In these hard days I can make a choice between living in fear about financial issues, when survival seems to hang in the balance (Becoming A Warrior Woman In Order To Survive… Can You Help Me?), or I can move forward, doing what I do best, and, after 60 years of surviving long term sexual abuse, living with Bi Polar Disorder, PTSD, agoraphobia, and a severe anxiety disorder which have all rather been waving their flags in high dudgeon since my house burned down, I can, as I have my whole life long, survive, and help others at the same time. We can do it together.
Sixty years of living and surviving a great many issues, which each day may feel like an uphill battle, I always somehow get to the top of the hill and go to bed thanking God for all of the many blessings in my life. This week I am especially grateful because my whole family will be together. One of my daughters lives here with her dear husband and my grandson, the other 2 live out of town but this week everyone is, or will be, here, and we will all be together. The beautiful miracle that my ex-husband and I remain very dear to one another and come together with our children, our children-in-law, and our grandsons is one of the sweetest miracles life has to offer. Too, I live with a house full of precious little animal companions, my 4 rescue pugs and one of my 5 parrots who survived the fire. I lost 4 beloved parrots in the fire that horrible night, I couldn’t get to them, and I screamed hysterically watching my burning house for someone to save them. Of course the smoke killed them before anyone could have saved them but at least the firemen — and I am surely glad I didn’t see this — brought their little bodies out at the insistence of my best friend who took them home and buried them in his garden for me. It has been positively heartbreaking in so many ways and I have had terrible PTSD episodes the handful of times I have been back there the last 6 months, sitting at the end of the driveway crying, and, where anyone else would see a house in the process of being rebuilt, I saw a house burning, I heard my voice screaming in my head, “SAVE MY BABIES, PLEASE, SAVE MY BABIES!” The kind policeman literally had to hold me by the shoulders to keep me from running to the house, and I fought off, for a time, the EMT’s that wanted to give me oxygen. Part of me was so broken that night I didn’t think I would ever recover, but I am getting there.
The thing is, in every day, in every moment, we have a choice. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we do. Sometimes the only choice we have is between giving up and dying, or saying, “I don’t know how in God’s name I am going to go on, but I sure as hell am!” You may, in the next moment, collapse into tears, but having made the choice to live you have made a life-changing decision, and the way ahead of you may be terrifying but I promise you, you can make it, and so can I.
In these days that have felt painfully grim I, like the Phoenix, began to rise from the ashes in the moment that I realized that I could indeed, embarrassed and shy notwithstanding, ask for help, but at the same time I could offer those who would help me something in return. And one doesn’t need to be on the precipice of doom to need help. Surviving in this modern world is not only difficult but can be painfully lonely. My healing began the moment I humbled myself and asked for help while at the same time reached my hand out to others and said, “Please, I really need your help, but perhaps you need my help in return. Let me help you.” I have found that the greatest healing happens when we open our arms and our heart to helping others. And like the fact that it takes a village to raise a child, so, to, does it take a village to heal a broken heart.
Were the days that families lived near one another, there were extended families often living in the same household. People knew their neighbors and didn’t lock their doors. When my mother died in December 2009, living in the area she had lived her whole life, many of her dearest friends she had gone to school with. Her best friend Pat laid in bed with my dying mother, the only friend she would let near her at the end. They had loved one another dearly for eight decades. Pat died 3 weeks after my mother. And with them and theirs went a generation of people who stayed put and took care of one another until the end.
In this sometimes iffy world of the internet, with all of the dangers and difficulties inherent in it, I have found a community of friends that I love dearly. The women in my Spontaneous Art & Writing Project & Women’s Circle are among the warmest, most loving people I have ever met in my life. We use writing and art and heart to heart sharing in the women’s circle to work through the material together and a community has formed there that has superseded more than I could have ever hoped for. It is as if everyone in this project has been headed toward this one place for lifetimes. There is a red thread that binds us all.
This new project, Surviving & Thriving in a Modern World, will be just that. A project designed for women who would like to take a year-long journey with me to learn how to survive, to get through it all day to day, anyone who is in pain, going through a hard time. You will be companions with me in this year when I have to rebuild my life after the fire. You will be my intimate partners on this journey and we will explore ad discover all manner of ways that we can survive and thrive in life.
I will continue to write about this and update you with any new information. You can sign up on the page below if you would like to join us. I would really love to have you. For more information go to: Surviving & Thriving In A Modern World. It has already begun and the sharing in our private FB group is absolutely amazing with a topical podcast daily to help you cope and survive. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for any help that you can give me. I am here, for the next year, to help you…
As I always say, Each One, Reach One, and Love, Always Love…