What I Learned About Healing from The Dog Whisperer

 Last year, when I was living in the warmer state with my brother, I watched The Dog Whisperer a lot. In one of his tv episodes he taught me how to relax my shoulders, be calm and in control. With my health issues, my body is always so tight.

I saw an episode where he was teaching a woman how to relax, be calm, and in charge and how to have that energy in your body, when dealing with a dog. It says, I am the pack leader. She had an anxiety disorder and was getting a companion dog, so that she could go out in public more. She said after what Cesare has taught me, I probably won’t even need a companion dog.

It helped me to remember to relax. Before I left my bedroom, I would just repeat the things that Cesare said on the show, thinking of him and his calm voice. Remember to relax, let your shoulders loosen up, let them lower, be calm, be in charge.

It was during that time period, a year ago, when I was living with my brother and having so many problems with him. My brother would sometimes get mad at me for nothing, sometimes because of the way I was walking or holding myself. I would tell him I have health issues, I am disabled, this is the only way that I can walk or stand.

He would find fault with me or find any topic to argue over, even on the news or fox. Even while I was in the kitchen for five minutes to get some ice water or heat up some food in the microwave. I had no peace in the house when he was there.

He would purposely try to start a fight over things like abortion, fox, or the President. He loved to fight. He had almost the opposite views than I have. He always thought I was someone to fight with, to win against, he enjoys that a lot. Like all the people in my family, they have all their own invented rules about arguments and what constitutes a win.

I’ve never understood why someone would want to mistreat others this way. I don’t think that I ever will. I’ve never treated someone like this. I can’t imagine abusing and exploiting a disabled person.

Learning how to hold my body and to relax and to have a calm and in control energy in my body helped me so much. It helped me to realize I don’t have to argue with him to win, I can walk away and win as well. I don’t have to be in his pack. I don’t have to stay in a room when someone is being verbally and emotionally abusive. I don’t have to settle for scraps from a bully.

My brother stopped yelling at me as much. Before I moved back to Minnesota, he told me you’re no fun to fight with anymore. Wonderful.

He thought he was the pack leader of the house. He tried to kick me out of the house, twice, once after I had only been there four days. He had told me soon after I moved out there to live, I rent the house, you rent the bedroom, that’s all.

I wasn’t going to fight over who was the pack leader, he was a rabid dog, he was unsafe. I just refused to be a member of his pack. I became the pack leader of my own pack. Thank you Cesare.

I am the pack leader.

We Are All Walking Miracles

I wanted to post about this wonderful concept. This morning I was dropping by some of my closest healing friends’ blogs. The second blog I dropped into was Butterfly’s blog Reasons You Shouldn’t Fuck Kids. Her most recent post is titled We Are All Walking Miracles.

First I want to say how much Buttefly inspires me, helps me along in my healing and in my life, a lot. In her blog she shows what kind of person and survivor she is. She is dealing with the aftermath of child sexual abuse every day, every moment. Her depth of humantiy, her life, her truth, her courage, it all shines through so strongly, so powerfully. Her ability to face and write and share about all that is involved in being a survivor, in living her life, in loving and caring for herself and her family, it is amazing, it is wonderful, it is a miralce. She is a miracle.

And today she made me believe I was a miracle too. I want to make a t-shirt and wear it around town. I am a walking miracle. So are you.

What Else?

Towards the end of this month I’m coming up upon my first year anniversary on my blog. I started my blog to reach out to others and hopefullly have more to say to more survivors. I hoped that I would find others to connect with, but I was not that optimistic that would happen. But it did and that is such a gift. Such a lovely gift.

I decided that it would be another venue to talk, but with a different type of voice, a more bossy one. I am usually very gentle, very sweet, very kind. I wanted to be able to be bossier, not necessarily to a specific person about specific incidents, because I don’t think that is appropriate.

For me, each survivor does best and heals the most when they are in charge of their own life and their own healing, and taking charge of someone else does not lead to healing, nor is it desired by others or in my own life. I want acceptance, validation, compassion, empathy, understanding. So those are things I try to give. I also try to stand for the survivor in my blog, in every way, to let it be known I am on the survivor’s side. In the end I think my blog is more bossy than I used to be, more opionated, while still making a space for others to be whever they are. Making that space and being willing to step into it with the survivor, I think, is one of the bravest things that anyone can do for another survivor.

I was realizing yesterday and mulling this over that on my blog I created the kind of information and resource that I always wanted and needed at each stage of my healing process as a survivor. Sometimes I found those resources, sometimes I didn’t. At that beginning of my healing work I was reading books, going to support groups, going to therapy, writing. Going online when I started working on healing from mother daughter sexual abuse brought more resources and support into my life.

So as I wrote, I created my blog for what I wanted. It reflects a lot about the specifics of being a child sexual abuse survivor, healing, growing, and being more than just your abuse history, even while you are in the midst of the worst of it and the worst moments of it all and saying this too is healing, healing is happening even though you don’t see it, courage is obvious to others and growth and healing is happening, though you might be blind to it in yourself. I created a blog where I could stand next to survivors with a deep sense of respect and admiration. It has helped me to feel a deep sense of respect and admiration for myself. Nice side effect.

So the question I am asking is what else? I’m asking that of myself, what else do I want to do on my blog, where do I want to go with it in the next year, what else do I want to work on in healing this next year and address on my blog and what else would you my readers and support survivors friends like to read and be involved in here? I can always use suggestion and ideas. Sometimes I don’t write a post cause the mind goes blank. So let me know if there is something you would like me to address. My blog is for me and about me, but it is also for you.

Good and healing thoughts to you.

Resources: Art Therapy and Creative Healing

Art Therapy/Creative Healing Blog Posts

My Creative Healing Projects

The Survivors’ Ink Project

The Survivors’ Ink Project Facebook Page

Art Matters

How Creativity Heals

Art Therapy: The Healing Arts

Why Art Therapy

Home is Where the Art Is

The Alchemy of Art

Art Doesn’t Kill You, It Makes You Stronger

The Expressive Arts in Counseling

PTSD and Art Therapy

Trauma and the Benefits of Writing About It

Writing for Therapy Helps Erase Effects of Trauma

Words of War, Words of Peace, Writing As Therapy

Boost Your Body Image by Journaling

10 Ways that Writing Can Help You De-Stress

Writing Heals

Telling Without Talking: Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence

Creativity isn’t just about art- it’s about Healing

Creating Mindlessly: Getting Out of Your Own Way

Creativity as Play

Creativity and the Shadow

Expressing Vulnerability with Creativity

Overcoming the Fear of Creative Risk-Taking

Keeping a Journal When Words Fail

Creative Journaling: When Words are Not Enough

Helping Children Drew Out Their Truama

When Trauma Happens, Children Draw

Drawing Against Depression

Women, Painting and Power

Finger-Painting: It’s Not Just For Kids Anymore

Photography as a Healing Practice

Dance Like Your Life– And World– Depends on It

Expressive Movement and Expressive Art Forms

Doll Making as a Journey

How Doll Making Has Been Transforming and Healing

Healing Doll Stories

Medicine Dolls

Creating Personal Shrines

Dolls as Shrines

Zen Garden

Website: Survivors Art Foundation

Website: A Long Walk Home

Website: Arts and Healing Network

Blog: Art Therapy Blog

Website: Arte Sana: Healing Hearts Through the Arts

Website: Art of Healing