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Continuing with the basket

Continuing with the basket of words, the next two words are together.
There is beauty and there is delight.
Very similar and very expressive.
When a trauma survivor begins to heal; the blinders fall off and they begin to see things in a new light.
There is a commercial on TV about a guy who gets a new pair of glasses that show color and because he is color blinded, it is an ‘experience’ of a life time.
To see what was once grey and colorless, and realize grass is green, roses are pink, the sky is blue.
That is what these words suggest.
Where there was once a lot of sadness and despair; the change within begins to reveal beauty.
Dictionary.com says:
beauty is a quality present pleasing, remarkable or amazing.
Then it says:
delight is a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.
To see the world in a different view is the beginning of healing.
The survivor begins to see and feel safety.
They no longer wait for ‘something bad’ to take place, they see life as a gift to appreciate perhaps for the first time.
The bible talks about delight 106 times; it talks about beauty 37 times.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
When a survivor begins to trust, it changes so many things on so many levels. The new desire is wholeness and healing.
God also promises He will help in that process.
In Isaiah 61:3 It says: to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (or despair)
What a wonderful promise of hope.
Continuing with the basket of words the twelfth and thirteenth words; we learn about beauty and delight.

As we continue the last few words

As we continue the last few words in the basket of words; we learn that each one has purpose.
We have learned about courage, willingness, trust, tenderness, power, balance, change, rest, healing, and compassion.
The eleventh word in this series is play.
It seems like a strange word to talk about when discussing recovery from childhood trauma.
For many children play was not a part of the growing up season. Life was serious and hard.
During the summer my husband used to volunteer at a camp for children in foster homes.
For one week these kids get to do childhood things such as play, swim, art, archery, run, and relax.
They also go back home with a homemade quilt just for them.
In the middle of the week they have what they call a Birthday party.
For many of the kids there was never a party, a celebration of who they are as a child.
They have cake and each child participates in the festive evening.
Children who live in difficult environments often have a difficult time relaxing and letting go of responsibility.
They often have siblings, taking care of each other as they did in the trauma filled home.
Sometimes they are in separate foster settings, so it’s a gathering together that is very emotional.
For the adult in recovery finding time for fun is against much of what was taught.
Laughter is not always easy, or relaxing and letting go.
In recovery groups I have seen adults breathe a sigh of relief, perhaps for the first time;
when they let go of the heaviness that once surrounded them.
Sometimes when healing begins the one in the process feels guilty for feeling playful.
It is retraining the mind and spirit of a child. Even as an adult…letting go is important.
After the recovery process takes place feelings such as play, laughter and delight begin to
settle into the heart of the one healing.
I know for me humor was always a hidden gift, and when healed on levels that were safe,
my humor came up and often was an addition to the room.
Many times I had people telling me that I was funny.
Only when I allowed healing to replace memory, did I feel free enough to finally enjoy the peace that was given to me.
As we continue the last few words in this basket, the eleventh one is play.

The tenth word in the basket of words

The tenth word in the basket of words
As we have moved through this series called basket of words.
I hope we have discovered and learned many new things.
We began with the word courage, then we moved to willingness, trust, tenderness, power, balance, change, rest and healing.

The tenth word we are learning about is compassion.
Dictionary.com said: it is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

A big step for me in my recovery process was to see ‘the child’; and learn to comfort that child in a way I never learned or experienced growing up.
At the time when I was deep in recovery I was also watching my grand daughter who was a premature baby.
It was a blessing on many levels as I could see her as a little one with feelings and needs; and if I didn’t listen or pay attention she wouldn’t be heard and her needs would not be met.
I learned what her cries meant.
I learned what she was like when she was uncomfortable.
I learned to pay attention to her.
Growing up in a home that was broken it wasn’t safe to say what you really felt or what you thought you needed.
So as I grew in recovery I had to re-learn the idea of ‘my voice’ and my thoughts as important.
Children are just ‘little people’ who are at the mercy of big people.
Their choices are few. Their voices are not loud.
Often times when we go to a mall or a restaurant I am amazed and saddened at the inconsiderate adults who continue to shop; even when it is obvious ‘the little one’ is ready to go home.
It is not the fault of the child if they are over tired, over hungry, uncomfortable or just bored.
It is the responsibility of the parent or the adult to pay attention.
So simple yet so difficult for so many.
It is not the fault of the child if they are only being children.
In the recovery process from abuse issues one has to step back and learn to see the child as they were.
A little one made to carry burdens that they were never meant to carry.
A little one who was told to be quiet and not act out.
A little one forced to grow up and be adult way before they were emotionally ready.
It is critical to see the child and all the vulnerability that comes with childhood and realize; the reality for them and what was taken away.
At a very early age I learned and internalized that nothing really mattered, which for me meant… I didn’t matter.
In recovery I learned to say ‘I am sorry’ to that little girl who learned that her voice, her worries, her feelings were not important or heard.
I learned compassion and sadness for her.
Growing up in our childhood home we were never asked the question,
“how do you feel about this?”
We didn’t get a choice. Feelings were never a choice.
That is why my compassion and heart is for the children.
Adults must choose that the needs of the children are more important than their own needs.
Even when it is not convenient or fun.
Compassion for the children is critical.
Even Jesus said “let the children come” for he knew they had value and voice.
My prayer is for us to be so full of compassion that we will want to listen to the heart of a child.
The tenth word in the basket of words is compassion.

As we continue to learn

As we continue to learn about the basket of words I hope we begin to understand that there is an importance to the order.
We began with courage for it takes great courage to admit something is wrong and needs to be changed.
Then we moved to willingness, then to trust, then to tenderness, then to power and balance, then to change and rest.
Each one of these have great significance within the process of recovery.
The ninth word in this series will be healing.

Dictionary.com says: Healing is the act or process of regaining health, getting well, mending.
Restoring health to bring an end or conclusion.
Compose or soothe: to heal the soul.
After a time of resting; the body begins to have a ‘new’ place inside for healing and restoring some sort of calm that will be needed to go further in the process.
For me it was slow but as I learned to listen to the internal feelings
I learned it was more healing to listen than to discount or dismiss.
Maya Angelou says it beautifully:
“It’s scary every time I go back into the past.
Each morning, my heart catches.
When I go there, I remember how the light was, where the draft was coming from, what odors were in the air.
When I write, I get all the weeping out.”
Yes… writing helps to form feelings into words.
That is what I struggled with the most.
I could write what I could not say ‘out loud’.
I could draw what I could not express.
I had the feelings but I couldn’t verbalize the words surrounding them for it didn’t feel safe or real to talk them out.
Until I healed and followed the process of healing I couldn’t go any further.
Each step is crucial and it took time. It took patience. It was hard work.
It took strength to go back into those ‘places’ as Maya so beautifully expressed.
It was scary.
I had to remember in order to move forward; my fear could not stop me or hold me back.
There were days I did not want to do the hard work it took for me to become more healthy.
It felt like I was mountain climbing and just as in exercise or diet it takes a process of doing in order to get the result.
I also had to fight my doubt.
What my heart told me had to be processed with my counselor and then believed.
He was a huge ‘help’ in this journey toward healing.
Just like any coach he cheered me on and he encouraged and directed me towards the goal.
The goal of healing.
To heal the soul is one of the most difficult journeys as it is a delicate process.
The one in recovery must learn to grieve.
To learn what was broken and lost, then acknowledge the pain.
Each time I stepped into that therapy room I knew I was closer to the healing process.
It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:8
As we continue to learn about the basket of words, our ninth word is healing

The basket of words continue


The basket of words continue as we learn about the eighth word called rest.
Rest is so important when someone is doing recovery work.
It is not only emotionally exhaustive but physically; depending on the issues.
In the word – [The Bible] rest is found 521 times and is a very important element of spiritual healing and wholeness.
Rest is a gift you can give to yourself even when you don’t feel tired.
To slow down, to center in and not be doing and going all the time.
“If you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.” author unknown
Matthew 11:28-29
“Are you tired? I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.
I am gentle and lowly in heart. In me, you will find rest.”
What is so important to remember is the rest this is speaking of; is a deep inward calm.
It is a knowing that all will be ok.
Recovery work is very difficult and when we don’t use words like balance and rest, we lose so much of the life around us.
Proverbs 3:24
“When you lie down, you need not to be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet.”
We are much more able to do the recovery and healing work when we can stop and rest in the process.
The hard part is that sometimes dreams startle the calm, or PTSD reactions affect us.
I had moments when I would react strongly if someone were to surprise me.
I think it’s really important to consider all the areas of recovery and healing;
and allow ourselves the time to move slowly through them.
The basket of words continue as we learn about the eighth word called rest.

The seventh word to learn about

The seventh word to learn about is going to be change.
Out of the basket of words I have shared about courage, willingness, trust, tenderness, power and balance.
Change is a powerful word when it comes to any recovery process.
It is a lifestyle choice.

(God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.)

I have tried to set the words out in a sequence of how it was for me;
as I was going through this ‘deep’ internal process of healing.
When someone goes into a therapy season many things begin to change for them; mostly internally.
What was once familiar and comfortable now begins to feel ‘abnormal’ and sometimes disturbing.
Relationships change on many levels.
The person going through recovery changes from the inside out.
It won’t feel good or right to stay in the same routine and old behaviors because healing brings new truths.
I always learned through this process, ‘awareness brings choice.’
Dictionary.com says : It is to become different, altered, transformed, in opinion,
in thought or course or direction as in: changing ones mind.
I remember there was a point in time when someone would say something to me and in the old ‘life’;
I would just ignore it, or internalize it or believe it to be true.
My ‘new’ life of awareness brought me to the point of thinking…
then saying, “this is not about me, this issue is not mine.”
Then I began to move from the guilt and obligation that was taught and felt; to a more healthy place inside.
Change brings courage forward and gives it voice.
Voice is SO important when healing takes place.
It is realizing family ‘dysfunction’ is the core ‘reason’ we sit in a therapy room.
Dysfunction means: abnormal or impaired, bad or difficult.
It is learning to say as we move through the process;
“that was then, this is now. Today is a new day. I will begin again.”
I began to change internally when my old ‘style of coping’ didn’t work any more and it didn’t feel ‘real’ to me.
As healing becomes normal to us we move further away from the old ‘way’s of coping or believing.
Truth changes the reality in which we begin to live.
As we grow and move forward change will create many conflicts
because we are not doing it ‘the way it always has been done.’
Those around us see and sometimes test our new boundaries.
It takes strength and courage to stand up for what is right and healthy.
This basket of words is layered and powerful.
Each one of these words takes a great amount of growth and choice.
The one in recovery has to realize and soon begins to realize some friends, some family,
will not stand by and watch as you change before them.
They will feel uncomfortable with the ‘boundaries given to them’
and they will not encourage you in the new process.
Change creates boundaries and also brings to us the ability to say with courage,
“I am not going to listen to that anymore or I will not allow you to hurt me again.”
Change forces a line to be drawn. It is saying to yourself.
I will not ever go back to where I was as a wounded person.
One of the hardest parts of recovery is realizing ‘you’ are worth fighting for.
The seventh word to learn about is change.