When I reflect on the past few weeks, I can see that I’ve been getting busy! Here are a few of the things I’ve been up to:
Joymeter: 75 Days of Summer: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the past three weeks have seen a marked increase in my activities. It’s summer, of course, which makes all of nature including me come alive. But also I wrote my “Turtles” post on this blog in late June and that sparked some new actions, actions that bring me joy.
In that post, I talked about feeling a desire to do something — go see some turtles in a park — and then the feeling that followed which was my innocent desire being squashed by the ghost of the voice of my abusive father, from the past. After writing “Turtles,”I decided to focus on noticing and claiming what gives me joy, and to write about that.
The blog posts on Joymeter: 75 Days of Summer focus less on ptsd and more on joy, but sometimes on both. I’m finding it helpful to focus on what makes me happy — and also to notice what gets in the way of that. I’m doing more of what makes me happy, now. Here’s the rub, though: the time commitment to write every day is a bit of a stretch for me and can actually feel stressful sometimes! I don’t want that to get in the way of my joy, so I’ll have to figure that out!
I’ve been Dating (gasp!): Well, to be more accurate, I went on exactly one date. And it wasn’t really a date, it was more meeting the guy for a coffee. It was a bit… brutiful. I wrote about that here.
I’m Still Learning About My Triggers. Of course. Besides my sort of date above, I had some nice (no, not really) practice trying to identify triggers in an appearance at traffic court recently (just for a parking ticket I thought was unfair). Being in an environment with that degree of formality and overt authority figures was certainly triggering and hard for me to manage; it did a number on me. It was my first time in court and I didn’t know the rules. Of course, my younger parts were terrified about possibly “doing something wrong.” I managed as best I could but it was quite tough.
I used to think that somehow I was going to process my trauma in therapy and then I would be healed and there would be no more triggers. I now know this isn’t true. My entire childhood and early adulthood was impacted by chronic developmental trauma. Triggers, therefore, are myriad. The good news though is that I’m starting to be able to isolate my triggers — they’re not always one big blob of undifferentiated panic buttons. Reading some of Heidi Hanson’s very mindfully written articles about her experience of PTSD helped me to understand this. For example, in this article here, she refers to “22 ways” she is triggered by her boyfriend. I get it now. I have lots of triggers. And I can tackle them one by one.
I Got a Hug from Amma: For 35 years Amma, who hails from India, has been circling the globe, providing selfless service to those in need and spreading her message of love and compassion. She is best known for the hugs she gives to people from all walks of life. To be in her presence is to behold holiness itself; she is known as “the hugging saint.”
I first stood in line to get a hug from Amma three years ago. It wasn’t a normal hug. I experienced something electric in it, and a shifting. I felt a peace that stayed with me for weeks afterward.
My experience this time was no less profound, but different. As I waited my turn I became aware of a stressful tension in my mind. I realized I thought I didn’t deserve a hug from Amma. Imagine, she’s hugged over 33 million people worldwide, but I didn’t deserve a hug!!
I had tears as I waited and as Amma held me in her arms. There was no electricity this time. This time, Amma held me for what felt like a long time; this time she gently rubbed my back.
She gave me divine love and she gave me the gift of a sense of belonging in the world.
My hug was only last night (or, I should say, early this morning. Be aware if you decide to go to see Amma that it’s a long night. I arrived at 5:00pm and got my hug at 3:00am. The conference hall was still packed with people waiting for their hug when I left). I’m grateful for the effects of it I feel today. I look forward to them lingering.
Yours in joy, love and healing.