If I don`t hold you : the fraught dynamic of trying to connect with my Mum

I am so used to holding others feelings that I get upset when others won`t help me hold mine.  I know its up to us to relate to our own feelings but sometimes just having a human body or soul with you as you undergo feelings helps on all kinds of levels.  The best help is when they dont say much but stay present with you and you feel, felt.   And then its easier to access what is inside, if you were caught up in your head before.  That said there are also times we access those emotional depths best alone, and cannot share them or have them understood.

I am thinking of this as I just called to see how my Mum was, she asked me `what did I WANT` I then immediately wanted to get off the phone.  I only rang to see how you are I asked.   I let her go and just burst into tears.   I know I said enough is enough I still worry and yes (obsess) over my Mum.  Today she is pushing herself beyond her boundaries to be with her mahjong group, its okay she has the will and energy to be with them but not with my nephew.  I can understand there has been so much pain with my nephew`s mother (my now dead sister) I believe Mum will do anything not to go there with her grief.  Its why she married as quickly as she did after my father died and then ended up hurting the guy who really loved her, where as for her he was an escape.    After they separated he used to ring me and cry over my mother, how much she had done for him, how well she had looked after him, how much he loved her.   Mum would old say `he was a nice man, but I never loved him`.  Its not up to me to judge my Mum but she sure doesnt go deep at times.

I just need to be with what my sadness was telling me.  At the moment Mum is trying to get to be with the friends she loves who give her comfort in the way our family does not.  I had the thought over past days that Mum would have been better off not having children or at least me.  I was an accident, I know that much and later an accident nearly took my life.  The body always knows and the soul knows when it was really wanted.

Now its up to me to mother me.  My therapist is not going to do it, fair enough.  She will help me to do the work as I undergo this painful time of emotionally separating with my Mum.   The connection to our mother is one of the most important ones in our life.  It becomes the connection to our own body.   I need to nurture mine at the moment.   The only real home I have is this body and I need to take care of it.  I can`t look to others to do it, though some of my connections here and in the world help me in ways they could never know, just by implicitly understanding.

I must exercise gratitude for the places I am received and try to steer clear of the places I am not if I want my body to feel better.  This is something I am coming to realise.   And maybe my Mum should no longer have to mother any more.  Maybe now she just needs time alone to get ready to die.   I keep trying to reach out but maybe the universe is trying to get me to wake up to reality. I keep trying to mother my mother but maybe I should not and maybe I should stop trying to hold or give a voice to feelings she would rather not face or be with alone.

Where has your spirit gone?

Aether Ashley Lebedev.jpg

For me Dad You will always be alive In my imagination We never really got to know each other There was a chasm we could not cross I felt you so far away In another land Though close to me Is it any wonder I struggled so much To be close to men in my life

But now I imagine where your spirit has gone Into the ether Or fishing off a celestial beach Living the life you never got to live on earth

1985

Songs of innocence take me back To that world Something changed irreversibly When you were taken so suddenly And its so hard to fathom now Where I went And all the ghostly paths of exile I travelled Always silently crying out your name Fearing to get close to anyone again They could never know the ghosts that haunted me

Its taken me years too To now feel you silently breathing In the air that surrounds me Never really far away Yet never truely found A mystery I will never fathom A ghost that will walk with me for the rest of my days

And yet there is too, a curious love I do not fully understand And the acceptance of a destiny never chosen that I must embrace

 

(Image : Aether by Ashley Lebedev)

On disengagement, indifference and insecure attachment

I heard a programme on radio today that really got me thinking. Its a great weekly segment in the show Life Matters that airs on Radio National in Austrailia, called Three Men and A Feeling in it two therapists discuss a feeling with the presenter Michael McKenzie and provide insights into its ramifications.  Today indifference was discussed most particularly from the point of view of how often it manifests in insecurely attached inviduals or those who have known hurt or pain as a ‘giving up’ defence and reaction to those hurts and pains.

I would love to be able to quote some of what was said, because it really spoke to me about the emotionally disengaged state I ended up in a few years into sobriety when my marriage fell apart.  The interviewees were saying that often when we are not securely attached we dont know how to show interest in anything outside of ourselves and we can become very self obsessed while at the same time being competely incapable of showing ourself self care.  To me this would equate with what I have read about consequences of emotional neglect.  Early or consistent disappointments with caregivers or other significant relationships can also land us in this place where the cost of caring and connecting just seems too great.  We may have learned the cost of caring is an emptiness that comes when nothing comes back to us.  When  lack of connection, nuture and emotional unavailibity is what we find when reaching out we also learn to treat ourselves in similar ways.  We may learn the price of interest and caring is a brick wall and so we give up.

This is shown in the early attachment experiments which show a child left alone to cry who finally gives up and resorts to a depressed state.  That child has no way of knowing what he or she went through if all of this occurs before the age in which language for feelings is gained, and it leaves us with a devestating emotional cost.

In my own life I learned to turn to substances and possessions to find my connection.  Lately I am really feeling the emptiness and sadness of this kind of coping.  After my father died Mum often gave me big sums of money and I so I would go shopping,  After my father died and I was sent overseas all alone I learned to entertain myself by going to the movies, going to galleries and going to the big department stores.  God knows what I would have done had I not had those avenues, detached as they were.   I look back and wish I could have got into a 12 step group then as I may not have had to endure all the years of disconnection that I did,

And of course up until the age of 31 I also fell into addictions.  Sadly the end of my marrige which occured when I was 11 years sober saw me fall back into complete isolation.  I made an attempt to go overseas and find work but I got triggered and fear voices dissuading me from actively engaging put all that to death and then I had my second accident and a major head injury.   I am still finding my way back from that.  After it I came home and retreated to the coast fobbing off attempts to get me back into life and relationship.

The path of recovery has led me into therapy where I can engage with a therapist in order to explore and heal those early attachment wounds in me as well as the guilt and pain I struggle with due to the coping strategies I used which cost me a lot.  I am managing to shop less on the lonely days and spend time in my own company listening to my own heart and feelings, as well as trying to reach out to others more.  Writing my blog definately also helps me feel more engaged and interested and connected.

Today Jasper, my dog, didnt want to go walking so I went to the shopping centre, not to shop but to have a coffee and go to the library but also because my mobile phone which is bottom of the line has been breaking down and I genuinely needed a new one.  The part of me that is no fan of technology was beating myself up after I settled on a mid range phone and paid for it.  Its a bit of a process as I had to get a new sim card sent in order to set up the new phone.  I managed to do this after all the inner critic attacks against buying the new phone subsided.  I got the car with my phone and then Mum called on the old phone   I got very emotional the moment we started talking and by the time I got home was still drying my tears.   Something deep was being triggered. All weeekend long I was hard at work in the garden trying to clear up some of the jungle of vines that has overtaken the backyard over the last few months as I was not well.   I was going to have a moment of self pity about how alone I had been with it all, but the sadness was very real and very deep and I probably wont even try to reach for explanations here.

Maybe I was having a kind of wake up call as to the reality of how far away my own insecure/ambivalent attachment style has taken me over years from active engaged connection with life and relationship, but at the same time I do respect that my genuine ability to shed those tears today shows my inner connection to real me is growing.   I have to beware of beating up the part of me that in the past tried ways to cope with wounds that only ended up leaving me more disengaged and drowning in ‘stuff’.  It takes time to grown in awareness of our patterns and defences and we are not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for using certain ways of coping with our emptiness that we do.  For me self compassion is the solution and was what the therapists in the progamme spoke a lot about, that and reaching out to get good help and therapy.  I am doing both so I dont need to beat myself up today.  I can feel genuine sadness for a past I didn’t wholey choose while realising that life is not over yet and I have been blessed even while struggling.  Looking on it all with eyes of love, rather than with eyes of judgement or rejection is a better solution for me in the long run.

Coming to peace : reflections on the past week

I woke to streaming sunlight this morning.  I was aware of what a huge wave had been building to carry me through another ancestral swell over the past week.  Before the visit of my nephew and my family I was waking up around 4.30 or 5.30 and unable to get back to sleep.  While they were here I was conscious of how many different levels my being and body was operating on.  Any visit by one of my four nephews who were disconnected both from my sister and I after her abandonment is a huge thing for me.  After all these four boys were close to age to me than my own siblings.  We laughed and played together and is funny as I just thought I re-experienced that on the weekend when I played with my nephew’s two youngest boys.  The older son is around the age my older nephew was when his mother had the cerebral bleed that tore us all apart.

I struggled so much on Saturday with the abandonment feelings not only of my own but through reflection on how they have played out over 5 generations.  In my own case my sobriety and work on my own addiction and recovery has given me deeper insight into dynamics and I also have the added burden or awareness of knowing the ancestral history.  I struggle to be known to this particular nephew as he keeps in touch more with my mother and what she says to him about me I am not sure.  I struggled on the weekend to know how much connection to have and I felt the conflict of that as on the Saturday I held my self back as I had offered to take my nephew to the cemetery and I knew that was going to be a big deal for both of us so I felt I needed my time out with my dog.  But deeper inside I was so aware of the inner child in me who longed for so much love and connection of a deeper kind.  We came close to that at the cemetery when we both had an arm around each other as we stood and wept.  Its hard though because I am the emotional one and I didn’t want my pain to eclipse the pain of others,

Anyway we did connect a little and I managed to share with my nephew’s wife a little about my recovery from addiction as the subject of booze and drugs came up as we were discussing the painful impact.  For those of you who don’t know my sister abused alcohol but this came more out of survival drive and a degree of emotional neglect, my parents were very poor when they returned to live in Australia after the end of the Second World War and had to work very hard,  too hard in the end, ambition destroyed both my sister and my father (well more the painful aftermath that hit my sister in my Dad’s case when she had the cerebral bleed and was weeks in a coma he was the one sitting by the bedside holding her hand and talking to her even though the doctors told him she could not hear – not true!)  She did come back but what happened to her at the hands of my brother in law almost destroyed her life and in the end it broke her emotionally.

As I write that though I am not daring to blame my brother in law.  He did the best he could but he was a runner, he didn’t face up or talk about what help he needed he just took them all off to the land of our ancestors and in the end the boys had to leave home and fend for themselves.  There is a karmic repeat theme in even this though.  And he may have even been having an affair around the time my sister had the stroke.  He had the woman shacked up to fly over too and he knew that when he took my sister from her home and away from us in 1981.  We will never know as he never spoke about those years even to his sons.  As he lay dying a few years ago he would only say, “I didn’t do very well by your mother.”

I have to be aware of the terrible burden all of those boys carry in different ways.  At times I get so caught up in the feelings around my sister and her life that I forget about them.  But even as I write this I am aware too of how much I need to bring the focus back on my own life.  So much of it has been dominated by this family trauma to the extent that two major relationships went to the wall.  I had the option to live my life in the UK 13 years back but I could not, at that point leave my Mum and sister alone.

I was reading back on some journals too, last night about the time things were breaking apart with my husband.  I put him in a difficult situation by asking that we come back to Oz then changing my mind and not being able to be close to my Mum in terms of living in the same town.  It is very hard to have emotions around my mother who puts them aside all of the time with practicalities.  It all ended up with me alone in a collapse nearly buried under the weight of it all.  I am only now really beginning to get any insight into what occurred in 2004 with the break up and the aftermath in which I had two major accidents.  It might sound strange or out there to some readers but I feel on some level the ancestors were always calling me back here to Australia and even called me over to the UK before in order that I could honour their hidden emotional history.  Why did my sister end up marrying a New Zealander when that was where our ancestors migrated to in 1874?  Why was she taken back there and away from us when she first married in 1965 when I was only 3?  Why was that the place she ended up in an asylum put there by her husband to get her out of the way when my Great Great Grandfather also ended up in some kind of institution in New Zealand?  Many years ago a lady who did spiritual ancestral healing work told me “your sister isn’t bi polar she is living out a generational wound/split”.  I firmly believe that to be true.

Anyway family history is such a gigantic Gordian knot of a thing.  The fates in mythology weave it onwards and we in later years may be the one’s bequeathed the task of the unravelling or at least the ones of us in the family with a strong Saturnian (or ancestral) link.  And yet even as I write that part of me asks “are you really meant to unravel this mystery or are you meant to put the knotted ball of fate/karma down?”

Big wave washed over us in the last week following the eclipse on the 22nd.  It was about my Uranus in the first house and Uranus is the force that both severs and enlightens.  It may be the force that asks us to see where the splits of leaving in terms of pursuing freedom may even have led to a deeper unconscious bondage and those words just came to me so I will have to reflect on them.

I was listening to part of a scientific programme on the nature of time yesterday and what the scientist was saying is that past and present are both realities.  We are told all the time that we need to let the past go or leave it alone but the truth is the past is here with us at every moment.  Our challenging task, as I see it now, is to be able to live in the present with full awareness of the impact of the past but not drowned by it.  Losses challenge us because they take from us in the present something we love and then seem to relegate that loved one or object to the past but really what has happened is just that the nature of the relationship has changed form.  In my own case I speak to my ancestors who have passed on all the time.  Often I feel them around me in meditation or I call on their help and remember their emotional lines when I am going through my own challenges.  Often in deep despair I feel the imprints of their own deeper suffering bleeding through into my own.  I know this as a fact I am made of DNA that came from their DNA encoded by their own sufferings, trials, loves, losses, adventures and experiences.  Knowing the past helps me to understand and grow in awareness, so how does “putting it all behind me” help?  To be honest I think what I have needed is to make my peace with it.  Even this morning as I lay in bed crying over things from the past I centred in my heart and held myself tenderly in the midst of the pain and comforted myself with these words “you did the best you could at the time, you struggled with such enormous things, know this darling its all okay, you are safe, you are loved and you are growing even if your inner critic doesn’t want you to know it” and golly how well my body responded to those words and that is when I realised that how we speak to ourselves and what we say affects every single cell in our body, so why not give love, why not find peace, why not just be the witness to it all as it unfurls before us, this mysterious tangle of experiences and suffering that we call life?

Everything goes black

I had to call my therapist this morning.  I had one of those terribly, terribly painful mornings where everything went black.  All the terrible things from the past, all the times I was hurt, all the times I could not find protection and love, all the memories of being drunk, drugged or cast out alone, all the betrayals were back running over and over and over and over in my mind and then the terrible morning spiral panic PTSD memory was capturing me.  A friend called and I didn’t take the call but just remembered horrible things he said in the past, I was deep, deep down in my wound in my blackness, in my feeling that everything around me is false and unreal.   And it was only the call to my therapist that helped me to link into my goodness, as I ran all the thoughts and pain past her she reminded me that this self is not the whole of me.   She reminded me of the goodness of my inner self and my inner child and she also reminded me to reach for what reminds me of that goodness today.  Some days it is so hard to find.

Yesterday I had a difficult day, I lost my watch while playing with Jasper at the oval, I looked everywhere but could not find it back.  I then logged on the computer to find a comment from someone who I had a very difficult experience with earlier in the year, at the end of it she publically shamed me by telling me that my life was pathetic,  it was a very very hard experience and it all came shortly after my birthday.  When I woke up at 2 in the morning I felt that who I really am is so black and dark and pathetic, while she is full of light, after all she was trying to help to promote my blog and when I mentioned in a later blog that it made me uncomfortable she took the post down, there was nothing wrong in that, as she was trying to do the right thing but it all escalated when I posted a post to say I am uncomfortable with promotion but had not told her directly.   Things rapidly spiralled downhill from there and seeing her comment yesterday really made me very very sad as I realised a chance to be close to someone had got lost again which reminded me of all the other times my insecurities and sensitivity have pushed others away.  But then there are those who would not be pushed away or if they were may show empathy and not be as cruel to say I was pathetic.   Never the less I try to be transparent so I am sharing about it here as that old pain obviously really triggered deep pain and feelings of worthlessness today.

After I spoke to Katina, Jasper wandered in for a cuddle.  In fact he only stays inside when I am not online and as I held on to him and felt his soft puppy fur I was reminded of all that is best and most pure and special to me in my life.  Jasper connects me to my inner child who has so often been buried and hidden and is so often terrified of being exposed.  She is the part of me though that exists beyond the hurt and pain of later years in which misunderstanding or insensitivity of others has hurt me.  Some times she shows to me the face of wounded child, a situation in which she is covered in scars and wounds that she bore from a painful, lonely and abandoning past.  But at other times she shows herself as the vibrant soulful child who is full of joy and innocence.

I think the saddest thing that happened with my blogger ex friend is that she open heartedly tried to embrace and champion my blog, but it felt too exposing for me at that time and maybe a deeper part of me felt I may not be worth it.   It was a difficult experience that can still hurt me but it also has some kind of lessons, but when these painful things rear their heads again the old darkness can descend.  I am reminded of the many years I lived in an emotional wilderness so far from connection both with my inner child’s pain and joy.

Mars has just entered the twelfth house of my chart this week and I am reminded too that at this time all our old wounds, mistakes and failures come back to haunt us, we are also opened up to shadowy depths of old things slumbering in the deep unconscious that we need to make our peace with.  During this transit we can be so hard on ourselves and I must admit that again today I had very powerful suicidal feelings but maybe this is just another dark passage way I have to go through, by far not a foreign experience for I lived in this haunted and haunting place alone for years.  Fear of depending, being vulnerable and mother/attachment wounds are all associated with the issue we face with Mars in Cancer as it has been for well over a month now.  The Mars energy indicates where our healing energy needs to be focused and often we only heal through opening up the wounds and cleaning them out, or by wrapping them softly in a bandage.  That is how I feel today, the wound in me is throbbing and so I need most especially to go gently and be very aware of not letting the blackness and pain and negativity eclipse what is also good and positive in me completely.

A hollowed out shell : realisations on the way to freedom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden flame

Golden

Darling you were never born for the dark

with that light that shone

like golden sunlight in your smile

don’t you see why they wanted to kill it

or cut you down to a size

that would fit the small box they lived in

you thought it scary and strange

but where is there for you to go but out

out of this body,

out of this life,

in to drugs and booze

the refuge where you can turn

all burning and hurting inside

drinking wildfire down

 taking it into your stomach

acid rain

so much pain

for years and years and years

and then deep into the wilderness you travelled

wandering with cut off hands

you found the prince to rescue you

he took you to the land he knew

and you grieved there deeply

for other lives and pain

you only knew unconsciously

through deeper cells

now you stand beyond it

on an open plain

a place

where all the darkness suddenly reveals

the truth

loss of a consciousness

that could only be birthed in a later generation

through your own complete exile from love

you travelled alone

so deep down into the dark

and found there after all the weeping

a buried light

a small hidden flickering flame

a tiny ember of life

guarding it you sought and sought

the den of the wise woman

here you nurture it together

until everything is aflame

and you finally know your own truth

and finally is revealed

your golden hidden self

that shines with a radiance

nothing can diminish

Mars Chiron : awakening old wounds for healing and care

Chiron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healer

 

Staying with myself : feeling my pain

BBB

I did not realise I was so sad and in emotional pain this morning.  Instead for two hours I was tussling with my body.  I got to bed far after the usual time and my eating schedule was thrown out by going to friends for dinner and eating too much too late for my body to fully digest it but really it was only when I broke down in tears this morning that i realised that what has happened was that old pain of my past was retriggered of those painful black years that were filled with so much emptiness and sadness, wandering and trauma that I did not know or could not fully feel at the time.  Last night the evening got later and later and the conversation going on about politics wasn’t really that interesting but moreso I think what I really struggled with was what came up was about all that had gone on for me before those friends got to know me overseas in the 1980s.  Once they found out last night all I had been through in the four years previous they understood why my behaviour was the way it was.

When I finally got home at quarter to midnight I just sat and cuddled Jasper and cried.  Then I had a very disrupted sleep while so much arose in my mind and the darkness fell around me in slumber after I got into my cosy warm bed.  What occurred to me is that in these past years I have been trying hard to process and digest a past full of trauma that often sticks in my gut or my throat.  There were no tears last night as my friends still drink a fair bit and there were questions being fired at me such as “what do you do with yourself all day” and when I told them “and is that working for you?”  Its a fair enough question but what can I say I am where I am at and sometimes I wish it was different and my life had been different but I cannot ever have that and so now I must sit with the reality and the pain of what young me went through over those very dark dark years.

The gift today in just being able to be with myself and allow the tears was that there was no punishing inner voice telling me I should be feeling differently.  Instead I felt that wises inner loving mother comforting me and telling me I needed to stay with it, allow the grief and let it move through me.  The inner voice told me how much I suffered and how lonely my childhood was as when I told my friends last night that each day after school I came home to an empty house they could not believe it.  One friend told me how her mother made her snacks and always asked about her day and encouraged her to do her homework, the other had four siblings and wished she could have more space!  It felt so sad to know how I didn’t have that and it did have a profound affect.  I think sometimes my attacks at that time of day are about body memory of being so alone in childhood and as a teenager and then the bike accident happened at that time of day when I took myself so far way overseas repeating the old pattern.

I have known profound loneliness.  There are times when my inner loneliness has been so painful I have contemplated taking my life.  These are the facts of my life.  I cannot pretty them up or deny them, I cannot put a ‘positive’ slant on them, they were part of my painful reality.  And I repeated that lonely pattern as it was all I really knew and I formed complex defences to tell me I needed to stay alone so as never to be hurt or misunderstood again.

At least last night I could speak about the reality.   At least last night I could be heard.  It was hard to be asked what I did all day as I felt in a way I may have been being judged.  But maybe I wasn’t, who knows.  And at times its better to be alone and feel free to feel your real feelings than have to be with those who wouldn’t let you be yourself.

The greater realisation for me today is that all of this suffering and aloneness somehow got buried in me at a bodily level.  At times my body pain is about my body and soul and inner child saying to me she needs not to be left as alone as she was in the past.  I no longer need to stay alone, but I can also accept and nurture my solitude when it is necessary,  And I am realising too that as a highly sensitive person alone time feeds my soul. loving boundaries and self care support me and go alone with the recognition towards my self and consciousness of the true nature of my deeper self as well as wounds of the past that I have carried which have scarred me into the present.  But that I also need connection with loving others at times, never to fill the hole within that must be met with my own loving presence as well as my spiritual connection, but as a way of remembering that as a humans being I do need connection for loving connection with others from a real place of truth is what most binds souls of humans and makes moments precious.

My past is my past.  It cannot be changed.  It will always be with me.  I am still exploring its affect and that is a lot of work.  I may move on from the past one day to a new life and new expression, I just don’t know, but before I can what has been needs to be fully honoured and recognised, the losses have to be grieved. And this is an act of self love, allowing myself to be with it is showing the love for the deeper part of me that was so often shamed and dismissed, first by others but later and more sadly and destructively by my self.  For I am now seeing more and more true healing and self acceptance must most surely come from within.

My body needs love and quiet attention.

Body 2.png

It seems to me that so often in my life I have left my body behind.  I have let my head get carried away with ideas and reactions to things and I have taken certain decisions or just been run, run, run by an inner agenda with who knows what deep conditioning imprints to do, do, do, that at times I have just barrelled on with something and in the depths my heart or body has been crying out to me “please don’t”!  And I wept so deeply today with the realisation of how much this has hurt my body.

My body was also hurt by something I read this week in a spiritual book which said the body is just basically dust and that the soul is the real centre of us.  I don’t know if I really agree with this, I believe our soul lives in our body and expresses so much through our bodies.  I also feel that a lot of modern western culture is geared towards disconnecting us from our bodies and teaching us to split off our heads from our hearts.  In a powerful book based on a Jungian Myth of Ivan and the Baba Yaga I read many years ago there was a symbolic image of this, of how we get pinned through the neck and cut off feeling and thinking at some point in our conditioning.

Healing may require a drawn out dark night of the soul as surreptitiously the body and soul and heart within us deep inside tries to gain the attention of the mind.  I feel that if we switch off or disconnect for too long the cost is illness or chronic pain of some kind, an indication the true message has gone mute and been deeply buried and hidden.

My body reacts all over the place these days.  I am trying to rebuild a stronger connection with it and I am noticing that I get some kind of backlash when I am not listening or my attention is pulled away by oughts or shoulds, things my soul doesn’t really need but that I have been conditioned to think or believe I need when I really don’t.

Today I had one of those miraculous times where I felt my body so deeply.  I was aware of how much my body has gone through in my life.  I must say I was crying deeply and my body was talking to me telling me how much it needs my love and attention these days.

I had a struggle with going to therapy yesterday.  I was happily ensconced at home writing and the last thing I really felt like doing was having to drive over to see my therapist.  I don’t know if part of me was trying to avoid pain as lately so much has been coming up about the past and what I have lost or what I did not get to complete or fully live due to the deep responsibility I felt to be close to my family.  Now I am getting older I am seeing more clearly lost potentials, times when I decided for others rather than for myself.  And yesterday after reading out my poem Goodbye to the Meadows I was grieving again so deeply for all that was lost.  I then had a discussion with Katina how I felt myself to be a coward for not being able to make it over in the UK on two further attempts.  She just looked at me with such love and told me how wrong she thought I was.  She was explaining to me how my past wounds at critical developmental points in my life left me so ill equipped and reminding me of the level of traumas I endured from age 17 to 26.   We went over the critical injuries and wounds of my later addiction too.  There is just a hell of a lot of sadness and pain there and it has taken me quite some years to unpack in therapy.

I wept a lot with what Katina said.  I felt such a deep release.  I felt that loving, wise, unconditional acceptance of someone who REALLY SAW ME and wasn’t forcing me forward with unrealistic expectations or agendas that take zilch account of who I really am, what I have been through and how I have suffered and I saw in a moment of stark clarity how hard I am on myself.

It was then hard to leave session.  Funny the way life is and the part psychic defences play in trying to keep us safe or even keep us from healing or facing things, really.  I noticed when I got home I crammed my self full of snacks, I had this voracious hunger.  I see it as an expression of what comes up after I face all the pain, of the hungry life energy for a happy expressive life that I didn’t get to live and is now kicking around inside me longing to be set free.  I did an energetic dance to the INXS song Devil Inside.  I shared my post about repression and criticism with Katina as well yesterday and that song is really putting a finger up to my repressive Catholic education.

Today my body felt so tired, I slept deeply and it was a slow move to get out of bed this morning.  I usually push myself on but today I just can’t seem to.  Its important for me to write about what went down yesterday.  I need to get it out there in black and white.

I know I am on the midlife journey of laying the old corpses and ghosts of my life to rest.  I love that metaphor which is one that Murray Stein uses in his book on midlife.  There is a protracted grieving that can take place at this time.  I know I hit into all of this the year I turned 40 which was back in 2002.   Jung believed in the second half of life we work to make meaning of what went on in the first and I do think for those of us who have known a lot of trauma this is when the shit really starts to hit the fan, if we have had to repress huge parts of our life and self and energy at this time they return with a vengeance needing to be heard, but by that time our bodies may have taken such a toll due to trauma, we may end up with chronic pain or chronic illness which in a way may be the way our body tries to vocalise deep imprints and distress.

My body showed me today that I need to put it as the priority in my life at present.  I realised in the midst of writing a poem yesterday how powerfully I have been conditioned to look outside of myself for answers and healing but the truth is that if I can get still enough and quite enough and look within and pray and wait for answers they do emerge from deep within my body which is the temple of my soul.  My heart, my arms, my legs, my feet can all talk to me, they may be crying out to be heard.   Please listen was the deepest message I got from my body today, I also had a sense as I did yesterday that all I really need comes from within, not that I wont choose to engage outside in the world, but only that there is a kind of sweet completeness that only comes when I engage from deep within.   There I may hear the call to go outward for no man is an island but if I am not deeply connected to myself I am most certainly not fully available for any other connection or relationship in my life.  I know its probably been said a lot but love must surely start with the self and with this precious body we have been given to house our precious soul