Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Walk Through The Park

Reminders To Myself During This Time

I was able to track down the book I talked about in one of my previous posts, The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier.  Once I got it home I sat down and scanned through the first 3/4 of the book. It's about stuff I've already read about and processed through sessions in therapy so my scanning it was to make sure there wasn't something in there that I hadn't thought about.

The end of the book, where all of the talk about healing begins, is what I really wanted to read. As it turns out, it's stuff I knew already, as well. I just needed to be reminded. So, I want to post a few of those reminders here so I can come back to them. Maybe it'll help someone else out, as well.

"The first thing an adoptee can do is to become sick and tired of being a victim, of feeling as if she has no power in her life. That feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, which is left over from her infant/child years, permeates her consciousness even today. She has to want to get rid of it. She has to want to take responsibility for herself and not blame everyone-the whole world-for what is happening to her. It is easier to just drift along like a cork on the sea, bobbing along wherever the tide of life takes her. In order to grow up, to become an adult, she will have to give up that old friend lethargy and take an active part in her own healing process. This takes effort, commitment, and energy."

"One of the hindrances to an adoptee's helping herself heal is her feeling of being undeserving, unworthy. This is not reality, it is belief and beliefs need to be challenged. The adoptee is paralyzed by the belief that she was responsible for her own abandonment because she wasn't a good enough baby to keep."

"Challenging our old belief system is not as easy as it sounds. Those beliefs are familiar, they're old friends. It is difficult to let go of them. It is important to take small steps toward change."

"Part of discovering the true self is knowing our own values, ideas and opinions, and being able to express them and hold onto them in the face of differing viewpoints and without having to convince others that we are right. It also means keeping and open mind and being willing to change our ideas based on new and better information, not on the need for approval."

"Empowering ourselves is like a double-edged sword. On one side is freedom, freedom from our need for approval and the constant concern about what others think about us; on the other side is the necessity to take responsibility for our feelings and our choices."


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

An "aha" Moment

After reading through some pages online about the "Primal Wound" and a discussion on Facebook about those things, I tossed and turned most of the night thinking about it all. After meditating this morning, I sat down to write in my paper journal. I asked myself a series of questions that continuously popped into my mind all night and thought about all of the therapy I've experienced in my life.

"How do I change something that feels so instinctual? Will looking back in my past at my traumas help me heal and change that instinct? Or is it simply a matter of recognizing what's happening and changing it?" 

I also thought about the way I've "dealt" with these very same things in the past. I've done this research, I've dug up and talked about my childhood with therapists until I became frustrated because talking about it brought understanding but very little change. Understanding is important, but even more important for me at this point is moving past it all.

That's when the "aha" moment hit me. This beginning of this path to self discovery is all about forgiveness and letting go.  Honoring my past, recognizing the strength I needed to get to this point in my life then letting go of the pain and empowering myself to move on is where I am now.

Many thanks and gratitude to those who helped lead me to this "aha" moment.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Primal Wound

After reading a wonderful comment from one of my readers I did a bit of research on a book they suggested titled Primal Wound. In doing that I stumbled upon this page, which resonates with me so strongly. 

"When someone suffers a trauma at age 30, she can go back to age 25 or 27 as a reference point for her feelings, attitudes and behaviors. She knows that she wasn’t so fearful, so mistrustful, so needing to be in control, so sensitive to rejection, so depressed and anxious. She knew who she was and it isn’t who she appears to be now. Birth mothers, who experience trauma at the time of relinquishment, often get stuck emotionally at the age at which they gave birth.

You as adoptees have no reference point. For most of you, your trauma occurred right after birth, so there is no “before trauma” self. You suffered a loss that you can’t consciously remember and which no one else is acknowledging, but which has a tremendous impact on your sense of Self and others, your emotional responses, your behavior, and your world view. Your brain synapses connected according to your perception of your environment which seemed unsafe, unfamiliar, and in need of constant vigilance. This need for vigilance may have filled you with anxiety. Some of you became compliant and tried to be perfect, while others of you acted out and tested everyone who was important to you.

As children, these behaviors are to be understood and worked with patiently and lovingly (that is if adoptive parents are given a clue that their children have experienced trauma). But as adults, it is up to you to begin to realize the impact your actions have on others and to take responsibility for those actions. This is not always easy, because many of you don’t even realize that you have an impact. (Mom leaves, baby cries, mom doesn’t come back = I have no impact, no effect, no importance.) It is the baby mind that believes you have no impact. For the “adult truth” you have to check with others. Ask your husband/wife/mother/ partner: “Did it hurt you when I did…?” Then you can modify your behavior to reflect their answer. You have to begin to notice and acknowledge the effect you are having on others and then take responsibility for it. Take it from me: You do have an impact! You do matter!

Separation from mother is the ultimate loss. Although hidden from your conscious memory, that loss affects much of how you act in relationships. To be in a mature relationship, you must learn how your beliefs differ from reality. Then you can begin to change harmful behaviors. You may be acting from your trauma and not from your true self at all. Allow others to help you distinguish between the two, and learn to act from your true self, rather than from your traumatized self.

I’ve met thousands of adoptees since the publication of my first book in 1993, and each and every one has had a unique and wonderful personality. Yet there are many similarities in their behavior patterns, some compliant, some defiant, but behavior patterns which emanated from early trauma. As adults, it is time for you to gain control in your life. By you I mean the mature adult you, not the traumatized child you. (How many of you would consciously put a three-year-old in charge of your life? Well, you may have unconsciously done just that!) You have to begin to distinguish between your child and adult selves, and act from your adult self. You owe it to yourselves and those who love you.
Remember: You deserve to be treated with love, respect, and dignity, and you deserve to treat others with love, respect, and dignity."

I'm on the hunt for that book and another titled Journey Of The Adopted Self

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Heavy Heart

The battle between
want and need
rages deep
in my soul.

Neither of them compatible,
forcing me to choose
between myself and you.
Discipline and desire.

There is no denying
my love for you.
There is no denying
my need to be loved.

Choosing this path
of self discovery
feels selfish and

I crave our connection,
our love,
our attraction.

All I want to do
is wrap myself around you
and hold on tight.

But, I couldn't bear
the pain I know
it would eventually cause.
Because I know
I will once again find myself
right back in this place
and the resentment
will take hold because
I won't be able to
ask for what I need
because I'll feel
obligated to continue
on the path with you
while desperately wanting
to walk my own.

And the resentment will take hold.

Even tighter.

Destruction would be immanent.

Pain would be our last memory
and I don't want that.
For either of us.

I wish I knew
what the future holds.
For me.
For you.
For us.

Mostly, I wish I could
help you to understand
that I do love you.
So much.

And still,
the battle between
want and need
rages deep
in my soul.

Neither of them compatible,
forcing me to choose
between myself and you.
Discipline and desire.

There is no denying
my love for you.
There is no denying
my need to be loved.

My Root?

Yesterday during a conversation with my Mom (birthmother) about that "perfect child" in me she asked if I thought that maybe my being adopted had created that part of me. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with emotion.

Back in 2010 she told me about my first 5 days in this world. After she gave birth to me I spent 5 days in the nursery before going home with my adoptive parents. I wrote about it in this piece:

Monday, October 18, 2010

5 Days

One afternoon in December of 1969 my biological mother gave birth to me. She was young, un-wed and it was 1969. Because of these facts and a few others, it had already been decided that I was to be given up for adoption. So when I was born, my mother was only able to hold me just long enough to count all of my fingers and toes. I was then swept away to the nursery to be cleaned up, poked and prodded then left swaddled in one of those plastic bassinets on wheels.

This would be my ‘home’ for my first 5 days in this world, only to be picked up or touched when I needed to be fed or changed.  I was the only baby in the nursery for those 5 days.  My Mother spent all of her time at the nursery window trying to keep me company.

I came out of the warmth, love and safety of my Mother’s womb only to spend the first 5 days of my life alone in a sterile, cold, and unloving nursery. No hugs, no cuddles, no connection.

After doing a bit of reading on this subject, I am willing to bet that those 5 days alone in that nursery did more emotional and psychological damage to my then tiny brain than any of the other abuses I experienced in my life.

I feel like I’ve spent the last 40 years doing everything I could to get people to love me, to touch me, to hold me, to stay with me. Yet, I struggle to actually form an attachment because there is this knowing in me that tells me they’re not going to stay. I’m not good enough.

Later in my life, my adoptive Mother told me that I never cried as a baby. The doctor told her once that she needed to let me cry so my tear ducts would form properly. She told him that I was a quiet baby that never cried. There didn’t seem to be any explanation for it.

I had become the perfect, pleasing child. The one who wanted to make everyone happy. The one who wanted to make everything ok. Because, if I did, they would stay. Right? They would love me. Right?

Forty years later things are becoming much more clear to me. This was the beginning of my journey through this life. The first 5 days.

(c) Wendi Kali July 29, 2010

Was this where the "perfect child" was born?  I think so. 

Now comes the question, how do I heal her? 

The beginning of the path is clear. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Here I Am Back In This Space Again

This move I've made to the opposite coast seems to have brought the space I needed to turn and face some of my demons. In doing that I've come to realize the hurt and pain I've caused many of the people who I love the most in this world. Specially over the past 6 months. When things got a little hard for me in my last relationship I'm ashamed to admit it but I chose to run instead of dealing with it. In running I left a wake of destruction. Once I realized what I had done and clearly saw that wake, I owned up to it and wrote to the person who I had wronged the most, apologizing for the pain I caused her in my selfishness and cowardice. I hope one day she will be able to forgive me.

Since making that realization, I've been doing a lot of soul searching. I spent this morning reading through my blog entries from 2010. Certain entries in particular seem to be true for me once again, which is interesting. My very first blog post, Starting Over, was all about my finding this path again. Then, most of my posts in 2010 were all about finding myself and living authentically. 

This path is one I've started down a couple of times in this life but when I reached a fork in the path I chose to veer off and burry myself in a relationship. Instead of sitting through those feelings of needing to be loved I dove right into them head first.

Here I sit once again at the foot of this very same path. Seeing this pattern, it's become clear to me that I absolutely have to stay on the path this time. Which means, unfortunately, that jumping into a relationship again at this point is not an option. I lose myself in relationships because of the "perfect child" in me. Not knowing who I am means I have no solid foundation from which to build. I attach myself to the other person's foundation and mold myself into what they want me to be so they'll love me. This is why any relationship I get into right now would be doomed from the start. I just wish I had realized that completely before moving and causing more pain for someone else who I love dearly. My past love. She is too wonderful of a woman to cause even more pain to so I had to stop us before we went any further. I feel awful about it but in my heart I know it's the right thing to do. For both of us.

I have a lot of healing and introspection to do. Once I completely let go of the self hatred that I've stepped into and forgive myself for my transgressions, I hope to fully start again down this path of discovering me. I am sad, terrified and feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed but the good part about that is I recognize what I'm feeling. I acknowledge those feelings and am doing my best to sit with them rather then letting them make my decisions for me. This is completely new for me. One foot in front of the other I go.

"Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us." - Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart


Sunday, November 10, 2013

How I Spent My Sunday

Last week I subscribed to the Boston Burners list hoping to find a way to connect with other artists, Burners and like minded people. An email was sent out from the executive director of Harbor Arts looking for volunteers to come help clean up a space they have that they want to turn into a gallery and workshop space. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to connect with a few like minded people so I RSVP'd and spent today helping to clean up the space. It's a sweet little space above the maintenance building of East Boston's shipyard. 

This is the space we worked on today. I met a Burner who moved here 5 months ago from Los Angeles. He came to Boston for a rotation as an Occupational Therapist after graduate school and landed a job after his rotation. He was looking to connect with other Burners and artists in the area, as well, so it was great to have someone else there on the same mission. 

We took out a drop ceiling, moved all of the furniture out of the space and started wiping down all of the walls to prep it for painting, which starts next Sunday. 

All through the shipyard are pieces of art. Huge metal sculptures on the roof tops, on the grounds and lots of other art all over the place. It's like a "where's Waldo" for art. 

This one was one of my favorites.

This one is a stop light. I hid the sun behind it giving it some drama.

Do you see it? Do you see the change?

Another huge metal sculpture on a roof top. 

These pieces were at the beginning of the pier. So cool.

Colorful zip tie sea creatures.

This is a piece called the chair project. Very moving things painted and written on these pieces.

Hidden behind one of the shipyard buildings are these two old train tunnels that MassPort has allowed Harbor Arts to use for public spaces. Plans are still in the works for these.

I walked down to the end of the pier and found this beauty.

On one of the art pieces  sat a pretty little lady bug. So cute.

This was my view at the end of the pier. The beautiful Boston skyline. 

It was a good day. Check out Harbor Arts at Super cool organization.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Going Quiet

I need to go quiet while I figure some things out in my life. I may post photos here and there. 

Thanks for understanding.

Support, Autumn and Libraries

Yesterday I took a walk through this beautiful little town with my camera. Along the way, I stopped at the local library, got my library card and checked out a couple of books. I'm grateful and appreciative of the support from the wonderful woman who opened up her home and welcomed me to this beautiful town, the beauty that is Autumn and the sanctuary of the library.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Today's Gratitude

Today I am grateful for a bit of clarity. I'm also grateful for the courage to own my mistakes and apologize.