Acceptance : healing from the inside

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The single most healing attitude we can hold towards ourselves is one of acceptance.  Even if there are parts of ourselves that we don’t like or that we struggle with, is there some way we can learn to love and accept these parts of us and understand where they come from and perhaps even learn to look deeper into where self critical views came from?

Self rejection seems to be such a huge part of our culture.  It becomes even more prevalent if we were raised in an environment or home where there was neglect or invalidation abuse.  In this case self rejection can become a huge part of our inner landscape, not really loving and accepting ourselves for who we truly are means that self condemnation and low self esteem become an habitual way of life.  The inner critic forms inside of us making feelings guilt, shame and powerlessness central issues we struggle with and we may try to hide these feelings from ourselves and others or silence then with addictions.

Add to this the complication of the fact that if as a child difficult things occurred which may have not been our fault we may have mistakenly come to believe that something we did played a part, for example the early death of a parent, illness in a sibling, abuse or chronic rejection.   Well into adulthood we may go on struggling with the critical voice inside of us or deeply unconscious feelings of guilt that cause all kinds of probelms.  We may also begin to learn to turn that critical voice outwards.  We come to believe in negative expectations.  If we feel we are not good enough we won’t learn to set appropriate boundaries against abuse or we may go on fearing rejection when there is actually no need to maintain such a fear.  We then learn to live from a self fulfilling prophecy which just brings more of the same to us.

The way out of such a dilemma is the practice of self acceptance, self care and love.  When we have distressing critical attacks we can learn to address the critical voice and the shame it may be trying to pass onto us in a loving way.  We don’t even have to argue, we can agree with the critic that we are messy or absent minded or careless but recognise that such traits have nothing to do with our self worth or lovability.  As human beings we don’t need to be ‘perfect’ to be loved, we should not have to ‘earn’ love by forcing ourselves into shapes others would like us to assume or by hiding who we really are deep inside, even if we are deeply emotional and deeply hurt or angry.  All such feelings really are acceptable, but he hard truth is that in childhood and even well into adult hood we may have been around those who struggled to accept such feelings and so we learned to internalise a similar lack of acceptance.

We can also, as we grow in critical self insight and self acceptance, learn that we cannot always expect a perfect love from those around us, who in being human are not perfect either.   I struggle at times when I hear of those who suffered some neglect in childhood saying they are going ‘no contact’ with parents.  Often it is apparent the parent has suffered deep wounds, wounds they may have passed on, and I do understand if the abuse is bad the person would not want a lot of contact.  But at the same time it is true that human beings suffer in all kinds of different ways in the course of their upbringing and so often pass this suffering onwards.

When we choose to undertake a journey of inner healing we are on a course to open up to this so called ‘shadow’ material or dark side in ourselves and in others.   We are on a journey to explore all the blockages of separation, fear and guilt as well as shame that have kept us from the experience of love, we are also being called on a journey of forgiveness.  We don’t ever have to like what happened to us, forgiving does not mean we ever say that what happened to us is okay, but forgiveness is the conscious choice we make at one critical stage in our healing process when we get to see the cost of pain passed on over years, ages or generations and resent into and through our own emotional systems and in relationships and see with absolute clarity that the cost of holding onto it is too great a price to pay and solves nothing.

Working through our anger may take years.  We find it hard to let down that steely defence which in keeping us protected blocks us from truly expressing the deeper pain or sadness of the hurt we feel, grieving and mourning in order to pass through the process, releasing from deep within our cell tissue traumas that hurt.  We may never have the hurt, or anger or sadness validated by the other person. In order for many o fus to heal we most certainly initially need to seek validation from someone but most importantly in time we must learn to find it from deep within our selves and our own souls for this is where our true healing lies.

Once our reality is validated from inside it becomes so much easier to love ourselves, to know that we were always worthy of protection and care but that also life is not perfect and due to this we as humans can and do suffer all kinds of hurt and abuse.  We may think “this should never have happened to me” but the truth is it has.  Hate it as we must we have to deal with the consequences and further we have to learn how to live a peaceful and loving life from within that place in order that we don’t go on to re-enact the hurt upon ourselves or others over and over and over again.

Most certainly it helps to have a champion or companion on this journey.  In my own life the unconditional loving presence of my therapist Katina has meant so much to me.  I have and do struggle with such self criticism at times, mostly over things that were so far outside of my control, with Katina I get a reality check as to where I am being too hard on myself and I see also where others can at times be hard on me and I see that I can stand up for my truth in the face of that.  I had an incident yesterday where I had to do that with someone who was a bit of a bully and was trying to criticise me in a joking way.   I didn’t have to carry the anger of it as I took the steps to stand up for myself at the time.  In years past his criticism could have launched me into a negative spiral for some days.

Self love, self care, self compassion and self acceptance are such critical issues on our healing journey from neglect, emotional abandonment and any other kind of trauma or abuse.  These are the healing balm to counter the voices and forces of self condemnation and self rejection that we may have internalised while growing up in dysfunctional environments and societies full of shame based attitudes which can leave such a destructive lasting legacy and impact recycling for years.  Without them it is hardly possible to heal and grow as we so need to.

 

Push, push, push

Masterchef Australia is currently on tele here in Oz and the refrain push, push, push is heard nearly every night but its a reminder to me that sometimes I just need to rest, rest, rest because I can push and push and push to have to get things done and sometimes its coming out of anxiety or critical energy.

Earlier I wrote a post that touched on positive self will, I guess this is action which is line with Self that tries work in a balanced way to both project us into the world, but at the same time tell us when to rest, go easy, or take it slow. In childhood I never got to experience relaxed happy times with my parents.  It was a very duty bound home full of responsibilities and in some ways this can be good but not when it interferes with my ability to relax, let go and have some fun!

After getting into a rage last week about being stuffed around by the dentist and that arking up all my head trauma, I then got reminded of how it felt to be around family energy.  Just this morning my brother called from America.  He is go, go in the garden nearly put his back out by digging in the front yard.  “Just be sure to take care of yourself”, I said.  Then when I had to share about my dental trauma there was absolutely zilch emotional reaction or connection just a dull heavy emptiness and as so often happens after I got of the phone to him I found myself in tears.  My family are JUST SO SHUT DOWN.

Later my sister called to say that in training this morning her personal trainers dog jumped on her and soiled her nice clean leggings,  I just wanted to say ‘get lost’ she said.  I considered this with a calm irony.  I just said “Wow I can almost sense Mum’s flared nostrils from here!”    I remember how my dead sister would never let my mother remove old flowers from her room and how she loved the story where Mum visited a family friend’s farm and got upset due to ending up with chicken shit on her shoe…this delighted my sister.

I have empathy for my Mum though, to be left that alone when you are young and then to feel the only way you can find value or worth is by taking control, keeping everything perfect and looking good is very sad on some level when it costs a heavy price in being able to just let loose, laugh at chaos and have some fun.  I get anxious just thinking about the chicken shit, to be honest but I think that is a conditioned reaction.

I allow my own dog to jump up when he wants too.  People at the dog park don’t mind, I know some would consider it not a good sign, a sign of ‘bad manners’ or inadequate training. I see it as a sign of how affectionate he is and how much he loves people, and having him has re-connected me with that part of myself which so long ago went into hiding in a home where we were conditioned to think more about how we looked on the outside, than about how we felt on the inside and must keep genuine needs and interest locked behind a wall of fear or shyness.

Today, once again I am not going to push, push, push.  I just had a moment where I realised I was pushing and then felt really, really sad and an inner voice just said to me “how bad could it be if you just relaxed for a while?”  So for the first time in over 2 years I sitting in my faded floral chair in my small dining room and writing this.   It feels GREAT!

I know I can overcome my childhood conditioning.  Day by day I am learning more about it.  A constant theme in therapy is about how the inner critic pushes and savages me and I am learning to let go.  I had a positive dream last night in which I was being expected to make a meal at an event where there was already a lot of food, I decided in the end not to make anything even though I felt guilty.  I see that as a good sign.  The other positive dream image was that I had met a lovely man and he got undressed to get into bed, I was about take off my jeans and then I felt I wasn’t ready.  I got into bed next to him and said.  “I’d like to take my time to get to know you before we sleep together.”  He was fine with it.  I am nearly crying as I write that because sadly due to low self esteem and lots of emotional intimacy hunger in my teenage and younger and even older adult life I have jumped into bed with partners far too soon, and in the last relationship warning signs were there at the start that he had narcissistic issues and I overrode my own instincts when he asked me to have sex as I was so lonely.  This dream seems to auger really well for boundary issues.  Maybe my ‘no’  and self esteem muscles will get stronger in time.  Maybe I no longer have that same hunger due to my inner work and can now be a lover to myself, first, maybe I am learning to practice self care.  The dream sure seems to be saying just that.  Thank you God.

A hollowed out shell : realisations on the way to freedom

******TRIGGER WARNING : THIS POST CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE *****

I’m having deeper realisations today.  I see how I am living in a hollowed out shell.  It’s an encasement I built in trying to stay connected to my family, out of fear of walking away and leaving them behind, staying tied in my mind to a childhood mythology of connection when in fact there is no deeper connection between us on a personal level.

I feel like a stranger in a strange land, a little child who lived for so long behind glass screaming out for love and attention from people who could never see her.  On my side of the glass I see all of them going through the motions but its a pane of glass which from their side is opaque, they cannot see me or understand or hear my soul and its beginning to occur to me that just possibly they were never meant to.  If I had become subsumed in their world would I ever have really fitted there?   Maybe it was always my karma as the youngest most attuned one to be more aware of deeper realities they were blind to.

The truth is that spiritually I don’t feel a great connection to the mainstream culture around me.  I watch it with a kind of curious detachment.  On some level I am aware that this world is not my ultimate home, that I am on some level on a spiritual journey that has set me apart and all my attempts at belonging are doomed to fail for ultimately they rest on the negation of who I really am at a deeper level, a person who lives as an essence beyond all human ‘roles’, ‘positions’ or even points of view.   I just never found ‘my place’ whatever that is and I feel more connected to the world of night time and dreams than to human schemes that often seem to end in such peril.

And yet as I am writing this I am also aware of the critic’s voice in the shadows saying to me, don’t you think this all comes out of your own childhood trauma of being raised in a family where you never felt connected to?  Yes, probably!  As the black sheep maybe I have yet to find my true place of belonging or maybe I have a job to do with learning to rebuild authentic connection with others which comes from living more ‘unmasked’, vulnerable, open, raw and real!

And it occurs to me that possibly at the moment that the past ties that bind me to others are breaking apart and I am being freed at some level. I had a chat with my mother yesterday.  I couldn’t talk to her last week after all my rage came out over the phone with her. It wasn’t targeted at her but at the dentist who has left my dental surgery hanging in a suspended sentence but the anger was also hers, the anger, frustration and perfectionism with a huge dose of survival fear that was passed down to all of us unrecognised, unmediated, undigested.   She seemed oblivious when she called me yesterday, more concerned with sharing the pain over the loss of a close friend, and telling me I really must learn not to get so angry.  I then started to feel guilt for my resentment and that she had to go to the funeral alone, but later on I realised I didn’t need to feel guilty, my anger was genuine and I am not responsible for my Mum, I can care for her but I can’t always be there when I am going through my own issues.

I have tried for so many years to be my Mum’s emotional caretaker and also she has roped me into that role with my other sister, getting me to feel all kinds of uncomfortable feelings of responsibility which are just not mine.   I recognised after yesterday that the pattern of connection with my Mum is that I care for her emotional needs and feelings while she tells me to put all of mine behind me and forget about them focusing on the present.  Ultimately that might be good advice when we have actually been able to have those emotions, feelings and needs and been able to express them in the first place.  I am FUCKING OVER THIS ROLE,   DID I SAY THAT CLEARLY ENOUGH, I AM FUCKING OVER IT!!!!!!  And the cost is that I carry everything and have not one recognition given of any pain I have suffered at their hands.  FUCK IT AND DOUBLE FUCK IT!!!

I am wearing the cost of a traumatic head injury all as a result of what went down when I really needed my family’s emotional support following the end of the marriage I sacrificed 13 years ago.   At that point my sister forced my Mum to choose between her and I… it was insane….. my Mum chose her because I was ‘too sad’.  That drove me 12,000 miles away.  At that time I should have broken all contact with them and gone forward into my own life, but my older sister was still alive and I didn’t want her to be emotional abandoned so I was back and forward between the UK and home and at that point (a year out of my marriage and when I suffered the head trauma) I was 12,000 miles from home with next to no protection or support around me.

I think there is an anger which is separation anger.  I think it is a legitimate feeling that we need to feel.  This kind of anger is clean and clear, it isn’t resentment.  It helps us to recognise what needs to be done, what is needed by our soul to be free and get clean and clear.  This anger helps us to recognise what hurts us and say ‘ouch’ so that we can set boundaries.  It is the rebel yell we need to have to maintain our authentic essential connection to self and yet we float about as an individual in a precarious sea of others who have a very deep investment in us not being different or real or true to ourselves by rocking their boat and so often if we are empathic, in feeling so deeply what they don’t feel, expressing anger becomes deeply problematic as we see how unconscious others so often are.

The choice to be us, to be an individual is ultimately our responsibility and demands that we leave the victim stance behind and yet we are also part of collective and families where we struggle to express and live our essence surrounded by the force fields of others.   My anger says “others hurt me, I need to care of myself”.  We need boundaries but what happens when boundaries become walls and defences that we use to keep all others out, is this where love compassion and discrimination comes in.  If others are dismissive to our deeper wounds do we accept that they were never meant to understand and also accept that in the end our task as emotionally mature adults is to take care of our own inner child.  In the end isn’t it only we who can do that to the extent that we become aware of our inner child’s wound and in doing so don’t we become aware of the wounds of others and learn to show compassion but when is our compassion self defeating to our own needs and journey  I am struggling here as you can sense.

In the middle of writing this blog my Mum called me back.  We had an honest talk.  I shared with her how angry I feel when she doesn’t seem to hear me and she shared with me her vulnerabilities and her deep sense of inadequacy, how alone and ill equipped she had felt following my father’s death, how exhausted by the mental health struggles of her two daughters (I really wish she would have some therapy and take some ownership of what went down.   She broke down and I felt so much compassion for her which is the old pattern but as an empath I can’t seem to stop it.

I saw how even though she is my mother she may not actually be the emotionally mature parent figure in our dyad, she hasn’t had the benefit of any therapy or emotional recovery.  The good thing was that we could each share out pain honestly and I saw more and more clearly how I have to look to others to provide and help me learn to provide for myself emotionally what is impossible for my emotional ill equipped Mum.  In the end she passed on a portion of her wounds to each of us.  In the end she has done what she could to provide for us on financial levels, in the end she gave to the very best of her ability all that she could and perhaps too much in the wrong ways.   In the end its time to for me to separate and grow up realising more and more about the wounded abandoned child who living so deeply buried inside so often had to remain hidden or find guises to hide behind which may help him or her appear big and strong when really he or she wasn’t.

Compassionate consciousness, empathy, realisation of where the bondage of self may obscure from us a larger view of all important things these are all so essential on my path of recovery.  One things I know Mars in Cancer coming towards an opposition with Pluto soon is revealing deeper layers of the generational mother wound deep inside that left a hollowed out shell in which new seeds of life and consciousness are growing.

Mum, I feel your pain

As a highly sensitive person were you attuned to pick up on one of your parent’s pain?  It is something I have been thinking about a lot more after a dinner out last night with my Mum, older brother and sister.  We very rarely get together and what I noticed is how shut down both my siblings are to my mother on an emotional inner child level.

I have a deep feeling that my 8 year older sister has a lot of unresolved anger to my Mum.  It used to come out in harsh criticism and I am sure there a lot of things she has to be angry about.  My Mum often tends to compete with her and they are so alike that often when they go out they turn up dressed the same without knowing before what the other one was going to wear.  When my sister was struggling with so called ‘bi polar disorder’ I witnessed several arguments in which my Mum tried to undermine my sister.  Last week I had one of the most honest conversations I have ever had with my sister.  “Mum never made it easy for us to separate from her emotionally”, she said.  Wow!

I watched the whole thing play out.  How my sister was forceably hospitalised by her sons, how my Mum struggled to accept her part in the way she had shaped my sister in terms of taking responsibility and then how she called my brother in to put out the fire.  Being in recovery I sat on the sidelines and tried my best not to get too swept up in it all, I was struggling at the time following my own divorce.

Anyway I got a bit off track there.  I am aware that as the ‘baby’ of the family I have absorbed and replayed a lot of my Mum’s inner child abandonment issues.  When I first got sober back in 1993 Mum made a very interesting comment to me. She said “Each of my children has absorbed something from me.”  “What have I absorbed”, I asked.  “You have absorbed all my insecurity.”  Wow thanks for that Mum, I got to be left alone a lot and then tried to become a satellite in order to be seen but was so rarely seen.

Such a pattern has often attracted strong older sister or mother types into my life who seem to hold a lot of power but also exist behind solid defences.  I am presently learning to hold onto my own sense of self in such relationships and remain the adult rather than repay an old adult/child pattern.   As a perceptive person I pick up a lot, most especially of others suffering and I have in sobriety spent so many times listening to my Mum’s history, learning things none of my siblings even know since I guess they are not on any kind of emotional recovery journey.  My older sister died and my other sister has chosen medication and sport as a way to deal with her own challenges.  I don’t put myself above her as I often feel I should exercise more and it is one way of throwing off other people’s stuff but as someone in recovery I am also aware of how exercise can be used as an emotional escape if the inner work on feelings is not being done.

Anyway last night I was very conscious of sitting with my Mum and listening to the pain of her past, and of the sadness she held inside when she spoke of how no one seemed interested in the family to ask her anything about her childhood or even very key critical events in the history of her early life with my father.   I don’t take it on as a burden for understanding my Mum and Dad’s history, especially their inner child history and bonding history has been important to understand my own attachment issues. But I do have to be aware that my Mum’s pain is not mine to fix or heal in any way.

As an empath I can bear witness and sometimes I wish I could be as hard and defended as my brother and sister seem to be towards my Mum’s sadness.  Maybe as the older ones they see things I don’t see.  And I am not really close enough to them to ask certain questions, as I don’t know how much I could trust their answers.  I am also aware of the astrological synastry which involves interconnection between parent and child and shows which traits we pick up and which we defend against.  In my own case my Neptune in Scorpio that is attuned to deep watery realms of feeling and inner sense on the deeper personal and collective unconscious level is smack bang on three Scorpio planets of my Mum.  While my sister has Saturn in Scorpio which related to fear of feeling deep emotions and subsequently erecting powerful defences.  I feel lucky to have that kind of knowledge which helps me make sense of why I pick up and attune to so much.

Mars Chiron : awakening old wounds for healing and care

Chiron

Apologies to those who get sidelined by astrological symbolism, but when I read the monthly astrology on Lua Astrology’s website last night where astrologer Lea Whitehorse spoke of the Mars Chiron square to become exact on June 2, suddenly the deep pain I was in over the weekend made sense.  Prior to this we have  also  been experiencing Mars opposite Saturn which is not the easiest of transits.  Mars represents our self assertion or self expression, the soul desire for forward movement and action from heartfelt or imperative need and when it meets Saturn we experience deep frustrations, blocks or no go areas, alternatively we may have to slow down, mature and look for different options and so adjust our desires and need for movement or expression.  Its painful.

I have the aspect in my birth chart and I can tell you that since I have been young trying to express and go after what my soul and heart desires has been problematic to the degree that in childhood I began to subvert my true needs and desires.   I also have Moon with Mars and Saturn and we were raised in a very duty bound house when I was growing up.  Life was intensely serious, my mother was either elsewise engaged and trying to keep everything running perfectly or overworking and was then exhausted to the point any fun or mess or natural chaos caused an angry reaction or was a drain.  My parents fun times involved a lot of older adults and drinking or going out on the boat which I abhorred.  I was happiest on the beach with my surfboard growing up.

This authoritarian, dogged, do the right thing side of me often squashes the fun part.  My ‘fun’ later in life involved alcohol and drugs and these are not enriching pass times, they drain life and energy and leave one with a hangover and even more disconnected, or at least they did in my case.  So it is interesting that this aspect coincided with getting together with old drinking buddies from that time of my life and being faced with a huge brick wall of deep pain and hurt from the past.  I opened up my wound with them late on Friday night shortly before we were due to go home when they were already on about their 6th glass of champagne.

I know I am so lucky to be sober.  I was in deep pain over the weekend but I did my best to sit with it and feel it and affirm myself for feeling it.   The Chiron wounding part though is that it brought back to me the ways I have felt imprisoned or caged by a dark past I am trying my best to break free of.  In her commentary on this aspect currently Lea Whitehorse, UK based astrologer made the point that being opened to wounds at this time would draw our attention to the need for better self protective boundaries.  This rang true for me and dovetailed with what I wrote yesterday in one of my posts.

Chiron was a centaur in mythology who got wounded in the Achilles heel with by a poisoned arrow left lying around in the Hydra’s den after one of the Hydra’s battles, probably with the Gorgon.  The poison on the arrow going into Chiron in a vulnerable place (and heels or ankles ground our feet and contain tendons that help us to move forward or get away from damaging situations) relates on a psychological level to wounds we encounter by accident or just in the course of life that may leave a poison inside us or paralyse forward movement and faith in life and goodness.  We do not necessarily bring them on ourselves (though we often make them worse by the way we react).  In the myth Chiron’s wound is incurable and acts as a wisdom or insight builder into internal wounds, difficulties, challenges and psychology.  Chiron spends a lot of time helping others and birthing creative visions from the wounds but he never heals and if he did, come to think of it his purpose would be done.

So reflecting on it Chiron Mars times bring those times when we face deep wounds or watch them re-enacted and have to learn strategies to be with them in ways that don’t make the poison or pain inside worse.  Then yesterday when I wrote a little post about the pleasure of finding myself in a lovely present moment free of body and soul pain which I did not post but will today, I was thinking about Echardt Tolle’s concept  of the pain body and how that related to how I was feeling over the weekend.  The wound inside me from the past and due to 5 broken relationships could possibly be healed or eased in a new one, but the pain of aloneness on some of the dark days is hard when I don’t sit with my wounds and be my own best friend, finding ways to self soothe and come to think of it I really experience a paralysed ankle on those days when getting out can in fact be a necessary distraction that helps ease the pain for a time.

Today as yesterday the sun is streaming through windows on a very cold winter morning while my icy numb fingers type.  I find the Sun so healing and warming, it opens up and expands my being and my PTSD is very much about shock, removal, disconnection, dissociation and contract.  The warming power of the Sun counteracts this and lets me open myself more, it counters my Mars Saturn tendency to bite down hard on difficulties and pain.  Earlier today I found myself re-experiencing the anger towards this particular ‘friend’ who many years ago when I was really struggling kicked me out of her party as she had an issue with the guy I was dating at the time.  At that particular point I was in such grief over the loss of my father and was a long, long way from home.   I was very reticent about going to the dinner last week and my inner child was giving me curry over it this morning.

Talking about self protection and Chiron wounds also brings to mind the need we who are traumatised must learn to exercise around discriminating those who are and are not healthy to share our wounds with, when exactly do we open up?  How do we cope with some of the wounding things others who don’t have a clue about trauma and its deep impact say  to us?  How do we deal with the pain body when it becomes very active and preys upon us with its negative thoughts or chains of wounded logic?  How can we release and express our wounds in ways that are not retraumatising for ourselves or others, in way which makes them sources of creative insight?

This morning an idea came to me ‘the juice of the wound’.  In the myth the wounded arrow contains poison and that in itself is a kind of ‘juice’ with certain affects upon us.  That poison or ‘juice’ can and does lodge deep in our emotional bodies, it can immobilise or paralyse it.  Finding a way to ‘let’ it or dispel it seems essential as we don’t want to just stew in it always in a deeply painful way, and yet some kind of ‘stewing’ gives birth to art and poetry.  Juice and stewing images bring to mind the idea of alchemy or cooking our instinctual energies that run amuck or go awry.  It was something Carl Jung devoted a lot of time towards exploring with alchemical images such as those of Lion’s with their paws cut off being roasted in vessels over a fire which a kind of therapeutical or alchemical image for deep wounded healing processes.

Speaking of roasting Lions, last night I watched some of Madonna’s Rebel Heart concert on television.  I am not a huge Madonna fan but I was taken with the anger she was expressing and the hurt that formed the basis of two of her more recent songs Heartbreak City and Living in Love, as a Sun Sign Leo she expressed her angst and hurt in a very dramatic way.  The second song is full of positive lines about how as hurt as she has been she will not allow the hurt to poison her, it was an interesting case of synchronicity after just reading about the Chiron Mars Saturn transits of late.  We all go through pain, we all suffer and some of us do good work with the wounds.  We have our days when they consume us entirely.  The poison runs around our systems and we can feel paralysed or wired, on fire with anger and outrage or flooded and drowned in grief, these are all very human responses to what it is to be a soul that can suffer in the instinctual emotional part of us but we are then left with the outflow or outfall to deal with.  What we do with it I guess in the end speaks a lot about who we are and the attitude we take, after the flood or fire has passed or we have passed through it.  Many of us try to use our wounds to help others. By sharing our pain and suffering we connect to each other and are helped in some small way to feel less alone, in pouring out our experience or by sharing another’s we find the spot where we connect and through expressing and witnessing vulnerability become empowered.

Healer

 

They do the best they can : and when it isn’t enough we struggle to accept and find release.

At times its so hard to appreciate that others are doing their very best when we are not getting what we want or need especially from someone we long for something from in the way of validation or connection.   In this situation the limits of our ability to relate is diminished and its a sad complex feeling when there are deep feelings of hurt or frustration around the relationship or certain things we experience.

The best we can do in this situation is let go and only we can make the decision to do this as in some way the decision involves drawing a line underneath something and perhaps closing a doorway of possibility in our heart we long to keep open.  Then there are the aftershocks we go through as we try to get our head around a situation that has no real solution.  We truly find ourselves in a place where our will and desire is powerless to effect any change.  And I guess that is where I have found the AA serenity prayer so essential, especially in praying for the wisdom to know the difference between what I can and cannot change.  And so often our feelings are just our feelings, they arise organically out of who we are as a person and what we value in our lives and I am sure there is a way to at times change how we feel?

This last question is one that still confuses and mystifies me to a degree because my Mum always tells me I need to feel differently about things and so I guess I have been conditioned to surrender my own feelings and point of view at times.  It occurs to me that this plays a huge part in keeping me stuck and angry as validation is so important of our emotions because as energy in motion of the spirit and soul inside us, such emotions give us so much essential information about what is necessary to keep us well and in a good place.

Learning to recognise our emotions and feelings makes the difference between knowing who we are and what is good for us.  It plays a part in giving us information about what we may need to set boundaries up against.

That is why I feel I struggled a fair bit yesterday after the Sunday encounter with my Mum.  I had a dream last night that the caretaker of the building where my Mum lives wanted to have a sexual relationship with me, he was pressuring me and because I know he is married I told him it would be wrong, but he was trying then to invade my boundaries using his will and power.  I awoke quiet startled and twisted around and feeling like I had to fight to get back to being on my centre.  When I thought about the dream I thought about how so often when I try to address or confront something with my Mum she uses the defence of how hard her own life has been and how unfair it is that I am bringing it all up, she may also collapse in tears but they aren’t adult tears, they are like the tears of a little kid having a tantrum over something.  I then feel so guilty and that I have to take care of her feelings and put my own aside.   And this happened to a degree on Sunday.  Even though we connected and shared mutual pain, I also felt such guilt and shame for having caused my mother sorrow by trying to address and get her to see some of my own pain.  But while it was going on I was talking to myself about what was happening inwardly and saying I didn’t feel it was really fair, but that I would have to accept it as I cannot change my Mum or her reactions.  She had so much to deal with after my father died due to her own father loss issues that she ran into a new relationship too fast, instead of fully working through her grief.  And that left me alone when I finally returned from overseas.

Thinking about this it isn’t any wonder that yesterday I felt very sad and defeated.  I spoke in a recent post about the unhealed wound but after writing it, I began to think how I don’t want an unhealed wound to forever dog my life in totally negative ways.   There needs to be a time when I recognise the deep unfairness of a lot I have gone through in the working out of familial and ancestral karma but also don’t identify with it as strongly since its a wound that should not really forever affect my sense of self.  For what I am seeing is that I am a very kind person with so many good qualities.  The thing that has really dogged me all of my life is low self esteem and that is now something I need to begin to work harder to address.

The fact is that I suffer emotionally when I try to play the role of emotional caretaker of others feelings.  It is something I have done for  lot of my life and at heart it comes out of a feeling of guilt and low self esteem over things that really are not to do with me at all.  How different the last 14 years would have been for me if I was more able to put the focus fairly and squarely on my own life?

I guess some deep patterns can take a long time to see.  I understand now though why I felt the need to rebel in my family.   I see now how deeply and unconsciously a traumatic past has affected me and I see the part I can play in keeping the co-dependency dance going.   Even though it was painful last week having limited contact with Mum I did feel better for it in the long run and I recognise the need to separate emotionally has now become essential for me.

I have compassion for my Mum.  In many ways I don’t blame her any more as I feel she never got the support to really understand her emotions and that my father understand how to deal with emotions even less than my Mum did.  I think the reason I so often give way in my own relationships is that that is what I saw my father do.  Hard as it was the painful incident over the auction for the town house all those weeks ago with Venus retrograde showed me essential things about my relationship with my father and what I did and didn’t learn from and longed for from him.

As I see it now the most critical work I need to do is self parenting my inner child and younger adult self.  I am reading Louise Hay’s book The Power is Within You at the moment and she speaks a lot in that book about how we can be with and establish a strong caring connection with our inner child, that part of us that is the source of all our power, love, truth and joy.  When we neglect this little one or tell her or him horrible things our parents may have told us or were told themselves we really suffer.  I look back on all the mean and unloving things I have said to myself over years and as Louise says would you really feel like you wanted to leap out of bed if you knew deep inside you were going to face a nasty inner adult beating you over the head all day for not being good enough?  Its only natural in this situation that we feel depressed.  And our inner child has a lot of lesson to learn about detaching from others’ reactions which are hurtful or come out of their own disconnected state.

Self love, self joy, self compassion are such important things.   Learning to be strong and to be able to say “No” to what is painful or not good for us in the long run is just SO IMPORTANT.   If we don’t champion ourselves and our own lives how can we grow strong?  How can we be there?  How can we really love others, if loving others means not taking care of us?  And loving others means recognising that often they struggle so much too and are not always there to meet our needs. That so often they cannot be there for us in the ways we may have needed.  So often we transfer old pain of an abandoned or neglected inner child in upon new relationships with people who carry their own deep wounds as well and may not be fully equipped to help, love or understand us.   Loving them as well as us means recognising this, really, well at least I feel it does for me.  For only through this kind of awareness can I really find peace, calm and freedom.  And with these strongly in place I can take care of me and look for relationships where frustration does not outweigh connection and satisfaction of my real needs.

Finding the lost father inside

DAD

When I wrote my last post I actually had in mind to write a post on fathering as one aspect of self parenting.  This absent or overly patriarchial father experience in our childhood leaves us with huge deficits.  Dad is the one who should ideally help us to separate from Mum at the right time in our development.  We need him both to see and admire us but also to set us healthy boundaries for self assertion and expression in the world.  In modern times I am sure mothers can also do this for us but its the father who will give us the guidance to go out into the world and slay the dragons we might need to that block our way or hold us back and often he is the one that should help us in our separation from Mum, but what happens when he just isn’t there?

The overbearing or patriarchial father is one who may try to impose his will on us, and set too firm boundaries, blocking the expression of our true self in the world or forcing us to pursue a false agenda, if this happens its hard to find happiness, we may feel thwarted or cave under due to pressure from stronger wills, thinking we don’t have the right to say ‘no’ to what isn’t right for us, and squashing our ability to stay strong to deep soul impulses and find ways to honour them.

In my background I got a lot of the later at times, having other’s will imposed on me.  My Dad may have seen me foundering after my accident and my sister’s trauma.  I was.  I had just graduated in the year I had my accident from school, but the final months were aborted due to being holed up in hospital, then I went into teaching as I wasn’t strong enough to travel and live in Sydney to do the social work degree I wanted to do.  The following year I left to go North to Uni due to difficulties with all the trauma going down following my older sister’s cerebral bleed but I got overwhelmed without structure and support and then got involved with an addict and my own alcohol consumption was affecting my ability to study.  Deep inside I was terrified of what was occurring, I wanted to go home to Mum and Dad and go back to my teaching but when I got back I was told there would be no argument, I would go into secretarial studies.  Deep down I was SO ANGRY but that would not have been permitted.  So I just went to the course and on weekends started to binge drink and use drugs.

The next 13 years played out with me stuck in secretarial or personal assistant jobs that I did well at but addiction was there in the wings as my soul was restless and deep down on an unconscious level I was not living the life I would have chosen to create for me.

When I suffered further trauma in 1990 with an ectopic pregnancy and a major relationship broke, I finally found the courage to quit my secretarial job and move in another direction but my addiction was firmly in place and I could not develop the good internal fatherly boundaries to develop the career in alternative health I was studying towards.

Eventually I got sober, I married, I found a good job in a bookshop but when my ex husband and I decided to move back to England I went back into secretarial. I had outside interests developing in sobriety into psychology and astrology but I was not sure of how to make a career of them.  I started the psychological astrology course in 2001 and completed only 6 months when I felt the pull back to Australia.  My older sister with all the trauma was being moved to a home and my Mum fell over and was in a lot of distress.  I felt that if I stayed in the UK I would be abandoning them, so my husband and I came back but I was immediately depressed.  I still could not break from the need I felt to fix my Mum and sister, so my marriage ended.  I tried briefly to return to England and my course but had an accident again and so I came home and then I got stuck in another relationship in which I really did not develop my own interests outside.

All along as I review everything with the benefit of hindsight, I see how I have not had a very positive loving father inside to steer or guide me.  I sought out therapy I am sure for this reason and Katina, my therapist and I were discussing yesterday how now therapy will not be so much about containing and holding my pain and grief, and mothering my lost child, but more about working to find healthy ways to develop and express and find meaningful purpose outside what has been a deeply enmeshed family situation over the past years.  It is now up to me to be both loving mother and father to myself with the help from those who can be of assistance, its time to leave the past pain in the past to the degree that I don’t let it keep me stuck or mar either my present or future.

Its curious because today I fell into a big heap after a slow start and I began to get very strong images of my maternal great, great grandfather as he struggled with his own addiction after leaving his home of Cornwall in 1874.  I thought of his pain and of how he in the end was of no help to his family.  His wife left him with 16 children after they moved to New Zealand and those children all had to struggle to find their way in the world.  Some remained in NZ but several migrated to Australia and my maternal great grandmother and my grandmother went to Victoria.

My grandmother met her husband in Victoria and he had at that stage served on the frontlines in various offensives in the First World War, including Lone Pine.  He was only 16 when he joined up in 1916 and from what I know he developed his own addiction as a result and also was gassed so suffered in that way too.  He died when my mother was only 7.

The theme of the absent father occurs like a repeat along my mother’s side of the family.  On my father’s side it may have been similar in that my father’s dad died in 1932 when my father was only 12 and he may also have been a victim of war.  I do believe these imprint themes of the lost, traumatised or emotionally wounded or absent father play down and show up in my chart in the Sun (ruling father) being squared by Neptune (planet of grief, loss, disappearance, vacancy or deep confusion and longing – the longing aspect stronger with Neptune in the sign that so much needs deep passion and attachment : Scorpio).

Having this kind of understanding for me highlights why I struggled so with my masculine, assertive and fatherly side.  That part of me is not very strongly developed within, I have struggled with boundaries for most of my life and addiction as well both of which are Neptunian issues.  I get a bit upset when I lose things, or think I have misplaced things, or when there is a mess or confusion around.  I had a dream about this the other night where my ex had come into a house where I had left piles of mess lying around and tidied up and beautified the place.  But mess at times can be creative too, its in the ability to bring some order to the chaos and confusion that so much art is born.

Fathering myself at the moment seems to be an emerging theme.  I need to spend some time thinking about the skills I do have and how I can put them to good use.  My astrology is important to me and I have always longed to teach it, its just at times I lack the trust in my own capacity to express.  Fathering is the thing that will get me out of emotional overwhelm and unrequited longing at those times when such feelings are counter productive for me.  It is the part that will get me to engage and go for what I want, rather than retreat or just throw up my hands and say it is all too hard.

The past years I have spent focused on my mother wound have born some good fruit, but endlessly focusing on what has been missing is not going to help me today.  Today I have to work to put in and create from what seem like empty spaces.  I need to sit with emptiness for as long as it takes for something to emerge and when it does I need to help it in its quest for life.  To move forward, to grow, to attempt, to try, to express whatever goodness I can in my life.   I feel so sad that I have not been able to sustain this kind of goodness at times but I do hope that this goodness will emerge if I can only keep a positive focus and find that lost father deep inside.