Mary Oliver’s Many Gifts to Us


Visit www.winterblooms.net,  www.aamet.org and www.neftti.com to learn more about how the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) supports the resolution of inner and outer conflicts, informs more loving and respectful relationships, and empowers its users to contribute to the changes we want to see in the world.

Mary Jane Oliver, American poet, died on January 17, 2019. Although she will be greatly missed, her poetry remains to remind us of her gift for deep connection with the natural world. Arguments about her literary value may feed the appetite for constant critical analysis in the academy, but no one who has suffered childhood trauma and read Oliver’s work as an adult doubts her ability to see and express the human ability to heal through our connection with nature. Whether she intended to be or not, Mary Oliver is a poet especially relevant to those who suffer trauma at the hands of the humans in our lives.

Poetry, like life, gives us what we expect. If we expect erudition, cleverness, and cerebral workouts, Mary Oliver will disappoint. If we expect solace, delight, beauty, and coherence, her words flood us with the comforting sound of a mature voice expressing our deep hunger for, and discovery of, meaning. Because of the deeply rooted sensory nature of her work, it is no surprise that Oliver is one of America’s best selling poets. Many of us experience the pain of broken human relationship when we are young, our youth ensuring we have no words to describe what we are feeling. Bereft, we find love and caring where we can, sometimes with people who do not have our best interests at heart, sometimes with those so broken they forget connection, love, and kindness is the fuel we all require to become the people we were meant to be. And sometimes, we find home in the other-than-human world beyond our doorstep.

Mary Oliver is one of those rare poets whose images remind us we can reclaim our embodiment, even after the most severe trauma sends us deep into dissociation and lost identity. Moving through trauma means recognizing the site of the crime, marking out each violating act, and tenderly befriending whatever we had to do to feel safe. For many of us, safety is palpable when we are lying on the Earth looking up at the clouds, attending to the scents of mint or pine or salt water, or kneeling with reverence at the moment of some birth, death, or discovery we did not expect. The cry of wild geese, the heart-beat of waves, the drumming of woodpeckers, these sounds connect us to the pulsing mystery that sustains our lives. Humans may let us down, Mary Oliver reminds us, but the natural world never will. The natural expressions of life on earth knit us together with sight and sound and rhythm, these sensory foods nourishing body, heart, mind, and spirit.

As a survivor of early trauma, the most challenging aspects of my early life grew out of my inability to be present to the people in my world – family members, friends, teachers, and later, lovers and employers. Dissociation is a coping mechanism – a search for safety – most easily obscured by apparent compliance or its alter ego, rebelliousness. Traumatized children and adolescents are often called daydreamers, under-achievers, and even developmentally challenged. What we truly are is homeless, our sense of safety within the sanctuary of our bodies shattered by the traumas we’ve experienced. Mary Oliver, in her own pursuit of embodiment, has created an alchemy of re-connection, for herself, for those who read her.

Childhood trauma may leave us feeling permanently broken, alienated from others, adrift in a sea of sensation that feels constantly threatening and random.  Mary Oliver’s poetry offers a lifeline out of this sea.  As she looks and listens, as she expresses the joy, the surprise, the shock of life’s unfolding, her words have the power to coax us into our bodies – our personal expressions of sensory life – rhythmically, safely. 

Perhaps more than ever before, human disembodiment is encouraged and even rewarded by the mechanisms we have created to “connect.”  Our children are encouraged to study  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects, this emphasis covertly teaching generations of children to devalue the arts as frivolous non-essentials that take time, attention, and resources away from research that increasingly preoccupies the minds of our best and brightest, but, sadly, neglects the hearts and souls that make us human.

  “Meanwhile, the world goes on.”  In “Wild Geese,” Mary Oliver reminds us of the “soft animal of our bodies,” of our need for the other-than-human coherence found beyond the failures of our human connections.  Her poetry forges pathways to seeing, hearing, and living this coherence, even after the worst has happened.

As an EFT practitioner, I have come to think of the work I do, personally, on my own traumas, and with clients, as a means of rediscovering the poetry of our lives, the safety of our own bodies, the joy of being in relationship with the forces supporting all of life on our fragile, lovely planet.  Mary Oliver has long been part of this rediscovery.  I mourn her passing.  And I celebrate her ongoing, healing presence in the beauty and healing she continues to foster in so many of us to through her poetry.

Jane

 

Jane is an EFT practitioner, trainer, writer, and educator specializing in neutralizing the long-term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)  as well as the cultural limitations that interfere with our ability to imagine, create, and live the lives we desire.  To engage Jane for individual or group coaching services, AAMET (EFT International)  Accredited, Certified Mentoring sessions,  and EFT Level One and Two Training for your group, call Jane at  (802) 533-9277 or email jane@winterblooms.net .  Visit www.winterblooms.net to learn more about how Jane supports and inspires individuals, groups, and communities.

Please Note:  This is an educational website only and not meant to replace therapy with certified psychologists, family therapists, or psychiatrists.  Jane Buchan, MA, is an AAMET (EFT International) Master Trainer, long-time teacher at the elementary, secondary, and college levels, and early trauma survivor who works exclusively as a learning coach in the best practices of EFT.  She created this website to support the most effective use of EFT to reduce general and specific stresses and to increase the joy of daily living through self regulation and co-regulation.

To experience the benefits of EFT for in-the-moment, trauma-informed emotional support and to build emotional resilience over the long term, please reach out to Jane by phone at (802) 533-9277 or by email at jane@winterblooms.net.  In her coaching practice, Jane uses EFT and many other techniques to help individuals, groups, and communities resolve inner and outer conflicts and identify and achieve goals that will bring about desired positive changes.  This blog reflects her experience with EFT’s efficacy as a support for personal, community, and cultural transformation.



Self Care during Challenging Times

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website in no way meant to replace building a relationship with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the Gary Craig website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane for EFT coaching support.

With polarizing influences screeching in our ears like nails on a blackboard, it is easy to be caught up in the drama and forget to turn off our devices and sit in silence as we invite the natural rhythms of the world to bring us back to centre.  One of the most effective techniques for building resilience in the long term and self regulating in the moment is to step outside onto a grassy patch, focus on a tree, and simply offer our appreciation for its being present to us.  Resilience and self regulation are the secret to joyful longevity, loving and respectful relationships, and successful, sustainable business enterprises.  Tapping to clear all resistance to daily resilience and self regulation practices helps us to develop nourishing self-care practices that ensure positive experiences in the moment and positive experiences over time.

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Befriending the Learner Within

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website in no way meant to replace building a relationship with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the ACEP website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane for EFT coaching support.

One life experience we can all predict concerns change.  In this wondrous world, nothing remains static; everything is in flux.  The happiest, most productive people are those who see the need for adaptation as a given.  These folks are the most curious, and, consequently, the most willing to embrace change.  We may rebel at change, especially sudden, forced change brought on by sudden death, business failures, and relationship betrayals, but our rebellion prolongs our state of distress.  Tapping can help us to shift our attitude to change, no matter how dire; more than this, tapping can help us to positively reframe our view of ourselves and our world.

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The Lady in the Van

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website in no way meant to replace building a relationship with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the ACEP website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane for EFT coaching support.

Maggie Smith’s new film, The Lady in the Van, is not for the faint of heart.  Briefly, it is about an older woman with mental health challenges whose luck at being born in England means that the social services supporting her are numerous.  Promoted as a comedy, the redoubtable Ms Smith’s film is indeed funny.  It is also tragic, poignantly so, and able to stir terrors regarding homelessness, mental illness, and the horrifying cruelty of the Catholic Church.  In the face of Spotlight‘s best picture win at the 2016 Academy Awards, this smaller film barely makes a ripple in the cultural pond.  However, the wrong this film does expose, while not sexual abuse, involves unforgettable psychic abuse.

Continue reading The Lady in the Van

After Sexual Assault

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website in no way meant to replace building a relationship with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the Gary Craig website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or jane@winterblooms.net for EFT coaching support.

Of all the challenges I deal with personally and professionally, none requires more sensitivity than sexual assault.  For most survivors just saying the term, or the more common word, rape, sets in motion a physiological chain reaction that often feels like someone’s fingers are probing around in our guts.  In survivors, this subject can trigger feelings of threat, of vulnerability, of shame, and – at the same time – of agency, of empowerment, and of triumph.  We can be terrified and in one and the same moment have the courage to speak out in order to honour our determination to heal and to support others in their healing.  We can rage against those who would blame us for the criminal acts of others and at the same time be calm enough to speak our truth, end the silence around these vicious crimes, and create community with others who feel vulnerable and ashamed and at the same time empowered to speak out against sexual predation and its coverups.

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Tapping and Shame: PTSD Conclusion

Disclaimer:  PTSD  is not something anyone without training should face alone.  This blog contains descriptions that may trigger anxiety or fear, especially in PTSD sufferers.  If you suffer from PTSD and have learned tapping from your EFT Practitioner, counselor, or therapist, please tap while you are reading the following post; if you are unfamiliar with tapping, please postpone reading this blog until you have engaged a counselor, EFT Practitioner, or certified/licensed therapist who uses this technique.  Winter Blooms is an educational website only and is in no way meant to replace a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner near you, visit the AAMET website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or jane@winterblooms.net for support in transforming your PTSD experiences.

Please see the August 3 and 10, 2014 blog posts for the introduction and second part of this three-part exploration of tapping to transform PTSD symptoms.

One of the most surprising discoveries I made during my PTSD recovery involved shame.  Logically, I understood the deep trust violations I had the opportunity to repair, but in my shame discoveries, logic couldn’t help me.  To be helpless and traumatized at any age did not appear to have any relationship to the two kinds of shame most of us experience:  productive shame and toxic shame.  We usually learn very early about productive shame.  It is that sick feeling in the gut that kicks in to support matters of conscience.  When we know something violates our code of ethics, such as stealing, but do it anyway, the consequential shame reminds us that we have gone against our inner guides concerning right and wrong actions.  In these uncomfortable situations our feelings of unease – in the gut, in the heart, in the throat – point the way back to feeling good by repairing what we have done wrong and doing what we think and feel is right.  We need what I call productive shame, especially when we are young and our values are untried or forming.  Toxic shame, on the other hand, humiliates and cripples us emotionally and must be neutralized before we feel free to develop lives of our choosing.  Tapping is very effective in neutralizing toxic shame.

Continue reading Tapping and Shame: PTSD Conclusion

Trust and Tapping: PTSD Transformations

Disclaimer:  PTSD  is not something anyone without training should face alone.  This blog contains descriptions that may trigger anxiety or fear, especially in PTSD sufferers.  If you suffer from PTSD and have learned tapping from your EFT Practitioner, counselor, or therapist, please tap while you are reading the following post; if you are unfamiliar with tapping, please postpone reading this blog until you have engaged a counselor, EFT Practitioner, or certified/licensed therapist who uses this technique.  Winter Blooms is an educational website only and is in no way meant to replace a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner near you, visit the AAMET website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or jane@winterblooms.net for support in transforming your PTSD experiences.

Please see the August 3, 2014 blog post for the introduction to this three-part exploration of tapping to transform PTSD symptoms.

In transforming my personal PTSD symptoms and in my work with clients, I consider our ability to reframe or shift our perspective on events to be our most valuable tool.  In every case, by learning to view our PTSD symptoms as messengers warning of potential danger we are able to create the necessary space to be with the evidence of our trauma, not as a threat, but as an ally that is looking out for us.  Once we understand and experience our explosive feelings as guides and teachers, we can then shift our relationship with them.

Continue reading Trust and Tapping: PTSD Transformations

Developing Trust in the Face of PTSD – Introduction

Disclaimer:  PTSD  is not something anyone without training should face alone.  This blog contains descriptions that may trigger anxiety or fear, especially in PTSD sufferers.  If you suffer from PTSD and have learned tapping from your EFT Practitioner, counselor, or therapist, please tap while you are reading the following post; if you are unfamiliar with tapping, please postpone reading this blog until you have engaged a counselor, EFT Practitioner, or certified/licensed therapist who uses this technique.  Winter Blooms is an educational website only and is in no way meant to replace a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner near you, visit the AAMET website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or jane@winterblooms.net for support in transforming your PTSD experiences.

Many of us, despite feeling happy and in control most of the time, may be unexpectedly blindsided by past events that flood us with fear, terror, rage, and/or despair.  The sun may be shining, the people we love may be safe and happy, and our work may require no more of us than our current skill sets support, and yet a sound, a scent, a scene, a taste, or a touch has the power to catapult us into a dark, isolating world even our closest companions cannot understand.  When the past becomes the present research proves that tapping can help us to resolve what has come to be called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) more quickly than other coaching methods or indeed psychological therapies.

Continue reading Developing Trust in the Face of PTSD – Introduction

When Hate Just Won’t Go Away

People who use tapping regularly are often pleasantly surprised by a growing sense of equanimity and peace.  Petty annoyances disappear, strong negative reactions dissipate, and flashes of anger or fear over crossed boundaries diminish.  Gary Craig’s name for tapping, Emotional Freedom Techniques, says it all.  Daily practice that goes deep to core issues really does free us from debilitating negative emotions.  Sometimes, however, the process of freeing ourselves from such emotions takes time, patience, great detective work, and intuitive leaps to uncover the core issues associated with these emotions.

Continue reading When Hate Just Won’t Go Away

Tapping in the Aftermath of . . .

Because tapping is becoming well known as an effective remedy for in-the-moment stress and even trauma, I assume a working knowledge of the tapping process on this blog.  If you are not yet familiar with the tapping process, many reliable website resources are available on the web including those maintained by AAMET, EFT Universe, and The Tapping Solution.  These three education resources feature descriptions of the tapping process as well as illustrations of the meridian points most commonly used in Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT, also known as tapping.  Because of the sensitive content of this blog post, I recommend readers tap while reading it.  Tapping while consciously giving our attention to potentially distressing information helps to create the space for understanding, love, and compassion for ourselves and for all participants in such events as the Isla Vista shooting of last weekend.  In the aftermath of this and any traumatic event, calm and centred space within our hearts and minds is not an easy condition to cultivate.  Tapping supports this goal.

Continue reading Tapping in the Aftermath of . . .