July 21, 2010


Freedom Is A Natural High

For this month's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, our host, Dr. Kathleen Young, wanted to do an Independence or Freedom theme in honor of Independence Day (July 4th) here in the U.S. My recent wilderness camping trip really got me thinking about when I feel the most free. It is definitely when I am out in nature.

When I am looking at a glorious sunset, taking a wildflower hike or watching birds, I feel like everything can be right with the world. At these precious moments, I believe that I totally belong. I am not a freak or an alien, but part of the intricate web of life.

Maybe the nature fix is so good for me because I've grieved over the fact that the "parenting" I received as a child was anything but natural. It is not natural for a mother to have no protective instinct for her offspring. It is not natural when predators reduce their victims to something less than human; stripping them of their inborn right to humanity, respect and dignity.

And, perhaps, the dignity thing holds a connection for me, too. I believe that all God's creatures--no matter how small or seemingly insignificant--have an inherent dignity, divinity and sovereignty simply for the fact that God created them. What could be more divine than a bejeweled hummingbird sipping at a tubular flower? What's more majestic than a mountain? What could be more sovereign than a mighty moose? What's more natural than a mother suckling her young?

This leads me to another thing that Dr. Young said when she called for submissions for this carnival: "My first thought was how fitting, given that today we celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. I then started thinking about the meaning of independence for survivors and our culture as a whole. For me, this naturally leads to thoughts about dependence, unmet dependency needs and interdependence." I believe that all God's creatures are interdependent because we are all connected. What we choose to do in our lives has global and universal consequences. Because we are all connected, we cannot pretend that our actions do not effect the lives of beloved, divine others.

I also firmly believe that people who are damaged and afraid--not willing to look at the wounds they need to heal--allow evil to enter in because they do not feel connected. They don't feel connected to God, to nature, to other human beings.

Maybe, for me, it was something as simple as my constant habit of tree climbing during my childhood summers that kept me open to my connection with nature. Whatever it was, I have always found nature healing and comforting. I'm so glad that my love of nature helped me to stay connected to the divine and, eventually, succeed at breaking the multi-generational cycle of abuse from my "family" of origin.

I now have a new family that I've created with my husband and son. And, I will always have my universal family; a belonging with all God's creation.

I belong.

I am connected.

And I am free.

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In my current post I mentioned that the word pilgrim derives from the latin word "peler" which means stranger. Whilst walking on this ancient path I am stranger in the counrty, with hope crossing borders yet even more so I am stranger to the people and partly to myself. The events which have taken place have enstranged me from myself. I often feel like a stranger in my own heart, yet nature restores me. Each time the strangeness takes over or I am afraid to surrender to it again - nature restores me to more wholeness. Love, Paula
Great post!! Thanks so much. A message many of us need.
Wow, Paula! What an eloquent way you have of putting that. I totally get what you mean. Along with nature, I hope that the caring of others across the blogosphere (like me!) can help you keep your feeling of connection on your travels. *hugs*

Colleen: Oh, thanks for saying that, deary! I was so tired from trying to get the photos in this post to layout right, that I wasn't sure my words still made sense! ;)
Marj this post is wonderful and you are such a blessing to me. Sorry about your teeth pain as well dear one. Your post encourages me. Blessings and ((((((((Marj))))))))
JBR: Hey! Thanks, deary-doo! :)
I'm so glad you had this experience Marj. How wonderful to feel connected. Its a feeling that I often lose sight of myself. I go about the motions of life and don't ever really feel connected, but those moments that I do are amazing.

I also can't help but ponder on your tree climbing statement in regards to myself. I used to find very small, quiet places and get in them. I would often get into boxes and close the lid or go into the longer icechests and just find peace in the dark, confind spaces, often times falling asleep in the little spaces. I'll have to ponder a while on what that might mean...

Anywho, I am so so so glad that you were able to have this outdoors adventure and even more happy to hear of the internal experience that came with it. Its a very valuable bit of information for you to have when things get tough.
Hugs to you my friend
Marj, I'm glad that you had a connection with nature and that it's helped you with healing and comfort. I have also found a connection with nature and it's often prevalent in my poetry writing.
You certainly do belong and I'm so glad you're here. ((Marj)) if ok..
Take care
Great post and wonderful photos!!
What a wonderful post Marj! I love how you describe your experiences of being in nature. And that moose picture!
oh my goodness, marj~ what an amazing and beautiful post. i have experienced some pure wonderous moments in nature. it can be so moving and grounding to get to experience it in a peaceful way. i'm so so happy for you that you have had this connection in your life which has been part of the fabric and foundation for your healing. i feel the same way as you as far as feeling connected to the world and humanity, that we are all part of life and so everything we do and feel has an effect on everything else. and when people become disconnected to the extent that they no longer are able to feel empathic towards others is when they can become harmful if they are not careful.

but back to you~ i'm so glad to know you, and i'm so happy you're in the world. people are lucky to know you. i was just thinking last night how grateful i am to know you. you've always been completely positive and encouraging and accepting of me, and i really feel that from you. you are a healing force.

thank you for just being you and for telling us how you feel~~~

warm safe hugs and well wishes to you today and always :)
hi marj~ one more thing, i was just reading through your other comments and i noticed that jade said that finding small spaces and crawling into them was something that they did as a child and they weren't sure what that meant.

i just wanted to share that i used to do the same thing. i would crawl into corners of closets behind clothes and under beds and hide in shelves and things like that. sometimes i did that because i was scared, but sometimes i did that because it comforted me. i felt safe being hidden. i also think being in a small space made me feel comforted because i felt physically contained. perhaps it was some subconscious attempt to feel held and protected.

i don't know if it means the same thing for everyone, but i thought i'd share my thoughts in case they could be of use to jade :)

wishing you and everyone well!
Jade: Here's some hugs for you and here's to finding more of those amazing connected times. Hhhmmm...and let me know what yo find out about those small spaces. ((((((((JADE))))))))

Paola: Those safe cyber hugs are always okay. And I'm glad you're here, too!

EH: Hey, so nice to "see" you! Glad you liked the post and pix.
Thanks, Dr. Young! Yeah, we actually saw three moose on that trip. I could hardly believe it!

Katie: Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, I forgot to mention in the post how grounding nature is for me. Good point! Awwww! Thanks for what you said about me being a healing force. Nobody's ever said that to me before. And I'm happy to know you, too! :) *hugs*

And thanks for your thoughts about the small spaces. You're sweet!
Wonderful, well-written post and great moose pic! The beautiful message will uplift the hearts of all who read it.

I too, find healing and solace in the arms of mamma nature and all her majesty.

Trees are regarded as sacred in Celtic beliefs. It was believed each kind of tree had its own uniquely magical, mystical qualities and a soul. I love that!

Like you, I grieve over the grossly unnatural act of a mother abusing her child, or allowing her child to be abused.

My mother was devoid of what I call the inherent "mother bear instinct," that nearly every mammal possesses. And that instinct is to defend, protect (even at great personal risk) and care for one's young.
Little Seed: Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a well-thought-out comment. I think we can relate to each others' experiences quite a bit. Thanks for the Celtic tree reference--cool! I will be coming by to check out your blog soon.
Very nice post. I, too, was a tree climber, but I am not sure it was from a connection with nature. (I lived on a farm, anyway; nature was all around.) I think it symbolized a way of getting away from abusive parents -- they were definitely not going to climb a tree to get me. If I could not always outrun them, I could outclimb them! (My reaction was always to escape -- at least, for a few minutes each time it worked!)

Glad you have your own family now and a new life.
Elizabeth: Thanks for visiting and leaving your comment. I'm glad you had at least one place you could get to in order to escape your parents. I'll come over and check out your blog.
Beautifully said as always. Thanks for writing and sharing.
Leah: Hey! Long time, no "see!" Thanks so much for stopping by with your kind comment.
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