Evolution moves slow and steady. I once believed I could clear wounds enough to transcend my upbringing— To not be my mother. What cleared are protections that made me function and survive. My daughter said to me: I like seeing you struggle— A once controlled and efficient mother now stumbles a bit. Bring on the staggering And the unease of failing And seeing the apple does not fall far from the tree. It is true some improvements were made Maybe I'll see more as I age But for now I acknowledge evolution is slow And at least it is steady. For we are not efficient machines We are human with hearts and needs We store treasures from ancestors and thieves. Keep going. ~Nikki, The Soul Reporter
Tag Archives: trauma
Closing the Doors
Might as well find the joy while the world burns, right?
I am shutting the doors, I have decided, to where the trauma lives.
I am not shutting the door because I want to avoid what is there.
I am shutting the door because for 30+ years all I have done is open these doors.
Within the rooms I have explored, processed, dug deep and long.
There has been healing and transformation. Incredible insights and connections made.
There has also been torment.
So today I messaged the therapists and the energy workers and said, thank you and goodbye.
I want to enjoy my life for a change, I said. I want to hear my inner voice again.
I have seen hell, so may as well turn around and see what else there is.
~Nikki, The Soul Reporter
Fear of Adults
Did adults teach love or fear?
A few mornings ago, a deeply rooted fear approached the surface of my awareness— it may be a major source of my anxiety— the fear of adults.
Adults— these taller, authoritative and not always welcoming figures who literally, and often figuratively, look down on us when we are small. I guess it is one reason why it has been weird to be one and why, in many cases, especially in parenting, I got it wrong.
Who taught me to adult, and how was I taught?
I tried QNRT (Quantum Neuro Reset Therapy) recently and the practitioner asked— what happened between ages 9-11? Searching, mostly I came up blank, as though this entire span of my life I blacked out. However, what I do recall, an image that also came up in an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy session: little me is standing in line outside Ms. Odegard’s 3rd grade classroom. This image of my small self, being towered over by Odegard, folds inside of itself head first, as if choosing at that moment to go some place no one else would see me— EVER. Odegard was a mean, witchy-looking woman (more witch of the west, not south). She scared me, and away, inside myself, I went and stayed. Early experiences of bullying only solidified my existence there, with the added compounding affect of: I’m ugly and weird. I’m too much and I bother people just by being me. But it wasn’t me— I mean maybe the vulnerability of me likely made me a target, but it was also what I wore.
My mom gave love through buying me expensive things. She didn’t have a lot of money, just credit and expensive taste. Let’s just say I was the first person in 6th grade to have Guess jeans— the infamous triangle on the back pocket I exposed by keeping one part of my shirt tucked in at the back. Every bullying event was around something I wore from the barrettes that were pulled out of my hair and stomped on by dirty blonde-haired Allison, to the pink hat that matched an entire pink outfit that was snatched off my head by Jessica. The next day she gave it back to me in a brown paper bag. My hat was in the bag and a big clump of dog shit was in my hat.
I easily learned it is not okay to “show off— ” as if that is what I was doing. I was wearing what I had and loving it, until that happened.
I understand that these stories aren’t about the scary adults, but about mean kids, likely acting out because of the scary adults in their lives. Which brings me back to them, and what they mean to us when we are little.
The source of (pretty much) everything is in these young, developing years, and all around us are adults, these taller people that are supposed to know more than we do. So, we listen to them. We watch everything they do and because we are so spongy during this time we absorb a lot. In a way, we absorb them.
We can absorb their unprocessed and unregulated emotions. We can absorb the actions, behaviors and words that are done and told to us. Therefore, depending on what we are absorbing, we can believe that we are good, bad, worthy or unworthy, not enough or too much….And we can learn patterns of behaviors and thought that protect us and then as adults, harm us.
When there is a problem, there is not something to do, there is something to know.Dr. Raymond Charles Barker
Many seem to be returning to this childhood time, realizing this is the source of the pain, the repetitive and protective patterns and habits, the suffering. Once understood, which is a process, the more pure, real parts of ourselves can risk showing up and we welcome in a new experience of adulthood. One where, instead of feeling tight and constricted within ourselves, we feel more spacious and free. It is from this spaciousness that we present as an adult that won’t scare and shame away the smaller people.
Thanks for showing up,
~Nikki, The Soul Reporter
Who protects the children? Who shelters the sacredness of childhood?
This duty falls upon the parents/caregivers.
And yet, as the quote above states: It is in the homes and in childhood that the wreckage of human life begins. I would say it is also in schools and religious institutions.
I come out strongly suggesting this because this wreckage is what I care passionately about. My passion was reignited last week as my daughter shared an experience she had. It triggered experiences and emotions still unprocessed from my childhood.
A family member had compared their daughter to mine, and not in a positive light. This has happened before when another family member did not want their daughter to be around mine because they believed she was a bad influence. I recall the time, as a young teenager, I was forbidden to step foot in my friend’s house because her parents believed I was a bad influence because I dated black boys. I remember how this hurt me, and it wasn’t the first time. It was a reoccurring theme that somehow something in me threatened the adults and they didn’t want me rubbing off on their kids. Absurd!
I can say that now, but at the time I felt like a defect. I felt ashamed. I felt judged. And, I felt angry. The anger I felt was about the injustice I was experiencing. These parents who judged me did not know me. They never asked me questions. They did not spend time with me. I was instantly forbidden fruit based on a few choices and behaviors.
My daughter is being judged in the same way. The family members who chose this behavior do not know her. I’ve yet to see any of them sit down with her and ask her questions about who she is or how she is. Or have they sat down with me and asked about what is was like to raise her or how I raised her. And somehow, as parents, they believe they won’t deal with the behaviors they think they know about my daughter and if they do, they rather it be due to the negative influence of my daughter. How ignorant!
What is forgotten, what is not done is to look wider and deeper at the reasons behind so called negative behaviors and influences. Why might someone act out with “negatively”? Why might a child/teenager self-harm? Use drugs? Do we think they are just a defect or do we just blame the bad influences? Or do we consider they are acting out unprocessed traumas that occur within our own homes? Our own toxic environments? Acting out the wreckage of their childhood? Not usually. Instead of adults putting this together, adults project their fears, ignorance and their own unprocessed traumas and emotions at the children and make them the problem. How unjust!
For example, say a young girl lives in a home where a parent abuses alcohol. I know this home. My mom was an alcoholic. It sucks. It damages a child. It creates patterns that can destroy a life. The child might point out to their parent that they drink too much. Instead of the parent listening, the parent feels disrespected. They believe the child has lost their rightful place in the family hierarchy- to be seen and not heard; to respect their elders. All non-sense!
Why should a child not be able to claim their childhood? Why should a child respect a parent who is not protecting their childhood? Why should they not proclaim: I matter. My childhood matters. Why should a child not plead to their parents to protect the sacredness of their childhood? More sad, why should a child have to?
Kahlil Gibran on children said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
We cause the wreckage when we see them as our possessions and believe they are less than. We do them a great disservice when we do not see them as souls, as a spirit within a body that have their own path to follow. When I was judged, yes, I felt hurt, but I also knew there was nothing wrong with me. I sensed both my humanity and my spirituality. I understand we are dual- both material and spiritual. We are made up of our childhood environments and our larger society that create our psychological experience and we are spiritual- of spirit- composed of high vibrations of energy that are constantly evolving.
I have no doubt the vast majority of us who are parents are going to fuck up our kids. I thought I was a good mom because I didn’t abuse alcohol like my mother did, and provided a mostly stable environment, but I brought them other traumas. This is bound to happen because we have unconscious realms of darkness within us that hold old conditioning and beliefs. But, there is hope. We can protect childhood!
Here is what we can do: We can 1) commit to our own inner, self-reflective work and practices. We can and must commit to our own healing. And 2) repair the harms we have caused with our children. To do this, we must be open and respect their experience enough to openly listen to them. We must give them safe space to air out their grievances. Recently, my kids sat down with my husband and me and told us what it was like to grow up with our marriage. It was brutal to hear. But it was and is my duty to listen, to repair and commit to healing.
It is time to end fearful, ignorant parenting based on a hierarchical mindset and unconscious psychological patterns. Instead it is time to begin conscious, mindful parenting, which is a combination of reparenting ourselves with honesty and compassion and our children the same.
~The Soul Reporter
Declarations, toxic masculinity & protecting our feminine borders
This Father’s Day I declared that I no longer hold, accept or take responsibility for the insecurity of men, or the ignorance about their sense of superiority and dominance over women.
Whether that insecurity and ignorance takes the form of verbal, sexual, emotional, or physical abuse or is just a mindset, I am now one less woman to create a safe and generous space for it. This occurred to me on my daily walk yesterday. I wore a romper. As I walked across the street, a man in a truck waited at the stop sign and (in my head) watched me walk. Instantly, my head dropped down in shame- hoping he was not noticing my menopausal belly and find me unworthy. The next instant my mind flooded with all the times I do this on my walks. And then it flooded with all the major and minor abuses women and girls, including myself, have received by men.
As a young girl, my father made a pig sound when I ate. He also did not talk to me much when I was young and that made me feel ignored and unseen. I have watched male family members treat my two daughters differently— where once they were adored as children and then abandoned once they grew breasts and hips. I have heard stories of fathers laughing at their daughter’s “mosquito bites.”
Girls gain their sense of self-worth from their fathers so what do we think is the message a girl receives from a father who makes fun of her developing body? A father who oinks when she eats? A father who doesn’t say, “Hello, how are you” after a school day? A father who works all day and then is angry at the dinner table? A father that only disciplines but does not love? A father who is absent?
These girls become women and some of them marry men. They marry men who cheat. Men who ignore. Men who abuse. Men who laugh at them. Men who drink too much and do drugs. Men who try and find ways to make them wrong. Men who dismiss their experiences and do not think they can come up with ideas of their own. Men who call them crazy. Men who are silent about other men who abuse or worse, defend them.
As anger, regret and sorrow filled me, I further declared that my sense of worth no longer comes from a man be he a stranger or someone I sleep next to every evening. My sense of worth comes from me. And further, my body, mind and surrounding energetic field will not support, sustain or allow the projections of man’s insecurities.
Men have a lot of work to do. A lot of inner, introspective work. I dare anyone to show me one man who does not have ANY toxic masculinity running through him.
If we women continue to protect men, which is more about how we protect ourselves from possible abuse or abandonment, then I have little hope men will awaken to their ignorance and insecurity on their own. I say this because I believe it is an unspoken expectation that women are here to either accept or enable a man’s toxicity or it is her duty (a false belief we might have) to love or teach him out of it.
None of this is our job as women. It is up to men to love and teach themselves out of it. The only thing keeping toxic masculinity going is fear and ignorance- fear of the truth that men actually are not better, smarter, stronger than women. Fear of the truth of their own pain of having to be better, stronger, better. Fear of being equal and what that mean for them as far as sacrificing their unearned privileges. Fear of all their insecurities being exposed once women stop protecting them.
Donald Trump is the poster child of toxic masculinity. Only those men that are like him, and the women who protect them, believe in his bravado. The rest of us see what an insecure, wounded and sad little man he is. We see that what he does is all a cover for how insecure he is, how shitty he feels about himself and how full of fear he is. The role of Melania and his children is to protect him. They create a facade that this man deserves a wife and children by his side. They shoulder the burden of his shame because he cannot face it. I wonder how many men use their wife and children for these same things….
Let us take take pity on that, and yet know there is no excuse!
Men, put your burden down of upholding the lie that you are better, stronger, smarter. You’re not. You’re human, just like we women. We are more than capable and do not need you to be anything but equal, to be humans. We need you to reflect upon your unearned privileges, to take inventory of all the subtle and not so subtle ways you have hurt women and to show up having experienced and atoned for all of that.
Women, set your boundaries, protect your sacred borders and no longer allow the insecurities, the wounds of men, to infiltrate you. You need to mend, to heal, to love yourself, to know you are worthy because you declare it to be so.
~The Soul Reporter
COVID-19: An Intervention
Guest Post by Louis DiVirgilio
An intervention is an action becoming intentionally involved in a difficult situation, in order to improve it or preventing it from getting worse. The Universe is moving to set the ground rules for a face to face reconing, with the assistance of the corona-19 virus, for us humans to take a deep look into the manner in which we have been living our lives. The virus is squeezing and tightening our boundaries, condensing our movements and freedom to the point of straggling our ability to move with freedom and ease within our own neighborhoods, while, trauma, fear, anxiety, and stress has unleashed its destabilizing affects upon our mental health.
This virus has opened and exposed the fact we humans are largely inwardly empty; we are relatively empty vessels. There is no inner fullness from which to give to others, no inner richness of understanding through which we may receive and solve the problems confronting humanity, and thus helping ourselves and others. Instead of unity and understanding there is opposition, strife, quarreling, and inevitable wretchedness, combined with rampant poverty, and unrelenting pain.
Continue reading here.
Congratulations! What happens when you get on the other side of your shit.
Many years ago, at a retreat, I had an intentional encounter with a horse. I timidly walked toward the horse. Within me was all the anxiety and doubt of my struggling and unprocessed traumas. I stood with the horse for a few moments and then it led me to a pile of shit. I thought: of course. Of course this horse would bring me to a pile of shit. Only me….At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Then, it became one of my more profound lessons: it’s just shit.
Which brings me to now~ A quote that keeps running through my mind:
This is a time of divine fulfillment. The fruits of my labor and purpose of my life now unfold in a clear, harmonious way.
This quote is a favorite of my mothers. I will forever associate these words with her and today they ring true for me. I can’t help but wonder if this was her gift to me, not just the words themselves, but to have the experience of the words.
To experience is the shift I have made, where the words I have grown up with, surrounded myself with, and those that live within me come alive— and it’s absolutely splendid.
As I write, on my vision board are these words: The rebirth of Awe. And….
- Finding real
- Second wind
- Instructions for life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. (Mary Oliver)
- Born to write
- Join the thousands of people around the world who are opening up, digging deep, and transforming their lives!
It is very possible I have known all along what I am up to. Yet, for many years I had doubt, insecurity and practiced indecisiveness as if it were an appreciated art form.
The words, so many words, are coming alive right before my eyes!
It is also very possible, that as I earlier said to my father in conversation, that the signs and mystical experience I seek, are all around me and have been with me every step of the way.
All of this to say, and most importantly, experience the turning of an important corner where the fruits of my labor and purpose of my life now unfold and where I live in the energy of Congratulations!
This is where I am. And it does not come without some old guilt-ridden programming. The kind of guilt that needs reminding such as: Nikki, you have worked diligently for 32 years to know and understand yourself. You have opened up to your desire to get through “your shit” sooner rather than later. You have dug deep, so deep to the literal “big mother wound” of neglect and abandonment. You have been twisted and turned through many dark crevices and have come out the other side only to be taken in yet again. You, dear heart, have transformed your life AND you’ve earned every minute of celebration and awe you now experience.
Own it. Stand in it. Experience it. It’s yours. And if and when you feel ready, share it.
This is where I find myself today. It is where I have been for the past few weeks and because it was such a new experience, I did not have the words to express what it has been like. But the words come now, through my own voice, but mostly through the voice of others who have come before me. I relish in their generosity. Especially from my dear poet friend, Rumi. This, what Rumi writes, is on the other side of the shit we must all travel through. Bless you dear hearts as you journey through yours.
You have fallen in love my dear heart
You have freed yourself from all attachments
You have given up both worlds to be on your own
The whole creation praises your solitude
Your disbelief has turned into belief
Your bitterness, into sweetness
You have now entered into Love’s fire, my pure heart
Inside the Sufi’s heart there is always a feast
Dear heart, you are celebrating
My heart, I have seen how your tears turned into a sea
Now every wave keeps saying
O silent lover, seeker of the higher planes,
May the Beloved always be with you
You have struggled hard, may you grow wings and fly
Keep silent my dear heart, you have done so well
~The Soul Reporter
To Be Admired
What’s this selfie for?
In the hopes to be admired.
I want to be admired and I also fight against it. The fight against it has mostly won. And, has come at a price. I hide. I have been stingy with sharing and passive/aggressive about it. I have silently said to readers, followers and potential ones:
look at me dammit. Pay attention to me. Admire my face and my insights. So I show off.
And then on the flip side I’ve said:
forget you. I know you won’t notice me. See I knew it- no likes. Another post of such great words (I mean I have the best words) and no one cares. So I shut down.
This has been my dance with all of you (and my nearest and dearest ones). It’s dysfunctional and toxic and not how I want to show up in the world. Therefore, I have mostly remained hidden. This is also unhealthy because the truth of me, and all that I’ve come to realize about life and myself, wants and needs to be exposed.
The truth is I’ve reacted to all of you, which is really just my own battle with myself that I’ve drafted you all in, and it comes out of a conditioning that came from my upbringing.
Essentially, I was ignored. I longed to be deeply seen. I know now it wasn’t personal. It was the impact of being raised by those who did not see themselves.
Until we see ourselves we cannot and will not see another.
If the desire to be seen, and essentially deeply known and valued, is not identified and satisfied, this desire becomes increasingly toxic. At its worst it becomes the dance I have described- on one end a compulsion to be admired, which can be as extreme and defined by a narcissistic personality disorder. And on the other end, a complete erasure of self characterized by self-neglect.
The desire to be admired is a trap, part of the psychological mindset, which creates dysfunctional and protective patterns and behaviors. In the age of social media and a particularly exaggerated version of an admiration-seeking U.S. president, we are afforded the opportunity to really look at the deep inner wound of neglect and abandonment. In doing so, we can limit the toxic interplay it does create and instead tease out the toxins and understand, and most importantly feel the hurt of not being seen.
This post is part of my own teasing, a confession in a way to make the dysfunctional dynamics known and to state I want to now come to all of you, readers and followers, and to my family and friends, in a more authentic and whole way. To share only to be admired comes from the smallest of self and truly not worthy of any of us. This way of showing up is also not sustainable and will eventually come back to haunt us us in one form or another.
We may never be able to be truly seen by another or by our primary caregivers. But we always have the opportunity to heal the wound and to fully see ourselves. The more of us that do this, the more we will see each other. Only this will bring the kind of shift so many of us desire in the world.
~The Soul Reporter
Self-Betrayal to Self-Love
The dominant culture, which is mostly reactivity from unprocessed trauma, tells us that we aren’t supposed to let people hurt us. But the truth is people do hurt us.
My mom hurt me today. And there’s been plenty of other days as well. As her young child I was constantly hurt. I learned to cope and self-protect through a variety of ways. As a child, it was through art, music, books and my imagination. As I grew older, other ways were through perfectionism, OCD and controlling behaviors and the big one: codependency.
Today, I stopped taking her hurt. I set a firm boundary. And then I let myself be hurt. When our mothers hurt us it’s the ultimate betrayal. If the hurt is constant and consistent, we will learn to betray ourselves. We will make choices and create an entire life and get involved in relationships from this deepest wound.
If we are brave and committed to change, we will begin to awaken to our life built from self-betrayal, and we will feel shattered. At the very least, bruised. And, this is the place where we learn self-love, self-compassion, and forgiveness of self and others. It is a deep and holy space of grief, surrender and heart opening. We will learn self-love and begin, little by little, to create a life for ourselves painted from the womb of our rebirth and our deepest reckoning with ourselves.
We will recognize that we no longer need to protect ourselves from hurt. We will come to experience our heart as strong, worthy, willing and ready to feel feelings and remain stabilized. We will learn the difference between self-betrayal and self-love. We will see setting boundaries and making conscious choices as our gateway to creating new experiences, experiences based and waged in self-love.
To continue on this self-love journey, my self-reflective practice for the month of November is this….to explore, experience and learn:
What does self-love look like in my relationships…..
Beyond relationships, what does it look like for me in my life…. How do I paint and create my experiences through self-love?
I am excited to begin experiencing this.
~The Soul Reporter
A Daily Glimpse
This is me sophomore year in high school. I’m in photography class (the only class I liked). I see a contemplative person. A deep well doing my best to function in superficiality, knowing there’s more, and feeling my way inward.
I am still this way except I am beyond doing my best with superficiality. I have moved to that deeper place and I’ve discovered so much about myself.
The journey so far has been intense and this is because I set a clear intention- maybe around the time of this picture- that I would get through my stuff sooner rather than later.
This “stuff,” is the trauma and neglect of my childhood. It’s the alcohol and mental illness from a primary caregiver. It’s the bullying and feeling left out in school. It’s the why I’m codependent (now in recovery). It’s all of that and more, and how it creates deep psychological conditioning, which creates disruptive relationships dynamics, behaviors and moods.
It is my sense we are in a great battle due to the wounds of our upbringing. These wounds create psychological conditioning that impact our everyday lives, experiences and relationships. Many of us do not realize this is the case and just assume: this is who we are. But these attitudes and behaviors, that come from this psychological space is not who we are. We are more. And, we can be restored to who we are. Some of us are waking up to this realization because it is time. It is time to evolve and advance, and break the cycles of trauma and neglect.
At 47 I feel I am on the other side of the psychological conditioning and making my way toward everyday, every moment consciousness- one glimpse at a time.
As I become more awake the desire to externalize all that I have learned also awakens. This is why I have started a new page on social media called A Daily Glimpse. The intention is to share, in a digestible way, the often complex and challenging experience of personal and spiritual transformation. There have been many who made the shift that came before me and helped me along the way. I now notice others coming forward to do the same. Sometimes I wonder, am I too late?
The ego says: why bother then. Well- because this shift in higher consciousness is bigger than my ego and I choose to be a part of the change and that is why I want to offer the messages I have to give. If you’d like guidance and support in making the shift from our psychological conditioning to expanded consciousness follow @adailyglimpse.