Retrieving Inner Athlete Squashed by CCT


  Part One of this (long) post reprints with permission my guest column from “Soul Songs” (March 2016), the free monthly newsletter on  Anne Marie Bennett’s rich SoulCollage(R) website Check it out.  Part One tells how my “Inner Athlete” self part got found when I used the process of SoulCollage(R) to make personal cards for my own psychological and spiritual growth. I share the card and the images on it in that spirit.

Welcome “Soul Songs” readers. Scroll down to continue with Part Two.

Part One:

“Athlete? You’ve got to be kidding…”

Oh, why did I volunteer to write this column about my Inner Athlete? Me, who often gives thanks that she was born before Title IX. That law gave American women a place in athletics in 1972. Until then, only 1 in 27 American girls competed in high school sports. I was not that one.

But I trust the impulse that made me say “I’ll write that column.” So the quest for my Inner Athlete begins.

She’s not among the cards already in my SoulCollage® deck. It’s time to make an intentional card for her.

Head to the used book store. Invest in two books of sports photos. Behold the images, and imagine becoming those athletes with their rippling muscles and their strained grimaces, their dejected losses and their elated wins.

Try to imagine organizing my life around winning. Championship boxer Muhammed Ali said, “I hated every minute of training.” I try to imagine training; to imagine hating it and doing it every day because I want to win.
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Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day, Soothe early non-physical, attachment Chronic Covert Trauma


Happy Self-Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is a good day for celebrating my relationship with my beloved self. After all, I’m the only person I will never leave and never lose.

Here’s an image of my present day self taking care of my teen-aged self, who is taking care of my 8-year-old self. This is a SoulCollage® card I made to honor that relationship:

sending love to my little traumatized CCT self

sending love to my little traumatized naCCT self

Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day

The Valentine’s Day Challenge

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be sweet, but it can be sour…no honey in sight? or maybe your honey forgot? or you only got a crumby card and a mindless kiss?

For those of us with non-physical, attachment CCT in our histories, Valentine’s Day can really be fraught with perils.

At its lowest, it’s a day for displaying trophies representing a successful hunt for validation from outer environment that one is lovable, adorable, treasured, beloved.

If there isn’t anyone in your life providing you with that external flow of appreciation, or if their appreciation isn’t enough, you might have to deal with state-of-being flashbacks to the non-physical, attachment traumas (naCCTs) of your childhood.

State-of-being flashbacks are painful experiences encompassing emotional flashbacks, physical flashbacks, and even cognitive flashbacks to earlier times. These painful Valentine’s Day state-of-being flashbacks might send you back to a time when you felt forgotten, or like you didn’t really matter to anyone.

So, what’s a non-physical, attachment Chronic Covert Trauma survivor to do about the Valentine’s Day Challenge?

The short answer, of course, is “Love yourself.” That secure connection within yourself can help weather challenges from other people.


Lots of people with naCCT have trouble loving themselves.

The scars from childhood traumas mar that natural primary connection. It’s there, of course, but it might be buried or really troubled.

SO…Valentine’s Day is a good day for “acting as if,” for “faking it until you make it.” Take some actions that can’t hurt and might help by opening some doors to healthy self-love. Experiment with some self-loving actions and see what happens.

Some Self-Loving Actions for Valentine’s Day:

There’s always a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Or hastily grabbed flowers on your way out of the supermarket.

Seriously, there’s the luxury bubble bath with candles and spa music.

As a massage therapist, I’m biased towards the benefits of a Valentine’s Day special treat massage for yourself.

Going deeper, other gifts to yourself are closer to the heart for Valentine’s Day.

#1 Write to Yourself

For example, write to yourself, using words to build a stronger bond between your adult nurturing self and your naCCT survivor self.

Buy yourself a card. Write some affirmations of your positive lovable qualities.

Here are some words you might use:

“Wow! Am I lucky to have me! I am a catch. Here are all the things I love about myself and all the ways I am lovable.” Then list as many of these things as you dare to.

Or spend a few minutes writing to yourself in your journal.

Uplevel this by writing yourself a poem.

Experiment with using Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s (1806 -1861) classic sonnet “How Do I Love Thee” as a template model for a love poem to yourself. Can you love yourself “to the depth and breadth and height your soul can reach”? “freely” and “purely” and “with passion”. Can you love yourself without falling into the pit of narcissism on the other end of the spectrum?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

#2 Visualize Self-Love in a Guided Meditation

How about taking time for a guided meditation? Head on over to Youtube and do a search for “guided meditation love yourself.”

One I like is Andrea Schroeder’s “Creative meditation: I deserve all good things.”

#3 Make Art for Yourself

Explore some expressive visual arts for your beloved self. As I did. The card I’m using for my own self Valentine this year is one I made using the SoulCollage® process, a rich process for embracing your authentic self. And it requires no more art skill than the ability to use scissors and a glue stick.

(OK, I’m a certified SoulCollage® facilitator, so I’m biased. But don’t take my word for it. Head on over to or to learn how it’s done and you can decide for yourself.)

For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to put my Self-Love card on a picture stand. I’ll be reminded of the love that flows down from my present self, through my teenage self, to my little 8 year old self.

How can you strengthen and celebrate the loving bonds within you on Valentine’s Day this year? (or, for that matter, how can any day become a good day for you to love yourself?)

Anyway, send yourself a Valentine. It still isn’t too late. Your self is waiting and might be delightfully surprised to get a Valentine from you.

And, please, let us know what happens.

(C) 2016 Ricia Fleming…feel free to share with my name and credit.