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Loved. Loved his interior world, his interior wilderness…Loved.

June 3, 2009

[ image credit | 56 ]

…All at once new, trembling, how he was caught up
and entangled in the spreading tendrils of inner event
already twined into patterns, into strangling undergrowth, prowling
bestial shapes. How he submitted-. Loved.
Loved his interior world, his interior wilderness,
that primal forest inside him, where among decayed treetrunks
his heart stood, light-green. Loved.
Left it, went through
his own roots and out, into the powerful source
where his little birth had already been outlived…

Rainer Maria Rilke
Duino Elegies – The Third Elegy

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enter summer

May 24, 2009

[ image source | Untitled ]

Spring semester has ended and I have a couple of weeks off before summer term starts. I’ve been resting and catching up with myself, after the mad dash of finals and end-of-semester projects.

I learned so much this semester:

  • That I can, in fact, handle a full-time load at school again
  • All about mixing colors and how they interact with each other in a fabulous color theory class
  • The beginnings of both ballet and piano, in spite of telling myself since childhood that I would never understand or ‘get’ dance or music
  • Had a whole new world of Peace & Conflict Studies opened to me, and now I am setting intentions to double major at Berkeley in the future (Cognitive Science and Peace & Conflict Studies)
  • All kinds of things about creative and expressive arts therapies and how they are used with different populations

I also began direct processing of traumatic memories using EMDR in therapy, and tapped into the desire to begin the process of becoming a personal trainer at BodyTribe, so that I can share the empowerment I’ve found there. I see such research potential for the kind of training we do there…there is something happening that is extremely relevant to trauma recovery, which I’d like to elucidate.

I am feeling more connected and powerful than ever. A great shift is occurring, and I am eager to share what I discover.

Currently, I’m nesting. I’ve been deep cleaning and finishing home projects that have been half-completed for far, far too long. I hope to post pictures this week!

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on having new eyes

April 17, 2009

I’ve been saying this for quite some time: If this were cancer, or leprosy, or some other disease, we would be responding. As in, massively responding.  We are massively underestimating the prevalence and effects of child sexual abuse, and we’re massively underresponding.  It is the responsibility of all adults to protect all children.

Wish I had access to this full article. Looks like there’s a library day in my future! I’m excited to begin exploring the public health model.


Having New Eyes: Viewing Child Sexual Abuse as a Public Health Problem

by James A. Mercy   [source]

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes. ~Marcel Proust

Imagine a childhood disease that affects one in five girls and one in seven boys before they reach 18 (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994): a disease that can cause dramatic mood swings, erratic behavior, and even severe conduct disorders among those exposed; a disease that breeds distrust of adults and undermines the possibility of experiencing normal sexual relationships; a disease that can have profound implications for an individual’s future health by increasing the risk of problems such as substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and suicidal behavior (Crowell & Burgess, 1996); a disease that replicates itself by causing some of its victims to expose future generations to its debilitating effects.

Imagine what we, as a society, would do if such a disease existed. We would spare no expense. We would invest heavily in basic and applied research. We would devise systems to identify those affected and provide services to treat them. We would develop and broadly implement prevention campaigns to protect our children. Wouldn’t we?

Such a disease does exist–it’s called child sexual abuse. Our response, however, has been far from the full-court press reserved for traditional diseases or health concerns of equal or even lesser magnitude. Perhaps the perception of sexual abuse as a law enforcement problem or our discomfort in confronting sexual issues contributes to our complacency. Whatever the reason, we have severely underestimated the effects of this problem on our children’s health and quality of life.

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meditation for trauma survivors

April 13, 2009

Brad Warner, author of  Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up, and the latest Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate, writes about meditation and trauma survivors:

The subject of Zen practice (aka zazen) for survivors of trauma has been much on my mind of late. I’ve tried several times to write something intelligent about it. But since I’m not a survivor of trauma myself — other than life’s usual traumas that we all have — I sometimes feel it’s not my place to say. I have known people who are both childhood sex abuse survivors and dedicated Zen practitioners. I hope one day one of them will write about this subject. But until then, I’ll take a shot. Much of what I want to say is based on what I’ve observed in them. But whether they involve childhood sexual abuse or not, traumas of all kinds are serious business and probably share much in common.

It’s a fact that zazen brings stuff up. No matter what kind of stuff you have locked away in your mind and body it’s going to come out during sitting. It’s also true that zazen is different from other forms of meditation (if zazen is even a form of meditation) in that it is not directed at any ideal condition. In zazen you allow whatever comes up to just come up as it will, rather than attempting to move the mind toward a specific desired state as most forms of meditation do. This means that trauma survivors may be more likely to face repressed memories and suchlike while doing zazen than while doing other forms of meditation.

I don’t think it’s truly dangerous for trauma survivors to do zazen. But they have to be careful. Of course, anyone should exercise caution while doing the practice. But survivors of trauma need to be possibly even more careful. A practice that’s very much focused on having an “Enlightenment experience” quickly is more likely to bring this stuff to the surface before you’re ready for it. This is yet another reason why crap like Big Mind® is so incredibly heinous and irresponsible. A pox upon them and their putrid ilk!

But here’s what a trauma survivor might expect to encounter in traditional Zen practice. Most of this is also applicable to anyone who practices zazen, trauma survivor or not. There’s not a single person in the world who doesn’t have some stuff they don’t acknowledge buried below the surface.

On the most superficial level zazen will bring up memories. At first these will be familiar memories. Meaning they won’t be particularly surprising, just stuff you haven’t thought of in a long time. For a trauma survivor, this can mean you start recalling things that are painful and that you have avoided thinking about, but which you are basically aware of. The reaction to this runs along the lines of the response you’d have to it even if you weren’t sitting zazen. But sitting tends to intensify emotions. You might start crying or having other similar responses. This can be a bit embarrassing in a crowded zendo. But you should know that you are not alone in having feelings like this.

Read the rest of the article here.

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the well of grief

March 23, 2009

constellation party

[ image credit: constellation party|artist’s blog|artist’s etsy shop ]

The Well of Grief
by David Whyte

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source
from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for
something else.

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Currently loving….

March 19, 2009

KCRW’s Top Tune for today, Sara Lov’s Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming.

If you’re quick, you can nab the free download, up for today only right here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Sara Lov – Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming“, posted with vodpod

In other news, midterms are over and I’m sure I’ve aced the all, although I’ll find out for sure next week.

As a project for my Psychology of Peace and Conflict class, I’m designing a research instrument to study society’s perception of child sexual abuse: its prevalence, causes, and effects. I’ll be administering it to just my class for now, which is not a random sample, but it will give me a good starting point.  I have a feeling that this might take me down the path toward my eventual thesis, which is pretty exciting.

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i feel it in my bones

March 14, 2009

[ image credit: where the warm fuzzies are born ]

Sometimes, I feel filled to the brim with gratitude, connection, engagement.

This finally feels like my life.

My ground of being rests in fertile earth. I am basking in the sun and rain…nourished by it all.

Life is beautiful, and I am deeply, deeply grateful.