Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Warm, Godly Hug




hug [huhg]
verb (used with object), hugged, hugging
1. to clasp tightly in the arms, especially with affection; embrace
2. to cling firmly or fondly to; cherish
3. to keep close

*         *     *     *        *

What does it mean to hug? No, really. What does it genuinely mean to hug?

A hug is one of, if not the utmost expression of the purest love.
It communicates...
... compassion
... kindness
... charity
... affection
... understanding
... empathy
It presents as a courageous expression of actively listening to the needs of others, as well as our own needs.

Sometimes we don't realize that a hug is more than just giving. In fact, it is much more, because we receive so much in return:
  1. Hugs are warm; physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
  2. Hugging builds trust and a sense of safety; nurturing open and honest communication.
  3. It also boosts oxytocin levels; healing feelings of loneliness, isolation and despair.
  4. If we hug for an extended period of time, our serotonin levels elevate; resulting in increased happiness.
  5. Hugging boosts our self-esteem, showing us that we're special and worth loving. The associations of self-worth and touch sensations from our early years remain embedded in our nervous system as adults, therefore the cuddles we received as children remain imprinted at a cellular level; connecting us to our ability to self-love.
  6. Those hugs that are especially tight help relax our muscles; releasing built up tension in our body. They can also take away pain and soothe our aches by increasing blood flow in our soft tissue.
  7. Hugs teach us that there is equal value in giving and being receptive to warmth; connecting and sharing. In essence, hugs teach us how to flow love both ways.
  8. Much like meditation and laughter, hugs teach us to be present in the moment. They free us from our circular thinking patterns and connect us with our heart and feelings. They allow us freedomif even for just a momentfrom the weight of the past and doubt about the future.
  9. The energy exchange between participants results from the deliberate emotional investment in the relationship that the hug represents. It encourages empathy and compassion; two of the most powerful emotions for good. 
  10. Hugging is also synergistic; meaning the whole is more than the sum of its parts. 1 + 1 no longer equals 2, but 3 or even more!
Hugs are absolutely delightfully delicious!

Lately I have been thinking about the day that I will, again, see my Savior...
Oh, how I long for that day.

I want to...
...see Him
...touch Him

I want to...
...feel of His warmth
...feel His strong arms around me

I want to...
...hear Him say my name
...hear Him say 'well done, thy good and faithful servant'

But mostly, I want to hug Him.

I want Him to...
...wrap His strong arms around me.
...pull me close to Him.

And, I want to...
...grip His robes
...and, never let go

In that one Hug, we would each communicate so much to one another:
  1. Warmth
  2. Trust, safety, openness and honesty
  3. Healing, connection
  4. Happiness, joy and belonging
  5. Self-worth, self-love
  6. Comfort, relief, satisfaction
  7. Giving, receiving, sharing, and flowing love both ways
  8. Pure enjoyment of the present
  9. Transparent willingness to live in empathy and compassion
  10. A bold claim to the absolute abundance the hug will surely create
Unfortunately, there are times when my longing for that day erodes my gratitude for my present, because I fail to acknowledge that I actually have access to this very relationship with my Savior right here and now, in my present.

Accessing the many powers of Grace acts as a virtualyet tangiblehug from our Savior. Each time we do so, we increase in love for Him, loyalty to Him, and connection with Him.

Each time we do so...
  1. We feel warm
  2. We trust, and therefore are able to be courageously open and honest
  3. We become healed, for He is the great Physician (no need for a 2nd consultation)
  4. We experience the utmost and unabashed joy
  5. We come to accept, embrace and even love ourselves
  6. We are validated, comforted and calmed
  7. We experience a flow of love both ways, strengthening our bond with Him
  8. We not only feel satisfied, but actually happy, in our present
  9. We gain the ability to feel, express and receive empathy
  10. We are granted the courage to boldly approach His throne of Grace
Ultimately, we become more like Him
We become love

All, from a hug...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Drop of Oil

The experience I am about to share, I do not share out of pride or bragging, but in an effort to document the feeling I received afterward; the whisper from the Spirit that what I felt was the very preparedness I'm striving for when the bridegroom comes.

A couple of Sundays ago, my Relief Society President approached me at church and gave me my visiting teaching list. Admittedly, I wasn't in the best place when she handed it to me. I'd just spent the past hour and a half wrestling my youngest in Sacrament meeting, leaving me irritated and on edge.

It got worse when I glances at my list.

Six.
Six people on my list.
SIX!?!?

I begrudgingly thanked her and rushed off before my face revealed my feelings.

I steamed over it through the rest of church, until later that day my companion text me and said she didn't think it would be as tough as it looked.

She was right.
  1. Two of the sisters live together, and welcome visiting teachers.
  2. One is my companions mother, who is on a mission.
  3. One is my son's primary teacher, and also super easy to visit.
  4. One isn't active - and we aren't sure how to handle her - but we are making contact.
  5. One is on the the edge of inactivity, but I've already spent a number of hours in her home and text her all the time.
Due to my companion being out of town the latter part of this month, we quickly got to work and visited all, but number 4, within a week.

It sure feels great to get my visiting teaching done. Not for the numbers, but to actually be in the home of our sisters and see them, feel them and strive to identify their needs.

The lesson, however, came a few days after we'd visited #5.

I was recently invited to organize this year's ward Christmas party. We are a newly organized ward so none of the organizations were assigned to this particular event. In preparation for it, I was invited to the most recent Ward Council, in an effort to employ the help of each organization in the ward. We spent thirty minutes or so working through the food, decorations, set up/take down and entertainment.

As my time was coming to a close, I asked if anyone had any further suggestions or questions. In response, the ward mission leader raised his hand and said:
"Tell me about the #5's" (he said their last name)
I was a bit surprised with the gear shift, and fumbled a bit over my thoughts and words. But then it just spilled out of me.

I'd recently spent hours in this sister's home and was able to communicate and express how she is doing, what she has gone through, what she is feeling, why she is struggling with activity, and what her needs are.

It was a bit whirlwind'ish at the time, but later when things calmed down, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace.

I felt grateful that I'd actually gotten my VTing done. That's I'd fought through the fear of walking over to this sister's house to knock on her door, and grateful that I'd taken the time to listen to her; really listen to her.

I felt peace because I'd been prepared. When the ward mission leader asked me about the family, I was sitting before the bishopric and the president of every organization. How embarrassing would it have been if I'd had to respond:
"I don't know, I haven't visited her."
In that moment, I knew I'd tasted a bit of what it means to fill my lamp with oil; that I'd experienced a bit of what it feels like to be prepared at the last day.

And it's not like I did something over-the-top, huge and grandiose.

I just did what the Lord asked me to.
I just did my visiting teaching.

Friday, November 7, 2014

If I Could Just Buy a House

I've been thinking a lot about belonging...

What does it mean to belong?
How do I belong?
Who do I belong to?
What do I have to do to belong?
... and
Where do I belong, if anywhere?

Feeling like I don't belong is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.

I think being so transient through my younger years has severely contributed to these feelings.

Let me map it out... these are all the places I have memory of living:
  1. Mission, South Dakota (I could have lived in multiple houses here)
  2. Libby, Montana 
  3. Troy, Montana
  4. Glendive, Montana (house 1 - Nana's backhouse)
  5. Glendive, Montana (house 2 - Apartment)
  6. Glendive, Montana (house 3 - Trailer)
  7. Glendive, Montana (house 4 - Sargeant Street)
  8. Helena, Montana (house 1 - Church farm)
  9. Helena, Montana (house 2 - Government housing)
  10. Adelanto, California (house 1 - Dad's roomate's house)
  11. Adelanto, California (house 2 - Rental along the highway)
  12. North Edwards, California (house 1 - Dump that we stayed in for a month)
  13. North Edwards, California (house 2 - Better house than the previous)
  14. Boron, California (Nicest house we ever lived in)
  15. Lindsay, Montana (Left home at 16, living with friends of the family)
  16. Glendive, Montana (house 5 - Lived with  a member of my ward)
  17. Glendive, Montana (house 6 - Lived with another member of my ward)
  18. Glendive, Montana (house 7 - age 17 - my first apartment)
  19. Acton, California (Back with my parents, living in the bus)
  20. Glendive, Montana (house 8- Living with my boss from Hardees)
  21. Torrance, California (house 1 - Living with my ex boyfriend)
  22. Torrance, California (house 2 - Same circumstance, different house)
  23. Torrance, California (house 3 - Split with the ex, moved in with a ward member)
  24. Torrance, California (house 4 - Moved in with another ward member)
  25. Orem, Utah (house 1 - Moved in with a woman from a conference I attended)
  26. Orem, Utah (house 2 - Moved in with another friend and her family)
  27. Orem, Utah (house 3 - Married now, moved in with the inlaws)
  28. Lindon, Utah (house 1 - First apartment together)
  29. Orem, Utah (house 3, again - Living with in-laws in-between moves.)
  30. Lindon, Utah (house 2 - First house together)
  31. Orem, Utah (house 3, again - Living with in-laws in-between moves.)
  32. Orem, Utah (house 4 - Legacy apartments, where I found recovery)
  33. Price, Utah (house 1 - current)
Seriously... where do I belong?

When people ask me where I'm from, I jokingly respond 'everywhere,' but really, where do I belong? I claim Montana, because it's where I have lived the most; where I spent most of my childhood, but do I belong there? Does Montana claim me in return?

I just don't know.

I've had a very painful memory recently come up for me regarding belonging, or lack thereof.

I was about 10 years old. I was visiting my biological father and his new family in Mission, South Dakota while my family moved from 'Helena, Montana (house 1)' to 'Helena, Montana (house 2)'. I remember feeling really excited to spend time with him because I hadn't seen him in a very long time. I was also anxious to spend time with my brothers, whom I'd never met.

The plan was for me to spend a month with them, the first week of which went just fine. I spent most of each day at the swimming pool, taking full advantage of the summer pass they had purchased for me. After that week, though, I got tired of the pool and communicated to my stepmother that I'd rather stay home that day.

It was at this point that her true beasty colors came out...

She became incredibly nasty; sequestering me to the younger children's room where I spent every single day of the rest of my visit. I was made to sort the pieces of multiple Smurf puzzles that were strewn all over the floor; pieces that to my young eyes, all looked exactly the same. I spent my days struggling to sort each piece into piles representing each puzzle. I would leave that room at night with the floor covered in little piles, hopeful that I'd be able to finish the following day, only to wake to the floor in such a state that there was little to no evidence of there ever being any piles. I do not know if it was the kids who destroyed the piles, or my stepmother herself.

Regardless, I was made to start over.
Every day.
For weeks.

I didn't tell my biological dad what was going on because I feared he'd side with my stepmother. And I also didn't tell my mom because I feared that my stepmother would find out and retaliate.

The only happiness I experienced during that time was the occasional phone call home to my mom. I longed to hear her voice, and began asking to call home more often. Each call brought comfort; helping me pass the time until I could return home.

I survived well enough on those phone calls, until the day I called only to be met with the dreaded beeps, followed by the words; 'We're sorry, the number you have dialed is no longer in service.' I eventually learned that the disconnect was due to the move; a lapse between one phone being shut off and the other being connected.

But I didn't know that. I panicked.

I called that number again, and again, and again, only to be met with the same result.

I felt defeated.
I felt alone.
I felt abandoned.
I felt scared.
I felt forgotten.

I prayed, begging the number to work.
I tried again.
Nothing.

I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing.

After dinner, I asked if I could go to the park.
The beast agreed.

I walked to the park and sat in a swing.
No one else was there.
Just me.
Alone.

I sat there, and let the tears roll like thunder down my face.
I felt hated.
I felt despised.
I felt like a burden, even disposable.

I remember looking in the distance and seeing cars on a highway. I wondered if I hitchhiked, if I would be taken to a place where I would be loved, cared for, cherished.

No child should feel like that; like they will find happiness on the other end of a highway hitchhike. I shudder at what could have happened if I'd acted on that impulse. I was obviously being watched over.

Transience has always been a huge part of my life, and I feel that because of it I was not able to establish essential healthy relationships with others. I also feel that on some level I actually began to fear making those connections, because as soon as I did we would move, and they'd be torn away from me.

One major realization that I have recently discovered, is that if I had made healthy connections, I would not have the giant hole in my heart that I'm continually tempted to fill by acting out in addictive behavior.

So, what does all this have to do with buying a house?

I've recently realized that I'm living in somewhat of a desperate state. I'm extremely anxious for my husband to get promoted to the next level of management, because that will provide our family with a level of geographic permanency that I've never experienced.

No matter where we land with that promotion, we will likely be there for a very long time. Knowing we would be there for a lone time, we would buy a house. And it would be in that newly purchased house that I would feel physically and emotionally safe enough to open up and establish all of those connections I have longed for my entire life.

If I could just buy a house, I would feel like I belonged.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Grace; the power by which we are able to do hard things

The Togetherness Project
October 2014

* * *
                                                                      
Music: Grace by David Tolk


I don't pretend to know everything about Grace.
I'm not Brad Wilcox and I don't hold a high position in the church.
... and
I don't have what one might consider 'credentials,' on the topic.

But I do know something of Grace, because I have been...
... found by it
... touched by it
... encompassed by it
... healed by it
... rescued by it

The story, of which, I share here and here..

* * *

So, what is Grace?


We know that Grace has many powers, but how do those powers actually manifest in our lives?

I posed this question to the women I presented to, and was honored by their responses (paraphrased):
"Grace helps us find our rock bottom, when we can't find it ourselves."
"Grace has given me the physical strength necessary to do what I need to do."
"As I let Grace into my life, I am given the desire and strength to forgive."
"I feel Grace speak to me and guide me through the hard decisions that lay ahead."
There are many powers of Grace that He uses to:
  • Comfort us
  • Validate us
  • Heal us
  • Raise us up
  • Relieve us
The list is endless and unlimited, and we are free to call on them at any and all times.

* * *

Barriers to Grace

As many powers as Grace has to offer, there are just as many barriers to accessing them:
  • Lack of faith
  • Lack of understanding
  • Feelings of unworthiness
  • Isolation
  • Pride
  • Unwillingness to ask for help
  • Fear of judgement
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of __________ (insert)
  • ... and shame
"Shame, for women, is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we're supposed to be. And it's a straitjacket." - Brene Brown
"Shame . . . is an attack on our character, on our very being, on who we are; a deviant assassination on God's very own creation." - Sidreis Keller Agla
The list is lengthy, because there is no tool that the adversary is not willing to use to keep us separate from the love of our Savior; from His saving Grace.

Fortunate for us, our Savior's power is much greater than the enemy to our soul, and He is willing to do all that it takes to keep us close to Him.

* * *

Breaking Down Barriers

Throughout my recovery, I have discovered three major mindsets that have hastened my journey, ultimately bringing me closer to my Savior.

The Twelve Steps of Recovery
I have adopted the Twelve Steps of Recovery into my life.
I don't just work them, rather, I live the principles they teach.

I do not advocate any one particular twelve step program. I advocate all of them:
And many many more.

Each program teaches principles, and provides literature, that can be a great strength to us.

Becoming a Seeker of Knowledge
I asked questions in order to gain a better understanding of addiction, addictive behavior, how the Lord perceived me, and really - anything else that I felt would benefit me.

Seriously, Amazon loves me.

I researched as much material on addiction and began buying a whole collection of recovery books.

I read them.
And then I read them again.

I talked to people.
I asked them about their experience.
I asked them what they learned.
I listened to them.
And, I chose to believe them.

The Power of Belief
In the end, with all the information I had gathered, there was still one thread left holding me back from a life of freedom.

I had to believe.

I chose to set fear and doubt aside and believe:
  • The program
  • The books
  • Those in my group
  • My Sponsor
  • My Bishop
  • In myself
  • And, Christ.
trusted Him; and trusted that the burning feeling that my belief sometimes lacked would eventually come.

That is the beauty of belief.
We can do it anytime, independent of anything else.
We can freely give it any time, whether we have a burning testimony, or not.

The ultimate act of trust and humility.

To raise our hands high and solemnly declare, "I believe you."
"Faith is stepping into the darkness and trusting that the light will follow." - Unknown
* * *

Does Grace free us from pain?

Yes, and no. More so, it embraces our pain.

Meet, Aaron-Hulk.
He's my youngest.
And, he suffers from chronic nosebleeds.
Looks pretty tough doesn't he?



He is a little toughy...  most of the time.

But those moments, at 2....3....4 in the morning when he wakes to his face covered in blood;
bleeding
broken
scared 
All due to a condition he didn't ask for or do anything to cause.
That is when the toughness melts into a humble puddle of goodness.

Those moments are special to me.
The moments he calls out to me, confident that I am right there.
That I will come running at his first peep of need.

They are special because I get to wrap him up in my arms.
I get to whisper to him:
It's ok
I know it's scary
I'm so sorry you are bleeding
Let me clean it for you; wash it away.

I get to hold him as he cries; comforting him in his most terrifying moments
And stay there until his eyes again begin to droop, reentering a blissful slumber.

It is in those moments that the greatest attachments with him are born and nurtured.
It is in those moments, when we are bleeding and broken, that our greatest attachments to our Savior are born and nurtured.

How glorious is that?                                                                            
* * *

No Expectation

One aspect of Grace that I didn't understand, but learned as I prepared this presentation, is that Grace has no expectation.

Think about it.

Grace does not tell us, 'I will comfort you for X amount of time, but then you have to:
... get up
... be happy
... stop moping
... forgive'




Seriously, that's all He wants.

The opportunity to sit with us and comfort us.
Simply to be near us.

Although not expected, when we allow Him to be near us, our desire to get up, to be happy, to stop moping, and to forgive naturally increases. A natural progression; we cannot help but do otherwise when we let His Grace into our lives. When we let Him sit with us, comfort us, warm us and heal us.

One of the greatest gifts He gives us is the power of empathy and validation.
More specifically, He gives us His empathy and validation.

Take a moment and listen to this song.
No expectations.
No Assignments.
Just listen, and let the His validation wash over you.


Here's to you!

* * *





The Togetherness Project
October 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Togetherness Project: Midway 2014

I was honored to have been asked to present at The Togetherness Project at the Zermatt Resort in Midway Utah; an event that just happened two days ago. As well as presenting, I had the opportunity to attend many other classes in which I gleaned much wisdom from the experience of others to help me along my own healing journey. I want to take a few moments and record my thoughts here.

In chronological order, by presenter:

Opening Keynote: Paul Parkin on Empathy

I really loved Paul. His presentation style was so entertaining and meaningful. He had great insights into empathy that I really felt fit well with my own presentation on Grace.

I especially loved his analogy of the rock climber, and how he likened rock climbing to our own journey of recovery. He expressed the importance of strapping ourselves to others who are also climbing so that in those moments when we lose our footing, there are secure people around us who can catch our fall. Additionally, all that we learn along our recovery path act as hooks in the mountain wall, securing us even tighter against the threat of treacherous calamity. Finally, he validated our need to take breaks every now and then; to refuel and refresh.

Empathy happens three places:
  • Head - This is where we inject ourselves into the perspective of another and ask; 'what would it be like to be them?'
  • Heart - This is where we assume what it feels like to be them.
  • Hand - This is the action that follows, the desire to sooth and comfort them.
Active participation in empathy leads to:
  • Compassion
  • Non-judgment
  • Validation
  • Vulnerability
(All of which, Grace does perfectly)

Paul then asked; "What would happened if we took blame out of our life and washed our wounds with empathy?"

I still have yet to wrap my head around this and come up with an answer worth documenting...
"Empathy has the ability to wrap its arms around us and tell us that everything shame says is not true." - Paul Parkin
"People cannot help us unless we have the courage to tell our story." - Paul Parkin
"Empathy is not something that we do, it's something that we are; we become empathy." - Paul Parkin 

First Breakout Session: Paul Parkin on Listening to Our Emotions

The single most important thing I learned from this class is that there is no such thing as negative emotions. All emotions are positive. To call them negative is to shame them, which leads to stuffing, which will eventually lead to exploding. All emotion has purpose.
"Emotions diagnose us." - Paul Parkin
Although none of our emotions are negative, our response to them can be.

The three most toxic and damaging emotions are:
  • Shame
  • Hopelessness
  • Hatred
Processing our emotions is just that; a process:
  • Recognize and label
  • Explore
  • Assess
  • Problem Solve
  • Practice
"We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves, but by changing ourselves, we invite change in others." - Paul Parkin
Paul's recipe for happiness:
  • Be true to yourself
  • Leave no regrets
  • Become love
  • Live in the moment
  • Give more than you take

Second Breakout Session: Kevin Skinner on Making Sense of Intimacy

I really love Dr. Skinner. I've attended some educational classes by him and his thoughts in resiliency have always stuck with me. He is a gentle soul, with a pure desire to help others.
"Sexual intimacy is the bi-product of actual intimacy." - Dr. Kevin Skinner
"Intimacy = in-to-me-see" - Dr. Kevin Skinner 

Third Breakout Session: Rhyll Croshaw on What Can I do About Me?

Although I had previously connected with Rhyll at a number of different events, this was the first I'd actually heard her present. I loved hearing her story, and feeling of her valiant spirit.
"Any decision based on fear is the wrong one." - Rhyll Croshaw
"Speak truth through a filter of love." - Rhyll Croshaw
But, then I added: 
"Truth trumps love, because love cannot survive in a lie; so above all, speak truth." Sidreis Keller Agla
"If I'm in my own head, I'm behind enemy lines" - Rhyll Croshaw

Midday Keynote: Ashlee Harmon Birk on The Moments We Stand

Wow, I barely took notes through this presentation because I pretty much sobbed through the entire thing, but I did manage to catch a few:

Five Truths:
  • Find the beauty that is still all around
  • Have faith in the future
  • Find forgiveness
  • Believe in YOU!
  • Find hope in your story
I would like to publicly thank Ashlee at this point, because she really set the tone for my presentation that immediately followed hers. Her ability to be completely open and raw created an atmosphere of potent vulnerability, perfect for my presentation on Grace. I feel that those that attended were spiritually and emotionally prepped to hear how the grace of our Loving Savior can heal them.


Fourth Breakout Session: Sidreis Keller Agla on Grace

Once I write the blog post(s) detailing my presentation, I will link it here.


Fifth Breakout Session: Liz MacDonald on Self Compassion and Emotional Release

One thing that I really loved about Liz is she was funny. Sometimes we seriously just need a bit of comic relief to lighten the load of what we carry.
"True freedom is the ability to pause and respond to a stimulus or trigger." - Kathy Kinghorn

Closing Keynote: Jacy Boyack and Kelli Rhees on Light

To be honest, I didn't take any notes during these two presentations. I just allowed myself to simply relax and feel it. But, I will share the video that Jacy shared, because it is absolutely amazing. It truly does show that true happiness and connection happens when we get outside of ourselves, give freely, and love freely.


I seriously cannot wait until the next Togetherness. How blessed I am to have it in my life.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Journal: A Reason to Stay Silent

Something has become very apparent to me over the past few days. For those of you who read my last post, you know that I am currently struggling with some dark thoughts. In an effort to escape them, I have deliberately reached out to specific people, as well as opened up about it at group and here on my blog.

One of the specific people, someone I am very close to and trust with my life, reacted in a way that I did not expect.

She got very fixy

We were speaking on the phone when I told her. An hour and a half later I found myself completely emotionally shut down. I'd spent the entire phone call listening to holistic remedies, emotional solutions and therapeutic approaches. I listened as she boldly proclaimed that the Spirit was telling her that I needed to completely open up to her and tell her everything, which I found odd because in that moment all I felt was resistance. I really feel like I am sensitive to the Spirit, so how could our experiences with Him be so different in the same exact moment?

I do know that she loves me and only wants me protected, safe and happy. It's not that her intentions aren't pure, but rather, it was her approach that left me feeling reluctant.

It's been a struggle since then. She treats me different. She treats me as if I'm fragile
You know that voice that's used; an octave too high and slow and tentative. Like vocal volume will somehow break me.

Sadly, it just makes me not want to be honest with her. 
It makes me want to remain silent about my struggle. 

It kind of throws me back into fear about being open and honest; being vulnerable. That is one of the biggest reasons we don't open up about our addiction; fear of being treated differently. We already think we are a freak. Treating us differently only confirms that belief.

I called her tonight regarding something completely unrelated. I purposefully changed my voice to make myself seem more chipper than I actually was, not that I was really even in a bad place. 

She answered with a tentative, "Hi, how are you feeling?" 
Up went my defensive walls as I fought the urge to tensely respond; 'I'm fine.'
"I'm doing good," I said.
"Oh I'm so glad, I can tell in your voice that you are doing better."

Of course, then the shame crept in, whispering; 'you are such a liar.'
I'm not, though. I'm not a liar. I might be isolating, maybe. But not lying.

This is not to say that I don't welcome advice, or ideas or even empathy and compassion.

I do.

And, I'm not really even clear where the line is, between the stuff I welcomed and what I experienced with her... all I know is it just felt different.

A number of you have responded with amazing thoughts and comments, all of which I received well and didn't feel an ounce of resistance. So again, I have no clue what the difference is. Maybe someone reading this can help me identify it.Ya, that would be nice.

Anyway, I'm not really sure how to end this. I just wanted to get it out of me and put it somewhere.

Friday, October 3, 2014

And Still, He Holds Me Together

It's been a dark time. A heavy time.

I've been plagued with a rash of very heavy suicidal thoughts lately. They have escalated past my usual desire to simply escape, and moved into thoughts about how I'd actually do it. Someone close to me called it 'suicidal drive,' and the term felt familiar to me.

I'm scared.
I don't want to be here, thinking these things.

But, the loneliness I am feeling is so heavy.

I have worked to integrate into my new ward and community, but my efforts haven't really awarded any results. The one person I felt connected to moved last week, and it's been difficult to connect with my new bishop. Spending my time in primary while my youngest acclimates to his new environment hasn't helped, either.

I haven't touched this level of despair, I think, ever.
Because it's different this time.

There was a time when I would have welcomed the loneliness.
It would have given me reason to use.
It would have validated my desire to isolate.

But now, such thoughts and feelings rub up against everything I know and stand for.

Logically, I know that suicide is not the answer.
Logically, I know that ending my life would devastate those that love me.
Logically, I know that I would not earn a higher degree of glory if I take my own life.

However, although logic has a strong voice, the voice of my feelings screams much louder.

Logic manifests as a small thought in my brain, whereas my feelings affect me physically, psychologically and spiritually, and manifests as splashing waves of emotion.

I experience my feelings, but simply touch my thoughts.
Thoughts are fleeting and can come and go, but my feelings are rooted within me and swirl around me.

Logically I know that I will not be happy in the long run if I were to intentionally leave this life, but the desire to escape the pain of loneliness screams much louder than the logic telling me to stay.

Surprisingly, I'm not even tempted to act out. Acting out would just add the pain of telling my husband and confessing to my bishop, not to mention bearing the weight of the guilt and shame that would surely come.

Adding to the despair I already feel doesn't make sense when my feelings are begging me to escape it.

I just want to go home.

Even though I know that such a decision would forfeit maximum happiness in the long run, what I would inherit would be a much happier place than I'm at now.

I'd be home.
I'd be welcome.
I'd be connected.
I'd belong.

I just want to belong.

I'm holding on, even if barely.
The wind blows wildly on my branches.
My roots are stretched; threatening to snap.
And still, He holds me together.

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"