Making myself wrong : taking on other’s burdens, some reflections.

I wrote this post late last night after working through some of the events of the past week.

think I tend to take on a lot of responsibility for situations I did not cause.  Someone pointed this out to me in a comment on another post.  That when we care and know pain and can feel it deeply there really is no insulation that we have from other’s pain. The best we can do is make a decision with our minds to detach from it and be realistic about the limits of our involvement.

In this current situation that I have been sharing about over past weeks there is a long history going back to 1980 when critical events took place in my family.   I make sense of a lot through astrological cycles and when I look to current transits I see what is being triggered at the moment but so much of it was way outside of my control, never the less the ricochet effects deeply affected me.   I was at that stage coming out of my own motor vehicle trauma when the trauma befell my sister and I was about to embark on studies that got aborted and then I got no counselling to help me and was very much on my own in the coming years after my father died.

When I got sober in 1993 I had all of this trauma still locked up inside me.  I tried my best to come to terms with it but I was not helped by my partner nor family and at that point I see I would have been best to make a complete break away, but I needed some kind of support.  Today I was clear with my sister that I could not go to the hospital with my Mum in the ambulance and that I could not go to the hospital tonight either.  My three hours there on Monday night set me back big time on Tuesday.   I don’t want to go under again and if I am going to continue to make progress it really is time to start setting some boundaries.

To be honest as much as I loved my nephew’s company, staying up late while he was drinking and smoking a lot was not something thats good for me.  I had a lot of cleaning up to do yesterday and we had torrential rain while they were here.  When he left he hadnt cleaned anything up.  There were his dirty dishes in the sink and outside a dish full to the brim of cigarette buts with rain water in them.  I cleaned it all up yesterday and finally feel that I have my space back.  I am glad to be able to have my sanctuary here back, as its where I recharge myself.   Now I just need to work to keep at bay critical thoughts and keep practicing self care.

On that note I went to the library this afternoon and a book was waiting I ordered in called Finding True Refuge,  I don’t know if any of you have read the author Tara Brach’s earlier book Radical Acceptance, I  read it quite a few years ago and got a lot out of it, in it she talks a lot about shame and how she came face to face with her own on her spiritual path.  In this one she speaks about cultivating a loving kindness meditation practice where we seek refuge within, in the silent interior spaces of our heart.   I already got a lot out of the first 30 pages I read this afternoon.

The idea of seeking and finding a refuge within appeals to me.  It is what I feel in that nourishing, nurturing, alone time of solitude when I touch base with a source of peace that lives beyond all the traumatic events others seem to keep bringing into my life.  I am aware that on an astrological level Saturn and healthy mature adult boundaries and protections are an antidote to all my strong Neptunian tendency to be overly empathic and compassionate.  With Jupiter magnifying Neptune in Scorpio’s influence lately (by transit) I was also warned in another reading/interpretation by astrologer Leah Whitehorse that what people are saying or projecting may not be totally true or based on reality.   I need to keep a mindful watch over my own energy frequency now.   I was starting to feel happiness and contentment and experiencing solid sleep before my nephew’s visit last week.

I got a lot out of the visit but it also made me aware that as an empath I can and do take on other people’ s struggle and suffering at times.  My therapist suggested this week that when I get full to the brim with it, I try to discharge that energy by grounding, putting my feet on the earth and letting it flow down out and away from me.  Last week after each afternoon walk I was taking off first one shoe and then the other to place each bare feet on the ground to earth myself and settle my energy.

Its interesting to me that I got breast cancer just a few months after my older sister was diagnosed.  When I think of the amount of trauma we both went through from 2005 – 2015 when we were both diagnosed it doesnt surprise me.  Tbere is an element of strong enmeshment in our stories.

Anyway I will keep working to have better boundaries and become more aware when I feel the saviour archetype is overpowering me.   I should not make myself responsible for what others have to bear.  At the same time I need to be aware of their boundaries as well.   I notice that so often what I give is not so often reciprocated.   I dont give to get but when you do have a giving heart its so important to keep a balance.  If we give more than we get back it can tend to make us ill or drained.   This is something I need to keep a really close watch on in myself.

Triggered by exercise, joy, power, happiness!

I wondered how many of you get triggered when you start to exercise?   If you were in fearful situations a lot as a child or if like me you suffered a few life threatening events where you pulse was raised, I have read that exercise can trigger panic as the body/mind registers the raising of the heart beat as fear.  This thought is also triggered by a response to a comment I read on another post about self harm where the commenter recommended the gym as a diversion from pain and anxiety.  The person replied about how the gym triggers them.  Ideally we feel our pain and don’t try to escape it but one of the long term impacts of paralysis, freeze or collapse which is such a big part of both Post Traumatic Stress and Complex PTS is that we don’t exercise or even move enough but get locked in self protective patterns which may include ingestion addictions to calm feelings.  That is okay if we turn to healthy food but if we turn instead to wheat or sugar laden snacks it can be a problem for some and as survivor of breast cancer I have had to watch that I don’t turn to those kind of snacks when my anxiety gets triggered in the now.

I was also prompted to write this post as Jasper and I just returned from a good long walk.  I then did some stretching at the bench in the field I sometime sit on to read my book mid walk.  When we drove home I felt such a surge of happiness, joy, power and wellbeing but as soon as I got inside to make a late lunch my thoughts started to race and I felt my heart beating fast and happiness turned to panic and fear.

I then though of all the times when I was attending AA that I was warned to not get too high or happy and when I share this with my therapist she is shocked.  I get triggered by happiness or assertive energy anyway because often as a young child in a much older family I was helpless at the power used over me not always in very nice ways, especially not by my older sister but the second one who used to pass off her own frustration about no one being home with us and having to care for me, onto me.   Also in later years when this sister was supposedly ‘manic’ (to a degree this was true but in some cases she was being pathologised) I began to feel a lot of fear.

Anyway today I was glad to be able to make the association to the way I was feeling.  I know that often my anxiety is manifesting without me consciously registering it as anxiety.  I just have all these strange flooding or drowning sensations in my body and I don’t always recognise feelings as such, at first they appear as somatised body symptoms.  When I spoke to my Mum this morning she was expressing something very similar.  I thought it might be good feedback for a post.  Last week with Kat in therapy I was sharing how I felt my feelings about past mistreatment as a few wild horses in my breast champing at the bit to get out.  My teeth were aching where my denture attached to that two top back teeth and that reminded me of being in bridle head gear every night for over a year when I was 16 and had braces.  I am SO ANGRY I had to go through that :  it was fucking torture for a highly sensitive person and I just had to grin and bear it and swallow it down.

There are some of the things I need to externalise and share here, when I share them at 12 step meetings people get triggered and get in trouble for saying how it really was, which also makes me angry.  But if I don’t speak about it I will get sick and my cancer may even return.

The healing power of witness consciousness

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How often have you had the powerful realisation of a witness consciousness within you that removes you enough to help you look upon your past self or inner baby, child, adolescent or adult self that struggled with so much over your life with healing love and compassion?

I had a very powerful experience of this today in therapy with Katina when I was sharing about and feeling the burning energy in my chest around my heart, I had the sudden insight that it was exactly this time last year I started my radiotherapy for breast cancer very close to the second anniversary of my sister’s death and I was talking to her about body memory and the post I wrote prior to this one, and realised my body was remembering how it felt to be burned over that month of treatment last year, all around the first anniversary of radiotherapy, my body remembered.

I then had a two visions, one of me having to move myself onto the operating table just prior to the operation with no sedation and of the many times 30 in all I had to put myself on the table for radiation therapy.  Katina said to me, “Perhaps a year on you have enough time and distance to begin to grieve for all that you went through” and that is how it felt, I saw so deeply into my soul and felt that oceanic swell of grief, love and compassion.  On some level I was conscious of this most beneficent loving presence that was there witnessing the emotional truth with me.

It is not a new experience for me.  I had many visitations from a goddess kind of figure in the darkest days following the ending of my marriage and the accident I had that saw me living in almost complete isolation subject to ongoing panic attacks, along with experiences of being savaged emotionally by negative voices and demon like figures that on some level wanted me dead.  As I look back on that time I am full of sadness for myself but also acceptance.  That was where I was taken in my recovery journey before the Pandora’s box of my past suffering opened up and I had to experience much of it on a somatised (body) level before I finally found good therapy quiet some years later.

That is why when I write about the fact that I believe our soul has the inner power to contain and witness all we have suffered in our lives, it’s not supposition or just an intellectual or philosophical insight,  I just KNOW it with every fibre of our being, and I see how little we speak of soul in modern times and how often we forget it is present in every dark symptom we undergo, trying to make its voice heard.

I felt so much lighter after leaving my therapist this afternoon.  I was speaking to her of how my past grief is now like a dead animal on the side of the road I want to leave behind, but prior to this we were speaking of how my past pain and trauma will always be a part of me, but now it is no longer the whole of me, possessing me entirely from within,  I am no fool in that I know there will probably be lots of other painful dark days but my experience is that the more this loving witness presence is present in me the more I recover and the more light I retrieve from the darkness.  I am a firm believer that we don’t leave the darkness behind, by facing it we illuminate it and in time it is dispelled, like clouds it can come back and obscure the sun again but we know on some level it is not the whole of us, just a huge part of what it was to struggle so much darkness and trauma alone, at a time we were so ill equipped to deal with it.

The one powerful thing I heard the goddess/witness say to me in those dark days mentioned above was this “in time you will emerge from the dark night victorious”.  I often remember y dead sister saying to me in the final years of her life,  “Deb, you know in the end everything is going to be okay”.  Yes, she died but that death bought my nephews back into my life and grief made us all aware of the power of love to unite souls forever.  Witness consciousness fills my heart and soul with so much compassion and love, which I struggle to express here.  And want to bear testament to it, for a I am sure so many of you may also have had this experience and if you have not, perhaps this will give you some hope, some light.

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A butterfly trapped in the rain

I am reblogging this post as it speaks some deep truths that emerged for me as I faced breast cancer surgery earlier in the year.

Emerging From The Dark Night

The sun is shining outside, the wind is buffeting the leaves on the trees and I have been inside all day twisting around feeling like a caterpillar caught in the chrysalis that cannot get out no matter how hard it tries to form its wings, the wings are damaged or in the process  something happened which did not allow the wings to form properly and so the part caterpillar, part butterfly flaps around on the ground, turning this way and that, unable to take flight.

Last week a friend I went to see Diana Krall perform and she sang a beautiful ballad about a butterfly trapped in the rain. The image was a potent one for me.

This week in therapy I have been exploring the killing energy of my Dad on my soul.  It may seem like a little thing, but it was a huge thing, it was SUCH…

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Our family doesn’t ‘do’ grief

I may be posting a torrent of posts over the next week or so.  The sun shifted into the depths of Scorpio a few days ago which relates to the emotional depths we feel and defend against passionately at times and the deep emotional feelings and pain we can carry over years.  In my own case it is where Neptune the planet of loss, dreams, illusions and unconditional love resides as it does for many of us born during the 1960s.  Other generations get other outer planets triggered at this time Pluto for the 1980s generation and Uranus for the 1970s generation.  (Anyway those astro facts just came to me while writing this and I could elaborate more on that which shows a transformation in the way different generations deal or don’t deal with feelings they have inherited or which have been passed down).

When Pluto passed over my Neptune in the mid 80s my father was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach around this time of year.  This came as the final trauma on the back of 5 major other traumas and was the watershed event that propelled me over seas and into the dark night of my addiction.  Its interesting that I got sober in early December 1993, 9 years almost to the day of my father’s operation (He died on the 8th of January).

So this time of year October to December is a very intense, highly charged period for myself and my mother and sister.  My brother keeps well away from us at this time of year, as he chose the flying response to my father’s illness and death.  He just never talks about it but goes overseas at this time of year.  He does try to make contact though.  Last year when we got together I cried silently in the corner making hot drinks for half an hour or so.  It wasn’t even really noticed.  The year before I could not even meet up with him for dinner and I posted a deep post that I will repost later today, more for my benefit than for anyone else’s really about my grief which at that point was not even fully conscious but present more as body pulls, panic attacks and other symptom I now feel are associated with complicated grief.

I am aware that I am apprehensive about traveling north with my Mother around the same time of year.  I am aware that our family doesn’t ‘do’ feelings.  Instead we ‘do’ addiction, mental illness or other disorders.  We ‘do’ illness, surgery, accidents.  WE ‘do’ loosing things, misplacing things.  We ‘do’ disorientation.

Recovery, I now see, for me, has been about learning to ‘do’, express and understand not only mine but everyone else’s feelings (or perhaps defences against feelings) more effectively.

I do feel grief at this time of year, but not as much as in years past.  I am lucky to have a good therapist to grieve with.  I don’t know if I had just stayed in AA if I would have been able to grieve as much.  Sometimes when I go to meetings (and this is rarer nowadays) I do cry when something others share triggers me.  The problem is that sometimes as an empath I am feeling their pain and then can get overwhelmed and get a bit lost.

Still I am sure it is good to cry.  There have been so many people in my past telling me that it isn’t good to cry that at times I have believed that crying too much wasn’t a good thing.  And that may be the case if I am sitting around crying instead of taking positive action I need to take.  There is a difference between crying over and over endlessly in self pity and having a good cleansing cry that releases old sadness and pain.  I always feel energised by the later where as the former tends to drain me.

Yesterday I picked my mother up to take her to the fruit and vegetable markets.  She told me a sad story of how the day before she went to the supermarket.  When she got home she realised she did not have her bag.  She was beside herself as it has a fistful of cash in it. (She only uses cash and only takes it out once a week.)  She was extremely distressed when a kindly nurse called to say she had Mum’s bag. At this point in telling the story my mother broke down and cried.  I knew it was her grief over the loss of so many things, not just the handbag and money both of which could be replaced.  But of course when I tried to say it might be grief I got pooh poohed!

I should have learned by now not to even say anything about grief at these kind of times.  It is really enough for me to know that this is what is going on, I don’t have to point it out. But this events cuts to the crux of why I find relationships so hard at times and why I turned to the bottle in the absence of deeper empathy and understanding.  Our family doesn’t ‘do’ feelings.  If I want to ‘do’ feelings its best to do then in private or with someone who understands and gets it, them, me and themselves.

P.S.  After posting this I had some quiet reflection.  A voice inside said to me “Deb this may be a bit narcissistic.  I am sure all of your family do their own grief in their own way, it is just difficult for them to share it.”  I guess this is the deeper insight I am coming to now in the light of turning this grief/family prism over and over, over many years.

 

 

Learning to fly : remembering to shine

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Part of me feels the fear of the fledgling bird that has still not tested its wings, to know or trust their strength. And part of me knows that until the fledgling tries to fly for the first time and continues trying it will not develop that skill or strength.

I just spoke to my Mum and when I came off the phone and read back my post the Ocean and the Drop I was aware that my soul is preparing to let go.  There is so much I have gone through, so much to have worked through.  There are so many ways I have held on.  So many times I was beckoned by my soul away to another journey but something deeply unresolved or unsolved in me drew me back to this place of family.  Now I am aware that my Mum is trying to prepare us for the fact that soon she wont be here any more and though I go through frustrations with my Mum and at times she becomes the all bad, rejecting mother, that is not really the sum total of who my Mum is, it’s just who she becomes in the painful moments when I am not mirrored.  We are separate beings..

I don’t think any one person of us is just one person.  I do think within us there are many different parts of self, rhythms, moods, desires and impulses.  I most certainly experience this in my mother.  Her mother part is just one part of her.  There are other parts of her, maybe many other parts she wishes she could have lived, just as there are these parts in me and all of us.

There is my mother’s child self which I think with age in some way draws closer to the surface of her being. For me this child self is the part of my Mum I feel I can see most clearly at times.  I relate to it and at times carry its wounds and deficits  : the shyness, insecurity  and reticence, some feelings of inadequacy as well as its strengths, the courage, the compassion, the part that loves to give to others, the part that loves her family, loves beauty and art, music and dancing, the part that is creative and warm, the part that is quite intelligent but never had its intelligence fully recognised or fostered.  So many different parts.

As I reflect on this today I am aware of just how I am living the journey onward not only of my mother’s unlived life, but of my father’s too.  There is a part of each of them in me, but there is also a part of my soul that is uniquely mine, a part that has its own dreams and ideas, a part that didn’t really find a good home in this particular family with these particular parents, but had essential soul lessons to learn even from that.  There is a part of me that is courageous and bold, that knows it can fly but there is also a part that fears it won’t stay airborne in flight but drop to the ground.  And maybe I must not rush this process, slowly, invisibly, incrementally I am growing, transforming, shedding and embodying.

I feel quite emotional at the moment.  I feel quite a profound mixture of sadness and joy.  I feel a sense of promise.  I am beginning to feel that the pain of the past is just one part of me and it isn’t the largest part, but it is a large part of me that I am being called to express and shed.  I know I will always carry the sadness of my losses but I do feel I am integrating them and they are making me strong.

I remember reading something an astrologer lecturing at the Centre for Psychological Astrology talked about in one of her seminars.  She said that each of us has a wounded part of us but we also have a place deep within that is not at all touched by any of these wounds or wounding experiences.  This is the part of us that can watch everything burn to the ground and remain unphased.  It is the part of us that just make the decision to leave the wounded part behind for a time to go off on adventures and find freedom from bondage or burdens.

Perhaps some of us only get access to this deeper part of our souls when we have done the necessary work with the wounded part to break free and wash clear and clean the wounds that have prevented the deeper spirit or soul from us in shining.  We have to break free from this conditioning that tries to limit us, to keep us in cages, that stops us from flying and burning bright.

It seems to me there are deep killing, hostile, wounding energies in our culture, forces that don’t want us to shine and yet it seems it is up to each of us to break free from or ignore these if we truly want to live free, happy, serene lives.  In some way we internalise these fears which can hold us back and which others can project on us.

Living free may not mean being pain free but maybe it may mean not turning our pain into unnecessary suffering.  For if we buy into collective myths which tell us we are not good enough or that our gold lies outside of ourselves we get lost and lose touch with our essence that essential part of our soul that must shine if it is to be true to itself and live with joy in this life.

I have only just started the first chapter on Thursday I bought the book What If This is Heaven by Anita Moorjani.  It is about what Anita learned both from her near death experience as well as the events that followed as she began to write and teach about it and her miraculous cure from lymphoma the cancer that was killing her prior to her NDE.

She expresses the thoughts that much of what we learn or are taught actually keeps us from happiness and truth.  It blinds us to our inner light.  The truth is that our essence is love, it comes from love and its true purpose is love.  This love is not conditional on us being or doing anything else than purely expressing the unique soul that we are.  Many of us were not taught this.  We were not loved unconditionally.  We were raised by or impacted upon by unconscious others who had their own wounds, biases and conditioning.

Many of us believe or have been taught that this real, true self is not enough. Anita herself was bullied severely at school, she had parents who didn’t affirm her.  As an Indian woman she was taught she was inferior.  She came to believe who she was was inherently flawed by all of this.  What was revealed to her during her NDE was that it was these beliefs which led her to develop cancer.  On the other side she met a force of love that was beyond anything she had ever felt or known on earth.

Her cancer was terminal, but when she died and passed over to the spirit side she had the opportunity to come back and she had an immediate and spontaneous remission.  I wont go into any more of her journey here as you can read about it yourself, but I do believe she has a powerful message.  I will close this blog with the poem she wrote which heads up her book, it says things to me I often feel as well as things I believe so many of us need to hear in this life.  Her message is often rejected but she lives its truth.  She lives in a way in which she never allows outer voices to block her to listening to her inner guidance system with helps her to find the truth within, that voice that got blocked by all of her conditioning.

When I was born into this world

The only things I knew were to love, laugh, and shine my light brightly.

Then as I grew, people told me to stop laughing

“Take life seriously,” they said,

“If you want to get ahead in this world.”

So I stopped laughing

People told me, “Be careful who you love

if you don’t want your heart broken.”

So I stopped loving.

They said “don’t shine your light so bright

As it draws too much attention to you.”

So I stopped shining

And became small

And withered

And died

Only to learn upon death

That all that matter in life

Is to love, laugh and shine our light brightly!

How comfortable are you with your anger?

Do you feel comfortable with expressing anger?  Do you have any kind of fear around it?  When you start to feel angry about something, do you also start to feel fear or shame?   I am asking this because of a blog I recently read and because that is how I realise I feel when I feel angry.  I am also aware that when I start to feel angry I can enter into a rational negating dialogue with myself, I want to be sure that what I am feeling is in proportion to the action and not over the top.

I am aware that this is due the way my anger was or was not handled by my parents.  Often when I was angry I got in trouble or I was sent to my room.  When my parents were angry with each other they didn’t handle it in a rational way, either and undercurrents of anger often ended with my mother giving my father the silent treatment or erupting into a storm.

In the past few years on the four or so occasions I have tried to express valid feelings of anger with my Mum, she immediately gets fearful and scared and says to me “I wish you didn’t have to get angry.”  Often my feelings of anger are justified and I haven’t even been expressing them in a damaging way, I have just been expressing very intense old feelings I haven’t shared before.  In this situation I have discussed them with an outside person to get a reality check as due to my conditioning I can never be entirely sure if I am being reasonable or unreasonable.  Often in the past I was being told I didn’t have a right to be angry, was made to feel like the bad guy for being real and expressing myself passionately.

I now know after many years of therapy that I learned over many years to swallow down my anger with other painful feelings much of the time.  When anger has come up I have often tried to share with people who could not or would not hear it, or with people who were invested in me keeping it under wraps.  It has taken me about five therapy attempts to find a therapist who helps me and is comfortable with me expressing anger.  She validates when she feels my anger is righteous.

Today I was at the dog park and a mother shut down her son for talking too loudly.  I must admit it triggered me.  I think that when we have had to shut down or repress anger for many years when it finally does emerge, at first it comes out like a tournado.  It has taken me some time to learn of the term historical anger.  Historical anger may be years of anger that never found expression before and got blocked or buried or barricaded away. When it finally emerges it can be immense and very, very big and can piggy back onto new hurts.

I have shared in another blog :

https://emergingfromthedarknight.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/permission-to-be-angry-the-role-of-anger-in-healing/

that the Anger Detour process as outlined by John Lee has helped me to work through old angers  and work to find how they may be triggered or re-awakened by current incidents.  Unpacking and releasing old anger is very important for if we suppress our true feelings, in time we tend to develop all kinds of body problems, digestive upsets, headaches, stiff muscles and auto immune problems.

The truth is that as a baby or a child we have very intense feelings that require the mediation, soothing and mirroring of a caregiver.  I read a very powerful book many years ago by the psychotherapist Donald Kalsched called, The Inner World of Trauma.  In it he shows how when such intense bodily centred feelings find no way of being expressed, understood, held, mirroring and reflected by outside caregivers they build up within the baby or young child and can actually become powerful inner demonic figures or inner voices.  In some cases the inner voices become so all powerful and self protective they will encourage the person to isolate totally or even take their lives.

Kalsched came to his understanding through the experience of having people in therapy that were unable to be helped, they may abort the therapy or erect all kinds of powerful defences against being helped.  Due to the trauma of having been hurt in the past or neglected by those from whom they sought attachment, there was no way these clients could ever risk being cared for or loved again.  And the prospect of feeling this old pain (which is so necessary to the healing and maturing process) was too much for them.

Its is easy to see how borderline rage is a natural outcome of such treatment.  Borderlines are one of the most demonised of so called character disorders.  Many therapists abandon borderlines all over again if they are not able to handle the natural rage and anger of the borderline and help them to come to some kind of understanding of it. Of course the most essential healing of borderline rage must come from within the person themselves in understanding the hurt and pain of their abandoned or neglected inner child that they may transfer onto the therapist.   Only self compassion and a true understanding of our trauma history and our erected defences can help us to understand and meditate the anger, learning to express it in ways which no longer alienate others.

That said, there are times when we have to express our anger and we need to have that anger heard.  Anger is our legitimate protest that serves the protection and expression of the self.  When it comes out of a justified hurt anger is a protest that needs to be heard and understood by the parent in an empathetic and loving way when we are a child. If it is not, if justified anger is shut down or misunderstood we can loose a very important psychological defence that helps us to maintain healthy interpersonal boundaries. In this situation we take flight in defensive patterns perhaps of disempowerment and collapse associated with co-dependent coping strategies.

Certainly feeling the power of old anger is not very comfortable.  We have to be very careful in this process that we don’t dump old anger on new situations.  We need ways to understand when we are age regressing to an earlier inner child injury or undergoing a triggering flashback  (for help with this look to Pete Walker’s book on Complex PTSD).  Once we have done this we need to find assertive ways to express our truth and experience with someone safe.

Like or not anger is something we need to make friends with.  A natural understanding of what hurts us or makes us angry (justifiably) is necessary for us to find happiness and live with healthy boundaries.  It also will have a powerful affect on our immune system, so in the end may literally make the difference between living well or dying of an autoimmune related disease.  My own cancer journey has shown me this fact.  I know that I ignore anger at my own peril. And that those who deny it or negate it are just not psychologically healthy individuals for me to be around much.

 

 

The Darkness

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I am not sure on somedays where the darkness comes from but on days like today it descends like a heavy blanket covering my soul. Actually its more like a spider’s net of dark that comes down…I wake feeling twisted in trauma and fighting like hell to get free. I awake to the sense of dark memories and associations that have surrounded me after days and days of rain where I couldnt touch base with nature that is the great purifier of my body and soul.

By mid day it has taken just over 3 hours to wake and shower and dress.  I havent been able to manage food. In this time I faced the challenge of calling the Endodontist about the appointment to see the results of a scan they failed to call me back about three times.  After this call the tears started to fall like rain.  I notice I am back in the deepest pool of wintery sadness that I thought I had left behind and then I realise its something I will  always carry.

I remember as the tears fall to speak words of empathy and validation to my innner child.  I think of all she has endured in this life.  Of the smashed open teeth and bloody tongue lacerated from the 79 crash.  Of the agony of three lots of dental reconstruction.  Of the brutality I suffered at the hands of my ex when in the middle of the night I stayed locked in the bathroom with the pain, terrified if I woke him to be punished andyelled at and how that happened anyway during the last lot of reconstruction 6 years ago.  I remind myself of the courage it took to make that call today.

In the shower today pain and rage as I looked down at my misshappen left breast turned grey from weeks of radiation.  I realise the rage holds back tne tears that later fell, but the anger over my lost health is real : is another emotional scar.   Realisation despite all of this I must love and nurture this scarred body with all my heart.

Some sign of growth today : No terrorist voice beating me up only these words I hear.  “Treat yourself tenderly today..you are feeling raw, baby go gently.” This makes me cry, this softness from me.  What if I just didnt struggle today? What if I just let myself rest gently here and expressed all I was feeling in my blog? What if I just let myself cry free of the nasty invalidating voices of my ex amd society mocking me and accusing me of being a drama queen? And so that is what I do on this dark day. It brings me comfort.  I realise i dont know how to really nurture myself well but I can learn.

In the midst of blog writing my therapist calls me back.  My grief opens again ss I share the sadness I feel and felt yesterday when I had news of how my brother is over working.  I think of how he lost his Dad too at a critical time of how he absorbed the migrants curse of running from poverty to seek security in riches, of how seldom we really connect and of how I long to.  But of how difficult it really would be to connect him from this deeper level.  More tears.

Sometimes it feels to me that darkness is gathering on our planet.  That nature is sending up all these storms and this much rain in order to send us back within to ask what havoc we as a species are wreeking on this planet.  And then I think it is all projection and that any stage we all can make the loving nurturing choice even in the midst of all this pain, how by feeling and acknowledging it we can emerge and learn valuable lessons of what heals.

The darkness will not always cover me I know that from experience.  But today it does and today in facing it I have honoured deep truths, difficult as they are.  And I can remember that there is light too that I can reach for.  It is found through love.

Fire, heart, burn

Heart fire

Winter in my heart

Has come

Its icy winds

Shake the trees bare of leaves

And a sadness of longing

For what was once green

Fresh

Young

Tender

Unspoiled

Arises from deep within

Now that I am being burned

In the service of healing

I wonder how goodness

Can come out of this much pain

Struggling to breathe

Under the burning power of your rays

How can I summon the energy to remain

The idea of leaving haunts me now

I think I would have preferred the cancer

To take me

Standing as I was on the brink of freedom

At least intact

Only to be captured yet again

My heart burned by your fire

With lymph nodes ripped out

My system is struggling harder

My heart burns with old woundings

I am releasing

Give me fresh air

Let the cold wind blow

Fresh breezes around me

Help me touch base with nature

That which renews

Beyond the stifling limits of the man made

Lay me down in green fields

And shower your blessing on my soul

As winter steals in

On icy feet

Mother nature hold me

Tenderly in the palm of your hand

While I shed these tears

Releasing

The heartbreak

Of ages

Suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

A few days ago in my blog My Bleeding Heart I shared the dream image I had of my Inner Child with a wire hanger sewn through her shoulder and breast with barbed wire.  Today by a chain of synchronicity I was led to a video of Spartan Life Coach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l8ZP3zDu7k in which Richard Gannon speaks of the barbs of guilt, shame, self hate, ignorance and perfectionism that are hooked into us during a childhood in which parents and other caregivers unconsciously transferred their shame onto us.

Thinking about it I was drawn to the realisation that it was not my parents who were the prime offenders, but my Catholic education which focused on the idea of original sin and conditioned us young ones to believe that lashing out in self protection or getting angry and making any kind of self assertive stand against what hurt us was some kind of sin.  I also know from the what I am aware of in my mother’s history she was very much conditioned to be silent in the face of nasty punishments from the nuns which showed a complete lack of empathy into the fact she had no one at home to nurture her, speak for her needs or rights, or help her with her homework.  She just had to swallow down what ever hurt they dished out.  She carried the inner pain and frustration like a wild storm within her and we, her children sucked it up.

The fact is that the burying of our self protective and healthy self assertive instincts sets up for vulnerability to narcissistic relationships, for chronic people pleasing and illnesses which involve the immune system (the bodies natural self protective instinct) against us.  Further more not allowing us as kids to hold onto a natural response of protest nor having our responses validated, makes us naïve.  It leads us to believe that we must always give people the benefit of the doubt and put their opinion or behaviour above our own.  Further if we can’t say “ouch” and have it taken seriously we are set up for serious difficulties in later life and relationships and the pain gets lodged deep inside.

On an astrological tangent my own Mars (which rules the self assertive instinct) is heavily debilitated by Saturn (the inner and outer critic, authoritarian admonishments against healthy self expression and narcissism) and by Chiron in the 7th house which rules relationships where self assertion and personal desire can be sacrificed in an order to win love.  It echoes my Mum’s natal Mars in the sign of self sacrifice Pisces.  It evolved to a challenging Sun Venus in Pisces in my sister’s chart square to natal Mars in Sagittarius.

I’ve read and its born out by my experience that Chiron in the 7th means we probably never witnessed healthy self assertion and were wounded by a response to our anger which made us feel scared or unsafe to express it.  We may have been conditioned to “be nice”.  We may have been emotionally abandoned with we expressed young anger, sent to our room, told we were bad.  Our parents who buried their anger or terrorised us with their own out of control rage never helped us learn how to recognise what part it played for us, nor helped us to develop skills for modulating and expressing it in healthy ways.

I am blogging about this today because a few days ago I had a very painful experience of my sister not turning up on time to take me to my final radiation appointment.  I told her the right time but she wrote it down wrong.  In a panic I decided to drive  myself to the hospital and when I spoke to her later to find out what had happened I just had to hang up the phone.  I felt angry and disappointed.  My reaction to feeling that anger was then to feel bad about it, my sister made a genuine mistake, how dare I feel mad.  Yet the truth is I felt let down, even though I know it wasn’t a deliberate, and my over the top response held so much other grief deep within it.  My anger had also made me scared as I associate feeling anger with loosing love.

On Thursday in therapy I cried about the incident when my therapist said to me : “Deborah, it was natural to feel angry.  Even if she made a mistake, you were left alone again.  That is a huge thing to have to go through when you are dealing with all that you are at present.”  At that point I got to have the anger I couldn’t really express on Wednesday.

As my therapist knows, this pattern of people mixing up communication or just getting distracted or forgetting is a HUGE theme for me and has to do with my retrograde Mercury (planet of communication and siblings) square to Neptune in the third house.  Often times my Mum or Dad were just too busy or distracted to notice what I needed growing up which led me to develop the belief that my needs did not matter and made it difficult, too, for those needs to be accepted and known by me.

The painful feelings of anger and abandonment I was left with last Wednesday had no where to go but into my body.  As I was sitting there waiting for them to come and get me for the radiotherapy treatment I had painful burning twisting sensations in my chest, part radiation outfall, part stress, fear, grief, disappointment, anger and anxiety.  I was feeling fearful I had put down the phone, that my relationship with my sister would be forever severed (extreme reaction I know but probably not in the light of past times of being abandoned by narcissists for getting angry with being forgotten, ignored or minimised.)

Later after the treatment was over and after I had a huge emotional reaction with the nurse, who informed me that my pain and wound would probably worsen over the next week (difficult to hear at that time) I had walked out into the foyer where my sister was sitting.  As soon as she apologised I got very, very sad, but I know now that underneath was anger too, anger and disappointment that didn’t really have anywhere to go. We hugged and I felt how bad my sister was feeling.  What was the point of the anger since it was not going to achieve anything and in any case I needed to accept life on life’s terms, surely?   But I’d still been let down and therapy showed me that.  My tears all afternoon were a delayed grief reaction.

As I’ve contemplated my entire reaction over the past few days its clear to me that once again on Wednesday I had found myself in Chiron’s incurable domain of things going wrong and out of my control at just the time I needed support.  Here lay my Chiron wound that will probably never heal or be cured, I will only develop awareness into it.  Developing awareness will be the antidote to the sting of the barb lodged in my system over years and years and years, sewn in every time I was shamed for lashing out in anger at someone who had hurt me.

It wasn’t until I watched Richards You Tube video on Thursday that I made the connection between the barbed wire coat hanger dress and the personality style I had to develop to deal with the hurts I have undergone since childhood.  Put on my best dress, try to look like it didn’t hurt, put on my best smile, front up but hide inside the pain and shame.  And I have realised that this wound I carry isn’t just personal, it familial (need I say oh so familiar!) and collective too.  We can all be shamed for healthy protest and anger.

It is so important that in the course of our healing we get help to understand the personality conditioning that makes us vulnerable to being wounded or hurt again, to having the barb lodged deep within.

As Richard points out, removing the barb makes us snappish and angry, we need to feel the pain that lies underneath it,  pain we didn’t cause, pain that happened as a result of not being sufficiently valued, nurtured or understood.

This childhood pain is very, very real.  Its waiting deep in the underground of our psyche.  We have to feel it in order to heal the old pattern.  Feeling it and grieving, won’t feel pleasant, for sure, but we can trust that when we face our feelings fully we will move out of powerlessness and gain the right to express the truth of what we feel.  One of the false beliefs our child self can have is that we will not survive pain, pain that in childhood felt too much.

The truth is that as adults today we CAN survive feeling the pain that was too much for us and others in childhood.  We can survive and heal hand in hand with our adult self, that witness within who can help us make sense of old wounds and who will embrace us as we go through that process.  We can also find others who have overcome their own shame and will be there for us without shaming us.