Stormy, stormy, stormy skies and a forest fire

If you want

Well this post has been kicking around in my drafts folder for well over a  year now.  I was unsure whether to post it.  I am having a clearing out of these old banked up post at the moment (with Saturn and Jupiter now both retrograde), this one was a reflection on sadness and anger using the metaphors of stormy skies and forest fires:

We’ve had a week of storms and it never fails to impress me how often weather mirrors my mood.  Is it that nature is echoing the deep internal space I find myself in?  Is it that my inner life is resonating with the elements and nature?  It pleases me to think so and to realise that both may be true.

I love these lovely dark afternoons after the storm has passed.  You hear the distant thunder roll and rumble as it passes on for its next destination leaving behind a deepening green that is fecund and full of positive ions leeched into the surrounding vegetation.  What a harsh summer had made so dried out, dusty and barren has been transformed into something soft and plumped out.  This can be how it feels for the soul once it breaks open to the sadnesses held inside for so long that then falls down like rain making the soul that was once parched, full and hydrated, no longer so desiccated.

There is a completeness, filling up and satisfaction that comes as you realise that truths that you hid from have been revealed in a way which would not have been possible before the onset of the tears.  It may have been years that you held the truth of these things inside your heart but with the tears they are made apparent.

Jungian analyst Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in her myth of the Handless Maiden the tears soften the soul and keep the predator at bay.  When the Devil comes to take the daughter of a miller for his own he cannot take her due to the fact she cries.  I think of people I know who have allowed their souls to be hardened in resentment, who had put up defences against hurt and healing, who never would wish to be made vulnerable by tears.  But I also think of the times that tears for me have hidden anger within them and then the shedding of the tears bought no relief as the real revelation had not yet been made.

Deepening the metaphor of the storm and thinking how I am still witnessing the outplaying chorus of thunder around me this afternoon of the thunderous moods of my mother that would come upon her.  We knew to brace and lock down in preparation for the fury of a cleaning session which would be undertaken with a lazer beam intensity that could not be interfered with and would brook rage if it was.

I think of my own thundering around the house at times when anger that has rumbled around inside me for days and rattled the cages of my being and then burst out upon the dog.  Poor little Jasper scarpering outside to the refuge of the garage, looking at me with real pain in his deep brown spaniel eyes and my tears and regret that follow as I see an old pattern repeating.  Poor little darling is having to weather the storm that the landscape of my porous soul absorbed only to replay later.  Jasper is now me and I have become my mother and only realise it later after he fury and the storm has passed.

Anger that is channelled in a constructive direction can enliven what was once unenergised and barren but should it become a roaring forest fire that decimates everything, much is lost and its true value was obscured while old historic anger lay claim to our soul.  We may live to regret deeply words and actions that cut away good with the bad or we may awake freed from a parasitic attachment that did not serve us well if what needed to be cut away from was part of a necessary shedding.

These for me are some reflections on the metaphor of storms and feelings.

Softening

Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. Being frightened means that you live in a body that is always on guard. Angry people live in angry bodies. The bodies of child-abuse victims are tense and defensive until they find a way to relax and feel safe. In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.

Bessel van der Kolk

Pain and abuse or trauma can make us harden and contract.  Some of us erect steely defences, we fight or we may take flight.  Others of us just collapse in a big heap with our insides spewing out all over the metaphorical floor.  In any case pain, abuse or trauma can and does change us and fosters in us certain reactions.

I had the thought as I awoke early today to a soft morning after gentle rain had fallen (which was like nature mirroring my inner world as last night when I wrote about tears as the gentle rain, the skies were clear. But isn’t our grief just like this?  It comes in shower, storm or a wave and washes us through.)   The thought I had was that my soul is often in grieving for my false or fighting self that had to push through all the pain and trauma alone.  My therapist and I were talking about how the inner critic forms yesterday in the vacuum left by a parent’s lack of availability or as a way to please and how it then becomes unconsciously melded to us, until we do the inner work of uncovery and recovery.  We wouldn’t survive without this push to bring us through.  Many collapse in depression or inward turned anger and take their lives or end up with such a compromised auto immune system that all kinds of diseases can result.  Last night I was reading a post of someone who endured two terrible losses and ended up with fibromyalgia due to the complex feelings she struggled to express, process and understand.

I have always been a great believer in the soul which I see as a kind of deeply authentic internal witness that knows all about us.  I was drawn to the work of Carl Jung and Jungian therapists such as Thomas Moore, Robert Johnson, James Hillman and Marion Woodman in my early sobriety because they spoke of the importance of this soul and how its symptoms are cries for healing that may sometimes fall on the deaf ears of our false self who had to turn away or compromise.

I remember a few months back when I was beginning to open up to a lot of grief in therapy, Kat my therapist, said to me so wisely : “these are the tears of your true self.”  At the age of 54 trauma and my own defences have stolen from me so many life opportunities .  As I look back at past relationships I also see how I blame myself for wounds I was not conscious of.  My emotional hunger made me bond with inappropriate people far too early.  My emotional neglect meant I did not have strategies of self care.  And when I was in rampant addiction there was really no real me to show up to protect or be truely intimate even though my soul longed for this deep intimacy.

What I have realised is that for me to ever find such a form of intimacy, it is going to need to come from my own soul first.  After years of validation I needed my current therapist so desperately but I cannot tell you the amount of times my inner saboteur, critic and nay sayer has tried to get me to abort this last therapy.  I wonder why a part of me would fight something that helps me so much.

Anyway this morning I woke up soft.  I woke up just before dawn.  I made sure not to contract my muscles and to try to breathe deep into my belly as part of my pattern of trauma involves unconsciously holding my breathe.   I was trapped in the car in 1979 for a long time and had to be cut out.  I had a collapsed lung so it was hard to breathe and they were behind me trying to put on a mask.   I held my breathe in my family to put my own needs back and try to revolve around Mum to be seen.  I tried so hard to do everythign right.  Yesterday as I was crying with Kat in therapy I heard a deep inner voice say : “you better get everything right and perfect, or there will be hell to pay.”  Part of my own defence and ancestral defence is to try to make order out of chaos.  I know often in adult children of alcoholics meetings I would hear how this reaction was a response to the chaos of a parent’s addiction.  In our family the addiction was my great great grandfather’s,  My grandmother and mother carried both the trauma imprints and reactive imprints.  With my Neptune in Scorpio in the third house I know it is my fate to bring awareness to all of this so I can free myself but first I have to see it and realise that maybe such deep rooted patterns are not always easy to change.  I need to have patience with myself and practice self compassion while still trying to set limits and boundaries of self care so I am not driven all the time by the emptiness of my childhood neglect.  Only self care will help in this situation.  A false self develops as a survival strategy and it takes time to release it.  I am engaged on this process.

I have a lovely book on the soul by Deepak Chopra that he wrote as a response to the 9/11 attacks called The Deeper Wound : Recovering The Soul From Fear and Suffering that I rediscovered earlier this year.  In it there are 100 poweruful meditations with a core saying to help us get in touch with our souls, that soft wise inner part of us that just sees and knows beyond all the fears, insecurities and strategies of the false self or wounded ego.

I am making a practice of letting these meditations soak in as a kind of healing balm when I am forced to push or fight something it may be better to open up and surrender to.  I don’t doubt my soul knows what is required to embrace my fractures.  I just have to trust and stay open and soft enough to let that healing in while staying strong and setting boundaries for good self care.

Rocking

My heart broke this afternoon to arrive to see my Mum in her chair in the hospital arms wrapped around her shrinking body rocking with her head down.   I wrapped my arms around her and cried.  She spoke of her anxiety attacks and how finally one of the doctors had asked her about her emotional history.  Thank God they finally began to make some connections between what she has gone through emotionally and the physical ailments that are besieging her.  I wish my Mum had found somewhere to pour out her pain years ago when she struggled to deal with the abandonment issues that led her first daughter to collapse.   I think now it is a case of not enough and too late.

I emotionally connect to my Mum only when we are alone.  When my sister is there or there are other visitors Mum stays silent about her pain.   It may be good that the focus is off of her pain for a while but at the same time there is so much I feel she needs to share.  I am under no illusions that I am my Mum’s saviour but I know how painful grief and isolation are.  I look back with sadness at the time I needed to ask for or lean on my Mum’s support but could not due to an old pattern. I got angry or fearful and ran.   I can not have those lost years back, over 13 years now that saw the end of my marriage which also hurt my Mum so deeply and led me to a deeply isolated place from which I am only now beginning to emerge.

I know I didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ but choosing the actions I did led me to more isolation, at the time I was in recovery for addiction so my emotional awareness had not yet begun to open up.  I did not know how I would deal with what was below the surface if I reached towards those who were struggling with their own pain and so several times I took myself off alone.   Its confusing as I probably could have healed on my own at a safe distance years ago, but now I don’t feel that either me or my mother can.  Our healing or coming to peace involves our need to connect and come out of the prison of emotional isolation that seems to have dogged us like a curse along the multi generational line.

It was so hard to leave the hospital just over an hour ago, but I knew I had to come home to take care of my dog Jasper and myself too.  Without self care there is nothing for me to give to anyone else.  I am so sad that I cannot connect with anyone else in my family at this level at the moment.  My nephew who I thought I was close to has not returned my calls.  The sad fact is that fear keeps many members of my family emotionally distant and disconnected from each other, that and a stoic kind of self sufficiency and concern with material worldly things that ultimately, to my mind, seem unimportant at the level of heart.

Sad as the situation is though, I must accept it.  I can only give the love I feel and I can pour out my disappointment about my family’s lack of emotional availability with my therapist, Kat who understands.  Modern life seems so busy and superficial at times.   People shake their heads when someone chooses to end their life as if its a great mystery as to what made them do it.  “Why didn’t they reach out?” they bemoan.  But when did that actually pick up the phone to say “How are you, and how are you feeling?”  How many people end up suiciding because for years they were never truly seen at an emotional level?   Of course if we feel desperate we can and should open up emotionally but what I feel is more of a problem for our society is how deaf we have become to essential matters of the heart with our rampant preoccupation with the cult of materialism and individualism.   Its a deep dark truth and its one we need to change.

 

Sadly, we don’t always trust our emotions

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In Western culture we have a history of treating emotions with suspicion and contempt, as somethign alien, other, separate from us.  From Plato onwards the ‘passions’ have be viewed as our ‘lower nature.’  Regarding the source of the passions, as Freud did, as an ‘it’ (id), ‘a primitive chaos, a cauldron of seething excitement’, makes it hard to develop a friendly relationship with emotions or accept them as part of ourselves.  This view of emotion as primitive and alien is a classic form of dualistic Western thinking.

As a result of regarding emotions as other, we feel the need to rid ourselves of these alien forces invading our system, either by acting them out or suppressing them.  Yet this fear of our emotions indicates how alienated we are from ourselves.  First we are alienated from our own energy, making it other and judging it negatively.  Then we start to imagine these emotions are demonic, that we have monsters in side us. The irony is that in judging and controlling our emotions, we become further overwhelmed by them, which leads to explosive eruptions that leave us all the more alienated from ourselves.  In treating emotions as other, we grant them dominion over us.  Suppressing emotions and acting them out are both alienated, afflicted strategies that prevent us from experiencing emotions as they are, face to face.

John Welwood : Toward a Psychology of Awakening

An alternative way of regarding our emotions is to understand them as part of us, an intrinsic part of our raw and vital aliveness, expressions of basic life energy moving through us.  The saddest part of suppressing our emotions is that we lose access to this liveliness and depression is often a result.  We become split and divided from our essential engine of soul/spirit in body that guides us and keeps us in touch with life through our emotions and our felt sense of being.

Gendlin addressed the concept of felt sense in his book Focusing.   A particular feeling such as sadness may actually have different layers of feeling associated with it and there are ways we can use to get in touch with the felt sense of a particular feeling in order to come in touch with the more essential part of our being and vital aliveness underlying certain emotions.

At first the felt sense that lies beneath an emotion may not be very clear to us, most especially if we are conditioned to run from or over express certain emotions in such a way, rather than be in touch with them, instead we then tend to become over powered.  This is because often an emotion is a more intense form of feeling.  For example sadness can build into grief, irritation may erupt into rage, a feeling of fear may turn into panic.  When feelings become intensified in such a way they do tend to  overtake us and we need a strong sense of attention to be able to contain and feel and hold the feeling and observe how it may build into something more intense and wisdom to see what lies under it and may be motivating us.

In his book Toward A Psychology of Awakening, therapist John Welwood describes such a situation as ’emotional entanglement.  He explains how a feeling of sadness can be amplified by the way in which we choose to respond to it.  Whether we resist or judge ourselves for it thinking or seeing it as a sign of something wrong, annoying or unwanted.  This can happen when a feeling threatens our self image and then we can start to tell ourselves stories about the feeling we are having most of which tend to magnify it or make it far harder to engage with in a productive way.

reacting against feelings – fearing fear, being outraged about anger, becoming depressed about sadness – is much worse than the primary feelings themselves, for it turns us against ourselves and causes us to go around in emotional circles.  As we spin around in the cycle of feelings – giving rise to highly charged thoughts, our perception becomes cloudy, and we often say or do things we later regret.

Cutting through this tendency to get lost in emotionally driven thoughts and stories requires a certain discipline, which psychotherapy and meditation provide in different ways.

Working in a therapeutic way with our psyche involves unpacking the deeper felt sense underlying emotions and stories we tell, it is a way of tapping more deeply into underlying meanings and responses beneath emotions.  In fact certain emotions may be pointing towards a need we must address.  For example sadness may be a reason to look at the ways in which we are missing happiness, joy and connection in our lives, or an indicator of loss we need to work through.   Anger may be a message that we need to express certain feelings and needs to someone who is hurting us or a sign we need to treat our frustration and discomfort gently by setting a boundary or sharing a truth.  Fear may be a sign that something isn’t safe for us or we may need to take care.

Without access to our feelings we either split them off and denigrate ourselves or let feelings build and build intensifying with the punishing stories we can tell.   If instead we can open our minds and hearts to our bodies and the feelings that may have valuable messages for us, if we can welcome them in and pay mindful attention we may learn a valuable lesson in self care and find a sense of calm, connection, contentment and rest that does not come if we are continually fearing them and pushing them away

The importance of empathy in healing past hurt and anger.

I love it when I get guidance to go somewhere, often to a bookshop or a library and the book I just need to read turns up for me.  It happened last week that I got that message on a brief window of time before my Thursday therapy appointment and came across Arthur C. Ciaramicoli’s book, The Stress Solution : Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience.   Personally I have never been a huge fan of CBT as I believed it encouraged sufferers to over-ride injury or deep issues of hurt with mental directions to reframe thinking that may be justified and bypassed the deeper feeling work that needs to accompany true healing.  This book provides the missing link in helping to show how old hurt that cannot be felt, understood, empathised with, expressed and resolved then warps our ability to think, interpret and trust clearly exiling us to a wasteland of anger, resentment and depression as a result.

I posted a poem yesterday on the sorry that my own mother has never really been able to say to me.  I have shared that my mother showed empathy for her own mother’s situation to the point she could never ‘blame’ her for hitting my mother and driving her so hard as a child.  This failure on her part to say sorry and to act wounded and upset when I try to point old hurts out had been a sticking place for me in the past and I have needed outside validation of therapy to help me face and address the painful state my own unresolved hurt, sadness and pain has left me in for years.   But now that I am facing having to have my front tooth removed tomorrow my mother is in an acute state of distress.  She sees how I have suffered and all the onslaughts my body has been through as a result of my childhood and the trauma of those years of accident, illness and loss and she feels bad.  But is still not able to say sorry about her part in it, only that she is sorry I have suffered.

A comment from a reader today made me think about how important sorry and empathy really are to healing our hurt, anger and distress and its the exact point that Ciaramicoli makes in his book.  Anger which goes around and around affects our neurochemistry and then can lead to all sorts of body issues later in life, including heart attacks and strokes.  I also believe it can be behind the development of many auto immune diseases.

If we were hurt in childhood we need to understand the nature of those hurts and not carry the anger on where it can poison other later relationships with fear, insecurity and mistrust, but our hurt needs to be expressed with someone who can validate it for us.   I made this point in a blog last week.  I mentioned how trauma expert Peter Levine has showed that if, when faced with a traumatic situation we have one person who can calm us and show empathy we are less likely to develop long term Post Traumatic Stress.  Empathy is the key that can then help us to rewire the mental negative thought forms of mistrust that accompany a childhood of loss, trauma, pain, invalidation or hurt blocking us from love and empathy in the present and future.

I highly recommend the Ciaramacoli’s book and below is an extract from it that I found extremely helpful to my own emerging understanding.  I am sharing it in the hope it will help others too:

When hurts accumulate without a positive resolution, we often lose ourselves in self absorption and resentment.  This kind of preoccupation is a tremendous drain on mental energy, leaving us with little capacity for interest in others.  Anger can turn to tolerance, however, when our perceptions change from fear to truth.   When we stop seeing others through the hurts of the past, when generalisations cease and we begin to perceive more objectively, we become more hopeful and optimistic.  We feel closer to people in our lives as we recover trust.   Trust is often correlated with happiness in communities or individuals.  When we trust others, we feel safe and calm.  We can then perceive more accurately and thoughtfully.  What we feel inside determines what we feel outside.

Once a person….harbours unresolved hurts, her anger and sense of helplessness can dramatically change the way (they) think and behave…. even a trauma survivor can return to a state of calm through meaningful contact with an empathic, understanding individual.  Such relationships make us more reflective and enable us to embark on a journey to learn what has troubled us, how to resolve our hurts, and how to move on.

Sadness is often seen as synonymous with depression.  Depression is often, in fact, an attempt to avoid the sadness.  Sadness is the body’s cue to stop, think, and work through what is troubling us.  People who don’t head this cue avoid examining their troubles, and the stress caused by avoidance becomes a way of life.  In essence, depression is often an avoidance of using the information sadness can provide.

We cannot resolve our thoughts alone.  Without input from others, we repeat our thought patterns over and over again and remain stuck in the mire of our own negativity.  This is a formula for continual stress.  By releasing ourselves from the mistaken beliefs that support our uneasiness with people, however, we reawaken our basic goodness and allow love and compassion to break through.  Our empathic breakthrough then removes the obstacles to seeing our world and ourselves clearly.  If (we) allow (ourselves) to be open and vulnerable, to share (our) hurts with others and accept empathic feedback – a courageous step for sure – (we) might ….(be) able to recover the spirit for living (we) once possessed…..holding onto anger and resentment ties us to the past and the story we created when emotionally distraught.

I would like to say here though, something he does not address and that is, it is no point sharing our feelings or vulnerability with those who will not validate them.  It is essential to this process that we choose someone who can validate that our pain and hurt at the time was real.   If we don’t get help to see how we were affected in a negative way we cannot fully address the sense of injury that occurred when we had to face such difficult and ultimately alienating experiences of abandonment or trauma alone, feeling our hurt, grieving for it and then allowing the outflow of that feeling to be shed and released is so important and we need validation and lots of loving affirmative support with this.

And then there comes a point where we have to make the conscious choice to open our heart and let the pain out, rather than close it tight shut again, locking it all back inside, running the endless negative, repeat, feedback button over and over and over again, which only ends up hurting us.   If we suffered abuse in the past we can let our anger be an informative guide of what may not be safe for us, ie, person’s lacking in empathy who lack the capacity through emotional insight to help us release and validate our pain.  For it is these people who trigger our stress response.  Recognising this requires we show empathy for ourselves and our healthy emotional boundaries and honour them.

Staying with myself : feeling my pain

BBB

I did not realise I was so sad and in emotional pain this morning.  Instead for two hours I was tussling with my body.  I got to bed far after the usual time and my eating schedule was thrown out by going to friends for dinner and eating too much too late for my body to fully digest it but really it was only when I broke down in tears this morning that i realised that what has happened was that old pain of my past was retriggered of those painful black years that were filled with so much emptiness and sadness, wandering and trauma that I did not know or could not fully feel at the time.  Last night the evening got later and later and the conversation going on about politics wasn’t really that interesting but moreso I think what I really struggled with was what came up was about all that had gone on for me before those friends got to know me overseas in the 1980s.  Once they found out last night all I had been through in the four years previous they understood why my behaviour was the way it was.

When I finally got home at quarter to midnight I just sat and cuddled Jasper and cried.  Then I had a very disrupted sleep while so much arose in my mind and the darkness fell around me in slumber after I got into my cosy warm bed.  What occurred to me is that in these past years I have been trying hard to process and digest a past full of trauma that often sticks in my gut or my throat.  There were no tears last night as my friends still drink a fair bit and there were questions being fired at me such as “what do you do with yourself all day” and when I told them “and is that working for you?”  Its a fair enough question but what can I say I am where I am at and sometimes I wish it was different and my life had been different but I cannot ever have that and so now I must sit with the reality and the pain of what young me went through over those very dark dark years.

The gift today in just being able to be with myself and allow the tears was that there was no punishing inner voice telling me I should be feeling differently.  Instead I felt that wises inner loving mother comforting me and telling me I needed to stay with it, allow the grief and let it move through me.  The inner voice told me how much I suffered and how lonely my childhood was as when I told my friends last night that each day after school I came home to an empty house they could not believe it.  One friend told me how her mother made her snacks and always asked about her day and encouraged her to do her homework, the other had four siblings and wished she could have more space!  It felt so sad to know how I didn’t have that and it did have a profound affect.  I think sometimes my attacks at that time of day are about body memory of being so alone in childhood and as a teenager and then the bike accident happened at that time of day when I took myself so far way overseas repeating the old pattern.

I have known profound loneliness.  There are times when my inner loneliness has been so painful I have contemplated taking my life.  These are the facts of my life.  I cannot pretty them up or deny them, I cannot put a ‘positive’ slant on them, they were part of my painful reality.  And I repeated that lonely pattern as it was all I really knew and I formed complex defences to tell me I needed to stay alone so as never to be hurt or misunderstood again.

At least last night I could speak about the reality.   At least last night I could be heard.  It was hard to be asked what I did all day as I felt in a way I may have been being judged.  But maybe I wasn’t, who knows.  And at times its better to be alone and feel free to feel your real feelings than have to be with those who wouldn’t let you be yourself.

The greater realisation for me today is that all of this suffering and aloneness somehow got buried in me at a bodily level.  At times my body pain is about my body and soul and inner child saying to me she needs not to be left as alone as she was in the past.  I no longer need to stay alone, but I can also accept and nurture my solitude when it is necessary,  And I am realising too that as a highly sensitive person alone time feeds my soul. loving boundaries and self care support me and go alone with the recognition towards my self and consciousness of the true nature of my deeper self as well as wounds of the past that I have carried which have scarred me into the present.  But that I also need connection with loving others at times, never to fill the hole within that must be met with my own loving presence as well as my spiritual connection, but as a way of remembering that as a humans being I do need connection for loving connection with others from a real place of truth is what most binds souls of humans and makes moments precious.

My past is my past.  It cannot be changed.  It will always be with me.  I am still exploring its affect and that is a lot of work.  I may move on from the past one day to a new life and new expression, I just don’t know, but before I can what has been needs to be fully honoured and recognised, the losses have to be grieved. And this is an act of self love, allowing myself to be with it is showing the love for the deeper part of me that was so often shamed and dismissed, first by others but later and more sadly and destructively by my self.  For I am now seeing more and more true healing and self acceptance must most surely come from within.

Tough day : trudge on

I had one of those days today.  You know the ones where metaphorically your soul feels like it is wearing cement boots and you are being forced to walk through quicksand or heavy mud?

It came after another session in therapy where I travelled down so deep into dark times of my past and then told my therapist I was a coward for not being able to make an independent life in England, despite the fact I suffered a major head injury and had other forces conspiring against me.  Her response opened up the floodgates as I saw HOW HARD I can be on myself for my past failures.   She was just so compassionate and caring with me it really brought me undone.

Then we had a grey, cold day.   I had a commitment to get my car out to get a quote for repair of damage sustained a few weekends ago when I over ran my boundaries, it was perhaps another reminder of how I get over extended then I looked around home and felt even more overextended and completely exhausted.   I lay at one point on the floor in the bedroom wrapped up in my doona watching the few remaining leaves that have not let go of the tree flutter in the breeze and wondered why some leaves let go easily and other don’t.  Lots more was going on in my head and I was in a deep place of sadness. I felt as though with my strong Neptune I can no longer fight against the fate of being a caring person who loved her family so much she had to stay close but often felt like she fell out of their minds.  I felt the love beating in my chest that will always be there, maybe I never got back as much as I gave.   Maybe I will live with regrets for the rest of my life.  Maybe some days will be hard always.   I really prayed today to be able to meet everything with acceptance and love.  I am tired of fighting.

I then thought of how our ancestral name was actually Trudgeon.  When you break that down it reads trudge on, the metaphor and association to feeling like I was wading in a cesspit with concrete boots was not lost on me and in some way I saw the humour as well as the deep tragedy in it.  Later my Mum called and sounded so tired and her voice was breaking.  I haven’t had the energy or time to take her over the chicken soup I made on Sunday and promised her.  I have had to take care of me.  I cried after I got off the phone and then felt my energy return.

Yesterday I was sharing with Katina how my dog Jasper often sits silently by my right hand side with his back to me.  It is as though he is my protector and he is simultaneously reading my energy and standing on guard.  I was sharing how that kind of loyalty moves me to tears some times and I said to Katina how I saw that is the way I have often been with my Mum and my family.  It was hard to let go when I knew they were in pain but maybe they never even expected it of me.  It was me who chose that option.

Outside of what I was feeling today I know there is another part of me.  It is not always accessible to me.  The light, playful, happy, dancing, gregarious side can go to ground on the tough days as I feel myself trudging through life.   The only thing that sustains me is the realisation these heavy feelings have come and gone before.  I don’t live in them as much these days and the slow approach of the shortest day and winter is probably playing a role in the way I am feeling.   I wrote a post on loving my body earlier.  I will probably post it after this one.  I was searching for an appropriate image for it but by then it was nearly 11 am and I hadn’t had breakfast which was kinda strange seeing the post was about caring for my body and being connected to my body.  However blogging connects me too.  I provides my feelings and mood with an outlet which means not everything stays locked up inside.  On the tough days I give myself a hard time for feeling paralysed and forget I am still a work in progress and that I must keep remembering to honour progress rather than perfection or other self punishing ideals that don’t speak to the full truth of what my heart contains and has gone through over years both in and before recovery.

Dark Night : reflections on a dream, a fated meeting, and the leaving that sent me home

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Dark night you came down on my soul.  I was taken to a place beyond words, a living experience of experiences past all jumbled up into an inner soup of mixed up hurting and longing, no longer knowing where to turn but within, only feeling deep pain and at times not even that : just a bloody field of wreckage in which dead carcasses of cows littering ancestral fields haunted the landscape of my soul.

When I reflect on that, which was a pure dream image summoned from my inner depths at the time just days before we both embarked for the land of our ancestors and as I look back now on the experiences we had there with your own family pain I see a deep message from the collective unconscious.  Cow = Taurus = Self worth, inner feminine, mother and feeling values, nature and contentment all shattered on a collective battle field of suffering our ancestors grew out of.

I think of your father suffering through a life in which he could not live his true dream living with a woman who seemed so bitter and angry until the cancer laid claim to his insides.  Exactly what miracle of destiny was it that led me on a cold winter night on the way home with an inner message to go back to a certain hotel?  It was there that I met you and not many hours later after that first meeting we would discover that we both lost our fathers to cancer within a year.   You were one year younger and your partner abandoned you then also and you too went travelling, feeling so bereft and alone.  We were both only 23 and that was 8 years before our meeting.  My heart aches.  We were only meant to travel so far down the road, together.  I am sorry. It wasn’t our fault!

Slaughtered cows lying on ancestral field, bleeding spent life blood, love and self value onto green fields, a metaphor for so many things : for how it felt for you to be dragged back to the place where you struggled to birth your own sense of power and potency out of the wreckage of a wounded father and mother, a country trying to tell you that as a humble gardener you were not worth much.  And it occurs to me too in the editing that your father’s brother was the golden child, your Dad only got the scraps.

Here in Australia you were valued, but something inside the partner you chose was pulling you back to face something deeply unresolved.   There in England my grief broke open after 7 years of sobriety.  Your family didn’t like it, you wanted back ‘the happy girl you married’ but I had such a long journey to take back to her.   In the end we were torn apart.  Dark night, how you descended with his leaving, deep soul ache of remembering how many leavings and deaths there were in relationship with men for me but the first leaving was my sister who carried so much of the light in our dark, duty bound family where so little joy could live.

I remember today the blue tin box you gave me at the airport as you bid me goodbye, with enough money for a horse ride on the beach I never took.   I know you loved me so much you had to let me go, how our souls were aching.  I am so sorry, but it had to be, it really did and I miss you but we were a dream and I had to find my deeper reality that led over  a long road littered with boulders and stones shown in another dream just days before you told me you were leaving and no longer loved this sad me.

The ways of the soul are so mysterious, fate plays out and you don’t know where it is taking you.  You make your choices without all the information and the cards fall where they will.  You play your hand as best you can and sometimes you have to give up the game, throwing in your hand and turning up your palms to heaven waiting for something new to birth deep within what feels like a deeply barren place.

When all seems most lost then perhaps you stand with one foot poised on the edge of a most massive discovery. Its truth may be hard to swallow but nevertheless you drink it down over years, it scalds your insides.  But one day it has passed through, your scarred insides have healed and a bright day dawns on which your remember it all with awe in a state of surrender seeing so much more clearly how and why it all turned out as it did, knowing there was such innocent young hope of love beating in both hearts then, but knowing also how much a true deep love really costs and how much that price can only be paid by a consciousness that has been strong and patient enough to endure the fire and weather the storm to birth realisations that could have never come without the necessary losses and the necessary suffering that the reaching for love and understanding of love’s tangled ways birth over years of long journeying and heartbreak/soul ache.

Bright day, you stream your love though my window filtered through golden rose leaves of pom pom tree reminding me of how gorgeous nature is, how my love of it was what drew me to you and to England in the first place.  Wrapped in a cosy blanket I shed such deep tears for all that was lost while a wiser part of me sees through all the illusion involved in the feeling that something true was really lost.  For what is most true can never be lost.  And it is often in the depths of our very real suffering that real truth and wisdom is born.  Our individuated self is created through forming a body of substance which over years has the capacity to bear with, contain and bear witness to painful truths that reveal at depth a far more profound reality than innocent young souls could ever know.

And love goes on, is what in the end has the capacity to endure and to say an unconditional “yes” to it all, to this at times mixed up complicated experience that is life.  And it occurs to me that love is the witness, it is the writer, it is the one who has the capacity to observe it from a distance bearing witness to what the soul and consciousness shapes out of life giving it form, shaping it into a vessel of expression.

 

Tears : the soul’s rain shower

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Falling like gentle rain

Your tears will soften you

They will moisten your soul and your heart

So that it never becomes a fortress

Or a wall of barbed wire

To permanently keep others out

At times you may fear

That letting the hurt in will kill you

It will not

Not if you surrender

While holding on to your own sense

Of deep self love

And self value

For only from this position

Can you honour soul

Only from this place

Can you allow love

And it is soul and love that allows the tears

It is soul and love that also

Forms the container

In which they are held

So that their healing elixir

Can work its magic on your heart

And soften you to truths

You mind will only comprehend

After the soul’s rain shower

Has passed