Realm of Peace…

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Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

Realm of Peace…

In the far recesses of your mind, have you ever given thought to “Who am I”? I know that I have been a daughter, a sister, a mother, grand and great-grandmother, wife, friend and held management positions in the work force. Now, I consider myself an artist and writer. All of my identities, everything that I have been and who I am now, still I ask myself “Who am I”?

If I don’t really know who I am, how can I know if I have wasted many years searching? Much of life’s suffering is because people do not know who they are, their true self. Have I met the goals that I set for myself in my life, or did I set any? Will I ever discover my true self? In the winter of my life is it important for me to continue my search, have I truly experienced a spiritual awakening?

I am certain that we are pawns in life on some level. We care for people; family, friends and many of us live a life of boring labor/jobs. Do moments of our memories reveal beauty and grace, is chaos written into the crevices of our face? Are our lives painful as we remember, as life rewinds, unfolding, sadly were we born into a different time? In our weakness, do we hide behind the veil of truth that we are miserable, lost, waiting for an Angel to bring happiness and wealth into our lives?

Do the voices inside our heads penetrate the unhappiness that we may have suffered through bad times? Are our memories like waves beating upon the shore line and does it pass quickly, memories like the sand returning to the sea? Between the swirls of time I ask myself, “Who am I”, if I defeat the ache of disappointments will this miserable burden I carry go away? Does this anguished world possess my soul? Nonetheless, I am human and I try to look past the ruse of my own life and rise to carry myself into a peaceful realm of tomorrow.

 
©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Who am I, what is my identity? If memories are the base line in my understanding who I am, then I must continue to search. I do know that I am a unique and complex individual who continues on a journey, and even though I must question my own thoughts, I want to continue on this unknown path into the winter of my life.
AUTHORS BOOK AT AMAZON.COM
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The Spirit and Soul Rises…

 

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The Spirit and Soul Rises…

Last night, I sensed emptiness, a darkness closing around me. I wondered did I stray too far off the path that The Great Spirit had set for me to follow in this life. The darkness was bottomless and menacing it would not release me from my fear. Terror like the cold hands of death and panic assumed a position around me. I had let no one know of the fear that had imprisoned my spirit and soul every night when I went to bed and the darkness suffocated me. I felt hopeless with no guidance, the hours passed slowly, did I sleep or did I just not wake, when sunlight appeared in my window and the night was no more, a desecrated black waste hung over me. What was it that I experienced during the night, Hell!

I rose from where I lay and found my feet upon a another path that was unknown to me, it was a lighted way and when I look back toward where I had lay there was nothing but rushing muddy waters. There should be no water where I slept! My eyes surveyed all that and I stood quietly in a whirlpool of my own fears, am I asleep? Fear rose in my throat, choking me. I could not breathe; the light of mercy will never shine upon me again, I was in a world known all too well, my world. I walked through a valley, I tried to climb out, there was nothing in the landscape before me or behind me, no sun, no sky, no trees, no homes, nothing. I slumped to the ground where I stood. There is no breath, had creation ended? I lifted my head tossing back the once brown flowing mane, now white as a winter’s snow.

I screamed this darkness does not own me, nor my heart and soul. I had not been unfeeling in life. Oh Creator cleanse my soul, deliver me from this inferno where I stand among the bones of those who have gone before me. I heard a voice call to me in the darkness, I wanted to wake from this nightmare, I wanted to be safe, and I wanted my spirit and soul to feel the sun as it rises in the morning. Here in this darkness my life is shown to me, and I remembered everything, from beginning to the soon to be end. I moved slowly in the dense darkness, my mind moved from time to time good days and bad days. The abused times still burnt into my mind. There is no hope, no safe place for me. Then a sliver of sunlight penetrates my eyes and mind, it was the morning sun. I was not dead and I cried releasing myself from the darkness and void that had taken over my body and mind. I live for another day; The Creator has given me another chance. The nightmare was over.

 
©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 
AUTHORS NOTE: My depression leaves me with restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. My control is through exercise, writing, reading, and painting. I believe that the stigma placed on depression needs to be erased, I also believe that my creativeness is many times guided by these moods. Activity is my drug of choice.

 
AUTHORS BOOK AT AMAZON.COM
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Excerpt:

Flying with Broken Wings

A Journey into a Life of Bipolar, Cerebral Palsy, Depression and Schizophrenia Disorders

A Biography

By Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

Copyright © 2017 Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

Charlotte Jean Murphree died on July 21, 2010; she was fifty-two years old. This is her story, written by her mother and from beginning to end as Charlotte may possibly have told it.

“The Demons”
[Mom] Flying with Broken Wings is the story of my daughter Charlotte; her journey from Heaven to Earth and the “unexpected” return back to Heaven when she was fifty-two-years old.

Charlotte was born on July 13, 1958, she would soon travel a path through life carrying the special circumstance of conditions that she did never denied, bipolar, cerebral palsy, and depression and schizophrenia disorders.

This is her story through my eyes, heart and mind. The many conversations agreements and disagreements with her, the outwardly life that I knew she lived, all that would be part of her life. In addition, the inter struggle that she would know. Her life, much like a rushing river, that entwined with my own and that of her family.
My memory is long and vivid…most of her demons arrived in her mid-twenties; in the beginning Charlotte was a happy child and young girl whose problems were mental and physical challenges in life, her school, yet without the demons of the mind.

When she became older, any typical day was as one in the fall of 1997; I was leaving for work and Charlotte was sitting in the middle of her bed talking in the voices of a man, woman and sometimes a little girl. She never gave these personas’ a name; however, I knew the tone of their voices, all too well.

This behavior was a red flag for me; before I went to work, I gather up all the sharp knives, everything sharp putting them in the trunk of my car. I knew what might happen when I got home.

I arrived that night standing by my car staring up at our living room windows. Yes, Charlotte lived with me for thirty-nine-years, I pretended not to see her look out the window; when suddenly the lights went out I knew that she would be in her dark bedroom. I knew when I walked in the door that, the Charlotte I knew when I went to work that day had gone away.

In her place was the persona of the man and woman with evil minds whose intent was to control her and harm me. The little girl seems to be there for Charlotte’s protection, she always talk kind and sweet, begging Charlotte to stay calm and not listen to the other voices.

The first words I would hear upon walking in the apartment was that of Charlotte’s own voice begging the man to go away, and then he would speak to her with a low menacing evil sound coming through Charlotte.

“Get up, you know what you should do”, his voice almost a low growl.

Suddenly she was standing in the kitchen, towering over me. I tried to show no emotion, I ask how her night went; my usual patter before I went into the bathroom. My own voice as calm and normal as I could make it sound. I showered, turned on the TV while she pace from kitchen to her bedroom, stopping occasionally to stare irately at me. I took my car keys and handbag into my bedroom; closed the door placing a security stick under the doorknob.

I went to bed secure that she could not get to me. I was not afraid to die; I did not want was for Charlotte to live out her life with such a heinous act hanging over her. It was then that I heard the man voice calling from the other side of my bedroom door, the man with no name.

“Better not go to sleep, I’ll cut your troth.”

The personas that developed over time were deep within Charlotte’s psyche; he and the woman could take over her thoughts and actions any time that they wanted too. I had tried to talk to him and the woman before, begging both to leave her alone; they would curse me and say they were going to kill Charlotte and me too.

The incident is only one of many that she and I would have to endure. I am in hopes that Charlotte’s story can help others who live under the same conditions to learn that living with these children is a forever changing pattern, one did not know where to go or what to do to help their child in those days, they were usually medicated to a zombie state.
That is not true of today, the twenty-first-century; there are many avenues of help for the children and their parents. I want parents to stay strong and let their children young or adult know that they are not alone!

In the 21st Century help is there from their birth, find it! Live for happier times while you can, for they are not often. Love them and hold onto them.   EAJM

 

Dreaming Life is Fine, Fine as Honeydew Wine…

 

Life is Fine

Dreaming Life is Fine, Fine as Honeydew Wine…

I was walking down a dusty road toward Flint Creek; I sat on the bridge, muddy water rushing twenty feet below me. I slid with ease off the rough planks into the Creek; I sank to the bottom. I was a motherless child. I broke the muddy water with unrestrained speed, I rose from the dank depths and gasp for air, the second time I emerged I swam to the slippery bank heaved myself onto its clay sides. The water was cold; I wiped tears from my eyes, if it had not been for the Angel I would have died. I cried I am a motherless child.

There beneath the cold muddy water swam an Angel, she smiled shaking her head; go home she spoke softly in my ear, life is not always fair but you have nothing to fear. Still, I was a motherless child. Then, I was at the fork of the road, one lead home the other up the mountain where sheer cliffs towered over the land. I stood there, I scream; I am a motherless child.

I looked around, beneath those gray menacing cliffs I did not die. I had been trying to live since the day I was born; tossed out like yesterdays trash, no one could hear me scream, no one could hear me cry; no one cared if I was a motherless child. I knew that my heart would always call this land home. I prayed that life would be fine; as fine as Honeydew wine! I had lived through those early years, I am a survivor, even though I was a motherless child.
©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

AUTHORS NOTE: FLINT CREEK NEAR THE UNINCORPORATED TOWN OF FLINT IS LOCATED IN MORGAN COUNTY, ALABAMA

AUTHORS BOOK AT AMAZON.COM

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Living with Depression…

Living with Depression…

I have been diagnosed with depression and I have had to learn to live with depression. I did not know details about depression during the first twenty-years of my life, and until I was an adult I thought that I was just different than most. When I look back to the early days of my life, I see it clearly. I believe that childhood depression created the person I am today as an adult, a loner. Even as a child through my teen years, I had few friends. My mother did not believe in friends. I roamed the woods around my home most days since about four-years-old; my daddy had taught me what plants to touch, the names of the trees, about snakes, wild pigs that roamed the woods around my house.

He and my great-grandmother was Native American, Chickasaw. I learned quickly to not name the animals because many were raised to be slaughtered and I would lose a friend. Of course, I did anyway, it seems to me that the friendship I was given and the love from each animal was worth it. All too soon I had to go to school, which I did not care for, I had rather be running in the woods and in and out of the cave’s that dotted the hillside of Burleson Mountain, our home was below that mountain. Alone and depressed, a way of life that I have been living for decades, it is true that you can be in a room full of people and be alone.

Writing was hidden in my soul for many years. I kept journals as a child and teenager, these would be thrown away if found by my mother. Then I was too busy raising a family and working. Then, one day I found myself alone, on my own. Then this wonderful thing called retirement came along and I did not have to work to pay the bills. Oh, writing is work, harder that most things I have encountered in my life.

Some think being a writer creates self-absorption, not true in my case. I wanted to bring alive all of the thoughts that I had lived with for years, to give the people living within my soul a name, a reason to live.

However, with writing came setbacks that the writer cannot control. When I say writer, there are many writers out there, some are ultra successful making money with their books, their movies created from their books. There are writers that are successful in publishing, and there are those who self-publish, we all have the same goal, we just want to write. When the well of words goes dry or our books do not sell many of these writers get some form of depression, but we do not stop writing.

There is a book by Kay Redfield Jamison called Touched with Fire, it tells of a space in the writers’ time that lingers between madness and creativity. At one point, a study by Nancy Andreasen found that in a Writers’ Workshop approximately 80% of the residents displayed some form of depression.

Yet, published professional writers and those of us that just want to be understood with our chosen genre have moments of depression. Hemingway’s answer to the issue of depression was a shotgun, Sylvia Plath one of my favorite writers stuck her head in a gas oven. Seeing these methods as the only end to depression is prominent with creative types. Maybe it is the insecurity, lack of self-confidence, or low self-esteem. All of this is all too familiar to me.

I have been on the writing tight rope almost daily for fifteen years and I deal with depression and insomnia, sometimes these go hand in hand. I spend a great deal of time in my own head and in solitude, that is what as a writer, I do. I can easily understand why writing and madness may occupy the writers’ living space. If this is the price for creativity, I accept the challenge.

 

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Self-Psychotherapy…

Self-Psychotherapy…

My parents passed away years ago, my father 41 years and my mother 22 years; I want to say that I forgive my parents treatment from my birth through adulthood, I say that but I am not sure I have or can. I see my father in my sons and my mother in my daughter. I have felt rejected by both parents and have remain in that state of mind since I can remember, say 3 years old, to today.

I have read almost everything on the subject, I have forgiven both of them, I cannot forget. I do not believe this is immature; it is like a cancer that continues to grow. I have been told that I cannot find happiness until I do both, forgive and forget. I tried; I do understand the concept of forever the child, the victim, left out in the area of love.

Strange as it may seem, a grudge is a kind of clinging, a way of not separating, and when we hold a grudge against a parent, we are clinging not just to the parent, but also more specifically to the bad part of the parent. It is as if we do not want to live our lives until we have this resolved and feel the security of their unconditional love. We do so for good reasons psychologically. Nevertheless, the result is just the opposite: We stay locked into the badness and we do not grow up. The treatment from a parent is the most difficult to forgive. I held out hope until both passed away, the way I was treated, the need for validation. I wanted to be held in their arms, to be told that they loved me, to treat me as they did my sister.

I know that no one is perfect, that I need to move past childhood wounds, I do not know if they loved me. I know that I should forgive but not disregard their actions. I had no emotional security, my mother was a selfish individual who rejected me many times, her meanness, and I wanted most of all to stop being a victim. I understand the hard journey both had in life, their own dreams crushed, the circumstances of their lives and the drawbacks they had to face.

However, to get to a forgiving place is long complicated journey for me as well. I have held anger inside and I do at times wonder if their actions are worthy my forgiveness. I saw in my parents anger and sadness, they spoke few words to each other, I felt like I was in a vacuum never seen. My sister left home at 14 years of age, married to an older man, one of my mother’s choosing. I tried to run away once, at 14 years of age. I was a child, I returned home before the sun set. My life took a downhill spiral after that time, I should have kept walking.

I would be fifty-three years old before I stopped blaming my parents for my life. Three years before then, after my father died in 1977, my mother finally got the courage to tell me to never come back, I did not. I guess she wanted a few years without me or my sister in her life. I knew it was time to let both of them go, I am still trying today. I know that no one is perfect. My mother’s last act of cruelty was to not allow me to see her before she died. She had me ban from the hospital. How can one forgive? I had thought I might ask the question why do you hate me so much, that would never happen.

I stood next to a mound of red dirt to say my good-byes after her death. I had always tried to have a relationship with my parents, neither would ever change. My father did what my mother told him to do, and she thought that she was always right. The time was gone to build trust, to build love and I would always ask why; why could they not care for and love me. I still do not forget what they were, if they had the capacity to love two children why not love all three. It hurts and I have to stop judging, but when? I have to forgive them for all that they did and accept them for who they were!

My older sister is like a reptile called the Black Racer, they run when you run, stop when you stop. She walked the fence line, agreeing and disagreeing when it served her. She was only a small part of my upbringing, by the time, I was old enough to see her as a sibling, and she was gone. The root ball of my family tree has many branches, some younger branches give with the wind, and our mother would never bend. My sister knew that she was the first and held some power, and then she too was thrown to the wolves by our mother on many occasions. Of course, in many ways she was just like our mother, thus the reason she did not get along with her. I always felt apart and different, my life developed differently too. For some reason, I didn’t get that trait, the power. I always felt that my life evolved quite differently, too. While it was upsetting for years, I have come to observe the purpose this situation serves in my life. I am not perfect but I believe myself to be more openhearted. Forgiveness, I loved my sister, as I loved my parents.

I work every day to feel compassion for them and I work hard at trying to forget…I do forgive my parents and my sister, again my problem is the “forgetting”. I have written many books of poetry, each filled with the conflict that I have face throughout the years; it is a form of therapy for me. It was hard work because it was work on myself, which is always harder than wishing and hoping others will change. Reflection and self-examination has been a constant part of my life, from childhood to adulthood, with no clear end to it all. My view is very different now, after decades of reflection and willingness to work on myself.

I divorced my husband after 36 years of marriage; forgiveness means you release your spouse from his abusive treatment of you. Forgiveness is not dependent on how you feel about your spouse. It is a choice to forgive your spouse for an offense. Bitterness and unforgiveness ran deep for years. The stalking, the mental abuse after the divorce has been forgiven. He took his own life three years afterwards; why, because I had made a life for myself and he wanted his whipping post back!

This posting is also a tool of healing, my parents, my sister, my husband, all gone, the pain both mental and physical are no longer here in reality. They remain close in my mind, they keep me from forgetting. I make a new agreement with myself every day, to put aside the past, but it keeps embedding itself deep within my senses. I turn my pain over to God, but I take them back with me after each prayer. If I forget, I will not be able to justify allowing myself to be mistreated for so many years, to exist in fear.
I want to end the power that controls me from the grave.

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

My New Blog…

 

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Author Bio

Born in Alabama to a Native American (Chickasaw) father and an emotionally absent mother since birth, raised by father, a Native American great-grandmother and an African-American woman whom were all grand storytellers.

As early, as four years old, I was roaming the countryside around our home alone or with my father; in the evenings I sat at the feet of these strong-minded individuals listening to the stories of their lives. Summers I lived with my fathers’ sister in Birmingham, Alabama; it was she that would help to discover a library, and mingle with my aunt’s circle of friends that included local writers, artist, and politicians. A cabin deep within the Black Warrior Forest was also my playground on weekends. My aunt encouraged my imagination by introducing me to journaling, which I filled Big Chief Tablets with stories over the summer. Planted was the desire to write, a seedling waiting to spurt from the warm southern heart of a child.

Nonetheless, with adulthood, the desire to write buried itself deep within, the dream wilted but did not die. It laid dormant, gaining experiences. These experiences became short stories and poetry ready to share with anyone who would want to read them. I began painting as a child and later as an adult, and then it lay dormant for years.

I write of many life experiences in poetry format; questioning everything from Mother Nature to God…the poetry is raw, sometimes dark and may not be understood by all. Yet, it comes from deep within and reads of truth within my soul. The harshness that shrouded my life would cause me to withdraw from most of the world; it fills the pages of my writing, the heartache, the abuse, and the denial of a mother, all frankly portrayed.

Today, I enjoy my children, grand and great grandchildren, my four-legged companion Mason, I live in Southern Wisconsin…far from my southern roots; however, I continue to write and paint almost daily.

Below are the books that I have published in paperbacks at Amazon.com, under the name of Ann Johnson-Murphree:

Book #1 Echoing Images from the Soul 2012

Book #2 Beyond the Voices 2012

Book #3 Reflections of Poetry 2013

Book #4 Honeysuckle Memories 2013

Book #5 Sachets of Poetry on Adoration, Anger, Asylums and Aspirations 2014

Book #6 My Journey into Art 2014

Book #7 Fragments of Time

Book #8 Rutted Roads 2016

Book #9 Asterial Thoughts 2017

Book #10 Flying with Broken Wings 2017

Book #11 Cherished Memories 2018

Book #12 Rhythm Rhyme Thoughts