Bright day : Today’s prayer

Enchanted Garden

Bright day

Lead me into the light

Do not allow my fear and foreboding

To imprison me

Keeping me hostage in my mind

Grant me the courage to extend myself

Beyond my own small world

And limited view

To enter the reality of others

Let me remember that no one

I meet

Is truly a stranger

And when those who do not like to open

Keep their eyes downcast

And walk on by me on this path called life

Only frowning or muttering to themselves

Let me bless them on their way

Let me enjoy the journey

Keep my heart open

And most of all

Grant me and everyone else

Peace

See through my heart

Heart Eye

You often say to me

I wish you could see through my heart

How I feel for you

Oh my love

I will never fully know the total truth of it

Because my heart is not yours

And my eyes are my own

And often they project things

Not always full seeing or realising

The love that is there

But if you only knew

What your heart’s kindness means to me

At this stage in my life

When past failures come calling

And I feel the loneliness

And sadness in my sister’s heart

How can I be so blessed

That someone wants to love me as you do?

And does not retaliate

When my own fear of getting close

Pushes you away

You say

We are meant to be

And

You are perfect for me

But I know the sadness and fear

That is in my heart at times

And the last thing I would ever want to do

Is hurt you with these feelings

And so I am so grateful

When you hold to love

Because your love is a powerful force

That at these moments of insanity

Restores me to truth of my real feelings

And as tears fall

Makes me realise

What the cost would be

Of ever losing you

In therapy my heart is recognised.

It was such a relief to get to therapy this morning.  I cried a lot of the way there listening to my favourite Coldplay song and in the chair it took a long time for any words to come, my therapist just sat there affirming, mirroring my body and nodding while looking at me with eyes of such compassion.  I noticed it was hard to meet her gaze without tearing up and crying very deeply.  I shared my poem on waiting later in the session while crying.  She said it was no wonder I had the reaction I did to a certain ‘friend’s’ text and the lack of reply from my niece in law.   I told her the struggle I went through in my mind how it immediately made me feel (lack of connection) like I had done something wrong, something I needed to apologise for.   But as we examined that rationally it was clear that was not true and I could not really know what was going on.   Still it was such a relief to be fully myself with Kat and to have trusted that her boundaries to keep contact limited to face to face sessions was working.  I had to hold on to that abandonment pain over Sunday and that was a big ask, I felt like I was exploding last night but I did come through after being awake for about an hour or more with extreme PTSD symptoms.

Driving home feeling a lot clearer and affirmed I wondered how I would have coped if I had never found Kat.  I aborted my second attempt at therapy in 2001 after my therapist went away and I have grieved that loss for some years as the second bike accident I had came after my marriage ended when I went back to the UK to try to resume it and opened up my body trauma too early and crashed.  I then was out of therapy for about 8 years, wilderness years when I got involved in a very emotionally wounding and non supportive relationship with a man with his own intense abandonment issues he had no interest in owing or working on.  I was told I was the problem, he told all his relatives and it was only his sister who challenged him about his part in it.   When he broke it off I was shattered and tried to run to another relationship before realising that was never going to be a valid path to healing for me, thank God.

I am in my third year of therapy with Kat now after about a year with a colleague of hers with whom the fit was not as good.  And I nearly broke it around the time Mum died last year when she would not make herself available to me on a weekend.

I read the text I would have liked to send to the friend who shamed me on the weekend.   I ditched that one in favour of a ‘fawn’ text telling her not to feel obligated to me as it wasn’t important that she call.  That was not true, I was hurt by her and I was scared to tell her, in case the relationship fell apart.  I dialogued a lot with my Inner Child on Sunday after I had the huge emotional response to her text and she told me I need to protect myself better from her as she is not always that reliable, that I need to share with her how what she said to me hurt and then by her response I will know if she is a true friend.  That said I now just accept it was a huge trigger for me and the pain I felt was so intense as I have been abandoned at least a dozen times in male and female relationships.

Kat and I also discussed how often I feel it’s all too hard to reach for real relationship and true connection but what I now know is that due to the fact my consciousness is deepening to have true intimacy in my life it will need to be with another conscious person who accepts me in my woundedness.  I am not a damaged person I have just gone through a lot of trauma and that makes me highly sensitive and I also believe I am highly empathic and intuitive too, so I pick up stuff and emotionally defended people immediately trigger me, if they don’t want to own their ‘stuff’ and I end up carrying it, that is toxic for me in the long run and my Inner Child is calling time on it.

I noticed when I looked into further astrology transits yesterday that Venus planet of relationships was approaching an exact square aspect to Pluto from Aries.  That shows an intensity that will be felt in relationships due to them triggering unconscious things in us and the way we relate, attach and are or have been wounded by both as babies or children.  Reaching for outer control or lashing back are counter productive with Venus Pluto, though it’s what people with this natal aspect may subject us to if we relate with them..  I am glad I held my fire yesterday so I could allow the suffering to reveal truths to me I could not have reached intellectually.   Pain does bring awareness and sadness and sorrow speak to me of real needs and values being thwarted.  I am learning to trust my feelings now rather than diminish them with intellectualisations.  For that I am so so grateful and also for a therapist who hears my heart, acknowledges my heart and gets my heart.

A good heart

I spent a lot of years in the rooms of AlcoholicsAnonymous before I decided to concentrate more energy on personal one to one therapy in my recovery and what I witnessed there was that most people who own up to addiction are good people at heart, people who had a lot of challenges or loss or may have turned to addictions to cope with emotional neglect or abuse.  And that is why it hurts my heart when those who work so hard at recovery day in day out put themselves down.  I know I do it to myself all the time and am so glad I found  good therapist who helped me to see beyond this to deeper injuries and lacks which drive this inner self critical perfectionist within me that formed as a defence against loneliness and emotional neglect/abandonment.  It just really hits me full force when I witness others doing the same and so I felt the need to write this to affirm what goodness I see in your heart, all people working in recovery to overcome past neglect, abuse, humiliation, betrayal or pain.

I believe there is an essential part of us that is our core and that is whole and good, it is complete and it does not really require anything outside of the self to complete it.  I hear echoes of this in the Buddhist idea of bodhichitta which is a name given to that which exists beyond and beneath all the thoughts and actions and mind forms we engage with that is purely wholesome and complete, lacking in nothing.  It is really only when we have the time to sit with ourselves and feel deep within in the silence that I feel we most truly touch base with this part of ourselves that knows at heart we are connected to everything.  It happens when the voices of criticism and shame are silent and/or when we can answer back with love.

In this place live memories of all those souls we connected to in our lives and even if we had tough experiences with those people underneath there is a part of our soul that knows this experience was given to us for a reason, not one we chose but one that we can and do learn from if we can trust ourselves to be honest and question deeply inside.   I wrote a poem about this the other day but a strange thing happened it just vaporised from WordPress.  I was at the library typing it and I hit publish and it just disappeared.. very strange, it was called Eternal and was about a spiritual experience I had recently of revisiting painful relationships from my past and feeling them resolved.   Oh well its gone now and its a mystery as to why.

I am presently reading Bev Aisbett’s book I Love Me.   As a survivor of anxiety and panic attacks herself Beth has worked for nearly 30 years on a path of self discovery to help others, what she sees as lying at the basis of all of these disorders is actually a lack of self love, not self love of the narcissistic kind, but that which lets us know our true worth as souls and persons equal to others.   When I read this kind of stuff it fills me with the understanding the self love is really the start of all love, I know it’s a kind of truism we hear a lot about but the more we can work to stay in touch with this pure essence of us which is heart centred and that means taking good care of ourselves across all levels, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual the more connected we feel, the less anxious and the less alone.

We are wont to condemn self love, but what we really mean to condemn is contrary to self love.  It is that mixture of selfishness and self hate that permanently pursues us, that prevents us from loving others and that prohibits us from  loving ourselves.

Paul Valery

 

Letting go of numb

The following extract comes from Tara Brach’s book True Refuge : Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart.  Interestingly it concerns a woman who Tara was working with in therapy who as a young child had her long hair cut off by her mother as it was too much bother. I was sharing in a post a few days ago how this also happened to me and the trauma of it was felt when I went to the hairdresser late last week following my Mum’s death.   The woman in question, Jane, had also had her mother die a few years before the time she was seeing Tara.  In therapy she was sharing how the pain of this event had awakened in her heart through intense feelings of fear, felt as a claw “pulling and tearing at my heart”.  What followed was an outburst of anger towards her mother for subjecting Jane to this ordeal.

The anger soon turned into deep sadness as Tara worked with Jane encouraging her to feel the pain and grief deeply in her body, and in time it transformed into peace.  Jane had reached some deeply powerful realisations as a result.

Brach writes the following in her book :

Carl Jung wrote, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived life of the parents.”  The outer domain of our unlived life includes all the places where we’ve held back from pursuing and manifesting our potential – in education and career, in relationships and creativity.  But it is the inner domain of our unlived life that sets this suffering in motion.  Here we find raw sensations, the longings and hurts, the passions and fears that we have not allowed ourselves to feel. When we pull away from the energetic basis of our experience, we turn away from the truth of what is.  We make a terrible bargain.  When we separate from the felt sense of our pain, we also separate from the visceral experience of love that allows for true intimacy with others.  We cut ourselves off from the sensory aliveness that connects us with the natural world.  When there is unlived life, we can’t take good care of ourselves, our children, our world.

The feelings you are trying to ignore are like a screaming child who has been sent to her room.  You can put earplugs in and barricade yourself in the farthest end of the house, but the body and the unconscious mind don’t forget.  Maybe you feel tension or guilt.  Maybe…. you are baffled by intimacy or haunted by a sense of meaninglessness. Maybe you fixate on all the things you need to get done.  You can’t live in a spontaneous way because your body and mind are still reacting to the presence of your distressed child.  Everythingy ou do to ignore her, including becoming numb, only strengthens your link with her.  Your very felt sense of who you are …is fused with the experience of pushing away a central part of your life or running from it.

In shutting down the passion, hurt and pain she had experienced as a young girl whose precious hair was butchered, Jane had locked herself into a numb and anxious fragment of who she was.  Yet something in her was calling her to live more fully.  By beginning to contact her body’s experience, by touching ground, she was opening the door to what she had been running from.

Traumas of this kind may seem inconsequential, but really they are not.  Something was done to us we didn’t want or need and had no power over and feelings do remain.   The true self in Jane probably loved her long hair,  it wasn’t all just about ego and looking a certain way, hair does hold our power and is connected to our heads which are such a vital part of our being. To be subjected to something that upset us and then to be laughed at for reacting (as Jane was) leaves a scar and a powerful subliminal message.  Going numb to it does not mean the feelings go away, they need to be dealt with, with compassion and sensitivity.

I will carry this

Grace

I will carry this deep pain

But I will carry it lightly

When I think of the vast span of experiences and memories we shared

Its impossible to fully express

The extent of it

But I will carry it forever in my heart

I will carry the painful times when we had conflict

When I needed something from you

But could not find words

When I needed something from you and you gave

When I needed something more from you and you failed

We are only human

I will carry the memory of

All the times you offered your support

Of all I put you through as a mother

It was a lot and you had no partner

Mum you carried a lot I see that now

But so did I

Both struggling to love and do our best

You had your very real limitations and defences

But you also had a giving heart

I will carry the knowing of the loneliness you felt at times

In an estranged family

An estrangement that in trying to heal

Bought us a little undone

I will carry those final memories of you in so much pain

Trying to stand or get away

From your earthly shackles

As you heard the ancestors

Calling you home

I will carry the memory of you yesterday

Labouring to breathe

And to let go

I will carry the memory of the shell of your body

Left behind after your spirit flew away

To those you loved

And most of all

I will carry always in my heart

The memory of beautiful times we shared

When our souls met and recognised each other

And we found a hidden grace beyond words

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?

Yes – we have an epidemic of depression

Yes, we have an epidemic of depression in our society today.  But truthfully, how could anyone today on some level not be sad?  The gap between how beautiful life can be and the way it too often is is heartbreaking. Anyone who is not on some level grieving the state of the world today is perhaps not looking very deeply.

We are depressed today because life is off. We’re depressed because too often we have no sense of our place in the universe, our relationship to the source of existence, a deeper sense of purpose in our relationships with other human beings, or any sense of reverence toward any aspect of life.  Our entire civilisation is ruled more by fear than by love.

Marianne Williamson

From Tears to Truimph

I am sharing this quote because so often in our society being depressed can be looked on as a moral failing or weakness but the deeper truth that I experience is that so often those who are depressed are those who can have a vision that is more closely in touch with the depths of a soul that suffered.  Pathologising people for depression is such a serious issue and we need to change it.

Undergoing abuse or despair or loss or abandonment leaves real scars on the soul and these are trying to make their expression heard in depression, so we need to listen with empathy to people’s real heartbreak and support them with feeling and expressing it.

I know I go on about this issue a lot on my blog but I feel very strongly about it and today I was triggered again to write this as a family member shared with me a horrific abuse she went through which she shared with her parents only not to be believed years ago.  I cannot share what it was on my blog as it is a private issue for her but I was so outraged when I heard what she had suffered and she has had a number of hospitalisations as a result.  If she had been supported, believed and empathised with at the time and her trauma dealt with she would never have had to be diagnosed with a  so called ‘mental illness’.

Turns out now certain teachers at her school are now trying to imply her son should be diagnosed with a speech impediment or with Asperger’s, she has also been told that he is ‘too caring’.  What the fucking hell is happening in our society?  Anyone who does not meet the mainstream, anyone who is sensitive or carrying certain different ways of being or processing information is then wacked with a diagnosis?  It is just pure craziness and makes me feel ill, it really truly does.

I felt so angry with my brother yesterday after finding out what he put my niece through all of those years ago.  I felt so ashamed that he is my brother but it now makes a lot of sense of how numbed out he is and apparently he has not one memory of his childhood.  It makes clear to me that we can only have empathy if we are connected to our own emotional reality and have a connection to our heart, feelings, pain, joy and happiness.   Of course we all live in separate skins and our experiences vary so often we cannot see things from another perspective, but to imply then that someone is lying or making something up, due to the fact it may rock our own view on things without making the effort to reach out and extend our minds and hearts in openness to me seems wrong.

This morning I have been thinking about what it comes to mean and how it affects us if we are not truly seen in childhood.  I opened my Hope for Today reader and read this reading a few moments ago :

Before Al Anon I had a false sense of self.  Because of their diseases my alcoholic father and mother who grew up in an alcoholic home couldn’t see themselves clearly.  They weren’t able to help me either.  As I grew up I sensed that my parents couldn’t see me at all.  I felt invisible and voiceless  I had no idea of my likes and dislikes, let alone what I would or would not accept in a relationship.  I felt empty inside.  When there did seem to be something inside me it felt like someone else’s experience.

The reading goes onto explain how slowly the person began to recover a sense of themselves by working through the steps of and learning about who they truly were inside.  About how doing so enabled them to throw off the criticism of their father and the feeling they were given by their mother that they were nothing but a burden.  By seeing themselves no longer through someone else’s eyes but through their own they slowly began to reclaim a sense of self.

It seems to me that the most important work of recovery lies in the inward journey of becoming more conscious of who we are and what we really feel independent of outside influence of what parents, education or society tries to tell us we are or should be.    Keeping our focus on our own heart is so important, as is recognising the value and meaning of our instinctive reactions to things, lest we be hoodwinked or bamboozled by others who in being damaged themselves try to force us away from certain responses or reactions.  The integrity of our soul when compromised in this way causes us so much confusion and unrest.

Luckily for my niece she understands her parents damage, not having essential needs met though has caused deep loneliness and suffering for her.  Through out it all, over years she has learned to rely on herself, but that self reliance at times has left her so alone.  Our lives have similar themes.   Her own suffering has made her wise.   Wise enough now not to take on the advice of psychologists recommending she have her son tested so to be diagnosed and labelled.  In this increasingly insane society it seems to me we need to keep our wits about us lest we fall for much of the clap trap that is being espoused.  We have to be strong and rely on the guidance of our deepest souls so as not to be bamboozled or led astray and if we were not seen and validated in childhood we need to address and heal that wound so that we no longer surrender ourselves to false outside definitions which keep us in locked in prison.

A post I never got to post : on trauma, grief, emotional expression and healing

I wrote this post a few months back and it has sat in my drafts folder unposted, but as I read it I see how I was on the brink of a major transition in wanting to step out into the world with more of my past pain and defences surrendered, so I am posting it today to let it out.  I close off so much inside myself at times.  As recent posts reveal I struggle with inner voices that shame and attack. The best way to answer is just to expose and release what I am thinking and feeling at the time so it can see the light.

I  think I am finally done with personal posts about my trauma history.  I have shared extensively on here about it and what I am beginning to recognise is that there is a deep wound in my heart that will never fully go away, that often defies words and just needs to be tended with love.  My life due to trauma has been forced onto a deeply inward trajectory.  Try as I might to fit into a non trauma world, I am beginning to see it cannot be done.  Dark experiences which I will never be able to share with most people have taken me to a place where I went through things many others never will.  Because of this I will naturally relate more to other trauma survivors and may carry silent memories which at times complicate things and set me apart.  (Reading this back I see although it was how I obviously felt at the time, trauma does not mean I am totally set apart, only that I have been through different experiences to the mainstream!)

Lately I have become tired with trying to fit in and also with trying to express my distress by blogging.   I am exhausted by it.  I need to find a way to be at peace with my past and my trauma history, seeing it as perhaps necessary in some way to get me to here.  So I want to spend more of my time putting the focus on my heart and being and the breath than writing about things from a ‘head’ level from now on in and concentrating on past pain.  I want my blog from now on to focus on ways of calming and self soothing, for it to be a forum for living centred in being, wisdom and acceptance.  As I find more and more peace by being with myself, keeping a meditative focus and putting the emphasis on softness and love that is what I feel I now most need to share about and express.

Reading back a recent post to my therapist I saw how much self judgement there still was in it,  how much what I was writing implied that on some level I had to be someone or something better to be worthwhile.  I also saw that in trying to focus on pushing myself forward I was not resting my consciousness in the deeper understanding that progress naturally happens for me when I stop over intellectualising and open myself to healing.  When I follow the path of surrender healing occurs on its own trajectory.  If I front up and am willing to be open, vulnerable and honest I naturally win.

I had an example of this today.  I was not fully focused coming out of the car park at my local shops.  I accidently backed into someone. At first they were so upset but as I just said I was sorry, that I had made a mistake and lost focus the entire situation calmed.  “It’s my fault”, I said.  “I lost concentration.”  I gave the girl my number.  She was so kind.  This is what she said to me  “It wasn’t your fault it was an accident.”  By that stage I was quiet emotional as I had just met my sister for coffee and it had been a really loving meeting but had triggered some old pain.  I owned my part, anyway and told them my insurance will take care of it.

This gentle encounter showed me how little others really want to blame and how compassionate they can be when I am open and vulnerable.  Meeting with a very close friend this week she affirmed me so much.  She told me she sees me as a very old soul who has come here and gone through a lot of experiences and also as a teacher for others.  She said how much she values me and my sensitivity and goodness.   I was so touched spending time with her.  She told me how with her large family of grown children and now four grandchildren she still needs time apart to be in touch with herself.

I think one of the gifts of trauma or being separated from the crowd is that you do go to a deeply lonely spiritual place in your life, expecting others to understand when they have not walked that journey is not always realistic and yet still there are very kind people out there in the world.

At the deepest level I feel as trauma survivors we have to be witnesses for ourselves.  We have to be able to touch base with our own pain and love ourselves from this place.  We have to give up illusions that we could fix or control difficult things that went down.  We have to see that we are forced on a deep journey to reclaim our inner child for an evolutionary purpose and to ultimately be a voice for self love, for it is only out of self love that we can find our hearts open to love that may want to come to us from others.

As I look around I see wounded inner children everywhere running the world.  Where they cannot get love they go for power, they seek power over others and to find the control they never had when young, they then wreak destruction on others.   Those of us who have really experienced how painful it is to live in a state of deep inner schism in which the soulful, joyful, naturally gregarious, expressive, deeply sensitive and intelligent inner child essence of us with deep wisdom was not honoured or could not find a place, know what a hard journey it is to reclaim our natural soulful and spiritual connection that is so often denied in a materially centred culture.

When we speak up about trauma we are on a quest to educate a world which so sorely needs to see where a state of inner division from which place we do not honour the deeply feminine values of love for the earth and all people and its creatures and heart centred feeling values causes such strife.  Perhaps our struggles with so called ‘mental illness’ are not really that.  Maybe we are spiritually being called upon to transform and bring a greater awakening to the heart and to emotions collectively as well as deeper spiritual wounds that we are still carrying from generations past.

When I read an article this week in the Australian newspaper on Prince Harry  I was led to think about how grief is actually not an illness at all, and how when it is labelled as such we are shown how much mainstream diagnosis has strayed from soul and heart.  To have lost a parent at a young age is a trauma, it is a wound of separation, it is a descent into a loss that may have no avenue of expression out into the world, most especially the kind of world which the youngest royal inhabited in the mid 1990’s.  Unresolved and unexpressed grief actually leads to all kinds of ‘acting out’ behaviour.

The true illness or disorder comes about as the result of having no space or place to express that pain outwards in healthy ways.  Prince Harry said that he kept his own grief for the loss of his mother under wraps for about 20 years.  I was older than Harry when I lost my Dad but I also kept my grief over the loss of my Dad under wraps for at least 20 years and that particular loss came on the back of so many other losses that I could never express or even fully know or acknowledge the deeper impact of until fairly recently.  Doing so had required finding those who understand and allow my grief a place and haven’t shamed me when I may have acted out grief in anger or resistance.

When you think of what Princess Diana actually suffered over her lifetime in terms or her own emotional abandonment, how that then translated to emotional abandonment and betrayal in her marriage and of the pain that caused which indirectly led to her demise at such a young age, is it any wonder that Prince Harry and his brother would have carried deep pain?  The oldest child in such a situation may appear stronger or cope better, they may take on the ‘hero’ mantle while the younger becomes the scapegoat.  The scapegoat only remains the scapegoat until his true feelings are no longer demonised.  When he gets help from others and recognises his behaviour as an expression of a call to get something deeply hidden or disallowed by the collective out.  Also when he recognises how his own defences are preventing him from acknowledging the full onslaught or affect of an earlier wound or loss.  Harry has done that.

What is liberating now is to realise that finally people who have suffered like Prince Harry can start to speak about it. For it is those who have suffered loss, betrayal, abuse or abandonment who will be the ones to speak up about it.  They will be the ones who can shine a light into the darkness, they will be the ones that in opening up will help others who have suffered to open their hearts too and finally be brought in from the wilderness.

I know in my own life I lived in a wilderness for so many years.  My addiction was my wilderness and recovery also led me into a wilderness where everything had to be taken before I could surrender to my grief.  My hope is that others who suffer don’t have to live in that wilderness for too long, that they may get the message earlier to seek help, to know it is no shame or sign of being defective or damaged if you have suffered grief, abuse, betrayal, abandonment, emotional overwhelm or other traumas that lead to panic attacks or difficulty living and facing the day.

Its not your fault if you have struggled with your emotions in a world in which it is challenging to express them, have them understood or validated.  And more so it is a sign of strength to be able to open up and talk about your feelings and experiences, so that others who do not understand can be educated and an awakening can take place.  That seems to be happening more and more lately especially in the United Kingdom at present.  It would be so good to see the media in other countries also stop shaming and blaming those who in acting out old grief or pain are actually crying out for healing, empathy, understanding and recognition so that we can move through these natural feelings and expressison to embrace new life and growth, rather than lock it away in mental illness and defences.