Out of the Chrysalis

Celebrating and embracing the transformation within


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Memories Triggered


chrysalisSpring is upon us and that means caterpillars everywhere are on the verge of becoming a newer version of themselves. With much time spent in the chrysalis, letting go of the past and preparing for a great adventure.  Over the past 7 years, I have been doing the same thing and life has led me to many wonderful adventures of late.  Recently however, I had a “moment” that I would like to share with you! It came suddenly and completely took me by surprise!

In January of 2013, I wrote a post on PTSD and Divorce. Over the past few years, I have not suffered any of those mentioned PTSD experiences, and have felt pretty well renewed.  I have some wounds that will always be present in my mind, but for the most part, I am a new and improved person who just happened to have survived a divorce.  Towards the end of that post, I mentioned that as part of my healing journey, I was at war with my memories.  Through the restorative process, I have surrendered my memories and processed much of what I needed too, or so I thought. Apparently, my mind had other plans and decided to wage war once again.

The trigger was a song that happened to come on while I was watching television. The song immediately infuriated me.  I began yelling out and having an argument with the person singing.  I wanted to know what gave the artist the right to create such a song and sing it as if it were the best thing ever written.  I found myself having a very one-sided conversation and becoming angrier at every word.

The next day I was speaking to a friend about my “moment”. All of a sudden, I heard words coming out of my mouth that were not there the night before.  I was actually explaining why that song was such a trigger.  I quickly realized that what was happening in the lyrics was something that I wished I had done during my period of doubts.  That piece was a rendition of my life but with scenes that never played out due to my fears and uncertainty.  Situations that I did not allow myself to be a part of because I did not want to believe they were true.  These impetuous feelings were hurtful to me, but this time I was the one causing the pain.

I know we cannot go back and say “what if”, but I really wanted to ask myself that question. The more I thought about it; my answer was that the outcome would probably not have been any different.  In fact, it may have been worse.  I trusted in my perception during those times, and I chose a way to react that was secure for me.

This unexpected moment was a very valuable lesson. It has showed me that deep down this was an unresolved issue, having nothing to do with my ex, it was all me!  Will there be more? I have no clue, but at least now, I know how to identify it and process it.  I do know that when it happens again, I will let the music play, soak in the lyrics and glide with the rhythm.

butterfly musicWhat I think is important to pass along here, is do not shut yourself out! These “moments” will appear without warning and can be frightening to face head on.  I faced mine by accident the following day and I am grateful for the experience and now the knowledge.  When you get to this point in your journey, remember this as an important step in the healing process.  Trust in God, and listen to what you have to say.  Do not be afraid to be angry with yourself but also remember to be just as forgiving!

Do you have an experience of a “moment” you would like to share? Please comment.

Blessings, Kimberly / Courageous Butterfly

Related Topics/Posts

Does PTSD after divorce exist? You better believe it!

Letting Go of Regret

 

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Hello World…let’s fly


“Hello world!  I know I have been away for quite some time; life has taken me to places both familiar and unknown”, said the butterfly.   ©KA    

flyLast week during a conversation, it came up that the caterpillar does not know that a struggle is coming, or that it will be transformed into something more beautiful than it once was.  Many of us do not know the storms that lie ahead or how we will be changed because of them.  The difference between our struggle and that of the caterpillar, is the fact that we remember most of what we’ve gone through.  Some say, the butterfly, once it emerges only has memory of its time just before entering the chrysalis.  I can’t decide which is better, remembering every moment of the struggle, or just the very end.

Studies completed on the brain of a caterpillar and that of a butterfly have shown that some memory can be retained after metamorphosis if it was created in the later stages of caterpillar life.  Those studies involve smells with a shock to the caterpillar and when the same scent is offered to the butterfly, it avoided those scents proposing that it remembered the shock.

What if we applied this to a traumatic life event?  It takes me back to times through my healing process where situations or events would bring out feelings of fear and remind me of moments that were hurtful for me.  Even though it is hard to remember what we have gone through, I think we also can learn a lot of lessons through that pain.  I wonder if the butterfly is missing out on some of that since it doesn’t remember most of it’s life as the caterpillar.  Or…is that a blessing in disguise?  I suppose it depends on the situation and how each of us responds to our own healing environment.

The caterpillar could not prepare for what was about to happen, and many times we do not see or anticipate the circumstance that will be forever life changing for us.  When the storm hits were are just thrown in with no clue of how or when we will come out of it.  The caterpillar has to shed its skin in order to enter the cocoon and then it completely turns to mush before being restored to its new version.  We’ve all been reduced to mush at some point during our trial, and then our own metamorphosis occurs.  Taking us from broken to beautiful.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years focusing on the transformation and never really considered what it would feel like to be the butterfly…until now.

The struggle in the chrysalis is a real one and we all go through it differently.  Some caterpillars are inside for months, some weeks, some even a year over winter.  Life changing events do not happen overnight and it is important to know that the changes cannot be rushed.  However, it is critical that the focus be on allowing life to take you through the experiences that will ultimately form your wings and allow you to fly.

For the first time, in a long time I can actually say that I am the fully transformed butterfly.  I’ve closed my eyes and I can see myself emerging.  Taking my first breath of fresh clean air was the most magnificent feeling!  It was cool and crisp, it was filled with joy, and a feeling of love in my heart.  The scents that triggered my shock are now insignificant to my future.   I can honestly say “my wings are ready.”

I stumbled upon a song recently and these words really spoke to me, I hope they are encouraging for you on your healing journey.  “ You won’t forget the heavy steps you took to let it go, but close your eyes count to 10 and hold your breath and fly.”

Can you see your future as a butterfly?  Please share in the comments.

Many Blessings,  Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

Related Topics/Blogs

Do Caterpillars know the’ll become butterflies?

Do Butterflies Remember Being Caterpillars?

Fly


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Purple Brave!


Purple, the color between red and blue.  Light purple or lavender is soothing both for the sense of sight and smell, where dark purple can be less appealing.  Purple can signify power, and embody wealth.  Purple can come in the form of a heart given to a hero; a soft flower; and a mean black eye or bruise.  Being a part of the color red, which is a hot color, and then the calming blue makes purple very important.  It is the place that can capture every bad and every good feeling, emotion, memory, fear, strength, defeat, and accomplishment.  Today, I am harnessing my PURPLE!

IMG_1587 (1)My purple came through when I had a “moment” while on the treadmill. It took all I had to fight back tears, there was no way I could have a breakdown in a gym.  I was not on an episode of the biggest loser!

Let’s rewind just a moment, prior to that workout I had stopped to purchase appropriate footwear.  After trying on several pairs I ended up with purple shoes.  Its been a very long time since I was into purple and I was a little worried they looked like kids shoes, but they fit so off to the gym I went.

I was set to push myself and see what I had in me. Armed with all the accessories I needed, water, ear buds, music, couch to 5K app, and my new shoes.  I felt determined and as the warm up began, I even gave myself a little pep-talk.

The workout was going great!  I was following the prompts on the app and I remained focused.  I could feel myself getting to a point when I was going to have to dig my heels in and push through.  I began to feel a little uneasy, it was harder to breathe and all of a sudden I felt transported back in time.  I saw myself standing in front of a mirror and not liking the reflection.  I had flashbacks of opening presents that contained fitness videos and meal replacement shakes. I was being asked to say “moo” rather than “cheese” while having my photo taken.  My self-assurance was being depleted with each step.  I wanted to slump off the machine and just call it a day.  I was in the midst of a PTSD flashback.

During this time I was brought back to the last time I was working this hard and it was just before my divorce.  I had participated in an infomercial. My goal was to get skinny for my husband, feel better for my family and improve my overall health.  I accomplished more in a 12 week span that I ever thought I would.  I ran, I hiked, I swam, I exercised through injuries and I succeeded.  I was at the top of my game! I was fit, I felt powerful, and for the first time in my life I had confidence.  Fast forward two weeks…my life is forever changed, my self-esteem tossed out the window, my confidence buried under a very heavy rock.

Mind you I’m re-living all of these memories and emotions in just a ten minute span. Alternating walking with running, trying not to cry and wondering where do I go from here?  At this point is when I looked down and saw my purple shoes in motion, I knew I had to change my focus and I thought to myself, why in the world did I buy purple shoes?

I pumped up the music and decided to finish what I had started.  Watching my purple shoes I felt excitement in knowing what I will feel like when I reach my end goal. I was reminded how I felt after I hiked the mountain.  I needed to channel the feelings I had in that moment standing at the top looking down at where I had come from and realizing what that accomplishment meant to me.  It’s a place I had been before, except this time I have a different motive, ME!  I can only imagine how I will feel  when I celebrate this triumph knowing that I am its end result.

infomercial

Wearing Purple 7 years ago….not a coincidence.  

During this process I will bring my red and blue together and I will delight in creating the purple within me.  I will allow myself to be encouraged, spiritually nourished, motivated and fully engulfed by my new signature color!  I will be PURPLE BRAVE!

Do you have a similar story of pushing yourself and wading through the mud on your journey?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

8/27/16

 

Related topics/blogs

Purple, The Meanings of Purple

Personality, Color Purple

Coping with Flash Backs

Safety and Grounding Techniques for PTSD

Flex Force, Infomercial

 

 


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My Empty Suitcase


suitcase1September 5, 2013 may have been a normal day for most, for me it was life changing.  It was a typical day after work, I came home checked the blog and was ready to respond to the comments, never expecting what I was seeing on the screen.

Someone was hurting and  reaching out.  I wanted to jump through the computer and find her, hold her, cry with her and help her. For a brief moment I was paralyzed and did not know what to do, but my emotions took over and I was on the case!

Sometimes sharing feelings or reaching out for help can be looked at in a negative way.  Unfortunately there are people out there who don’t want to hear it or think that we are just complaining to get attention.  But what about those of us who are deeply hurting, on their wit’s end and just needing a place to share their feelings.  When I read her comment I could’ve just moved on to the next one and let it go, heck it was a click on my page. But that would have defeated my purpose of this blog, to help and embrace those going through the pain of loss.  So I did the most logical thing and called the police!  The poor “old” man who answered the phone replied to me with “what’s a blog?” . At that moment I knew that this was all going to be up to me.

Once I was able to make contact, and make sure she was OK and had a friend on the way to be with her I sat silently and just shivered.  I was proud of myself for sticking with it and making sure that this stranger was going to be alright, but at the same time wondering if anyone would have done the same for me, and that is what keeps this blog going.

Compassion, is one of the most important virtues one can possess.  Listening, sharing, looking into the eyes of someone who is hurting can mean the world to them.

suitcaseSo, at this point your wondering why my suitcase is empty….well in just a couple of days I will finally be meeting this woman who has changed me.  She has given me purpose with my blog. She has given me the confidence to continue writing in hopes that I am helping anyone else out there who may be reading.

We have shared a lot of the same hurts over the past few years as our circumstances were similar.  But I want to arrive with my suitcase empty and ready for her to not only share her world, her friendship and love, but to fill my bag with her strength, courage and hope so that I can return home and thrive on the bond that was grown out of sharing our stories and our openness to be there for each other, even though we had not met.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

4/5/16

 


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We were down, but now we are LIMITLESS.


you wont breakI’ve mentioned my faith in a number of posts and there is no doubt in my mind that I am on a path that was designed by God.

Sometimes, though I get just a little irritated with the roadblocks he had set up for me.  He has built everyone differently.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses, he knows them because he gave them to us and he knows how we will handle them.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says God will not give us more than what we can bear, but boy does he push it to the limit!

Every time something new and exciting happens in my life, the first thing I do is worry, and question everything.  I know that is common for most when something new is happening and it is normal, but sometimes it takes me to those places in my past that if I dwell on them, will do nothing but cause me grief.

I would hope after all these years that I am stronger than those past hurts, but in certain circumstances, there they are again.  I will do everything in my power not to let them have any factors on my future, and because I can see that they are happening I am confident that I will beat them.

Recently I was at an appointment with my mom, she was having her blood pressure checked and the nurse taking it said “you should check it first thing in the morning, because after that life happens”.  That was one of the most profound statements I had heard in a while it opened up my mind that on a daily basis we may not expect what transpires, we may not have ever dreamed certain things will happen, but one thing is for sure that “something” will happen during the course of our days.life happens

That “something” can be good, or it may be bad and learning how to adjust to it when it happens is what is key. I am not afraid to admit that I have not perfected this just yet.  God and a few close friends right now know that I am still learning.  I will not limit my future based on my past, and I hope that those reading this will do the same.

Have you had a “life happens” moment where you needed to stop, breathe, think and then react in order to go into your future?  Please comment.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly 3/8/16

Related Topics/Posts

Limitless, Colton Dixon

Warrior, Demi Lovato

Healing Past Hurts

Letting God’s Love Overcome Your Past Hurt

6 Things That Keep You From Moving On After Divorce

 

 

 


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Creating a Blank Canvas On Valentine’s Day


Blank-Canvas-Outdoor“Valentine’s day ugh”, is uttered frequently by singles on February 14th, aside from those who choose to embrace their inner selves which I have been known to do.  I even took myself out on a date night.  I figured why not, nobody knows me better.  I have to say, I set the bar pretty high, and actually feel bad for future prospects who may feel the need to outdo my do!

So this year, I tried again.  Same type of date night, one that I was sure to enjoy and I truly did, but there was still something bothering me. It wasn’t that I didn’t have an actual date, or that I was spending it by myself it went deeper than that.

When I awoke this morning staring into the eyes of my poo-chon, I quietly wished her a Happy Valentine’s Day and that is when it hit me!  I closed my eyes and it was like I was watching an actual flash back in my mind.  The top right dresser drawer was slowly opening and inside was a white card decorated with red hearts, black lettering and the words “Happy Valentines’s Day”  After taking one of the biggest breath’s of my life, I opened the card.  

I quickly opened my eyes, I didn’t want to see what was written on the inside again.  I got out of bed hastily, I refused to let myself get upset.  The sun was shining, church was waiting and I was NOT about to succumb to a PTSD moment.  So I pushed the emotions away and continued on with my day.

It’s really scary sometimes how things can just pop into your mind when your not thinking about that particular circumstance.  For example, just a bit ago I was cleaning my 10 gallon fish tank, had been procrastinating it for a while so it was pretty dirty.  Elbow deep in fish muck I had a moment of clarity in this crazy brain of mine.  Valentine’s Day for most is a celebration of love.  Romantic love, family love, friendship love, and just love in general.  But for me it was forever changed the day I found that card.  Although hopeful I am wrong, there will probably never be anything that makes me feel better on that day just because of the circumstances surrounding that particular hurt.

blank cardSo what can I do about that?  Besides honoring those emotions and letting them move through me, there is one more important thing I can do…create a blank canvas on that memory.  I can’t erase it, can’t make it go away but I can try and alter it a little in my mind.  So the next time I close my eyes and that vision appears,  the card will be blank and at that time I will begin to insert new words, pictures, and phrases.  Continuing this until the day comes when I close my eyes and the Valentine is all mine. Filled with things that are important to me and signatures of those close to my heart.

Today my canvas holds a few lines from the song Just Be Held by Casting Crowns:

Hold it all together Everybody needs you strong
There’s freedom in surrender Lay it down and let it go
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
And not a tear is wasted In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes Your life is in My hands
In the storm is where you’ll find Me And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

This Valentine’s Day, if you are finding difficulty, I challenge you to make your troubled canvas blank and start creating one that is perfect for you.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly 2/14/16

Related Links/Blogs

Just Be Held, Casting Crowns

Valentines Day Divorce, The Huffington Post

Valentines Day After Divorce, Modern Mom

Valentine’s Day During A Divorce, ecgoldberg

Novena for Single Catholics, Catholic Herald

 


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Dumpster Diving


dumpster divingLeaving my marital home was difficult for me.  Having to say goodbye to the good memories that lived under the roof and moving forward to forget the bad.  In order to avoid awkwardness, I planned it so that I was the only one home when the movers arrived.  I like to think that I maintained  composure in front of the three strangers that stood before me.  But the way I was feeling inside was not composed at all.

It’s been 5 years so why am I looking back on that blip in time?  When I left that day I was sure that I was good with saying goodbye to the house, but recently I noticed a very large dumpster in the driveway, at that time it wasn’t really full but when I saw it something in my body changed.  I felt nervous, anxious, sad, and fearful.

As I drove away I decided just to let it go and I was good with that until the next week when I arrived again and the dumpster was overflowing with objects.  It was all I could do to sit in the car and not leap out to see if I had left anything behind that may be in that rusty, dirty box.  I found myself thinking…my  marriage is in that dumpster.

I know that may sound completely crazy because my marriage ended 5 years ago, and I was good about making sure I had all I wanted when I left.  So why then did this affect me so much?

Maybe it’s not about the items, I think it’s more than that.  I dove deep down into my thoughts, taking inventory of exactly how I was feeling.  I noted how my heart rate soared, my hands got clammy, and I needed to fight the urge to jump in.  Then it came to me, the trash I saw in the dumpster is just symbolism for the memories that were being held in that space, and to think that they have been removed is what is upsetting.

Are those moments gone forever?  Stains on carpets that tell a funny story or holes in the wall that will bring back a laugh.  I know the memories of those things will never leave me, even though the little story tellers are gone. I guess I assumed they would be housed there always.

I’m kind of glad that all of this affected me in the way that it has because it really makes one take stock of your surroundings.  Treasure what is important to you even if it is a strip of wallpaper that you save and frame because when you look at it you are reminded of happy times.

I’m creating newness in my current space and will remember to hang on to those little things that help hold those memories close to me.

Have you had a rough time leaving behind memories?  Please share.

Courageous Butterfly 1/31/16

Kimberly

Related Posts/Links

Does PTSD after divorce exist?

PTSD after divorce

PTSD after divorce

Whats it like to suffer PTSD from divorce