a good way.

My adrenalin responses have rarely been justified, but when you grow up  feeling constantly under threat of something you lose sight of what constitutes an appropriate adrenal response. Not that you’re even in control of it. It just is, stimulated by whatever trigger pokes its way into a painful point of subconscious memory.

A life time of living in chronic survival mode is hard on the adrenal glands. (As is a life spent chugging down energy drinks, but that’s a discussion for another day.) They do burn out, and chronic anxiety is one of the results. Until I became aware of what was happening beneath the surface of my anxiety there was no way I could change it.

This awareness was finally raised during a trip to Sarajevo in March 2009, when the war-wounded city reflected the incredibly deep wounds of my own emotional trauma. Anxiety attacks in benign circumstances triggered three flight and freeze reactions during our one-week stay, reactions over which I had no control. Since we were travelling with a group of virtual strangers there was the added stress of shame attached to it.

Yes, you need to know that freezing is also a response to trauma.

In simple, primitive terms, this is when prey under pursuit will drop to the ground and play dead so the predator will lose interest and leave them alone.

My freeze ~ the clamp of anxiety. The desperate need to getaway without knowing where is safe to go. Stuck. Immovable. Traumatized. Invisible. On a continuous playback loop.

Since Sarajevo it’s taken years of therapy to get my frozen emotional core to finally thaw. The experience is a bit like the sensation of regaining feeling in your hands and feet after a bout of frost bite. Years of frozen feelings melt into a stinging liquid form. The pain all too present … but it must be felt to be acknowledged and, ultimately, released.

I’m reminded of the time I attended an NFL game in Buffalo with my ex-husband and his family, maybe 20 years ago. It was December, 15 below and snowing, and I was not dressed properly for the occasion. By the fourth quarter I was in the first aid room with thermal blankets wrapped around frozen feet (and a husband angered by the fact he’d had to miss that last quarter).

The agony of the thaw was indescribable. There were a few moments there where I felt like I’d rather die than endure the grief of feeling my limbs come back to life. However, once the worst of it had passed, and I could feel my feet and hands again, the pain of the experience became nothing more than a passing memory. I can recall the incident now as the source for a funny story or, for that matter, a teaching moment.

Feelings that come up while thawing are painful, but they must be felt in order for us to be completely free of them.

The first step, however, is awareness.

I learned ~ through psychotherapy, naturopathy, hormone therapy, equine therapy and other important sources ~ that the freeze response, which had become my go-to place when overwhelmed by circumstances beyond my control (rooted in early childhood trauma), had created a debilitating life pattern affecting mind, body and spirit.

I learned that what we harbour in the way of resentment, fear, jealousy and the like becomes our master and we its slave, and that this plays out in our lives in unhappy and insidious ways. Panic/anxiety attacks, addiction, lashing out or anything else that numbs the mind, body and spirit are all manifestations of the freeze response triggered by overwhelming events.

As horrible as those anxiety-ridden moments in Sarajevo were for me, they taught me it was time to be honest with myself and seek help. The kind of help that would allow the thaw, the healing, to begin and bring to life again the parts of me that had been playing dead.

Freezing was how I’d made myself invisible. If I was invisible, no one could see me; no one would abandon, reject, abuse or hurt me ever again. In the process I had become stuck in the pattern of abandoning, rejecting, abusing and hurting myself. It had to stop.

It’s been almost six years since my rigorous, sometimes hellish and incredibly cleansing journey began. A veritable trip through the refiner’s fire. Still, if I had to choose between who I am now and who I was before the thaw began, there’s no doubt what I’d do. Even knowing how tough it’s been I’d go through it all again to unearth my truth and free myself of the pain that had frozen me in chaos.

My heart and mind are open; my adrenal glands are functioning more optimally and thus my nervous system is becoming more robust. I’m finally able to live my life more on my terms. I’ve learned to live in the moment; to leave the past behind and to allow the future to be what it will be.

Finally, I feel free to be me.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

Useful resources:
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The acclaimed guide to stress, stress-related diseases and coping ~ Robert M. Sapolsky
Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma ~ Peter A. Levine
Riding Between The Worlds: Expanding our Potential Through the Way of the Horse ~ Linda Kohanov
In An Unspoken Voice: How the body releases trauma and restores goodness ~ Peter A. Levine
Mindsight: The new science of personal transformation ~ Dr. Dan Siegel
Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome ~ James L. Wilson

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015