All in the past : a prayer

Flying with Birds

Dear Higher Power and Higher Larger Self, you see all and know all of me.  You know all of my past pain, you know my body remembers, you know what a torment past pain can be.  Help me remember that today is today.  It is a new day.  I do not have to carry that past pain with me all the time.  Surely there has been so much that has happened to us all that would cause us to break down weeping and never get up, but surely all of that is now in the past.  Please I would love a life that is free, one in which I could be lighter, one in which suffering would not endlessly weigh me down.   Please help me today to celebrate what is good and healthy and beneficial and hopeful in this day.  Help me to open and keep reaching out and to keep love in my heart.  Let me be soft with old pain but dont let it hold onto me for too long.  Today Higher Power set me free to live and learn and love again.

Being sad and not sad, moving on from grief.

A post from Friday I didn’t post then :

After a tough morning (inside my mind with all kinds of thoughts revolving) I went down to sit in the sun at our local fruit and veggie market and read the final chapter of my novel  This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O’Farrell.  I have been lingering with it for over a month now as I love it the story so much, ending it will be like losing a good friend or heart companion.

The story encompasses all kinds of emotional themes that really resonate for me, and the following excerpt really put into words something I could not fully articulate with my brother last week when he told me Dad’s death was so long ago now it should not be an issue any more.   I share this kind of stuff more for me but since others may struggle in similar ways I hope it speaks to some of you too.

In the novel (spoiler alert, stop reading here if you want to read the book) there is a death that takes place and the threads leading to it are multifaceted and complex.  Guilt is involved, earned or unearned for the central character, Daniel who was the father of Phoebe, Niall was her brother.  Anyway here it is :

“Can Niall come, like last time?” asked Marithe.

“We can ask him.  I’m sure he’ll come if he’s not busy.”  I go over to the sofa and take her by the hand.  “Come on sweetheart.  Time for Bed.  I think.”

Marithe stumbles to standing position, leaning on my arm as we move up the stairs.  “Does Niall still live with you?” She asks.

“Not any more.  He has his own place now.”

“Have I been there”

“No.”

“Can we go?”

“Sure.”

At the bathroom door, she turns to look at me.  “Is he still sad?”  she asks.

I reach out my hand to brush the hair off her face.  “Niall is a lot better.  You musn’t worry about him.  It’s nice that you do but Niall is OK.”

My daughter looks me in the eye and says devastatingly, “Are you still sad?”

I swallow.  “Am I still sad…. about …. Phoebe?”

She frowns, concerned and nods.  And I look at her, this perfect being, her skin so vital, so pale that you can see the life blood coursing beneath it.  I am besest by twin sensations: that I am luck, the luckiest man in the world, to have this daughter, these children, and that I would kill, main, destroy any person who tried to harm them.

“I will always be sad about Phoebe,” I say with an effort to keep my voice even, “and so will Niall.  But what happens is that after a few years, you slowly realise its OK to be happy too.”

She looks at me for a moment longer, as if checking the veracity of this idea.  Then she turns and goes…..

End of extract

Grief is part of us, it seems to me.  Those who find later happiness may have more protection and insulation against being permanently beseiged by the ghosts of lingering grief and loss, something arrives to take the full on agony away a little or provide some kind of relief.  Others of us fall down into a deep well and it takes longer to touch base with our grief and move foward, realising the longing for full engagement in a life left by the loved one .

For some of us being happy again may feel like an abandonment or a betrayal, but really I guess in the end it is a saying that in the end the life we are left with has value and that who ever we have loved and lost still lives on in our hearts, forever.   There may be times we cry, times we are grateful we knew them, we may rue the day, if that ‘someone’ was a someone who hurt us deeply, but maybe even then we learned lessons, and realised after a time we deserved happiness and that that happiness it could co-exist with the sadness, nostalgia or melancholy that we sometimes still feel on the darker days.

Some times it just doesn’t work out

Its so hard when a relationship ends.  If you didn’t choose it and the one leaving sited all kinds of reasons why it couldn’t work and they name your part in it, just remember that is just one side of the story.  Relationships ask a lot of us.  I believe the difficult ones can often be about dark or wounded places in us that may not have had a chance to see the light of day.  Some relationships are ones in which we attract someone who carries some of our shadow, that hidden dark side of ourselves that we may have learned to be ashamed of or have a difficult time living.  I have been in several relationships where I carried the wounded feminine or shadow of the guy I was dating.  Of course when it ended they ended up blaming me, even though I did my best.  There were parts of themselves they did not want to face and like it or not people go into relationships with all kinds of agendas that can be hidden underneath the so call desire for love.  Just because you contributed some issues that were problematic doesn’t mean the entire relationship ending was all your fault or that it was all the other person’s fault.

When we have a relationship with a narcissist, someone who doesn’t want to own vulnerability or face parts of themselves its likely at the ending we will be blamed in some way.  We may even side with the person blaming us at the end and end up feeling entirely worthless.

I am not meaning here to imply that I or you did not contribute faults or flaws in relationship, but in a healthy relationship where both partners want to do the work of being emotionally available and open to each other it should be possible to work things through.   Being able to say you are sorry when you made a mistake, not coming over all bullet proof and defensive when wounds or early injuries are triggered, these are some of the things that can challenge and be challenging but that you work through and try to work with in a healthy relationships.  There needs to be a willingness from both sides to see the other person’s side and things from their point of view.

Then there times that we meed the right person at the wrong time or the relationship in which we find out that sadly, in the end we wanted different things.  Or then there is the relationship where someone for some reason falls out of love, projections are withdraw and placed onto someone else.

When this happens naturally we grieve.  If we have a lot of earlier losses they may be triggered and we may need help with our grief work.  Relationships fail for all kinds of reasons but just remember it isn’t always your fault, even when there are lessons to learn.  Maturity helps us to let go with grace and just say, sorry this time it just didn’t work out and I let you go with love.  If you are being blamed, attacked or shamed or dumped with all the responsibility, just remember that may say more about the other person’s lack of maturity and self awareness.

 

The hurts inside that won’t let go

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Sometimes the hurts inside that won’t let go Suck on our insides Like a parasite We turn our pain over and over And that shard of glass That cut us so painfully to ribbons Pierces us again We rail at a universe that doesn’t seem to want to know or understand And perhaps we even feel ashamed That it all happened That we suffer as we do

What can we do When all those we turn to will only deny the truth?  Do we turn against our true inner self and inner knowing in forgetting Or shut it down and tell ourselves lies to ease the pain? Or can we dig so deep for that loving containing presence that is so much larger than us That earth mother who can hold us While we cry or rage?

Do we give our pain over to her Or hold on even tighter Cutting ourselves to ribbons? Or can we lay down That terrible burden All those thing which over time we were so powerless over?

Our hurting hurt so much and often memories or visions of it come again. Can we let the memories or vision in and say : hello visitor from the past I know your restless aching contours so deeply and profoundly But now I say rest here with me a while Hurting me more now is neither helpful nor kind

In my mind you say so many things to protect me : Hold back Don’t trust How do you know you won’t be hurt again? But these are the old stories that keep defences in place Pray dear hurt lay your burden down So that my fearful anxious heart, my body my being and mind can be free to live and love again

A day to myself

Today’s posts aren’t in any kind of order.  I write a lot more than I post and this one was from yesterday.  The critic often reminds me a lot of what I write is just for me and at times its verbal diatribe, its the working out of inner processes and then the critic doesn’t want it posted to bore other’s senseless or remind them how self obsessed I am.  But followers that’s the critic for you and the way he is  (yes, my critic is male and I call him Mr A!)  Anyway I am going to post this anyway.  Not to say the critic is all wrong by the way!

What a day.  I have moved through so many feelings and states today.  Dusk will be soon with us and Jasper is looking longingly out of the lounge room window as he does on the rainy days when we don’t get out.  Today for the first day in ages I stayed in my PJ’s until about 3 pm.  I didn’t eat until later and I watched part of a movie in between writing and crying and thinking and dreaming and doing a bit of house work.

I am aware of all the back forward, in out, wrong right swings my mind is doing at present.  At one moment I am aware of the pain in my heart over losses that I feel has immobilised me locked me away from others and sometimes shut them out.  At another I am aware that my pain needed a witness and on this score I was let down.  I then got to reading one of my old diaries from the before my husband and I separated and I see how I was struggling with a lot of dis-satisfaction and thoughts of leaving him.  I was also writing all the time, withdrawing deeply into my inner world, exchanging deep emails with a good friend who was very interested in similar things to me such as dreams, astrology symbology, writing and evolutionary history as well as the battle between love and hate love and fear that was raging at that time around the outset of America’s decision to invade Iraq and look for weapons of mass destruction.

I wrote in my journal that I had been crying over a news story in which it told of how the spine of a young child was shattered by enemy fire.  I had then had a dream of a crustacean with a shattered spine and I was starting to explore how the illness of my sister had had such a powerful effect but I was trying to do all of this in isolation in a place where I should not at that time have been living.

Anyway then I got a bit of a fit of the blues about how my ‘life is going nowhere’.   Fact is I had an interior day and when negative brooding thoughts like this come to visit its better to not engage too much.  I just made a cup of tea.  I am feeling a little guilty about not walking the dog but today I don’t feel like going out at all.  It was a huge few days after my nephew’s visit with his family, which really brings up the past.  I was so aware of how powerfully I get pulled on by this traumatic past and how little of my energy is actually in present time.  I have not heard back from his brother after two attempts to call and I cried about that : tears of actual acceptance, which felt good.   Sometimes the best thing to do is let go and move on.  Sadly its not what I have done for most of the past 10 years and at the moment I am seeing the cost of that.  I am seeing how it is frustrating for others.  But the truth is I have had a lot of grief and loss.  It is not something to ‘move on’ from easily.

As my therapist often points out the work I am doing in therapy is about a mid life process of reckoning with the past that takes time.  Its just that next year I am anxious to find a way to externalise in my life more.  I want to be out and interacting with other people, just not sure in what avenue and then even as I write that I am aware that as an introvert I will always be primed to turn within.   Self acceptance is so important, as we can so often judge ourselves and hear inner voices telling us we are not good enough which limits us and limits our life.  I am sick of limitations at present.

Well Sun, you are now peeping your head out from around the corner.  It is time to relax for now.   Mercury retrograde really pulled me deep inside today.  I am glad I was able to answer the call.  All in all its been lovely to have a day to just stay home with me after those intense days where I was so heavily pulled upon by the outer world and be by myself at home.

A day of letting

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If you could

Dear heart

Grant me this one thing today

Allow me a day of letting

Letting Go

Letting Out

Letting Be

All that has been

And gone before

Running it over and over in my brain

Gives me no peace

With every way I turn the question

 I end up finding a different answer

I cannot make any more sense

Of so many things taken

Is there a reason

Or was it just the season of a story

With so many different endings

In any case I cannot change it

And I grow so weary at times

Bone weary

Soul weary

Of looking for answers and wondering why

So just for today I beg of you

Allow me this

Allow me a day of letting

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We see what we project

I was moved to write a poem yesterday on darkness gathering which I didn’t post then.   It was prompted by reading the post of someone who was struggling with seeing how much hatred, violence and suffering there seems to be in the world. If we are a sensitive person and most especially if we have been abused or neglected seeing so many painful things going on hurts and is a reminder of how challenging human nature can be.  I still think it is important though for us to maintain a sense of hope and a remembering that there is a lot of goodness and heart out there in the world.  When very painful experiences and things happen to us they can absorb all our energy and pin us in the most difficult place where it is difficult to see more than darkness.  Those experiences obscure the light of love and joy and simplicity, all the beauty there is in the world which we no longer see if our focus is always on darkness.

I am midway through the biography of Eva Schloss, the step sister of Anne Frank this week, After Auschwitz.  As a Vienesse Jew, Eva and her mother had to leave their home in Austria when war broke out and the Nazi’s began their campaign of hatred over the Jewish people.  They escaped to Holland and were hidden there by two families but the second family betrayed them to the Nazis and on her 15th birthday Eva and her mother were taken to Auschwitz.

In a remarkable story of survival they managed to live, due to a set of coincidences which saw them both very close to death on several occasions.  Only part of the book concentrates on their time in Auschwitz but most of it is devoted to the issue of how one survives seeing such unspeakable suffering and hatred and lives in the traumatic aftermath without being totally defeated by anger, hatred and resentment.  In the end it is only by actively choosing to embrace the attitude of a survivor rather than a victim that Eva rises above the pain that in the end killed countless others.   It really is a great read for those of us who suffer with resentment and issues of forgiveness.

I tried to write a post yesterday about Nazism as a symbol of the narcissistic negative killing ego gone horribly wrong.  The entire story of Hitler and his attitude to the Jews is related to issues deeply imbedded in humanity in relation to the scapegoating of others and shadow projection.   Jews were resented at a time where many were poor and suffering following the end of the First World War when Germany and the German people were highly penalised for their involvement in that war by the Treat of Versailles.  The hatred shown towards them meant that people could download their own painful feelings onto a scapegoat people and send them to extermination and exile.  Its a repeating theme in history with archetypal and mythical themes : the way darkness is projected and how pain and suffering then end up breading more pain and suffering in an endless feedback loop that then recycles over and over without end.  And it seems that the only way out in the end is through forgiveness, empathy and understanding.

I titled this post ‘we see what we project’ to address this issue but I guess in a way a better title may have been we see what we have experienced and we act out of that experience and often unconsciously react out of those experience at least until we become more conscious of the seeds we learned to sow as a result of what we went through.  There comes a time when we get to see what the cost of our projections and colouring of the world is and what plants grow out of those seeds.  Then we get to see that there comes a time when there may be another way or looking or projecting.  We then get to see that in the end we do have a choice in how we choose to react and respond out of our suffering.  We never fully escape suffering and some of us have a huge dose of it, but those of us who do often birth deep wisdom out of such suffering.

Along with the Buddha I do not believe there will ever come a time when painful things no longer happen.  Hatred, violence and destruction will always be a part of our human experience, but the degree of our suffering does in some way depend on where and how strongly we place our focus on destruction or creation, on love or fear.  That is not to imply that we ever get beyond pain but we can learn to embrace that pain and those who cause it tenderly and gently, without unnecessary harsh defences which only end up causing us more pain.

In the end much also depends on where we place our focus, on fear or on love, on hatred and holding on or on letting go and surrender of hate in time.  The choice is up to us.  We may never be able to turn blind eye to our own or another’s suffering and we should do all in our power to change it if we can, but if not let us place our focus on what love we can give to ourselves, to others and to a hurting world that so badly needs our wisdom, sensitivity and care.