Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Golden September

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm still amazed that it is September already.  I am also still amazed that I am turning a "special age" in a mere eleven days.  It doesn't seem possible.  It also doesn't seem possible one of many special times in my life now lies a whole three years in the past.  Ah yes, I remember those beautiful days of September, 2010.

The summer of 2010 was a special one for me.  I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Norway to take a class as part of my coursework for my masters degree I was pursuing at the time at an institute based in California.  After returning to California in mid-July I spent some time with a friend in Santa Cruz, California before making the journey north to Oregon to luxuriate in the summer warmth of August.  I returned to California in time to resume my studies in September.

Shortly after returning to California something unexpected began to unfold.  I would awaken feeling completely refreshed after a mere five (or at most six) hours of sleep.  During the first week this occurred I thought it was a fluke experience that would quickly disappear.  But it didn't.  It went on throughout much of the month of September.  It was nearly October before this phenomenon began to subside.  Hindsight being what it often is I was able to look back some time later (as I can also do now) and reflect on what was happening.  The restorative power of living on a retreat center property in a very rural area of southwest Oregon had "turbo-charged" my health.  I was so refreshed and relaxed after nearly an entire month of living so intimately with the sights, sounds and smells of our living planet that my health reflected this wondrous state of being through my need for relatively little sleep.  It took some time to adjust to this deliciously exuberant state of being.  And ironically, by the time I did begin to find such a rested state to be a "normal" experience, that state began to fade away.

I can still vividly remember how good I felt on the day of my birthday three years ago...namely September 14th.  I made a trip to a local nature reserve where I had begun doing weekly monitoring of a marine protected area for a non-profit organization.  I was doing such monitoring work to gain experience to list on my resume in the hope of getting an amazing job once I completed my degree.  That still has not happened.  And recently, with the unexpected developments regarding my health, I have decided to change my focus.

I celebrated my birthday that year by going out to the ocean.  I can still remember hearing some music on the radio of my Mazda 323 SE.  I recall the deep and tender yearnings of my heart.  I remember how much I missed a certain man I had met while in Oregon that summer.  And I remember the shadow of loneliness that filled my heart.  I enjoyed going to school and was excited to complete my degree.  And yet the loneliness within my heart was deep and difficult to bear.  And yet all the while I would encourage myself with the belief that the sacrifice of attending graduate school a second time would prove worthwhile.  And perhaps it ultimately still will prove worthwhile.  But one challenge that has remained is that loneliness.  I still feel it.

I see so clearly now how deep the loneliness has run through my own heart.  I see how long it has been present.  I see how the traumas in my own life history have colored my perspective and all too easily distorted my thinking regarding how realistic it is to expect I can successfully meet me own heartfelt needs in a consistent way over a long period of time.  People have come and gone through my life so many times that it seems...perhaps...that this exterior pattern has forged some sort of unfortunate neural pathway in my own brain that long ago led me to just start expecting that people would not remain in my life.  It seems I started to expect unpredictability and chaos in relationships.  And eventually, as you would expect to happen given what I have learned through other informal courses of study, my expectations began to come true.

It thus seems I need to literally reprogram the way I think about my life and what I can expect and dream about.  As I have noted in previous entries the exterior world (and our daily lives) is a mirror of our interior lives and stream of thoughts.  Expect difficulty and challenging circumstances and you will ultimately see such a reality manifest.  Focus upon the good and eventually that will predominate in your life.

I myself wish to find my way back to those halcyon days of the September of three years ago when I would awaken refreshed after a mere five hours of sleep.  It was such a magical time in my life.  I believe it is possible to recapture such magic.  I believe it is possible to fundamentally rewire my brain through persistent discipline and the creation of a nurturing environment such that this condition of PTSD resolves to the point that my past no longer holds me in its thrall.  It seems likely there is much work before me that I still will need to do.  I can undertake such a journey if I have sufficient support and encouragement.  I can make the journey if I can keep my eyes fixed on the prize in the distance.

I am excited that tomorrow features the beginning of the Resilience Training program at the Penny George Institute.  I am most grateful for the scholarship that is making my participation in this program possible.  I am even grateful for the spinning wheel of the seasons that is now carrying us away from long summer days into the growing stillness of autumn.  I do not savor the thought of cold winter winds (which my mind has already repeatedly leapt to since we had our first chilly morning today) coming in the near future.  But before those winds grow strong and persistent there is the gift of autumn.

September is such a glorious month!

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!