My Six-Word Memoir
I was planning on simply including my contribution within this month's Expressive Arts Carnival and I was going to publish it today. But I am going to hold off a couple days on the carnival and instead talk about my "memoir."
Off and on for the past month, I thought about what my six words would be. Then, in one moment of internal understanding, it came to me. This past month or two has been mainly about "living my life," so I was sure that was going to be my main statement.
The questions are, for me: What living my life means? And what is the route to accomplishing it?
Over the past three years that I have been on a new healing trajectory, I have amassed a collection of healing words that have been significant to me. And these number many more than six! These appeared in my Contract of over a year ago and I have used many of them as touchstones to keep me on the path. When I fall off the path, those words (and what they mean to me) are there. And I think this is how I have learned to develop some measure of resilience, strength, hope and achieved a good deal of healing.
Before 2008, my one word touchstone was basically "think." It worked some times, but it had severe limitations. Most everything having to do with feeling was kept separate. It was not a healing configuration.
In 2008, I had one word that was my touchstone: "Breathe." It was a start of a new direction.
In 2009, I had a mantra: "Relax, Breathe, Feel, Accept, Listen, Choose, Allow."
In 2010, I started adding to this mantra such words as: "Love", "Heal", "Safety", "Trust", "Responsibility", "Live." All are important and all have been explored in various ways.
In 2011, I went back to a single theme: "Balance." Balance is hard for anyone to achieve, yet is crucial to those of us who have had chaotic lives and struggle to heal the aftermath of abuse. Dissociation and post-traumatic symptoms are not very compatible with balance. So, for many of us, balance is an extremely uphill climb.
Before I started working on balance so directly, I learned that one cannot have any chance of achieving even some unless there is acceptance. While I have luckily never been an alcoholic, I have admired Alcoholics Anonymous' incorporation of The Serenity Prayer. This quote (from the AA "Big Book" p. 449) is particularly helpful to me:
For so many years, I had tried the solution of willing parts of me away. For so long I had tried the solution of willing my abusive past away. I failed to realize that lack of acceptance was an enormous obstacle to my healing. I failed to realize that acceptance of the past and present can lead to positive change in the future. That was a breakthrough for me.
My sixth word could have been "change," but I decided to make it "evolve." Change can either be positive or negative. Evolving is about growth and I try not to pay attention that evolution is about "survival of the fittest!" Instead, I try to think of evolving as incorporating past knowledge so one can gain wisdom and insight. I fully remember nearly three years ago when "My Healing Guide" said that healing could mean that parts of me could evolve. At the time, I scoffed at her. Oh, how things are different now.
And, so you have it. My six-word memoir:
If you have been holding off on submitting to this month's Expressive Arts Carnival, there are now a couple days extended to the deadline. I will publish it on Sunday late afternoon.