I've been thinking a lot about how I survived not just what I survived. And this came to me.
I can’t say no to my daughter when she asks me to buy her a new book, no matter how broke I am.
“Words fuel, feed, nurture and nourish,” I say to my daughter, reaching for my wallet to give her money.
“Books are as good as blueberries.”
“Except you can’t eat a book,” she says.
“Oh, sweetie,” I say, “you can devour a book. You can suck and chew and gnaw on the same one over and over and over again.”
I didn’t confess how I lived off books when I was her age. I didn’t say how without books, journals and pets, I wouldn’t have made it to now.
Instead I spoke of Mary Oliver’s poems as though “Dogfish” was a relative who whispered the secret to life.
Pema Chodron has been the bottle and binky I’ve suckled through all of life’s major storms. Pema fed my infant and primal emotions with the tenderness and love my mother couldn’t. I slept in, on and with her books even before I could understand them.
In fact, I’m still chewing on all the books I’ve ever read.
“Books are necessary” is what I say to my tweenie.
“I guess,” she says, more interested in her iPhone now that I’ve given her the money.
“No guess about it,” I want to pull over and say, urgent and insistent.
I leave it, and her, alone. It’s not up to me to say what will fuel her engine.
The other girl—the girl I once was, now an invisible and palpable presence in the back seat—is pulling my attention. I’m driving her—this stranger to my daughter, who is my history and core—around with us.
And I ache.
My 11-year-old self was a bet-wetting girl who also got her period and didn’t have access to sanitary supplies. She went to school sitting on her hands, hoping blood wouldn’t mark school chairs. She held her breath, hoping it would keep others from smelling her. Abuse and neglect weren’t words she knew or could understand. She just thought she was doing life wrong and that’s why it was hard.
When I hug my daughter and say, “I love you,” she says, “Of course you do. I’m awesome.” The mother I am smiles and the little girl I was shakes her head and wonders what it would be to feel loved and lovable as a child.
She’s the part of me who cried earlier this week when my soul friend, Heidi Aylward, called me a pencil-slinging warrior princess. I choked up and put my hand on my heart. Even though I’m a close to 50-year-old goddess-queen, it was the little girl princess tearing up.
Hi everyone on ACEs. I wanted to share what I learned about advertising the ACE study. Well first, we got the idea when Dr. Felitti was here in February. He suggested that we post the questions in the local newspaper. After talking to members of our Child Abuse and Neglect Team (I am the VP) and thinking about it, it seemed that there might be a better way... The local advertiser..... most small towns have one.....
We have one and they toss those papers at my door step every Sunday, for free. So, I inquired, "How many homes do you reach?" I was shocked by the answer --- 25,000 homes. Our population of Alpena county is around 30,000. There are more than one person to a household, usually. But also important, who doesn't purchase the newspaper anymore? I don't and several folks on the CAN team told me that they didn't either... So what better way to get the word out... especially to those with fewer resources, in a local advertiser thrown at your doorstep? So here it is. I wrote something up, made a Facebook page (for our community group) and we will see how many responses we get. If only 10 percent look at the advertiser and read the article... that will spread the word about the ACE study to 2500 homes in a several county area in Northeast Upper Michigan (that comes out to 4 cents per home; if 20 percent look at the article, that would only be 2 cents). What do you think? Do you have any ideas on how to spread the word even more widely? I am always willing to listen and wanting to learn.
We put in the address of the CAN team for folks that would like to mail us the information and a link to a survey monkey to take the test online.
I’ve used Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) aka tapping for years, as I wrote in Part 1, which described “what is tapping."
Now for how to tap. “The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you,” says Nick Ortner, author of “The Tapping Solution.”
Then, “while maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 9 of the body’s (dozens of) meridian points” (Click on “Where to Tap” diagram above from TheTappingSolution.com to see full graphic.)
“Tapping on these meridian points, while concentrating on fully feeling and accepting the negative emotion, will allow you to resolve and displace those learned, habitual reactions this feeling would ordinarily trigger,” he writes.
You said it, brother Nick. “Fully feeling and accepting the negative emotion” is an incredibly key point; see below.
But please: if you have severe trauma, do not tap alone! Do it with a therapist or trained practitioner, or don’t tap. Others please note: I’m making “I Statements” here, not giving advice. “Your mileage may vary.”
Tapping starts with 3 “prep steps” which should take about 5-10 minutes once we get used to it. Here we take the time to become fully Present with ourselves, our body, and our emotions. Actual feelings, and relief of feelings, occurs only “in the Now.” To do it, we’ve got to be Present in the Now.
1. Identify what’s troubling you. It can a specific feeling or situation, or just general anxiety or “I feel lousy.” Try to figure out “what bugs me the most and how do I feel about it now?” Try to put yesterday and tomorrow out of your mind. Just ask this “now” question until you feel some sort of answer.
2. Write down the intensity of your feeling on a scale of 0 (doesn’t bug me) to 10 (could jump out of my skin over it). This “Subjective Units of Discomfort Scale” (SUDS) is useful because often we feel so much better after tapping that we simply can not remember how bad it felt beforehand.
3. Create a one-sentence “set-up statement” which says: I’m going to accept myself and practice self-compassion. I’m deciding to fully accept me as I am, the emotions troubling me, even my worst feelings. Because, as Dr. Tara Brach says, “it’s only when we accept ourselves completely exactly how we are, that we become free to change.”
Let’s take as a sample, the feeling of simple general anxiety – we’ve all had it, it’s easy to feel, and when it gets bad, it can cause panic and illness. Resolving anxiety is always good.
So 1: Are you feeling at all anxious? 2. Write down the intensity on a scale of 0 to 10.
3. Here are “set-up statements” about general anxiety I’ve found most useful from Nick Ortner’s e-book 2012 edition: “Your set up statement should acknowledge the problem you want to deal with, then follow it with an unconditional affirmation of yourself as a person,” he writes:
–“Even though I feel this general anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.” –“Even though I’m anxious about [__ situation], I deeply and completely accept myself.” –“Even though I’m feeling this anxiety about [__ person] I deeply and completely accept myself.” –“Even though I panic when I think about [ __ ] I deeply and completely accept myself. ”
We only need one set-up sentence. Create one or pick one; the above are just samples.
At the end of my “set-up” statement I often add “and all my traumatized emotions.” I’ll say, “Even though I feel anxious and panicky, I deeply and completely accept myself, and all my traumatized emotions.” (My therapist applauded this addition. If we accept that our "crazy" trauma is not crazy, thank you, but actually it's to be fully expected, given the nasty experiences we’ve had? Doing that really helps heal it.)
In Pennsylvania, it's estimated opioids like heroin killed at least 1,300 people last year. In Massachusetts, more than 1,000 have died, and in Connecticut, heroin deaths jumped more than 85 percent in two years.
But figuring out the size and scope of the problem is harder than many people think.
Pennsylvania, like many states, doesn't require reporting of specific details on drug overdoses, and whatever other information is available is at least two years old.
Stacy Emminger pulls out the death certificate for her son Anthony. It have all his personal information, but is missing key details. Anthony was addicted to heroin. But that's not what's listed on the certificate.
"Immediate cause of death is multiple drug toxicity, accidental," Emminger reads. "So basically an accidental overdose."
OK, somewhere on this network I saw a post, news item, video, discussion or SOMETHING where the poster told an ACE experience, and then the comments were flooded by others who wanted to share their stories, too. It was disturbing, but also therapeutic...
Hi everyone on ACEs. I wanted to share what I learned about advertising the ACE study. Well first, we got the idea when Dr. Felitti was here in February. He suggested that we post the questions in the local newspaper....
After years of watching and working as a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem in child protection two things have become clear to me; 1) Abused and neglected children really do need a CASA guardian ad-litem advocate & 2) The system...
Hello, My name is Rachell Tenorio, MSW and I work at the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am currently working on a research project to address ACE in Tribal communities. Our research team is...
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This community of practice uses trauma-informed, resilience-building practices to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and to change systems to stop traumatizing already traumatized people. ACES CONNECTION NETWORK OVERVIEW ACEsTooHigh is a news site for the general public on all things ACEs-, trauma-informed, and resilience-building. ACEsConnection is a social networking site...