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kid with suitcase

“I’m outta here!”

I was about 7 years old and leaving home.  No one appreciated me and all my hard work.  I helped my Mom with chores, fetched tools for Dad working on the car or building stuff, and always helping my little sisters, who drove me nuts!  I remembered lying in my bed thinking I would probably leave and no one would miss me.  I was going to live with my friend Jenny (though she nor her parents were informed) and play pool, video games, and Charlie’s Angels with our friend Holly without any interruptions.

So I packed a bag with only my favorite clothes, my favorite blanket (yellow with a satin ribbon edging), and my pillow.  Jenny would have everything else I would need.  I remember getting about a block away from home when a few thoughts entered my mind.  Jenny always wanted to stay for dinner when we had our Cajun style “red beans n’ rice”.  I’d have to get that recipe… and my Mom’s chili… not to mention monkey bread (obviously fine dining was of clear importance to me).   I then thought my Mom would not get off to work in time without me to help chorale my sisters in the morning to get dressed, eat breakfast, and walk to school.  But it was not my fault if they were late!!!  NO!  . . . And how would Dad ever fix the car without me to pass the metal thingy’s?  Sure, my brother could help, but he was always off playing with his friends.

I am certain any on-lookers from neighboring windows got a good chuckle out of watching me and this very serious internal debate going on inside my head.  Outwardly, I would walk a few houses, stop, turn around, change my mind, and walk a few houses more before changing my mind again. ( I see now that “indecision” has been a long-standing friend of mine.)  But things had to change, because my living conditions became unbearable and I refused to go on unappreciated like that. . .  I was going to tell my parents what I thought!    The details are foggy but I recall reciting in my head, on the walk home, what circumstances would need to change in order for me to stay.    When my parents arrived home from work we had a little chat.  It turns out my parents were reasonable people!  They were wonderful listeners  and we had a lovely conversation about a many great things.  It felt so good letting my parents know how I was feeling and to have those emotions validated and heard.  I moved back in and rested very well that night.

I find it so interesting that some of my negative thought cycles began so young, and with such strong conviction!   It’s amazing how much responsibility I had already accepted for matters and problems that were never mine.   My focus was already on making everyone else feel good and allow their happiness take precedence over mine.   I may have returned home and unpacked my emotional baggage and that felt good, but I continued that cycle for most of my life.  Things would get uncomfortable with friends, family, or even work and already I was packing my suitcase with unspoken hurts, emotions, and disappointments with an underlying thought of “that’s it, I”m outta here!”   But I was doomed to repeat this same toxic cycle over and over until I decided to change the only thing I could, . . .  ME!    

Now, rather than insert myself(me) into other people’s problems or base my life’s decisions around the happiness of others,  I try to pack my bags and move on, but for very different reasons.




March 1, 2013 0 Comments

The Acorn lesson in healing

I barreled out of the house barefoot to run and get my father, and ended up jamming an acorn between my big toe and toe nail.  I’m sure I cried bloody murder, and in my young eyes, there was enough blood to prove it.  Dad swept me off my feet and rushed me to the bathroom, resting my bloodied legs in the bathtub.  He was calm and collected. . . I on the other hand was freaking out.   My heart was racing, I went into a full blown sweat, and my breathing shallow and frantic.

Dad was searching through the medicine cabinet and then came towards me with what appeared to be tape of some kind, bandages, and a bottle of what I thought to be rubbing alcohol.  “Don’t put that on me, it’ll sting!” I cried.  Without hesitation, he told me to close my eyes, and just keep taking really deep breaths.  Before I could finish my first “deep breath” that acorn was yanked out from under my toe-nail, and something poured over my foot, I looked down at what appeared to be a tub filled with blood, and in my panic, he said ,” It’s Iodine, it’s red, see!“ and poured more out to prove my blood loss would not be fatal.   I believed him.  However, up to that moment, I feared a trip to the hospital; poking, prodding, and even surgery!  (I know, what a drama queen, eh?)  Per request, I resumed my deep breaths while he dressed my wound.

Lesson #1: 

Thoughts drive our emotions!

My heightened panic was a direct result of worrying about what my future might be like.  I suspect the pain I was experiencing was also rooted more in my worries than the actual experience of the moment.

Lesson #2:

Where my attention goes, energy flows! 

Focusing on my breath and more specifically, taking deep breaths taught me how to redirect my thoughts.  As long as I was focused on my fearful outcomes, my body was in agreement . . . my heart rate increased, my breath was quick and shallow and my anxiety increased.  When my attention shifted to breathing with intention, I increased the amount of oxygen to my lungs, slowed my heart rate, and broke my “stress cycle”.

Lesson #3:

Help from another person opens our situation to resources beyond our awareness.

I learned that day, that my father had served as a medic in the military and  previously worked caring for burn victims in a hospital ward.  Even without his background if he was unable to manage the situation, he would have called on someone who could.  The small scar on my right big toe, was proof of my traumatic experience and retold “swapping horror stories” throughout my childhood.  No matter what emergency my parents responded to; my brother’s many broken bones, my sister’s cracked head, the tick burrowed into my head. . . their response was basically the same.  I am aware that there are far more horrific injuries many of us have encountered in our lives.  My story is not meant to trivialize more harmful situations, or belittle very real problems.  It is simply a story to illustrate how to begin to heal what is broken, one step at a time.

Don’t worry, everything will be fine

Take deep breaths and calm down

We’ll get you taken care of…

March 1, 2013 0 Comments
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