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spiritual

Return to Live!

As a survivor of childhood sexual violence, my faith in God saved my life.  By the grace of God, I held onto my faith when I began having suicidal thoughts.  Today, I am a happy and peaceful person no longer suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Thanks be to God!During one of the darkest times of my life after the abuse, I was living at the YMCA in the Gold Coast in a room the size of a large, walk-in closet and working as a security guard in a River North condo building.  That’s when I was blessed with the remarkable experience and privilege of writing a book I never wanted to write, A Rape Survivor’s Spiritual Journey: My Poems and Practical Exercises.  Visit my website, listen to a clip of my website theme song, and download a FREE PDF of my book.

Below is one of the poems in my book.  Please note the poems with italics are God's words, not mine.  I hope it consoles you.

 

Return to Live!

You hate me.
That’s okay,
but I still love you just the same.
I know that you’re not you, AND you’re in agony and pain.
I see you suffer and hear you cry.
I wish you’d turn to me,
and see me cry beside you
and hear my gentle plea.
Come back.  Come back.  Come back to me!
Let me hold you in my arms.
I loved you into life.  Please let me love you one more time.
I’m here and love you SO much it makes me cry to see
you struggle all alone and no longer call on me.
Hate me.  Yell and swear at me if that’s exactly how you feel.
Just keep talking.  Don’t shut me out.  I’m not going anywhere.
Go ahead.  Do it.  Right now.  I’m always listening, you know.
Remember, you can hate me, but away I’ll never go.
Return to me.  Return to live
the life I meant for you,
and through your suffering and pain
you will find your life renewed.

Inspired by Ezekiel 18:32.

Listening for Love

Yesterday morning, watching the rising sun at 6:20 am made me feel loved by God.  Smiling, I wondered why.  Then, I imagined the curved rings of sunshine were His outstretched arms reaching out to give me a tight hug, the kind that says more than words ever could and makes you catch your breath.

It’s funny how when I make more time for God, I hear him better, clearer.  UGH!?!?  Why do I need to re-learn this every day?  I think because it’s harder to be living in the world but not being of the world.  We’re infinite spirits wrapped up with mortal bodies at our spiritual core.  We keep forgetting that the essence of our true selves is our spirit and the spiritual world is reality because the material world is illusive and distracting.

The more I trust God, the more I love God.  It’s a love relationship that can’t go wrong unless you screw it up, and even when you do, you know it’s going to be okay.  What I’m suggesting is that you focus on listening for the love.  Like any love relationship, it takes work and time, but you will not be disappointed.

How do you focus on listening?
·       Try spending time writing in a journal (maybe write letters to God in it and the answers you get from Him)
·       Praying which can either be just talking to God like you do anyone else, reciting a structured prayer, or however you prefer communicating with Him.
·       Meditating on a prayer, poem, or artwork that reminds you of God’s love; or
·       Just be present and listen for God like I was doing yesterday morning looking out  my kitchen window before breakfast. 
Say and do whatever feels right for you.  Remember, the more time you spend communicating in a relationship, the more you get know someone.  The more you get to know God, the more you will love Him, and the more you will see and hear the love.

Resurrecting Your Spirit

Today, I am a happy and peaceful person.  Every sexual violence survivor deserves to live a happy and peaceful life.  Maybe you don’t feel like it right now, but you are in control of your life.  You and God, Nature, or whatever you call your higher power, together you can do anything.

How do you begin?  In a word, the answer is “self-care.”  I don’t understand why we routinely neglect our spiritual health because it’s the key to our wellness.  I know it sounds weird, but hear me out.  In a house full of people, have you ever been in a room by yourself with your back to the door when someone walks in without making a noise?  Before you turned around, you knew who was there because you sensed their spirit before you heard or saw them.

Think about your close friends.  The reason they’re your close friends is because your spirits connect in a nurturing way.  Among other things, it might be because they’re kind, loyal, always ready to make you laugh or cheer you up when you’re depressed, and maybe spontaneous (or not if that’s what you prefer).  You and they are the sum of the intangible qualities that make up your spirit and make you the person you are today.

We’ve all heard stories about hostages surviving their grueling captivity by drawing from their faith in God in prayer.  Gloria Polanco, the wife of a senator and former governor, one of 15 Colombian hostages held by rebels (all of whom were rescued), prayed for an hour and a half every day.  Her faith kept her sane. “I spoke to God a lot. I could feel His suffering,” she said. “You could see the difference between those who had faith and those who didn’t. Some prayed a lot, and some said that God didn’t hear them.”

The point I’m trying to make is that our spirit is the essence of our true self and is where our infinite strength lies.  Since we’re not taking care of the core of our existence, there’s no way we can be healthy, whole and expect to be living balanced lives.  We need to provide nourishment for and nurture our spiritual health like we do our physical and mental health.

When I wrote the poems in my first book, A Rape Survivor’s Spiritual Journey: My Poems and Practical Exercises, I had lost track of all my friends, and the only one I had nearby made a pass at me knowing that I was a survivor of childhood sexual violence.  It was devastating, but I was determined to beat the darkness.  I vowed to deepen my prayer life and read nothing but positive, uplifting books like The Power of Positive Thinking, the bible, and listen to inspiring music.  I was not going down without a fight.

Recently, long after I wrote this book, I struggled through the worst depression I ever experienced.  My mind, senses, and spirit constantly wrestled with the bleak darkness, and my only consolation came during prayer.  I felt myself slipping away and disappearing, regressing to my tormented childhood days never to return.

Thank God I met William Rosado, another survivor, who wisely assessed I had not completely forgiven my deceased father or myself as I told him I already did.  He helped me achieve a miraculous breakthrough on July 7, 2014, my deceased step-sister Mary’s birthday.  Also sexually abused by our biological father, I felt she saved my life and expunged my guilt for not finding her before she passed away.

William reminded me of the power of God’s love while carefully guiding and counseling me through completely forgiving my father and myself.  However, I had to finish the process on my own in private between God and me.  Determined, I had no idea how it would end.  After endless tears and painfully excavating the depths of my soul, I finally achieved absolute forgiveness for my father and me.  Beaten, torn, and tattered, my heart exploded, and my PTSD became history.  Thanks be to God!

I always recommend one-on-one therapy and group therapy if and when you and your therapist decide that it’s time.  However, I also recommend meditation, all forms of prayer, and self-care for your spiritual health as well as your physical and mental health.

While I wholeheartedly support survivors whether they seek justice in court or not, I believe justice and forgiveness are independently possible.  As a part of their healing process, survivors determine what they need to do to resurrect their spirit.  My mission is serving them on their healing journey.  Let me know how I can help you.

I Hope Katy Perry's "By the Grace of God" Reminds You How Much God Loves You This Valentine's Day!

On this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to console survivors who not only didn’t love themselves but were maybe starting to think about giving up.  Then, I remembered Katy Perry’s performance this year at the Grammy’s, and I thought the lyrics and video said it all.  Written by Katy and Greg Wells, "By the Grace of God" is track #11 on the album Prism. The lyrics are underneath the link to the video below.

Before Katy’s song, President Obama spoke about how artists can encourage domestic violence victims to get help and change their thinking, so they can begin to change their lives.  “Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes,” the President said.

Then, Brooke Axtell, a domestic violence survivor, took to the stage and performed a spoken-word piece about the abuse she suffered.  “Authentic love does not devalue another human being,” Brooke said to the audience. “Authentic love does not silence shame or abuse.”

After Axtell shared her story, Perry, 30, took the stage in front of a white screen wearing an all-white dress with what seemed to be her shadow behind her.  Then, as Katy began singing, the audience realized the shadow behind her wasn’t a shadow but dancers performing behind the white screen.  It was amazing!

I hope you’re reminded that, like Katy, God’s there for you, too, and loves you more than you can possibly imagine.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Video

 

Lyrics

 

Was 27 surviving my return to Saturn A long vacation didn't sound so bad Was full of secrets locked up tight like iron melting Running on empty, so out of gas

Thought I wasn't enough and I wasn't so tough Laying on the bathroom floor We were living on a fault line And I felt the fault was all mine Couldn't take it any more

By the grace of God (there was no other way) I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay) I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror and decided to stay Wasn't gonna let love take me out That way

I thank my sister for keeping my head above the water When the truth was like swallowing sand Now every morning There is no more mourning oh I Can finally see myself again

I know I am enough Possible to be loved It was not about me Now I have to rise above Let the universe call the bluff Yeah the truth will set you free

By the grace of God (there was no other way) I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay) I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror and decided to stay Wasn't gonna let love take me out

That way no There ain't no Not in the name of love In the name of love (in the name of love) That way There ain't no I'm not giving up

By the grace of God I picked myself back up I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror (looked in the mirror) Looked in the mirror (looked in the mirror)

By the grace of God (there was no other way) I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay) I put one foot in front of the other and I Looked in the mirror and decided to stay Wasn't gonna let love take me out That way

 

Published by

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

I Hope You Dance!

While most people I knew were exploring the world in their twenties, I was hiding from it.  Living in survival mode in my twenties and thirties didn’t help me develop long-lasting friendships.  Among other things, I realized the other day that I feel as if I missed out on making lifelong friends because of it.  Now, I feel the urge to explore the world, so what do I do now?  I’m not sure, but I’m not dead yet, so there’s still time.  Meanwhile, I'll be dancing.  Watch this video of Lee Ann Womack singing I Hope You Dance, and you'll know exactly what I mean.

PTSD Trauma Survivors Suffer Mirrors the PTSD War Veterans Suffer, so Please Be Gentle with Yourself

Did you know that as early as 1993, the American Psychological Association published a report referencing 45 clinical studies that found post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often occurred in child sexual violence victims?  When survivors of childhood sexual violence and other trauma survivors experience PTSD, the disorder mirrors the PTSD war veterans suffer, so please be forgiving and gentle with yourself or your loved one.

It’s unfair you’re fighting a war with yourself because you’ve been brainwashed into believing the sexual assault you suffered was your fault.  That’s a lie perpetrated by the criminal who assaulted you or your loved one.  To make matters worse, it’s outrageous you’re also in combat with a society and worldwide media that refuses to believe that someone in their community can commit such violent and evil acts, so they usually choose to blame victims.  Remember, not only is God there for you, but millions if not billions of survivors are sending you their love by praying for you every day: for your peace, joy, and healing.  I pray you hear and feel our spirits reaching out to yours cheering you on.

Here are the lyrics of the beginning of Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” video that talks about fighting for her soul.  Below is a link to this YouTube video.  I hope you find it inspiring.
Days like this I want to drive away
Pack my bags and watch your shadow fade away
‘Cause you chew me up and spit me out
Like I was poison in your mouth
You took my light, you drained me down
That was then and this is now
Now look at me

[Chorus:]
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
Throw sticks and stones, throw your bombs and bones
You’re not gonna break my soul
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no

You deserve to live a happy and peaceful life!  Maybe you don't feel like it right now, but you are in control of your life.  You and God, Nature, or whatever you call your higher power, together you can do anything.  Keep praying/meditating, fighting, and we'll keep praying/meditation for you and continue sending you our love.  It won't always be like this.  You will feel better one day!  You might lose some battles, but you're going to win this war!!!
I’m not a licensed doctor or therapistI’m one of your billion cheerleaders.  We're all someone just like you or your loved one:  conquering evil one day at a time.  If you or a loved one is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or another anxiety disorder and is not in therapy, please seek professional help in your community immediately.  Here’s a link to Resources on my website page that can assist you in your search:  https://apprenticebutterflies.com/resources/

Remember, you are loved.  You are precious.  You are remarkable, and you’re still here for a reason.  Belong to the truth.

How Were You Touched by God, or How Would You like to be Touched by God?


Like I’ve written before, we habitually ask ourselves negative questions that keep us in a negative mindset.  Try writing about when and how you were touched by God.  If you don’t believe that you have been touched by God, then write about how you would like to be touched by God.

I suggest you consider creating a book titled, How I was Touched by God or How I Would like to be Touched by God, and keep adding to it.  When you’re feeling sad or depressed, your book can be a source of inspiration for you.

Seeking out Peacefulness Every Day

What makes you feel peaceful?

 Watching a sunset, walking outside, being with a loved one, or reminiscing about them?

and
How can you include peace in your life every day?
By including quiet time with God, pampering yourself, or reading a good book?
Make a list of at least ten activities that make you feel peaceful and start practicing as many as possible every day.  Keep adding to this list.  Who knows?  One day, maybe you’ll have written so much down that you’ll write a book about peacefulness.  Then, you'll be the expert.

There’s Always Hope

As long as you’re alive, there’s always hope. 

As long as you accept God’s love, there’s always hope.

As long as you believe God loves you, there’s always hope.

If you can imagine what you’re hoping for, there’s always hope.

Wherever you are reading this, there’s always hope.

Empower Your Spirit in the God Zone

When athletes perform exceptionally, they talk about being in a zone which I call the “God zone.”  According to a February 19, 2010 article by the American Psychological Association, Dr. Shane Murphy says, “What’s fascinating is that we find that athletes often don’t need to be perfect to succeed.  Being in the “zone” isn’t about perfection as much as it is about staying in the moment, not worrying about failure, and not worrying about what the result might be.  I find every athlete to be unique in their approach to that “zone,” but they use some combination of psychological skills such as visualization, goal-setting, concentration, relaxation or mindfulness, psyching up, positive self-talk and developing a consistent routine in order to get there. Once they’re ready, they focus and let it happen. Their bodies are prepared to succeed – usually it’s the mind that can get in the way – if you let it.”

You’ve probably been in the situation when you were with someone preoccupied with the past or the future.  If you’re trying to love and support them, but they’re not spiritually with you in the present moment, there’s no way they can begin to accept your love and support.  The same holds true of our relationship with God.

I recommend you pray the words below, and I encourage you to add your own petition for a positive change in your life while you focus on being in the present moment with God.

The spirit of God lives and breathes inside me.
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

At all times and in all places, the spirit of God lives and breathes inside me.
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

The spirit of God empowers me with the strength to
[insert your greatest challenge here].
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

I also suggest you try making it a habit.  During a hectic day, I make it a point to pray these lines wherever I am, even in the bathroom after washing my hands which helps me calm down if I’m stressed and focus on the present moment.

God’s Love is Always There for You


More than 10 years ago, when the darkness had control over me, I remember seeing a bumper sticker that said, “The Meaning of Life is to Live It.”  At the time, I was going to the YWCA for sexual violence counseling, and I remember how it made me feel hopeful.  I thought about that recently when I saw an ad in the subway that read “I got my life back.”
Recently, I went through a difficult, dark period.  I thought I forgave my father, but I really didn’t:  not wholeheartedly.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m definitely no saint.  I only did it, or thought I did, because I thought it would help me heal faster.  Overcome with the darkness again, this time, it was worse.  I was in survival mode like I imagine soldiers at war must be.  I felt like I had to keep myself busy, so it wouldn’t devour me.

Thanks to a new friend who’s also a survivor, he reminded me of the power of God’s love while carefully guiding and counseling me about forgiving my father.  However, I had to finish the process on my own in private between God and me.  The excruciating pain left my heart feeling like you do after exercising when you haven’t done so in a long time.  Sore and weak, my heart felt like it had been beaten up, and I guess it had been for all these years.

Thank you, God, for not giving up on me!  Thank you for putting people and signs (some literally and some figuratively) in my life to help me remember that you are always there for me.  You are truly awesome!

Beginning My Healing Journey Felt Like Climbing Mount Everest

Beginning my healing journey felt monumental like climbing Mount Everest.  At the same time, I knew I just had to start, so I filled my life with as many uplifting resources as possible.  I wrote positive affirmations and read books like The Power of Positive Thinking, I prayed constantly, and put myself in God's hands.  I was no angel.  I got mad at God, yelled, and swore, too, but I always kept talking with Him.  I think this poem gives you a good overview of my experience.

Climbing Mount Everest

I love mountain tops.
You turn around, and
wherever you look, you see infinity.
Instinctively, you close your eyes,
and slowly take in a deep, satisfying breath
as if you’re about to kiss someone for the first time.
You can feel and smell God in the air,
and see Him in every cliff, plant, and animal.
I never remembered how I got there.
I just remember how exhausted I always felt.
Barely standing up on my own,
it seemed to take forever before I realized
we really made it to the top.
The trails were hard enough.
I can’t imagine climbing the side of a mountain,
let alone the tallest mountain top in the world.
That’s what I used to think about being raped.
I couldn’t begin to imagine how to start healing.
How could I think about forgiving my father?
Then, I’d learn hating him was torturing me.
Killing the goodness in my already tormented soul.
So, I forgave him for my sake, not his.
Before I lost my mind and soul, I let the hate go.
Then, there were the flashbacks.
Horrific moments that took me back in time.
His panting face.  His hand pulling down the shades.
Or his hands violating my tiny body.
All happening quicker than the blink of an eye.
They’d come at work.  At school.  At home.  Everywhere.
Worst of all.  It felt like I was being raped all over again.
Each flashback was another violation.  Another hideous act.
Another ledge to climb over,
on my already monumental journey.
Group therapy saved me.
Talking myself through the flashbacks worked.
Years would pass, and I thought I was okay, but I was wrong.
Suddenly, one day, I sat paralyzed.
I felt like my heart had turned into coal.
A crusty, black blob with sharp, pointy edges,
slowly tearing me apart from the inside out.
I felt helpless.  I couldn’t handle my grown-up world.
I thought I was going crazy
because just ordering lunch overwhelmed me.
Somehow, that dark, hideous blob turned me into that terrified,
eight-year-old, long-haired, pigtailed girl again.
For years, I denied needing therapy and help.
Then, I struggled, playing tug-o-war with myself
and going nowhere.
Finally, I realized it was time to grow up.
Time to listen to what my little girl had to say.
Time to hear her side of the story, and let her have her way.
Time to be there for her the way no one was ever there for her.
To rescue her one last time
from the evil that destroyed her innocence.
From the darkness that almost stole her soul.
Time to carry her up to the mountain top,
so she could finally be free.

Finding Me


Along with a lot of therapy, living the words of this poem helped me in my healing process.  I just wrote it tonight for you, and I hope it helps you find your healing path. 
Finding Me

Passion.  Compassion.  You deserve it and more!
Yet, spirit and human duality creates
Unlimited dilemmas in time and space
Follow me.  Learn from me.  Be authentic.  Be true.
What do I mean?  Essentially, just be you.
Not sure who you are or who you might be?
Write about the life you wish you could live
Then, keep writing until you find yourself in your words.
And one day, you'll find the real you when your spirit is heard.

My Mystical, Musical Inspiration

On Sunday, 6/15/14, after going to a friend’s house in Lincoln Park during the Old Town Art Fair, I stopped off at a Village Thrift store on my way home because my backpack zipper broke, but I didn't find any backpacks there I liked.  After I turned the corner of the intersection and headed south, so I could catch a bus back home, I heard a cool, new song playing that I really like.  It has an old R&B rhythm which reminded me of the original Motown sound.  
I'm attaching the YouTube link to the song, too.  Why?  Because a young, 20-something African American man who lives above a store was dancing like he was in heaven outside on the landing of his porch between the 2nd and 3rd floor.  I couldn't stop watching him from across the street.  Then I found myself waving and thrusting my thumbs up to him three times.  He saw me, and pumped his arm up as if to say he's jamming and dancing alone, but he's a lot happier than Pharrell Williams.  I could see that he was totally absorbed in the present moment and relishing every single beat.  It was amazing!
He made me remember that I used to be like that, and I lost it along with most of my spontaneity and sense of humor.  I still feel lost in that sense, but I'm re-connecting with my true self that used to laugh and smile all day long just like my mom.  I'll get there, and this stranger will never know how much he inspired me to keep looking.  Here's the You-tube video of the lyrics:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnklzGJdsRQ.  Enjoy!

The Power of Prayerful Affirmations

We’ve all heard about the wonders of affirmations, so why not turn your spoken words in prayer into affirmations that can help you transform your life.  

When I started making prayerful affirmations, I truly didn’t believe what I was saying.  However, I committed to praying the same words over and over again until I believed them.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it was pretty cool when it finally did happen.  Of course, a lot of therapy preceded my even thinking about doing this.

I prayed “My Lord, and my God, I give you my heart, my mind, my body, and my spirit:  all that I am and all that I can be.  Take away all the darkness.  Take it all away, so I can be with you.  Be one with you and be truly free.”

Try it, but remember, the key is not to give up.  You're definitely worth it!

Be Gentle with Yourself


Recently, I realized that I was so stressed out, I was becoming depressed.  I needed to nap an hour every day at the same time.  I thought it was just my body’s way of resting up, so I could continue working into the night. It became habitual, so I didn’t think anything of it.  After crying spurts over the weekend about missing my mother who’s been deceased for almost 20 years, I realized that over the past few months I neglected my mental health.  Of course, depression was starting to set in and I was stressed out.
Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, this time of the year is not my favorite since my birthday and hers are in late April followed by Mother’s Day.  What I just realized this year is that I had been ignoring this time of year instead of celebrating it in a positive light.  Why not celebrate Mother’s Day a different way by writing her letters about all of the good things that have been happening in my life?  I like that.  I just wish I would have thought of it sooner, and I wish I would have been gentle with myself instead of stressing myself out.  How can you transform an unpleasant time of the year into a better one?

Tears of Sorrow, Tears of Joy


My mother’s been gone for almost 20 years, and I miss her every day especially this time of year.  With my birthday and hers last month followed by Mother’s Day, my heart desperately aches for her hugs, sweet smiles, and infectious laughter.  I’ve been busy working on launching my book, and I just realized that I forgot to make time just to sit, reflect, and let the tears flow where they may.

I remember when I repressed everything about my father raping me as a child, and how I didn’t want to feel anything because I thought I would never stop crying and go insane.  On the outside I was laughing and joyful, but on the inside horrible flashbacks tortured me non-stop.  

Like I mentioned in my blog about the importance of having a “safe place,” I thought my mother was my safe place since my father wouldn’t touch me when she was around.  Now I realize that God has always been my safe place, and my mother was the instrument through which I experienced His love.  Thank you, Lord, for turning my tears of sorrow into tears of joy.  And, thanks mom, for being totally open to the spirit of God and giving me the priceless gift of faith that saved my life.  Happy Mother’s Day, mom, and Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere!  Without you the world would have imploded by now.

Lights in the Darkness


A friend just sent me a photo of his latest collage where I observed the way he photographed the interior night lights at a public building in downtown Chicago.  They have a star-like quality about them which I think is really cool.  I’ve always loved the “light in the darkness” metaphor because as a rape survivor I have been overwhelmed by the darkness many times, and I know how important that light has been to me.
What’s the light?  Hope, love, compassion and anything else I need at that moment in time.  Sometimes it’s hard to articulate, but the heart and soul know better than our heads do because they seek the real world that lies in our true essence:  our infinite, spirit.
How have I held onto the light?  Sometimes it meant and still means going out for a walk to distract myself or just hanging out with trusted family or friends.  The two most important things for me in my healing journey have been prayer and therapy.  Prayer is a powerful force that should never be underestimated.  Holding onto my faith in God and constantly asking God for strength has saved me many times from slipping into the darkness for good.  Combined with prayer, therapy saved my life.  Without therapy, I would still have a foot in the darkness and would never have been able to follow my healing path.
What’s your light and how do you hold onto it?  If you're not sure or don't know, I suggest following the advice found in Matthew 7:7 – 7:8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Centering Prayer Helps Me Stay Grounded in the Present Moment


Like I mentioned in an earlier blog about controlling flashbacks, it’s critical for survivors to stay grounded in the present moment.  When I start thinking about the abuse I suffered in the past, I always remind myself that I am safe and in control, so the flashbacks don’t start to control me.  Focusing on taking deep breaths also helps.

Centering Prayer helps me stay grounded in the present moment and develop a deeper relationship with God.  I’ve been practicing it for more than 20 years.  Like any relationship, communication is important which also means learning how to be a better listener.  I am far from perfect about this although I’ve definitely improved over the years. 

You don’t move around like yoga.  You pray either sitting on the floor or in a chair, and you remain sitting wherever you are and focus on your meditation.  Before you start, you need to choose a sacred word.  Your sacred word is the symbol of your intention to allow God’s presence and action in your soul.  It can be love, peace, or your own name for God.  I love the fact that anyone from any faith can practice it!

Once you have your sacred word and you’re seated comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breathes to help you relax.  Imagine something like you’re inhaling God’s powerful peace and love.  And, exhaling all the tension and worries in your mind, body and soul.  Visualize God’s powerful, peace and love flowing into your body.  First through your mind and head, down to all your limbs, and then penetrating your soul melting away your anxieties overpowered by God’s awesome peace and love.

When you’re ready, silently introduce your sacred word, be with God, and just listen.  When you become aware of your thoughts, gently return to the sacred word.  Don’t be discouraged.  Be gentle with yourself.  Think of it as if you’re meeting God in a noisy coffee shop like Starbuck’s.  You’re next to a loud table.  There’s nowhere to move, so you’re trying to focus on what he’s telling you.

It’s important not to get upset about all the distractions.  Don’t worry about your thoughts.  You just let them come and go like noisy distractions in Starbuck’s you ignore, and remain focused on your sacred word and your intention and listen.  Then, at the end of your prayer remain in silence with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes.  It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it.

In case you’re interested in finding out more about Centering Prayer, here’s the website:  http://centeringprayer.com/.  What I love about Centering Prayer is that it emphasizes prayer as your personal relationship with God!  

How Centering Prayer Helps Me Stay Grounded in the Present Moment


Like I mentioned in an earlier blog about controlling flashbacks, it’s critical for survivors to stay grounded in the present moment.  When I start thinking about the abuse I suffered in the past, I always remind myself that I am safe and in control, so the flashbacks don’t start to control me.  Focusing on taking deep breaths also helps.

Centering Prayer helps me stay grounded in the present moment and develop a deeper relationship with God.  I’ve been practicing it for more than 20 years.  Like any relationship, communication is important which also means learning how to be a better listener.  I am far from perfect about this although I’ve definitely improved over the years. 

You don’t move around like yoga.  You pray either sitting on the floor or in a chair, and you remain sitting wherever you are and focus on your meditation.  Before you start, you need to choose a sacred word.  Your sacred word is the symbol of your intention to allow God’s presence and action in your soul.  It can be love, peace, or your own name for God.  I love the fact that anyone from any faith can practice it!

Once you have your sacred word and you’re seated comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breathes to help you relax.  Imagine something like you’re inhaling God’s powerful peace and love.  And, exhaling all the tension and worries in your mind, body and soul.  Visualize God’s powerful, peace and love flowing into your body.  First through your mind and head, down to all your limbs, and then penetrating your soul melting away your anxieties overpowered by God’s awesome peace and love.

When you’re ready, silently introduce your sacred word, be with God, and just listen.  When you become aware of your thoughts, gently return to the sacred word.  Don’t be discouraged.  Be gentle with yourself.  Think of it as if you’re meeting God in a noisy coffee shop like Starbuck’s.  You’re next to a loud table.  There’s nowhere to move, so you’re trying to focus on what he’s telling you.

It’s important not to get upset about all the distractions.  Don’t worry about your thoughts.  You just let them come and go like noisy distractions in Starbuck’s you ignore, and remain focused on your sacred word and your intention and listen.  Then, at the end of your prayer remain in silence with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes.  It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it.

In case you’re interested in finding out more about Centering Prayer, here’s the website:  http://centeringprayer.com/.  What I love about Centering Prayer is that it emphasizes prayer as your personal relationship with God!