It Was Snowing

Yesterday it was snowing. It started about noon, with medium sized flakes. I was bummed again, thinking how much I would love to be able to take some photos and post them here, but knew that the flakes, no matter how big, just don’t seem to show up well on any photos I have taken, on my digital camera and on my phone. I did take some photos and checked, just in case, but as usual, didn’t get a good shot of the snow coming down. The wind chill was still wicked cold out, about -15 degree F., with a wicked wind as well, so it was definitely a stay inside day for me.

Nevertheless I decided to do some good things for myself and enjoy my day as much as possible. I made lunch, burgers with a gluten free bun. I had bought some pink lady apples and found that I really loved them, so had one of those after lunch. I read and then watched some stuff online, while sitting on my bed, looking out the window at the snow falling down. It was bliss.

What is Happiness?

Happiness and exploring, endeavoring, and embracing happiness has been a big part of my life and healing, especially in the last fifteen  years and even more so since starting my blog almost five years ago. For a long time I have believed that finding and embracing our happiness, on many levels, is an important and essential part of healing from child sexual abuse, as I do believe it is anyone’s important and essential part of living their life. So it seems natural to pick happiness as the main topic for the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for this edition.

Healing Quotes 35

“To find your own way is to follow your own bliss. This involves analysis, watching yourself and seeing where the real deep bliss is–  not the quick little excitement, but the real, deep, life-filling bliss.”
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~ Joseph Campbell
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Joseph Campbell, when asked what his bliss was, replied that his bliss was his wife/partner.
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Finding your own bliss and happiness can be very difficult, for anyone, but even more so for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Few of us survivors grew up in an environment where we were safe enough and content enough in our lives to fully have the opportunities to explore our own self and personal happiness, joy, and bliss.
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Boundaries are a big part of finding our happiness. Boundaries are often something that survivors of abuse were not allowed to have as children and do not have a good sense of as adults. Often our families of origin and the people that we have allowed into our lives do not want us to have healthy boundaries and that creates further difficulties and challenges in finding the effort, energy, time and ability to explore our boundaries.
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Boundaries are not just rules that we have for ourselves and how others treat us. Boundaries are also what we love, what we like, what we hate, what we loathe, what we will allow and not allow into our lives, what kind of treatment we will allow and not allow into our lives, what we value and deem important in our lives, our morals, our ethics, our personal belief system. All of those contribute to our sense of self and how we engage in the world and how we explore, find, and embrace personal moments of happiness.
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I started my journey on finding what gave me happiness and bliss by making up a bliss list, suggested by the author Jennifer Louden from the book “A Woman’s Comfort Book.” Happiness, I believe, is in the little things and the big things. I started trying to find some of those.
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“Follow your bliss.  ~ Joseph Campbell
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bliss–noun
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1. supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment.
2. Theology. the joy of heaven.
3. heaven; paradise: the road to eternal bliss
4.Archaic. a cause of great joy or happiness.”Here are links to our bliss lists.
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Do you have a list? Do you have things that you know bring you bliss, comfort, happiness?Figuring out how to embrace my bliss and to follow them were hard. I unfortunately butted up against the negative programming from my mother abuser through this process. I am happy to say that I have found a lot of healing in this area. I know now that I deserve my bliss and happiness and with just as strong of a conviction I know that you do as well.
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One thing that Barbara Sher, the inspirational author, said in one of her seminars comes back to me over and over. She suggests that if you don’t know what you like and love and what you want to do, then take the opportunity throughout the day to rate everything you come across in a day on a scale of one to ten, ten being the things that bring you the highest level of happiness and enjoyment.
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If you would like a book to help you through the process of helping and healing through the process of finding your personal happiness I would suggest the book “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck. I love that book. It was unfortunate that there wasn’t a book out there that I found until after I had done a lot of my work on my own, but I highly recommend this book. It is wonderful and does a step by step process to assist anyone.

The Nearest Lake

I was biking around the nearest lake tonight. It’s a small lake really. It was calm. The ducks were on the lake. The temperature was in the high 80s. The breeze was light. It wasn’t too hot. It wasn’t cool. It was just nice.

It’s not near most of the stores that I go to, so I have to purposely bike there, several miles. It is near to one of the big stores I go to; so every time I go there during good weather, I try to make sure that I bike around the lake a time or two before going to the store.

Nothing big happened tonight. No big revelations happened. Really the lake does very little for me. I like looking out across the calm blue water, at the one open water area.

The Littles, however, love to go to the nearest lake. They often mention the nine baby ducks that we saw in the spring, just like a mother duck had last year, nine babies. The Littles love biking around the lake, to them it is bliss. I don’t really know exactly what it is that they love. The feeling that I get from them is just that they love biking always and biking around a lake is extra special to them.

So I went to the lake. And we biked around it. They were very happy. And that is why I do it.

Bliss

Recently I think that I have made a leap in my life, in healing. Not sure, but it sure feels like it.

Most of my bliss work has been on doing things that bring me bliss. I don’t think I realized there was another kind of bliss, but I do realize, vaguely, that I have heard and read of other concepts of bliss. But I don’t think about them or work on them. Not much. Not lately.

I was talking recently to one of my spirit guides. I always have had spirit guides. I think lots of children who survive abuse had spirit guides. My guide was talking to me about bliss, how to achieve it by embracing it, not through doing or doing nothing, but through being. It was great. It was different. It was bliss.

I really liked it a lot. More to come.

Soul Joy #1

Lately I have been working on the topic of soul joy; to actively enable bliss moments in my life. This has been a lot of work, trying to find a way that bliss is in the moments of my daily life, rather than to have to deliberately embrace joy. What I have found is that any method that I have found, so far, is work, is deliberative, but it also is finding ways to pause in my daily life to dwell in a moment of bliss, to embrace soul joy.

What I have done is to refer to bliss items on my bliss list and to try to find ways to stop and notice and do those things.

My first effort with this has been the bliss list item flowers.

Bliss List #15

What I noticed when I decided to “notice” how I interacted with flowers when I came across them in my daily life was that I avoided flowers on purpose. That really made no sense to me, but I think that as I have continued to work on embracing soul joy I have constantly come up against the proof that I avoid soul joy.

I noticed that when I had the opportunity to look at flowers, I did not take it. I would be riding my bike or at the supermarket and see flowers and not stop. This is when I had nowhere important to go to, no time limit on my time.

I thought that stopping, focusing, looking might be a good initial way to try to put my soul joy into my life.

So I decided that I would stop when I saw flowers on the road, if I thought they were pretty. I would stop at the supermarket and look. I wish that I could say that those moments, those minutes were soul joy.

What I have discovered is that any kind of rules of personal conduct are very difficult for me to reconcile myself with, even if it is to embrace soul joy. I see this as a huge reaction to my mother, her abuses, and her all-encompassing rule over my moment by moment life, thoughts, conduct, beliefs.

I think this wall I am walking into repeatedly is similar to her telling me that I didn’t deserve the air I breathed, the food I ate, or the space I took up. I think she must have also told me that I didn’t deserve to have fun or to do things as well. I don’t remember, but I’m thinking that might be a huge part of this issue.

I do remember that she used to notice me when I looked happy, when I was doing something that I enjoyed to do. When I was at home, as a pre-schooler and she had the opportunity and saw me like that she would pick me up, take me in another room, and sexually abuse me. I still have trouble looking happy, even though she has been dead for more than ten years.

I do remember that I did still find moments of joy in my life when I was little: walking on the front lawn, staring at clouds, talking to my sweet brother, feeling love, petting a cat.

Instead of finding soul joy in this exercise I have found that imposing any kind of rule or limitation to my comings and goings is tedious and my time spent with the flowers are mostly tedium. I have stopped and watched the flowers. I love roses and that has been very lovely to see them all in all their colors. I found out that I particularly love orange flowers, medium pink roses, and nasturniums. I don’t like mixed flower bouquets. I love single kind and color of flower bouquets. I thought recently that I would love to have many different colored daisies, spaced around my living space.

I am not particularly fond of geraniums, but one thing that really impacted me recently was when I was sitting near some in a yard. I reached out to touch the little flowers, who are suprisingly and exquisitely soft and moved me tremendously.

I will continue with this as well as finding some more ways to look, smell, and touch flowers. I think I need to go into some flower shops and to get some flower books from the library. That seems like a good next step.

The Soul is Here for Its Own Joy

This is my start. The title of this post is from a poem by Rumi; the soul is here for its own joy. I found this quote more than ten years ago. It has intrigued me. I have reflected on it many times, many days and in my healing process for the last ten years I have tried to reach for my own soul and to find out what my soul joy is.

I have been asked by some what soul joy is. I suppose everybody has to decide what soul joy is to them and what brings their soul joy. To me it is about love, joy, and bliss; things I love, things that bring me joy, things that I consider bliss and find bliss in doing them.

I will say that I have been working on my bliss list for the last year and doing things that I love and things that I find bliss. During this year I have done more, though not enough, not near enough as I have walked my healing path.

I decided to expand on the idea of a bliss list to include ways of bringing bliss into my life more often, more easily, more accessibly, more quietly and more often, with little effort or thought. I’ve been working on this recently.

So I will be writing more of these soul joy posts, ideas, and how that is going, trying to find ways of stuffing joy into my daily life, as I can, moment by moment to know that daily life is meant to have joy, happiness, love and bliss in it. And to figure out a way to make soul joy a part of my week, part of my life, part of my day.