Left alone : unseen

Call of the child

Well I have finally got to that watershed moment in therapy where I have realised the emotional truth of my childhood and adolescence : left alone, unrelated to at an emotional level, not ever seen and the other thing that Kat my therapist pointed out today was no one ever sat down and bothered to ask who I was, what interested me and what I needed, let alone spend much time with me. (Started shedding a lot of tears at that point with the deeper recognition of it all.)

It was a deep aloneness wound that I did not even begin to fully recognise the roots of until last year when I finally purchased and read Jonice Webb’s book on Childhood Emotional Neglect Running on Empty.   I really recommend the book even to those who struggle with suicidal thoughts and believe they came from an okay family where some needs were provided for.  In the book Webb gives a lot of detailed case histories from her own clients and practice into the effects of what can seem like a fairly benign form of abuse including feelings of suicidality.

I won’t go into depth about it here.  I will try to find links back to older posts and put them in this one for new followers further down the track.  Suffice to say that I now understand how and why I became addicted to alcohol and other drugs for the years 14 to 31 when I finally put them down.   I think anyone who has to deny the emotional truth of what happened to them has to search for some kind of pain relief as well as a way to shut up the critical judgemental shaming thoughts such a legacy leaves inside of us in a fairly constant and corrosive form.

Abstinence is just the start of a far, far deeper journey of self discovery and uncovery, piecing together through exploring our earliest feelings inside the safe container of therapy, having someone who will help us to make sense of them and not lead us even further astray is all essential for our healing.   I struggled through several ineffective therapies over 10 years before finding this one, thank God!

When we come out of a history of invalidation of emotions or denial of their existance or are forced to swallow them back down inside its such hard work to be able to form a relationship with our insides as we need to, which we need most certainly in order to be self protective, self aware, self affirming and self caring..inwardly connected.    My experience is that those feelings never go away and we must not be led astray either by spiritual disciplines that would have us ‘rise above them’ or put them behind us until we have done the work to know why and how they exist.   This is a form of ‘spiritual bypass’.

We can work in a spiritual way with the negative thought forms instilled inside us by a less than caring or emotionally supportive family history, though, recognising such thoughts do not speak the truth.  We are not worthless, hopeless, helpless or broken in some essential part of ourselves, that said what may have become broken is our connection to the true self deep and emotions deep within, that core of us that is authentically us, our spiritual essence and full of soul and feeling.   When the connection to that is broken we do suffer deeply.  We are lost and we wander and we hunger and we thirst and we can become magnets for abusive relationships.

Our recovery demands we explore all the ways that connection got broken or failed to develop the first place for without it we feel so lost and empty and our life lacks engagement and meaning.  Its a terrible place to exist within.   Acknowledging the true pain of our childhood is not self pity.  It is a necessary grieving that needs to take place, there is no way to get back what we did not get over those years, hard as it is for modern people to accept not everything can be fixed but through self awareness we can grow in consciousness and end the beat up on ourselves we were forced to swallow wholesale when we bought into the illusion we were in some way fatally flawed.

 

Image links to following poem by Kim Valzania http://eatpraypost.com/the-call-of-the-child-by-kim-valzania/

On the thorny issue of ‘being alone.’

Alone

I picked up an interesting book at the library on Sunday, as my close followers will know I often do.  The title is How To Be Alone and its on the issue of how so often in modern society we are told that it’s not good to be alone or to spend too much time in solitude, that it is more natural for us as human beings to socialise or be sociable.  If you think about it a lot of how we feel about spending time alone does relate to how we were related to when young, but we might not also have come in with a bias to be more introverted, or is that just something that happens to us when significant early relationships fail?  The book has really got me thinking.

I don’t know how many of you have been in relationships where you were told it wasn’t natural for you to be introspective or need your alone time.  I went through one significant relationship like this and it was also something I was told a lot by family members.  They did not seem to realise that when certain traumas and separations hit me both in early childhood and later adolescence/early adulthood I was left to cope alone.  So I can just naturally get on with my life in solitude, I do spend a lot of time in that solitude though thinking about others, its not just all self obsessive thinking I engage with when alone.

The author of the book Sara Maitland makes convincing arguments for the healthy and soul nurturing aspects of solitude or being alone.  Of course solitude is a choice for some of us and one we use both to nurture ourselves and make an inner relationship and so its a different kind of alone time to that which may be imposed on us if we are exiled or find ourself isolated emotionally or physically in some relationships, families or groups, which can happen we are not like the other’s temperamentally or have suffered abandonment or abuse.  Then being alone can be deeply painful but also set us on a quest to know and love ourselves more and to understand the forces that shaped us.  We can get all kinds of messages about how there is something wrong with us for being alone or liking solitude, and those messages are bound to make us feel worse about ourselves if we swallow them wholesale.

In my last major relationship, my partner accused me of being agoraphobic simply because at that stage I was choosing solitude, that said there may have been a degree of social anxiety in my unsociability.  I had been abandoned and hurt and misunderstood very much in the years leading up to that introversion.   Yet still as a person I know I do gain benefits from alone time.  I am highly empathic and I find when I am around certain people I do absorb and tend to gravitate toward them at a feeling level.

I had this experience yesterday when I was driving to my first therapy appointment of 2018 of being reduced to tears at the intersection where a homeless man was offering windscreen cleaning and being refused by nearly every driver.  He said the ‘F’ word sotto of voice without a hint of outer aggression, and as he did I felt his exhaustion and pain and something about him being rejected really triggered me.   I just found myself sobbing.  I am aware that a lot of what I was feeling may have been banked up grief as I had seen my therapist only once since my mother’s death on 12 December and holding in the feelings I noticed they were bubbling up as I drove toward the appointment.  I thought of how hard Mum tried to give or do things for us and of how much she needed emotionally and was refused by certain family members, yet introversion and solitude helped me to process all of this and become more aware.

I noticed too that on the last two days I took myself out for a morning coffee when I ran into friends part of me was pleased to see them, but part of me wanted just to have a solitary moment enjoying my cuppa.  I find I am less conscious of the taste and mindfully experiencing it, drinking my coffee while distracted in conversation.  Conversation can be either interesting and engaging or a bit detached and that all depends on what is being shared.  Being pulled out of ourselves when we need that alone time to recharge can be a bit disturbing to our energy and I don’t always find it easy in that situation to say ‘listen I would just like to sit quietly on my own for a while.’

The danger I think in all of this, though, is pertinently pointed out by Sara in her book.  It’s not just pathology to want to be alone.  In one chapter she reminds us that it’s when we are alone in nature that so many of us have peak experiences of connection : physical, emotional, spiritual and transcendent.   It is in silence we can hear the still small voice of creativity that is often drowned out by too much excessive stimulation or ‘noise’, its in solitude that we can touch with the base of our soul through the use of imagination or reverie.   However, it is also lovely to have those moments when we touch or are touched by other humans, times of connection that fill us up and add to us, rather than drain our life energy away.  Sorting out what we need in terms of connection or solitude and alone time or in relationship is an ongoing balance of polarities.  What is right for one person may not serve someone else and what we need on one day may change on another.

Despite all this I know my own soul would be far poorer were it not for the creative alone time I have experienced in my own life.   So I will not be ever demonising anyone for loving their solitude.

There is no evidence whatsoever that even prolonged periods of being alone are detrimental to physical or mental health, so long as that solitude is freely chosen…. (according to Anthony Storr – author of the book Solitude) “the fact that isolation can be therapeutic is seldom mentioned in textbooks of psychiatry.  The emphasis is on group participation….(I) regret that the average mental hospital can make little provision for those patients who want to be alone and would benefit from being so.”

Maitland makes the point consistently throughout her book that often people who chose alone time or solitude can be demonised as sad, mad or bad.   But not all evidence supports this, for those who are able to endure and navigate the alone space can bring back treasures both for the self and for others which just would never have been discovered or birthed in the absence of solitude.

 

 

 

I cannot hope

Bird

I cannot hope to write like you

With language you mine so deep for

 Soul touching

Heart rending metaphor

But these poetry kisses

Are deeply felt

Touching my inner being

Like sweet transcendance

Of that which in hurting

Bid us dive deep

So then we could then rise above

But I do know this

Hope tinges the perimeters of your prose

And brings to mind

The thought of free birds

Flying on air

With wings that know

How it feels to be carried

By unpredictable updrafts

And trust still

 I am just glad to be able to feast on your poetry

Feeling its healing balm caress me in all the places

Plain thoughts of others

Can not touch

Disconnection and connection : some thoughts

Jung

From quite a young age I had a sense of being on the outside of the life around me.  I was the youngest in family caught up in other worlds, only lately am I realising the depth of aloneness I felt and how the attention was focused somewhere away from my inner self.  And so I believe I did grow into a loner, but one who craved connection of any kind, no matter what the cost.  I didn’t have wise protective radar for who was really connected to me though as I don’t think I was connected to a lot and so it felt unfamiliar, emotional abandonment or disconnect I knew (unconsciously at that point) so I attracted more of that in the years that followed.

I have been thinking about it a lot today and seeing what a hunger to connect outside of myself did to me before I was connected to my deeper self.  Put simply those connections just did not work and I always ended up sorrowing and empty.  In later years with all the trauma and insecurity I carried maybe I didn’t find it easy to connect to others as I had begun to turn to substances.  I also had an implicit feeling that I was a failure for not ‘fitting in’ and so I needed to change, but lately I am realising I didn’t need to change at all, my task lay in coming to know myself, so I had something real to offer relationship.

The Buddhist’s say the ‘self’ is just a construction and I do believe we can construct a false self of representations, but I am a firm believer that there lies inside an essential core of us we can know.  For me, as a sensitive, soul attuned person I find this feeling comes when I am connected to nature and my inner world.  I never feel more at home as on moments where I sit being comforted by the breeze flowing on my face, listening to the song of a local magpie who comes to visit around lunchtime and while writing or reflecting I touch base with something essential and lovely so deep inside.  At moments like this I realise that my hunger for connection outside of myself often led me astray.  My need to be liked or understood by those who could not hurt me and I also made demands at times out of a needy self that did not know how to hold her own hand.

I am so happy to say that lately these feelings of ‘need’ are dropping away.  I was thinking today of the young child or baby who cries out and when not heard collapses into depression or resignation.  In my own case I am learning to give up and surrender longings I direct toward unavailable sources.  And I have discovered a fundamental truth, that I connect best to those who connect with their inward worlds, something I touched on in a previous post about being an orphan.

Lately, I don’t feel that totally empty, bereft feeling of orphanhood that I did before, I am not making demands to have a different journey or fate than I have.  I will always probably be a loner but the paradox is that in society I connect with others when I see deeper in a way those who are on another plane don’t.  It’s not something that is easy to express and I know there are others out there a lot like me.  I don’t feel as alone in the crowd as I used to because lately I see more of our common humanity.

A fellow blogger helped me a lot a few months ago when I was sharing how I had met with a friend and we hadn’t connected by saying that connections cannot be forced and we cannot will them into being.  Knowing when we are connected and disconnected is important.  For me if I feel disconnected in a certain situation its a sign to retreat and listen to my soul.   I find so much loving connection, too from my blog and through reading the writing and blogs of others,   It’s that joyous moment of pleasure and uplift that comes from being received and ‘got’ and I am so grateful for it.  I am also coming to be more and more grateful for my times of deep solitude which are like a balm to me.  I am beginning to realise all the gifts I have and its okay to be alone, not necessarily a sign of something wrong with us.

I also feel myself separating more and more from my family on the earthly plane.  Deep at a soul level I know we are connected and always will be, but it seems to me I am beginning to be aware of playing a ‘role’ in that family can limit my soul which wants to be freer to breath new life into old past grief filled places.  Its beginning to be a real possibility that I can find a way to live outside of the pain of a past that nearly crushed me and for that I am grateful beyond words.

Your pain : my pain : our pain

I have felt some understanding and realisations deepening over past weeks with all the reading and contemplating I have been engaged with it is that it is through our pain that we are all connected and that through our pain we connect to a deeper spiritual place.  Our joy can connect us too, and there can be a kind of mysterious joy in allowing our pain just to be what it is, so hard to describe in words but felt so deeply in the cells of our body and the marrow of our bones.

I am a strong believer in archetypes and astrology.  Its not purely a head knowledge I feel the energies as planetary energies shift and powerful archetypes are energised and I have watched these forces move through my own life and the deeper understandings I gained help me contain things.  I was discussing archetypes with my therapist yesterday and asking her about them.  They represent universal, collective human experiences that we all undergo and this mirrors what Buddhist teachers say that pain and loss and change are all a part of our human experience, and that it is through developing the capacities of compassion and openness that we build a bridge to each other and to our own hearts. It is something that Christine Neff focuses on in her book on Self Compassion as one of the three aspects of that state.  When we find compassion and depth through our suffering we can extend that to others and recognise our common humanity.

With all the struggle and strife in the world and with the big earth changes going on at present one thing I am noticing is this.  That a rebirth of love is trying to take place on this planet.  We all have our little part to play in being honest and opening up to express our truth and work towards not negating our darker shadowy sides but rather embracing them to bring them to light.  When we find a way to express even our darkest thoughts they have a way of being in the world and no longer are held so much under that cover of darkness and then those who also feel covered in the very human darknesses we can all know at one time or another feel less alone.

My experience is that the dark night of the soul is a very powerful experience.  Many, many of us undergo it.  I am thinking about it again after sharing a lot from Robert Romanyshyn’s book on grief in which he shares of his own dark night of sadness and grief following the sudden death of his wife.  In the beautiful chapter on Mourning that I quoted a little from yesterday he shares about two things that touched me deeply.  The first is how he lived through a deep experience and encounter with the Orphan archetype.  In this experience he felt not only his personal but also a deeply cosmic aloneness,   but mysteriously it was through this that he connected to nature and to other primal energies.

The second thing that touched me so deeply yesterday and moved me to tears was how he shared that in and through his grief and mourning process he connected so deeply and was comforted by animals.  He visited a zoo one day where he engaged deeply with the eyes and consciousness of a silver back gorilla.  During their encouner Robert threw the gorilla an orange on a whim and instead of taking it to eat in the corner, the gorilla threw it back over the fence to him.  Robert threw the orange back to the gorilla and so it went on for several rounds until a harsh voice cried out “don’t feed the animals”.  This broke their magical connection and the gorilla retreated with the orange to the end of his cage.  What Robert writes towards the end of sharing all this moved me so deeply :

I left the zoo and walked out into the city.  The cold, dark, winter afternoon did little to cheer the sadness I felt at having left the gorilla inside.  I was different, changed by that encounter and even more lonely in the midst of the crowded city.  The gorilla had suspended his appetite for a moment.  For the sake of an encounter, he had bridged the immense gap between our worlds.  In his gesture of tossing the orange back to me, he had reached out his hand across an emptiness so vast as to be beyond measure.  Together we had built a tremulous bridge of gestures, and for a brief time we stood on opposite sides of that bridge, connected in a way that seemed to acknowledge in each other a lost kinship.  Even to this day, I know that I will I know thatI will never forget the eyes of my winter companion on that day of long ago.  He had greeted me, and as strange as it might sound, I felt so grateful for that recongition.  But I also felt how far I had come, and howI knew with a deep feeling of sadness that we would remain forever more on opposite side of this bridge, and that at the best moments of my life, I would be able only to stop and linger and turn around to see, once again, what was left behind.  I knew that, and I knew too, that what I saw before the spell was broken was his sadness for me.

For some reason those final words undo me.  So much of our pain of grief or during the dark night can lie in a failure of the human world’s sensitivity to the deep level of our pain and distress we feel so unseen and unknown and often rejected when others find our pain ‘too much’.  I have felt recognised in very similar ways my own dog, Jasper when his deep limpid pools of eyes look at me with the same deep sadness and recognition at times and also undone by the way when I am really struggling or sad with repressed pain or sadness he will come and sit patiently by my side, just to be with me while I cry.  That simple gesture of care and concern undoes me in a way I cannot fully explain.  It fills an empty vacancy in both my heart and soul when I feel so very far from human aid and care.  At these times I am in the orphaned state, it is a kind of deep spiritual orphanness that I am feeling, and I cannot help but feel that Jasper understands just like the gorilla did.  Do animals feel compassion for us humans who can be so lost sometimes, driven so far from nature and deeper connection?  I believe they do.

I want to share more about the Orphan later as I work through Romanyshn’s book.  I am only half way through that chapter because I feel that Orphans do connect with other Orphans.  We recognise each other implicitly, those of us who have known that deep soul abandonment or betrayal of the world connect and we know the profound emptiness that can come from pain, many of us also resonate deeply with and connect with the profoundly spiritual in nature and animals.

It is through sharing about this with each other that we can and do connect and in a small way bridge that deeper disconnection that hounds us.   In this way I feel that for all our suffering in some way we are far richer than those who at this time in the world would rather turn a blind eye towards deeper truths, pains, losses and abandonments.

The zookeeper put paid to the beautiful exchange between Robert R and the gorilla on that afternoon with a few words, putting the focus on human ‘rules’ and it was sad for both of them.  We do have the gift of both animals and nature to help us in our abandonment, orphanhood and the deep isolation we undergo after losses or during the dark night.  We can use these gifts to deepen our isolation into a richer soulful solitude through which we can connect both to the heart and soul of our inner worlds, of the universe and of each other.

On disengagement, indifference and insecure attachment

I heard a programme on radio today that really got me thinking. Its a great weekly segment in the show Life Matters that airs on Radio National in Austrailia, called Three Men and A Feeling in it two therapists discuss a feeling with the presenter Michael McKenzie and provide insights into its ramifications.  Today indifference was discussed most particularly from the point of view of how often it manifests in insecurely attached inviduals or those who have known hurt or pain as a ‘giving up’ defence and reaction to those hurts and pains.

I would love to be able to quote some of what was said, because it really spoke to me about the emotionally disengaged state I ended up in a few years into sobriety when my marriage fell apart.  The interviewees were saying that often when we are not securely attached we dont know how to show interest in anything outside of ourselves and we can become very self obsessed while at the same time being competely incapable of showing ourself self care.  To me this would equate with what I have read about consequences of emotional neglect.  Early or consistent disappointments with caregivers or other significant relationships can also land us in this place where the cost of caring and connecting just seems too great.  We may have learned the cost of caring is an emptiness that comes when nothing comes back to us.  When  lack of connection, nuture and emotional unavailibity is what we find when reaching out we also learn to treat ourselves in similar ways.  We may learn the price of interest and caring is a brick wall and so we give up.

This is shown in the early attachment experiments which show a child left alone to cry who finally gives up and resorts to a depressed state.  That child has no way of knowing what he or she went through if all of this occurs before the age in which language for feelings is gained, and it leaves us with a devestating emotional cost.

In my own life I learned to turn to substances and possessions to find my connection.  Lately I am really feeling the emptiness and sadness of this kind of coping.  After my father died Mum often gave me big sums of money and I so I would go shopping,  After my father died and I was sent overseas all alone I learned to entertain myself by going to the movies, going to galleries and going to the big department stores.  God knows what I would have done had I not had those avenues, detached as they were.   I look back and wish I could have got into a 12 step group then as I may not have had to endure all the years of disconnection that I did,

And of course up until the age of 31 I also fell into addictions.  Sadly the end of my marrige which occured when I was 11 years sober saw me fall back into complete isolation.  I made an attempt to go overseas and find work but I got triggered and fear voices dissuading me from actively engaging put all that to death and then I had my second accident and a major head injury.   I am still finding my way back from that.  After it I came home and retreated to the coast fobbing off attempts to get me back into life and relationship.

The path of recovery has led me into therapy where I can engage with a therapist in order to explore and heal those early attachment wounds in me as well as the guilt and pain I struggle with due to the coping strategies I used which cost me a lot.  I am managing to shop less on the lonely days and spend time in my own company listening to my own heart and feelings, as well as trying to reach out to others more.  Writing my blog definately also helps me feel more engaged and interested and connected.

Today Jasper, my dog, didnt want to go walking so I went to the shopping centre, not to shop but to have a coffee and go to the library but also because my mobile phone which is bottom of the line has been breaking down and I genuinely needed a new one.  The part of me that is no fan of technology was beating myself up after I settled on a mid range phone and paid for it.  Its a bit of a process as I had to get a new sim card sent in order to set up the new phone.  I managed to do this after all the inner critic attacks against buying the new phone subsided.  I got the car with my phone and then Mum called on the old phone   I got very emotional the moment we started talking and by the time I got home was still drying my tears.   Something deep was being triggered. All weeekend long I was hard at work in the garden trying to clear up some of the jungle of vines that has overtaken the backyard over the last few months as I was not well.   I was going to have a moment of self pity about how alone I had been with it all, but the sadness was very real and very deep and I probably wont even try to reach for explanations here.

Maybe I was having a kind of wake up call as to the reality of how far away my own insecure/ambivalent attachment style has taken me over years from active engaged connection with life and relationship, but at the same time I do respect that my genuine ability to shed those tears today shows my inner connection to real me is growing.   I have to beware of beating up the part of me that in the past tried ways to cope with wounds that only ended up leaving me more disengaged and drowning in ‘stuff’.  It takes time to grown in awareness of our patterns and defences and we are not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for using certain ways of coping with our emptiness that we do.  For me self compassion is the solution and was what the therapists in the progamme spoke a lot about, that and reaching out to get good help and therapy.  I am doing both so I dont need to beat myself up today.  I can feel genuine sadness for a past I didn’t wholey choose while realising that life is not over yet and I have been blessed even while struggling.  Looking on it all with eyes of love, rather than with eyes of judgement or rejection is a better solution for me in the long run.

Not alone : solitude and inner presence

Dreamer

When we are not alone,

when we are on our own,

then we have achieved solitude.

 

The person who achieves solitude

is alone

in his or her unique experience of the journey,

yet such a person

is conscious of an inner presence

with which to dialogue.

 

One may only become an individual

by ascent to this dialogue,

by conscious and constant valuing

of the autonomy and teleology

of one’s soul.

James Hollis

 

Feeling my way into my heart

A truly heart centred life is not easy to live in this world.  So many claims are made upon our time and energy.  In many respects I am lucky not to be pulled on by a ‘day job’, as I have shared before I stopped work after two traumas and then I isolated alone for a few years before seeking release or ‘rescue’ through a new relationship, although I did not fully understand at the time that that was what I was doing. Instead this strong guy turned up at the units I was living in, in an semi isolated place on the coast and we were pulled into a relationship.

Our very first conversation was one in which I shared that I was a sober recovering alcoholic. Not that that is really who I AM but it was the space I was in at the point, abstinent from alcohol, trying to get a handle on the forces that had been pulling on my life and heart and struggling to see how I could find a new direction inward to my heart in order to know my way.   But I didn’t even know all of that at the time and I had been severely discombobulated by two accidents, the first of which happened overseas when I was trying to make a ‘break’ and move forward but also being impinged upon by other wills, other voices, others’ resistances.

I now see I was on the edge of my ‘grief work’.  The lost kid inside me was trying to find a way back to herself and if that lost kid lives anywhere, I believe he or she lives in both our gut and our heart.  We absolutely cannot know her ways until we can open the door and find a path inward to those true places of being and knowing inside of us, no matter how long barricaded or buried.

In many ways this guy I met was also a lost child. As I look back I see that at that point in 2007 we two lost kids found each other and then went to war with the barricaded places.  In my case I was sad a lot and angry when old wounds of lack of attention and abandonment were triggered.  In his case the way to his sadness was barricaded by an angry monster who had erected a sign on the door.  ‘Do not enter’.  So I was angry and sad a lot but also full of joy when our two little kids came out to play together at times and we touched base with a place of heart, being and may I say love.

The entire 4 and a half year story is too long to go into here.  We eventually split up and my heart was now not only trying to deal with the grief I took into that relationship but also the resonances of older griefs it had stirred up.  Overpowered I ran back to my home town after another aborted attempt to make a break in a new place.  And here over the past 6 years I have been trying to find my way to my heart, or rather the place in it that is not broken or shattered, the place within it which has a wellspring of hope, joy, promise, self expression and love.

Today I sat in my local shopping centre drinking my coffee at my favourite place, reading the biography of someone also in addiction recovery who eventually after finding sobriety made the decision to leave London and return to her home, Orkney an island in the Scottish Hebrides.  Here she touches base with nature and eventually takes on a position working in the Royal Society For the Preservation of Birds.   It is a biography tinged with isolation and aloneness but also with the courage of a woman trying to find a way forward from a destructive past. Sadly it doesn’t really go into the hidden pain in her heart. As a young child she watched her father flown away to a psychiatric unit after a ‘manic’ attack.   But it is still hauntingly beautiful and today as I read I felt tears in my eyes as I thought both of my self and this woman, two survivors trying to find a way forward after suffering the wreckage of a confused and lost past.

And those tears were a relief because those tears spoke to me of truths that I could never fully articulate in this blog where so much grief and pain lurks in unspoken spaces but also a winged bird of heart awakening to truths that in burgeoning there so long to arise and take flight.   So on a half used tissue I wrote these words, my meagre attempt to express this ;

I can cry,

no one can see me sitting here

silently

fissure deep broken open

to reveal a heart,

longing,

so long buried

forsaken

or denied

where could I find myself

under such barren skies

lost

wandering

artless

it seems so long since I ever had a home.

If home is where the heart is…

where is my heart?

Silently beating

between breathless fits and starts

it flutters in my chest

like a broken winged bird

who so long ago lost direction

finding itself in the middle of the flock

broke off

soared freely

captured by winds of desire and inward turning

it was lured to another destination

beyond the mainstream

Where storm filled skies and winds

Led it to crash amongst the rocks

Slipstream

carry my heart,

let it open its wings to the breeze,

let it surrender those defences

which arrest the flow of breath and blood

so that new life can enter

and that broken winged bird

can finally

gain enough strength

to fly again.

Making aloneness of loneliness

Featured Image -- 33573

Arriving home

Deep reminders

Jasper greets me with excitement

Keeping his distance on the deck

Watching and waiting

Longing for food

I feel my heart fall for a moment

I remember how lonely afternoons felt

In childhood

Home alone

No container

Deep dive

Into empty space of absence

Being alone

Yet not alone

And reminders too

Of all those other Fridays

Heart empty and aching

I could only reach for anaesthetic

Fragments of today’s conversation with my niece

 So long estranged

Run through my mind

‘I only know how to be alone’

She said to me

Ancestral imprints deep

No self pity

Absence and longing for those

Who won’t return my call

Keeping their distance

I know why

There is nothing I can do

So slowly I ease into the evening

Tidying things away

Giving Jasper a pre dinner treat

Knowing that no matter how empty I feel

This moment

This very feeling

Is somehow a necessary experience

Full of deeper meaning

I can only welcome everything in

Then settle down

Feeling echo imprints of absence

Emptiness and pain

But knowing also

That as long as I am present

With an ope heart

For all these feelings

I am never truly alone

And that such presence

Makes aloneness

Of lonelieness

Really love

Really is it any wonder so many of us suffer in a society where the true value and need for love, tenderness, empathy and connection can be so absent?   Where society and the media and advertising send us messages to be different, feel different, numb out or soldier on over-riding our body and soul’s need for good nurture, expression and rest? Promoting messages to judge or fear others and not look any deeper than the surface?

Also is it any measure of health to actually be bullet proof, unaffected by the state of the world around us, insensitive to suffering and devoid of feeling or understanding even for those most affected by the inherent violence of our culture?  I firmly believe it is not.  I firmly believe that so called ‘mental illness’ is often just an understandable reaction to trauma, abandonment and abuse and the development of defensive strategies to cope in the face of insanity and at some point the unconscious choice to adopt defensive strategies which block love and keep us trapped in hatred, fear and anger needs to be faced.  Some of us can do it and some of us cannot.

And this is not to imply that we don’t need boundaries against abuse as we do.  We also need a lot of consciousness to see where other’s blockages are adversely affecting us and skilful means for keeping ourselves protected while not blocking out love, or remaining deeply crippled by fear.

I awoke in horror after my dental surgery in the early hours of Thursday morning to the painful realisation of how I surrendered my own protection into the responsibility of others when as an adult it was up to me to protect myself and then I laid myself open for abuse in order to win so called protection and love while surrendering myself and my own soul care at the deepest most fundamental level.  I wasn’t protected as a child so I didn’t get to develop that muscle and it all came out of abandonment wounds repeating along generations.  It has been a tough and bitter pill to swallow but I have ingested it.  Last night I slept for 9 full hours with no break, people that is a miracle in no uncertain terms I have not had that much unbroken sleep for over 10 years.

I really did not feel like I could go on yesterday.   Trying to eat with the new denture felt like hell.  How would my body cope if I could not break the food down?  But then miraculously I was reminding myself to go gently.  Its going to take time to adjust to the new reality and there are deep wounds and such deep, deep, deep sadnesses around that I so acutely need to feel and shed.  I did that yesterday.  And there has been a shit load of loss and pain in my life that never needed to be denied, that I really needed a lot of help to process and at times when I needed that help the pain drew me towards others in deep unconscious pain who wanted to punish me for reminding them of theirs.  Its been a lot to wake up to.  But is 9 am and I am awake, fully!

Today listening to the words of Coldplay “have to find yourself alone in this world, have to find yourself alone” just playing resonate and my skin has chills as Chris Martin stretches that final aloooonnneee out into the atmosphere.  Sooner or later life returns us to the deepest of alone places where we find our hurting child amidst a pile of wreckage and rubble and we have the choice whether or not to pick that child up and love her with a fierce lioness discipline.   Or surrender her to him to the hungry wolves or predators.  And while a lot of the journey inwardly does occur alone, we also need witnesses and helpers, we are never totally alone when we reach out for real help that helps us do the work.

Now the joyous Sky Full of Stars is bursting out of my stereo and that to me seems fitting because the love that bursts out of our soul when we find our love for everything even our deepest abandonment has the power to illuminate us at the very deepest level.  We shine brightest after we have seen and fully embraced the darkest truth that is in us, that really love is the basis of everything never more painful than when it lies deep inside hidden, unrecognised or denied.

This is the rainbow bursting forth from rain and mist, this is the milky orb of the sunshine diluted by clouds and overcast skies that never the less has so much warmth and power in it.  It can never be permanently obscured.

And then I sense shining around me, each ancestor, each one of those stars and we form a constellation of linkages of love, being and essence for these lights never die they only gets obscured at times, sadly and our awakening to our longing for them in the darkest depths, surviving and accepting those depths is what births the truth of love, a love too powerful to deny.

For love really is all, but we just forget it and when we turn our back on it, it follows us in all kinds of ghostly guises we no longer recognise haunting us a long a corridor of years.   Until we remember the truth – turn to face those ghosts, love them embrace them and accept them into our hearts.