Although you hurt me

Wounded

Although you hurt me

I also know you love me

I know it because you try

In the best way to help

You never had a mother who told you you were loved

You had to grow up so fast

And often had no one to turn to

I carried your silent pain as the youngest

And kept playing it out

Now I want the pain to end

I see simply and purely

I must come back into connection

Towards love and away from resentment and hurt

We have the chance now

We will pay the robber barons off

And go free

We learned painful lessons you and I

But at least we are facing them together

And for the rest of my life

I want to love

Parceling up all the pain and aloneness

Deep inside

Wrapping it up on every side

In a blanket of compassion

Peace

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Peace

A silent symphony of calm

Within which we rest

How much we are blessed

And how much we forget

Angels surround us

Fear sets up its barricades

And rains down busy judgements

Which don’t allow us to see

The gifts that wait for us in silence

When the cacophony is done

We resist loosening the shackles

Of our stories and pain

And stop ourselves descending

Into the burning flames that would transform us

But once we surrender

Peace steals in on silent feet

We wake to find ourselves

At rest in a green field

All pain spent

Surrounded on every side

By an ocean of peace

Self judgement

Forgiveness.jpg

I just listened to a radio programme about a woman who was raped as a teen by someone she trusted when she was drunk.  Many years down the track the perpetrator has owned up to his actions and together they have written a book.  What struck me was that the theme of self judgement and forgiveness was central to the interview.  The woman spoke of how she blamed herself as a victim of abuse, how a large part of her healing involved forgiveness for herself.  I thought of my own struggles with self judgement when I have got into difficult situations particularly with men, especially in my earlier years.  I also thought of how sad and challenging it is that survivors have to struggle so with self judgement in situations in which they were powerless.  The woman eventually forgave herself and the abuser.

It would be so good if we could learn to show ourselves self compassion, if we could admit our powerlessness in situations in which we truly were powerless, as opposed to situations in which we can use that as an excuse.   Feeling helpless and powerless does tend to develop in people who were not empowered when they were young, who had justified flight and fight responses disabled by parental shame, abuse or criticism.

Feeling trapped, or powerless has been a big part of the legacy of my own trauma which involved being trapped in a car following my MVA and in a hospital bed for many months afterward.   I recognise a deep part of me that can feel powerless in situations where I really have the power to leave, but leaving my requires of me courage or the ability to speak for myself and my own needs and face my fears.  I fear disappointing others at times when really I should not disappoint myself.  I fear moving forward at times when the way ahead seems unclear.

In the end the woman in the interview found love, forgiveness and compassion for herself.  What a different approach we would take to life and others if we could forgive while at the same time recognising abuse as abuse, something we didn’t deserve or play any part in causing.  Something painful and deeply tragic that was a very difficult learning experience.

 

 

 

An ocean of love

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These mornings I am awakening with a feeling of deep, deep love as well as a feeling of deep surrender and peace.   I am aware of a deep, deep grief too and it is so hard to find words for these oceanic feelings that seem to be surrounding me of late.  Neptune as an archetypal influence rules the sign of Pisces in which we find ourselves now and it also rules the ocean of feeling that at times has depths that pull on us and our conscious mind.   And currently the Sun in Pisces is meeting Neptune there.

We may fear the tidal pull of something that lies beyond the ego and we feel may inundate us.  And then there is also the larger life that surrounds us and lives beyond the ego’s parameters that may be wanting to enter us.  When we are awake and alive with ourselves we are not so guarded or defended against witnessing and experiencing this greater awe and mystery.   When we have been hurt by being inundated in painful ways we are more often wary or shut down by pain or defences and its harder to open and trust.  We feel on an unconscious level that we are living behind a wall and have an awareness of something on the other side but we cannot touch it.  And then some cracks begin to appear in our healing and feelings seep through.

And then there are those of us with a mystic sensibility we are perhaps connected to the deeper love and deeper mystery in ways that others often don’t understand.  We may cry, for example when we witness great beauty or our own pain is touched by seeing something that triggers us.

This morning when I woke gently and looked around my room at all the beauty there, the armchair in the corner with embroidered cushions, my print of Chagall’s Lovers that came to me in the 80s when I visited an exhibition of his work while in London, the colourful scarves, my old wooden blinds through which soft dappled sunlight fell I felt so surrounded in love.  The hurt and pain and twisting in my body has stopped over the past week or so. I have felt myself falling into myself and opening up in new ways.  The prospect of looking for a new home has made me value the one I have even more.  And I feel totally supported in myself and open to a stream of consciousness that is the soul that wants to move through me.  I cannot help but feel grateful.  Maybe these feelings will pass after the Sun moves away from Neptune, I don’t know.  I am just grateful today to be feeling this way.  After all the loss, all the pain, all the endings I see how in holding on I made things harder but that that too was all part of the process.  For today I just want to bathe in this ocean of peace and the love I feel that surrounds me and rest within it.

 

 

 

In the silence

flower

In the silence

Feelings and sensations

That don’t have words

Come calling to you

Vast wilderness expanses open up

And there is a feeling of surrender

Deep spaciousness

Peace

A place within

Where all is accepted

And all becoming becomes

Breathing

Your heart is breathing

Beating

All by itself

And in the silence

It seems

Your heart is almost asking you

To become silent enough to listen

To this music

The symphony of your being

Which makes no demands

Of anyone or anything

Why do you demand so much?

Life doesn’t respond to demands

Life is just what arises

Deep within

From the fountain and celestial spring

Grace that births

Opening like a flower

Tender petals

Which surrender to reveal

The precious essence of your soul

Being

Awareness

Breathing

Becoming

And even emptying

Revealing

An open field of peace and comfort

Where you find rest

Beyond all worldly things

Creating a calm, safe space : some reflections on trauma and the pain body

When we have suffered a lot of trauma, our emotional and physical systems have literally been overloaded with input.  It is as though the inner circuit board of our being is endlessly lit up with warning lights flashing, sounds blaring, neurons endlessly firing backwards and forwards in an awful cacophony of inner white noise, electric pain and fury which revolves endlessly around and never seems to stop.

We need to find our own individual circuit breakers to interrupt the endless feedback loop cycle from endlessly refiring within us.  To me this means developing an awareness of what has caused us pain and trauma in the past, amped up our nervous system or triggered us.  It means creating and finding peaceful places within and without which are nourishing for us on every level, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, places of soothing, calm, expansion and warmth within which our hurting, contracted places can release and let go of what limits, restricts and confines in an unhealthy way or endlessly re-traumatises us.

I have been thinking lately a great deal about the pain body, a concept that Eckart Tolle has written and spoken about. All of us carry some degree of pain within us, some people such as myself carry a huge pain body around.  The pain body consists of all the pain from trauma, injuries, hurts and/or losses we have suffered in this life that may affect us unconsciously.  According to Tolle developing awareness of or consciousness into our own pain body as well as the pain body of others, developing some intelligence into the ways in which we react out of the pain body and can retrigger our own and other’s pain is very important to learning to becoming more skilful and happy in our lives.

I started to write a blog this morning about compassionate communication.  It was prompted by a book I started to re-read last night on love. Suffice to say for this blog we are only able to be compassionate towards ourselves and others after we have developed an awareness and acceptance of the fact that some pain is part of life.  We carry pain, others carry pain and the best answer and healing remedy to deal with the pain body in ourselves and others is an attitude of what Pema Chodron calls unconditional friendliness, an open, loose, expansive, state of awareness, acceptance and presence, a radiant field of loving tolerant energy within which pain can be embraced, soothed and de-potentised (Word press isn’t recognising that word but I think its a good one for stepping down the potent charge of a pain body that is firing off and getting magnified and magnetised by a triggering event or state we are encountering within ourselves or in our relationships).

Trauma and pain’s most noticeable impact upon many of us is a state of contraction, a state of pulling in or away as a result of hurt.  We either react, run, hide, avoid or attack, play dead, freeze or spin out.  And it is perfectly natural that we react in this way, from the more primal centres of our brain.   However over time and when these kind of reactions lead our pain to repeat or magnify or get us caught up in a fruitless destructive cycle we may feel the urge to reach for a better way of responding.   Is there a chance we could lean in, take a deep breathe and hold ourselves still in the midst of trauma allowing its vibration to release and have its way its way with us?

Over the past week or so this is the kind of practice I have been attempting to engage in.  I find the Universe often has a tendency to present us with challenges and lessons when we put our hands up in this way.  Today I lost my car keys in the shopping centre where I had gone for a cup of coffee.  I am sure they were in my bag when I went to the discount pharmacy to buy some things, not so sure if they were still there when I visited the library, but by the time I was heading towards the carpark I reached my hands inside my bag to find it void of any keys at all.  I started to feel sick inside as I do in this kind of situation.   (Its a while since this sort of thing has happened to me as I have been much more mindful of my keys after having lost them on at least 6 occasions over the past year or so.)  My first impulse was to freak out and panic after I had checked the concierge desk and customer service in the department store I was in at the time.  It was not possible to check the library as the library closed at 4 pm.

I stopped myself mid panic and said “the keys are lost for now, you need to stay calm and think of how to solve the situation.”  My phone was in another bag in my car in the car park.  I knew I had a spare key at home, taxis stood nearby in the taxi rank so I got into one and told the driver what had happened.   He drove me home and waited while I collected the spare key then returned me to the shopping centre from where I drove home.

I still noticed that I was running a ‘disaster’ script in my head, self judgement over how careless I was to have lost the keys in the first place, a sick feeling thinking I had no idea where they were and may never find them back.  But then calmer voices came into play.  How much of a disaster is it really if I loose those keys?  I don’t have any control over the situation now and making it worse by awfulising things will just end up adding stress that I don’t need. The keys may turn up later, but for now isn’t it just best to let it go, kiddo.   Problem solved.  I did not have to add to the difficulty by amping up things and I just had a chat to a friend about it and we had a huge laugh.

A few days later I went to the library and was told my keys had been found on the floor near the self issue station.  My calmness payed of.  Everything was really okay.  By not freaking out I had stopped more pain for myself.  It took a lot of work and conscious intent and taught me some really practical things about dealing with the pain body.

 

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The soul’s essential need for quiet time

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If we wish to live in a deeper more connected way, it is really important for us to have quiet time, places and spaces of peaceful reflection in which we can draw closer to our soul.  For the introverted amongst us this sort of free and open time where we are unencumbered by the needs and demands of others or removed from the fast pace and ongoing bombardment of daily life is as essential to our souls as air.

Extroverts often have a really hard time understanding this need in my experience.  My last partner actually accused me of being agrophobic at one stage as he didn’t understand my introverted ways.  He was always wanting to pull me out into the world and into his ideas of what was good for me, and it is true that at the time I met him I had not long ago gone through two more traumatic injuries both of which occurred in the first two years on each anniversary of my husband walking out of our marriage and so my introversion could have had a degree of dissociation tied up with it.

At the same time I was launching on a healing pathway.  A few years before my marriage broke up I had begun to unearth in therapy a few of the issues that had driven my addiction.  At this stage I was over 7 years sober and really in the second stage of recovery which involves opening up to original pain and grief work. My husband didn’t like the fact that I was sad.  He had lost his own father around the same age as me and had a lot of pain in his life with his mother, but rather than try to deal with it he tried to imply that my therapy was a kind of indulgence and together he aligned with my mother to try to undermine it.

At this stage I walked out of the marriage for six months and went back to the UK.  I actually lived with his mother for a time and she opened up to me a lot about her unhappy marriage and her difficulty with being an emotionally available mother.  I eventually came back to the marriage but at this point too much was pulling us apart and I could not make a commitment to leave my family behind to settle back in the UK at the same time as I could not live in the same town with them and so we were both in a state of limbo and my husband decided to go back to the UK on a holiday and then phoned to tell me he was planning on not coming back.

We eventually separated two months from this phone call (his decision) and I was alone again, quite isolated at the coast in the house my father had built around the time all the trauma of my late adolescence began to erupt in 1979.  I now know that this was a reflection of the fact that due to trauma making our development arrest at critical stages to a large degree a part of my soul was there waiting for me to open up the door to it.

Following my separation I was in a lot of pain as my husband leaving brought up all the grief around loss of relationships in in my life and I was not in therapy at that stage.  I spent quiet a number of years in the wilderness before getting involved in another relationship with the partner who accused me of being agoraphobic when really I just had Complex PTSD.

These days I live alone.  I have been on my own now for just under five years and as lonely as I get some days I must say it is a relief to be able to close the door on my life when I need to and engage in the necessary retreat and inner journey which is so important to my soul.  I now have a very good therapist who understands the inner journey well being trained in the Jungian way of deep introspection.  I have my blog which I began at the end of 2013 and it has helped me to externalise some of the journaling, poems and articles that contain ideas and insights gleaned from these 12 years of going on the inward soul journey.

I guess I would say that even before I went on this journey I was reading a lot of psychological and spiritual literature about the Dark Night of the Soul.  I really related to writings of people such as St John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and Jungian writers such as Thomas Moore and Murray Stein who write about both the dark night of the soul as well as the midlife crisis that can come for many of us from any time from the late 30s onwards.  A crisis during in which our hearts are torn, a crisis that may involve depression and a descent into the primal dark, a crisis of separating out who we really are as a True Self or soul from what has been imposed upon us or confined us within and as a result of our conditioning.  And part of the reason I named my blog Emerging From the Dark Night was to convey that the DNOTS is actually a form of spiritual emergence or spiritual emergency that many of us are undergoing on this planet at a time of critical change and collective transformation, that we can heal and connect through sharing and writing about our experiences so that we can help each other and not feel that we are so alone.

Turning within means for many of us leaving the superficial world behind us.  A world peopled with those who see the inner journey or DNOTS as a kind of ‘madness’.  I was very comforted many years ago when I was working in a spiritual bookshop to come across a taped talk on Spiritual Madness by medical intuitive Carolyn Myss.  In this tape she talked about how there is a certain kind of spiritual journey we are called upon that seems to be a kind of madness but is really a transformational call to a deepening and awakening of and to our souls and spirits.

Ideally after we have undergone this experience we do come back out into the so called ‘real world’, but with a deeper awareness, some enlightenment if you will of the so called darker aspects of being and experience that we or others around us may have rejected before.

Gosh, I originally started this post to share the following meditation from one of my daily readers by Tian Dayton in which she speaks of the necessity for Soul time.  I will close on it as I am starting to develop some ideas here that I will flesh out further in another post.  Hopefully this reading will speak to some of you who are struggling to reconcile your own deeper journey with the difficult reception you receive from others who just don’t seem to ‘get it’.  Truth is they are probably not meant to.  Only those who are called will hear.

Soul Loss

I will respect and protect quiet in my day  Without quiet, my soul cannot rise to the surface of my consciousness. Excessive and pointless busyness keeps me from being with my soul.  Then I feel a loss of connection with self, and I try to solve it by attaching myself to one more outer experience in an attempt to not feel alone and lost.  Again I create disappointment.

The soul that I lost is within me.

There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul.  Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of it coming.  That is why you have to be careful…You should realise that your soul suffers if you live superficially.  People need times in which to concentrate, when they can search their innermost selves.  It is tragic that most men have not achieved this feeling of self awareness..  And finally when they hear the inner voice they do not want to listen any more.  They carry on as before so as not to be constantly reminded of what they have lost.  But as for you.. resolve to keep a quiet time…Then your soul can speak to you without being drowned out by the hustle and bustle of every day life.

Albert Schweitzer

And as a post script.  I feel that we also feel a connection to this place of soul through placing ourselves in places and spaces where the soul can speak to us. For example, in nature, by the ocean, with pets and animals, with loved ones with whom we can connect and be, through reading poetry or listening to music which connect us and uplifts us or speaks to us on a soulful level.

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The silence in which I am known.

Silencce

I am feeling very deep emotions this morning and a deep well of expansive peace and silence.  There are times when the entire panorama of our life opens up before us.  We glimpse the journey in its entirety and are over come with awe at the realisation we have survived the depths of pain we though may destroy us. We see the ways our over reactivity caused us pain, and how decisions taken in hope often ended in pain or tragedy.

As a recovering alcoholic, I know the depths of suffering and loss I journeyed to on the back of traumas in my family I could not articulate which drove wounds into my soul and feelings I did not really have the maturity or insight to deal with at the time.   I know the years of therapy it has taken to navigate it and to come to terms with it.  I am now feeling that I am reaching the pool of love and peace that underlies this journey.

After a recent visit from relatives I know how much I need silence around me.  I am not a person who travels well if I have to wake up in a house with the TV on.  I am not really a fan of collective culture.  I love the quiet stillness of morning in which I connect with myself inwardly. Perhaps I read a book of meditations on recovery, or I just sit quietly and feel the morning opening up around me with any insights on that day.  On the tough days I may have a litany of criticism or self doubt or self beat up going on inside my head.  Thankfully today is not one of those days.  Today I seem to be seeing deeper and I seem to be feeling the deep love of the soul which comes when we discover after a long journey that part of our soul which can bear and fully contain all of our suffering and bless it.

I recently shared a post with a quote from Henri J. Nouwen which spoke of a part of us that knows us to be the Beloved.  This is not what we are taught in collective culture.  In collective culture we are taught that our sense of being and value rests outside of us, on what we do or achieve, or on what we possess or own.  As children we were not always taught to value our feelings, to trust our guts.  I am sure some of us had parents who encouraged this, but I didn’t.  I now know it is the most important thing.  I need to know that I am Beloved and that everyone else also is Beloved and has value and is a child of a loving power that brought them to earth.  Sadly some people never realise this and we suffer so deeply when we don’t..

I also feel that the most important gift I can give to myself and others is the gift of presence.  So many are longing to be really heard and known for who they truly are.  This gift is most often felt in silence.  When I can quieten the voices in my own head long enough to sit with someone, open and be present  I give us both a gift.  When I can suspend my own point of view for a time to listen to theirs, when I can listen with my heart and not only my head, then I am present.

And it is also so important to me to be present too, to myself in silence.  In that silence I can hear the still quiet voice that speaks to me in love.  This week I came across a lovely book in the library The Constant Companion by Eknath Easwaran. It is full of meditations which remind me that there is a deep soul in each of us which is quiet and humble and full of understanding, that we can turn to in times of crisis.  For some of us, to find this part of us we have to do a lot of work with the voices which erase its presence.  The voices of he conditioned self that tell us we are nothing and no one if we don’t reach for something outside of us, or measure up to others demands and expectations or to false demands from our ego self that don’t come from our deep centre.

Reading these meditations this week was like a balm to my soul.  I felt a beautiful unconditional presence of love within the writing.  Reading it made me realise that I need this kind of soul medicine around me in my day.  For what I focus on becomes my path for rhe day, focusing on words of love and unconditional presence helps me in the task of loving and nurturing my true and deepest soul self throughout the day.

This morning I am valuing deeply my solitude and silence.  I am aware that much as I need others at times, I feel most at home when I can feel my soul connection in silence.  And I know that the true feelings of despair I have experienced come from not being connected to myself at this deeper level.  This kind of deep connection is not something that comes from outside.  It comes for me most especially in silence and in nature, in the quiet times of peace where I touch the depths and feel supported in my deepest soul by the invisible presence of deep acceptance and love.

 

The pool of our grief and pain

I shared about being let down again by my Mum today in an earlier blog.  Just after I posted it the phone rang.  It was my mother ringing to apologise.  She had “just forgotten” to call me as she promised to let me know where and when we could all catch up.   I shared with her how it made me feel.  This is about the fourth incident of this kind that has occurred in the past four weeks following my breast cancer surgery.  Being forgotten is a big trigger for me.

“It really wasn’t intentional”, she said.  I think deep in my heart I know it wasn’t she isn’t well, she is aging and she is forgetting a lot of the time.  She is 91 now.   She has fluid on her lung.  The second anniversary of her eldest daughter’s death is just a few days away. They had wanted to put her into hospital over the weekend and she fought to stay out.  My dead sister’s youngest son will visit with his two boys who my mother and I have never met next weekend for the first time in two years (since the funeral of my sister in 2014).  Mum doesn’t want to have to go into hospital before they come, it would be such a painful reminder of all the sadness in our family, of all the loss.

When this was being shared at dinner my other sister came over all parental with my Mum, scoffing and tutting.  I just held Mum’s hand and said “I know why you didn’t want to go into hospital, Mum.” At this tears began to fall for her.

I drove home from our dinner in a reflective state of mind.  After leaving Mum in the foyer of her apartment and after her apologising again I drove away with a peace in my heart.

We have had so much trauma in our family, so much illness, accidents, death, mental illness, emotional struggle and loss and as the youngest I have been a witness to it all.  But so has my Mum.  Tonight I need to rest in peace.

I joined up on an online course today.  It is conducted by a woman who hit the wall when her life partner died.  It basically just gives techniques of breathing and mindfulness that help to connect to our feelings, to giving space to our feelings, to watch and experience our feelings arise and pass.  It takes the focus off analysing our feelings, or thinking about them and when I practiced the Spaciousness Breath today it really worked.  This afternoon when I stabbed my finger painfully with a rose thorn I practiced really being with the pain.  It went really deeply through me and then passed completely.

I think of my mother struggling to breathe in the middle of the night.  This morning when I was walking (which I find often puts me in contact with my intuitive self) and thinking about the fluid on my Mum’s lung the following words came to me.

Each of us who has suffered loss has a pool of pain deep inside

We can choose to experience this pool as a feeling and release it

But this involves being in touch with ourselves

As well as those who will allow the pool to flow and release

If the pain is suppressed it pools on the bodily level

Remember the dream you had where you had to clear out a muddy pool?

That was your pain and grief which you have been working over these years to release.

Your Mum has a deep pool of pain within her

You cannot fix it

You cannot change it

You may feel it but you cannot heal it for her

You can only love her where she is at

Tears fell then as I experienced an “ah ha” moment and Jasper and I continued on our walk.

I was very worried about Mum in the middle of the night last night.  I felt it may be soon that she goes.  In a moment of synchronicity tonight as we arrived at our local Thai Restaurant for a meal there in the foyer in front of me was an old friend who I had heard last this week was close to loosing her own mother who had a stroke in the middle of the week.  We chatted for a while.

“Life is so fragile and impermanent”, she said to me.

“That is why we have to make the most of each moment we have”, I said.

My own relationship with my mother has been fraught with pain at times and yet there is love there too.  I know at 91 she is facing her own mortality.  I know that even though she has let me down and hurt me at times, in her heart she has done the best she could and given me more than she got from her own mother.  It is up to me, not to deny this hurt, but not to allow it to define my present or future.  “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.  Lonely as life has been at times there are places I can draw comfort and pain does not have to be the parting word.  Today I can be my own mother.  I can show compassion for my mother and for all of us who suffer due to loss and heartbreak, abandonment, loneliness and pain. To be able to feel these feelings rather than deny them is a precious gift. And for that I am grateful.

Did I go through all this suffering to awaken?

When the Storm Is Over

Going through a serious illness and operation makes you so much more aware of life.  You question the life you have been living until now, the intuitive feelings you may have had but ignored.  You regret the times you ran around just being busy for the sake of it and because you found it too hard to just sit still in peace.  You also see the times an inner voice told you to reach out but fear or some other negative message stopped you.

And then the love that is shown to you makes you question all that you thought others thought about you.  In my own case I see where my own thinking has strayed towards the negative so often, how I have limited myself by past pain.

The thing about pain and hurt is that it makes you withdraw.  It makes you contract into yourself.  You contract into yourself in order to protect yourself and you don’t even realise this at the time, its just a very natural response.  And by all means we need to be able to be with ourselves in pain especially after an operation where in our skin has been cut through or after other painful experiences when our body, heart or mind is wounded in some way and yet the way we think about these things also plays a huge part in generating more pain.

It is interesting to me how this whole process of surgery has mirrored for me the pain of things being put into me and done to me that I did not want put into me or done to me when I was much younger and how that pain has replayed and repeated in an unconscious way.  I have seen how in response to that unconscious pain that had no place to process I had sought relief in alcohol and drugs.

Certainly there is a need to sit still with ourselves in pain, to feel the pain, to understand the pain, to learn lessons from the pain but hopefully the result of all of this pain borne with is that we learn how precious a gift life is and we don’t continue to retreat and withdraw into a place from which we can give no longer.

Still in the paradoxical way my mind is working at present a part of me is also saying as I write that life today is moving too fast on an outward trajectory and there is a need I feel to withdraw into the space where I can be in touch with my inner world and be still, to find a place of peace that does not become torturous by overthinking.

This inward turning is not about contracting but about expanding inwardly so that we can touch life. It is not about disconnection at all because we all have an entire universe inside of us and through this place we deeply connect to others on an energetic plane too.

So much of life lately seems to be about compulsive busyness and outward turning and there can be a kind of contraction in this in that in a state of busyness we are focused only on doing something or getting somewhere more than on being awake and alive and touching the present moment with all of its blessings, and most especially touching nature which has a soothing refreshing balm that could heal our jangled nervous systems.

I was never more conscious of the contrast between the contracted human world and the expansive natural world than after four days in hospital.  My body was going through all kinds of pushes and pulls due to the needles being stuck into me, vital signs being taken, pain from the surgery, comings and goings of staff and visitors as well as the swelling of all kind of feelings deep within me of trauma and old feelings being catalysed by the surgery and contacts with people I had not heard from for some time.

On Sunday night the pain from the twisting and turning was so bad I felt like I would explode. I had to walk the corridors of the hospital in order to contain it, and then at the break of dawn when the outside doors opened I went into the garden amongst the roses there and walked on the grass with bare feet.  The entire surrounding was full of vibration, energy and hum.  It felt like a benediction.  I could feel nature was expansive.  I had left the contracting and contractive world of the man made hospital and felt like I was literally in heaven.  There was a soft breeze that blew against my skin and much of my pain left me.

I then had to return to the ward in preparation to leave.  As I did something once said to me at an Al Anon meeting came to mind.  He said that at an AA meeting that week he heard GOD referred to as the Great Out Doors.  God in nature that is what I had felt.  I had felt the healing power of nature.

Two days later I am back at home.  There has been times of contraction, more spins, pain then the expansion of love shown to me and the deep relaxation that has been able to happen as others have responded to my need for care.  It occurs to me that responding and compassion are expansive expressions.

There have been the attempts at reaching out and expressing, the sweet experience of friends arriving to share food and then being called away by work dramas.  I have been able to sit still and be for a time, just to rest and feel the breath.  I have contemplated so much of my past pain.  I have realised that even though it is past at times it still flares up.  I guess this is what Eckhart Tolle calls The Pain Body.

Sometimes my pain body is very active.  I have a find radar for pain in any case.  Last night a friend brought around a documentary about a musician who had a very hard life, was extremely talented and only found true recognition much later in life.  He never identified himself as a Super Star, though others were trying to fix him with this label.  He sweetly and calmly laughed it off.  The documentary touched me in the deepest way, his humility touched me in the deepest way.  It made me question all the times I have felt the need to share about my pain and in sharing about it have released it, but on other occasions kept it alive and made something huge of it.  How much have I held onto the pain too much by remembering.  But I do know this remembering is necessary and just being able to feel others pain as well as my own is a gift, shows me that I am connected and not numb anymore.

And it occurs to me that sometimes it is more expansive to be with the pain without words and feel the pain than to identify with the pain, it is a fine line distinction, difficult to articulate.   And probably as humans our entire relationship with pain is problematic.

As I am writing this blog some words of the Buddhist monk Thich Knat Hahn have come to me:

Take care not to water the seeds of suffering within you

Water the seeds of peace

Perhaps there is a way to be with pain that does not hurt us but heals us, that does not convert pain into suffering.  And/or maybe there is a way to hold our pain tenderly within and birth from it the seeds of wisdom, love and compassion.

Some words that astrologer Liz Greene has written about the Saturn Pluto experience (which colours my emotional moon) come to me now.

Saturn Pluto is about wisdom born through the purification of suffering

and the ordeal by fire (Pluto)

At the conclusion of pain held tenderly and in full consciousness comes wisdom and forgiveness and peace.    The burning ground is what we walk through to get there.  In time the flames have done their work with us and find ourselves transformed in some way.

My prayer :

God help me be willing to surrender to these transformations

to shed the past so I can live free

awake and alive to the present moment

using all that I have experienced to help others

keep my ears and inward listening open

to the heart beat of love