under the surface

silently under the surface of things

you linger

grief

you are the silent unspoken visitor

who scares the fearful from the room

leaving the one struggling with loss

all alone

in a deep dark tunnel of nothingness

where days turn so often barren and bereft

from the unacknowledged pain

a heart unseen

must carry

ever so silently

grief

do we really ever know

when it is

you will lay claim to a soul

your coming is sometimes long winded

often sudden

you arrival is always unbidden

pulling the rug out from under

tearing our soul asunder

and there are so often

no adequate words for this

a heart suddenly left

looking out onto an empty shelf

where once lived

togetherness

connection

tenderness

Fallen leaves

By the waterway

Fallen leaves

And tangled reeds

Remind me of you

Falling so far away from me

Into the place of shattered dreams

Memory and imagination

Became home to me

In these later years

But here in the silence

All alone with nature

There is a place

For all of my sorrow

No thought of tomorrow to steal me far away

From painful realities

For a while

All is present here

Past and future

Mysteriously coalesce

In this moment of unravelling

I am held in a place where

No defences can stem the flow of grief

But it hurts to wonder

If you had to be cut free

So painfully

When all of those others times

Grief stole you away

Loving arms to hold you

Were all you needed to return

Not pills or a thousand other forms

Of human ills

Fractured diagnoses that spoke of suffering

But did little to articulate it

Revealing the bitter truth

Layer by layer

But when your pain was truly mirrored by another

For those brief moments

We knew the healing power

Of presence and surrender

And it is this peace I remember

By the water way

As fallen leaves

And tangled reeds

Give me the space

And freedom

To acknowledge the pain

Of a life of so much loss

And fully grieve

Love’s undertow

Floating downstream you found yourself

Once again lost in the tidal wave that pulls you under

Intimations of love draw you towards the soul of another

Whose magnet self calls

Please my dear

Recognise me

Echoing your own need

We wait and wait so patiently

For the day we our two flows can meld together

Distance no longer keeping

Our two rivers and hearts

Separate

For love in flesh made manifest

But when the reality comes

And tide finally carries us towards

Our imagined yet uncertain destination

Who knows how much reality will resemble reverie

There is the dream and then the actuality

As on the borderlands we wait

For the right time

To catch the flow of the tide

And surrender ourselves

Body and soul

To the magnetic pull

Of love’s powerful undertow

Coffee vision

In my coffee today

I saw a vision of world

There amongst the continents

That separate you and me

I saw the eddies and whirl pools swirl

When we will finally meet

No one knows

Just possibly it is written

By the hand of destiny

And so I am left to dream

And do battle with

The limits of my thought

Which could never grasp

In a million years

The reality of what will come to be

When I finally find you here

Your gaze finally drinking me in

But just for today

Inside my coffee

I watched the eddies of my desire

Separate and swirl

Amongst the maelstrom of caffeine

As I contemplated this

Your fingers tangled in my curls

My breath against your cheek

As desire so long and tightly coiled

Slowly unfurled

And after months and months of longing

As I remembered the day you said

I love you more than I love

Coffee with two spoons of sugar

For you my love

Are my

Addiction

And yet I long only to be

Your soul’s

Benediction

A funny thing happened to my Inner Critic

I guess when you can finally start to laugh and see the ridiculousness of your Inner Critic’s need to keep you safe from hurt or rejection you are a long way to overcoming its toxic power.

A long time ago I started to visualise my Inner Critic as a male personality I called Mr A. I got this concept from the work of Jungian Analyst Robert Johnson on active imagination where you visualise your inner complexes of emotions or thoughts or energies as entities or beings or animals and conduct a conversation or dialogue with them, similar to Voice Dialogue work of Robert Firestone.

Well Mr A is kind of tall skinny guy with a very long hooked nose (not unlike my Mum’s the one she used to flare with steam coming out before a perfectionist driven rage driven cleaning onslaught or frenzy in youth.) Mr A is constantly on my case about all the ways I don’t quite measure up, all the ways in which my latest idea is not the best and would be better of quashed. He is always trying to protect me from something be it looking like a fool, being seen for who I really am (messy, a bit disorganised at time, a free floating flower child who would rather skip and dance though a field of waist high poppies than sit quietly reading in a dusty old library) or just really (come to think about it) being fully alive while NOT GIVING AS MUCH OF A DAM ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.

Anyway I had to laugh at the progress I made last night as his latest criticism was falling short and I was not listening and then I visualised him putting a big foot in front of my thought door as I tried to close it on him. I then watched as he toppled over and fell down in to a deep tunnel, I saw the soles of his feet disappearing as he fell while my inner child danced gleefully about the perimeter. The whole thing just made me crack up laughing and today despite all the latest schenannigans with the bank I just seem to be bursting out into laughter every little while with some silly thought while enjoying the sunshine that appeared from behind clouds a few hours ago.

It feels really refreshing and light not to be so weighted down by heavy concern and seriousness today. I seem to get myself in such a lather at times, just like my mother used to do. The other day when I put a tissue through a dark jeans wash I just make a big joke about it as I shook the jeans over the bannister outside the laundry door. This could have been a punishable offence a while back.

As I write this Mr A is still looking a bit haughtily on from the sidlelines telling me such jocularity may be seen as a sign of madness and hadn’t I better at least try pulling it all together. Maybe I am finally getting a bit of distance from Mr A.

I gave Scott a huge serve in the early hours of this morning due to all the recent problems with the bank. He is promising he is going to face down the Fraud team as soon as he can get off deployment and make everything right but as soon as I wrote the words “I hope you suffer for this’ being sleep deprived and amped up I instantly regretted them. I did apologise. He didn’t meant to cause all this bank debacle its just the way of things now with so much international scamming and fraud going on. I want to keep a light attitude about it all though. I have been awake since 4 am this morning and so I may be a little around the bend today. If so its a kind of divine madness and it feels a great relief to actually be laughing instead of crying.

Right now I am off to skip through some long grass at the dog park with Jasper and enjoy the kiss of the Sun far far away from the dark depressing confining world of the banking system and Mr A!!!

Understanding and overcoming the roots of Fear and Social Anxiety

What (would) it look like if we created an honest reality unhinged from things which hold us back, free from fear based ideas, and opened to the disconnection between us and the things we cannot change?

The Written Addiction : Overcoming

The quote is referenced to the post/blog which I will link to below this one. It was not possible to reblog it today for some reason.

The important point made in this post, I believe is that much self help focused on anxiety concentrates on symptoms rather than cause and for this particular writer anxiety was trauma based and a result of feeling different, being bullied, hurt, shamed or excluded.

For many of us we carry this pain all through adolescence and well into adult life and it may take a long time to realise our anxiety is about what was done to us and how we responded due to emotional sensitivity. We often blame ourselves as a result. We often try to medicate the pain. We may try to change ourselves which is really the worst thing we can do because that then results in self abandonment which is even more traumatic. Facing the social anxiety and fear that we feel and tracing it back to its origin or root cause is important work. I know for myself when I feel anxiety and respond from the scared self instead of holding myself and feeling the reasons and feelings through and act despite it, I get myself in trouble. Acting based on being driven unconsciously by anxiety or fear rather than on containing it or working through it often lands us in even more problems.

For myself I recognise more and more in my life these days where fear has held me back. I see where I allowed it to turn me into someone else in order to be loved. I see the longing for attention and love that so often fuelled it as well as the emptiness of emotional neglect that I did not really recognise until about a year or more ago and continued to blame myself for just as others were content at times to blame me.

I am currently just listening to a programme on the radio about adolescence and the issue of feeling, most particularly how difficult it is at this age for many to identify their emotions. It is also addressing the need for at least one good friend or soul mate or parent that the person can relate to. When others cant relate to us, when they shame us or make us feel wrong or bad for being ourselves we really suffer in our core. Interpersonal relationships are of such important to teenagers particularly, between the ages of 7 and 14 we begin to turn out towards the world and social relationships in order to identify who we are. At this time we are forming our social identity and wounding or scarring at this time leads to problems in assertiveness, self esteem and self knowing all of which make us vulnerable to bad relationships and a bad relationship with ourselves. It can also lead to the start of depressive thinking. Thoughts like “I am not good enough”, “Things are hopeless” or the feeling that no one really cares or that we are an alien who does not belong on earth. Most important to our sense of healthy self esteem is a sense of good self value, without this we tend to founder.

Recognising where our social anxiety wounds may lay, taking steps to address the erroneous beliefs we may have developed about our sense of self in earlier years are all important things in dealing with the impact of depression and anxiety conditions that beset us in adulthood. I highly recommend the following post by The Written Addiction which I just read this morning. All of us deserve to know we are worthy just as we are and that our feelings make sense and have value.

Shame, poor self esteem and perfectionism often go hand in hand

This thought came to me again this afternoon after listening to more of Pete Walker’s writing on inner critic dynamics. In our society we are pressured to work hard, be productive, always be up beat and happy. Failure is often seen as a mistake that should never have happened rather than a lesson in growth or modification or learning, self correcting or adjustment.

One of my favourite saying in 12 step recovery is that we focus on progress rather than perfection because expecting ourselves to always be operating at peak efficiency and getting everything right is not only unrealistic is also discourages us moving forward if we get trapped in unrelenting inner criticism or self blame. Healthy shame does exist for a reason. Not all shame is ‘bad’. Shame may alert us to where we have not lived in accord with our values, or hurt someone. In this case we can admit it and attempt to make restitution so we can move forward but we don’t have to endlessly beat ourselves or others up. We can allow others to be as human and flawed as we are too and we can also cut ourselves and others some slack for being human and liable to fail or just be the unique shape and design that we or they are.

I guess I am sharing a lot about shame and perfection because last week I went to a 12 step meeting and it was on Step 7. That is the step where we ask Gods help to remove our shortcomings. The healthy thing is that we can admit to them. In addiction recovery we realise that we have very real flaws we face up to them and we ask for help, but we only admit to those flaws or shortcomings that are real, and as we work for change we don’t allow ourselves to beat up on ourselves expecting that we can be further along than we really are. And those of us with neglected developmental trauma naturally struggle due to no fault of our own. In fact many of us from damaged families often try even harder to heal the family dysfunction or feel ashamed for what was actually always outside of our own control. Instead of just focusing on our own recovery we get drawn in or try even harder in order to compensate for what we know are flaws. This is when healing gets problematic too, if we are expecting higher standards from ourselves than we are truly capable of at the time.

This is where I feel lately that I see so many struggle. We come down hard on our selves for perceived (reality gaps) which are really not our fault at all. If we take on the role of family mascot or healer we may be the one the struggles harder and harder to heal or correct what was not really our responsibility all along. And if we were not seen in childhood, or our need to be seen was so neglected the only way we could get it met was to revolve around others to become what they needed us to be in order to loved or seen we can end up sacrificing ourselves just for attention. It may then be very hard to keep the focus on our lives without the feeling we are being ‘selfish’. But is it really selfish to care for ourselves and our needs? Is it really selfish to put the focus on or own lives?

Learning to find the love we need from within means we give up the false idea that in order to be valuable or loved we have to be perfect, never angry, always kind, giving, self sacrificing. It means learning we have the right to be ourselves and feel all of our feelings without shame. I don’t really know if God wants us to give up defects of character as much as he or she wants us to be kind to ourselves (not at others expense) and more accepting of who we really truly are deep down inside, flawed or whole? Expecting something else of us may be just too much and it maybe be in the end driven by false ideas of shame which were never really real or valid in the first place, just projections we absorbed or false beliefs taught to us by a culture invested in us not being authentic, real and honest. Certainly we can own that in dysfunctional families we learn behaviours and attitudes that hurt and harm us and for happiness to be part of the equation again we have to surrender some of these false, limiting or destructive beliefs. We can come to believe we are good enough and we are human, we can struggle be imperfect and still know we are worthy of love, self respect and care, always. And if others wont give it to us, we don’t hang around long enough to argue. We go out and find the places where it is freely given.

Agreeing to disagree : some thoughts on conflict

Life is not all smooth sailing and others disagreeing with us or having a different point of view perhaps does not always have to become a problem unless we make it one. I have been slowly reading my way thought a lovely little book I got from the library called Heart Talk by Cleo Wade. The following piece of writing comes from it. In it she speaks of how we can learn to listen to others with a different opinion and see what wisdom they have to offer from their perspective.

Because there is no avoiding conflict in life, it is crucial that we learn to get good at disagreeing with each other. When we remember that not every difference of opinion is an attack, we are able to give the love, the respect, and the compassionate listening required to handle conflict peacefully. Just because someone disagrees with us does not mean that they are against us. Because conflict puts us in such a defensive place, it can trigger anger, frustration, and fear, which often makes us lash out, lose our temper or shut down. When we realise that there is no such thing as a conflict free life, we can instead choose to view every conflict as an opportunity to interact with others with a wider heart. Rather than letting conflict prompt behaviour that we may not be particularly proud of, let it instead act as a trigger to dive more deeply into loving kindness. The next time you find yourself in a conflict, see it as an opportunity to show the power and bigness of your love.

Our ideas can conflict without us necessarily being in conflict.

Self Care Friday

Gorgeous post.

A Fish Named Karen

Self care Friday.

Eyes closed.

Spend time in the rhythm of your breath.

Make friends with the space between your thoughts.

The answers are in the silence.

Inhaling gratitude, exhaling pressure.

In this moment. If JUST in this moment.

Being thankful and connecting with the present moment improves our health.

Rest, repeat.

Pic of found driftwood, dream catcher 11/2018

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The pain of the unseen or the projected upon

I found myself holding my body with the electric charge of pent up feeling very tenderly as I did the breakfast dishes this morning. I had a tough weekend with facing deeper emotions hidden under my attempts to forge some kind of connection with my sister in recovery at the moment from cancer and with Easter close and the 5th anniversary of my older sister’s death there is obviously a lot of emotion around. I found myself breaking into pieces in therapy yesterday as I explored the painful feeling of being unresponded to by my brother when I put my heart and soul on the line to him a few weeks ago. I am not as angry with him any more I just feel so let down and sad about it. I think he thinks he is trying to help me by not giving me any help with Scott, he is a so called ‘self made man’ so helping anyone but his own son and daughter (and even she has to beg for help) doesn’t seem to figure for him.

The situation has now changed but very few people are prepared to believe my solider is real. I found myself fending off questions from the Fraud team yesterday as they hammered me asking if I was still in touch with my contact overseas. I won’t go into all the details here but sometimes I feel I am just fighting for my life in a world that doesn’t see me. That said I know the Bank is trying to prevent further loss of funds which is not my intention anyway.. to give much more. But the deeper issue it is triggering is the belief that no matter what I really desire I cannot have it, will have no help to get it, will not be seen or believed or taken seriously.

This came to a head back in adolescence when Dad forced me to go to secretarial college and would not support my return to teaching and reconnecting with my friends after I ran off north due to the stress of family trauma. Around that time my addiction kicked in big time. Eventually I got employment in a position so contrary to my own personal beliefs in a political party after I returned from travelling and working overseas for two and a half years after my father died. At that point I had undergone so many traumas : near death in a vehicle collision at the age of 17, followed by three months in hospital, six months later watching my sister under go an aneurysm and hover near death in a coma only to then be abandoned after going psychotic and being involuntarily committed while taken over seas by her husband who had another woman shacked up over in New Zealand. She was then returned home with a one way ticket and tried to take her life. Death of my father occurred four year later from cancer under an emergency tracheoctomy, three terminations of pregnancy and a relationship with an addict who was never in love with me but still in love with his ex girlfriend.

I moved away from my home town after returning from overseas in 1987 two and a half years after my father’s death where I got the secretarial job. Luckily my god parents took me in for a time (my mother remarried quickly on the rebound of Dad’s loss, something she lived to regret) and my God father was the one person who really saw me, disliked my family intensely to the point in later years he cut off contact with my mother all together. He is the one person who also saw how deeply wounded my own brother is emotionally

.Anyway I wont go into all the ins and outs of it. I ended up with severe addiction problems which I arrested in 1993 after marrying my ex husband but his family didn’t like the fact I didn’t drink and was in recovery, apparently I was ‘no fun’ and ‘a bit strange’. I felt my husband did not really see me a lot of the time either and would not really support me to undergo the therapy I needed to deal with 20 years of PTSD and unresolved grief. I did try to pursue therapy overseas but this eventually came unstuck due to fear I guess of being all alone so far from home and facing all of this so far from the scene of earlier traumas.

Easter tends to bring a lot of this stuff up at the moment as well as the difficult situation of one of my dead sister’s sons who is undergoing his own struggle to be real and be seen and get off meds and I am trying to do what I can to support him in that quest. It is probably no coincidence and he and his partner are separating all around the anniversary of his mother’s death. He was only 3 years old and watching from behind the curtain in New Zealand on the morning his father drove his mother in the car to the airport for a supposed holiday in Australia she would never return from.

I can still see my shattered sister sitting in the wheelchair at Mum and Dad’s house wearing her one blue tracksuit and holding a battered suitcase being told by Dad that her husband had sent her home with no return fare and had absconded with the woman he was having an affair with. And I remember the suicide attempt. My sister lying on the floor in the bottom room along the hall near the dark louvre doors with a photograph of her four boys laying on her chest. That was in 1983, my first year out of secretarial college. I had no one to tell about all of this, my body which is shaking now and convulsing with tears had to contain it. As it contained the shock trauma of those two secret terminations I had in that year and the next to a man who never loved me and would only abandon me as soon as he heard my father had died at the beginning of 1985.

I told no one for years and years, just carried it silently but the bottle was always there to soothe the pain, to shut it down. Back in Sydney in 1987 – 1990 I struggled with my addiction and more terminations, more broken relationships and more broken hearts. I tried to find a career more suited to me, first breaking away from secretarial in 1990 to study naturopathy and then astrology and aromatherapy. I eventually landed a job as a manager in an alternative gift, aromatherapy and flower essences and book shop a year or so later and then explored my love of astrology in which I sought for answers to all the trauma that had befallen me. However it was addiction recovery in 1993 which would begin to open the lid on everything for me and it would take about 6 years of sobriety for the buried memories and emotions to start to thaw as all I had endured began to rise and then it was on THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE TO BE FREE AND FIND THE TRUTH AGAINST THOSE WHO WANTED ME TO STAY NUMB!!! OR SHUT IT ALL DOWN!!! OR GET OVER IT!!!! OR BLAME SOMEONE ELSE!!!

I have heard it said that trauma causes fractures in our reality which we attempt to repair by telling the narrative and unearthing the feelings which is an organic work in process that cannot be purely driven by self will. An unfolding and uncoiling process starts with the willingness to face what has been hidden and open up our secrets and heal our unearned shame. It takes time and many trips around the wheel of the trauma year to explore the trajectory of a life that got so spun off or shattered that its fragments ended up reverberating so very very far and wide.

Writing me for me provides containment of a kind outside of therapy. Poetry helps me to explore feelings but the body is the container of it all and it holds it all deep within each cell and muscle and tissue : the shock, the grief, the anger, the assault, the hunger, the fear, the ongoing, the terror, the confusion, the frustration, the bone crushing annihilation of never feeling truly seen or contained or affirmed as well as the struggle to survive amidst the horrible consequences of having some other stronger person’s will and desires and projections and agendas for you forced onto you. As well as the defences they put into place to stop or mock you FROM JUST BEING YOURSELF AND CRYING OUT YOUR TRUTH!!

I FELT TRUELY DEMENTED AT THE BANK YESTERDAY AS THIS FRAUD LADY HAMMERED ME WITH HER TRUTH WHICH WAS ONLY PROJECTED ASSUMPTIONS AND FEAR. STOP CONTACT WITH THIS SCAMMER YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH YOUR OWN FUNDS.. DOUBTING MY FUCKING NEPHEW IS MY NEPHEW AND BLOCKING ANY HELP FOR ME TO GIVE REALLY REALLY ANGERED ME.. ITS MY FUCKING MONEY. But Mars finally cleared the square with natal Pluto a day ago which shows the current climate for me is pretty darn intense and guaranteed to be stirring up long buried emotions, triggers and imprints.

PHEW A RELEIF JUST TO GET THAT OUT. Another wiser part of me looks on and just thinks I do have a habit of assuming other people’s burdens as well. Sadly I connected with a guy whose account also got frozen by online scamming and is in a position where he needs help to get out of a deployment situation which he only signed up to for 9 months but is now being extended. But is any of this even the point? Truth is I can survive without Scott in my life here but I would just love to meet this person who offered me a real connection and really saw me and cared when so many others did not. But its not the be all and end all at this point. I do these days have the power to be here for myself and not be annihilated any more. It just cripples me when trigger situations come up echoing these themes and sparking long buried frustrations. I will get through this though. I will survive it. But sadly at times the power is not with me over certain things and then it is I just have to accept that others have their own agendas too. Maybe I am not meant to be helping these powerless others? I just don’t know the answer but sure as hell I will keep fighting and stay open to questioning questing and wondering about it all and blogging out my current insights. But part of me cannot give up helping if I can. For surely my sobriety is worth nothing if it doesn’t make me able to front up and fight the good fight to give the love and care and resources others who are also fighting for release from oppression, projection or repression.