When You Remember Your Dreams (Late Bloomer Chronicles)

by Cassendre Xavier
When you remember your dreams
Bring them close to you.
Hold them at your sides, and
Rest them on your hip like the
Precious children they are
When you remember your dreams
Put them in the now
Enjoy the nostalgia
Of their being old
Enjoy the feeling
Of how you felt
When you created them
But notice how
Long ago that was
And how you have
Come to believe
That they would never happen
But believe
Your dreams are there
For a reason
For many reasons
To be worked on
Whether they come true
Or whether they make you
Better for having attempted
Our dreams are there to refine us
To make us heroes
Whether we reach them
Or become better
When you remember your dreams
Bring them into the now
See them happening
In your mind’s eye
Visualize your surroundings
As if your dreams have come true
Know they are still possible
That you are never too anything
And it is never too late
Know all these things
And take your righteous action now
When you remember your dreams
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Bean and Oat Smoothies

My new favorite things are blended beans and raw oat milk.

Oat milk is really creamy and has a natural mild sweetness to it. For baking, I keep a supply of oat flour, which I make by putting old fashioned dry rolled oats into a blender. I add water to some of this oat flour and either drink immediately or let soak for 10 minutes or more for easier digestitude.
Cooked beans are almost flavorless when blended and therefore make a very healthy and easy addition to any smoothie. I like vanilla, which I prepare with oat milk and unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk, and add a little honey and/or stevia. But there are countless bean smoothie recipes you can find online. (I avoid adding fruit because fruit digests best with only fruit or greens.)
Blending my red beans just now I noticed it looks just like chocolate milkshake, so consider making a healthier, perhaps carob version for the kiddos!
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Whole Wheat & Oat Carrot Cake

Here is what I made today and am letting cool before I test it. It’s a healthier version of carrot cake I created, using the following replacements:
* Whole wheat flour and oat flour instead of refined white flour
* Extra virgin olive oil instead of hydrogenated oil
* Honey and brown sugar instead of refined white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease (or oil) and dust with flour a large baking pan
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups oat flour (regular or quick oats finely ground in a food processor or blender)
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup light brown or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put liquids, eggs, and sugar in a smaller bowl and mix together.
In a larger bowl, mix dry ingredients.
Add sugar mixture, and blend.
Pour into baking pan.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick or knife comes out of the center, clean.
Let sit in pan for about 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool completely before frosting with a cream cheese frosting or any other of your choice.
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The Whittenberg Sessions on Bandcamp

Listen to my first album (2002) The Whittenberg Sessions, and others, for free on Bandcamp! https://cassendrexavier.bandcamp.com/album/the-whittenberg-sessions

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Life Can Be Beautiful!

In the eyes of Spirit, life is not meant to be a “race against” time or a competition to be better than others or even yourself. Life can be a meditative “walk with” yourself, with Spirit, and with continued practice, a peaceful existence with others. Life can be beautiful! 😊💚

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Survivor’s Corner – Living with PTSD – Healing and Change are Always Possible

by Cassendre Xavier

[Submitted to Wisdom Magazine’s webzine, to which I submit months in advance, and have contributed monthly since May 2009. I will put my article archives link at the end of this article!]

For some reason, even though I’ve been in therapy since my early 20s, I only recently discovered, in my late 40s, that I don’t have to live with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) forever.
Although I knew that veterans could be relieved of their symptoms, I considered theirs to be occasionally temporary, whereas my incest survivor-related trauma for some reason I thought was forever. I was used to calling myself an incest survivor with bipolar, PTSD, and an eating disorder, and I thought all of those would affect and negatively impact my life, for the rest of my life.
That was until my new therapist, who specializes in the areas of sexuality and trauma, said, “You know, PTSD isn’t something that you need to have forever.”
I answered, “Really?” I was so surprised. We have been working on that, and recently I also received an official psychiatric diagnosis of binge eating disorder. While I had always had the symptoms, I called it compulsive eating or compulsive overeating, and I had tried to address it with 12 Step support group meetings, raw foods, fasting, angel spirituality, mindfulness, exercise, and even Kundalini yoga. But I had never tried psychotherapy until a friend of mine suggested it. We were sitting in his dining area, about to eat some take out Chinese food, when I began to share, with some shame and annoyance, and also trust and friendship, why I was partaking in thrice the amount of food as he was. Very sweetly he asked, “Have you tried counseling for that?” I told him no, and that I would consider it. We were very open about our experiences in therapy and his suggestion seemed a smooth and natural progression of our conversation.
So, when I began working with my new therapist, I added my eating disorder to the main issues we would work on. So for the first time in my life, I am receiving professional help and financial support (by way of health insurance) to address this issue.
My binge eating disorder is related to all of my major issues. This includes the facts that women survivors of incest/sexual abuse often develop eating disorders, and women with bipolar disorder often develop eating disorders.
It would seem overwhelming to deal with all of these conditions and their daily, debilitating symptoms. But I learned something very hopeful: With the right helpers, tools, and resources, we can heal from almost any unhealthy patterns of behavior.
Recently my therapist told me the very same thing about my eating disorder that she said about my PTSD: that it isn’t something I have to live with forever. Again, this was shocking to me!
I was always a compulsive overeater, I never ate normally, even when I was 100% raw vegan (for a whole 61 consecutive days!). I still ate too much, only instead of four bowls of pasta I ate four large mangoes or a big bowl of grapes, and the only difference was I didn’t gain weight. I was still a disordered eater, still stretching out my stomach to the point of pain. And I still had many of the emotional/psychological features of living with an eating disorder, such as feelings of shame, eroded self-esteem, fractured or non-existent intimate relationships or close friendships.
But I don’t have to be that way forever.
My therapist says that the way I eat is, “not about the food.”
I don’t even know what it will look like to be a person without an eating disorder. I don’t recall ever knowing myself as one, and I didn’t until recently even think that was even possible for me. But now that I have been making progress in my trauma work, and losing some hypervigilant behaviors I have had my whole life, I feel hopeful and expectant that I can and I will lose some similar unwanted behaviors around my food habits as well.
If you are struggling with an addiction or compulsive behavior that is negatively impacting your life, here are some things to consider:

1) Any behavior can be changed. Your behavior can change.
2) Anyone can change. You can change.
3) Anyone can be healed. You can be healed.
4) Find the right helpers. Consider all the options, and try every angle that appeals or resonates with you, from diet and fitness to alternative and holistic, spirituality, psychiatry and pharmaceuticals.

May you succeed in having all the support you need to learn new ways to be in your world, and begin behaving in new and positive ways, one little baby step (or quantum leap) at a time!

Cassendre Xavier is the founder of Sisters Healing Together: A Peer Support Group for Women Survivors of Incest with a Special Focus on Compulsive Overeating (William Way LGBT Community Center, Philadelphia 1996-1999). She is the author of A Survivor Speaks: On Bipolar Disorder, PTSD & Recovery (ARtivist Publications, 2017), contributing Author of Dykes with Baggage: The Lighter Side of Lesbians in Therapy, ed. Riggin Waugh (Alyson Publications, 2000); monthly contributing author of “Living with Bipolar Disorder” series and other articles at Wisdom Magazine webzine edition (Since May 2009); creator of the “Affirmations for Survivors” audio series (“Self-Love” and “Spirituality” released in 2007, “Sexuality” and “Life Skills” forthcoming). Visit https://cassendrexavier.wordpress.com

Article archives: http://tinyurl.com/CXWisdom

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Bipolar/PTSD Chronicles: Finding the Good

Sometimes I like to look for the positive aspects of my bipolar and PTSD. Hypomania has some real blessings and joys in it, such as the energy to get through depression and being in lover with life enough to withstand suicidal ideation. And the hypervigilance I have from PTSD keeps me safe at night, when walking home or from gigs lugging guitar and CDs!

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