If I

Safety in Truth

If I am reluctant to come

I know you may not understand

Exactly why and how

Traumatic imprints steal my life and energy many days

There may be lightness that comes

After reflection has shown

All that was buried

After I have been pulled in again with deep tugging

Drawing up inner seaweed from the silt bottom

Flushing out wounded hesitant places

There was so much life and love

And longing and energy

Burning deep inside before

Life energy that got subverted

Into hesitancy

Lack of trust

And also you may not understand

While you blithely dance around on the surface

That travelling this deep often involves

Inner engagement

That pulls the rug out

Covering in exhaustion

Deeper old secrets and experiences

So that even when I long to draw close

I must check that wanting

Just in case I am burnt again

So you will approach me

Knowing on some level I travel this deep

And then you may pull away

Again at the last moment

And I will be like Charlie Brown

Knowing I should have never forgotten

That sometimes people the ball away

Just to play havoc

With my soul

Or is that confusion

Self centred imagining

That cannot embrace a wider empathy

Who knows what went down

Does it matter

Its just that what you do

Tears open a wide gaping inner space

Deep inside

That then becomes a home for demons

Fuelled by past hauntings

And desertions

So for today

Perhaps I must rest instead

Deep inside this place of not knowing

And stop up the gaps

With love that suspends inner self talk

With stories, confusions

Or vain and fraught imaginings

That will only lead my soul

To grief

Perhaps today

I finally have the capacity

To make a wiser choice

The cost of caring and connecting

My therapist often points out to me the heavy cost that caring and connecting with my family can bring.  I was made even more aware of this on the weekend before last when, after meeting my sister I absent mindedly banged my car into a car I didn’t see behind me when reversing.  My mind was in a bit of spin at the time and I wasn’t paying attention.  I often find connecting with family means I have to operate on two levels, there is a longing there that has a grief underneath it that can never be fully expressed together, I often come away brimming with tears.

After I hit the car of this younger woman that is what happened, my eyes brimmed up.  I apologised and owned my lack of attention that caused the smash,   “Its my fault”, I said.  “No, she said, it was an accident!”  This made me cry even more as I know my PTSD trauma condition often brings other traumas to me.  It’s close to the anniversary of my older sister’s death and my therapist often says how important it is to be careful around anniversaries.  I had the major smash up of 2005 where I sustained a serious head injury on the one year anniversary of my husband telling me he was leaving me.

Just a few weeks before while rushing to get to a funeral for a friend of my mother’s mother I didn’t realise I was in a school zone and got booked by a speed camera for doing 53 in a 40 km zone, and I very rarely speed, so it bit me.  In the end going to the funeral cost me a $257 speeding fine and it wasn’t really essential that I attend.   The excess on my insurance is going to cost a fair bit, but I’ve fronted up with it.  In considering things and looking at the chain of events that led to them and my own motivations shows me how often I strain to be connected and when I do there can be a backlash that costs me dearly

It is something my therapist brings up a lot.  She often makes the comment that connecting with my family comes at quiet a cost.  Entering their world I have to operate to their likes and in trying to bond I need to show an interest in things that interest them.  I do have a voice though, but there is always a lot more going on under the surface than meets the eye and at times I come away feeling that something has been taken or I have moved just a little bit outside who I really am and what I really need as a person.

The positive thing though for me these days isvthat I do connect more with others.  I just have to remember that I don’t have to strain so hard to be connected.  I think all of this is coming out of what I really felt that I had to repress growing up.

I think as a youngster I was naturally happy and joyous and full of life.  I loved music and dancing and connection but in a much older family that was work and duty bound I had to rub a lot of the shine off.  Added to this was the fact that as a very much younger sibling I was effectively like an only child.   I remember crying so much at my closest sister’s wedding which took place at 14 that I embarrassed her.  I never got a comfy hug of recognition.  I remember my sister kind of looking down on me with shame in her expression.  Should I really have been made to feel ashamed of needing and wanting to be connected?

It appears to me I learned ways to bury and hide that longing even from myself and my addiction covered it over in so many ways but was also a mixed up way of trying to connect while trying to keep my by then exquisite longing and vulnerability and fear hidden!

These days my heart does a little leap of joy in my chest when someone reaches out to me.  The other day I was at the dog park and lost my keys.  I had made a new friend and she helped me by taking me home to get my spare key and then dropping me back to the park.  I was so touched by this help.  Yesterday she rang to see how I was and see if I wanted to go for a coffee.  At the coffee date she asked me all about me.  That was such a new experience for me, but I was also aware of not wanting to take up too much attention at the same time, and as I write this I am aware that it is part of my programming not only from family but from a Catholic education in which I could be shamed for drawing attention to myself.

Well how interesting.  A post that began about the cost of caring and connecting has somewhere along the line had a shift of focus.  These days though something is calling me to become more aware of where I place my attention and needs, and to explore my motivations honestly when I feel the need to reach out and connect.  Maybe that in itself is even problematic though.  If I am conditioned to feel that connecting and caring comes at such a cost, then at times its difficult to be able to just spontaneously be and reach for connection.  I can end up second guessing everything due to past pain without realising that new connections may bring new and different affects into my life.   In the end I guess it is about being open and mindful at the same time and not overthinking to the degree that fearful thoughts block the life and love that is wanting me to just be me, trust, open, express and connect in the world free of shame self judgement and fear.

 

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.

On Death : And Endings

Nighmare

I have stared death in the face many times.  Then reading those words it occurs to me that really I have faced it and felt it put is dark fingers around me also.  There was the accident when all the life was pushed out of me, I was flung forward, lost consciousness and then just awoke with pain struggling to breathe and part of me was asking to die.  There was the loss of my father that was never fully real as the last time I saw him he was in a kind of coma and then the call came at work one morning to say he was gone, no way to say goodbye.  This time several years ago I did not know that I had only a month or so left to visit my sister before she passed.  I was able to visit with her in the final two days of her life before we as a family had to make the decision to take her off life support and set her free.

In a movie I was watching last night one of the older characters said to a younger man, that true love is about letting people go even if that hurts you, if it is best for them.  After spending time silently with her holding her hand and saying “don’t leave me Jude” to my sister, I then said “but if it is your time to go, you must.”

I am very, very conscious today of these deaths and endings as the final throws of summer retreat and we feel the autumnal change stealing in.  After a week of refreshing rain the formerly dusty dry garden has sprung up and wet leaves are littering my back deck.  I look around the place conscious that around the corner a new place beckons to me as a still available possibility.   A part of me tells me its time to put this place to death and let it go because the lunation that we are now in the final week which began with a Solar Eclipse was in contact with Pluto planet of death, impermanence, change and transformation was opposite my first house of new beginnings and conjunct Chiron in Pisces in my seventh which concerns to me all the broken attachments of my past.  Also, I recently read a post by Leah Whitehorse which showed the Autumn Equinox (Spring really if you are in the Northern Hemisphere as herein Oz everything is reversed)has a strong Pluto energy and she explained that the Equinox Chart shows the energy for the new astrological year. We wont have the New Moon in Aries though for a few days.

I just read a post about the void written by a fellow blogger and it really got me to thinking of Pluto which often rules the void, but then so can Neptune which is more a place where we dissolve all the past attachments and can be very, very frightening to face.  Here we face confusion, realise how little we can really hold onto, how impermanent life is and are perhaps reminded painfully of all the times we were so alone or stared death in the face in some form (that’s more Pluto, though). Its deeply painful territory and its hard for our mind to help us through it.  I am not surprised others are feeling that black hole a lot at present as there is apparently too a galactic point of the deep dark hole that sucks everything in and then transforms it. It would be associated to the Goddess energy of Kali in the Hindu tradition, an energy that is so often exiled from our modern consciousness so based in heroic ego ideals of achievement, success and conquest.

Many of us who struggle with depression have to make friends with this darker side of life and its energy.  We don’t get a lot of help with this.  Instead we are made to feel that we are just ‘not normal’.  But we are marked in a way not to really be able to live in ‘normal life’ so easily, most especially if as youngsters we felt ourselves to be unrecognised.

Now it seems we need to find ways and means to recognise ourselves as adults with a very wise inner child, but sometimes just at the moment we reach out or find we need some help with this process we find the help, support, affirmation or validation just isn’t there.  We find ourselves alone again in the deep dark void with no anchor and no solid ground under our feet and feel our deepest existential human dilemma that others less sensitive, less attuned, less porous are insulated from.

I can only say I don’t live in that deep ,dark, void place any more as much as I used to. But I still visit the realms of questioning and uncertainty and I struggle with what to hold onto and what to let go of.  Do I let go of the known loved thing and risk the pain of loss?  Do I convince myself it wont hurt?  Do I feel that perhaps hurt is a necessary stage of a Plutonian life full of many deaths and many endings?  Do I feel this way because its what I knew in the past and is realising this a sign that from a Plutonian level that old pattern needs to be put to death?

There are no easy answers but all I can say is (and what Pluto has taught me) that things do change form, if we can just hold on and hold through it is my experience that light does return again in the void.  But I also know that others don’t survive it and it takes them out.  I only trust and pray that if that is their decision they find the light on the other side.  For dark only seems to fully erase light for a time  and both opposites oscillate as polarities.  All of life universally is about the oscillation of opposites and polarities and this is the paradox, pain and ambiguity we are asked to embrace often on our human spiritual journey of life and death.