It’s lovely how sometimes healing sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Moments that previously would trigger panic attacks are now ones of genuine happiness, and you can’t help but smile knowing you are stronger, braver, healthier than you were before.
That happened to me this weekend when I welcomed people I barely know into my safe place, our farm.
When I first started healing from C-PTSD, the thought of having people in my safe place was cause for full blown panic attacks. Real Me wanted to have my friends and loved ones around me, but C-PTSD Me just couldn’t take it. It made me very sad and I felt much shame about it until I realized that C-PTSD is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s simply something that happened to me that I get to learn through and heal from. Removing shame makes healing so much easier.
As our guests arrived and we gathered around the table to eat and visit, it struck me that I wasn’t afraid anymore. I felt perfectly safe and, more than that, I felt happy, peaceful, delighted to have the chance to get to know such lovely people better. I was genuinely glad they were there, and I’m overjoyed about that.
Needless to say, such a revelation made a great day even better.
Bear and I had fun bustling about setting up tables and chairs under the gum trees. I added cheery tablecloths and mismatched dishes to brighten things up, and scattered cushions so everyone could have a comfy place to sit.
I caught myself smiling as we set up our picnic by the woodpile, celebrating that I’d also healed from the perfectionism that has long plagued me. It’s lovely to know now that connecting with good people and making memories is what’s important, not having a woodpile-free yard or chairs that don’t wobble or a farm that isn’t dotted with projects waiting to be completed.
I raided my gardens for flowers and herbs to decorate the tables, collecting elderflowers, geraniums, and vinca, petunias, yarrow, and mint. Flower shop perfection they are not, but they make me happy with their whimsical free spiritedness.
We set the tables, chilled the beer, started the bread, set out the wine, and then, phew, we were ready.
A chorus of barking from our four dogs meant our fabulous guests had arrived. Hailing from England, Australia, and New Zealand, they brought a delightful array of accents and stories with them, and we had a marvelous time.
There’s something pretty wonderful about sitting under the trees on a hot summer day, wind blowing through the trees, cold drinks in hand, having great conversation with interesting and kind people.
Our friends – for they are friends now – are so interesting, each with a wealth of adventures, experiences, and insights that make for excellent conversation. We heard tales of cycling around the world, life in the Kimberley’s, and hilarious encounters in New Zealand. We talked of books and food, photography and politics, philosophy and Aboriginal medicine. I loved it.
And we ate. How we ate!! All Bear and I provided was cold beer, homemade wine, and fresh bread, they brought the rest. Bless them.
We started with hummus and veggies and a scrumptious cheese platter bearing spiced gouda, a gorgeous blue cheese, brie, and camembert.
There were sausages with caramelized onions, fresh beetroot, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, buttered bread, chunky potato salad with red onion and gherkins, and sweet apple salad with cashews.
Accompanied by glasses of homemade plum wine, it was a truly delectable meal.
Then we had dessert, Sue’s famous Spotted Dick and adorable profiteroles filled with chocolate cream.
Of course, the company was the best part, and we chatted companionably around the table and as we explored the farm, perched on fallen logs, or nestled into comfy chairs on the veranda. Even two days later my mind is still mulling over things we discussed. It was good.
The afternoon flew by and soon it was time for them to head for home. We hugged good-bye, sun-kissed, wind-blown, and happy, hoping that our next visit isn’t too far in the distant future.
Where is your favorite place to picnic? xo