A place within the pain to find a place outside the pain.

I awoke a little while ago to a golden morning.   I had such a fitful night last night.  I never take any medication but last night I took a Panadol hoping it would allow me to rest.  My body has been all over the place since the anniversary of my accident trauma.  I was also not fully aware of how much my nephew’s visit triggered and the aftermath of feeling.  I was up and down last night and had all the spasms and shock releases in my body which feels like it is trying to unwind.  I wind myself up in my mind with worry over my dog and my mother.  Despite the fact my relationship with my Mum is complex now she is aging so much and in pain I am full of care, this conflicts with feelings of frustration I have in longing for freedom from worry, care and trauma and anger I feel over past hurts.  But the truth is way more complex than I can fully express in any blog.  There are times I know she wanted to support me but since she struggles to accept her own emotions and responses (or does so under the cover of silence and protection like a lot of Scorpios) she hasn’t been able to validate me in the ways I wished, nor fully acknowledge her part.

I was watching the movie Thanks for Sharing for the second time on the weekend and I got triggered in the scene where the son of the older man in recovery confronts his Dad with hurt he caused him and his failure to apologise.  The father who was a big guy in recovery circles as well as full of AA platitudes and pearls of wisdom was being hypocrite pure and simple and refusing to face it.  I saw my self and how alone and emotionally devastated not getting the necessary apology leaves us.  It fucks with our heads as we question the truth and fear losing the parent’s love by confronting their defences with their shadow.

I have pretty much come to the point where I know now Mum wont own her own part in ways she abandoned me emotionally.  To do so she would have had to face her own history and lately she has shared that she was also emotionally abandoned, but the sorry for what she unconsciously did is never coming.  Sharing about it with my therapist the other day she said that she feels to my Mum I am the child inside her she had to cover over long ago and whose pain it hurts to face, sadly.  It takes so much courage and vulnerability to truly own where we fail, often due to unconsciousness.  Not getting that acknowledgement from any member of my family has been painful and difficult.  But at least now I know where NOT to look for it.

In a way I am glad I had no contact with my brother on his birthday.  His daughter shared with me a while back how shut down both her parents are.  She doesn’t blame them for her emotional abandonment and it is ongoing.   I think its a big step to really feel our anger over this, as it can be prohibited.  To stay trapped in anger though in time means a failure to accept and grieve a harsh reality that must be faced and grieved.  I feel in time I will be able to have an honest conversation about how I feel about how he is in terms of being as emotionally distant as my own father was.  He never got the help to face his softer needy side and his wife is furiously defended against her own in so many way too, but the truth is I don’t know her well.  She has always kept up a cold hard distance with the female side of my family, especially after my oldest sister’s breakdown and told her children to do the same.  That is another grief.  I know she has reasons to be angry at my Mum and they are valid.  Mum admits she was in the wrong but doesn’t really have empathy for my sister in law who lost her own mother when she was on the brink of adolescence.

Facing our grief and pain is huge work, I now see.  I feel we skirt around it for so long and as I write this that poem of Emily Dickinson comes to mind : there is a pain so utter it swallows substance up and covers the abyss with trance so we step above or around it (those are not the verbatim words but it goes something like that.)  The reason I think so many of us who carry abandonment trauma suffer and are sidelined by others is that they either have no idea of the devastation it causes or are so deeply invested in denying or covering over their own grief and pain that they can feel scared and threatened when we do and so do things to shut us down or shame us.  Then we can be labelled as ‘ill’ and medicated to shut the fuck up.  (Writing that last sentence I am also aware medications in many cases are used to soften the blow while inner work is prepared for but in many cases they are used to hide from it in the absence of inner reparative psychodynamic work and there is anger for my sisters in that sentence which I own fully!).

As I look back I see this ocean of deep grief and pain began to open up for me in 1999 when my ex husband and I were in the UK.  Facing the enormity of it scared me so I ran home to Australia and then hid out.  My husband and mother were trying to get me some help but I was resisting them a fair bit.  I ran back to the UK and then back to Oz and then back again when I was struggling to find a way to trust and move forward.  So in many ways the anger I have at my family not fully understanding is also anger of my inner child at the adult who would not take the right steps to care for her before. My grief and fear was so huge they were terrifying to face.   And so much went into the fire.

It was only the ending of the next relationship which freed me for the inner work and then my older sister died and that was so hard.  We got to reconnect for a short while with her sons and that opened up feeling but also more fear.  It has taken until this late Mercury retrograde transit to see how strong the Uranus rebellion streak has been in me and how deep the Plutonian deluge of ancestral pain that we carry as a family really is.  In many ways I am the shadow bearer for a lot of repressed energy so its no wonder I have struggled so much and been sidelined so many times by others who are ignorant, misunderstanding or misjudging.  And then I judged myself not seeing how big the task was or how well I was trying, until I found this last therapist who has just been so present, so adaptable, so open and so warm and caring, things I have never received much in my life before.  I come from such a constricted family that holds down so deep so much repressed life force and childlike joy and human wanting/needing, all of which I split off for so many years until now!  Was it any wonder I suffered from anxiety.  It was just repressed life force, wild horse energy in my beautiful body stampeding with hooves of wanting and desiring for release against huge forces of internalised repression!

Phew! Sun is literally streaming in on me at the moment and I awoke today and saw the beauty of my home, which has been such a cocoon and which I nearly discarded earlier in the year in quest of a space that was not the real me I am but the me I thought I should be to be better or neater or more in control.

On that subject last night after I got home I listened to the greatest conversation on radio with a student of ethics and philosophy on transcendant experiences.  What was being discussed was how much the rational enlightenment in the 17th century has stolen from us in terms of raising up qualities of self control, rationality as supreme, making us numb and blind on so many levels to nature and inner mystical worlds that our ancestors were more in touch with.  In the wake of this experiences of feeling connected to a greater power or peak experiences of seeing spirit in matter or feeling that vast overwhelming of love, luminosity and connection have become increasingly pathologised by the mainstream.

On the way home just a while before I had one of those experiences when I saw a hedge of the most glorious yellow wattle shining out at the side of the car.  I was overcome with the awareness of how much love there is in nature and of how much of our suffering is man made by the heroic questing ego that seeks power over nature instead of union with it.

When we fail to see the beauty in who we really are as natural beings, when we go deaf dumb and blind to sensitivities and feelings of connection or suffering, we shut down all that is most beautiful, honest, open and true in ourselves and others.  I know how many others there are out there who also suffering and in many ways our suffering in opening our hearts also connect us to each other.  When we resist that suffering or try to make a illness of it we cut ourselves away from love, life and light.

I saw so much light and love in that wattle yesterday.  I only saw it as I went to visit my Mum for an hour and we had a few moments of connection.  I connect to the pain in my Mum that she has had to deny for so many years.  Long ago as a child she was left alone without resources.  I see how she coped to the best she could.  It was NEVER enough for me but it was all she could do.  Facing the harsh reality of that means grieving not only for her but for all of my family.  It means not living in denial as so many of us do but it also involves realising the beauty that remains even amongst what at times seems to the rubble and wreckage that is left and it occurs to me as I read this back that grieving and feeling the pain is a form of transformation and birthing, it is a dying to the old past so a new present can rise up and live with more awareness of how deep losses and original injuries go.

What is most important for me at this stage of the road in my emotional recovery is self love not self denial or rejection.  I don’t like what I had to suffer and I wish it was different. I know I deserved more but maybe there was a deeper lesson or learning in every single thing I have gone through.  Making meaning of it, accepting what is, grieving the losses to realise what is most important, most luminous so I can come awake again and fully embodied in both my longing and my pain as well as my luminosity and joy, well to my mind that is essential work maybe not for everyone but most definitely for me.

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Anger with my therapist leads to deeper reflection

I found myself feeling a lot of anger towards my therapist, Kat yesterday.  The intensity of what my body goes through on any day and any night as a result of having recently had this tooth removed on the back of a traumatic head injury at occurred after a time I so needed family support and was once again denied it at the end of my marriage bites me hugely.  I feel like I have giant incisor like wounds from that bite lodged in my psychic flesh and over the past few nights of the eclipse I have been bang awake between 3 and 5 with all these powerful sensations coursing through my body as my mind has struggled to make sense of the tangled up jigsaw pieces of the past 17 years of struggle to find and make sense of my true feelings and find a centre of self in the messy conglomerate of energies within and without which like wild currents and eddies swirl this way and that, at times setting up huge surge like storms of ‘meness’ and then at other taking me down with the powerful centrifugal undertow of black inky sludge drowning me completely and making it hard to draw a free breath!!!

I am angry that Kat didn’t seem to even remember the piece of writing I actually read to her last Thursday, I had to read it all over again and I was feeling so tired,  she is my fucking therapist why can’t she remember, why doesn’t she take the time to read my blog before I go to a session so she can help me a bit, for fucks sake its only one hour and reading three or four blogs to catch up is exhausting because often when I write the feelings are there simmering away under the surface and only emerge when I read them in session which now that I write it just goes to show if she did read it then that wouldn’t happen so why am I getting so mad?  I still am because I have to work so fucking hard at times and there is so much to get through in session.

I do know why I am angry though.  This is old anger.  I have had fuck all help in my life in the way that really mattered.  I didn’t need money thrown at me, I needed a parent who got me, and was there emotionally not one who consistently abandoned me and then told me I was a late developer when I shared I got into sobriety.  Yeah Mum it was all my fault that I drank in a situation in which so many painful feelings were going down that I didn’t know how to deal with in the absence of support, after a major traumatic injury at 17 that I never got any help to deal with later only to be followed six months later by even less care available due to my sister’s aneurysm occuring with all the complications that followed all at a time I was trying to develop and mature.  Fuck That!!!

Yet even as I write this and consider my last post about the poor fit between a mother and child that leaves the child, lost, confused, split off from her body and feelings and lacking self containment and integrity of being I realise that I must accept my mother went through the same with her mother and so just passed down the wound. The anger is understandable that I feel but it wont help me unless I use it to drive a deeper understanding and also to set boundaries so that I don’t open up and share intimate emotional stuff she is likely to dismiss, deny or be confused about herself.

So its probably not really even my therapist I am really angry with but with the entire sad history of a child who came to not be able to understand, express, or even tolerate her own feelings and then became an addict, only to get sober and be told it was the result of ‘character defects’ which just reinforces the scapegoats idea fixee of being the ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ or damaged one, inherently flawed in some way.

I don’t actually remember in the rooms of AA being given any help to understand my own feelings.  I do remember sitting there in meetings and crying my eyes out as other’s shared from such a damaged split off place, full of self blame and self denigration.  It broke my heart in two.  And then in Al Anon meetings I got the askance looks from those trying to whip alcoholic loved ones into shape with their own self righteousness not getting for a moment the suffering or deeper dilemma the person concerned was going through.   I remember not being hugged after a meeting or reached out to after I shared from a deep well of pain.

I know it probably wasn’t their job but I do feel that once our buried feelings begin to open up in sobriety we need some form of encouragement and affirmation from others to assist us and yet even that hope or demand has hidden deep in the centre of it a hope or demand that is loaded with the sadness and longing of deep needs of long ago for the parent’s unconditional love, understanding, mirroring and acceptance of feelings; needs we never got to fully understand or contain.

In the end, as I was discussing with Kat yesterday, perhaps no one now can give us enough to make up for what we lost or never received in the first place.  Such an empty void or space in the place where we most needed to be met, filled up, affirmed, received  must be acknowledged, deeply understood and grieved.  And then we must meet the challenge of finding ways to fill our lives with the good energy of connection and love, learning how to understand, feel and tolerate all our feelings.   Being or becoming the good loving mother and father to ourselves so that ultimately we don’t end up re-enacting our emptiness, wound or anger on others or keep ourselves lost and trapped inside the deep dark desolate place of that emptiness.

I do wonder now, though, if we end up alone with no life partner and disconnected from so many friends due to the wounds we have carried driving so many away from us in misunderstanding how sweet can life be?  Can we really fill ourselves up from the life font or spring of spirit that was meant to flow within and through us and can that be enough?

Its obvious to me now that the hyper sensitivity that so many of us feel who were not met or received in the needed ways, grew larger in the absence of such love and care.  The burden of our so called ‘over sensitivity’  needs to be understood and we need to make sure that we don’t blame ourselves while at the same time learning to take responsibility for the wound we carry in terms of taking care of ourselves, learning to be open, vulnerable and honest to ask for what we need rather than demand it or get shitty when it doesn’t just come automatically.

We also need an awareness of the real failures of others which came from the limits of their own capacity to be fully embodied themselves, a wound that seems to plague so many in a technologically driven modern society that has grown increasingly removed from the natural and soulful elements in vibrant earthly life.   To begin to feel that love means that we open ourselves body and soul to the soft caress of the sun on skin, to the luxuriant feeling of sea water on flesh, to the sheer love that shines in our dog’s eyes as he runs to great us, to the joy of feeling our free spirit express its bounty through dance, movement and song.

It surely means we open up again to try to find the love and containment we missed from a loving mother’s arms in places and spaces where it does exist.  And it also means that we as ones who have been damaged and know the cause and consequences of such disconnection and damage make a stand in a world where sensitivity and depth is so often not championed.  For the pain our souls have suffered has perhaps highlighted for us how essential such an earthly connection to life, feeling and nature is and to the deeper realisation that the wound to the mother that leads to severing from body and deep feeling is one we end up enacting on the earth and ourselves over and over again if we don’t fully face, feel and speak for the painful and agonising consequences of its loss or absence.

I will go out from this place

Emerging From The Dark Night

forest

I will go out from this place

though the road

leads through a deep dark wood

In the wood

I will make a fire

from a pile of kindling

and a bed

from a pile of leaves

the animals will come

and wrap their love around me

and I will know

true comfort

that I could not find

at home

with you

Out beyond this place

is a wide open field

of acceptance

where there are just questions

wide open questions

and no need for answers

or the tyranny of certainty

hard glances

even harder hearts

deep in this wood

 there is

only the whisper of the breeze

and on clear nights

a canopy of stars

that shine brightly

with the love of the Goddess

I will go out from this place

though the way be lonely

I will find in that loneliness

a hearth

a heart

and a home

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Canopy of Green

canopy

Canopy of green

We move underneath you

Feeling ourselves to be

Embraced by an arbour of love

That nature threw over us

Such splendour

That fills the soul

So sorely needed

For barren places

Breed within us a deeper emptiness

And so much of modern life

Burns the green away

Leaving only a pile of smoking ash

War

Wanting

Terror

Conflict

The antidote for this is nature

Peace

Love

Bestowed upon us by a beneficient force

That knows nothing of the terror

Only man makes for himself and his kind

Canopy of green

You soothe Jasper and I

You are a gift from God

One our open hearts celebrate

And give thanks for

Trauma imprinting demands the body be heard and soothed

“PTSD is a whole-body tragedy,

an integral human event of enormous proportions

with massive repercussions.”

Susan Pease Banitt

After posting my last post on the abandonment depression I started to question how much time we really need to be alone and reliving our trauma.   Trauma is not an intellectual thing.  It may affect our thinking but the truth is that trauma is something that happens to our physical body as well as our emotions which we experience bodily and the effects of the shock, fear, hostility, shame or other types of traumas stay lodged in the body, they register in the cells, they affect the balance of chemicals and tissue salts, they drive us towards addictions either to numb more or to find a way to cope with the pain.  We most essentially MUST address our trauma and its consequences on a bodily level. And so much of trauma does not exist as words.  Lodged in the unconscious it can take the form of image in our dreams and of deep spasms and shock that re-registers in our body.

I was thinking about this a lot this morning as I felt the interface between my mind and body and the trauma that was in my cells which I have felt to be unravelling very acutely over the past few months.  It occurred to me that on the astrological level when we passed through the deep emotional territory of Scorpio in October to November we got deep insight into buried emotions (at least I did), I also felt all the pain of that deep longing to connect that got thwarted in my own trauma history.  Then as we entered Sagittarius towards the end of last month it started to shift upwards in some way.  Today as I was re-experiencing the profound shock trauma/nausea/fear/buzz trauma outpouring of the two accidents I was thinking of the image of the centaur who is half man half beast.  It is the beastly part of him which suffers and often in Sagittarius there is a movement into the head and away from the body or a rejection or splitting off of the body on some level.  This is what happens in trauma it gets too painful to feel and it also takes us into very intense instinctual animal territory where we cannot deny that as spirits trapped in bodies we will suffer from the sheer fact of just being human, living in a body and being born into an environment where so much happens to us when young which is outside of our control.  The trauma of this can lead in time for some of us to a profound intellectual/body schism.  But we can heal and knit the fabric of the two back together if when we heal through trauma we learn how to release it from our cells and recognise the profound impact it has had on our bodies and souls.  Our mind helps us to make meaning of the trauma and this process but we cannot jump to the intellectual level too soon as we may then repress trauma with philosophy which is reactionary.  One of the most problematic things of suffering from trauma is that others often take this reactionary view when they witness someone suffering in a way that they do not fully understand cannot be controlled and was the consequence of deep wounds..

Trauma imprints are difficult and painful, they include experiences and energies around us that we had no control over at the time which happened to us, perhaps in our homes when we were young or to our bodies and souls later in life as a reaction to our trying to live with the pain of the trauma.  What a long time it takes to bring all this to awareness.  But as we do it will be the body that leads us.  It will be the body we need to address.  It will be the body that we need to make friends with.   It will be the body that we need to soothe.  It will be the body that will speak to us as an entity or being that holds locked within it all the trauma imprints asking us to witness, contain and make sense of them.

As a culture I think we are now at a critical phase of our development.  The long range impacts of trauma are all around us in the culture out playing with different degrees of consciousness and unconsciousness.  As a species we have traumatised the earth as a result of our own traumas and a human development during the egoic age which has taken us further and further away from nature.   What we do to the earth when we don’t love it and know it as a living breathing sentient being is a reflection of what we do to our bodies when our splits become too much and our trauma drives us and we don’t embrace and feel and release our trauma and pain in effective grounded ways.

Healing from trauma means we must turn towards a wounded body and listen to it.  We can find ways to soothe it, to witness the trauma imprints unravelling in a contained and loving way.  If we truly listen to and make friends with the body it will tell us what we need to heal.  But first we need to understand its language, how fear gets lodged in our tissues and makes it very frightening to experience our bodies and what is trapped there and yet it is at this electric edge that we experience most profoundly the awesome spiritual life energy move.  If don’t get a full handle on all the ways our fear drives us we will destroy ourselves and others and we will destroy the earth and we will continue to run from our trauma and re-traumatise either ourselves or others.

Love is what trauma requires of us.  Love and courage.  The love is there in allowing the open space in which we can experience the intensity of trauma zing holding ourselves on a knife edge where it can move out from the body.  Our minds then will be freer than they ever were before.  And so much compassion will come out of this process.  This compassion being the most important antidote we can find to the fear, shock, grief, anger depression and shame that a traumatic past can leave us with.

If we turn our backs

images (9)

Today I had a conversation with a dear friend that made me feel really sad.  I could feel the sadness in my friend, a kind of heavy soul weariness with some very difficult things in his life.  The most distressing being that in his neighbourhood which was for so long so very close to nature, nature is now being over-run by buildings and constructions of other projects including a light rail that involves the removal of well over 20 giant fig trees.

My friend has been experiencing headaches and he has noticed that over the past few weeks the native fauna have migrated to his backyard which is now one of the only backyard in the suburb with any trees still standing.  He has endured the sound of chainsaws decimating the beautiful trees, giant sentinels that have stood in place for over a hundred years, now obliterated by stupid, crazy, shut down humans.

Hearing this made me feel so angry.  Earlier today I was listening to a programme in which people were speaking about the commercialisation of our Australian National Parks.  One man interviewed was the former Senator and Green Party Leader and Founder, Bob Brown.  A native of the island state of Tasmania which is one of this earth’s few remaining wilderness places, Bob campaigned many years ago against the damming of the Franklin, a huge river that runs through the Tasmanian wilderness.  He has been a wilderness advocate and nature lover for well over 50 years.

Today Bob was speaking of how we humans come from nature, we are part of nature.  When we turn our backs on our primal roots we find ourselves in profound peril, our physical, emotional and mental natures suffer from the severing of connection with that which is our ground and sustains our life and living.

Last week I had a painful day undergoing interviews in the lead up to my radiology treatment for Breast Cancer. During the interview a lot of grief and shock came up for me, as the prospect of chemotherapy was canvassed (an option I had already been informed was not required for my particular case).  The radiographer seemed shocked by my grief reaction.  I came away from the appointment feeling like I had visited an alien universe where clinicians without any kind of feeling were looking at me like some kind of strange species that they did not understand.

There was no nurturing touch, no comfort, only a lot of questions which clearly showed little understanding of what I was going through.  My nature had not been understood and I felt as though I had just been dropped in an icy ocean.  At the end of the interview all I longed for was the healing touch of sunshine on my skin, the feel of my puppy’s soft fur, the comfort of being home surrounded by wood and fibre and cosiness after the harsh sterile atmosphere of the New Cancer Centre.  I left the building crying and feeling all the terrible splittings and traumas of my life which severed me from love, connection and wild nature.

Contemplating my experience on Wednesday and considering what my friend is going through in seeing his environment decimated today I am feeling so sad in contemplating what will happen to us as a species if we continue to turn our backs on nature.

If we must and can it will be necessary for us to live where we can be in touch with nature in life and in our souls, for to live divorced from nature will surely be for us a source of grief whether consciously or unconsciously felt.

The deepest wound we suffer as children and the wound that seems to be making humans forget about the value of nature is not being fully received in our essential being while growing up.  As we move further away from our own natures, our relationship with nature around us suffers.  In nature we are open on a cellular level if we are not emotionally shut down by the trauma of being separated from who we truly are and what we truly feel.  If we continue to separate ourselves from nature how will we survive?  The earth must be grieving for us so deeply, trying to show us we need to wake the hell up.

I will go out from this place

Forest sleep.jpg

I will go out from this place

though the road

leads through a deep dark wood

In the wood

I will make a fire

from a pile of kindling

and a bed

from a pile of leaves

the animals will come

and wrap their love around me

and I will know

true comfort

that I could not find

at home

with you

Out beyond this place

is a wide open field

of acceptance

where there are just questions

wide open questions

and no need for answers

or the tyranny of certainty

hard glances

even harder hearts

deep in this wood

 there is

only the whisper of the breeze

and on clear nights

a canopy of stars

that shine brightly

with the love of the Goddess

I will go out from this place

though the way be lonely

I will find in that loneliness

a hearth

a heart

and a home

a place to rest

to centre

to dream

to become

all I was intended to be