Hot chocolate, a book and a nap.

hot_chocolate

I got home early from work, it’s bitterly cold (though sunny) and I’m tired. I don’t care that it’s only 3 PM, I’m about to drink the delicious hot chocolate you see pictured above, crawl under my blankets, read for awhile (a book, not my laptop!) and maybe even let myself fall asleep for awhile. I can think of few things I’d rather be doing right now.

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Keeping it all in perspective.

perspective

Tonight I needed to step away from blogging and take care of practical matters. If you’re a person prone to an active imagination or lives inside your head (like most Aspies), emotional and spiritual growth can be tricky because it is so extremely seductive for people like us, and far, FAR more rewarding and exciting than the physical world of chattering neurotypicals, abusive narcs, bills, jobs, traffic jams, annoying bosses, and people who walk four abreast and block your way in the aisles at Walmart.

We’re all at different stages in our journeys, and we move at different rates. Everyone’s experience is different, and God has a plan for every one of us. But God’s plan will be different for each person. You will not experience your awakening the same way I will, and what you are called by God to do will not be the same as mine.

I never felt close to God until about three months ago. For years I tried–I prayed for faith even–but always felt my prayers fell on deaf ears and that God, if he even existed, didn’t like me too much. I tried various religions over the years and none of them spoke to me.

My awakening wasn’t earth shattering, I didn’t have a Saul-to-Paul like sudden conversion. I didn’t see a burning bush. I wasn’t struck by lightning in the desert. I didn’t fall on my knees and sob in repentance. I didn’t see Jesus on a piece of toast.

I didn’t suddenly become cured of my Aspergers, PTSD, anxiety, avoidant personality, and (possible) BPD. I still struggle with these things every day, and will probably continue to do so for quite some time.

But being able to see beyond the everyday physical world was every bit as exciting as those dramatic conversions you see in the movies and TV. Mine happened over a period of weeks, but was no less emotionally intense. It might not have made good TV, but I was never trying to get on a reality show anyway.

Besides feeling alienated from God, I felt alienated from my abilities and talents. As someone who was emotionally numb for so many years, my creativity was in the toilet. After years of narc abuse, I didn’t think I could think for myself. I was sure I forgot how to write. In fact, I was quite sure I lost quite a few IQ points. I felt helpless and incompetent, one of life’s losers. I’d internalized my family’s opinion of me. I also thought I didn’t deserve these God-given gifts since I hadn’t really used them, so it only made sense he’d take them away.

All that being said, my awakening has been rapid. It’s a little dizzying and disorienting at times, but it’s never been scary. There are a lot of changes in me, and I can see this reflected in my writing since September. My early posts tended toward fluff and the merely informative or entertaining; even my entries that comprise “My Story” seem as if they were told by someone other than me; they give the details, but seem to be lacking much feeling. I was still in my PTSD state of emotional numbness. I felt disconnected from myself. All the colors in my world were washed out and grayish, like the colors in an old color photograph that’s been sitting in a musty attic or in the sun way too long.

My recent writing has been about deeper subjects and my style far more analytical. As my knowledge about narcissism and narcissistic abuse has grown, I’m exploring topics I never intended to on this blog–the metaphysical and supernatural, for one, especially how those things relate to narcissism, which I’ve come to realize is more a spiritual disorder than a mental one. And overall, I think my posts are a lot more positive. I complain less and when I do I can find the humor there now too, even if that means only laughing at myself. Because everything has its humorous side. It’s just a matter of perspective.

I’m seeing things and knowing things and not understanding how or why or what it all means. But it is. Things are revealed as they need to be. It’s okay and isn’t frightening, but can be a little disorienting. Sometimes I have my doubts about these things but that’s normal for those of us who have been trained to never trust our own judgment.

Because my creativity has taken a sudden upturn too, it’s too easy for me to confuse a creative vision or idea with spiritual truth. In fact, the two are related–creativy is very close to spirituality and each depends upon the other for its existence. Sometimes they’re one and the same. For me, blogging is a melding of creativity and complete emotional honesty.
But they’re not always the same. It’s important to step away to gain perspective on which is which, and when they not the same.

When I talk about my awakening sometimes I think I sound a bit insane. After years of being told by my narcs that I was always imagining things, always the crazy one, I learned not to trust my own judgment. Like most victims of narcissistic abuse, I didn’t know what was the truth and what was a lie. Because I couldn’t trust my narcs, I couldn’t trust even concrete evidence being waved in my face, and trusting any sort of intuition? Fuggeddaboutit.

With all this shiny new clarity, I often have doubts about my thoughts and feelings being real. I worry that people will think I’m some deluded woowoo. Sometimes I wonder about it too. I pray for the ability to distinguish truth from my own vivid imagination and/or wishful thinking. Like I said, I never could trust my own intuition because my narcs told me it was all a lie.

But truth doesn’t lie, and when you feel something, know something, to the core of your bones, and can’t explain it but just know it as truth, you must trust that what you feel is real. You have only God to answer to; no one else in the world can take away your truth. You are not deluded. Trust your intuitions.

We need to keep things in perspective though. It’s easy to get carried away emotionally by rapid spiritual growth and allow it to consume us or remove us from the need to still engage with the everyday, material, and all-too-often boring world we know through our 5 basic senses. We sometimes feel above it all, like it’s not worth our time or effort because the spiritual realm is so much more captivating, exciting, meaningful, and mysterious. Over-imaginative creative INFJs like me tend to prefer the spiritual and mental realms over the mundane physical one. We also tend to have poor survival skills, especially if we’re also suffering from PTSD (or Aspergers).

We have to engage with the physical world whether we like it or not. It’s not going away, but it’s not all bad either. The physical world gives us the material tools we need to carry our whatever our vision is. In my case, it’s this laptop. I have to remember to maintain it, run a full antivirus scan every few weeks, clean up storage space, and dust my keyboard and screen every day. Without this $300 Hewlett Packard laptop, I would not be where I am right now. Thirty years ago, I would not have been able to undergo such rapid change, because I wouldn’t have this tool that has brought me into a community of so many people who can relate to me in a way no one else has ever been able to, my family least of all. So it’s this banal corporate-made piece of plastic and metal that has enabled me to engage with others and explore the deeper meanings of things.

We also have to remember to take care of our physical bodies. I don’t need to tell you how to do that. If you’re not healthy we’re not going to be able to reach those higher states of consciousness and you’re still going to feel like a victim. How can you not, if your own body is turning against you? We still need to stay in and engage with the real world, and that means staying (or getting) as healthy as we can. Your mind works better when the body is well fed and well rested.

If you have a chronic physical condition, do the best you can. You will still get to where God is taking you; it might just take a little longer. Take the best care of yourself you can.

It’s okay to disengage. In fact it’s necessary. Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all this new stuff of the spirit, heart and mind. It’s important to step back every so often and do something normal like bake a cake, clean the house, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, pay the bills, read a good novel. Take a walk. Paint a picture. Put in a new kitchen floor. Call an old friend. Take a long hot bath, light a candle, and feel yourself sink into the comfort of the water and let your mind wander. Those are times I like to be still and listen to what God is telling me.

I can’t spend every minute on this laptop , as much as I’d like to. Stepping away from blogging about and thinking about narcissism and everything I’ve learned lately gives me more clarity; if I spend too long thinking about narcissism or healing from narc abuse and even just writing in general, I can get emotionally overwhelmed. Even though they’re mostly good emotions, even those in excess can muddle your thinking and turn your thoughts into a confused jumble. There’s a such thing as too much of a good thing.

If your spiritual and emotional journey is moving at a faster pace than you expected,like mine seems to be, remember to step back and join the regular world at frequent intervals and I promise you will gain more clarity on things.

If your journey seems to be at a standstill, or is poking along like a tortoise, don’t worry. You are changing too. God is doing his work in you even if you can’t feel it yet. When God reveals his purpose for you, you will know it, because it will be a moment of utter awe. It’s hard to explain but you’ll know it when it happens. It may not be dramatic, it may be a quiet realization. You will know, and you will know why it has taken this long.

Pray for patience and faith, and most of all strength. If you are not a believer in God, believe in something and ask it for guidance. Remember to enjoy the small, every day things. Appreciate life in all its kaleidoscopic colors. Because even in the everyday things, you can find beauty and truth.

Mowing the lawn

mowingthelawn

Call me weird, but to me, mowing the grass is a very zen-like activity. When I start mowing, I get into a mental groove, and the repetition, strenuous exercise, the smell of the cut grass, and the satisfaction of seeing freshly mowed grass all combine to relax my spirit. When I mow the lawn, I don’t have to think about anything. My mind just sort of goes blank and I enter a peaceful place in my head as I push that machine back and forth. It’s very centering. I need that.

It’s winter. Why on earth am I thinking about mowing the grass?

Here in western North Carolina, it’s been cold, but not cold enough for the grass to stop growing. The past couple of days it’s been in the 60s. I noticed today the grass needs to be cut. It hasn’t been cut since October. I also need to clean my front porch, which is covered with leaves and other debris.

So tomorrow, after church (if it’s not raining, which weather forecasters are predicting) I’m planning to get out there with the mower and enter my zenlike space.

Besides having a nice looking lawn, I really need to spend some time away from this blog, doing something mindless yet enjoyable. So much has happened over the past few days concerning this blog–and then there was Christmas, which is always stressful even when it turns out as nice as it did for me this year. I just need to get back to basics and mow the damn lawn.

I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.

What kinds of activities relax and center you?

The song that helped me cope after going No Contact

Something about this hit song from 2013 and early 2014 just makes me feel so good. It give off a lot of positive energy for me.

Right after I went No Contact with my MN ex in February, my son ranked this #1 for the year 2013 on his Youtube radio show, Radio Recall. I could see why he liked it so much. It quickly became one of my favorites too and from February through the time I began this blog in September, it actually helped me feel…well, safe and sound.

I know this song has been criticized for sounding like a commercial jingle (and I don’t like too much current pop), but I don’t care if it’s “bad” music and for this I make an exception. I also love the history of dance sequence shown in the video.

I’m not sure–maybe it’s the almost subliminal “hold your ground” in the backup chorus that made me feel so strong and courageous whenever I’d hear this.

Happy feet

It’s time for a new fluff post.

toesocks

Someone at work gave me these goofy toe socks the other day. I decided to put them on tonight. They make me feel like a kid again! They make me want to wiggle my toesies and squee!

babytoes

My Christmas present to myself

comfort

As ACONS or victims of narcissistic abuse at the hands of others, we can be nervous, hypervigilant, and constantly feel stressed out and overwhelmed. It’s so hard for us to relax and just feel happy and in the moment.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that work best and take us to a place where we feel more at peace and more sane. We need to seek out and savor these small things.

The other day I received a gift card for Cracker Barrel. I have to admit, I love their country stores that are always a treat after pigging out on their heavy country cooking.

This morning I had to go have two of my tires changed and get an oil change. I hate dealing with servicing my car, but it had to be done. I already felt better knowing at least my tires won’t skid off the road, even though my car is 13 years old and the transmission is starting to slip.

Blasting rock music and singing along to it on the way home, I remembered my Cracker Barrel gift card and decided to stop by and buy a few things with it.

I adore candles and always buy those big scented jar candles at the dollar store, K-Mart or Walmart because usually those are all I can afford. Those are fine, but today I decided I could afford to splurge and buy a $20 Yankee Candle. I had a tough time choosing an aroma, because they all smell so great, but I finally settled on a new scent called “Silver Birch,” which smells just like woodsmoke and reminded me of a crackling fire.

I also love bath products, so I bought myself a bottle of JR. Watkins apothecary bath salts in Menthol/Camphor with Eucalyptus oil. The bottle, charmingly printed in a late 19th/early 20th century style, says it’s great for soothing colds and flu, but I’ve tried it before and it’s great for everything. It makes your body feel energized but relaxes your mind at the same time.

So when I got home, I decided to take a long hot bath, and just let the scents and warmth of the water swirl around me and bring me into the moment, only the moment. I lit the candle and placed it on the sink, poured a handful of the scented bath salts into the water and mixed in a little vanilla/lavender scented bath gel (cheap from Dollar General) in there too to make the water softer for a little moisture. Then I slid into the tub and literally sighed as I settled in. I lay there with my eyes closed for about an hour, just letting my mind wander and focus on the moment. I also said a little prayer of thanks for small blessings like this.

I nearly drifted off to sleep, but finally, when the water began to get too cool, I dried myself off, put on some comfortable clothes and decided to write a blog post about the bath from heaven.

We need moments like this to validate ourselves. We need to give ourselves little gifts every day if we can. If we didn’t get the mothering and nurture we needed, or we’re still surrounded by narcissists who don’t give a shit about how we feel, we can still give ourselves comfort and nurture every day in small ways like this

It’s not even necessary to spend the kind of money I did today (and the only reason I had it was because of the gift card I received). You can get the same effect with cheaper products from lower end stores. I always find great stuff at the Dollar General a few blocks away Their candles are limited in variety but smell really good. You can also mix a little baby oil with a cheap scented bath gel. At some smoke shops and other stores, you can buy little bottles of scented oil, or even learn to make your own (I’m sure there’s plenty of how-to instructions online).

There’s nothing like a long, hot, leisurely, great smelling bath to soothe your nerves and make you feel normal again, at least for a little while. And make sure you light a candle while you soak.

I’m still feeling so relaxed I think I’m going to nap for about an hour.