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“Everyone agrees it’s important to live in the moment, but the problem is how,” says Ellen Langer, a psychologist at Harvard and author of Mindfulness. “When people are not in the moment, they’re not there to know that they’re not there.” Overriding the distraction reflex and awakening to the present takes intentionality and practice.

 

Do you struggle to live in the moment?

Are you safe and away from abuse but still struggle to stop and smell the flowers?

You are not alone, for many, myself included, letting your guard down and enjoying simple things can be a struggle after years of domestic violence. Most times I feel like I am doing everything that I can to avoid living in the moment by thinking about my past or thinking about what I am not doing or need to do for my future.

Living in the Moment - I finally realized why I struggled living in the moment after domestic violence

Definition of Living in the moment—also called mindfulness—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them.

I am very aware that I struggle to stop and smell the flowers as the saying goes, “living in the moment.”  Tonight in a moment of inner reflection I realized why I struggle to live in the moment.  This sudden epiphany happened while doing one of my regular calming rituals which is taking a scalding hot bath to the glow of any resemblance of a candle, could be a fake one, real one, doesn’t matter, just the glow is what I am looking for.

Tonight as I sank in the hot bath I realized why I still struggle with fully living in the moment.

Anyway, tonight I put the candle on the side of my tub, shut off the lights and stepped into my sanctuary of bubbles. I know I really need this me time when I have gone the extra mile and added some bubbles.  Just like the glow of the candle, as far as the bubbles I don’t care where they come from either, could be some shampoo, just something about the bubbles helps put my mind in that relaxing, stress-free place.

When I take a bath like this, I am totally living in the moment.

I am one of those people that never stop thinking (talking too I am sure) but definitely thinking never stops. So here I am, laying in my hot bath and thinking about how much I was really enjoying this specific moment as the hot water started to work on my tense muscles and the candle, dark room and bubbles started to work on relaxing my mind.

So tonight I realized that other than the clarity of a hot bath, I struggled with being fully present and living in the moment.

Then it hit me full force like a punch in the gut why I am this way, as a child I lived in abuse and was surviving moment to moment, and then later in my marriage, which was the most traumatic time of my life as I didn’t know what level of violence was in store for me today, I was again, surviving moment to moment. 

I can still remember the days I drove home from work sick to my stomach, wondering what I was about to come home to. I would often stop at a pay-phone (no cell phone then) and call the Domestic Violence Hotline, sad I had it memorized in those days. I would just vent to the poor lady on the phone that I was terrified I would die today, she would beg me not to go home but I would thank her for letting me vent and I would hang up and head home.

I was living in the moment wondering, when I turned the knob was he going to come at me drunk or when I was washing the dishes later would I be struck from behind with a cast iron pan or turn to see an ax at my back.

I was living in the fucking moment alright!

I was so living in the fear of the moment for so long that now I wonder if because I had to live that way for the sake of my survival do I almost now struggle living in the moment. Does this make sense?

If I were fully living in the moment now, they are great happy moments, I have been safe physically for many years, I have a loving man that was meant for me, a great family, health, food (fell in love with a man that loves to cook and is amazing – put that on your list of must-haves) and a roof over our head and dreams of an amazing future.

Out of everything on that list, feeling safe in my own home and being able to sleep without fear of the monster in the closet means more than anything.

The reason that I wanted to share my inner struggle with living in the moment isn’t to hear, “poor me,” but to help you understand why you too may struggle with living in the moment once you are free from abuse.
Living in the Moment - I finally realized why I struggled living in the moment after domestic violence

I am sure that I can’t be the only one that struggles with this. Even if you are out of the abuse and you are safe and not worried about being terrorized you may struggle to live in the moment, especially the really good ones.

I encourage you to share if you still struggle to live in the moment or what you have done to overcome this. Just having this moment of clarity on why I struggle to live in the moment has helped me to be more fully present.  LIke they say, “you can’t change what you don’t know.”  I know this has been true for me.

How can you learn to live in the moment now? 

  • Focus, your attention, thoughts, and feelings on the task at hand.
  • If you are speaking to somebody, then your attention and energy must be focused on them and what they are saying.
  • Give your full focus on the task you are doing, enjoy even the little things from doing the dishes to sitting in the sun for a few minutes.
  • Learn to love and appreciate that you have learned to live in the moment.
  • Be kind to yourself, you do not have to be perfect, it may take time for you to feel that you are really living in the moment.  If I can do this, so can you!
  • Create morning rituals to set up you for success.

The biggest thing that has helped me is my morning ritual of coffee in bed and really appreciating that time and the taste of that coffee.  I then pray and say what I am grateful for, I really focus on my enjoyment of those moments just for me.  For me, coming up with rituals to pull me into the moment by being focused as I enter a situation to be conscious of the importance of the moment has helped.

Click to read 19 Seconds of Conscious Breathing to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

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Living in the Moment - I finally realized why I struggled to live in the moment after domestic violenceLiving in the Moment - I finally realized why I struggled to live in the moment after domestic violenceliving in the moment after domestic violence

 

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heaven must have needed angels

The title says it all, “Heaven Must Have Needed Angels”. After the tragedies that follow I was unable to rest until I had written down my thoughts and feelings.  Many of the poems were written as I watched the events unfold on television with the rest of the world.  The poems helped me grieve and my hope is they will help you too. While I know to some the title doesn’t work but for me, it helps to calm my mind knowing they are now in Heaven.

Below is a link to a poetry book that I wish I had never needed to write, the poetry book contains 10 Poems to help heal, below I wanted to share the one titled, “Heaven Must Have Needed Angels,” this was a poem, like the rest that I wish I never felt the need to write.  As a writer I must write to deal with life, sadly I have shared this poem countless times since I wrote it the day the towers fell.

HEAVEN MUST HAVE NEEDED ANGELS
Dedicated to the Angels of September 11, 2001

Heaven must have needed Angels
For so many to have died
Too many went to Heaven
In the blinking of an eye

Flying through the sky that day
When the Heavens opened wide
Heaven must have needed Angels
To make this Nation Cry

What do we tell the children
It was not a bomb
That blew up the World Trade Center
And crashed into the Pentagon

We see it on the news
Cell phones ringing hopeful news
Will Daddy call us one more time
And ask how was your day

What do we tell the children
Daddy’s flight went oh so wrong
He called to say he loves us
Then in a moment, he was gone
And along with the Nation
We watched the towers fall
Daddy called to say he loved us
That’s what matters after all

Was it a mistake
Did the pilot lose his way?
We have to tell our children
They had hit where they had aimed

Men we do not know who hated US soil
Took people who meant more to us
Then the buildings that they blew

They destroyed a landmark
When they rocked our Nation’s core
But to take away our loved ones
Was to have taken so much more

When you kiss your children goodnight
Midst the rubble and the pain
Tell them mommy or daddy’s in Heaven
Beside them once again

Heaven Must Have Needed Angels by Rebecca J. Burns

Click here for Free Poetry book, “Heaven Must Have Needed Angels; you have permission to give it a way to help us heal, all photos by Sharon D. Pruitt

ReBeccaBurns.com eMpowering Women

heaven must have needed angels poem

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One of my all-time favorite books is called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. If you never read another book of self-discovery, read this one. A dear friend gave me this book a few years after I was out of the abuse.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall – how staring down that woman in the mirror can help you recover from abuse

It is set up to read a quote and then one page for the day, something to inspire you and make you think. I read that book front to back for over five years.

I would finish the book, then a month or so later pick it back up and start all over again.

Each you I was growing so when I read the same thing again it meant something different. I grew more each time I read this book.

to read the rest of this post please click here
Love & Peace,
Rebecca

 

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live_in_the_5_seconds_of_your_life

I was working the other day and wanted to learn more about the 5-second rule, while I had used some of this in my life I wanted to know more.  The video has one of my favorite people, Lewis Howe, just a down to earth person that I am learning so much from in regards to the people he brings on his show.

Sounds too simple, but it works for me and can work for you.

click here to read the full article

Love & Peace,
Rebecca

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Photo-Bigger-Tolerations

Stop Tolerating – Start Living. My favorite time of the year is the week between Christmas and the New Year, during that time I decide what my major 3 goals will be for the following year, one thing I strive to do is have them all written down and set in Stone by New Years day or that week at the latest, by set in stone I mean they have been written in my goal journal and entered into a PowerPoint that I update yearly and as my goals change, posted on the bathroom mirror and written somewhere so that I see them from my bed.

to read the full article click here

Love & Peace,
Rebecca

 

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I wrote this poem years ago and still read it daily to stay inspired and focused:

Dream Focused

Focus,
Focus,
Focus,
Look at nothing else
Put on all your blinders
Or what you want you will lose sight
Concentration is important
Even though it may not seem
If you wish to have what you want in life
You must focus on the dream
Live it
Feel it
Be it
or nothing you will have
For those without a dream in life
Wander down the path
Someday you will feel frightened
Lost and all alone
Close your eyes and search your soul
For something to pull you through
A memory
A dream
A promise of tomorrow
The fate is in store for you must first be thought by You!

 

Today I was reviewing advice online to help rebuild self-esteem after abuse and this article was to the point, don’t try to fix everything, be patient with yourself. I wanted to share the link to the article after reading this part as I have often shared the same advice:

Be patient with yourself. Think about how you’d treat a best friend who had just been through your same situation. You likely wouldn’t tell them to “get over it already.” Let yourself take as much time as you need to sort through your emotions, feel what you need to feel and slowly come back to a positive outlook on the future.

The site offers a ton of resources such as forums and groups to support you in the aftermath of abuse, for teens and adults.  My goal is to provide you with resources and this looks like a pretty good one.  To read the rest of the article click here Rebuilding Your Self-Esteem after abuse.

If you have a site that offers support or know of one please share it in the comments, we are here to help each other heal, if not, what was the point of all of this?

Love & Peace,
Rebecca

Dream_Focused_Inspirational_Poetry_children_adults

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Domestic Abuse resources by state: http://womenslaw.org/gethelp.php

The following was copied from: http://www.abanet.org/tips/dvsafety.html it will provide you with great resources/tips to leave

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Safety Tips For You And Your Family

IF YOU ARE IN DANGER, CALL 911
or your local police emergency number

To find out about help in your area, call:
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser,
there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.

IN AN EMERGENCY

If you are at home & you are being threatened or attacked:

  • Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons, like knives, there)
  • Stay away from bathrooms, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you
  • Get to a room with a door or window to escape
  • Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can
  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher’s name
  • Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help
  • If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; get his/her name & badge number
  • Get medical help if you are hurt
  • Take pictures of bruises or injuries
  • Call a domestic violence program or shelter (some are listed here); ask them to help you make a safety plan

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AT HOME

  • Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers
  • Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times
  • If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows
  • Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children
  • Think about where you would go if you need to escape
  • Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house; make a signal for them to call the police, for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on
  • Pack a bag with important things you’d need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust
  • Include cash, car keys & important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records & medicines, immigration papers
  • Get an unlisted phone number
  • Block caller ID
  • Use an answering machine; screen the calls
  • Take a good self-defense course

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHILDREN SAFER

  • Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help
  • Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address & phone number to the police
  • Teach them who to call for help
  • Tell them to stay out of the kitchen
  • Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser
  • Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser
  • Make sure that the school knows not to give your address or phone number to ANYONE

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF OUTSIDE THE HOME

  • Change your regular travel habits
  • Try to get rides with different people
  • Shop and bank in a different place
  • Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank
  • Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times
  • Keep a cell phone & program it to 911 (or other emergency number)

HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF SAFER AT WORK

  • Keep a copy of your court order at work
  • Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work
  • Tell your supervisors – see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you
  • Don’t go to lunch alone
  • Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus
  • If the abuser calls you at work, save voice mail and save e-mail
  • Your employer may be able to help you find community resources

USING THE LAW TO HELP YOU

Protection or Restraining Orders

  • Ask your local domestic violence program who can help you get a civil protection order and who can help you with criminal prosecution
  • Ask for help in finding a lawyer

In most places, the judge can:

  • Order the abuser to stay away from you or your children
  • Order the abuser to leave your home
  • Give you temporary custody of your children & order the abuser to pay you temporary child support
  • Order the police to come to your home while the abuser picks up personal belongings
  • Give you possession of the car, furniture and other belongings
  • Order the abuser to go to a batterers intervention program
  • Order the abuser not to call you at work
  • Order the abuser to give guns to the police

If you are worried about any of the following, make sure you:

  • Show the judge any pictures of your injuries
  • Tell the judge that you do not feel safe if the abuser comes to your home to pick up the children to visit with them
  • Ask the judge to order the abuser to pick up and return the children at the police station or some other safe place
  • Ask that any visits the abuser is permitted are at very specific times so the police will know by reading the court order if the abuser is there at the wrong time
  • Tell the judge if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children; ask that visits be supervised; think about who could do that for you
  • Get a certified copy of the court order
  • Keep the court order with you at all times

CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

  • Show the prosecutor your court orders
  • Show the prosecutor medical records about your injuries or pictures if you have them
  • Tell the prosecutor the name of anyone who is helping you (a victim advocate or a lawyer)
  • Tell the prosecutor about any witnesses to injuries or abuse
  • Ask the prosecutor to notify you ahead of time if the abuser is getting out of jail

BE SAFE AT THE COURTHOUSE

  • Sit as far away from the abuser as you can; you don’t have to look at or talk to the abuser; you don’t have to talk to the abuser’s family or friends if they are there
  • Bring a friend or relative with you to wait until your case is heard
  • Tell a bailiff or sheriff that you are afraid of the abuser and ask him/her to look out for you
  • Make sure you have your court order before you leave
  • Ask the judge or the sheriff to keep the abuser there for a while when court is over; leave quickly
  • If you think the abuser is following you when you leave, call the police immediately
  • If you have to travel to another State for work or to get away from the abuser, take your protection order with you; it is valid everywhere

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