Past lives? Angels? You decide.

 

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I usually don’t do first-person on my blog but when people come into your life and guide you towards a profound shift, I think it might help others. So here goes.

I’ve been suffering from chronic sinus challenges for decades. I had a minor operation which seemed to help—years ago. But certainly, for the last several years, it’s been an ugly challenge in my life. These past twelve months have been insane. It seems every month, I finish a dose of antibiotics and five days later, I’m back at the doctors. I keep telling myself, if that’s all that’s wrong with me, go with it and stop complaining. But—it’s not normal! Yes, I’ve done the x-rays—nothing abnormal. Even last summer when I went to Europe, I took antibiotics with me, the same way you might take your vitamins.

This brings me to yesterday. Since the 29th of December, I’ve spent 21 days on antibiotics and still, yesterday I was sure I had the infection back. This week I started treating myself with natural remedies, ginger, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, and hot water and that has definitely made me feel better. And I lost 8 lbs. on VIVRI and that’s been great. Still, something happened the night before, I wasn’t feeling great, and I was all blocked up, and I went back to the doctor for another dose of sinus meds.

Can I say I love my new doctor? She’s young, Mexican, beautiful and very smart. But more than that, she’s caring. She’s also the one who gave me my last dose of medication about three weeks ago. She checked me out and shook her head. No, there’s no infection and then she said: Tell me about your life.

I looked around. I had trouble looking her in the eye. And I started to cry. Not a big cry or a sobbing… just leaking. You know what I mean? I told her about my personal life–she started to ask about sex but I wasn’t going there at all! And here she is, a stranger who wants to take the time to help you when your physical problems might just be related to your emotional life…

You see, I have this friend who has been dying for years…and years…and yet holds on. It’s as if we both live in limbo. And I can’t go forward and we can’t go back and change the past. I can’t leave and I can’t let go. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I think I’m addicted to home renovation shows because the family’s happiness at the end allows me to cry. I don’t cry—ever. But lately, the tears come at awkward moments. Like yesterday, with a doctor, I hardly know.

I sat there in front of this wonderful caring young woman and I couldn’t speak. I knew. I just knew that whatever she was thinking at that moment, was correct. Sometimes the things we hold in emotionally have to find their way to the surface somehow. I can go back in my life right now and measure the worst bouts I’ve had with this physical problem and see that they are truly connected to issues of my emotional heart. When my marriage was dissolving in Whistler, when I split with C, and now…

I’m kind of surprised at myself that I never made the connection. After all, I wrote LOVE, The Beat Goes On about the emotional aspects of healing and how I worked on my emotional heart and healed it after I was given six months to live in 2008. I told her about that part of my story, and the Shaman in Sedona, and my fractured soul. And I sat there and shook my head. Unshed tears. Years and years of hope and despair and hope again. An old expression came into my mind as I write this blog: Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.

She refused to take payment for my visit, instead, she asked for a hug. I left her office with a new understanding. Yes, people do come into your life for a reason. And I do believe in angels and past-lives.

I’ve taken the first step. I’m opening myself up to dealing with something I’ve buried for so long. I think I’m tired of caring for everyone else and it’s time to wrap myself up in my fleecy robe and learn to love myself all over again.

I think my mother is watching over me from wherever our spirits go when we die, and sent me an earthly angel to help me move on from sorrow and find my light again.

 

 

 

 

Lovers

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© Lynda Filler Photography

 

Lovers

 

I look for you in darkness

moments when my heart

skips beats, breathless

with longing

and I pray for you

to rescue me

 

I look for you in aloneness

moments full and complete

wanting to share

in that middle place

where lovers go

and souls mate

 

I look for you in Paris

while lovers laugh

hands held

dreams shared

memories made

never to be repeated

 

I look for you

but you’re not here

 

© I (Spy) Love, Lynda Filler

 

 

I’m not that kind of girl…

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“Powerful and unforgettable” JackMagnus, 5 Star Readers’ Favorite

This is a book every human alive should read and take away the lessons given. If I could give it ten stars, I would. It’s that good.”J. Sikes
excerpt from LOVE The Beat Goes On:

 

7

Event One: My Cowboy

I’ll always remember his faded tan cowboy boots — scuffed, old, comfy — and the sky blue denim shirt stretched taut across powerful broad shoulders — my cowboy, as I refer to him. And I’ll definitely never forget that lustful smile on his lips when I answered his knock on my hotel room door.

I was naked… sort of.

I’m not usually that kind of girl… except the times when I am. And that was one of those times. I stood just inside the door to a room with a luxurious king-sized bed, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass, on the twenty-eighth floor of the Sheraton Wall Center, and was wrapped in a gauzy pink beach wrap. A girl has to meet a dare, right?

“So even though you’re cheating with that pink sheer wrap, I’m impressed.” Standing six feet and a few inches, Dr. Evil flashed that silly, young, boyish smile and kissed me softly on my lips.

I brushed stray strands of the softest, dusty-brown hair out of his sexy, grey eyes and laughed, proud of my sophisticated nakedness and ready for wherever the evening would take us.

It may be difficult for you to align your thoughts that a spiritual woman and a “meet me at the door naked” first-date type of girl can exist within one person. But that’s who I am. By now, you may have deduced that there is nothing traditional about me. I don’t believe in picket fences, and for some reason, have always been allergic to wedding bands. It’s not that I don’t want to be married. Not at all. I love the idea. I just can’t seem to figure out how to make the happily-ever-after part of it work.

But then, as I write these words, one of the secrets of my healing stares right back at me — How could you love another, Lynda, when you’ve never really felt you, yourself, was worthy of love?

Definitely a bad affirmation, but at that time in my life, I still had a lot of self-love issues that needed my attention.

It was December 21, 2007, just four days before Christmas, and in front of me stood my dream man. I had visualized him in my mind and had written down my wish list of attributes — age appropriate, successful nerd (he even looks like Bill Gates), living in Seattle (only because that’s the home of Starbucks & Amazon), handsome, fun, and single.

His seventeen-year-old daughter and her girlfriends were the ones who’d prepared his online profile — without a photo — on the dating site where I’d stumbled across him. Yes, he’d known about it, sanctioned it even, but they’d had to do the work. They’d tirelessly sifted through numerous responding women, and I was one of their top choices.

After many hours getting to know each other on Skype and Yahoo, as much as two people can know each other who’ve never actually met, there he and I finally were, meeting in person.

As I previously mentioned, our online-relationship began while I was still living in Mexico and I was supposed to stop in Seattle so we could finally meet in person. But I’d gotten lost and stood him up. However, I was forgiven and have been ridiculously infatuated ever since I looked into his mischievous, gentle, grey eyes.

There was also sadness within those eyes. Throughout our first evening, I learned about the woman he’d loved, who had died a few years before from Multiple Sclerosis. With all my man’s scientific brilliance, he cursed himself because he hadn’t been able to find the answers to save her.

As our night unfolded, and well into the next day, we shared our pain and our hopes, and continued to build a strong bond. I knew from the first time we chatted online we had something special. And now that we were physically together, I only wanted to hold him and take away his pain.

This would turn out to be a major event in my life. Our time together was magical.

But life has a way…

 

 

© LOVE The Beat Goes On

 

 

Someone Stole

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Someone Stole

 

I try to remember

yes,

I go back

but there are years, blank years

why is that?

 

I have a few photos

they don’t speak to me

(maybe I’m a Russian sleeper)

who are these people?

the little girl with blond curls,

           the rag dolly she carries by one leg

           a defiant expression on her two year old face

           a mother, watching, never touching

 

I should feel something, shouldn’t I?

 

“Memories, may be beautiful and yet

What’s too painful to remember

We simply choose to forget”

is it really the Way We Were?

 

tradition amnesia

shallow roots

hollow words,

echoes of a life

i n c o m p l e t e

 

I surrender to those dark years

I need to know

 

In knowing what has been denied

will I find peace?

 

someone stole my memories

you can keep all the bad stuff

but I want my love memories back

 

 

 

 

How did you start over after you had lost everything? How did you get your life together? Q

 

I’ve done it twice.

The first time I left an abusive husband. I’d attempted to leave twice before but he always found me and forced me to come back. He would come to my place of work, cause trouble, and get me fired. Or he would get the landlord to let him into my apartment saying I was a drug addict and he was worried I’d over dosed because I wasn’t answering the phone. Of course, the landlord would want me out. I felt helpless and scared.11377228_10152976883964150_596180098820635031_n

One day I packed my suitcase and placed my Old English sheepdog with a man I’d met in the dog park—my ex had threatened to kill my dog! Then I took a bus to another city and lived with a family I knew in their basement for two weeks. I had $200 in my bank account, bad memories, and bruises. It took him a month to find me but by then I was settled had found a great job and had rescued my sheepdog. There was no way I was going back and he knew it.

The second time was different because I was happily married with two young boys and a husband. I hadn’t lost everything but it felt like everything—my home and my business. Economic downturns can be challenging for anyone. Again I packed up my family, made a decision about our future and moved across the country to start all over again.

It was a challenge to be sure. But here’s what works for me:

  1. I never look back.
  2. I always believe in myself.
  3. I never let depression overtake me.
  4. I always know I will land on my feet and find success again.
  5. I listen to my cheerleaders: My mother used to tell me how proud she was of me. And now it’s my sister who’s taken over that role.

I put one foot in front of the other and keep on going!

 

Read more about Lynda’s life/challenges and she will share her simple but powerful mindset ideas.

Meet #RWISA Author Stephanie Collins

 

Guilt, Shame & Fear

By Stephanie Collins

“I can’t stand the feeling of being out of control, so I’ve never had any interest in trying drugs or alcohol,” I mused.

“You sure seemed to have an interest when you were younger,” Dad informed me. He responded to my perplexed look before I had a chance to deny his claim. “What? You don’t remember trying pot? Let’s see. It was about 1975. That would have made you five, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a summer afternoon. I walked into the living room and found you with a bong in one hand and a beer in the other. You just looked up at me, glassy-eyed, with a smile on your face and said, ‘Hi, Dad.’ You don’t remember that?”

“Uh…no!”

“Ha! Do you remember the massive headache you had the next day? You hated life that day! I told you not ever to do it again…and you never did,” he reminisced in a tone laced with humor and pride.

It was after that conversation when I really began to question my apparent lack of childhood memories. I have next to no memory of life before the divorce of my parents (when I was eight) and precious few afterward.

My parental split also marks the onset of memories of the “secret playtime” I shared with Dad. I remember realizing that what was happening to me was wrong (to a certain extent, anyway), but Dad really missed Mom. I felt proud to be there for him in his time of grief and loneliness. I had many roles as the oldest daughter. I got my toddler sister to bed on time, scolded her when I found her drinking a beer (that one I do have a vague memory of), and I cleaned the house. Those “more intimate interactions” with Dad were just another in my list of responsibilities as I saw it.

But if Dad remembered the timeline correctly, Mom and Dad were still together when I was five. Where was Mom when her Kindergartener daughter was experimenting with drugs? Could this mean I should add neglect as a descriptor of my “chaotic” upbringing? Could it mean the molestation began earlier than I have any memory of? Does it even matter at this point?

For a time, I was skeptical if someone told me s/he didn’t have sexual abuse in their background. It seemed it was everywhere. I ran a support group in a junior high school when getting my psychology degree. It was for eighth-grade girls, and the only qualifier for an invitation to the group was poor school attendance. After a few weeks of meetings, I opened a session with – innocently enough – “So, how was everyone’s weekend?” One girl immediately began to cry. She explained she had confronted her parents over the weekend with the news that her brother had sexually abused her for years. She had come forward out of fear for the niece her brother’s girlfriend had just given birth to. That student’s admission led to the revelation that six of the seven of us in our circle that day had a history of sexual abuse.

My best friend in college was gang-raped in high school. My college boyfriend was [brutally] raped by a neighbor as a child. Maybe the most disturbing situation I heard about was when I was a senior in high school. I had befriended a freshman. She came to me one day, inconsolable. She was petrified, as she was positive she was pregnant. I tried to calm her with reassuring words, then asked, “Have you told [your boyfriend] yet?” She burst into a fresh bout of tears. When she was finally able to speak again, she confessed in an agonized whisper, “I can’t! It’s not his. It’s…it’s my uncle’s, or my father’s.”

I don’t know how I thought sexual abuse was rampant all around me but had somehow left the rest of my family untouched. Soon after my first daughter was born, I learned that Dad had attempted to molest my younger sister when I was about 12 (my sister would have been 7 or 8 then). As it turns out, I disrupted the attempt when I went to inform them I had just finished making breakfast. I learned of that incident because our [even younger] step sister had just pressed charges against Dad for her sexual abuse from years earlier. He served four years.

Incidentally, that family drama enlightened me to the fact that my grandmother had been abused by a neighbor. My aunt had been abused by her uncle. I wonder if Dad had been sexually abused, too (in addition to the daily, brutal physical abuse I know he suffered at the hands of my grandfather).

As with most survivors of abuse from a family member, I am full of ambiguity and conflict. I am glad Dad was educated to the error of his ways. I’m satisfied he paid for his crimes. I’m relieved the truth came out. I hate that the truth came out. I mourn for the shell of a man who returned from prison. I weep for a family that was blown apart by the scandal. I am heartbroken for my grandmother, who was devastated by the whole ordeal. I am thankful I live 3000 miles away from my family, so I don’t have to face the daily small-town shame they all do, now that Dad is a registered sex offender. I am proud of my step sister for speaking up. I am woefully ashamed for not having the courage to do it myself, which possibly would have prevented the abuse of others after me. I love my father. I am thankful for the [many] great things he has done for me over the years. I hate the effect his molestation had on me, including the role it likely played in my high school rape by another student, and my first [abusive, dysfunctional] marriage.

As I’ve clearly demonstrated, my story is far from unique. Heck, it’s not even remotely severe or traumatic when compared to what others have survived. Still, here I am – 40 years after my first memories of molestation – and I’m still suffering the consequences. Along with my disgrace for allowing others to be abused after me, I carry incredible shame for my involvement in the acts (regardless of the decades of therapy that advise me I had no real power or choice in the matter). I carry unbelievable guilt for the strain my history places on my relationship with my husband. He’s an amazing, wonderful, loving man, who deserves nothing less than a robust, vigorous, fulfilling sex life, but gets – to the best of my ability – a [hopefully] somewhat satisfying one. I carry secret embarrassment over the only real sexual fantasy I have – that of reliving my rape and [this time] taking great pleasure in castrating the bastard in the slowest, most brutally savage way imaginable.

Heaviest of all, I carry fear. There’s nothing I can do to change my past. All I can do is work toward preventing the continued cycle of abuse. I may have a warped view of personal boundaries, I may struggle with my sexuality, and I may be somewhat unfamiliar with healthy family dynamics, but I can do all in my power to ensure my kids fare far better than me. I fear failure.

My eldest daughter has mild to moderate developmental delay. While statistics for sexual abuse in the general population is scary enough, the likelihood of abuse when a cognitive disability is involved is all but a certainty. My second daughter is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and severely mentally delayed. She’s a prime candidate for abuse. What if my efforts to protect them fall short?

My [teenaged] son and my youngest [“tween”] daughter both have ADHD. Impulse control is a constant struggle for them both. What if the education, counseling, advice, and coaching I offer them about healthy relationships, sexuality, safety and personal responsibility aren’t enough?

I try to counteract these lingering after effects of abuse by remaining ever thankful for the love, good fortune, and beautiful life I share with my husband and children today, but my guilt, shame, and fear cling to me with tenacious persistence.

I am just finishing “It Begins And Ends With Family” by Jo Ann Wentzel. I highly recommend the read. The subject is foster care, but no conversation about foster children is complete without a discussion of child abuse and neglect. While we can debate the best course of action in helping abused children, the top priority must be to work toward a goal of prevention; to break the cycle of abuse. I am hopeful that – as a society – we can work together to empathize, educate, support, counsel, and care enough to stop the cycle of all abuse. If sharing my truth will help toward that goal, well…Here I am. This is my truth.

 

 

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Stephanie Collins

Childhood Sexual Abuse?

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I have weird thoughts about my childhood.

I can only remember two events before the age of 11.

The first, I got caught playing doctor with a boy on the picnic table in the back yard of our house when I was 5 or 6. The second event, I was dancing ballet all by myself in my room listening to a song called Unchained Melody.

Oh, my love, my darling
I’ve hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
Time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me

I remember playing that song over and over again. I think I was 8. How could I have understood a longing for love at that age?

I can’t stand the smell of beer. I don’t know why. I’ve never even had a sip. Sometimes I think I’m in denial over events in my childhood.

I had an Uncle who loved to have me sit on his lap (my sister told me this—I don’t remember). He was in the Navy. I do remember a corkboard of ribbons— hatbands, with the names of the ships he worked on, hanging like streamers on my bedroom wall. He gave them to me. I felt special.

The family used to whisper things about him. When I was an adult, his wife died and he re-married—his childhood sweetheart. She had two daughters. The marriage only lasted two years. My sister thinks he sexually molested her teenage daughters.

Sometimes I wonder if I was sexually abused in my early years and I’ve blocked the memories.

I’ve lived a long relatively happy life and if I was sexually molested, I don’t need to know.

 

 

More about my life

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I Was Your Age

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I have a hazy recollection of playing doctor with a boy when I was six. I think my mother caught us. Or maybe I made it up. I really don’t know. Most people can chronicle episodes from early childhood. I can’t. What I do remember is my first job. I was eleven. And I made .25 cents an hour. No I’m not THAT old! Well, maybe I am.

Every week my mother went to the hairdressers. My dad was a military man. We lived in Ottawa in a basement apartment and we were four kids. I think we were poor but we didn’t really know it. Either way every week my momma went to the beauty salon.

I remember her hairdresser so well mainly because she gave me my first job. I got to wash hair on Saturdays for .25 cents an hour. At the end of the day I would take the used towels, wash them out by hand and hang them outside on a clothesline. It’s not that washer/dryers didn’t exist… I’m sure they did. But we didn’t have one at the salon. Can you magine hanging and taking down frozen towels, in minus 10 degrees, in the brutal Ottawa winter?

Momma would tell me stories about her sisters who were born with their amazing Irish curly reddish hair. She was so jealous. So every couple of months she would get what was called a “permanent.” She would sit with chemicals in her hair and rollers that were supposed to make her hair curly for a month or two at a time. I don’t know if that even exists today. And then, weekly, her hairdresser who had the most beautiful Amber Rose blond pixie cut hair would put Momma’s straight/sometimes chemically induced curls,  in metal rollers, and sit her under a huge bubble hairdryer to set. I never ever saw my mother wash her own hair.

Over the years I went to the hairdressers only for a cut or colors–yes I’ve always been a fan of multi-colors. I’ll blame that on my passion for fashion. Beauty parlors were never my thing—until last year. I went from a spiky short cut that had been my trademark for twenty years and let my hair grow shoulder length. And now, going to see Miriam (aka MY hairdresser) every week has become my “thing.” And every time I go, I remember my mother. And my aunt who had those luxurious curls that my momma loved so much.

This morning I sent this photo to my sister.

Momma would have loved my curls.