ONE JOURNEY ENDS, ANOTHER BEGINS & PEANUT BUTTER JAMBERRY COOKIES

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse

Dearworthy readers, I’m worried that since this post is about child abuse, I might upset you. I worry about this is the same way I worry about sharing cookies with nuts in them. However, I’ve recently learned through experience, it’s easy enough to warn people or ask them beforehand if nut allergies are an issue for them. Also, people with nut allergies usually know how to protect themselves from said such. So, I’m trusting the process here.

I’m also trusting that if this post triggers memories of child abuse experiences to bubble up, you will seek counseling and work your way through it. This is my mission from God. This is why I post this stuff. To help you find your way.

In my last post, Laity Rights, I wrote that, after 4 years 4 months, my spiritual journey was complete. Done. Now y’all deserve to know HOW the journey ended.

At the end of 2018, I worked on a massive family photo scanning project, and I uncovered the delightful progression of my young daughter’s experience with visiting Santa Claus. I posted about it on Facebook:

Maria Virginia

December 26, 2018 ·

I love this progression so much! See, Santa is a metaphor for St. Nicholas of Myra, and the Saints are metaphors for Jesus because they embody Him. #bobrockshisrole #fromthearchives #connections

2001

2002

2003

2004

2012

And few days later, a miracle happened. Miracles aren’t always fun, sometimes they are more along the lines of what you need rather than what you want.

Maria Virginia

December 30, 2018 ·

Trigger warning. I’m about to describe an example of childhood trauma and psychological abuse. It’s not easy to write, nor will it be easy for you to read. Opt out if you need to. If you are clergy, however, I encourage you to human up and read it as it will help you in your work.

I’ve just completed watching every episode of The Great British Baking Show available on Netflix. And while I have learned tons about baking and can’t wait to start reading Paul Hollywood’s A Baker’s Life and get baking myself, I understand now that my viewing of the show was a study in criticism. How to deliver it and how to accept it.

Paul Hollywood never wavered in his delivery. He’s honest, includes praise for what works, and tells bakers exactly what they did wrong and how they could improve. He includes specific comments like, “You were five minutes of bake time away from perfection.” Or more general comments like, “I know what you can do with flavors, and you could have done better here.”

All the bakers stood there and listened to him and Mary or Pru. Some cried. Some cried big time. Some apologize for presenting bakes that didn’t measure up. I mean, it’s a competition. You don’t need to apologize for not keeping pace. But, some did anyway. Most were surprised and delighted with the praise they received. Many were appreciative of the advice embedded in the critique of how it could have been done better.

My point is, no one raged. No one blamed. No one rejected. No one quit.

Yeah, that was a big tee-up. I’m aware. Remember to compare the above with the below:

When I was a little girl, I wanted to go see Santa Claus at Christmas time like other kids did. It never happened, though. One year, when I was around five or six, we received a photo Christmas card of friends of the family (who I didn’t know) with the kids sitting on Santa’s lap. I was jealous and angry that those kids got to go see Santa, and we did not. Based on previous experience, I knew to keep my mouth shut about it.

But, for some reason, I guess because I simply couldn’t keep it in any longer, I took a pen and wrote a one-inch line on the white part of the Christmas photo card.

When my mom saw what I did, and no doubt figured out why I did it, she went ballistic. I mean, absolutely ballistic. She sat down in the living room and demanded that I bring her my favorite book. Not being a fool, I brought her a book I didn’t care about. She knew better, and she got angrier. She sent me back.

When I handed her my favorite book, a paperback chapter book of fairy tales with an illustration of a bald-headed lady on one of the pages, my mother raged and dragged a ball point pen down practically every page ripping through the paper on some of them. And then, she handed the book back to me. That was my punishment for daring to display any hint of the merest whisper that I was disappointed that she wouldn’t take us to see Santa Claus.

First off, this happened. We’ve discussed it in later years. Not her best moment and all that. But, this was not a one off. This was her regular behavior with me. And yeah, she hit me, too.

When you are regularly abused like this when you are a child, when repeated trauma is a part of your daily life, the way you deal with it then in order to survive becomes a part of your default programming and stays with you into adulthood.

Because your default programming has been conditioned by an abuser, you believe that abusers are normal and you seek them out because on an unconscious level they remind you of your primary caregiver and you think their treatment of you is normal.

That’s the most sinister thing about psychological abuse — if you are a victim of it, you can’t recognize it because it affects your perceptions.

Took me four and a quarter years of spiritual journeying including self study of theology, psychology, and spirituality; therapy; prayer; a person who modeled empathetic friendship so I could see that there was even such a thing; and Divine Intervention to wrench myself out of the psychologically abusive relationships that were controlling my life, my take on reality, and my extremely low opinion of myself.

Done. It’s over.

And, now. Among other things, like writing and baking, my mission is to advise people who are suffering from the same crap I suffered from all my life and to help them see their way out, as it were.

If any of the above resonates with you from the point of view of victim, I highly recommend you seek out treatment from a psychologist trained and experienced in the area of recovery from psychological and narcissistic abuse as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

If you think you might be treading in a pool of narcissistic characteristics — for example, you rage upon receiving criticism, seek counseling. Narcissism is on a spectrum and for many people in the middle range empathy is a muscle that can be strengthened.

My Muse then assigned me to read my back issues of National Geographic.

I read 14 issues before I understood that this was a way to give me time and space to allow child abuse memories to drift to the top of my consciousness so that I could deal with them.

One thing I was to do was finish reading EASTERN BODY, WESTERN MIND by Anodea Judith. When I originally reviewed it on May 27, 2018, I had only completed my reading of the intro and the root chakra chapter. I’ve learned so much about myself from this book. I’ve learned to trust that I wasn’t supposed to read it all at once. My Muse let me know when it was time to read it again and what chapter/chakra to study. I’ve completed it now.

Chakra Seven is the God chakra. Mine was excessive, back before I read about the first chakra, the root chakra that grounds us down into our place on Mother Earth, into our reality, into our right to be here. Since then, I’ve worked a great deal on developing my root chakra. I connected my root chakra to my God chakra via my spiritual journey and specific work with striving to detox and strengthen all the chakras in between. Like a kite anchored to the beach yet free to dance in the sky. For example, I’ve strengthened my throat chakra/voice big time. Posting strong stuff about the Church to my blog and social media was a part of that. As is telling people to eff off when necessary, and mastering the melody of the resounding, “No.”

In the God chakra chapter, it’s all boils down to spiritual awakening and the understanding that we are God. As in, we are one with God. The Divine is our true self. Another way to say this via another language and faith tradition is that when Jesus entwined His soul with mine, and vice versa, I became Jesus on earth. As does everyone who has a true spiritual awakening. May 10, 2017 to February 11, 2019 ish — That’s how long a time I needed to allow myself to believe that I exude Divinity just by being my true self. That believing this is not egocentric. That believing this and learning how to act accordingly with this fact is not crazy. I’m not crazy.

Here’s further news from the last chapter, Restoration of the Sacred, that makes me breathe many sighs of relief. There is a Hindu word/concept that explains what I’ve been going through — Kundalini Awakening:

“In Hindu mythology, Kundalini is a serpent goddess who lies asleep at the base of the spine, coiled three and a half times around the first chakra. Her full name is Kundalini-Shakti, and she represents the unfolding of the divine Shakti energy, the energizing potential of life itself, a living Goddess who enlivens all things. Under certain circumstances, the Kundalini energy awakens and begins to rise through the body, piercing and opening the chakras as she moves in her undulating, snakelike fashion. As she releases stored and blocked energies, her movement can be quite intense, sometimes painful, and often leads to mental states that can be seem out of this world. Circumstances that stimulate Kundalini awakening are many and varied but are usually triggered by such things as extended periods of mediation, yoga, fasting, stress, trauma, psychedelic drugs, or near death experiences.”  Page 452

I’ve experienced everything on that list except psychedelic drugs. Marijuana wafting through the stadium at a Grateful Dead show doesn’t count. But, I will add something for the sake of total honesty because if you can’t be honest on the internet for the 42 people who actually read your blog, there’s just no point in being honest at all. Maybe the marijuana- enriched air of the Grateful Dead show aided in the easing of the unexplained perpetual knot of anxiety in my chest during that year, my first out of business school, when I worked for a crazy man. I remember my supervisor telling me, “Maria, real companies don’t run like this. He’s not normal.” But. I digress.

No near death experiences either. But certainly PTS flashbacks to childhood in which I believed my life was in danger, and the understanding that I created my whole personality to avoid other people’s dangerous rage aimed at me. Damn. Deep breaths. Shaking it off. Shaking it off. None of this is easy. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

“Kundalini is a condensed, primal force, similar to the potential energy found in matter. When released, it creates a vertical connection between the chakras by opening the subtle channels knows nadis, most specifically, the central channel that moves up the spine called sushumna.” Page 452

Amazingly like a kite anchored on the beach dancing in the sky, huh?

“Kundalini can also be seen as the result, rather than the cause, of the chakras connecting with each other. Kundalini is basically a healing force, though its effects can sometimes be quite unpleasant. Such effects may last for minutes, days, months, or even years.”

I mean. Just.

Anodea Judith offers the following advice to get through Kundalini:

Attend to the body. (Vigorous exercise, massage, detox.)

Reduce stress.

Find support.

Educate yourself.

Treat underlying psychological issues.

Examine your spiritual practices.

Practice grounding.

Retreat. (Spend a lot of time by yourself.) Page 453

All of which I’ve been doing. See, dearworthy readers, it’s like this — Although, I’m having my own individual experience of this whole thing, nothing I’m going though is unique. I am a different version of the same story. I cannot adequately express how comforting I find this knowledge. Because, my sense of humor notwithstanding, I really don’t want to be crazy.

So, how do I deal with my Christianity based on what I just learned? Well, I had a powerful session with my Energy Healer/Massage Therapist/Reiki Master/Preschool Mom Friend last week. At one point, she patted the wall and said, “You and I both understand that this wall isn’t really here. It’s a collection of atoms that are enhanced by our belief that they make up this wall. In other words, reality is exactly what we imagine it to be. Everything else is concepts.” I wept. Because, yeah, I so get that.

So. God is love.

AND, God is Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Angels are real heavenly beings and act as the hands of God. The Saints are Holy awakened humans in heaven with whom we relate to and learn from. Blessed Mother Mary is more than a saint. She represents the Divine Feminine as she is the daughter of the Father, the mother of the Son, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Once human, now enrapted. She is infused with Christ the same way I am, and the same way other awakened people are. Mary has an honored place in heaven, but she is not to be worshiped. She is to be listened to — “Do whatever He tells you.” Always, she points to her Son, never to herself. She is a conduit to Him, especially for those of us in need of healing before we can see ourselves as worthy enough for direct communication with Jesus Christ.

These are the concepts I have made a conscious choice to believe. I believe in Jesus Christ with my entire being. At the same time, I believe that Jesus Christ is the same story different version of other religions and belief systems. Somewhere in the middle of that is my faith.

This is profound for me. Because when I found Jesus standing right there next to me on May 10, 2017, I thought I had lost my faith. That I didn’t need faith anymore because now I knew. But, here’s my faith. Right here, with the concepts.

Right. So, my mother. Let me do this quick, like ripping off a Bandaid. My mother beat the living Jesus out of me. Fact.

She didn’t just spank me. She beat me. She bragged to people about how whenever my older brother and I would argue, she would bang our heads together. She effing did this all the time. Ow. My older brother was a bully. Violent is not too strong a word. Once, when he was pacing around with a wooden hanger, he heard “Yoo hoo. Yoo hoo.” This annoyed him, so before we could even blink on the couch, he smacked my younger brother and me with that hanger on our legs. We responded by laughing because it wasn’t us yoohooing, it was the fa-reeking Yoohoo commercial on TV. This event was regular with my older brother. Constantly hurting us. He had untreated ADHD, which he later treated with drugs and alcohol. My mother refused to take him to be tested. The same fifth grade teacher recommended to my mother that I needed counseling for social anxiety, that I observed the group but never joined in. She didn’t take me to counseling because she knew on some level that our issues were all about her and her abuse of us.

Once, when she was beating my bottom with a wooden ruler, I instinctively put my hand back there to block the blows. She left a huge welt on my wrist. Of course, this was completely MY fault. “You should have just let me hit your bottom where it wouldn’t leave a welt.” For people to see. Oh my God. Classic abuse.

And I have memories of her pulling my hair. Hair pulling really, really hurts. My God. She was vicious. Deep breaths, deep breaths, shaking it off, shaking it off.

And yet. She was and is known for her cheerfulness. She is one of the biggest people pleasers I know. Once, when I was sixteen and she heard me telling friends that I had received every Christmas present I ever asked for except a piano, she bought me a piano and shoved it into my bedroom. Not for my birthday, not for Christmas. It was for her guilt.

When I recently texted her to stop yelling at my dad and seek counseling, one of the things she texted back was that she hugs and kisses him all the time, so I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Fuck off, woman. You hugged and kissed me all the time, too! You fucking lunatic.

*shudder* deep breaths. Shaking it off.

My mother was more than a product of an abusive alcoholic father, more than an addictive personality, more than a narcissist. A friend pointed out that her behavior sounded a lot more like Border Line Personality Disorder. My shrink concurred. Especially because she goes ballistic one day, but by the next day forgets it happened and doesn’t understand why you are so upset. I bought two books on the subject, but I don’t have the strength nor desire to read them.

Disengagement is what I have done. I had to disengage with my own mother. Because she’s the crazy one. She’s the one refusing to get help so she can change her ways. She messed me up so bad on the inside. And yet, for 50 years, I forgave and forgave and understood and empathized and allowed. I mean, I’m beyond forgiveness here. Besides detoxing negative emotions as I’m doing now, I’m done with her. Because she refuses to even attempt to change the way she treats me. From my perspective, our relationship is empty. I can handle it this way. For the sake of my dad.

Get this. This one came to me upon waking a couple of days ago. I have never, ever seen it this way before. It was a true epiphany.

Her mother died at 42 from emphysema. My mother was just out of HS and working. She knew her mother was in the hospital again, but no one told her that her mother was dying. So, she missed it. She has used this event over, and over, and over, again, especially during my teenage years, to guilt ME into behaving the way she wanted me to behave, “Otherwise you will feel guilty for the rest of your life for talking back if I were to suddenly die.”

I awoke that morning with the knowingness that she was horrible to her mother. She verbally abused her mother. She didn’t listen to her advice, and she raged in defensiveness to any criticism or communication that she had hurt her mother’s feelings. She RAGED at her mother.

Yeah, that’s the different between how she treated my brothers and how she treated me. That’s what they could never understand. “There’s something about you that brings out the worst in Mom. Stop doing whatever it is.” Damn it! I tried to be the person she would not abuse. I failed.

But, and here’s the thing, I literally couldn’t do it. Because the thing that I was doing was unconsciously reminding her of her mother. She’s still treating her mother like crap. Only it’s actually me standing there.

I shared the above with two friends on separate occasions before writing about it here. One referred to my being in the presence of evil as a child, intentionally or not. I was taken aback by that, as in, I wouldn’t go that far. But, then a few days later the other friend said she believed the face of rage to be demonic. She continued, “Have you ever looked into the face of someone raging? They look like demons.”

My immediate response was, “I avoid looking at the raging face at all costs.”

Oh.

And then I remember what my other friend had said. Oh.

All this shit needed to be stirred up from the bottom of my core. I needed to look at it, understand it, and then let it the fuck go. This is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is recalibrating my faulty childhood programming. This is me facing my fear of her reactive rage. This is me being strong and wielding the proverbial defensive sword. Because the shield was never enough.

And that’s my new journey.

I’ve already started doing some child abuse detox exercises. One of them is meditation with deep breaths. Filling the lungs with as much air as possible and then taking another breath. Then letting it out slowly, but completely. Letting all the air go, like a death rattle. Holding none of it back, because  I don’t need to be always prepared to run from danger. I’m safe now. Letting go of all the air in my lungs, trusting the Lord to grant me the grace of a next breath is my leap of faith.

Yesterday, while deep in meditation/contemplative prayer/psychic sleep, I felt like I was melting into the bed, like I couldn’t possibly let go any more than I was. Then I smelled pine, and then I was in the forest looking up at the trees and feeling the speckled sunlight upon my face. I’m so small compared to them. My powers are so weak compared to them. I don’t have the power to create or not create rage in other people.

That’s on them. Or the devil.

I’m free of it.

*PHEW*

Before we bake, let me add that I’m sorry if I shocked any of you, even though I warned you. I didn’t create this blog to write like this. Six years ago, I prayed to Blessed Mother Mary for her intercession in deciding if I should write a cookbook or research the lives of Saints for a future book. She whispered to me the idea for Saints and Recipes. I never expected that learning about Saints would lead my soul to Jesus and my mind to a deeper understanding of myself than I ever imagined.

My gratitude to Mary, Mother and Muse, cannot be contained. It overflows like the jam in:

PEANUT BUTTER JAMBERRY COOKIES

Follow my recipe for homemade Jamberry here. Or purchase a jar of jam or jelly, any flavor.

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup all natural peanut butter (If you use standard peanut butter decrease salt to 1/8 teaspoon.)

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking SODA

About ¾ cup homemade Jamberry link or jam or jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter, vanilla, and sugars together in bowl with electric mixer. Add eggs and beat. Stir in the peanut butter.

In another bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking SODA, add to wet ingredients and combine.

Refrigerate for at least ½ hour.

Form into teaspoon size balls with the palm of your hands and place on parchment paper-covered cookie sheets. Press each cookie twice with the back of a fork to make a crisscross design.

Back at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are golden.

Cool completely on wire rack.

Make sandwiches with two cookies – spoon a light layer of jelly on the back of one cookie and place another cookie on top.

UPDATE: Facebook Post on March 8, 2019

Maria Virginia is at Hugh MacRae Park.

There is too a forest in the middle of Wilmington, North Carolina. #fromacertainpointofview

*sigh* You know what? I finally figured out what it is with me and trees. Pine trees, in particular. It came to me after some good conversations, another powerful session with my energy healer, lunch, and a nap. It came to me as I was driving to the park to do my homework and play Pokémon Go.

I thought I chose to go to Hugh MacRae Park today because it has the grandest trees. No. I chose Hugh MacRae Park because here, under the trees, is where it happened.

Four and a half years ago, a church friend verbally abused me at a cross country meet in a manner so exactly like the irrational and unpredictable tirades of my mother, she triggered my childhood trauma and launched my spiritual journey.

No one really understands how deeply this person hurt me except those who bore witness to it. The pine trees.

It seems we’ve been connected ever since. Our roots intermingled, metaphysically speaking.

It was easy to find the tree under whose limbs it happened. I put my hand on his “heart,” I hugged him, and placed my cheek against his rugged bark. I thanked him. He said, I got you.

Now, I’m leaning up against him with my bare feet on the ground soaking up his energy, breathing his air, and balancing. Balancing on this wondrous plane of a planet of ours, exactly where I belong.

PS: At the park, no one cares if you take off you shoes and literally hug trees. They’ve got lives of their own. #nojudgementisnice

Update: Facebook Post Maria Virginia March 10 at 7:26 AM

Holy Mother of God. She did it to me again. Or He did. I dunno. Certainly divine timeline traveling, significant and somewhat humorous from certain point of view.

Right. So remember how I’ve shared over and over again how I recognized Jesus Christ standing right here next to me all along, and I entwined my soul with His, a.k.a. I had a spiritual awakening? Remember how I keep saying it happened on May 10, 2017 via a timeline travel to a particular Grateful Dead show I attended in my early twenties? And then, how I was all over listening to their music again and discovering other songs. Remember also how I discovered via GDRadio.net that the Jerry Garcia Band was originally called Legion of MARY? Remember this?!

Yeah, I’ve been listening to Legion of Mary Vol. 1 everyday this week. It’s excellent walking music and of a perfect length for a 5K Pokemon Go round at the park.

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” is such a sad song. I love it, but apparently I’ve been too focused on the emotions and not the lyrics. Yesterday, I finally heard “May 10.” May 10?!

I’m not a Civil War buff, so I had to look it up. May 10, 1865 is the date that Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured fleeing Richmond as it fell. President Johnson then declared armed resistance at an end.

This has something to do with me smashing the southern patriarchy. And, it’s funny. That’s how my Jesus talks to me. He speaks my language because He loves me.

#connections #timelinesarefortraveling #notmakingthisstuffup

I also learned that this classic rock song belongs to a genre called “Roots Rock.” haahahhahaha Roots! You know, those things we share with the trees.

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
The Band
Virgil Kane is the name
And I served on the Danville train
‘Till Stoneman’s cavalry came
And tore up the tracks again
In the winter of ’65
We were hungry, just barely alive
By May the 10th, Richmond had fell
It’s a time I remember, oh so well
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”
Back with my wife in Tennessee
When one day she called to me
“Virgil, quick, come see,
There goes Robert E. Lee!”
Now, I don’t mind chopping wood
And I don’t care if the money’s no good
You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never
Have taken the very best
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”
Like my father before me
I will work the land
And like my brother above me
Who took a rebel stand
He was just 18, proud and brave
But a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can’t raise a Kane back up
When he’s in defeat
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”
Songwriters: Robbie Robertson
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down lyrics © WB Music Corp., Warner Chappell Music France, WB Music Corp. O/B/o Canaan Music, WB MUSIC CORP, CANAAN MUSIC, INC., CANAAN MUSIC INC

Bonus Material:

PC: Sabrina Barich
“We breath in what the trees breath out, and they breath in what we breath out.”

 

 

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