Acceptance : healing from the inside

Acceptance 2.jpg

The single most healing attitude we can hold towards ourselves is one of acceptance.  Even if there are parts of ourselves that we don’t like or that we struggle with, is there some way we can learn to love and accept these parts of us and understand where they come from and perhaps even learn to look deeper into where self critical views came from?

Self rejection seems to be such a huge part of our culture.  It becomes even more prevalent if we were raised in an environment or home where there was neglect or invalidation abuse.  In this case self rejection can become a huge part of our inner landscape, not really loving and accepting ourselves for who we truly are means that self condemnation and low self esteem become an habitual way of life.  The inner critic forms inside of us making feelings guilt, shame and powerlessness central issues we struggle with and we may try to hide these feelings from ourselves and others or silence then with addictions.

Add to this the complication of the fact that if as a child difficult things occurred which may have not been our fault we may have mistakenly come to believe that something we did played a part, for example the early death of a parent, illness in a sibling, abuse or chronic rejection.   Well into adulthood we may go on struggling with the critical voice inside of us or deeply unconscious feelings of guilt that cause all kinds of probelms.  We may also begin to learn to turn that critical voice outwards.  We come to believe in negative expectations.  If we feel we are not good enough we won’t learn to set appropriate boundaries against abuse or we may go on fearing rejection when there is actually no need to maintain such a fear.  We then learn to live from a self fulfilling prophecy which just brings more of the same to us.

The way out of such a dilemma is the practice of self acceptance, self care and love.  When we have distressing critical attacks we can learn to address the critical voice and the shame it may be trying to pass onto us in a loving way.  We don’t even have to argue, we can agree with the critic that we are messy or absent minded or careless but recognise that such traits have nothing to do with our self worth or lovability.  As human beings we don’t need to be ‘perfect’ to be loved, we should not have to ‘earn’ love by forcing ourselves into shapes others would like us to assume or by hiding who we really are deep inside, even if we are deeply emotional and deeply hurt or angry.  All such feelings really are acceptable, but he hard truth is that in childhood and even well into adult hood we may have been around those who struggled to accept such feelings and so we learned to internalise a similar lack of acceptance.

We can also, as we grow in critical self insight and self acceptance, learn that we cannot always expect a perfect love from those around us, who in being human are not perfect either.   I struggle at times when I hear of those who suffered some neglect in childhood saying they are going ‘no contact’ with parents.  Often it is apparent the parent has suffered deep wounds, wounds they may have passed on, and I do understand if the abuse is bad the person would not want a lot of contact.  But at the same time it is true that human beings suffer in all kinds of different ways in the course of their upbringing and so often pass this suffering onwards.

When we choose to undertake a journey of inner healing we are on a course to open up to this so called ‘shadow’ material or dark side in ourselves and in others.   We are on a journey to explore all the blockages of separation, fear and guilt as well as shame that have kept us from the experience of love, we are also being called on a journey of forgiveness.  We don’t ever have to like what happened to us, forgiving does not mean we ever say that what happened to us is okay, but forgiveness is the conscious choice we make at one critical stage in our healing process when we get to see the cost of pain passed on over years, ages or generations and resent into and through our own emotional systems and in relationships and see with absolute clarity that the cost of holding onto it is too great a price to pay and solves nothing.

Working through our anger may take years.  We find it hard to let down that steely defence which in keeping us protected blocks us from truly expressing the deeper pain or sadness of the hurt we feel, grieving and mourning in order to pass through the process, releasing from deep within our cell tissue traumas that hurt.  We may never have the hurt, or anger or sadness validated by the other person. In order for many o fus to heal we most certainly initially need to seek validation from someone but most importantly in time we must learn to find it from deep within our selves and our own souls for this is where our true healing lies.

Once our reality is validated from inside it becomes so much easier to love ourselves, to know that we were always worthy of protection and care but that also life is not perfect and due to this we as humans can and do suffer all kinds of hurt and abuse.  We may think “this should never have happened to me” but the truth is it has.  Hate it as we must we have to deal with the consequences and further we have to learn how to live a peaceful and loving life from within that place in order that we don’t go on to re-enact the hurt upon ourselves or others over and over and over again.

Most certainly it helps to have a champion or companion on this journey.  In my own life the unconditional loving presence of my therapist Katina has meant so much to me.  I have and do struggle with such self criticism at times, mostly over things that were so far outside of my control, with Katina I get a reality check as to where I am being too hard on myself and I see also where others can at times be hard on me and I see that I can stand up for my truth in the face of that.  I had an incident yesterday where I had to do that with someone who was a bit of a bully and was trying to criticise me in a joking way.   I didn’t have to carry the anger of it as I took the steps to stand up for myself at the time.  In years past his criticism could have launched me into a negative spiral for some days.

Self love, self care, self compassion and self acceptance are such critical issues on our healing journey from neglect, emotional abandonment and any other kind of trauma or abuse.  These are the healing balm to counter the voices and forces of self condemnation and self rejection that we may have internalised while growing up in dysfunctional environments and societies full of shame based attitudes which can leave such a destructive lasting legacy and impact recycling for years.  Without them it is hardly possible to heal and grow as we so need to.

 

Push, push, push

Masterchef Australia is currently on tele here in Oz and the refrain push, push, push is heard nearly every night but its a reminder to me that sometimes I just need to rest, rest, rest because I can push and push and push to have to get things done and sometimes its coming out of anxiety or critical energy.

Earlier I wrote a post that touched on positive self will, I guess this is action which is line with Self that tries work in a balanced way to both project us into the world, but at the same time tell us when to rest, go easy, or take it slow. In childhood I never got to experience relaxed happy times with my parents.  It was a very duty bound home full of responsibilities and in some ways this can be good but not when it interferes with my ability to relax, let go and have some fun!

After getting into a rage last week about being stuffed around by the dentist and that arking up all my head trauma, I then got reminded of how it felt to be around family energy.  Just this morning my brother called from America.  He is go, go in the garden nearly put his back out by digging in the front yard.  “Just be sure to take care of yourself”, I said.  Then when I had to share about my dental trauma there was absolutely zilch emotional reaction or connection just a dull heavy emptiness and as so often happens after I got of the phone to him I found myself in tears.  My family are JUST SO SHUT DOWN.

Later my sister called to say that in training this morning her personal trainers dog jumped on her and soiled her nice clean leggings,  I just wanted to say ‘get lost’ she said.  I considered this with a calm irony.  I just said “Wow I can almost sense Mum’s flared nostrils from here!”    I remember how my dead sister would never let my mother remove old flowers from her room and how she loved the story where Mum visited a family friend’s farm and got upset due to ending up with chicken shit on her shoe…this delighted my sister.

I have empathy for my Mum though, to be left that alone when you are young and then to feel the only way you can find value or worth is by taking control, keeping everything perfect and looking good is very sad on some level when it costs a heavy price in being able to just let loose, laugh at chaos and have some fun.  I get anxious just thinking about the chicken shit, to be honest but I think that is a conditioned reaction.

I allow my own dog to jump up when he wants too.  People at the dog park don’t mind, I know some would consider it not a good sign, a sign of ‘bad manners’ or inadequate training. I see it as a sign of how affectionate he is and how much he loves people, and having him has re-connected me with that part of myself which so long ago went into hiding in a home where we were conditioned to think more about how we looked on the outside, than about how we felt on the inside and must keep genuine needs and interest locked behind a wall of fear or shyness.

Today, once again I am not going to push, push, push.  I just had a moment where I realised I was pushing and then felt really, really sad and an inner voice just said to me “how bad could it be if you just relaxed for a while?”  So for the first time in over 2 years I sitting in my faded floral chair in my small dining room and writing this.   It feels GREAT!

I know I can overcome my childhood conditioning.  Day by day I am learning more about it.  A constant theme in therapy is about how the inner critic pushes and savages me and I am learning to let go.  I had a positive dream last night in which I was being expected to make a meal at an event where there was already a lot of food, I decided in the end not to make anything even though I felt guilty.  I see that as a good sign.  The other positive dream image was that I had met a lovely man and he got undressed to get into bed, I was about take off my jeans and then I felt I wasn’t ready.  I got into bed next to him and said.  “I’d like to take my time to get to know you before we sleep together.”  He was fine with it.  I am nearly crying as I write that because sadly due to low self esteem and lots of emotional intimacy hunger in my teenage and younger and even older adult life I have jumped into bed with partners far too soon, and in the last relationship warning signs were there at the start that he had narcissistic issues and I overrode my own instincts when he asked me to have sex as I was so lonely.  This dream seems to auger really well for boundary issues.  Maybe my ‘no’  and self esteem muscles will get stronger in time.  Maybe I no longer have that same hunger due to my inner work and can now be a lover to myself, first, maybe I am learning to practice self care.  The dream sure seems to be saying just that.  Thank you God.

Finding a home within our own hearts : reflections on family, dependency and therapy

The more time I spend with family lately the more damaged I see they are with dependency and attachment issues, just like me.  Last night we went to a rare dinner put on by family friends and I saw so much more about my family I had not fully seen before and today I woke up with this realisation.  I can no longer look for nurturing in my family I have to find it outside and deep within my own heart.   It was a dark cold winter morning and I cuddled up to my dog Jasper for one of the first mornings in weeks as I cried while stroking his soft fur.  I realised how once I was like him, totally dependent and with a lot of needs, needs for food, for comfort, for protection, for shelter.  On some levels I had this but what I realised last night, in childhood no one really saw me deep inside in my emotional self, everyone was there going through the motions, so caught up in outside business concerns and it was all about duty and work and presenting a good front to the world and also about serving others and their needs.

When I was 5 just a few years after my oldest sister married and left Australia my Mum and brother ran a restaurant, so I was without a Mum at home six nights a week.  I remember many years ago my godmother sharing how shocked she was that Mum could leave my sister and I six nights a week, but she was just repeating a family pattern.  My other sister was sharing last night how she went to the restaurant on Saturdays and took the bookings, when she was about 13, I also went to work in the family business at the same age.  As I sat there looking at and listening to my sister last night I was struck my how much of her own self has been swallowed down, she eats and eats and eats and eats while I have a problem trusting that I can digest my own food.    I was on some level filled with compassion for my sister and for all of us.

On the other side of me Mum was sharing about her own inner loneliness and about how none of the family show any interest in the country where my Dad was from.  My nephew is off on a huge European holiday which involves a 900 km cycling tour, they are leaving their daughter behind alone in Australia and I remember my parents did the same when I was only 16, the age my grandniece is now.  They will be close to Holland but made not attempt to contact relatives there.   Then it occurs to me that Dad went back to Holland only a few times after he left and never wanted to spend much time there, he wanted to be far away, so in many ways my nephew is acting naturally out of the unconscious past he carries from my father.

I then logged on to read such a powerful blog on dependency and therapy.  I am interested about how many people are sharing about this issue at present.  I think it has to with Mars being in Cancer the sign of need, emotions, attachment, mothering and dependency.  It is very hard for us to admit the inner child’s longing and need to depend when so long ago we were taught that we needed to deny these longing and needs and or defend against them.   However much we deny such needs as well as the pain of having them shamed, devalue or unmet, we take them with us into each new relationship and the therapy relationship is usually the most important one where we get to examine them in the light of transference and counter transference.

I broke my first serious attempt at therapy after my therapist took a month long break, at that stage deep pain was opening up and I was overloaded.  I ended the therapy and moved back home to Australia.  I then was lucky enough to be referred to a therapist who told me this.  He said to me “Deborah with the degree of damage you have gone through you need a therapist who will be there for you 24/7.  A lot of therapists don’t operate in this way but for you, this is what you need.”  Unfortunately that therapist was not in the town I lived in but in the years I survived without therapy (due to fear) he was always open to talking to me on the phone whenever I needed, he never abandoned me.

I have in the past been abandoned by therapists at times when I really needed their support, turns out they had their own limits and boundaries that did not work for me.  In the end I found my current therapist and I don’t have as many demands of her, I know I can hold but I also know when I need to let the deep pool of rising feeling or insight flow out into her mind in order to be washed over and contained for a while, we need this, especially if as young ones we were left alone holding enormous undigested feelings as is the case in those of us who suffer from borderline issues and deeper narcissistic injury.  We should not feel ashamed for needs that as children we had to hold back out of deference to parents who didn’t know how to cope with ours.    Our therapists need to be strong containers for us, for deep old feelings we hold from younger times can be powerful and deeply threatening for some therapists.  We need to be wise in choosing our therapist.   Once we find the unconditional support we are able to feel held and in being held we are learning how to hold ourselves and find a home for all we feel deep with our own, we learn to trust ourselves and to know that even painful feelings we may have been shamed for are so essential to our wholeness.

Lately I ask my heart to open wide enough to encompass all of what I feel.  I tell the shaming inner critic to get off the back of my inner child and take a hike,  I feel the love that my therapist has consistently shown me being mirrored back.  It has been a very long journey to get to this point and from deep within my heart I see that others too hold such damage and suffer their own inner critic often feeling lonely deep inside but not always realising it and I hope for them to find the love both within and without from consistent reliable people who will help them to know that everything they know and feel deep makes sense and matters, even fear of depending.

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.

Accepting vulnerability : freeing strength

I am thinking a lot about vulnerability today.  I just watched a video on Avoidant Personality Disorder which spoke of the connection between childhood emotional neglect and avoidance.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/47895396/posts/1460625306

The subject of vulnerability and fear came up in therapy yesterday.  The chance meeting with the boy next door from my childhood on Saturday sparked memories of little things I did as a kid that showed me how scared I was and how I must have been shamed for things in childhood.  I know that as a youngster I developed this coping strategy –  I learned to hide my vulnerability, shame or fear from others and that indicates to me that on one level I was terrified.  I see how I have carried this fear on and how it has limited my life in so many ways.

I was lucky enough not to have a contraption connected to the mattress to give me an electric shock when I was wetting the bed, like my neighbour did.  But I still think I must have felt so alone and vulnerable in childhood and that it was not safe enough to turn to others for protection and care.   In both my mother and father’s childhood they had no one much to turn to either, so its a carried pattern.

I think of all the hiding I did later in life.  The sixth and most painful termination of pregnancy which happened late in my addiction was one that I went through all alone and hid from my flatmate at the time.  When it happened we were both studying Naturopathy and we had the beginnings of a very close relationship, but I feared so much opening up to her about what had happened that I lied and in the end she moved out of the place I owned and the darkest and most painfully alone year of my active addiction began.

When I think about it now I am so grateful that I finally found my sobriety one year later, but by that stage I was in so much pain over all that had happened that on one level I was trying to obliterate awareness of with my drinking that it would take me years to really come to terms with it.  And it has taken me a lot of work over the past 18 months to stop seeing myself as ‘the bad one’ when really I just had developed very dysfunctional behaviours and coping strategies in my life due to emotional neglect.

I get pretty angry when addicts or alcoholics get demonised by others.  I think the judgement often comes from ignorance.  I am a huge fan of Canadian doctor Gabor Mate who comes out in defence of addicts and tries to draw attention to the early trauma so many addicts suffer which leads them to become addicts in the first place.  If you are damaged in early life and your ability to trust and depend is broken where are you going to turn and what are you going to do with the pain if no one around you is mirroring the truth of the situation for you?   The self condemnation or lack of compassion and empathy is something we can suffer for long years even into sobriety most often turning deep inside, leading many to suicide.

I am so grateful that lately my self talk has been becoming that much more loving and supportive.  I am so happy that I am able now to recognise and champion the vulnerable self in me that lay hidden under so many of my dysfunctional coping behaviours.  I was sharing with Katina yesterday my growing realisation of how I use avoidance out of fear.  Once I can admit to myself the fear or vulnerability then I can step in with the loving supportive adult presence to talk to that little one in me who is so scared and help her to take more positive, healthy, nurturing steps in my life.

Sadly as I grew up I absorbed a self shaming voice that was taken in from my parents and the nuns at my school.  I never learned about self compassion.  I really feel so strongly that self compassion is something we should teach children from a very young age.  At that early stage we need help to deal with our feelings, vulnerabilities and fears.  We do not need to be shamed for self assertion or sticking up for ourselves either.  We should not be taught to fear our vulnerability but to embrace it and learn ways to encourage ourselves from within in the midst of it.  In the absence of this we look to others to do it for us and if we are unhealed or wounded in this area we often attract those who project the shadow of their own vulnerable self onto us and then reject or shame us for it.

Part of our healing in therapy and most particularly if we come out of a narcissistically wounded family involves recognising we are not to blame but that in adult hood we do have a responsibility to change patterns and often we can only do this with good help if our wounds are serious.

Yesterday Katina said to me kindly “you did the best you could at the time”. Lying in bed this morning and thinking about that I thought what a relaxing and accepting thing that is to say in many situations.  People who hurt us do the best they can.  It may be the very worst for us and only we can break away from that kind of hurt and we must not continue to lie to ourselves about the damage such ignorance caused, well meaning as they may claim it was.  Come to think of it just re-editing this now my mother often uses excuses when I try to bring up certain painful things with her, she cannot bear to admit her own vulnerability at times.

At the same time as accepting our vulnerability we need to keep reaching for the best we can at the time and accept when our worst is all we could have done at that point with all we knew at the time.  This to me is showing mercy, it relaxes our muscles and it lets ourselves off the hook so that we can search for healthier kinder and more positive ways to self nurture and grow beyond old formerly unrecognised vulnerabilities and fears.  It may be the most valuable tool we have in our arsenal for dealing with depression which often is created by the unloving things we tell ourselves over and over about our selves or wounded and wounding others.

Finding the Love of a Good Mother and Father Inside

Mother’s day has now passed.  Today I was browsing in our local Chinese dollar shop and there was a radio programme in which the presenters wanted to acknowledge all those Mum’s ignored or blindsided on Mother’s Day by family.  “Lets have a programme where we acknowledge mad mother’s day” the announcer said with typical Aussie tongue in cheek humour.

I just read a post on how difficult Mother’s day can be for those of us who were not fully nurtured in childhood.  Having to fate a mother who was never really there or hurt us with abuse or neglect is like a double wound for anyone who was not mothered.  I know that for all of my life I have tried to compensate for my mother’s emotional absence by trying all that more to connect and give her what I never got.   I am a bit older and wiser now and I recognise the pattern to a degree.

As the youngest in my family I had less of both parents time and attention and understanding.   I really did not allow myself to know this until very recently, I was happy to take the blame as a recovering alcoholic for so called ‘defects of character’ which included difficulties with trust and intimacy left over from having been raised by emotionally distant parents who recently my therapist has pointed out were more like grandparents.  My older sister was the closest person to a mother I knew but she left when I was 3 to get married and then came back and went again and then had a cerebral bleed and psychotic break.  It wasn’t until I was about 6 years sober that my feelings of pain around all of this began to break through in therapy.  By this time I was thousands of miles from home in England which in some way was the repeat and a trigger for the trauma I suffered after my father died and I was encouraged to go overseas alone.

Around that time I was working in job with 6 women in a small office in the University.  When news came from home that further trauma was happening with my now severely disabled sister I was able to share with these women who showed me such empathy and understanding.  I remember one of them saying “it is no surprise that you have struggled as you have with your mixed up mother background”.  Sadly though a conflict occurred in the office a short while later where my job share colleague who was a lot like a lovely older sister got sidelined and then decided to resign.  One of the other women (who incidently was a lot like my second sister) was instrumental in the conflict.  At that time I decided to resign my job too.  There was a lot going down in my therapy and at home.   I was feeling the pull of traumatic attachment tearing me home.  I have shared about it in my blog before.

Lately when I have cried in therapy over what I lost in coming home due to unconscious influences I have felt as though my being and heart will shatter in two.   I have felt over past days the most intense dissociation from the life I have since tried to rebuild in my home town, especially in the first part of the morning.    There was just so much lost promise around that time.  I made two attempts to go back and then had a really serious accident.  I came back home and went into almost complete hibernation.  I really feel as I look back now that in 2005 I went into the wilderness for at least the next 11 years.  Everything dissolved.  Neptune transited over all of these planets in order Mars, Saturn, Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and the South Node and anyone out there who understands a bit of astrology knows how that watery, confusing influence can erode things.

In so many ways I am only now coming out of that dissolution.  Neptune later passed over Chiron in my seventh house.  I have had to explore how the pain of earlier wounds in relationships has dogged me and how the lack of mothering theme has been a huge repeat across the multi-generational line on my mother’s side.

My older sister died on 20 April 2014 when I was still grieving the end of the last relationship which only started four years after the ending of my marriage before so much of my earlier traumatic past was processed.  And all through the demise my ex blamed me and then I think also on one level partly he knew it wasn’t the right time for me to really be involved in any new relationship, since I seemed to need all my energy for healing  and he often told me “I just cant be bothered with what you need, when I need so much!”

I look back and see how impoverished my own inner mother and father energies really were then.  I was struggling so hard to prove to this person that I was capable of love, turning myself inside out, allowing him to slam me hard for PTSD symptoms I had no control over.  When he told me he would stop seeing me if I didn’t stop being sad I tried to not be sad.  It was so awful to abandon myself in that way.  I was in horrendous pain when the relationship finally in ended in 2011.  That ending brought up all the other masculine abandonments starting at age 23 in the year my father died but reaching further back when I understand how little my own father ever supported me emotionally as a youngster and how later in life he forced me on a path that I did not want to follow.   From that time on addiction became my unconscious rebel yell, but the pain and anger and frustration was all turned in.

I shared in a recent post that I was beginning to recognise all the work I needed to do with healing the inner father inside, but I am also aware that I still have work with the inner mother too.   At times I am not kind to my body.  I push myself too hard.  I extend myself to help others when I need that help myself.   I guess for me deeper recognitions have been a long time coming.   Therapy has given me a place to find empathy and support to overcome the ‘not good enough’ voices inside which have been mirrored in criticisms from those intent on hiding their own defects and culpability.   I see how much my need to care from others comes from low self esteem at times, but on another side it has to do with feeling so protective to those who are hurting or have been neglected or abused and then blame themselves, since I know how hard it is to struggle in this way myself.

Anyway today was a good day, after a painful start.  I cleaned through the house and got rid of some things that were bringing me bad feelings.  Jasper and I went briefly to the park and then I took myself off for lunch and to the library where I found a brilliant novel about PTSD called All Is Not Forgotten  which I am going to share some excerpts from in a blog soon.  I then did my groceries and nurtured my inner child by buying two little fairy figures I had been looking at in a shop window for the past few weeks.

I need very much to let my happy inner kid have some free reign at the moment.  I was talking to Mum this morning and saying how I remember being a very happy child before my sister left home, and she agreed, problem being I think that happy energy and vitality was a bit too much for a far older mother who was trying to start her own business and find her own way in the world after a life in which her own inner child was repressed.

Its a strange thing but both my Mum and me have the North Node at 18 degrees Leo.  At times I see us less as mother and daughter on spiritual level and more as two little kids skipping along a pathway.  The healing I have had to do has so much of my Mum’s own pain in it.  It may also have a great deal of ancestral pain in it too, for all I know.  Lately I have been taking a lung tonic before going to bed at night.  It has been helping me to breathe easier and I felt my entire body relax after I took it last night.  I hope in time the grief that I have carried can be dispelled.  I will always miss my older sister but often I feel her so near to me on the spiritual level.  I also talk to my father all the time and he answers.  He has apologised to me from spirit level many times for what he failed to give and mistakes he made.  Last night I cried a lot at 5 am when I opened my heart to him and asked for his protection and guidance.

And it appears to me that as one blogger shared today, that in the end it is love that will heal us, it is love that will allow us to keep our hearts and minds open to healing, to forgiveness, to wisdom, to understanding, it is love that will give us the courage and tenacity to move forward on each new day to embrace the inner and outer good and to build the loving inner mother and father inside who can fully sustain, nurture and guide us on the journey home to our true selves.

My body needs love and quiet attention.

Body 2.png

It seems to me that so often in my life I have left my body behind.  I have let my head get carried away with ideas and reactions to things and I have taken certain decisions or just been run, run, run by an inner agenda with who knows what deep conditioning imprints to do, do, do, that at times I have just barrelled on with something and in the depths my heart or body has been crying out to me “please don’t”!  And I wept so deeply today with the realisation of how much this has hurt my body.

My body was also hurt by something I read this week in a spiritual book which said the body is just basically dust and that the soul is the real centre of us.  I don’t know if I really agree with this, I believe our soul lives in our body and expresses so much through our bodies.  I also feel that a lot of modern western culture is geared towards disconnecting us from our bodies and teaching us to split off our heads from our hearts.  In a powerful book based on a Jungian Myth of Ivan and the Baba Yaga I read many years ago there was a symbolic image of this, of how we get pinned through the neck and cut off feeling and thinking at some point in our conditioning.

Healing may require a drawn out dark night of the soul as surreptitiously the body and soul and heart within us deep inside tries to gain the attention of the mind.  I feel that if we switch off or disconnect for too long the cost is illness or chronic pain of some kind, an indication the true message has gone mute and been deeply buried and hidden.

My body reacts all over the place these days.  I am trying to rebuild a stronger connection with it and I am noticing that I get some kind of backlash when I am not listening or my attention is pulled away by oughts or shoulds, things my soul doesn’t really need but that I have been conditioned to think or believe I need when I really don’t.

Today I had one of those miraculous times where I felt my body so deeply.  I was aware of how much my body has gone through in my life.  I must say I was crying deeply and my body was talking to me telling me how much it needs my love and attention these days.

I had a struggle with going to therapy yesterday.  I was happily ensconced at home writing and the last thing I really felt like doing was having to drive over to see my therapist.  I don’t know if part of me was trying to avoid pain as lately so much has been coming up about the past and what I have lost or what I did not get to complete or fully live due to the deep responsibility I felt to be close to my family.  Now I am getting older I am seeing more clearly lost potentials, times when I decided for others rather than for myself.  And yesterday after reading out my poem Goodbye to the Meadows I was grieving again so deeply for all that was lost.  I then had a discussion with Katina how I felt myself to be a coward for not being able to make it over in the UK on two further attempts.  She just looked at me with such love and told me how wrong she thought I was.  She was explaining to me how my past wounds at critical developmental points in my life left me so ill equipped and reminding me of the level of traumas I endured from age 17 to 26.   We went over the critical injuries and wounds of my later addiction too.  There is just a hell of a lot of sadness and pain there and it has taken me quite some years to unpack in therapy.

I wept a lot with what Katina said.  I felt such a deep release.  I felt that loving, wise, unconditional acceptance of someone who REALLY SAW ME and wasn’t forcing me forward with unrealistic expectations or agendas that take zilch account of who I really am, what I have been through and how I have suffered and I saw in a moment of stark clarity how hard I am on myself.

It was then hard to leave session.  Funny the way life is and the part psychic defences play in trying to keep us safe or even keep us from healing or facing things, really.  I noticed when I got home I crammed my self full of snacks, I had this voracious hunger.  I see it as an expression of what comes up after I face all the pain, of the hungry life energy for a happy expressive life that I didn’t get to live and is now kicking around inside me longing to be set free.  I did an energetic dance to the INXS song Devil Inside.  I shared my post about repression and criticism with Katina as well yesterday and that song is really putting a finger up to my repressive Catholic education.

Today my body felt so tired, I slept deeply and it was a slow move to get out of bed this morning.  I usually push myself on but today I just can’t seem to.  Its important for me to write about what went down yesterday.  I need to get it out there in black and white.

I know I am on the midlife journey of laying the old corpses and ghosts of my life to rest.  I love that metaphor which is one that Murray Stein uses in his book on midlife.  There is a protracted grieving that can take place at this time.  I know I hit into all of this the year I turned 40 which was back in 2002.   Jung believed in the second half of life we work to make meaning of what went on in the first and I do think for those of us who have known a lot of trauma this is when the shit really starts to hit the fan, if we have had to repress huge parts of our life and self and energy at this time they return with a vengeance needing to be heard, but by that time our bodies may have taken such a toll due to trauma, we may end up with chronic pain or chronic illness which in a way may be the way our body tries to vocalise deep imprints and distress.

My body showed me today that I need to put it as the priority in my life at present.  I realised in the midst of writing a poem yesterday how powerfully I have been conditioned to look outside of myself for answers and healing but the truth is that if I can get still enough and quite enough and look within and pray and wait for answers they do emerge from deep within my body which is the temple of my soul.  My heart, my arms, my legs, my feet can all talk to me, they may be crying out to be heard.   Please listen was the deepest message I got from my body today, I also had a sense as I did yesterday that all I really need comes from within, not that I wont choose to engage outside in the world, but only that there is a kind of sweet completeness that only comes when I engage from deep within.   There I may hear the call to go outward for no man is an island but if I am not deeply connected to myself I am most certainly not fully available for any other connection or relationship in my life.  I know its probably been said a lot but love must surely start with the self and with this precious body we have been given to house our precious soul