A sanctuary for lions

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The following quote just made my heart sing and at the end of it I hope that idea of ‘A sanctuary for lions’ brings a smile to your face.   I wanted to head this post The Lion’s Roar 2, as it touches on so many things I was struggling with this week.

Be Gentle with Anger

Be gentle with anger, Bow before it.  It is not what you think it is.

Let it come closer, let it enter you if you must.  Feel its power.

Until there is no division between “self” and “anger at all.

Until there is only fire,  passion.  But no violence.

Anger is the roar of a lion, the cry of a universe longing to be born.

It reminds you, when you have forgotten.

That the power of life moves through you.  That you matter.

That your voice will not be silenced.

That you have self respect, and deserve to be treated with dignity.

Do not push your anger away, or label it “negative,” “unspiritual,” or even “unhealthy”.  Do not pretend  it is not there.

Feel anger’s pounding, its vibrations, its fire, its longing to be acknowledged, held.  At its burning core, discover your courage.

The courage to be yourself.  To hold to your path, fearlessly.   To speak for those without a voice.  To stand up for truth, for your rights, for the rights of your brother and sister’s, with passion, but without violence.  Know that your heart is vast and spacious, and anger, so often misunderstood, has a home in you.

Be a sanctuary for lions

Jeff Foster

The Way of Rest

Wow!  Doesn’t the wake up the firey sunshine in your Lion heart?  Please join me in my sanctuary for lions, or build your own.

 

I know

I know I have to go forward in love.  I am spending most of the day with my denture ‘out’.  It is painful to have it in place and I start to feel very confined and its making my teeth ache as they used to ache when I had to wear that bridle contraption in my teens at night while undergoing orthodontic treatment.  But I also have to be aware that due to the extraction I will be in pain for a few days and that pain will be trauma trigger for me, so I have to be kind and gentle with myself over the next few days.

I know that I am without a doubt someone who is born to be a free spirit.  I don’t cope well with being shackled or confined or held in too tightly.  I need to burst forth and express, often from a stream of love that I feel. And it occurs to me that if I have been angry or raged in the past those feelings, too, have come not out of hate but out of love, out of the longing for connection and love in world in which at times people can push us away and become so disconnected and deny love.   But the truth is we cannot force love from those who do not know how to, or don’t want to give it to us.  So if we are wounded or healing we do need to surround ourselves with those people who can love us and allow us to be who we are and express and release what we feel from deep within the spring flow of our inner spirit.  If we love ourselves enough we can set those boundaries.

I am also now past caring what people think of me if they see me without teeth.  I don’t really care anymore about appearances as I know that true love and beauty come from deep within, as clichéd as that may sound to sceptics out there. I know I have a spirit of beauty and compassion deep inside me. I know I don’t do well around negative or dishonest people and I don’t view the expression of painful realities as negative at all.  Its just being honest in a society that so often encourages us to numb or shut down.

Anyway writing is how I connect and today I have been spending most of the day at home following my dental surgery, so a few blogs have poured out of me.  I have been able to cry with the pain of a young girl who started out with all her teeth and through a set of painful circumstances lost them over years.  Its a reminder of how I have so often bit down on and swallowed or denied or buried my own frustration and tried to fit into places I wish at the time I had been strong enough to leave behind.  But saying that I know my own emotional abandonment left me disconnected, and vulnerable and begging for scraps.  Now that I am beginning to find a deeper source of love inside I no longer need to reach for those from outside.  I want to be filled from within and be force of love and to me that starts with naked honesty, vulnerability and being true to my essence despite what others may think or not think of me.

Belonging, authenticity and self acceptance

Belonging 2.jpg

Wow I found this when I was looking for quotes and images to put on my post on self acceptance.  I find Brene Brown has some incredible insights into acceptance, authenticity and shame but this one hit me to the core.  I have so often I felt as though I didn’t belong as I was trying to fit myself to situations where I felt out of step, but in recent months, and when I have found myself into those same situations being myself, loving myself and not being besieged and assailed by critical inner shaming or invalidating self talk lately I have felt a far greater sense of belonging and I have been able to be more authentic.  That is so powerfully expressed in this quote, I felt the need to share it. Also in those situations when I have been real it has encouraged others to be real and open too. Its such a gift!

Brave

Bleeding Heart 2

You are brave

To bear your scars

You say I hurt

You say I am vulnerable

You say at times I feel like I wish that I could die

Because the deep down truth is that you suffer

At the hands of others

Who could not bear you being you

It takes such courage to feel that pain of inauthenticity

But somewhere deep inside

You love life

And a fire burns

All your pain

Comes from the harsh realisation

Of how in being starved

You could feel you were less than

And therefore had to beg for or buy love

But true love

Lies in authenticity

Even if the authentic real dark at times with tarnish

Obscures the true brightness of your orphan soul

Exposed to pain

Exposed to life

You travelled down so deep and into such pain and emptiness

Bearing things others could never imagine

To find a love

That now

No can take from you

 

For all survivors of abuse

Angry with my family

Anger

I am not going to deny my anger any more.  I have legitimate reasons to be very angry at my family and my mother and sister in particular for what they put me through following the end of my marriage and even in the years before where I was just never treated with support, empathy and love.  I am sick to death of denying the truth to myself, rationalising it and minimising it.  I just spoke to my therapist and she said my anger needs to flow out and I need to find ways to do that today… write about it in your blog, draw it out or scream it out, do what ever you need to do to get it out of your system she said to me and so this blog is part of that process.  Internalised, invalidated anger has been kicking around inside my system for so long, it resulted in my accidents and in my alcoholism.  Part of my recovery is that I need to speak about it and value and validate my inner self and inner child.

I recognise what happened when I spoke to my mother yesterday when writing my blog A hollowed out shell was that by crying and becoming really vulnerable my Mum roped me into compassion.  Earlier on I had ended the conversation when she was once again telling me I needed to forget about things and put them behind me.   She called me back out of guilt to ask me to dinner and at first I said no and then wanted to relent when she showed me how much pain she was in and how insecure and unable to truly express herself she feels.  While I feel compassion for her I cannot let that over ride my own anger about what happened to me for it is anger that lets me know something hurt me deeply and wasn’t okay and that then helps me set some kind of boundary.  If I get told I shouldn’t have it or feel it that is invalidation abuse pure and simple and if the person is trying to guilt me out of it that is worse abuse.  Full stop! No argument, no debate!

I had a difficult day yesterday.  I noticed I got onto You Tube and posted some videos in two posts which although they had interesting insights don’t really help me to cut to the depth of dealing with the trauma and anger I am still carrying from the head injury that happened to me 12 years ago as the result of my sister and my mother’s meanness. At that stage I needed support and help to heal and grieve and know my truth, but I see how impossible this is to attain from anyone in my family they were just not that awake to the inner self or emotional realities.  My Mum is close to waking up but she seriously needs therapy.  I am sick of trying to be her therapist.  It isn’t my job really and she often told me that its not a good idea to go to others with your problems.  Her bottom line is that you need to work things out alone but that comes from a childhood where she was left alone and had to figure things out all alone.  Yesterday she was touching into deep realities and she told me how she feels so helpless and alone with no one much to talk to about all the things she goes through.  I want to say “well Mum get some therapy” but she never would.  So I end up being the font of all compassion but my compassion now is only prepared to extend so far when no recognition of past hurts or any apology has been forthcoming.

Second reason for anger and terribly acute body symptoms over the past few days has been unresolved issues with my living sister.  She was so awfully mean to me at the aforementioned time, telling me I was a selfish little girl and that I had had a shit of a life and she pitied me.  Oh and also going behind my back to my nephew (my older dead sister’s son) who I was really establishing a close relationship with and telling him how jealous I was of her.  Luckily at that time (just under 3 years ago now) he told me and I confronted her on the day we putting a party on for my mother.  I wish I had just walked out for at first she tried to deny it and then she said he had no right to tell me and then that she thought it was true.  But what I actually think is true is that the situation was the reverse and narcissists always believe they are so wonderful that the universe is jealous of them, why I do not know when the are such superiority junkies looking down their noses at all and sundry.  I have never been that person, as those who know me and have told me its just NOT ME.

Anyway she has softened somewhat in later years and actually did give me a grudging apology about what occurred in 2005 when I confronted her and Mum about it 2 years ago around this time of year.  But it was in no way an apology that came from her heart or truly recognised the damage done and the other day when she rang me about my tooth issue concerned to see how I was, it was I who ended up apologising to her for reacting to the horrible way she traated me.  Did I need to apologise  NO!  And my inner child is very upset with adult me about it and let me know as I woke up with shocking PTSD symptoms yesterday.  Whenever I see my sister my anxiety level goes through the roof and I was telling my therapist today that it was because I feel there is a lot of anger and hurt my body is carrying and the only way it has to come out is as anxiety.  But the mixed up irony is that as anxious as I feel I try even harder to bond with her and its a trauma bond and end up having an extra coffee with her even though its not really good for me to do it, because I feel she may be lonely.

I am aware as I write all this out it may seem like sour grapes to some.  I don’t really care as what you think isn’t my issue.  But what I need to know and see more clearly which is why I am putting it out there in black and white is how I can over ride my own impulses and intuitions. I often find my inner critic attacks my real attempts at feeling the truth of my feelings and most particularly that includes genuine expressions of anger.

Katina, my therapist was today reminding me that as much compassion as I feel I also need to remind myself that its okay to be angry.  So many of the messages around me growing up in family and Catholic school were based on anger being a ‘bad’ or negative emotion, when really anger is a signal of something from our deepest, truest inner self.  If we deny or over ride our own angry impulses we end up in such strife.  I have had so many accidents due to traumas from my past or pain replaying over in the present moment and this is one of the saddest facts about trauma,  it tends to attract more of the same to us but most particularly for those of us who were taught to value compassion, rationalisation and excuses over valid expression of anger.  So many times I have been told I better be careful as anger is dangerous, but this is only the case when it is not cleanly and clearly expressed, or if it is expressed aggressively.   We need to be so mindful of where our sore angry spots lie because when triggered they are signs of something from the past that needs to be dealt with or is calling for our awareness or attention, if we don’t pay attention we are in trouble  It won’t do us any good to act our anger out on those who really are just triggering a massive back log of past stuff but we still need to be aware that such people aren’t good to be around on a long term basis.  I am sad to say that goes for my family at present, much as I long for their love, when they are around it comes with huge reminders of pain from the past.  I have not ‘let it go’ yet, it hasn’t let go of me.

Its difficult writing this, as I was the television was just turned on by some automatic process.  I went over and Jasper my dog had his ear on the remote but what was most interesting was that it was a show called Compass and was on a priest’s life, and at that moment in time he was speaking of the ‘false ego’ that has to die if we want to fully embrace our humanity.  It made me question the wisdom of hanging onto my anger.  Maybe my sister had changed now and has soften, maybe she regrets what she did to me all of those years ago.  Maybe my mother wishes she hadn’t been so cruel to have chosen my sister over me when I was ‘too sad’ grieving at the end of my marriage.  I truly don’t know the answers to these questions.  Is my anger coming from ‘false ego’?  Is that why the television automatically came on?  I don’t know either but I am putting this in my blog as part of the mental process I go through on a day when I am trying to make sense of and deal with this anger from the past and the deep wound in me that gets triggered around this time of year.  I feel less angry now after writing this.  I have attempted to express my true reality, for what it is worth.   And I appreciate any feedback or any sharing from others about how you have dealt with your own anger.

And in the interest of openness the following are just a selection of anger quotes I came across on line :

 

 

The power and necessity of self expression in healing trauma

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I woke late this morning to hear the tail end of a very powerful interview with an aboriginal writer and artist. Rhonda Collard Spratt who has recently written a book on the trauma of being one of the stolen generation, those precious young children who were forceably removed from family and community ‘for their own good’ by white people who actually invaded their country and set up missions to educate them out of their indigenous ways and subjected them to all kinds of abuse.

She was sharing about her experience, about the power of story and the importance of grieving for those of her people who suffered abandonment and abuse on an emotional level due to be stolen and were subjected to harsh discipline.  One of the things she said which really struck me were the words :  “Many of my own people are drowning in their unshed tears”.  She then spoke of the essential need to grieve, of taking that little one on our knee, caring for him or her, loving him or her, listening to his or her pain, letting him or her shed tears.

She also went on to share about how many times when she has tried to share her pain or her story she has been ‘shut down’ by white people.   I hear it myself all the time on various media, white commentators saying how its been going on too long and that aboriginal people ‘need to put the past behind them’.  Little understanding is given to how that is actually done nor is their a recognition that is a process and that what was stolen in childhood left wounds, wounds and memories that will always be there no matter how much so called ‘healing’ happens.

It is really only since the formal apology to aboriginal people in this country which occurred in 2007 that attention is actually being given to the grief of the stolen generation together with the recognition that what was done all those years ago caused great hurt and trauma which has left a lasting legacy, especially of addiction for so many.

In another interview last week a woman who was subjected to years of sexual abuse by a priest was speaking about her experience about which the movie Don’t Tell has been made.   Her therapist was also interviewed and she was saying how important an apology or recognition of what was done to children is, and how healing is blocked when we cannot find this.  I know this is an issue I have struggled with all of my life, mine was not sexual abuse, it was emotional neglect, invalidation and teasing but I have been so often gaslighted or blamed in the past that I learned to turn my painful feelings inside and medicate them with booze and drugs.

In the interview the aboriginal woman was saying how many of her own people have died due to medicating pain in this way.  She was speaking of how essential it is for others not to judge, to show empathy and understanding.  She then spoke about going back to one of the communities with a fellow sufferer where she had been abused and of how the person wanted to hit one of the priests she saw there.  The person involved would hang aboriginal children on the clothes line when they wet their pants, leaving them hanging their for hours.  My immediate thought was that the priest deserved a smack!  I was thinking about that, what happens when we are not allowed to express the anger in some way and of how grief is so much a part of that anger and may only be felt once and after the angry outburst can be expressed.

Internalised anger is, I believe, behind so many auto immune diseases.  It relates to pain gone inwards or internalised, buried deep inside the tissues, healing involves externalisation and ex – pression that we press the pain outwards and let it exit the body.  We need places to pour in into too, places to contain it, and validation is so important in this regard, for from my experience and understanding when invalidation or blocking of our feelings happens we can de – press it and all the now toxic unexpressed feelings and pain gets sent back inside to kick around in our systems where it burns and lives a vibrational charge and other imprints dumped deep in the cells.

AB

At the moment in Australia there is a huge push by aboriginal people for recognition of what happened to them in the past.  Deeply painful as it is, what occurred for indigenous races all over the world at the hands of imperialist colonialism is part of the evolutionary story of mankind.   These primitive people are immersed in the unconscious and connected to the earth and to the deep soul in ways so many modern people are not, due to the evolution of ego centred consciousness where religion and materialism became so powerful as a way of defending against and finding meaning when humans were confronted with the power of destructive forces, namely the Black Plague which killed millions.  To be black or of a different colour to so many whiteys was to mean one’s value was diminished.  A lack of empathy and a rugged need for possession and survival was what pushed so many to overrun and steal and kill and disempower indigenous races.  It was a case of the heroic ego gone wild.  Such stealing and killing and disempowerment forces live on, these things happen not only on an outward physical level, but also as deeply powerful psychic forces both within and without form any of us who suffer abuse and neglect or shaming of our emotional selves and are now trying to recover while being left with a deeply painful legacy of years of trauma.

And that is why it is so essential for us to connect to the child within us, that part of us that like aboriginal people can feel him or herself to be connected to the earth and stars, that natural joyous spontaneous part of us which reaches out in love, does not take refuge from fear in separation, attack and killing off, that part of us that is open to all that we feel and all that we see and all that we know deep inside.  When this part is stolen or when it goes missing or is buried deep down inside, we lose so much of our essential connection to spirit, we lose our powerful rebel yell, we lose our joy, our hope, our strength, our power to say ‘No’ and we become immobilised and have difficulty moving with the feelings to flow forward in healing, instead blocking them or burying them.

What was being spoken of this morning in that interview really concerned that process.  The advice she gave was to find some way to be able to tell the story of what happened to us, to sing it, to write it, to paint it, even to dance it out.  These are all ways of ex – pressing of pressing the experience out and giving it some kind of shape and form outside the container of our body.

In true healing we open ourselves body, mind and soul to our story, to whatever pain arises, we welcome it in, we give it a place, we say to it “I see you, you are real”, but healing involves also the deep recognition that this pain is not ultimately stronger than the deeper spirit in us which can open to be its container and can become then too the releaser too of what ever pain, feeling or expression needs to be liberated in the singing, in the writing, in the telling, or in the dancing.  This to me is both the witnessing and the shedding which are such necessary parts of healing.

In another interview last night a video was aired of a young man who went through a very deep depression and recorded his raw pain one night alone on video on his computer in a Tennessee hotel room.  He felt the only way to go through that dark night was to express it, and to have no shame, but to be naked, raw and real.  The video was shown last night on the Australian Show The Project.  He has now started a movement called The Heart on Your Sleeve movement which is a kind of counterbalance movement towards the social media sharing of happy, shiney experiences.  It is a movement to encourage those who struggle to express the authenticity of their experience.

So many of are suffering not only due to ‘mental illness’ but more as a response to the trauma history of our collective which is now seeking understanding and expression.  As I see it there is a deeper movement going on.  Its beyond what I can express this morning in my blog and breakfast is calling, but I think it involves realising that we all suffer and feel vulnerable, that strength lies in sharing that vulnerability, in opening our hearts to the truth, in banding together to accept and love and show tolerance, compassion and understanding.  To begin to pay more attention to depth of our being than the mere superficiality of our at times empty  or pretence filled ‘over doing’.  And that perhaps this awakening happening on such a collective level shows that as a collective we are at an essential time of growth in recognition and understanding towards a necessary evolution of consciousness in which as we connect to truths in our own cells we also connect to the cells of mother earth and learn how the ways we seek to run, deny or numb our pain impact there in terms of mass consumption and overriding of those indigenous cultures who have so much to teach us about how we could reconnect to nature within and without.  Its just a thought I will leave you with as I go off to get breakfast.

A voracious inner critic : some reflections on self judgement

I seem to have a very tenacious and resilient inner judge living deep inside my psyche.  When I personify this force it becomes a ‘he’ though I am sure the things that judge or Mr A as I used to like to call him says are actually an amalgam of things said to me in childhood more by the nuns at my Catholic school than my parents alone.  The nuns were actually female, but come to think of it most of them were squashed in their true deep vibrant sexually alive feminine, really.

I was discussing this in therapy with Katina yesterday.   Mr A runs an ongoing commentary on everything I do, casting his wet blanket on it.   For example, last night after a very emotional session with Katina where I read her a blog I wrote on Monday about memories and deep emotions that were coming up for me this week over the loss of my life in England many years ago I wrote a poem Goodbye to the Meadows.  Immediately after I published it the criticism from Mr A rained down.    “Do you think you are going to get any likes on that poem which is full of sentimental nostalgia for things long gone by, things lost that you can never have again?”  “And in any case don’t you think you are romanticising everything?” “For God’s sake the past is gone, you will never get it back!”  Thanks Mr A for your compassionate support and I am grateful for your healthy dash of realism, but!

Surprise, surprise.  After walking back to the shopping centre after dropping my car off for a service I opened my email to find 8 likes on my post which I read back and just seemed to be a very heartfelt expression of the sadness I felt yesterday and the tears of longing and love shed for our narrow long backyard with a Walnut tree at the end which looked over fields and was home to various wildlife, including squirrels and robins, all gorgeous little creatures we don’t see much in Australia.  Why did the inner critic have to give me such a hard time?

Come to think of it, though I am only one of the millions or others who probably suffer at the hands of these kind of inner voices.   I am not entirely sure but I feel that on some level this voracious inner critic tries to keep us safe in some sad or deeply confused way. If he can beat us up before others do maybe we won’t hurt so much if we get outside criticism.

One of his favourite things to say is this:  “Just you watch out that you don’t get too big for your boots, young missy.”   As a dramatic and open child who was very expressive and loving I didn’t really meet much support of those kind of qualities in my own family.  And at our dour Catholic school you were more than likely to get a harsh rap over the knuckles if you let yourself get carried away or showed too much initiative.  I remember once getting a bollocking from Sister Rita for daring to go to the cupboard and open a new box of tissues.  With a face red from hyperventilating she screamed at me.  “You are bold as brass, Miss Willemsen, bold as brass!”  As a youngster her reaction surely showed I was a sinner who must work hard to erase such behaviour.  She struck the fear of God into me and I learned to try to hide my initiative and motive pretty much from there on in.

A key dream that I had just before my ex husband and I decided to return to Australia from the UK in late 2001, after my older sister came to grief and my mother had a bad fall fracturing her wrist was one in which I found myself outside a classroom being asked to rescue a class of children who were being held in stocks by a huge old nun with a big bunch of keys hanging off the belt on her skirt.  In the dream my fear got the better of me and the dream ended before I could make the necessary rescue.  We went back to Oz, even though by then I was truly regretting my decision to return.  I am still in Australia after two attempts to get back to the UK, the last of which ended in a massive head injury.

Planet of communications Mercury is apparently currently in a long drawn out conjunction with the planet of individuation and liberation from repression Uranus at present and I have noticed a distinct elevation of my mood and thoughts over this past week.  I seem not to be as stuck in things.  It’s no wonder all of these issues are coming up at present for me.  My psyche is trying to break out of something and I am being shown the path of the past 16 years since (can it really be that long) where I was led on what seems often to me to be like a massive regression.

Carl Jung often talked of the regression which serves the needs of the deeper Self whose needs and agenda lie far beyond or beneath our conscious will and ego objectives.   And it appears to me that in some way I am being asked to rephrase things and find deeper meanings than the inner critic can provide.  The critic thinks its keeping us safe but really its perspective can be deeply limited at times.  At other times it may give us really valid and useful information.  However it is also so important that we allow a voice to the inner nurturer who can provide us with essential qualities of self compassion and acceptance and counter the destructive voice of the critic that wants to shame us and lay everything to waste, most especially joy!

For me I wish the critic would get off my back and l will continue to fight to free my self expressive voice.  The Moon’s nodes are moving back into Leo and Aquarius.  With the North Node in Leo we are being called to embrace and express our deep inner creative self outside restrictive more’s of societal convention.  We need our wild voice and our sad voice and our guilty voice and our triumphant voice.   We need to embrace all of our disparate parts and give birth to the witness who in standing firmly at the inner centre of our Self can embrace all, express all, contain all and transform all with a radiant love that allows our unique being to coalesce into a rich multifaceted prism : a kaleidoscopic lens through which we can transform and re-envision our lives and world.