I think these are some of the most powerful words in the Bible. On the even of his crucifixion, Jesus was desperate, he was alone, he was praying to be saved from his ‘fate’ while on another level knowing he could not be.. We can draw a parallel her with how it is for us when we go through so much trauma, especially at the hands of those who should care for, protect, nurture and love us ; parents, siblings, teacher, partners even friends. Going through so much damage and pain or loss of potentials can often seem a burden too huge to bear but until we can we will never find liberation from that ‘fate’, nor be able to embrace the transformation or post traumatic growth that lies on the other side
Jesus could feel and wrestle with those ‘demons’ and that is what marked him out and his crucifixion also shows that he could bear death.. In an interesting synchronicity, today in Australia on breakfast radio, presenter Geraldine Doogue interviewed a woman who has written a book on death and principally about how shy we are in our culture at facing it.
Most often when someone dies we leap to get the funeral organized as quickly as we can.. We often do not see the dead body and here in Australia often caskets are closed.. I know that in Holland there is a ritual in which the body is actually put in one of the rooms in the house in an open casket and is able to be viewed.. This gives people time to visit and say goodbyes or even talk to the loved one in order to resolve the loss.
For me, losing my father at 23, and never getting to see him either before or after he died was a major thing contributing to the fact that I never began to work through or resolve that loss (along with so many others) until many years later.. In my family my brother stepped in to manage everything and took over it all, as he did when my mother died, but in the case of Mum I did get to see her dead body. And I had said all I needed to say over those final 5 or so nights leading to her death in December 2017.
Many years later after I finally got sober and my godfather died in 2003 at 10 years of sobriety, I asked to be able to go to see his body. On the day he died from an aneurysm I actually had a pain in my head and at his funeral I got to cry but was shamed by my sister who called me to task for ‘making an exhibition of myself’ by crying while hugging his oldest grandson. One of the reasons my husband left me in the end in 2004 was that he did not want me feeling anything of the sadness of my Dad’s loss which began to really open up from around 2001 onwards and only when I had lived through over 8 years of active abstinence from alcohol and drugs. As I look back unresolved griefs from generations played such a huge part in the addiction legacy of my mother’s side of the family.
The anniversary of my older sister dying is in 4 days time but she actually died on Easter Sunday morning at 3 am in 2014.. I was lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with her on the Easter Saturday from around 4 pm to 11 pm when her sons arrived, sons she had been removed from in around 1983. After her death two of them came to stay with me and we got to talk through a lot, there was a big argument on the night of the funeral because they came home drunk and I was upset my other living sister had been shunted away into the psyche ward and so prevented from attending her funeral.. But the next day when they sobered up and I calmed down we resolved all of that. I will always be so grateful for those 4 or so days we three got to spend together while all the arrangements for her funeral were made.
The point I am trying to make here and the point the author of that book makes it that in trying to rush hurry up and hide ourselves from the dead body and our grief we miss essential times of transformation and deepening that may, in the end help us to face more of life.. We lie to ourselves when we think hiding our pain and grief or feelings of sadness or loss or ‘protecting’ people from theirs is doing them a service. That said each person’s grief process is individual and complex and we all know a manifold number of griefs in our lives and may come into families already riven with hidden ones from generations back, at least this is what I have began to learn about my own family of 6 or 7 generations lately.
Christ rises on Easter Sunday and a great light dawns.. to me that seems to a powerful metaphor for the fact that if we allow a grief process to play out fully (symbolically represented in the time he spends in the tomb with the 3 Marys also grieving fully during that time,) we can emerge into the light again and become deepened in our appreciation of the preciousness of each and every small moment of living remaining.. That is most certainly what I am experiencing lately, especially at this Easter anniversary of Judith’s death 8 years later.
Jesus shows me a human face when he cries, he shows me that my tears mean something. It is said in another part of the Bible that each one of our tears ever shed is held in a sacred vial and is meaningful to God. I firmly believe that.. So lets stop shunning those who grieve and stop running from our own.. Grief does make us feel powerless but as we say in AA there is one who has all power and if we kneel in full surrender to our grief then we will all too easily be able to see that magical and mysterious face of God.
Some days the exile seems too much. The busy world has no time, turns a deaf ear to the soul and connection, left alone with our sorrow the burden becomes too heavy, at times crippling. Why is our society so switched off in so many ways? Sometimes the deafening silence in the face of grief just breaks my heart. The wilderness reasserts its hold on our joy obliterating it.
Believe me I know this will pass but lately it has all felt too much.
When i look back to the abuse and nasty things said to me in my last relationship I see how much I was also low in self esteem inside myself.. I have been working so hard on building up my sense of self in these past years.. It has taken a lot of work and grief and anger and lots of other feelings and to be honest a good therapist.. Also sharing here and trying to be as real as I can about my past and foibles, fears and insecurities..
These days I am being much more loving to myself and I am able to face criticism but also to know when it comes out of a not very fair place.. I do not need to shame myself for anything for I am a human and as a human there is stuff I cannot do and do not know, but there are things I do too.. In short, these days I try not to be super human nor to feel that I would be okay if only I had not endured a lot of the trauma I have, it is just that sometimes I do worry that my emotional neglect trauma has made much it harder for me to be and stay connected.
Listening to a lot of Louise Hay is really helping me lately.. Louise helps me to realise that I can leave my trauma in the past, that I do not have to allow it to define me, at the same time I will never be another Deborah who grew up with things I would have loved to have.. a mother who was present and engaged, a father who wanted to know about my day when he came home, a sister who was not hateful and hard at times when I really needed softness.. these are things I cannot change and the lack of emotional availability has left scars and made it hard to trust at times in a brighter tomorrow but still I know there is a chance if I take the actions to bring good things into my life and take the chance to stop doing things that may hurt me or be counter productive instead of sit around complaining about things…life can always improve.. just as long as I do not self sabotage.
This morning i let myself lay in bed for an extra hour and a half.. Its not something I usually do but today we had rain and I had a few rocky nights so I just let myself sink back into sleep again.. but when I woke in the darkness I must confess I did feel the shadows of those lonely years at that empty holiday house at the coast I retreated to in 2002 and 2004.. I saw how I pulled back but also how I was seeking the way home to my lost self.. to the littler girl who did not really know how to live with self confidence.. I see it all far more clearly now all of these years onward and I also see how I could be at risk of repeating old patterns if I do not champion myself and trust those who do reach out and want to be with me…
Sometimes I wonder if I am doomed to go through life without a loving partner.. God knows so many do it and they find the way to a full life of love in other ways, through ministry, friendship or career… but still deep down there is a part of me that longs for my own little family.. while another voice of doubt always seems to whisper “maybe it isn’t meant for me”.. Maybe I am pushing away an opportunity now due to past doubt and fear. I am not entirely sure.. All I know is that I will keep trying every day to grow in self esteem and love.. and to reach out to connect, even if so often there seems to be a voice so deep down inside that tells me not to trust and that I am ‘doomed’to always be alone.
A chink opened up this morning Between gunmetal gray clouds Shining a ray of sunlight down Upon me Here safe in my little home
I awake slowly Coiling and uncoiling Unravelling
I rise slowly after some hour or so To memories of what you and Mum did give me Dad Over those 3 months in hospital Pinned to the bed You came with food and a little bottle of wine every night I needed a hug though
There was so much unsaid So much that fell through the empty spaces Left by no words
I am freed from that prison after 101 days But less than 3 months later Judy is struck down With a bleed in her head Then psychosis came And so much worry for you
I forget the high seas you were riding How as a man you had to lock it all inside and tell no one much but Mum Your stomach bore the tension but it ate you up And we lost you only a few years later So much loss An ocean to cross
Oh my How close I came to drowning And yet I fell full fathom five and am now slowly resurfacing It has been an ocean storm I have had to learn to breathe through A massive tidal swell that carried and beached me here Long years later
But I feel now with that chink of sun so quickly gone An intimation that very soon I will have Emerged From this dark night Victorious
And yet the grief will always remain Deep in my soul For it occured to me today I was born to be A witness to the tide
It helps to clear out the theories and dogmas you picked up from your family, school. and religious upbringing. To be an independent and mature adult, you may have to dump all kinds of things that get in the way. Then your thoughts and judgments become leaner and clearer. You realize that much of what has preoccupied you is not essential. You can live happily and sensuously in this rich and promising world without getting caught up in many of its dehumanizing values and empty distractions.
“It has occurred to me (that) perhaps what we call depression isn’t really a disorder at all but, like physical pain, an alarm of sorts, alerting us to something that is undoubtedly wrong; that perhaps it is time to stop, take a time out, take as long as it takes, and attend to the unaddressed business of filling our souls.” (this quote is from writer, Lee Stringer.)
Here is a key idea : stop thinking of your dark nights as problems and begin to see them as opportunities for change.
A spiritual existence requires constant cleansing; because the spirit by nature is less involved in day to day issues and more focused on the core, the universal, the eternal. The soul should be stuffed with issues and relationships, and even problems, but it needs a degree of regular thinning, a process that can be a fruit of the dark night.
Wow, my eyes are full of tears right now, good tears.. I just got a beautiful comment on a poem I wrote this week that really spoke to me : ’emerging but carrying the weight of the dark night as a valuable treasure..’ That comment was so affirming and it made me realise how much value there is in the dark night journey as well as in honesty…
Last night as I was lying in bed crying over the past and the emotional black hole in my family and someone who messages me from overseas said to me ‘don’t cry, It’s a waste of time.’ I just said this : ‘actually I find supreme value in tears, to me they speak of an emotional truth”. There is also something that analyst and story teller Clarissa Pinkoles Estes talks about in the myth of The Handless Maiden, in that chapter of her book Women Who Run With the Wolves she says “tears soften the soul and keep away the predator.”
Have you ever noticed that there is something calcified and almost demonic about people who cannot cry deeply nor acknowledge you when you do, or even worse, treat you as if there is something wrong with you for having an emotional reaction or crying?” To me, tears come from the soul, in fact I just opened up a book in which I sometime jot down poems to find these written down from somewhere : ‘tears, the soul’s rain shower!’
I do believe that tears come from the soul and from love as well as the hollow pit of utter emptiness from which the soul cries out trying to make its need for love known in it echoing absence as well as bear testament to an emotional truth.. I wish we would mine our tears more to be honest.. I wish there was a literacy around tears, permission to have them.. To me tears act as a release.. A beautiful follower of mine, Mark always says “I feel so much better after a good cry ; snotty nose!” I am not saying that we should all sit around crying all of the time, and there is a time to look for the blessings in things going wrong, emotional pain and challenges or things getting stolen or lost. There is also time to take ourselves by the hand after we have been feeling sad and find ways to lighten up and bring some fun and joy into our lives but we can also find the gifts present in the darker times…
I think of all of the beautiful songs and poems that come out of sadness, heartbreak and sorrow, I also think of those songs that have the power to uplift us spiritually and speak to our soul in the depths.. Listening to the blues or someone like Eva Cassidy helps me to move through sadder feelings or come to terms with things not working out…there is a time just to let the soul ache and release the heartbreak so that we can use it to move on through and power our next phase of the journey…
I am back in a deep dip at the moment to be honest.. This time of year corresponds with a very painful and dark time for me when I fell pregnant and had to have the baby terminated due to a health issue…it also coincided with a break up and a time of betrayal at the hands of the person I was involved with then.. That said I was also bringing darkness on me by drinking too much and taking drugs and it would only be three years later that the final years of my active drinking and drugging would occur… I still had so many years left to work through my pain… I can never not forget that time on a deeply unconscious bodily level as the air turns heavier and darker with the slow approach of winter…I feel the great darkness of the years 1980 to 2011 when I finally moved home and began the necessary inner psychological work to make it conscious.
I have known great darkness and it will always be a part of me.. but as that reader acknowledged my blog must show that I do carry it now more as a gift than a curse….I can not ever live completely on the light side of life. In astrological terms I am far too Plutonian for that with the planet of the Underworld in my first house of soul identity and connected to my Moon Saturn Mars and Chiron. I got sober in 1993 when that configuration was triggered by a Pluto transit.. Mars is hitting it now and will be for the next few weeks…. so in some way I have to go with Underworld pull when its summons me leaving part of myself above ground as an observer, available to throw my soul a life line should I need it to come back up to the light, daylight world should things get too heavy..
Before this time the Underworld used to claim my soul completely. As a Persephone woman I identify with the dark themes of loss, pain, grief and feelings of being overpowered by stronger more willful souls. Yes I know the Underworld.. I just sometimes don’t feel that comfortable with the pull, especially in a world that sees the Underworld sojourner as a bit of a threat or danger… Robert Hand says of first house Pluto people.. people love you deeply or are scared to death of you, seeing you as a threat….its not an easy energy to carry at times, but if we want to manage in life we have to find some kind of way to carry that energy in a positive way.. encouraging others to not feel so strange or exiled or alone if they do too.
It helps me a bit to articulate these energies when they become strong.. It makes me feel less alone at those times I feel pulled on by things that hurt or remind me of the burden of the past… I will be grateful too, for a therapy call this afternoon… dark things and feelings needs to be given air time and I will always be grateful to those willing to listen and extend an open heart and hand when I go through one of my dark phases.
All the beautiful responses to my recent post/poem Trust in Silencehave really got me thinking today of how important silence is to being able to be with and connected to depths of our soul. When we are struggling or suffering often we can be abused by being told we need to ‘get out of our own heads’, “get off our pity pot!’, (yes readers I have heard this one many times in 12 step meetings) or that we are ‘isolating’ and at times there can be some truth to that, sometimes when we need the loving touch or support of others or look for the gifts or message in a painful experience, but in world that find it hard to stomach or fathom certain truths, is it any wonder we learn to turn more and more towards the silence if we can, deep in that silence, find an inner source of soothing, calm and healing?
I know for myself the healing to be found in the warm of the sun, in sitting in a shady spot with doors open, Jasper at my feet just feeling the sense of connection with the moment that is awesome, magical, healing and mysterious and beyond words to fully describe (though I make stumbling attempts in poems). Then there are the times when the silence is more like a deep dark indigo ocean that almost squashes me, I feel myself subsumed or I feel the cresting of a wave of anger or grief or sorrow that wants to rise up and sweep through me, possibly even sweep away some debris from inside, memories or feelings I buried long ago, and if I just allow myself to surrender than I can expand rather than contract in response to that and feel the beauty of having touched base with my soul.
And lets face it, for many of us who have endured depths of loss and trauma others do not, have not and could never know the depths of we are not going to find that recognition or acceptance and allowing of our process from most people and my personal feeling is that therapists also don’t always know the territory themselves. I was told by astrologer Melanie Reinhardt 13 years ago after my last major accident which was a repeat of my near death one at age 17 that most therapists would not be able to fully understand the deeper spiritual dimensions of the wound of nearly losing my life as well as all the deeply Plutonian experiences that followed over the next 30 or so years for me. She directed me towards the work of Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron and said a soulful meditative practice would be the best therapy for me. Sadly I got into another relationship two years later with someone who saw my need for solitude as pathological. According to him I had agrophobia!!!! Anyway don’t really want to go back into the relationship today, it was a learning curve for me and I got some good things out of it and deeper understanding due to all the pain we both acted out on each other.
Lately I am learning to accept and validate more my need for soulful solitude. It is where I create from. It is where my deepest healing happens. I don’t feel that level of connection in may relationships in the world, in some I do. I feel it here because I feel here other trauma survivors and people in recovery are on the same page. Just connecting with you brings me SO MUCH HEALING. I was blown away yesterday by the love shown to me on a really tough day, coming out of a painful and challenging week.
I wanted actually to post another Thank You blog too as I was so grateful yesterday and today to open my page and see all the comments and love on here. As well as responses to other comments of mine where I am trying to support others going through trauma and meeting misunderstanding and woefully inadequate response to their Complex Trauma. I really see my life purpose to be as a Wounded Healer and it is what Melanie Reinhardt teaches about in her work on Chiron. Its really only us who have navigated the depths of trauma that fully understand and since all traumas are also different in some ways we wont understand everything as we all have our own unique journeys, but in time I want to set up some kind of site to offer help. If my journey and suffering and losses and gains can be used to help others that is what really makes me happy, it gives me a peace and feeling of wholeness that really lays so far beyond words.
But as I read this back I am mindful too that the healing for all of us lies both in connections with others, but more paramountly through the healing that comes from connection to our deepest soul. I feel collectively we are trying too, to heal a deep split from nature and instinct and the divine feminine. It is hard to articulate this in a post but there is a source of power that to me is Goddess like, I don’t find the concept of a male God as personally healing in my own journey unless I think of the Frank Lloyd Wright quote in which he says he believes in God but his God is nature. We are part of this mystery and so is our deepest soul and many of us are on a journey now to connect more to that source both within and without in order to find peace and love after years of separation, fear or trauma. And to recognise more deeply our essential kinship with all living beings as well as the deep silence.