2021 Reflections

A facebook memory popped up today, and what with it being December 31st, it was a memory of a post that celebrated 2019. That was an eventful packed year, and it was lovely to reminisce on my achievements. This year feels as though I have slightly underachieved but perhaps I am being too harsh on myself.

I started 2021 taking a long hard look at myself and all things adoption. The year started well, when I found Ann Heffron’s Flourish group. How awesome was that, to participate in a group that was made up purely of adoptees? It started off well, but after 4 months, we parted ways, as I raced off into the sunset on my chariot, following a session where I apparently wasn’t liked for not going on a Thelma and Louise style journey in my head and ditching stuff that I no longer needed. I felt that I had already ditched stuff, that I had healed a lot from my adoption package, and that each question posed did not get the response that was expected. I wanted to continue to be a part of the group for the other adoptees, but honestly it was getting depressing. I can’t say I was sorry to leave, and it freed up Sunday afternoons to do other things. Along the way I had joined lots of facebook groups and read lots of blog posts on many aspects of adoption. I may dive back into that at some stage, I do still feel that I have a story to tell that I would like to get out there, but for now I remain grateful that I came across Paul Sunderland’s work, and I look forward to joining in a session in a few week’s time, that Zara Phillips has organised on “Development Trauma of Relinquishment” featuring the very lovely Paul himself.

2021 was the year that saw the decking finally finished….almost. We now have a glass balustrade round most of the sides, but we are still waiting for the handrail on the steps to go down into the garden to be fitted. It was also the year that I wrote more consistently, although daily has not happened, but there was a run of 100 days when I wrote a blog post each day. I continued to meet via zoom with my 2 buddies from the States who I met on the Hay House challenge. None of us are writing a book as I type but we are supporting each other in our chosen activities. One thing that we did agree on, i our last meeting of the year, was that New years dodn’t hold a lot of appeal to us. We all realsie the importance of NOW, that if we don’t like what we are doing, or where we are heading, then the time to change things is now, not at a magical midnight on one day of the year. Time is cyclical, seasonal. The clock rolls around, and for 1 night only the hand at midnight signifies the rolling round of a new year, but the day has exactly the same number of minutes and seconds in it as every other day and every other year. As it approaches now, in under 2 hours, I found myself alone, curled up on the sofa writing this, whilst my husband is curled up in bed suffering from a winter lurgy. It is probably the same lurgy that I have been suffering with the past week, meaning that I have failed miserably in meditating and contemplating with the chosen essential oil for this month. With the new moon coming in at 18.35 on Sunday 2nd Jan 2022 I endeavour to be more focussed. I need to be, by the time the next new moon arrives I shall have launched an online course entitled “Connecting Intimately with the Divine using Sacred and Precious Essential Oils”.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year when it arrives with you

Happy New Year 2022

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

So yesterday was the submission date for the book proposal and it has past. I didn’t submit but I am okay with that, and if you read yesterday’s post you will know why. I now have a countdown for the next one which is on the 30th June 2021 and I will be much more focussed for it. If I am honest I never realised that the book proposal would be such an involved process. There is much more work to do, to submit a proposal to a publishing company than I ever thought, but I am determined to do a good job when it happens and it will. If you have any tips or advice then please leave them in a comment.

For now I am fully focussed on doing all that I can for the Freedom Alliance campaign, leading up to 6th May. When I mentioned to my husband how much I was actually enjoying working with a team of people, he rolled his eyes. He has heard me so many times talk about how people are winding me up. He often says to me “Joy their way is different, it doesn’t make it wrong, just different.” Today he commented that my Flourish group must be doing something good, for me to actually say that I am enjoying working with other people. As an adoptee, I have become so used to working on my own, making my own decisions and sticking by them, or altering the direction I was going, becasue I wanted to, not because it was the whim of another person. Could it be because for the first ten days of my life i lay in the nursery on my own, only having the presence of another person when I was being fed or changed, and left alone for another four hours until the feeding and nappy changing routine was repeated? Who knows but as a result of Flourish I am mellowing as a person, and learning skills that will transfer over onto the book tour circuit.

Blessings and Joy, Joy

How Do You Own Your Time, Money and Energy?

Where am I not in ownership of my own time, money and energy? This was the question I was asked in the Flourish group this week. I have done a pretty good job in being in ownership of all three I thought, but I will reflect further now and expand on the jottings that I got down in the five minutes allowed in the session.

I knew that five minutes was not going to be long enough to delve into the question fully, that it would take more time that that to do it justice, so I scribbled a few sentnences about knowing what makes Joy happy, and therefore I can spend time money and energy being happy on my own, but that can come at the detriment of my relationship with others.

I struggle to remain present with others when they want to do something that I don’t want to do. Take shopping as an example. I find no pleasure in shopping and so I deny myself time with my daughter who loves to shop. For me, my judgemental mind says that she doesn’t need more clothes, she has plenty and so to buy more is un-necssary. When we do go shopping, it breaks my heart to see her go for the reduced sale rail, as I then think that she doesn’t see any worth in herself, that she is only worth reduced items, when I know she has great value. Bargain yes, pay over the odds No! I too struggled with putting value on myself as to what I was worth, to buy clothes to clothe myself. It took me years to be able to easily buy myself something at full price, and when I do buy them I am not comfortable showing them off. I secrete them into the house and hide them, I cannot show them off and take ownership that I deserve them.

A few weeks back I shared with you how I had bought a painting and kept it hidden for a week as I wasn’t sure how my husband would react and feel about me spending money on it.

I am very selfish with my time. I know what makes me happy and I know that I am not happy if I am unhappy. By that I mean I don’t find it easy to go along with doing stuff that I don’t like. I have become better at spending time with my husband recently. It’s not an effort but I have to really check in and remind myself to spend time with him as it is important for our relationship.

We are not big talkers. I am, he isn’t. I talk, he mainly listens, occassionally we discuss by which I mean discuss big issues, not what we are going to have for the next meal or whether or not we want a cup of tea. I’m talking feeling big issues. Today we discussed how two siblings may have very different views and explanations about the same event.

The three natural siblings of my adoptive parents have never really spoken to me about how it felt to have random babies come into their home. How did it feel to their 10- 8 1/2 and 7 year old selves. How many babies did come through their home? I was the last, and stayed and was adopted, but I actually have no idea how many there were who were fostred before me. 1? 10? 20? Did my siblings feel that we were taking what was rightly theirs, in their eyes? Their parents time, money and energy?

One thing that my husband and I did discuss was that my feelings aren’t unique to adoptees, non-adoptees can also feel that they don’t deserve to have money spent on them, they cannot accept gracefully when someone wants to but them something, without feeling obligated to buy something in return. I know that on the call today that this reflection on my ownership was going to take longetr than five minutes. I have promised to spend some time with my husband this evening, watching a film with a G&T in hand. So I am going to honour that promise and call it a day here with my writing, and pay full attention to the film he has chosen and switch my laptop off.

What sort of relationship do you have with time, money and energy?

Blessings and Joy, Joy

What Is Most Important to Me?

As I try and focus hard on writing my book and getting a book proposal in to Hay House publishing, I am still on track to write 100 blog posts in 100 days. My posts are currently being prompted by the suggestions that Hay House pose for us, in the writer’s community. I am currently on the Aspiring Author pathway, and was recently asked “The most important thing is…..? So here is my response to that question:

The most important thing to me is:

To be authentic. I would like this story of mine to inspire people that there is hope that they can lead a fulfilled life after adoption.

Adoptees are so often tuned into the emotions of separation ie guilt, sadness, shame etc and I want to provide them with a tool and a resource that they can tune into the emotions of connection, of love, kindness, compassion and forgiveness. It is not an easy path to tread but it is extremely rewarding. It is important that by writing my story, I can give them a role model, or scaffold by which they can build their own lives to discover who they were truly meant to be, to use the hardships, trials and tribulations that have happened to them, to bring out the gem that is hidden below the layers of hurt.

We had no control over our adoptions. We had no control over who raised us, who we were raised with, whether or not we could blend in or whether we stood out based purely on our facial features or skin colouring. We took what we were given and made the best of it, but for many it was not a family that reflected us.

It is important to me that the world understands how adoptees feel about themselves and how they filter and view the world. This would help them enormously to be understood by those who surround them. Isn’t it the hope of everyone to be understood by all who come into contact with them?

What is important to you?

Can You Help Me?

I am looking for two or three people who can help me with the ideas that I am mulling over and give feedback, with regard to the content of my book. If you could be one of them, the please comment at the bottom of this post, giving me your ideas on how I can improve my work.

Over the past few days I have been working through the Hay House steps, in an effort to become a published author. Today I was working on the benefits that my book will offer my readers. Here are my initial thoughts:

Explanation 1

By sharing the story of my life as an adoptee, by explaining the steps and processes that I have developed to help me with my understanding of myself, and my behaviours, I hope to help my readers understand how adoptees view the world. My reader may be an adoptee themselves, they may be parents or family members who have adopted, they may work with people within the adoption triad, or maybe even have employees who are adopted. My story will help them to understand how their behaviour may be contributing to the adoptee’s behaviour.

Many adoptees are labelled as borderline personality disorder, but I prefer to think that their behaviour is an adaptation behaviour. My book will explain this, to enable those around adoptees, to help support them.

Explanation 2

As an adoptee, I am writing a book that will be my personal story and journey, describing my life and how I came to find joy and myself by applying 7 simple steps to discover who the real Joy is.

By describing the daily rituals that I do, I hope to guide anyone who feels rejected, to feel more positive about themselves and to realise that to have another person love you, you first need to love yourself, for who you are.

These rituals are as important as showering, shaving, cleaning teeth and eating, for our personal wellbeing. Simple things in life will often trigger an adoptee, and these imple steps will help the reader to understand why they have been triggered and how to heal from it.

So which of thsoe 2 explanations would attract you to pick up my book and read it? Or maybe neither of them would and you are looking for something else to help you? Please comment and let me know.

Blessings and Joy, Joy

Reflection on the Past Year

A year ago today, I had plans to be on an aeroplane, en route to Brighton to do the second part of my Upledger CranioSacral course, part two of five, CST 2, having already done CST 1 in November 2019. I had brought this one forward from June 2020 to March. Well we all know what happened don’t we? On 23rd March 2020 BoJo put the country into lockdown, despite the SARS Cov2 virus having been downgraded by the WHO to a level of a lesser significance on 19th March 2020. You work that logic out?

Ironically 2020 was the first year in my 59 years of life that I had my whole year planned out, with two of the five courses in my diary interspersed with holidays. I was expecting by the end of 2020 to have three parts done, with only parts 4 & 5 to go. But as my daughter would say “It is what it is”. So on the anniversary of me not getting to do my CST course, I will reflect back on the past year.

I spent the first 40 days doing an online dessert soul retreat with the Community of Mystic Healers. I preferred to call the enforced house arrest as a Spring Retreat @Home. We had regular zoom calls throughout the day, and deepened our spiritual life, immersing ourselves completely in a way that only lockdown could have allowed us. Life took on a much slower pace. It was peaeful around us as there was no traffic to drown out the birdsong, and we could hear the babbling brook which runs at the bottom of the garden. We took daily walks through the park and noticed the huge amount of blossom that was so heavy that the boughs touched the ground. My husband and I started the day with coffee in bed, then elevenses together, lunch, mid-afternoon tea, in-between meditation, contemplation and yoga. My left frozen shoulder got more attention than my right one did years ago.

At the beginning of the year I must admit to having been a teensy bit scared and a little paranoid. I wasn’t scared of catching Covie, I have a God created immune system that would take care of it, but I was concerned about isolating for ten days and not being able to get to the shops to purchase food, if either my husband or I were ill, so we cooked batches of curry and froze them. I even made a Christmas cake in March as I was convinced that the shelves would be bare later in the year when I usually make it. We could and we did. I made a second cake, as the first one was split between my husband’s birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary.

In July I took part in the Hay House 7 day writer’s challenge. I have been planning to write my life story for a very long time, but really didn’t know where to start. This hour a day for 7 days taught me so much. It asked questions like “Which 2 books would you like to see your book sandwiched between on the shelf at the bookshop?” Wow I had never even thought of what books were already out there. So I researched books on adoption, books on psychology and memoirs. I bought many books to read.

I discovered that my birth father went back to his wife, and was living with her even after I was born. I applied for a copy of their marriage certificate and I discovered that they got married just a few days after Chrismas in 1956.

I discovered Anne Heffron’s book “You Don’t Look Adopted”. I bought the book, I connected with Anne, I joined the Flourish Family and found 25 other adoptees that I could commune with and be understood. I joined facebook groups and had my eyes opened wide to the whole world of adoption. I learnt that there is an adoption symbol, which I have my own thoughts about. I heard about adoption disruption groups (which I didn’t investigate, they sounded far too angry) I watched DNA Family Secrets and identified with some of the people on the programme. I asked same sex couples if they’d thought about the possibilty that a baby might need more than just love? That loving a baby doesn’t answer the question it may have about it’s roots, it’s culture and it’s heritiage. I have set up a facebook group, Finding Joy Community, to help other adoptees heal.

I celebrated my 60th birthday with the news from Nicola Sturgeon that we were to go into another lockdown at midnight on 4th/5th January. So I went from planning a cruise for my 60th, to three nights at Gleneagles, to a dinner reservation, to not even being able to go out and buy a fish supper! I never liked celebrating my birthday anyway. It’s an adoptee thing!

And inbetween all this I continued to sign up for CST courses only to have them cancelled on me. The most recent was at the beginning of March this year. I did manage to get onto a virtual CST2 course, but I do need to repeat it in person when I can. I have received an email to say that it is happening in July in Brighton, fingers crossed.

So reflecting over the past year, I must be grateful for all the lessons. I have learnt so much about myself, my history. I have met so many amazing creative people through zoom. I have discovered the creative release of writing and I have posted for 60 days continuosly therefore setting a habit of writing daily that I now feel able to start the process of writing my story. I have the chapter outline written.

Today I discovered that I can leave the UK for studying purposes, which is welcome news as it may mean that I can continue my CST training faster than previously hoped as I can travel abroad to courses that are being held in English. All in all a succesful ending to an eventful year.

How has yours been?

Lighting Up My Mood

As we approach the anniversary of lockdown in the UK, I have to admit that I am struggling. Despite living in a glorious part of the world, and having plenty of food on the table and money in the bank, I am struggling and I can’t quite seem to shift the energy around me. Having spent my entire life not really thinking that my adoption was such a bad thing, I am now realising that it has had such a big impact. I also recognise that it has such a big impact on so many other adoptees too. There is so much pain in the whole filed of adoptees, that I am feeling overwhelmed by it. My Flourish family are struggling and in pain and I feel hopeless in being able to help them.

This afternoon I tried to do a meditation where I switched all the negative points in my mind into positive ones, visualising all those – ve turning into little pin pricks of light like stars in the sky. Whilst I was doing this meditation I was inhaling the essential oils of bergamot and neroli in my diffuser, two of my favourite oils for elevating my mood.

With all that is going on in the world at the moment, with socialising so severely restricted, with our summer holiday looking dubious as to whether or not it is going to happen, I might need more meditation and visualisation tomorrow.

One piece of good news I received today. My craniosacral therapy study days are back on come July. I can get back to training 🙂

What do you do to cheer yourself up in these gloomy days of lockdown?

Blessings and Joy, Joy

Reflections on Flourish Part 11

Having spent 2018/19 looking at words such as “judgement, acceptance, surrender and love” I have now joined the Flourish Family and turning all that I have learnt about myself on it’s head. Now I am being asked to look at “moreness”. Is that even a word? Apparently it is.

It means “the state of being greater than something else” or “the state or condition of being more”.

Neither of them sit comfortably with me. To be greater than something else would be boasting wouldn’t it? Although I think we are being asked to be greater than ourselves. Be a greater version of ourselves. For me that means all that I learnt about acceptance now needs to be turned on it’s head. Or does it?

I have spent years trying to deal with the issues that can trigger me and to some degree I have had success and then yesterday happened. My husband cooked a lovely roast dinner for Mother’s Day, my daughter was visiting. I had my Sunday Flourish call before I ventured into the kitchen as he was dishing up dinner. He’d put the gravy in the gravy boat. I felt myself “splitting from my body” and the anger rising a little, over something extremely silly, but that’s all it takes. I took myself into the dining room and stared out onto the garden, taking deep breaths, willing myself to stay in my body. It worked until my dinner was put in front of me and gravy had already been applied all over the meat. What am I? 2? Am I not old enoughto handle hot gravy and put it where I wanted it on m y dinner, not have it applied by someone else, like I am a child, a toddler incapable of pouring hot gravy. I ate my dinner without saying anything. I don’t know if those at the table noticed or not. My daughter didn’t utter the words “What’s wrong with you?” to which I normally “nothing”, because it’s just the way I am, I accept that, but I know there is “moreness” to life. I am able to be greater than this version of Joy.

So today instead of bringing up the incident about the gravy like I wanted to, I chose to become more aware of the moreness around me, tune in to them, in an effort to tune out those elements which bring me less joy in my life.

I prepared fruit for a fruit salad. I savoured the aroma of the tangerines rather than huff and puff about the amount of pith there was to remove. I cherished the crispness of the apples. I mindfully thought of the sun that had ripened all the fruit. I stroked the coarse skin of the kiwi as I peeled it off the fruit. I looked out of the window and saw a dog in the park, running like a dog does. Running after a ball that was being thrown for it. It was full of moreness and I yearned to be just like that dog.

It’s a start, and I kow it won’t be easy, and that there will be times that I won’t be successful, but I have people in my life who need me to be the best version of Joy I can be.

Blessings and Joy, Joy

Reflections on Mother’s Day

It is Mother’s Day here in the UK. There is an hour left and I want to write but frightened that I am not going to like myself or my thoughts on it. I have been procrastinating, eating chocolates, enjoying Sunday lunch, communing with my Flourish group, driving my daughter back home and now sitting here drinking wine, all in an effort to put off actually writing this as it may show me up to be not a very nice person and I like to believe that I am nice.

Growing up knowing that I was adopted, I don’t think I really understood it too much. I was told that my birth mother wasn’t capable of looking after me and so my family chose to look after me. I guess at the time I was reading stories about princesses pricking their fingers on spinning wheels and falling asleep for 100 years, so anything was possible. Back then I’d pick catkins and pussy willows, snowdrops and primroses for my mother and she would put them in jam jars and place them on the kitchen window sill. I have a needle case that I embroidered at school when I was about nine for a mother’s day, which is now in my possession. Did we make cards back then too, I don’t recall?

By the time I hit my teens, I was more rebellious. My reading material was now Leon Uris’ Exodus and QB VII, and Henri Charriere’s Papillon. I read about horrors and realities of life and knew that no knight in shining armour was going to come and rescue me, and wake me with a kiss after being asleep for just 13 years. Fast forward 47 years and I see Mother’s Day as another chance for consumerism to rear it’s ugly head. It was lovely to see my daughter today, and yes it was lovely to be spoilt with flowers, chocolates and a bottle of gin. I want to say it’s too much, but I won’t because I do believe that I am worth it, I do deserve to be spoilt, and that is huge for an adoptee to say. But what I enjoyed most was her company and chat around the dining table, and watching gogglebox curled up on the sofa under the duvet together. That memory will live on long after the rest has gone.

And here comes the not so nice bit. I haven’t sent my mum a card or anything for probably 30 years or so. It’s not that I am not grateful for all that she did in raising me, but I am torn to know who or what I am. When I was relinquished, it was like my very Soul was split in two and I no longer have the ability to function as a normal human being. Life takes on a film like quality, where I am a character that I am trying to play but nobody has given me any directions as to who the character is or what they are supposed to be saying.

It was only once my daughter was a couple of weeks old, that I had the completely overwhelming sense of loving someone. Up until then it had been words that I had said but really didn’t have any feelings of emotion to go with it. And so in the years before my daughter was born I would buy cards but never actually send them. I felt that it was fraudulent signing them as people expected them to be signed “Love” or “All my Love” when I didn’t know what love was. I was still asleep, the Princess hadn’t been woken yet, to be able to send her love. That sense of not knowing what love is to write it in a card still prevails.

And so, much to my shame, another Mother’s Day has passed where I have not acknowledged my mother. I do have a get out of jail card though. My mother lives in Canada where they celebrate in May. I will make a promise to myself to mark that this year instead, and show her my appreciation.

Blessings and Joy, Joy

Reflections on Flourish: Part 10

Yesterday we were intoduced to Biosynthesis, which starts in utero, and that there are three aspects of embodiment.

Ecto – thoughts, thinking, eyes and skin

Endo – emotions & feelings – organs

Meso – musculo-skeletal system and movement.

We were then asked to write about one aspect of our adoption story, and which of the three, or combination of them that we feel we work from, where we may be stuck or whatever comes up for us.

As someone who has been working on herself for over 30 years, I feel that I am pretty intergrated most of the time. My periods of “going” off when I don’t feel as if I am in my body, are lessening. When I do “go” I am able to recognise it a lot quicker, and find a quiet place to explore why I have been triggered, and then work on releasing the negative emotions attached to that event and then forgiving the person or people involved. Yesterday evening, watching the film, The Mauritanian, the main character explained that in his language, free and forgiveness, are the same word. Forgiveness sets us free.

So during the flourish writing session I was taken back to my teens, when I felt that no-one was allowed to function in their endo-aspect. You couldn’t let on that you weren’t happy, or that you were sad or angry, you put on a brave face, there were children in a far worse place than you were, smile and pretend that everything is alright with the world. Now I get the “Fake it to make it” sentiment, I really do, but that involves the ecto to be involved, and the meso to act as though it is happening. Just working from endo, in a fake way is not being truthful and honest, which is how I was brought up to be. So my ecto and my endo were not in sync together.

Without trying to judge my mother, I think she shut off her endo many years previously. She did not allow her emotions to show, and I appreciate that her life was not easy, being evacuated age 9 3/4, away from her mother, her father dying when she was 3 or 4. Marrying a man who was a womaniser. I now stop and wonder if he fathered any children outside of that marriage – now there’s a thought I hadn’t considered before. He had more than one affair I believe. Are there half brothers or sisters out there? My parents left London in 1954, what made them make that decision? Will someone contact my 3 siblings claiming that they were related. Oh how ignorance can be bliss. Maybe Vera knows them, maybe she was subjected to watching women’s bodies swell with the seed of her huband. DNA Family Secrets now takes on a whole new aspect.

But back to my teeneage years and my endo being closed off. It means that I went into my 20’s unable to function emotionally as I would like to have done. It is probably not unusual for an adoptee not to be able to express their emotions and be understood and heard and have them honoured by the people that matter to them. I am now in a marriage where my feelings are heard and my emotional needs met, where I am heard and listened to because we have explored things together.

Yesterday I was reminded in my musings, of the day of our wedding, when my mother told my mother in law that Steve was too good for me. As I was writing I became aware of a tremendous heavy weight, or burden being placed across my shoulders and my heart becam very heavy at the memory of that thought. I know it weighs heavily on me, and that to be free I need to forgive her. I know that my husband is a good man and that I deserve him and I deserve good in my life. Good is good, the good life is what we all deserve. Good for adoptees takes work, hard work, hard work digging, to find those nuggets that are hdden deep within us. Beautiful words, beautiful creations come from the pain and suffering that is in the world. All the beautiful songs and lyrics are borne out of pain, break-ups, deaths and partings. We adoptees can contribute to the beauty of creation when we engage all three aspects of ourselves and start creating.

Blessings and Joy, Joy