Dear Friends, Drodzy Przyjaciele, Cari Amici,
During the healing process, one of the things Dr. A. taught me was what he called “Softening My Gaze, ” which is the opposite of what I do when I am in a survivor mode. Survivors are very focused and very intent. When I am in the state of surviving, I am intensely focused on the next thing that is happening, or the next thing that is expected of me, etc.
Survival requires such intense internal focus! It requires stamina and fortitude and determination. Survival requires a depth of intensity that is phenomenal and corresponds to the intensity of the threat that one is surviving.
Recovery from the intense kind of abuses and tortures that I survived also required an intense focus, for another length of years. It took all my energies and commitment and focus to heal and recover my sanity. I committed to thorough healing, to addressing every wound that surfaced, for as long as necessary. It was during the healing process that I learned to take breaks from such intense focus.
One way of resting from such intensity, even for a few moments, is to Soften My Gaze. Dr. A. taught me to do this exercise: When I am at home, I would lay on my bed and look at the ceiling. (My ceiling had those tiles with hundreds of holes in them.) I would squint my eyes and focus intently on one single hole for a couple of minutes, and then I would relax my gaze, and allow my vision to soften and notice thousands of holes across the whole ceiling. I would be aware of everything I could see, from my curtains on the right, to the light fixtures in the middle of the room, to the top of the door on the left side of the room and my mirror on another wall and my easel in another part of the room. By Softening My Gaze, I became aware of so much more than that one single hole I had focused on.
This exercise was something that helped relieve panic attacks, it helped me overcome times when I was utterly overwhelmed with one memory or one feeling of despair.
It gradually helped and encouraged another way of living and seeing things. I go through phases now when I am intently focused, for example, on learning my new job. I realized that I had fallen back into the survival mode and all I could see in front of me was a new job that I had to learn, and it had many complicated aspects to it and it was going to take some real effort. All I did was work, sleep and think and worry about work for a few weeks, until I realized what I was doing to myself…I was putting myself back in Survivor mode. I needed to Soften My Gaze again.
Now, I have passed through over 44 years of Survival and 9 years of Recovery, and I am Here and Now.
It is time to live free from survival focus. So now I am trying with all my Heart to Surrender my tendency of having Intense, Squinted Eyes, and to allow the deep Rest, Balance and Enjoyment of a wide array of life that happens as I Soften My Gaze.
With my Gift from the Heart, Z moim Dar z Serca, Con il mio Dono dal Cuore,
Gabriel Orion Marie
* For those of you who may not know, I have published a series of three books that tell the story of my recovery and healing from profoundly intense physical, sexual and spiritual abuse. These books have dozens of paintings that I did during my process and those paintings are a core form of communication I used in my Healing. These books are available on Amazon. I hope you will read them and pass them on to others!
This White House (Book One), Going Sane (Book Two) and A Spectacular Dawn (Book Three)