No Normal After Trauma

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My date would arrive later. He would only be in my apartment for a few minutes before we were on our way. I had to prepare. So I got on my computer and began logging out of all of my accounts. After I had logged out of two –I stopped. I asked myself aloud, “What am I doing? Nicole, you need to back away from your crazy.” I logged back into my accounts and stepped away from my computer. But I did not put down my trauma. I carried it through the date, through the rest of my day and into the next.

You see, My Guy On A Buffalo was constantly going through all my texts and emails and Facebook. Looking, waiting to catch me in a lie, in some kind of betrayal. I had nothing to hide BUT BOUNDARIES, PEOPLE. BOUNDARIES. And this lives with me still.

My date that day has never given me any indications that he would do the same but the fear still lives in me. And it is alive.

A few years ago I took myself on a trip. I just needed to get away and really look deep into myself and reflect and make decisions. It was an amazing trip. A week after my return I met My Guy On A Buffalo. And the world was wonderful. And then my world was destroyed.

I am preparing to leave on another trip. For the same purpose. To do some intentional work on myself. To be in a new place, to make new choices. I have been really excited for this trip. Until this morning. Fear showed up. Last time I went on a trip I came back and was stolen. I am so afraid that I will return from this trip and the same thing will happen.

A part of me, the healthy side of my brain, tells me that is not true. It will not happen again. This is not a repeat. But the trauma in me…

I do not know how to be normal. I want to be. It is frustrating to think and deal in this way. But maybe it is not about acting, thinking, being normal… Maybe it is about accepting what is. That for right now, this is my new normal. And it is okay. It is okay in all its scary. In the hurting. In the healing.

I often feel crazy. And I know I cannot be the only one. So this is for you. You, who feels crazy and out of control. Who cannot seem to be normal after all you have gone through. I get it. I hear you. I see you.

Worthy is your name. Divine is your destiny. Healing is happening. Together, lets breathe through all of our un-normalness and walk into our fears. I just know something lovely is waiting on the other side

 

Overcoming Fear of Follow-Through

I have a huge fear of follow-through. You can read more about that here:

Fear of Follow-Through

 I have been trying to figure out how to overcome this fear and what I have learned so far is how complex this all really is. I cannot even begin to explain to you how frustrating this all is. I have struggled to know where to start.

Every Monday afternoon I attend an institute class entitled Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel. I love attending this class. It calms me. It centers me. I always feel the spirit.

This past week in class I learned something through the spirit.

We read in the Bible, in the New Testament, the accounts of the Savior’s time in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is where Christ took upon our pains, sins, weaknesses, temptations, our sorrows and our afflictions. Before, Christ could intellectual understand all we have and will ever go through but here, in this garden, is where He literally experienced every thing we have and will experience so that He would literally know how to come to us, to comfort us, to heal us. See Mark 14:33-36

The verses that spoke to my heart specifically were Luke 22: 39-44. In verse 42 we learn that Christ gave up His will to His Father. To us. He drank the bitter cup. He surrendered. And after He did so, help was sent. Verse 43: And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

Heavenly Father ALWAYS sends us help. But first we must accept what is. Often in life the bitter cup is before us. And when it is not removed we have a choice. Do we drink it? I know that when I do, help is always sent and I make it through. Not only do I make it through but I am lifted higher. My character becomes more refined. I become more compassionate and generous. And my testimony of my Savior is strengthened. There is peace in the middle of all that is hard. In the middle of all that I feel is wrong and somehow, all inside of me is made right.

In testifying of the Savior’s Atonement, Elder Neal A. Maxwell shared, “When the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect had ever imagined!… The cumulative weight of all mortal sins- past, present, and future- pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive Soul! All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement… His suffering- as it were, enormity multiplied by infinity- evoked His later soul-cry on the cross, and it was a cry of forsakenness.”

My fear of follow-through will be overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I just know it. I don’t know how but I am surrendering the need to know how. I just know it will be done. It will be done as I seek the Lord’s inspiration and turn to Him in my weakness. I believe He makes all things right including my imperfect, false beliefs about myself.

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Taught my First Class Tonight!

I am on fire. I am a teacher now. Officially. And I taught my first class tonight! It was wonderful. I FEEL wonderful. Thank you Heavenly Father! Thank you for this opportunity! Thank you for my gifts and talents, for the opportunity to grow and refine them, for all of the experiences that led me here…well maybe not all. Lets be honest. I don’t feel that way yet! But thank you for MOST of them. I am happy to be where I am at now. It has taken hard work and the truth is– I am proud of myself. And I could not have done it without my Savior. He is making me whole. Slowly, but it is happening!

I am an institute teacher. Institute is a big part of the educational system within the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To be an institute teacher one must have certain qualifications because all classes can receive college credit. So its a big deal! I am teaching the Mission Preparation class to students who are preparing to serve full-time (18 to 24 months) missions for the church. My responsibility is real!!! And I feel the weight of it. But I also know this is what I am supposed to be doing right now. I teach once a week and my class is an hour and a half long. And I love it. I am in love with my students. I want them to have everything they need and feel prepared. I want them to have experiences with the Atonement of Jesus Christ that they can draw upon for strength and testimony. I want them to love the Savior and have a desire to serve Him. I want them to feel that they are needed and important. That God has a work for them to do.

I was feeling disconnected and nervous before I taught tonight so I drew a card before leaving the house. This is what is said: I release my need to be perfect, and I center into my commitment to serve the world more love.

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I loved that it said that. It was the perfect thing for me to channel. I took it with me to class tonight and it became my prayer.

Also, In case you are unaware, I am now in a relationship. My status on Facebook says so. I am in a relationship with MYSELF. That’s right. I am dating myself. 2016 is dedicated to being my own best lover. One of the ways I am loving myself is through fitness and nutrition. I am treating my body like I love it. Because I do. And I am thankful for all the ways my body serves me. IT IS TIME FOR ME TO SERVE MY BODY. The program I will be following the next few months is Hammer and Chisel. I have been looking forward to this program since July. And it is here and I am ready-ish. So I am dating myself at the gym. And guess what? I am going to prepare for my dates with the gym like I would any other date. With excitement! And I am going to get ready for it like I would any other  date. Meaning, I am going to put in my contacts, do my hair, maybe even wear lipstick. I am purchasing a few new workout outfits so I feel cute when I meet my date, Hammer and Chisel, at the gym. And I am going to put my best foot forward. And I am going to be honest about my pain. And give all my troubles to my workout. And I am going to lift them. And put them down again. And I am going to rest. Recover. Repeat. Because I am worthy. I am loved. It is my responsibility to show myself this love. It is my commitment. I AM MY COMMITMENT.

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Today was just a good day. I needed one. Thank you Heavenly Father. Although it did start off rough. It is winter. Waking up is difficult for me. Leaving Huck is difficult to me. Yesterday I was talking with a cohort and she mentioned to me that I should go ahead and do what I need to do to have Huck become a service dog. This requires a lot of money. A lot. And training. And work. And I feel tired already -but my friend made some very valid points. I am going to think and pray about this. I am grateful my friend was bold enough to say what she said.

Today the boys and I made fresh pear and orange juice. They loved it and demanded that I bring my juicer every time. We also used the EZ bake oven again. It went better this time than last time but is still not my favorite thing to do. But they love it so why not?! I love those boys. They make me happy. We have fun together.

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Today I also talked through my goals with my Success Partner. If you do not have a success partner I recommend getting one. It can be anyone. A friend, spouse, mentor. Mine lives across the country from me. We call/skype regularly. We keep each other accountable and realistic to what we each are trying to achieve. Today she helped me to clarify and strengthen my goals for 2016. I am thankful for her. She is a prize.

I watched the following video again today. It always moves me to tears. I feel so much emotion over it. It make mes want to apologize to any and every one I have ever hurt in my life. Forgiveness is not the theme but it is what I feel from it. I hope you watch it and enjoy. And I would love to hear what you take away from it!

 

Back to School

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School started back up for me today! And I am so thankful. I have missed school. The morning started out rough. I didn’t get much sleep last night and my anxiety had been pretty high lately. I arrived at school early to spend time alone singing in the chapel. It grounds me and helps me to feel calm before I enter class. I made this my spiritual practice once a week last quarter. This quarter it works in my schedule to do twice a week and I am happy! When I left the chapel and headed downstairs to class I saw my friends and immediately felt alive again! I love my classmates! They make me happy and are a confirmation that I am in the right place.

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Class was great and boy did it stimulate my mind and my heart! After class I attended chapel. The first part of chapel we meditated to Christmas music! It was wonderful! And the sermon was beautiful. The preacher shared a story about a time in his life where he was so busy looking to heaven for help that he could not see that God was sending him help in the form of people here on earth. I was very moved by it. I think I often fall into the same thing. I am so busy watching Heaven for a miracle that I do not see the miracle Heavenly Father sends to me here on earth.

After school Huck and I went for a walk on the trail behind my home. I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful place!

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Glory be to God!

The Hurting Place

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In Elaine Marshall’s talk Learning The Healer’s Art, she shares this story:

“My mother once told me of an experience she had one winter morning as she drove down to check the cattle in the lower pasture. She noticed a car off the side of the road. Inside she recognized a young mother and three children. When my mother asked if they needed help, the woman tearfully reminded her that this was the place of the accident two weeks earlier that had killed her husband. She answered, ‘We are just here to feel the hurt.'”

This story has always stuck with me and so a few months ago I chose a place to go to “feel the hurt.”

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This is it. It is a lovely little memorial near my home to honor veterans of all the branches of the military. I come here often. I pray and I ponder. I sit and I cry. A few times the hurt was so overwhelming that I have fallen to my knees and weeped that loud, painful cry that comes from the center of the soul. I like it here. To me it is peaceful. It is safe.

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“Healing is active—you have to be there. Your friend or your husband or wife or your mother cannot do it for you. You have to face the problem and the pain. To begin healing, you must acknowledge and feel the hurt. Only those who don’t feel, those without conscience, cannot heal.”

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“I assumed cure, care, and healing to be synonymous. I have learned they are not the same. Healing is not cure. Cure is clean, quick, and done—often under anesthesia. The antibiotic kills the pathogen; the scalpel cuts out the malignancy; the medication resolves the distorted chemistry. Healing, however, is often a lifelong process of recovery and growth in spite of, maybe because of, enduring physical, emotional, or spiritual assault. It requires time. We may pray for cure when we really need healing. Whether for cell reconstruction, for nerve and muscle rehabilitation, for emotional recovery, or for spiritual forgiveness, healing needs work and time and energy. Healing cannot happen in a surgical suite where the pain is only a sleepy memory. Cure is passive, as you submit your body to the practitioner. Healing is active. It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens.”

Dear Veterans, thank you. I cannot even begin to understand the many sacrifices you have made to serve our country. I respect you. I honor you. I love you. Thank you. I want to be here for you. I will be your Brotherhood.

Below is a great video about the importance of and how to ask Veterans about their service. Please take the time to watch. And more importantly, take the time to be there. Keep kind and carry on. xoxo

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P04stEjJ9E]

If you struggle with PTSD please scroll up to the top of the page and click “Find Help Here.”

It Can Happen

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“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” –Steel Magnolias

Some moments my healing comes through tears and others through my laughter. Some moments my healing comes through cursing. Healing is hardly ever pretty. Healing is messy and often unpredictable. But healing is also divine. And in its own way, a precious miracle. Heavenly Healing provides restoration and a renewal of the heart, a lifting of the soul. Heavenly healing is a gift through the grace of God and a fruit of the Atonement of Christ. I cannot tell you how long your healing will take or what it will look like. What I can tell you is that it can happen. Healing happens. Healing is real because Christ is real. Because He lives. And not only does He live but He loves. The love of Christ is big. It is perfect and perfecting. Christ’s love offers restoration, redemption and renewal to the wounded soul.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S3TI4bYerU]

Permission

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I am a believer and a practicer of giving myself permission. From giving myself permission to fail and fail big to permission to succeed.  I have given myself permission to stay in bed all day when I have needed it.  On other days when staying in bed is what I wanted but far from what I needed I gave myself permission to get moving and hate it. Haha.  The key is to only give myself permission to do or think things that are in-line with my truth. For example, eating cake for dinner is  in-line with my truth but eating cake every day is not.  Standing up for myself: In-line with my truth. Name calling: Never. See how this goes?  The picture above is my most current permission slip.  The one below was made in January.

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And here are some random pictures of my younger sister and I just because.  These were taken in May??? I think

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A Change Will Do You Good/A Lesson In Gratitude

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Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life but just couldn’t seem to follow through? Whether it be diet, exercise, not being “lazy”, ect…  Maybe you started off strong and with excitement but couldn’t keep the momentum going. You became overcome with failure and/or fatigue.

First off, let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

We tell ourselves a thousand excuses.  We are too busy, tired, other obligations and responsibilities get in the way.  All the while knowing these. are. excuses.  Shame builds.  Our desires to change are deep, true and real so why can’t we change!! Why are we not disciplined enough, engaged enough, whatever enough to actually create change in our lives??!!

We have all been there and are maybe there right now.  I know I have and I am. It is frustrating to say the least. But please, cut yourself some slack.  Right now, give yourself permission to practice self love. We have to be READY to change.  Having a firm desire to change is not the same as being READY to change. You cannot force yourself to change any more than you can force a paper-cut to heal.  The wound heals in its own time.  Having that said, there are things you can do to help it heal.  You can treat it, clean it, take care of it.  The same with change.  There are things you can do to ready yourself for it, to prepare for it.

I am working on a series of posts about Change.  About PREPARING for making change happen in our lives.

The first thought I offer you — is to think.  Recall times in your life where you have successfully made positive changes.  What led you there? For me, looking back, I can now clearly identify preparation that I wasn’t even aware I was making.  God was preparing me.  He was using people and cicumstance. He was using experience and creating opportunity.   Heavenly Father was putting everything thing in place for me to change- even when I was working against Him.

I believe we have the ability to see God’s preparation in our lives in real-time.  While it is happening. We can do this through gratitude.  Being grateful opens our eyes to truth. If you desire to make a change, if you can feel in the marrow of your bones that change is coming… practice gratitude.

Whether you keep a journal or a list on your phone.  Maybe you document it with pictures you share on Instagram or Facebook.  However you choose to express your gratitude, Make it happen.  By being grateful you will begin to open your mind for the changes you want to make.