21 Monkeys – DAY TWO: Some Head Twirly Shit – A wee CSA Survivor Bunnyhole Slide

DAY TWO of the Miraculous Relationships 21 Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak and Oprah
DAY TWO of the Miraculous Relationships 21 Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak and Oprah

I do hope you all know that my silliness is.. just that.  I am silly but I am serious.  ” I’m a picker, I’m a grinner I’m a lover and I’m a sinner…”

Today’s message and meditation took me down an interesting path.

See, I’m a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) and, as such, I have a sort of strange relationship with my body.  If you are a regular visitor here, you may already have noticed that I often refer to it as “the body” – as though it is something… separate from ME.  It’s something I work on.

I seem to work on A LOT, non?

Anyhow… Listening to Deepak today… talking about our soul, our True Self, the Observer…. I suddenly heard it in a different way.

I have read Eckhart Tolle and others on … being present… being in the now… and I seemed to struggle with it.  I saw myself as spending an awful lot of time following the story in my mind instead of actually being PRESENT with what is happening in the here and now.  My mind stories are vast and many… replaying events that recently happened, fretting about the future… on and on and on the stories go.  Like everyone else in the universe.  The monkey mind is full of chatter all the time.

This remains true.  My mind is a monkey.  OK.

But here’s a new thing – for me.

This talk about The Observer and the equating of this Observer with the True Self.  Well… this has thrown me for a bit of a loop-de-loop today.

See – I … envision this … higher self… this wise old broad… who is me – but so much more… evolved.  Right?  I call her Ela.  She comes to me in dreams and sometimes in meditation.  She comforts me and she challenges me and … well… She is the best part of me.  She is my True Self, then. She is The Observer.

That’s cool.  But here’s the thing… listening to Deepak’s message today and working through the Journal Questions I realized that… I have always had a super strong tie with The Observer.  Though this… vision/creation of ELA is fairly recent to me, consciously, I realize that she has been with me… always. I have been… ACTIVELY aware of The Observer since I was about 3 years old.  I have always (it feels like) had the ability to slip out of “the body.”

And this is where we start to slip down the CSA Survivor Bunnyhole…

Because on the one hand I have the concept of the… Higher Self Observer… and on the other hand I have… dissociation… which is the lovely little trick we survivors develop to leave the body when the body is in… a not so great place.


When I started working through the Journal Questions today… something started to… shift inside of me.

The first question was: Take a moment to identify the times or situations where you tend to feel most disconnected from your true self. Describe what this disconnection feels like. What are your thoughts in these moments? What do you feel in your body? What emotions do you experience?

So I start writing about the “old days” when I used to dissociate (which TO ME means to basically leave the body and watch from above)… then, as I’m writing it out, I start to think… “Wait a minute… maybe when I dissociated I was actually IN TOUCH with my True Self.  I became the Observer, right?”  WHAAAAT?

This, as you can imagine, was pretty head-twirly shit.

And I know it might get folks up in arms – cause we are taught that dissociation is not a great thing.  It is a numbing out. It  helped us survive the trauma but when we do it NOW – it is a bad thing. It takes us AWAY from life.  It blinds us to what is actually happening before our eyes (Check out this article for instance).

I know that.  I’ve been in therapy.  I’ve worked hell hard on NOT DISSOCIATING when things heat up in my life.  Even though for me it was always a sort of… watch and protect thing.  I never went totally away, but when I did it… when I DO it… I am not all zen smarty pants woman… I am silent and watching and it is hard to get back IN the body and react properly… so… OK… this is NOT the same thing as “being in touch with my higher self”…. But there is something here that I need to look at think about….There is a connection here.  There is.

Just for a minute… I saw the whole dissociation thing a different way.  And I need to think about it for a while and… for some mad reason, I’m writing about it here.

I could well be off my nut for working this out in public. But I have a feeling there are a few more folks out there who are working through this thing too.

See…  I do think my True Self is … distinct from the body, but… I don’t want it to be. I want to…integrate them.

I spent far too long in my life divided between the spiritual-seeker-girl floating around in her pure white nighty and the hell-raising-chick who wanted to dance nekkid round the fire and let rip the roar from within. I would like these two women to be ONE.  I would like my spirit to be IN and strongly tied to my body.  I would like to feel… whole and grounded.  All the time.

The next journal question was: The thoughts and feelings you identified are cues. What are three things you can do to reframe and reconnect to your true self when you recognize these cues in your life?

And I wrote:

Breathe deeply

Feel my feet – I really think that will help

Picture Ela – bring yourSelf to mind and let her/YOU be present.

These things just came to me. Because see – that would be… all of me… bring all of me present into the moment.  Mind/body/spirit… yeah. OK then.

I think this could actually work and I plan to give it a try.

I wonder if I can do it.

THEN they asked us to Describe a time when you felt very connected to your soul. What did it feel like? What specifically about this time leads you to identify it as a soulful moment?

I began to write and was tossed back to a mountainside in Austria, when I was in Bible School.  I was on a bit of a Christian Vision Quest – spending a night out on the mountain alone — just me an, a bible, a tarp and some water. In the morning, I found myself sitting in the sunshine, contemplating the rest of my life and praying, I suppose.  I had my eyes closed and I saw a lovely old woman.  It was Ela, though I didn’t recognize her at the time.  I assumed it was my way of picturing God – a lovely old woman, smiling.  And… the butterflies came.  A flock of butterflies came and landed on me – all around me – and I felt the calm sureness that I would be …ok… And that I should go and be… an actor.

And… as soon as I wrote that down… my inner voice started up….

“But… But…you are not an actor.”

Nope.  I’m not.  Not right now, anyhow.  Right now, I’m a writer and a gardener and a cooker of tasty food and a friend and a lover and… so on…. but nope… I am not acting – right now.  And, yeah, that makes my heart ache a bit.  But it’s OK.

I have a feeling I’ll get back to it one of these days.

There is one thing I know for sure…

There is an awesome power is in speaking words aloud. Poetry is incantation. StoryTelling is a healing act.

That is why acting is so good for some of us. We embody the words, the character. We use our WHOLE SELVES to create a play.  We are ALL THERE – it is mental, spiritual and physical and the audience is there breathing in the same air. That is the power.

And yes… I need to get back to that.  Someday…Somehow.

This morning, I was taken back to that mountainside and it felt absolutely amazing. Calm. Warm. Sure and safe. And I was part of the whole of creation.

It was soulful because it was so clear and sure. There was no doubt, no fear at all.  And there was a certainty that, even now, I am doing exactly what I must and that the next story will come and the adventure will continue.


I sat there and wondered… “Is this a breakthrough to… Something?”

I slipped back to think for awhile on Deepak’s words about The Observer, and how she is my True Self… and something else BLAMMOed…

That she is me and I am her, and that I can just… rest in that.

That when we SEE this for reals, we can…

…let go of the struggle and the endless quest  for self-improvement and instead begin to open to the awareness of who we really are.  There is no work to do.  Nothing to fix or repair.Your true self is unchanging and can’t be broken or lost.

That is huge to this one! To anyone who has ever felt broken and roont.

Even when Fear and Sadness cloud our vision and threaten to overwhelm us, true spirit is here, within us, shining pure and strong.

This is true. I have felt it. It/She carried me through the really dark times when I was a kid.  I didn’t see her as ELA then. I didn’t even know I was being carried… but I was.

I know this and yet… How is it that now I can feel so lost NOW – when I am actually safe and well?

It is this feeling of…failing. That is what I keep coming back to.

But when I can hold still and look into the abyss of fear and sadness… I can ask the question… “Umm… WHAT or WHO -exactly- are you failing?”

That is the question.

And the simple answer is… “Nothing. No one. It is a mirage.”

Sure I would LIKE to… write more and get my work out there more… but that is just not happening right now.  The work is happening… and it will go out into the world…in time.

It comes into my mind, as I sit cross-legged in the studio trailer…

You ARE Ela.

Just relax into it, Babe.

Well, shit. It just can’t be that SIMPLE… Can it?

Things to think on, my adorable Friend.

Go easy ~p

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Finding My Bearings Now

A post-dramatic approach to breast cancer

Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Cathy Standiford

Historical fiction, poetry, essays

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