My sad self : reflections on trauma, Persephone and journeying in the Underworld

Persephone2

My sad self is not the whole of me, though at times it is so strongly present.  There is a side of me that is very dark and heavy and sad, that has lived in a dark and heavy places of isolation, separation and grief and known great loss and pain, awakening at 17 when an accident nearly took me out and stole from me that last semester of my final year at school.  Talking with my therapist a few days ago I spoke of how it felt like at that age a tear appeared in the fabric of the earthly reality and a dark hand reached up to grab me and take me down into the Underworld.  That was just the initial event of many traumatic experiences that unfolded spanning the years from age 17 to 31 when I finally got sober and arrested my active addiction in 1993.

The light returned for a time, then, when I met my ex husband.  We had some happy years of normality as we built a life together but in time the darkness of my unresolved past claimed me.  As I look back I wish I could have made other choices.  I wish I could have remained tethered in the daylight world and gone on to share a life with my husband but it all got torn apart around this time of year and so my sad regretful self is very, very strong some days.   I find myself captured by thoughts of what could have been were we able to build a new life in Cambridge.  I know its useless to regret the past in that regretting solves nothing.

Maybe too, as my therapist says, my ex husband wasn’t a proper life partner for me, maybe it was all ‘meant to be’.  That kind of shift of perspective can make my heart less heavy as I realise that I can be grateful for the time we did have together but also recognise there was a deeper layer to me than could ever truly find a home in that relationship.  And that I had an inner destiny calling me within that had not only a personal but a collective purpose.

As I shared in an earlier post Mercury, planet ruling perception, mind, communication and journeys turned backwards for a glance on Sunday, the 11th and it is not quite on my Pluto/Persephone in the first house, but nearly!  So I am looking back at all the changes and endings that led to now and this new beginning.

I read a very insightful chapter in a book on the Goddesses in Everywoman many years ago and in the chapter on the Persephone woman I found myself.  The Persephone woman’s life journey takes her to the Underworld either through emotional abandonment, depression, abuse, trauma or addiction.  There she lives out the dark side, perhaps sharing a strong connection to the ancestors.  I have Pluto Moon and in her book on that subject, astrologer Judy Hall tells the stories of several Plutonian Moon people, John Lennon was one.  He wasn’t a woman but the early abandonment of his mother left him with wounds.  The other family profiled in that book with a strong Pluto/Persephone signature was the Bronte family.   Several of the Brontes died young and there was mother loss that dogged them all, most especially the younger brother.  The dark heart of Pluto Moon is present in several of the sister Bronte’s books which touch on obsessive love and mental suffering and trauma experienced in and through relationships (Moon) with the traumatised (Pluto).

For myself I feel the heavy blackness at times.  Kat and I were going over the years of my life that led to my oldest sister’s first suicide attempt in 1982, yesterday.  It was such a hard year in my life anyway in other ways.  Following my accident and an aborted attempt to embark on studies up North I returned home to live in hopes of finishing my teaching degree. Instead Dad forced me to go to secretarial college.  As Kat said to me yesterday : “That just wasn’t you”.  I told her that it was as boring as hell and that we had type in triplicate with two carbon papers only being allowed two mistakes a page.  No tippex and no computer autocorrect.  That year my drug taking and alcoholism really escalated.

In later years one smart arse said to me “why didn’t you tell your Dad to stick it up his jumper!”.  That wasn’t done and in any case I didn’t have means to support myself on the back of my accident.   Anyway it was that year my sister’s husband returned her home to us with a one way ticket and one blue tracksuit with a beaten up old case for what she believed was a two week holiday.  He just disappeared and there was no return ticket.  Her four boys were with him.  Suicide attempt in that dark front room at the start of the  hallway, dark, dark emptiness descends like a shroud, laying all joy to waste!   A few years later my father’s illness grew and he was taken, leaving us alone.

Early on I learned relationships were dangerous. Life was unsafe.  Today when I woke up I just lay there and repeated to myself over and over again.   “You are safe, you are loved.”  Trauma repeat on any waking up and coming to consciousness tells me otherwise!  It tells me without words but with body symptoms “you are about to die, or be killed! Or something is about to be stolen.” (As it always is, I guess, as life goes on!)

Death is really rearing its head in therapy lately and coming up a lot (Mercury on Pluto in the first house makes sense!).  In the absence of outside forces collecting to cut me down or kill me I can then internalise the killer within in the form of a nasty anti life critic mean saboteur grim reaper who cuts all life, all joy, all promise, all hope, all faith off.   That is when I find myself once again deep in Hades/Underworld or the inner place of shades with a traumatised Erishkegal crying over and over and over again “Woe to me, woe to my insides. All is black, all is helpless, all is fucked death is stronger than life.  I cannot make it!” (Black side of black/white thinking?)

And yet another part of me knows that this is also not the entire reality of the life that I can have and live to embrace.  There is also happiness that is there when I choose to say to that Underworld place : “No! I have done enough time here now!  Now please, will you let me reach for life, for light, for love, for promise, for joy, for hope?  Please don’t kill me off any more.  Please today let me live free and dance through the fields with Jasper.”

Today I beginning to feel that I can actually make a choice but you know moments before writing this and articulating all of this I felt that I was sucked back so far down in the darkness again and literally could not move  This feeling followed a conversation with my Mum after which I absorbed all her sadness and tiredness.  I came off the phone crying because yesterday a put a schism between us due to my abandonment wound arking up.  She didn’t respond with empathy and then I think on some level that just made us both sad.  Today she sounded so very, very tired and then I thought of how at times I almost feel my psychic energy body is reading or mirroring hers which would be another manifestation of strong Pluto Moon, a very strong psychic connection not only with my mother but with the mother line.

Lucky for me I can use perception, my mind and astrological signatures and archetypes to make sense of this ‘stuff’.   When it has its hooks in me though its a different story,  I am sucked on by the psychic/soup/fog of which I am not fully conscious.

I started this blog to speak about my sad self and to explain how that is not the entirety of me.  I have a happy self too, one that can live in the present moment and positive life energy.  I just have to become aware when the darker, heavier, sadder side is gaining hold, feeling my way into it, connecting with it, but not allowing it to fully possess me is a skill I am finally learning.   I want to be able to be and express from both sides for Persephone never lived the entire time in the Underworld. In spring she returned to upside world again with gifts to give and dark knowledge she earned having eaten and tasted the fruit of suffering of Hades/Pluto fruit, the pomegranate.  She can give then to those who also voyage or get trapped in the Underworld too.  She can affirm that they are not lying or mixed up about that place, that it is real and does exist and is not just some form of aberration that so called saner souls can say is ‘madness’ or ‘insanity’, rather it is like a scar or birthmark that permanently marks the souls of some of us.

Like Innana (another Persephone woman), the recovering Persephone becomes able to travel down to meet the ailing, grieving, inconsolable, wounded, flawed, disturbed and sorrowing, hungering side of others or of ourselves.  Through empathy and compassion (and self compassion ) she develops the resilience to be deeply present with others or herself, for a while, holding their/our hand and saying “woe is you and woe to your insides”.  She can do this with patience and forebearance just long enough for her  Underworld sister Erishkegal’s suffering to be soothed, mirrored, contained and transformed.  And then Innana finally becomes free, free to return once again, for a time to earth, to light, to spring, to sunshine, to hope, to trust, to love at least until the next descent or call is heard.

The force that fights love

I just reblogged a post by Monica Cassani which spoke about that sub part of our selves ‘the inner bully’ or ‘inner critic’ who can give us such a hard time as we go about trying to heal ourselves and become stronger on the path of recovery, and when I say stronger I am meaning it in the sense that a strong soul can embrace weakness, deficiencies and other flaws in themselves and set about finding a loving way to deal with those aspects of their being rather than just put on a mask or become filled with bluff or bravado, or get defensive when vulnerability is triggered.

As I read this post and considered my own struggle with my inner bully I thought of the part that fear of love and fear of being loved, embraced, open or vulnerable may play in our lives when we finally do begin to change old ways of being with both ourselves and others from a negative to a more positive slant.  And at the basis of all positive change I think that a healthy attitude of self care and self nurturing as well as self compassion are so very important.   Until we can embrace our weak spots, our past pain, wounds and injuries in self acceptance and love we don’t seem to get very far on the path of healing and we may actually even self sabotage when offered the chance to embrace something good.  Until we can honestly acknowledge our gifts, sensitivities and strengths and our unique spirit in ways even others cannot we also don’t ever get to experience the freedom of a full life.

I notice a lot of things in reading other WordPress posts.  I notice how staying trapped in feelings of self righteous anger at abusers often keeps people stuck and as I read those posts (as well as some of my older posts) I see how such feelings actually hide deep within them a (often unconscious) lack of acceptance, a refusal to be able to let the pain go on some level. T his is understandable as pain can and does run very, very deep if we have suffered abuse and it is a very long and painful process to work this through, acknowledging and embracing all our feelings without being eaten alive by them.

And yet I also feel that as we come to realise that we in fact did not deserve such abuse and as a result now sadly treat ourselves in the very same way that is when we have at our disposal the greatest gift and resource that can be used to help us overcome the negative down spiral that follows a painful history of emotional abandonment and abuse.  We may always stay angry at our abusers and that is fair enough but if our anger implies that in some way we are resisting the pain that we need to feel in order to move through to healing that held in anger can be not only counterproductive but toxic and may block forward movement.

Healing to my mind involves opening the locked door of our heart that wants to stay shut to pain.   We fear inviting that pain in as our deepest fear is that on some level it may destroy us, that we might not survive.   But my experience is that when I open the door of my heart to the full impact of past pain or grief that pain or grief is able to move and to transform on some level.  At that precious instant I fall into a place of deep inward surrender and peace in which I know without any doubt the full impact of my entire emotional pain history and see so clearly its consequences.  As I do a part of me wants to rise up and say ‘NO!”,  This is the cry of my spirit that knew it was deserving of so much more and could have shone so much more brightly and suffered far fewer years in the most painful and lonely isolation, an isolation that kept me imprisoned for well over 14 years.  And this awful truth is a  deeply difficult one to embrace and acknowledge.

And yet, another part of my spirit in some way actually needs to say an unconditional ‘Yes!’ at that moment.  To embrace the pain I didn’t choose in order that I can now let the pain go, knowing that to allow it to define the rest of my life would be to continue to pay too difficult a price which will keep me locked in prison, locked in death, locked in resistance, locked in unbecoming.  And that is now not what my spirit wants anymore!

When I know my spirit to be free, when I look to the positive things in my day, when I count the gifts of this path, compassion, wisdom, insight, deeper psychological knowledge then I find gratitude and that gratitude tends to bring the sunshine out in my soul.  When I look to how I can use my own suffering to help others, when I realise it is a gift to be able to say that I hurt and have suffered, when I no longer need to hide, when I use that suffering to make me reach for the light and love and joy in any day, when I find avenues of self expression and ways to let the energy of love flow out from me and to anchor in those energies of beauty and love all around me, wherever I find them, say in sunshine, nature, good company, music, art, poetry, films, dance then my spirit shines and is no longer as bowed down as it was before by the terrible burden of a lonely painful past full of trauma.

And when I realise that all along the inner bully is just fear and thrives not on life but on attack well then I have a choice to answer that fear with love, compassion, wisdom and insight, and I no longer need to turn my inner bully out on others in the world, criticising them, even if they, due to unconsciousness or nastiness are continuing to try to cause me suffering.  Instead I can just turn to my inner child essence and spirit, take her by the hand and chose to walk away or answer with love, no longer hooked by my own deeply buried anguish into reacting, lashing out or trying to change what is and was never in my power to change and what I am so much better off, walking away from.

Rocking

My heart broke this afternoon to arrive to see my Mum in her chair in the hospital arms wrapped around her shrinking body rocking with her head down.   I wrapped my arms around her and cried.  She spoke of her anxiety attacks and how finally one of the doctors had asked her about her emotional history.  Thank God they finally began to make some connections between what she has gone through emotionally and the physical ailments that are besieging her.  I wish my Mum had found somewhere to pour out her pain years ago when she struggled to deal with the abandonment issues that led her first daughter to collapse.   I think now it is a case of not enough and too late.

I emotionally connect to my Mum only when we are alone.  When my sister is there or there are other visitors Mum stays silent about her pain.   It may be good that the focus is off of her pain for a while but at the same time there is so much I feel she needs to share.  I am under no illusions that I am my Mum’s saviour but I know how painful grief and isolation are.  I look back with sadness at the time I needed to ask for or lean on my Mum’s support but could not due to an old pattern. I got angry or fearful and ran.   I can not have those lost years back, over 13 years now that saw the end of my marriage which also hurt my Mum so deeply and led me to a deeply isolated place from which I am only now beginning to emerge.

I know I didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ but choosing the actions I did led me to more isolation, at the time I was in recovery for addiction so my emotional awareness had not yet begun to open up.  I did not know how I would deal with what was below the surface if I reached towards those who were struggling with their own pain and so several times I took myself off alone.   Its confusing as I probably could have healed on my own at a safe distance years ago, but now I don’t feel that either me or my mother can.  Our healing or coming to peace involves our need to connect and come out of the prison of emotional isolation that seems to have dogged us like a curse along the multi generational line.

It was so hard to leave the hospital just over an hour ago, but I knew I had to come home to take care of my dog Jasper and myself too.  Without self care there is nothing for me to give to anyone else.  I am so sad that I cannot connect with anyone else in my family at this level at the moment.  My nephew who I thought I was close to has not returned my calls.  The sad fact is that fear keeps many members of my family emotionally distant and disconnected from each other, that and a stoic kind of self sufficiency and concern with material worldly things that ultimately, to my mind, seem unimportant at the level of heart.

Sad as the situation is though, I must accept it.  I can only give the love I feel and I can pour out my disappointment about my family’s lack of emotional availability with my therapist, Kat who understands.  Modern life seems so busy and superficial at times.   People shake their heads when someone chooses to end their life as if its a great mystery as to what made them do it.  “Why didn’t they reach out?” they bemoan.  But when did that actually pick up the phone to say “How are you, and how are you feeling?”  How many people end up suiciding because for years they were never truly seen at an emotional level?   Of course if we feel desperate we can and should open up emotionally but what I feel is more of a problem for our society is how deaf we have become to essential matters of the heart with our rampant preoccupation with the cult of materialism and individualism.   Its a deep dark truth and its one we need to change.

 

Who is it for?

Love MW.jpg

Certainly our inner work is for us.  Our journey to find all the ways in which we lost connection with love, all the ways we were treated by people that my mistakenly  professed were love, but were not, all the ways in which in not making us feel sufficiently loved those made us feel unsafe and therefore limited our capacity to feel love and express it without, all of these things have to be explored in our deep inner work to reclaim the original child essence in us that contained our most pure innocence before it was corrupted and return to love which I believe is the basis of our true nature.

One of the most corrupting and damaging things that I believe my own Catholic education taught was the belief in original sin.  In some prayers we are told to reject Satan and all of his works.  I always found that problematic, for Saturn was once an angel and he fell into the darkness but he had real lessons to learn there and so do we and paradoxically darkness is what the original sin concept takes us into.  And I do not believe we were born knowing Satan but only knowing love but love is not what we necessarily find when we are born.  As Marianne Williamson says  : “love is what we were born with, fear is what we learned here” and if this is true, I believe it is, then we are here to learn about Satan/fear and understand how the critical super ego can block our pure nature child essence from its full expression and experiencing of love.

Others super egos block us, with all their prohibitions about who we should be and what we should do to be accepted or loved and if we are born to those limited in their capacity to express love and even to see us as a separate unique individual then our entire development becomes highly problematic.  We have a lot of work to do to reclaim that essential side of us, what John Bradshaw has called our ‘wonder child’ or ‘soulful child’.

Being around young children is something that I find enormously healing and enlightening.  If you are around children in their young years if they have not already suffered severe abuse you know you are in the presence of an open, curious spirit who just expresses, often they express a thirst for knowing, they see the world through eyes of awe that are open to wonders of life and nature that we tend to become blind to in later life and they are full of questions no longer believing they know the answers.  Keep an open mind is one of my favourite AA and Al Anon sayings, it implies that there is always something I can learn.  This is not to say that I should not trust the deeper knowings of my own heart and intuition and I do think one of the profound gifts of childhood is that children operate on a more intuitive level, if they are naturally psychic, for example they may actually see non physical life forms such as angels.

I recently read a book by a woman whose own psychic gifts had been blocked in childhood. Her mother didn’t believe her daughter when she spoke of the things she saw and so this person shut down her own knowing.  It took a major crisis to put her back on her psychic/intuitive pathway, now she helps those who are also waking up to these kinds of gifts themselves.

I started this blog with the question who is it for?  What I was thinking about how our work to reconnect inwardly and find the source of love inside of ourselves is most certainly for us but surely it is not only for us.   The question I have is perhaps whether the waking up process of recovering our depths and capacity to love is about becoming a love warrior, just as Glennon Melton Doyle has written in her book on the subject.  Maybe our waking up process is about finding a path or destiny in which we find a path to being a voice for love on a planet that so dearly needs this message.

I wrote a blog earlier this week on grief in which I spoke about the wish I had to be a grief warrior in that I wanted to be able to share and help others to know that grieving is a necessary process of feeling and self expression from deep in one’s heart and soul that when thwarted leaves huge scars.  That often only an awakening to our deepest grief, actually opens our path to love and compassion.

We cannot be naïve in this life as there are those out there who for their own reasons are invested in not allowing us to grieve or love, maybe because they lack the stamina for that work.  Or they want to block and protect their hearts against further pain and so they close us or their own feelings out.

Most certainly if our grief is caused from abuse it is showing love for ourselves to protect our heart from further abuse, but along the way after we grieve at depth and experience all the complex emotions of that process, we actually come to a point where we find that we now are in full possession of our own heart, a heart that has become strong enough and deep enough to feel the depth of suffering and compassion for the shutdown of a soul that would effect that kind of abuse.

We come to see how others lovelessness comes out of inner blockages.  We find compassion but we also know that at some stage each heart and soul makes a choice, either conscious or unconscious to open up, feel, expose and heal or to shut down, numb, close off and refuse to love or open again.

And that is when we can become a voice for love, if we have found the depth of courage to make the necessary surrender, we will know so deeply that we are loved and that others are too, but that often souls do chose for one reason or other to turn their backs on love.

Brave to Love

Courage

Brave to love

Amidst such overwhelming fear

When you just see

A hungering heart

Or a suffering soul

Instead of a demon

You are closer to

The heart of love

A heart that can answer

All suffering

All wounding

All separation

With love

Love that is openness

And that is

Strong enough to look

Directly in the face

All fear

And dissolve it

In the open loving gaze

Of compassion

Struggles with guilt : insights into anxiety

I awoke struggling with a lot of guilt this morning.  As much as I can write that its not okay for the critic to beat me up, its also important that as an adult I take responsibility for my own life and feelings.  The complication is that so many of my current feelings date back and are connected to old feelings and hurts, emotional absences and injuries from the past.  When I put the sole focus on those I can become resentful and bitter, hurt and angry which is fair enough but if those feelings are poisoning or affecting certain choices I am making today I am in trouble and not only am I in trouble but others around me are too.

The issue that I am struggling with this morning is my financial dependency on my mother.  Much as I express here all my angry feelings with my Mum she has tried to compensate in many ways for what she failed to give me by providing financial support when I have needed it.  As a result I have chosen not to work for the past 10 years following my accident which gave me a head injury and focus on my healing and recovery work.   Although I posted a post yesterday on how that is the most important work for me, at times I don’t fully believe it.  I feel that I could have been more responsible as an adult for myself financially.

Then I go through all the guilt over the chain of inner causes that contributed to the financial difficulty we had back in March when due to a real estate agents pressure I put in an offer for a townhouse that I then wished to retract but could not, he had kept us pinned at the house on the day of the auction when it was passed in and pressured for an offer that day, knowing that if we made that offer then we would have not cooling off period and no way out.  Due to the fact I had not properly read the contract I was not aware.  I made a mistake and I have had to own it, but my Mum has been the one who paid up.

I was willing to lose the deposit but due to my mother’s issue with money she was not prepared to let it go and so bought the place herself rather than see the deposit forgone.  She has tried to rent it since then but no renters have been willing to take it on and then a few weeks ago she asked me to consider moving into it and I have once again been stuck in a back forward process of trying to take the easier way and move in which means surrendering my older cottage but also the creative beautiful aspects of it.  One part of me says why not just let this place go.  It was my mistake that led to the problem and really as an adult I should own it, not depend on my Mum but it was a failure too on her part on the day when I turned to her for help on that day that made me make the offer and she also left me alone while chatting to her friend at the time the auction was taking place which gave the agent space to move in and try to force my hand by putting in the high bid the owner wanted when no one else was bidding.

All of this is interesting to me as I am in the midst of reading the book Power Over Panic at the moment and in it the author Bronwyn Fox explains how it is the passive perfectionist who most often ends up with an anxiety condition.   She suffered from anxiety and panic attacks herself so she knows what is involved in recovery and the point she makes is that it is our fear which drives so much of what contributes to the condition in the first place, fear of not being all things to all people, fear of being selfish if we care for ourselves and put our own needs first, fear of disappointing others and being real and then fear of the anxiety or panic itself which is what keeps the attacks going.

As I have been reading this book I have seen our own family pattern with poor boundaries and interpersonal connections of truth and emotional honesty.   Our family pattern is to always ‘do the right thing’, swallow our own feelings and needs and then to over extend ourselves and not take good care of our boundaries and body.   And then this can also dovetail into a very strong adult child pattern of taking on responsibility for what is not our issue due to feeling we are responsible for others, which leads to emotional caretaking and then emotional, physical and spiritual depletion.  We also loose our own deeper connection to joy if the inner critic is always driving us with its perfectionistic project and not letting us rest in and find what lights up our own hearts independent of other demands or our own inner pressure to help or be the good guy.

As I look at it I see my Mum has at times helped us too much in the wrong ways.  I went to another meeting yesterday of my Al Anon group and there were a couple there whose son has recently entered into recovery.  They were sharing about how they needed to support him but not too much and to his own detriment, for our recovery is really a personal issue, how others treat us can trigger us ultimately as much as people would like to argue that it doesn’t, but becoming an adult also means learning about what is triggering and taking the steps for self care.

Anyway I don’t know if this blog has a theme.  I just woke up and needed to write down some of the things I am struggling with in my own head.  I had pretty much made the decision I am not going to move into the town house but commit to this place despite all the responsibility such a decision entails.  Winter is a hard time as my house is very cold and really needs a better heating system.  But winter will not last forever and is a time when its good for the emotional psyche to get in tune with the swing of nature and look inwards.   Even as I type this I know I could make another decision and make the best of it and I realise how lucky I really am to have so much choice and the support that I do.

I never fully got the emotional support I needed in the past. I came from a family where we were taught to serve others more than understand and respect our own inner boundaries, feelings and needs.  I see how the pattern has replayed and how so much of it was deeply unconscious.  In a post yesterday I was sharing how we can only say we are free to choose when we are fully conscious of all of these unconscious patterns and factors which makes me question a point that Bronwyn makes in her book on anxiety and panic  attacks.  We develop these conditions not because we are bad or weak but due to the fact that we have lot to learn and become conscious of.  Being diagnosed with such an illness or condition is actually a wake up call to our inner self to begin to become more conscious and aware and to take care of what most needs support, comfort and nurturing in our own lives.  If we beat ourselves up for suffering with them we cant really go forward on our recovery and being kind and compassionate and loving to ourselves is an enormous part of overcoming such conditions. If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks I really highly recommend the book.  I am learning a lot from it.

Birthing through struggle

ARI

Baby

Our struggle is, in many ways what births us.  I think this is the deeper reason behind why we can feel pissed or ripped off when people tell us platitudes like “it was all for a reason” which is something that formed a large chunk of a post I posted earlier with a quote from Debbie Ford on the shadow.  Even as I was posted it I thought how being told that suffering was all part of the divine plan may anger or be intensely triggering for some reason as the last thing we really all want is to suffer and coming to see the wisdom in awful pain and suffering or abuse is something we have to arrive at in our own time and through our own process.

A central tenant of Buddhist wisdom, though is the fact that suffering is intrinsic to life and we only have power over how we choose to respond.  Do we curse it or bless it?  Do we put our focus on the lack or the gain?  And as I write this it occurs to me that struggle  even attends our first moments on earth depending on how easy or difficult our birth was.

Birthing as a physical being is also not the same as birthing ourselves on a psychological or spiritual level.  For that birth is something that can be stymied or thwarted depending on the environment we were born into and how well it matched out intrinsic soul need.  And then we have the thorny aspect of family karma.  If we come from a family where in past generations traumas, loss and separation from love manifesting in alcoholism or addiction were strong themes.  Add to this the fact of the collective traumas that our families of the past were subject to, to greater or lesser degrees and that is a lot of historic struggle to unravel and unpack.

Understanding my own family karma and patterns has made it a little easier for me to reach for forgiveness lately.   I see how much my own two families, of mother and father were impinged upon by collective events of war and depression.  I see how a battle to survive meant my family was full of struggle and so the issue of nurture was a difficult one.  At times I have felt a bit selfish to be honestly lately when I realise how my own mother struggled in the absence of a dead father and mother who was constantly absent due to providing for her daughter.  At the age of 13 my grandmother also wanted my Mum to go live with a family and become a domestic servant.  I think by then she had a new man on the horizon or maybe she just thought this would give her daughter a better chance at survival.  My Mum rebelled and found herself a job as a tailor’s apprentice.

At age 13 I went into the family business, a clothing store, part time and on weekends.  It was on one of the weekends 4 years later that I had my major motor vehicle smash which aborted my entire last semester of school.  I never formally graduated.  Times of transition or cyclic new birth times are therefore difficult and full of fear for me.  I fear at these kind of times I will literally die.  I had the whole thing retriggered when my marriage ended taking myself far away and smashing up.  I see that this is what I chose to do even though a large part of my soul hungered to stay close to my own Mum at that time.   Separation, transitions and new steps forward are especially fraught for me and that isn’t my fault.  I undergo a lot of separation anxiety.  The best I can do lately is work to become more conscious of the pattern and love myself through it.

Yesterday the beat up voice was back telling me how little I have amounted to my life, casting its distainful gaze on my home and telling me I should end my life.  I was lucky enough to cry from the inner child and then the loving adult showed up and told the critic to back off.  I know the critic is trying to protect me from something but the cost of his criticism on my tender soul is too brutal.  Would the world really be better off if I were dead, as the critic said yesterday?  I don’t think so.  Am I really such a fuck up? And is my life over yet?  NO!

I know in my life I have struggled in all sorts of ways.  I don’t carry deep within me an implicit feeling of trust, security and safety in this life.  I tend to see the negative side and anticipate disaster.  I know more now and that it is a protective mechanism but it isn’t one that always serves me well.  I struggle with believing all the harsh things that happened to me were all part of a plan but in another way I do believe it.  And I was so blessed to get sober at 31.

I may have struggled in later years but my sober life is a big achievement and all the emotional work I have done since.  I don’t check out for the most part,  I front up and try to live and engage to the best of my ability.  And my struggle on many levels is both what births me as well as keeping me realistic and grounded.  Much of my own shadow is not full of darkness but full of repressed light and love.  Its only lately  I am feeling that it is finally putting in an appearance after years and years and years of living in the closet. As someone who almost drowned in her own shadow I am so grateful now that I don’t have to identify myself as permanent scapegoat or victim.  At one time I was powerless over all kinds of things and they did victimise me.  But I also now choose to say, that these things were things I survived and chose to face, not that there is any sin in not doing so, for some darkness weighs too heavy upon more gentle souls and can drown them, especially if there is no one there help with the grand archetypal battle with the inner critic/shame based/shadow.

That is a profound truth that I most implicitly understand.   Yesterday when my inner battle was going on a voice inside my head asked me this.  “Deborah, which voice are you going to give power to, the voice of love or the voice of fear and hate?”  Yesterday I chose love and as I consider the entire thing this afternoon for the rest of my life I want love to be the final word, most of all love for myself, love for the struggle and love for my fellow humans.