That Old Shoe

How do we give ourselves permission to be joyful? I mean really joyful.

How do we duck from under the weight of conditioning wrought by generational trauma that gets in the way of us finding our own joy?

Well, the truth is we can’t duck it, we have to deal with it. We have to look it in the eye and ask, “What are you holding on to?,” and listen to the answer with an open heart and an open mind. To heal from what was we must recognize and acknowledge it. From my experience it’s emotional pain that causes mental strife … it’s the stuff that stands in our way of experiencing pure, unmitigated joy, and it does not leave on its own. It needs to be loved away.

I have come to this conclusion after 24 years walking the healing path; a journey that continues because even now, after all this time and with all the healing I have done, I still find myself bumping up against generational trauma that limits my ability to find my own joy in the moment.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

The notion is that nothing good is given without something good being taken away. Or, that when something good happens it will be quickly cancelled by something equally bad.

This is the big one. This is the one that sits quietly in the background of my psyche undermining my joy.

This is really old stuff. This is my two tyrannical grandfathers reigning terror on my tenderhearted grandmothers and their children.

I’ve done a good deal of family history so I have a fairly basic understanding of the hardships, prejudices and world events that shaped my family’s lives. Some of them coped better than others. My grandfathers not so much. I know now that their actions were the projection of their unresolved pain. The thing is that in those days no one talked about, never mind dealt with, their hurt. Everything was covered in a shroud of secrecy and bravado and allowed to fester and explode on the people around them. Not surprisingly, their families took the brunt. Sadly, this is still too much our society’s truth.

These days there’s no reason not to deal with our pain. Oh, there are plenty of excuses, most of them based in fear or shame, but the fact is the resources are out there to help everyone when they have the courage to step up and say, “Enough is enough!”.

I had to do it, or my life was going to implode.

Happily, one of the magical things I’ve learned while walking my healing path is that it’s not just my own pain I’m healing, it’s that of the ancestral collective that lives in me.

Many years ago, after a painful divorce, I made the decision to deal with my emotional baggage. I distinctly remember writing in my journal at the time that, “The buck stops here.” It wasn’t that there was a next generation I had to save. As fate would have it my family tree stops with me. It was more a strong feeling that I had to provide some relief for those who had come before me. We know from the field of epigenetics that trauma and beliefs can be encoded into our DNA. This means that we bear the emotional wounds of previous generations and these are perpetuated onto future generations unless we gather our courage and get the help we need to stop it. Think about  it … how many family ghosts are dwelling in your family’s attic and pull the strings of your life?

So, I made a pact with myself, and my ancestors, that I would do what I needed to heal my life and their pain. Interestingly, the more I have grown in self-awareness and been able to remedy my issues, the deeper has become, in a healthy way, my connection to my ancestors and their stories. I fell empathy for their experiences, not angst. This brings me joy because I feel I am no longer constrained by the debilitating patterns of self-denial wrought by generational terror and waiting for that damn shoe to drop. Most of the time.

Blossoming in our own truth

Every once in a while, when I feel the light of something wonderful in my life, I feel the threat of that old shoe. Years of therapy have put me in a better position to recognize when it’s there and to know that it has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with my experience. It is old. It is the shame, guilt, disappointments, bitterness, and all other negative emotions that dwell in the cauldron of fear that have stirred for generations. And when I sense its presence, it takes every ounce of courage I have to surrender the need to be controlled by this old family shame and throw the spectre of that old shoe out the proverbial door.

We are fortunate in these modern times to have access to good mental and emotional health care. Trauma no longer has to rule our lives if we only open ourselves to a chance for healing. Once we can free ourselves from the chains of family trauma, we are free to blossom into our truth and share its beauty with the people who share our lives.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Dust to Dust

Goodbye, we say again, goodbye,

Beneath a sad and sullen sky.

A year has passed

Since you drew breath;

Surrendered to untimely death.

My judgment, for I miss you so ~

I was not ready to let you go.

Still,  life goes on as well it must,

So I release your dust to dust.

Your spirit soars while tears I cry

Beneath a sad and sullen sky.

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks


No Last Goodbye

There are no words,

What can I say

About that cold

November day?

*

Here one minute,

Then you’re gone.

I didn’t know how

I would carry on.

*

We’d chased the wind

We’d jumped the moon.

Our journey ended

Far too soon.

Bear, I lost you, Bear.

Bear, sweet Bear.

We didn’t get

To say goodbye,

And now all I can

Do is cry.

*

You changed my life;

You healed my heart;

Then our sweet world

Was torn apart.

You are no longer here, my Bear

And yet, I sense you’re everywhere.

Bear, I love you, Bear.

Bear, I miss you, Bear.

(Lyrics from the song “No Last Goodbye” by Dorothy E. Chiotti)

~*~

Shakespeare

Every once in a while someone comes into our lives and shakes us up in all the right ways. My horse, Shakespeare, affectionately known as “Bear,” was one of those someones. Over almost 12 years together he did indeed change my life and heal my heart. He was a great teacher, a great friend and a beautiful soul. He made me look at the broken parts of my life and piece them back together again. For that I will always be grateful.

This week marks a year since Bear died from torsion colic, and it’s time for closure. All the firsts are behind us. Time to scatter his ashes to the wind from whence he came and allow my life to move forward.

The words of the poem were written for the loss of this dear friend, however I’m aware of the universal nature of the sentiments expressed. “Here one minute, then you’re gone …” who hasn’t known the feeling of sudden and inexplicable loss.

I dedicate this to all who have lost a sweet loved one and didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Lest We Forget …

Archie GordonIt is that time, once again, when our thoughts turn to the great sacrifices, whether through loss of life or limb or sanity, of those who fought in wars to protect our freedoms. I’m re-posting this from last year because my grandmother’s voice, as she talks about the loss of her brother, Archie, during WWII needs to be heard.

Hers is just one voice.

Lest we forget.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

In So Many Words

When I was a little girl, I loved to hear the family stories my Scottish granny, Alice Gordon, would share of her parents swapping the civilized life of gentry in Glasgow for the pioneering life of the wilds of northern Alberta in the 1920s. A family of nine stepping into the unknown to start anew under some of the most undesirable conditions possible. The longest, bitterest winters. The angriest mosquitoes. The biggest, immovable field stones. What a shock to the system! I’ve heard lately that if they’d had the money they would have returned to the old country after just a year of these, and other, challenges. Their life was just that hard.

Still, Granny was proud to tell of their sacrifices, incumbent hardships and the ultimate satisfaction of taming a hostile environment that provided a foundation for future generations to grow and prosper. She was also proud to call…

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I Rescued Me: The Healing Journey

Lost in my world of loneliness

I had to face my truth.

To find my way through emotions

That were making me feel so blue.

 

Now in the middle of life’s long years

There’s only one place to turn;

Inside where there lingers deflating fears

I’ll find the peace I yearn.

 

Cos I ain’t gonna run no more

My truth is standing at my door

She waits for me to call her name

So we can be one and the same.

 

Found in the debris of a broken heart

My soul is finally free

From the pain that always tore me apart

I am free to be me.

 

I am found

I am free

To be myself

I rescued me.

 

~*~

 

For the past several years I’ve traveled the healing path under the expert guidance of  a therapist. During that time I have come to realize that of all the journeys we will take while on this planet the exploration of our inner emotional and, by extension, mental world is, perhaps, the most profound; the most empowering; the most exciting, and the most liberating journey of all.

Recognizing, examining, understanding and releasing negative default programs drummed into us when we were too young to protect ourselves, is freeing. Essentially, we rescue ourselves from the lies we were conned into believing about ourselves (i.e. we’re unworthy; ugly; dumb; unlovable; not good enough; untalented … the list goes on) , and in doing so raise our self-awareness to make room for the possibility of living in a way that more accurately reflects our truth.

Free Spirit

Part of the process involves being willing and able to relinquish debilitating personal relationships; removing ourselves from unhealthy emotional and physical environments, and slaying those inner egotistical monsters determined to keep us bound to the past which is their power. Working with a qualified objective third-party helps us to find the gentle strength we need to do this. He, or she, is the knowledgeable guide gently leading us to an informed understanding and awareness of how we are in the world and how the world is with us, and why. As well, they help us to heal and release what no longer works and bring into our experience the inner resources we need to gently traverse our mental and emotional terrain with compassion, forgiveness, love and awe. Yes, awe ~ for however far we have come and whatever price we have paid we have made it far enough to finally be able to see how beautiful, strong and enough we really are.

This post opens with the lyrics of a song I wrote recently to celebrate my own hike along the healing path. I’ve been on a multi-year, multi-faceted adventure, negotiating previously uncharted and frequently frightening personal territory searching for that elusive pot of gold … my truth. This treasure has been buried beneath issues of Complex-PTSD related to early childhood trauma that, to this day, still dogs me when it comes to having any confidence about putting myself out in the world.

Writing this blog post is a first bold step to sharing my story. I want to help blow away the stigma that working with a therapist is a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s the exact opposite ~ it’s an amazing demonstration of courage and strength. There are millions of compassionate, empathic well-trained souls in the world wanting to help people reach the other side of a life-time of pain to find their own peace.

We wonder why there is so much pain and suffering in the world when it can be so easily explained. It’s a projection of all the unresolved pain and suffering we carry around with us and dramatize “out there” because we haven’t resolved it “in here.” I only need to look at my own life and the healing progress I’ve made in the past several years, with help, to know this is truth. I entertain less drama because the drama I used to carry around with me no longer needs to be stoked to make me feel alive. I feel alive in the peace I have found while negotiating the healing path.

The choice is simple … if we choose not to take the necessary steps to heal our emotional and mental life we have opted to suffer. Suffering is then what we project into our world and what comes back to us until we choose to make it stop ~ either by seeking help or by opting for the unthinkable which, as we know, is a great public concern in our times.

One day I decided I just didn’t want to suffer anymore. I chose to take control of my destiny by seeking help. I rescued me, and if I can do it, so can you.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy E. Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

(I’m presently documenting my healing journey in a book entitled, I Rescued Me: A Journey out of the Shadows of Complex-PTSD. It is my hope that by sharing my experience I can help others to find the courage to seek help with a qualified therapist, heal their lives and begin to thrive. Release date TBA.)

 

Hope

Glimmer,

hope.

Be there

for me.

Uphold my

faith in

what might be.

Help keep

my focus

on the prize.

Keep me

humble;

make me

wise.

Glimmer,

hope.

Be there

for me

so I, for

others, there

might be.

~*~

In a world of despair and disappointment a glimmer of hope helps to keep the heart light and the mind open. The source of that hope can be anything or anyone that speaks to our soul through encouragement, love, empathy. A simple “I believe in you” is often all it takes to help someone through a difficult time. It’s a glimmer of hope that says “everything will be alright in the end and if it isn’t alright, it is not yet the end.*”

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

*Patel, Hotel Manager, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Glimmer

 

 

Now You See It

Sheer shimmer;

Flash of light

Vibration.

Beyond shining.

More vital;

More alive;

More present behind

The grey disguise.

Mercurial, myriad

Hues ~ blues,

Greens, pinks,

Golds.

Shades of life

Discerned by

Soul. Now you

See it; now you

Don’t.

Now you see it.

~*~

images-3I was thinking of the beautiful feldspar stone, Labradorite, while writing this. Usually I carry a piece with me always as a reminder to be present and to appreciate the multi-layered complexities of life. At first glance Labradorite can look like a grey, uninteresting stone, but hold it to the light and its luminescent beauty shines forth, dazzling and delighting not just the eye, but the Soul.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Luminescent