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The Pumpkin Man, The Ghost Lady & The Hen House

November 16, 2021

My mother told me I was a very happy child until I turned 5 years old. She didn’t know what happened but she observed something in me changed. I was to learn what happened when I was in my late 30s undergoing intense EMDR therapy to recover from the traumatic event of childhood rape. All future trauma events including the rape, were re-touching this earlier place and engraining patterns of fear-based thinking I had adopted about myself. When I unraveled almost all darkness holding me hostage, I found it all led back to this ONE Moment in Time.

I lived in an apartment complex in Brockton arranged as lots of 4 buildings in square formations with a courtyard in the middle of each square where kids could play in a grassy area. A paved path encircled the grassland where you could walk and ride bikes. I learned to ride my first bike on that path at age 3. My mother’s rule was I allowed to play outside so long as I remained in the confines of the courtyard.

There was an older girl named Louise who lived in my square who I looked up to very much. She wanted to go to another courtyard where my friend Heather I met at kindergarten lived. I asked my mother if I could go. She liked Louise too and knew I admired her. She agreed to entrust me to her care and off we went.

We played for a while in Heather’s courtyard and then Louise wanted to venture into the woods behind Heather’s building. I remember peering into the woods and getting a very bad feeling inside of myself. It was called Intuition. I did not want to go. It looked scary to me and I remembered my mother’s rule not to ever venture outside the courtyards. I didn’t have many rules as a child but I remember that one.

Heather seemed excited and curious about the woods and wanted to go. The second bad feeling then happened inside of me. I was ashamed that I was afraid. I did not want to let the girls know how I felt so I mentioned my mother said I was never to go outside the courtyard. The girls did not seem to hear me or didn’t care. They started venturing down the embankment into the woods. I was left standing all by myself.

The third bad feeling suddenly washed over me. I had a choice and I had to make it NOW. Pressure. The choice was to follow the girls into the woods or be left behind all by myself, which frightened me even more than being with the girls in the woods. I ran down the embankment to catch up to them. This would be a future pattern appearing in my life… not listening to my intuition… being more afraid of being left out or alone than putting myself in bad situations.

We traveled for a while through the woods and I began to relax. Nothing seemed very scary. We eventually got to a break in the woods and came out into this big open field. I was grateful to be in this place of expansion and light and open air flowing. It was so much better than the dark, cramped, wetland woods.

There was a warn looking building off in the distance. Louise knew all about it. She was happy to go visit the hens that lived inside of it. When we got to the hen house, Louise opened the door and the smell was horrific coming out of it. The girls ventured inside and the fourth bad feeling came over me. I comprehended we were going into someone else’s property and I did not like that. I knew I would not want someone in my house bothering my hens. I was suddenly conscious that I was left standing outside where I could be seen by people driving by on the road in the distance and became gripped with fear of being caught. I went inside feeling like I was safe if I was unseen, a belief that can still hold me hostage today.

I thought I could breathe and relax when I got inside but instead I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I held my breath because the smell was so bad. I could feel this intense pressure building inside of me as each second passed waiting for the girls to tire of their little adventure playing with the hens, which I had no desire to do. There was so many of them and they were clacking away and running towards me and I wasn’t sure if they would hurt me or not. They did not seem happy to see us.

I thought for sure I would feel a sense of relief as soon as we got outside. How wrong I was! The minute we stepped outside a long, black car was parked at the side of the road. A man got out of the driver side. He was dressed in a black suit and he had an orange head but I did not see his face. A woman then got out of the passenger side. She was wearing a long white flowing gown with long white blond hair and she looked like a ghost. They started running towards us and were yelling in anger. The girls started to run back into the woods from where we came. I was so much smaller than both of them and I could not keep up. I looked back as I ran and the man’s orange hair and large facial features caused me to believe that a screaming, scary jack-o-lantern and a real ghost lady were coming after us. I was terrified!

I watched the distance between me and the girls growing and growing as I ran. I looked back and the Halloween people were still chasing us. I began to cry and scream to the girls believing I would be captured. The girls looked back and realized I was not going to make it on my own. They circled back and each grabbed one of my arms and began sprinting for the woods at their pace. My legs were bouncing off the ground with a foot hitting the ground occasionally between bounces. I bounced so hard at once point, my shoe came off. We did not stop to retrieve it.

On top of the emotional trauma, I suffered injuries running without a shoe through wooded land that was rocky, filled with fallen trees and branches, and uneven marshy wetness causing my ankles to buckle when stepping on soft spots covered by leaves. I was a mess by the time we made it back to Heather’s courtyard.

The terror did not leave me just because we were now safe. I still had to face my mother in this condition, all because “I” broke her rule. An unforgiveable offense to my soul, one I had paid dearly for repeatedly with each new intensified fear-filled feeling. I now knew why it was a rule. Here is where I learned to be unforgivably hard on myself.

When Louise and I got back to my apartment, I could not even talk. The feelings of guilt inside of me for not listening to my mother and the traumatic outcome brought me such unspeakable sadness. I loved her so very much. I did not want her to be mad at me or worry about me. My mother was a worry wart and when she was in that state, I was in that state feeling intense emotions of fear in my chest. Thankfully, Louise did all the talking. After all, she had been the one in charge of my care.

I was so traumatized, I can remember I could not speak for days without my throat hurting in deep sadness. In fact, I got very sick and I missed school. For years, I tried to make sense that perhaps it was Halloween and those people were dressed in costumes, but it just did not compute with the fact that Louise brought me home my Valentine’s Day cards since I missed school. I now believe my state of trauma caused me to see things that were more scarier than they were. One too many fear based emotions and I overloaded.

I remember Louise trying to make me happy with the Valentine’s Day cards. I can still remember her look of shame of responsibility on her face when she saw me in such a bad physical state. I owned her shame too. I did not like to feel her pain and I felt it deeply as she was trying to encourage me to talk with her. I perceived that if I felt better, it would make her feel better and she would not have as much guilt. I remember trying to push my deep sadness deeper down inside myself, so I could be what she needed me to be…

Happier and Healthier

The only thing that made me feel better was the loving touch of my mother when she cared for my sickness. Somehow I knew she still loved me because of her tenderness but I thought I had lost it and deserved to. I spent many, many years of my life trying to prove my own self worth and lovability. I learned through my EMDR rape recovery that I was loveable and forgivable and even became aware of trusting my Intuition.

As I was undergoing this intensive EMDR treatment, I dumped on my mom emotionally about my remembrance of this story and how much it had bothered me internally. She said she knew exactly what I was talking about with the long black car that used to drive around. She said the reason it was the rule not to leave the courtyard was because a girl had gotten raped in the neighborhood. How ironic I should learn this as I was recovering from my own rape.

The silver lining to this story is… I did the work and EMDR was worth it! I can allow myself to enjoy physical touch with another human being today and not cringe inside and hold my breath. I was formerly known as the family member who it was painful to give a hug to. They could feel it in me… Don’t touch me.

I am still striving for Happier and Healthier at the age of 52. Today, I trust my Intuition. I also have LOTS of Moments in Time to be grateful for that make my soul happy. My goal is to keep creating more of them and continue to work towards Healthier so I can be around to do so!

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#9: The Call to Rise Again

September 25, 2012

God brought me on a meditation this morning.  He does that sometimes.  I closed my eyes and I saw myself.  I watched myself from above.  I was not myself as I am today.  I was a little girl, innocent and pure.  I was walking in a secluded field surrounded by tall pine trees filled with the beauty of nature.  Even though the sun was shining intensely, the sky was still a bright blue.  The colors of everything around me were so vibrant.  The harshness of the bright sun washed away nothing.  I was so happy.

I met up with other children in the field.  We all seemed about the same age.  They approached me from different directions.  A honey haired girl came from the left.  Then a blond haired boy approached from the right.  Two other children came walking together from the center of the field, a honey haired boy and a dark haired girl.  Like the field, none of us were tainted by harshness, the suffering that exists in this world, not yet anyway.  We were open, free and uninhibited.  We were all so happy.

We joined hands in the middle of the field and began skipping around in circles like we were playing Ring Around the Rosie, but nobody was falling down, falling in, or falling out of the circle.  We were solidly joined and content to be just playing, laughing and smiling up at the sky and at each other.  We all glowed with joy, just like the sun in the sky.

I saw birds of different colors flying overhead above us, like rainbows flying across the sky.  I saw animals in the field all around us, going about their business, happy and content just like us.  Even the blades of grass and the trees surrounding us were swaying in the breeze, seemingly dancing and filled with joy.  It was like heaven on earth for every living being in the field.

Then I and the other children stopped skipping in circles.   All at once, we ran to the center of the circle and lifted our arms to the sky.  A flock of white doves flew up and out of the center of our raised hands like magic.  They flew all around us and weaved their flight in and out of the spaces between us, like angels in flight.  Heaven had joined us.

Then we broke from the circle.  No words were expressed, but each of us started walking in different directions, filled with a sense of joy and curiosity.  Each of us was on a search for something in the field.  I instinctively knew when I found what I was supposed to be looking for.  It was a pure, white feather.  None of its hairs were stuck together.  It was perfection.  I was so happy I had found it, and yet it felt like I had been drawn to it like a magnet, sitting in plain sight at the border of the field, waiting just for me. I walked back to the center of the field to see what the others had found. 

The blond boy who had been on my right was already standing in the center of the field.  He looked so proud to have been there first.   He had something cupped in his hands but I could not see what it was.  He was waiting for the others to return to the circle.  I looked into his eyes and they shined with glee and excitement for what he’d found and held protectively in his hands. 

The honey haired girl then joined us.  She had a leaf in her hand, but it was no ordinary leaf.  It was a magnificent maroon colored leaf, laced with bright orange and flecked with gems that shined light like stars, even in the broad daylight.  She was overjoyed with her magical leaf that seemed to reflect what was inside of her waiting to shine to the world.  I felt a sting of jealousy that her object was so magical compared to my plain white feather, but I quickly pushed the feeling aside and expressed a genuine congratulatory loving smile her way.

Then the honey haired boy came slowly sauntering to the circle. He was holding a simple, gray rock.  I pondered to myself why he would have such a boring object, but he seemed quite content with his rock.  Then a realization came upon me that the rock seemed a lot like him, solid and steady, unmoved just like a rock.  I still felt a stirring of pain as if he should have something more significant.  Nonetheless, I was happy for him and, more importantly, that he was content with who he was.   

I then looked at the blond haired boy.  He seemed like he could not contain his object anymore, but the dark haired girl had not yet come back to the circle.  I looked up across the field and couldn’t see her anywhere.  When the two honey haired children weren’t looking, the boy let me peek into his hand.  My breath escaped me by what I saw.  It was a beautiful baby bird, stark royal blue with white angelic feathers.  I looked at him with great joy for what I saw inside his hands.  He looked so proud and happy that I was so happy for him.  I wasn’t sure if he let me see it because he wanted to let me in on his secret, or if it was an attempt to give the bird a moment of space to see out, as if trying to keep it comfortable and content for a little bit longer. 

Then I glanced up across the field.  The dark haired girl was coming towards us cradling something in her arms.  It was a fluffy white-haired bunny with black splotches.  It looked so content in her arms and she seemed so happy to be lovingly caressing that bunny.  I sensed the girl and her beloved bunny had quite a lot in common in their journey of life, so soft and vulnerable, a nervous twitching, and an instinctive nature to hop from here to there in self-preservation.  Yet here, in this moment, the two of them displayed perfect peace and ease being together, filled with love for each other.  Again, I felt a pang of jealousy inside of me.  Both the blond boy and the dark haired girl had found living objects and mine was just a left behind fragment of something living.  Yet I was sincerely happy for her as well. 

Now that we were all joined in the center of the field, we turned our attention to the blond haired boy. He was struggling trying to contain the item in his hand.  I looked into his eyes expecting to see that excitement I’d seen earlier but it was replaced with fear.  He did not want to open his hands.   I knew in an instant what he was feeling.  It had dawned on him that the moment he opened his hands, the baby bird would fly away and he would be left with nothing in his hands.  I sensed it was so important to him to have that little bird, to have a precious object of his own.  It pained me to watch his internal struggle.

The others began to get anxious.  They started to encroach and crowd in around him, excitedly trying to coach him to open his hands.  It made him more nervous and sweat began to break out on his brow.  I saw anger come across his eyes.  My breath became trapped as I watched him tighten his grip on the little baby bird.  I could tell he felt a momentary instinct to kill that baby bird rather than let the others smother it by their seemingly demanding demeanors in his state of fright.  I glanced in his eyes that were now welling up in tears.  I saw deep pain calling out to me wondering what he should do.  Everything in him did not want to hurt that baby bird, it was so priceless to him.  I gave him a reassuring look of love and understanding, and I prayed to the universe for him to do the right thing. 

In a sudden moment, he opened his hands and the beautiful little bird flew from his hand circling all around his head and then landed on his chest.  The boy was so happy and relieved that tears of joy fell down his face.  It wasn’t just the tears that were falling from him.  All his fears fell away as he watched that bird flying freely and safe from the others, even from himself.  The fear that he would be left empty handed was no longer. 

Then we all sat down on the ground and put our objects in front of us in the circle. Everyone looked so happy with their items and to admire the others. Genuine joy was felt by all for each other, except for me. I still felt a pang in my heart for the honey haired boy with his simple rock. I sensed the others were hiding within them a feeling that their objects were better than his.

Then the boy picked up his rock and calmly and playfully tossed it back and forth between his hands as if it was a ball. Then he glanced at each of us as if waiting for attention reservedly, yet not wanting to be the center of attention. When he knew we were all looking, he opened the rock and showed us all the intricacies inside. There were crystal gems glistening bright light. Then he closed the rock into his hands and it became just a rock again. Then he opened it again and this time there were layers upon layers of colors like sediments in the soil. Once again, he cupped the rock in his hands hiding it from view and when he opened it the last time, there were puzzles upon puzzles hidden within the rock and only he had the answers on how to put it back together. The boy knew all along what was hidden in that rock. Yet he sat there humbly holding it content to have a simple rock. He was no fool.

Then I looked at my plain white feather again and I felt left out.  The honey haired girl and boys had their magical items.  The dark haired girl and blond boy had their living animals and I just had a plain, white lifeless feather.  It looked so insignificant now and it had seemed so special when I found it.  Deep within me I felt a searing ache of pain, but I kept it well hidden.  Something inside me said not to show it, to just be happy for the others and I truly was. 

Then God spoke to me from the sky and from within myself.  No one seemed to hear him but me.  He said to me “My child, the feather IS your object and couldn’t be more you.  It’s the feather of a white dove and doves represent peace in my world.  That is what you bring, this is Who You Are, and this is who you have always wanted to BE.  Each little hair of that feather is precious and fragile just as you are to me.  So take good care of that feather and treasure it as I treasure you.”

I wept because God knew me so well, yet I did not.  I did not recognize the value of my object, nor the value of me, but God had revealed it all.  It now meant the world to me that he chose that white feather for me and I wept even harder in gratitude for a God that is so knowing and good.


Afterthoughts

It was clear to me through the meditation, that the five children were my family of five, the 5 souls I live with who struggle to resist any semblance of a family.  The love in my heart is deep for all of them and, as such, they are MY family, whether they want to be or not. 

As I began to put the meditation into black and white, more meanings began to be revealed about the objects each of the other children had found.  They did not just have significance for the children.  There was a part of me in each and every object as well.

The honey haired girl was my Rebecca. Her leaf made so much sense since she adamantly is choosing to “leave” me to go live with her father. The maroon color of the leaf seemed to represent the color of blood. I attributed this to all the suffering she has endured much too young. I know her wounds are many and deep, but God revealed to me that she is still a gem and there is still light gleaming from her. My hope is that one day, she will follow her mom and go within to heal those wounds and her whole leaf will be made of light.

I also recognize the leaf represents me.  It is “I” who left me two plus years ago.  I started to see that I could not be me, a happy me, the “me” who I had worked hard to become and had come to love, without others around me feeling threatened.  I chose to dim the light that was me, rather than let them sit in discomfort.  It continued to dim further after my divorce.  I was truly happy with the choice I had made for myself, but I saw that my choice was causing such suffering for those around me.  So I decided to close the door and shut off the source of my light and I joined those around me in the darkness of their suffering, trying my best to carry it, heal it, and bring joy when I could.

The honey haired boy is my Frankie, the one who has been nothing but calm, cool and collected since my divorce, the rock of steady peace. But is he really? Are those layers I saw within the rock, the layers of pain that he keeps hidden inside? I believe they are. A few days following this meditation, Frankie decided to open the rock of who he is, and for the first time he expressed himself to me about his own pain.

However, I cannot forget when the rock was first opened it showed glistening, shining gems.  God is showing me that Frankie is not entirely filled with pain.  He is a light all his own gleaming inside.  I am still puzzled about the meaning of the puzzles upon puzzles that only Frankie could know how to put back together again.  Perhaps my son will one day say or do something profound that will be a pivotal turning point in helping put the disarray in our lives back together again.  Only God knows the answer to this one, and it will be revealed in its time.

I also realize that I am still the rock in my family.  Everybody is NOT happy right now because Mom is not the mom she once was.  The choice to let my light be dimmed did nothing to make anyone feel comfortable and it has threatened and hurt those I love the most, my beloved children.  Everyone is waiting for mom to return to mom, to be that rock again and only I can do it, and I AM.  I have turned a corner and I am determined to be ME and do the work to restore myself and my family in the only direction I can… forward.

The dark haired girl is my Nicole.  I did not give birth to Nicole, but I have raised her as my own since she was about the age of the children in the meditation.  As such, I love her just like she is my own, and I always will.  It is no mystery to me that God chose the image of the bunny as hers.  She has hopped from place to place since she was old enough to decide she could, always in an effort to preserve herself when her pain became too great. 

She has recently hopped back into my life and is living in my household once again, caring devotedly for her little brother and sister, just as the child in the meditation was lovingly caressing the bunny.  I know that she will hop away, the minute things become too tough for her and she feels the need to preserve herself once more.  I respect this about Nicole.  I can learn from her something about self-preservation.  It shows me she values herself.  Perhaps running, or hopping away is not necessarily always the answer, but I trust she will find her way, a healthier technique of survival, just as I am trying to do myself now.

The bunny is also reflective of me.  Just like Nicole, I am soft and vulnerable.  I am filled with anxiety.  I just hide it well from the world while she twitches nervously like a bunny does.  Although I made a decision to part ways with my children’s father to make my life better, I have lived for the past year watching my life fall apart, and it has.  It had to… so that everything could fall together.  I need to have faith that, so long as I don’t hop out of my own life, it WILL fall together in a healthier way. 

Lastly, the blond haired boy is my Kevin.  God I love his soul! He is not mine but God has entrusted me with him to walk alongside me.  He is one of the most beautiful people I have ever come across in my life.  The baby bird represents his heart and soul.  I am so blessed to be someone he trusted to peek in and see who he really is, someone with a heart and soul just like mine.  He treasures who he is so much, he hardly lets anyone in to see it.  He would rather self-destruct than let anyone in and harm that precious part of him.  I am grateful God has given me Kevin, who is such a mirror allowing me to see Who I Am. 

I know I am also the baby bird to Kevin.  I am as priceless to Kevin as he is to me.  The meditation has shown me that we both must let go and let ourselves out of the entrapments we have been living in.  If I keep praying and trusting in God, I believe we will.

I pondered this meditation all weekend and was given another insight yesterday.  I was curious about why jealousy came up several times as a feeling within me.  I realized that what I am jealous of is this… I am jealous that the understanding, the acceptance, forgiveness, and the love that I offer to the others, is not offered to me.  I want it for myself.  But as with all things… it starts with me. 

I have understanding today through this meditation.  I need to accept that I have made an utter mess of my life and just do the work and be the ME I am and rebuild it.  I have to forgive myself for the choice I made to dim my own light and put all of us into such darkness.  I have to offer myself the love first by believing I am worthy of it… because I AM.  God told me so!