Today I have the pleasure of being a guest writer for Esther Newton’s wonderful blog. Please check it out. The post is taken from a healing book I am currently working on. Also, Esther’s blog is worth pursuing in and of itself. Thank you, Esther!
This week, I’d like to welcome Alethea Kehas, with a strong piece of writing, as my Guest Writer.
Exploring the Body’s Memories: An Exercise in Constriction
By Alethea Kehas
When we begin to let go of the grasp of our past, we begin to heal and move more fully into the present. Yet, it’s often easier said than done. The body and mind like to hold onto what we have experienced. There is a comfortable routine that develops. An experience is lived and stored in our cellular memory, as though with the intention that one day we may wish to retrieve it. Sometimes this is useful. For example, the body and mind’s memory of how to ride a bike, or drive a car. The ability of the body and mind to distinguish healthy foods and how to consume them. The list goes on. What happens, though, when…
This poem was inspired by a conversation I had with my birthfather yesterday while we spoke about the stories inside and around my memoir, A Girl Named Truth. “In the photograph,” he told me, “I look young, but I think you can see that I’m not disappointed that you were a girl. I’m really sorry about your middle name. It’s not that I still wanted you to be a boy. I chose it because it is Gaelic and I thought it had to do with the earth, and you’re a Virgo.”
I have received several questions from readers of my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, so I thought I would start a Q & A series on my blog. Many of the questions share the same themes, and also, I feel, point to our collective universal search for peace and healing. Here are three that were posted via my author Facebook page:
Have the pains that you suffered went away?
When I read this question, I realize how loaded it is. There are many layers of “pain” that are encased in the story of A Girl Named Truth. There is the pain of the physical body, which eventually manifested in the form of two years of debilitating IBS as an adult, and there are the emotional “pains” that were brought on by divorce, family estrangement, a difficult childhood, and an adolescent filled with bullying and insecurities. Yet, these are all connected, and the body of pain is the physical manifestation of the mind’s trauma. We often trap our stories in our bodies, and the emotions that go with them linger and can lead to dis-ease, and various diseases.
In my memoir, I reveal that on Mother’s Day of 2008 I experienced my last night of interrupted sleep curtesy of my body’s battle with IBS. In his book, Quantum Healing, Deepak Chopra talks about the intimate connection the mind has to the body. It is so intimate, he shows us, that the mind is ultimately what heals the body. By mind I am referring to an awareness and decision to heal that often surpasses the brain’s logic and comprehension. Herein lies the concept of miracle healings and cures. I believe that on Mother’s Day of 2008, I had forged an agreement with my mind and body that it was time to heal, and I did.
Although the nightly episodes of IBS stopped that night, the healing, in essence, had just begun. The contract I had made between my mind and my body, I came to realize, included the release of the stories that I had so long held trapped inside of my belly. And so I began to write. As I wrote, I healed, layer by layer, and I am still healing. I believe life is like spiral back to the center, and with each turn of the circle, as we walk closer to true being, we heal another layer of our story of life.
So, to answer this question in more simple form, I would have to say yes, and also no. The physical pain of IBS is no longer playing out in my body, and with it I have reduced much of the emotional pain. Yet, I still walk the spiral, and with each turn I visit another layer that wants to be exposed, examined and healed. For example, even though I have come to the place of acceptance, I still feel the inner child’s yearning for unconditional mother-love. In additional, old patterns around self-worth and rejection still resurface in new forms, and I am reminded that I am a human who is still learning how to be whole.
What is your current relationship with your father?
Without giving away too much of the already written story, I will say that the memoir was deliberately written to form a symbolic circle. In essence, it begins and ends with my relationship to my father, but there is no epilogue. Also a deliberate choice, as I wanted to inspire a forum for discussion, such as this one, and the story is still being played out.
I have seen my father only once since the time period covered in the book, but I have talked with him often. Although we are still learning about what it means to form a father-daughter relationship as adults, we continue to inch our way closer to the center. Our reunion has been one of the greatest and most healing gifts of this journey. Although we have lived through a troubled past, mostly individually, he was able to accept my gift of my story with grace and gratitude. There has been no judgement or animosity. Instead, he has thanked me, as well as shown compassion and a willingness to help, in his own way, to weave back more of the threads of separation. He knows I love him, and I know he loves me, and that now underlies everything else. Its has become our new foundation in the journey we share together.
Do you have peace after completing the book?
Another loaded question. The simple answer is yes. It took me nine years, from when I started writing my stories, to the release of the book into the world. Even after I wrote them down, I began to realize I was still holding them close. They were no longer inside of me, but they were like a cloak, covering me. It was an act of protection, and releasing them into the world was both necessary and incredibly vulnerable. I knew I needed to release the cloak, but I didn’t realize how naked I would feel. Yet, the day after I hit the button to release the book out into the world, I found myself sitting quietly on my sofa and realizing that all I felt was peace. A deep, quiet and profound feeling of inner peace. I had birthed my book into being, and now it was no longer just mine. Like a child, I could continue to grow with it, but it was now ready to take on a life of its own. And, like most children, it has received acceptance from some, and not from others. What matters most though, is that I have let it go, and hopefully it will find a healing place in the world.
I want to thank my readers for their questions, and welcome the sending of more. Questions can be posted here, on my Facebook page, or sent directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My mind is still ruminating on the circle. Last night I dreamt of water surrounding me on all sides, getting ever closer to my body. I fled before I could be stranded, not wanting to become an island, cut off, with a relentless tide washing over me.
Later, in my dreams, I found myself in a classroom as a student with my husband. The teacher was giving us assignments, and my husband and I were to write an essay about the root chakra. He told me he wanted to write about a place he calls “Blueberry Mountain,” and I found myself wondering how this related to the first chakra, where we hold our sense of stability and our fears of instability. Yet I relented, agreeing to partner with him on our shared task. While we were writing, there were interruptions. A girl I’ll call Margot, because that’s the name I gave her in my memoir, who was also in the class with us, teased and taunted, trying to disrupt the flow of our work. Trying to cut us off from our collaboration.
When I return to the circle, I think about the space in the center that is shared by all who form the perimeter. I think of the energy mingled into one collective body that is the source of all life. And, I think of an invisible network of roots feeding and nursing life.
A tree, upended, will eventually starve and wither away.
Why did my dream mind lead me to the classroom with my husband and Margot, I wondered when I woke, until I began to think about the upending of my own roots.
I met my husband when I was seventeen. In the years preceding our relationship, I had experienced multiple compromises to my family and social networks. My structure of tribal unity, held within my root chakra, was severely compromised by the time I met my future husband. It had left me feeling compromised, fearful and distrustful. Then, one day, I sat in the library of St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and found myself falling in love with a boy from Manchester who was writing an essay about a place he called “Blueberry Mountain.” Maybe you can go there with me someday, he told me.
The individual who finds him or herself cut off from the circle, whether willingly or unwillingly, can always return to a place of unity.
Just over 26 years ago, while siting in the library with a boy I barely knew, I began to reclaim and regrow my network of roots. I began to realize that I was not, in fact, an island of one struggling to survive amid stormy seas. I began to trust in love again.
In the center of the circle, which is also the self, there is Love.
For the past month I have been feeling naked and vulnerable. The birth of my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, has called into question my very stability. When I find myself succumbing to old patterns of thought, fear slips in and threatens to topple my roots. I temporality forget that I am not an island, even though I feel, in many ways, raw and alone. This, though, is a temporary feeling, a cruel game of the ego’s mind. When I settle my thoughts into peace, I feel the presence of all life. I feel the Light at the core, and I remember that I am never alone. That at any moment I can rejoin the circle of invisible hands and feel whole again.
Beneath the veil of fear, the body is always searching for the breath of love. When the veil is removed, nothing else exists. Without fear, the roots reach and mingle into unity and the body bends toward light.
Repressed memory is a pretty common term. Most people are familiar with it, and many have probably explored their own minds in a search for what has been forgotten. When I was writing my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, I spent a lot of time retrieving memories, from myself and others, and often found myself frustrated with what could not be remembered. I was obsessed with the missing gaps, not only because I wanted to fill them in with the lost scenes, I also learned a lot about what I, and others, had chosen to forget.
For example, I have no memories of going to the bathroom at night in the outhouse my family had for many years. Not one. Yet I must have. Instead, I remember the bathroom that came before the outhouse, a hole in the ground, as well as my fear of falling inside of it.
I remember being irrationally afraid of the dark and a reoccurring nightmare I had as a young child. In the nightmare, I am riding in an old brown Ford truck. My father is driving and my sister and I are crouched on the floor in terror. We are in the middle of a forest of pine trees, and swinging from their branches is a monster the size of a great ape. I always woke at the same moment, with a scream trapped in my throat, right before the monster reached the door to take me and my sister.
I don’t remember ever living with my father as a family of four. I don’t even remember visiting him before we left Oregon when I was nearly five-years-old, but when I was two-years-old, he had a fight with my mother and that became my first stored memory.
This memory is so vivid, I can tell you where I was sitting and who as on the couch beside me. I can describe for you the picture above my head. Yet, I cannot tell you what it was like to live with my father, even for half a day. And, I have a theory as to why.
In this first stored memory, I made the conscious choice, even at the young age of two-years-old, to give my father the role of villain in my story of life. My mother, in turn, I chose to love with a fierce loyalty above anyone else.
Shortly after my first memory was stored inside my mind and body, my mother ran away with me and my sister and went into hiding with the Hare Krishnas for a period of several months. Here is what I chose to remember from this long journey. The roll of green grass into blue pools of water, as well as scattered images of beautiful gods. Most of this time period has been recovered through other people’s narratives, which can be read in my memoir.
This past summer, I did some work of a regressionist/psychic friend of mine, and together we recovered some of the memories I had chosen to forget. The story, The Moon Child came out of this remembering, but there is a more traumatic narrative I have decided not to share. What is important to the larger narrative of my life, though, is what I chose to remember as a child, what what I chose to forget, and why. If I had decided to remember those long months in hiding, and the trauma I had endured, I would have had, I now realize, nothing to hold onto. My very foundation would have crumbled beneath me. So I made a choice for survival, as many do when they are faced with trauma, whether it be emotional, physical or both. I chose what I needed to remember and what I needed to forget.
What we choose to forget, though, lingers as truth in the recess of your body. It causes unexplainable ailments and diseases/dis-eases, until we are ready to remember. Then, if we truly want to heal and feel a greater sense of wholeness, we must ask not only what have I chosen to forget, but why have I chose to remember everything else? When we do this, our story becomes more complete. We learn why and how we have shaped our individuals lives. We may even discover that what once defined us, has changed dramatically.
Alethea is a writer and owner of Inner Truth Healing. Her memoir, A Girl Named Truth, is now available at Amazon and Amazon.co.uk. To learn more about Alethea, please visit her website, aletheakehas.com
It’s not easy for me to self-promote my first published book, which I have held close for so long. Yesterday, a friend on Facebook asked me how long it took me to write my memoir, and I told her a partial truth. That I started A Girl Named Truth ten years ago, nearly to the day I hit the button to birth its release on the night before my 44th birthday two weeks ago. This is true, but the journey leading up to putting the words on paper is perhaps what is most significant, for it is a journey of silence. A journey that started at my birth.
Even when I was a young child, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Some may call this lucky, but it is also a bit of a curse. Putting words onto paper, even in journal form, always felt like exposure. It felt hugely vulnerable, like I was opening myself up to censorship in the worst possible kind. Instead, I wrote stories and poems inside the pages of my mind and kept them neatly tucked into the folds where no one could venture but me. Then, one day, after enduring two years of debilitating IBS, I decided I need to write. Really write, the words waiting, not too patiently, inside the folds of my body.
IBS, when looked at on a metaphysical level, is a disease, or dis-ease, of the lower chakras, or energy centers of the body. The first (in the seven chakra system) is found at the base of the spine, and is the energy center that connects us to everything around us. It is our root-center, or our tribal connection. When we feel disconnected from our tribe/family unit, or are wounded by our tribe, this energy center will be compromised.
Our second chakra, located directly above it and surrounding our sexual organs, relates to our creative fire. Here is where we start to form and birth our individual gifts. How we related to others on an individual basis affects this chakra. If we feel secure in love (in all forms), this chakra will be vibrant and healthy.
The third chakra, located in the middle of our abdomen, is also referred to as our power center. Here is where we assert our individuality. Those who are confident in who they are, without being aggressive, will express a healthy and active third chakra.
I am telling you this, because I had none of the above, and if you read my memoir, you will learn about why. IBS, being a disease of the lower charkas, is a red-flag that these centers are out of balance in some way. I didn’t know this when I decided I needed to heal, I just knew that I had reached the point when I could no longer contain the trapped emotions inside of my belly. Each night a storm raged inside of me, and on a deeper, more subconscious level, I knew the storm was fueled by words, and more importantly truths, that needed to come out of me.
So I began to write and heal. As I wrote, my body began to talk to me, realizing that I was finally ready to listen. As my bloated belly birthed each word that had waited so long for release, I began to learn, really learn, about the little girl inside named truth. I learned to love her and to accept her. I cried her stored tears and relived her pain. Her timid, quiet voice began to discover its strength, and together we realized we had a story to tell and share. A story, that although individually unique, is every’s story. The quest for inner truth is universal. I wrote A Girl Named Truth to heal the inner child, but I compiled and bound it into a book in the hope that it may help others heal.
Alethea is a writer and owner of Inner Truth Healing. Her memoir, A Girl Named Truth, is now available at Amazon and Amazon.co.uk. To learn more about Alethea, please visit her website, aletheakehas.com
The moon-child forgot who she was before she turned three suns. In her time of forgetting, she mapped the stars with rocks in the dirt below her feet, and played with the rainbow of light around her growing body. When the birds flew down to watch her, the moon-child hummed their songs deep within her throat. Sometimes she would even sing.
One day, when she was playing with the trees’ broken fingers, drawing spirals in the Earth’s brown body, the moon-child learned about silence. The rays of solar light were too glorious to ignore, and the moon-child rose from her crouch, threw the tree-fingers to the side, and began to dance. Her orange dress caught the waves of the wind as the moon-child wove the golden light around her. She raised her face to the sky and opened the mirrors of her eyes to absorb the endless blue. Laughter bubbled up from her belly and tipped the flap of her throat until it released her air.
The moon-child, too absorbed with the sky, didn’t see the tree-finger next to her dancing feet, and when she twirled, one last time, she stumbled her tender body over the rough limb. Down the moon-child fell, like a tiny comet, rolling into a ball over her bleeding skin.
It was the first time the moon-child saw her body release a red river and she became filled with fear. Her small lips opened in a cry to her Earth-mother. Over and over she cried out her name, until her voice grew faint with frustration. Before she gave up her voice, the moon-child grew angry, and stamped her bare feet on the hard ground until her wounded toe bled a small stream of red into the dirt. “Ouch,” she cried out, remembering her pain.
Once again, the moon-child began calling out for her Earth-mother to help her. She wanted to be held. To be loved. To be told everything was going to be okay. She wanted her Earth-mother to cradle her in her arms and make the hurt disappear along with the red stream leaking from her body. When she again paused to listen for a response, her ears heard only silence. Even the birds had stopped singing.
The moon-child didn’t know that her Earth-mother had chosen to sleep away the day, and heard her cries only as a dream. And so, the moon-child also learned about abandonment.
Days passed into troubled nights, and the moon-child stopped dancing in the golden light of the sun. When she traced shapes in the dirt with tree-fingers, she began to forget their origins. Although the birds still settled nearby to watch, and to sing to her, the moon-child stopped singing back. They are not singing for me, she told herself. They are singing for each other. They do not see me. No one does. Not even my Earth-mother who is always asleep when I need her most.
At night, when her Earth-mother left their cabin and it was her turn to sleep, the moon-child gazed at the white light in the sky that slowly grew from nothing into a large white circle, then back down to nothing, as though it was playing peek-a-boo with her. Where do you go? she wondered when the body of light disappeared behind the veil of darkness. Take me with you! she whispered into the inky air as she imagined her body sailing through the dark sea on a path of stars to get to back home.