So alone : reflections on awakening along the path of consciousness

Now that I feel I am finally casting off the demon of self blame I am seeing the deeper reality of my life and most particularly of my struggles after getting sober in 1993.   I was waking up, pure and simple, to the consequences of a tortured emotional past that I had buried over years and through my addiction lost the way to.  But with the surrendering of alcohol, I was finally committing to a pathway of descent and uncovery.

It has not been easy and my marriage had to go into the fire at 11 years in.   I know there are many sheddings, ending, losses deaths and surrenders me must undergo and accept as we struggle on the path to becoming more deeply conscious beings.  As we travel along the path it narrows before us as it lead us into a spiritual wilderness, we become the orphan and live out of that archetype as we are trying to birth something so deep our parents could not give us.  So many of us carry unconsciously their unintegrated children deep inside and we have the spiritual and emotional task to make something new of our ancestral legacy.  At least that is how I see the bigger picture and it is the only one that gives my life meaning.  And we have to undergo this journey alone but not necessarily without guides and companions.

I found my own guidance emerging in the final years of my addiction when my soul witness self knew something was terribly wrong with my life and my drinking.  That guidance came from people like Carl Jung, Marion Woodman and John Bradshaw who showed me my addiction was but a symptom and what I suffered was not purely personal but was strongly collective and affects so many others as we struggle under the weight of an unconscious past so spiritually bereft of the healing feminine.

My own parents had it hard.  There was no place of comfort or soothing for their inner children.  Both lives had been devastated by the impacts of World War ,I both lost their fathers as a result, not during it but in the painful aftermath.  That silent history of father absence dogged them both and has repeated its deep echo of abandonment all along our later genetic line.   I see myself as ‘the awakener’ to it all.  It took my older sister out, the pain of all of those hundred of years of trauma gone unconscious and I stood on the sidelines as the witness.   I did not know I was affected by so many larger forces and that my own struggle must, of necessity, be lonely and hard,] as I was trying to open up and break new ground in a family that in so many ways is deaf dumb and blind to deeper realities.

Kat, my therapist was saying yesterday what a lonely path the path of conscious awakening to the deep feminine soul is.  Carl Jung nearly went mad on his way to find it, if you read his autobiography and follow his journey it was just prior to the outbreak of World War One that he broke with Freud then had visions of a bloodbath in Europe and then he developed the concept of the shadow and the collective unconscious.  He could not agree with Freud that all was ruled by sex and death and that the child wanted to seduce the parents.  I am not saying that there are not valid points and great insights in Freud’s ideas and he was bringing them to birth out of Victorian times but Jung went deeper when he realised there are so many larger influences around us as individual souls which we are subject to.

Anyway, as usual I have digressed….back to the sense of being so alone.  If we don’t ‘fit in’ maybe it is because we see deeper, and this is what Kat was saying to me yesterday.  It IS a burden to see this deep but it is also a gift and a result of all we suffer in our path of being and feeling so alone yet knowing at a deeper awareness other truths we don`t fully understand yet that are emerging (if that makes sense?).  Our aloneness is a doorway into recognition of truths others may fear or shun, that they may want to turn a blind eye on and call us ‘mad’ for glimpsing.  And on the path we are not totally alone really as there are others souls who went before lighting the way.  There are also are our fellow travellers who are willing to dive below the surface to do their own deep work who we share with and recognise.  We are all in a process of waking up to what may be being asked of us as humans to recognise at this point our evolution.  Could it be an awakening to the truth of our own feelings, soul and love, to understandings of how thwarted power drives can shape and misshape us?

I do not think we should shun or stigmatise the so called ‘mentally ill’; if we are on the pathway of emotional recovery we have to go a bit mad on the way.  Our addiction or bi polar or BPD or other diagnoses are but symptoms of soul suffering that we are being asked to understand.  We are not our diagnoses and our true selves lay buried somewhere deeper inside.  All of our reactions make sense, most particularly our violent reactions to the emotional violence we are so often subjected to in childhood, which may I say has become more endemic in a technologically oriented industrialised society.  Go study the myth of the Handless Maiden if you want to see a parable or metaphor for what happens to our soul or inner feminine when it is neglected or abandoned in such a  cutlure.  We loose our hands, our access to our inner life and our emotional agency and we only grow those functioning hands back when our deep soul suffering awakens our tears which we, in crying use to wash our tortured souls clear and clean of illusions and within that seemingly powerless place, find and embrace our true soul power.  We are all in a process of awakening.  Let us remember that.

In the depths of our personal and collective dark night we fall down and struggle and awaken alone but we are also connected, nothing of our shared collective human experience is alien or strange, just our dissociation from it and from the larger awareness that we are only as separate as we believe we are at certain points along that path of awakening.  At times we are so deeply alone and yet, paradoxically, it is through that aloneness that we are also connected at deeper levels.   That said the path does narrow as we move further along it and the loneliness we feel at certain times is so acute, but my deeper experience is that as we deepen into the loneliness a great spiritual light so often is felt if we just hold fast and keep opening our hearts to the deep truths we glimpse and face and integreted the painful realities we have known inside.  Through this painful path we finally come to know what love is.   Both feeling and action.

Life is precious : we have value

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This is a post I wrote a few weeks back but never posted :

If you think about a little baby just being born, all crumbled up after its time in the womb and perhaps in shock after the ordeal of birth it is such a massively humbling thing.  Here on earth has arrived a special unique being that is a pulsing nerve of sensations born into a sea of energy that surrounds his or her soul.  So much will happen to this baby in the course of those first few months that affect the way that little soul will process experience, but I am sure also that each unique soul also brings its own special way of experiencing and being receptive to the world too.   Just how precious is this gift of life, that can so easily be damaged?

The earliest bonding experiences of how the baby body is held, the comfort it receives, whether the mother can soothe it and respond to its signals is so important in shaping consciousness, if we cannot find this sense of connection with others, if we cannot be gazed upon with love, if we feel unseen or even unfelt, how hard is it?

I remember in the first few years of addiction recovery reading John Bradshaw’s book Homecoming in that book John gives some beautiful loving greetings that we can say to the little one inside of us that we may not have heard in our early years….”welcome to the world, you are so wanted, you are so loved”,   “I am so glad you are a little boy or girl”, “you are very precious to me”, “I am here for you”, “I am here to listen to what you need, what hurts, what heals you”, “It’s okay to have needs, its okay to express your needs.”

Lately when I have been in deep distress this is the way I have been learning to speak to my inner child.   I became aware over the past 12 months of therapy how often I gave my inner self negative messages, how many times in a day I beat myself up, how often I was critical, instead of affirmative or supportive, is it any wonder that on some days I felt so distressed and suicidal due to what the unloving voices in my head were telling me.  I wasn’t connecting with myself in a loving way.  I wasn’t hearing that at times my inner child was lonely and needed connection.

In the past three or so months I have watched my connections to supportive others in the outside world grow.  On Friday I had a scary experience where I lost my keys at the dog park.  Luckily I had struck up a conversation with a lovely lady who had opened my heart to me about challenges she had faced with unloving family after they talked her into moving half way around the world to Australia.  When she found out I had lost my keys she kindly gave me a lift home to find the spare key and then took me back again.  Then today we met up for a coffee.   It was so nice to have someone reach out to me and want to meet for a cup of coffee, it happens to me so rarely in my home town which can be quiet closed.    There was a beautiful friendliness in this lovely woman that I really connected with.

On returning home this afternoon after meeting I had such a warm feeling in my heart.  I was aware how precious connection is for me, I was aware of how deeply I suffered for all those years in isolation when inner voices told me others were not to be trusted.  Those inner voices didn’t always lie as there was a time when I was dealing with a lot of emotionally shut down people, but my latest experiences in life have not been like that, lately I have been seeing how much love there is in the world and at times I weep for how in trying to protect me my inner critic and outer critic blocked me off from life, joy, connection and happiness.

Lately I am remembering all the times when bad things happened and caring souls turned up.   I don’t know if my current experience is reflection on an outer level of how my inner relationship to myself and my inner child is changing but I hope it is.   Just becoming aware of how I talk to myself and value myself can help so much to ease any inner pain or psychic distress.  And when I treat myself as precious (not in a selfish narcissistic way, but in a self loving way) its also easier to see how precious life is and how many other precious people there are in the world who like me only long to be connected and appreciated for their own inner value and uniqueness too.

Sweetness inside

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Sweetness inside

This being and being known

Deep within our own soul

Finally finding a home

After so many years of wandering

In what seemed to be wilderness

We were only seeking for wildness

The undomesticated bliss of our true soul

That sang its note

Before being told the tone was wrong

How sweet now

To feel this deep freedom

This liberation from needing anything

Outside of us to make us complete

What sweet bliss to know

That deep within the centre of our soul

We are finally home

And can never be lost again