Recovery: Blog Break – Spiritual Quest – Back 4 Sundays from today

Dear Guests,

I hope you are enjoying summer or winter (depending on where you live).

A lot has changed in the last few weeks.  More change is coming up faster than I want to think about.

The last two years have open-end up whole new worlds (not quoting Disney’s Aladdin here – no t on purpose) and opportunities.

I’ve met some incredible people and discovered other ways of thinking/consciousness that provide different kinds of insight into my current struggles.

But it wasn’t until the anger left that I realized I was on a spiritual journey.

A spiritual journey is different for every person.  It’s not the same as recovery or a recovery journey.  I could be a healing journey, but not all healing journeys are spiritual.

The memories coming back now remind me of how lucky I was to grow up in religious and spiritual diversity even if that education came with a steep price.

Judeo-Christian religions taught me about community, love, and sacrifice.

The Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons) taught me the value of volunteer work and cooperation.

Buddhism taught me about compassion and walking the middle path to see through illusions and reduce personal suffering.

Wicca taught me to understand, accept, trust in, and appreciate my connection with the natural world.

Daoism taught me about qi and provided me a path back into my body so that I could start living in the present instead of the past.

All of these different religious and spiritual practices are teaching me other lessons and opening up other paths to explore.

But underneath it all, what I learned and value most from all of these religions and spiritual practices is that they all have one theme in common: UNCONDITIONAL, UNIVERSAL LOVE.

That LOVE is expressed and taught in different ways, but it exists in all of the practices listed above.

Not sure what will happen next, but now is a time for me to be patient and observed.  So, I will catch up with you all Four Sundays from today.

Thanks for reading.

AlterXpressions

ADMIN: A selfie gravatar…and other news

Hi All,

My original goal was to announce the new website and blog by the end of June.  Along with that, I hoped to make some useful updates to this blog too.

This blog did get a makeover.  I hope it’s more user friendly, but am still learning about different features available here.

My other website is still in progress even if the domain name and home page are partly set up.  I have some ways to go before I start posting, so it’s not being advertised yet.

In other news, I updated the gravitar with a headshot.  Now you get to see me, but without my everyday glasses :/

In the event we ever run into each other in real life, please don’t be offended if I am less than social.  As often as I try to be friendly and polite, I often look the opposite because I’m so busy coping with stuff in my head.  And, well, I have a hard time remembering faces/names/people in general unless we meet in a place that feels safe.

So, there you have it.  One more step into the wide world.  One less option for hiding.  If you want to “see” me, feel free to view my gravatar.

Thanks for reading.

ADMIN: Blog Rules Update – Comment & Link Restriction removed

Dear Guests,

Last year, I had some issues with spammers leaving marketing and sales links in the comments.  At first, I felt guilty that these people didn’t get a chance to share info – especially since this is supposed to be a safe and inclusive place.  But allowing sales and marketing promotion links in comments felt like I violated my own Blog Rules

My first response was to un-spam and approve some of the links; then remove them after awhile.  It was  time consuming and frustrating because my values were in conflict. On one hand, I wanted help people who did visit.  On the other hand, I also wanted this space to be safe from ads, even in comments.

Hence my second, and more permanent response, of a new blog rule restricting comments and links to your sites or blogs in them.  But that felt wrong.

So the new Blog Rules update goes like this:

THE COMMENT RESTRICTION RULE HAS BEEN REMOVED.

INSTEAD…
I am going to trust YOU ALL to self-monitor and only share your blog or website or relevant links that uphold or relate to the purpose of this one if you choose to comment.  And if you do choose to leave a link, please explain why you are leaving it.

Thank you for reading.

ADMIN: 2018 Changes Part 1

Introduction

Back at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, I mentioned a couple times that some changes were coming to the website and blog.  I wanted (still do) to update and add more quality resources and make sure that the content stayed high quality and relevant to the original intentions and keeping this a safe, anonymous, FREE resource.

Why?

There are new and different priorities taking over right now.  Some of my explorations require a bigger time investment and a new space to write/share thoughts.  Others are or will be big life changes that also require dedicated, long term focus.

Since I want to do all of that and maintain this website and blog, compromises and changes have to take place.

Website/Blog Changes

  • Untangled Connections is moving to a paid account by June 2018
    • The domain name and/or URL might change (I’m still trying to understand this), but the Web site Name and accessibility WILL NOT CHANGE
    • I will write an ADMIN Post announcing the changes 1-2 weeks before they take place
  • At some point, probably the next holiday or vacation, I’ll be collating all of the Resource posts and putting the links on the Resources page
  • The Search and Menu functions will change to become more user-friendly
    • This might require changes to the theme, but I will know more after making the upgrade

Schedule Changes

  • Posts about me, my experiences with resources, reviews, etc. will take place 1x a week – probably on Sundays
  • Posts about topics and ideas from the Internet or other bloggers will be shared as I find them – could be none one week or up to 4 another week
    • These posts may or may not have comments from me, but the links will be available in the body of the post
  • You might or might not also find links to videos, websites, and Podcasts instead of links to blogs, articles, and organizations

Life Changes

  • I’m implementing phase 1 of the career change plan with the goal of complete changes by 2020
  • I’ve finally saved up and bought the supplies to work on aromatherapy certification lessons (blending, case studies, research paper, etc.), so will be spending a lot of time on that.
    • The new blog mentioned above is part of these lessons.  It will chronicle my explorations in class and with personal use to help maintain emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness
    • **REMINDER** I am not a practicing medical professional and probably won’t be until the agoraphobia becomes less intense, so anything on there will be informational only
  • My home still needs a lot of work – organizing and decorating – to make it feel safe and comfortable and easy to clean no matter my emotional state
    • Requires thoughtful purchasing of storage solutions, time to organize said solutions, and space to cope with any triggers all that brings up
    • Requires creating and implementing new house chore routines to address trigger issues like laundry, food shopping, cooking, and other tasks that require leaving the apartment
    • Requires creating a safe space in my apartment where I can meditate, do crafting, and go for self soothing comfort

So, yes this is a lot.  Not everything will happen this year.  I am going slow, turtle slow.  And my social media usage is taking a big hit because of that.  But there is progress in every aspect of these big changes.

And each small bit of progress is a success.

Whatever you’re doing, please go slow and make time to celebrate your progress too.

Thanks for reading

RECOVERY: Reflections & A New Phase in My Recovery

The One Month Break

Taking a month off was healing in some ways and enlightening in others.  Not posting allowed me to focus on self care and moving to a better living situation.  I spent more time packing, planning, focused on work, resting when I could, apartment hunting, and eventually moving too.

NEW APARTMENT YAY!

My living situation is much improved.  I love the new apartment and am getting used to living in/near a college again.  As much as I love old buildings with their creaky noises, eccentric quirks, and character, the new space is a challenge for unpacking and settling in.  Beyond that, the building is run by an excellent (so far) management team that really cares about its tenants.  And I finally have a bath tub!

And now there’s space for me to set up a craft/learning space – knitting, sewing, aromatherapy, etc. – in my living room while the other room is reserved for work & sleeping.  Plus there’s the challenge of unpacking and decorating to make this space home.  But at least no one will be criticizing me for it or accusing me of hoarding because of my slow methods.

Unpacking and decorating has also inspired me to start using Pinterest again.  I’ve added some new boards and new pins to existing boards if you’re interested.  You can find links to Pinterest on the Resources page.

BYE BYE TOXIC LIVING SITUATION

The toxic living situation kept taking up more and more of my mental space as the upstairs neighbor escalated.  At some point, I stopped sleeping and started meditating/resting instead.  Cooking saved me from bursts of anger.  Packing did too.

But my survival instincts and automatic defenses were roused.  Some of them, I’ve talked about in the past.  Others I haven’t, not yet, because those memories were hidden or caused too much pain when triggered.  But now, those instincts are close to the surface.  And with them, come the memories too.

Instead of having to cope with a lot of emotional/mental triggers, I’m working through physical and environmental triggers that make me want to protect myself with violence.

If my past experiences taught me one thing really well, it was that anyone who  tried to make physical contact or get close to me was attacking me.  And I had to protect myself in any and every way possible.  When running didn’t work, fighting back did.  Doesn’t matter how much pain I feel or what condition my body/health is in.

If these instincts are triggered or I am put in a position of having to defend/protect myself, I fight to survive at any cost.  With that knowledge in my mind, I’ve spent a lot of time alone or around “safe” people for limited time periods lately.  Without a mechanism to make me stop and pause, it’s not safe for me to be around other people like this.

Luckily, my body and other alters have some awareness of when these instincts are triggered.  They give the rest of us advance notice so that we can plan to say inside instead of going out.

Questioning My Ability to Share Useful Resources

The time away also provided time to reflect on my current mental space and ability to share useful resources here.

While telling parts of my history here is part of what makes this blog authentic, it’s not the main reason I started sharing here.  Lately, I’ve struggled to come up with new ideas and posts, useful information and resources that might be helpful or useful to others beginning their journey or struggling at a complex/difficult place in recovery.  People who are learning how to live and cope after surviving or getting out of toxic situations that made them question everything and not trust anything at first glance.

What I’m learning now, the resources opening up to me, are coming from a different place now.   It’s a different phase of recovery, a scary (to me) one where my past coping strategies are useful, but not as helpful as before because the challenges are different.  I”m sharing my authentic self with the world.  And I’m finally able to accept all parts of myself – violent/nonviolent, male/female, victim/survivor/individual – with compassion and love.

Instead of surviving or putting my toe in the shallow pool of living, I’m wading into the deeper waters where my feet don’t always touch the ground.  I’m living and thriving and using my flashbacks/triggers as reminders or guides to help me learn from past mistakes to make better choices now.  I’m being vulnerable and moving forward with personal, professional, and academic goals.  Sometimes even achieving them.

But how relevant is that to my guests?

How will reading books about personal finance or minimalism, or personal style, or training in skills help them cope with the internal and external struggles that come with trauma and recovery?

How will going to lectures, taking classes, challenging oneself to meet new people, or learning about resilience/vulnerability and shame via many channels give my  guests the hope and courage or inspiration to keep on going?

I’m not asking for answers or reassurance that this resource website and blog is useful.  If anyone wants to comment, you are welcome to do so.  Feedback is always welcome.

Conclusion

If the last 5 months have taught me anything, it’s that life will always be full of challenges and triggers.  How we react and act to meet those challenges defines how interesting, fun, boring, miserable, joyful, or blah our life becomes as time passes.  And sometimes life throws one a curve because it knows that individual has what it takes to succeed this time around.

But people also grow and change in unexpected ways.  Their lives, thought processes, goals, and beliefs change too.  People sometimes move on or move in a different direction as experience and perspective open up different paths.

Whatever happens, if I stop posting or adding new articles, this site will stay up and available to anyone searching for help.  The Resource page and Home Page will be updated to reflect this.

Thanks for reading.