You weren’t there

Dark Spirit

I longed for someone to be there

On those lonely wide open afternoons

You were gone from home

In just the way your own mother was gone

I reached for the key

That hung on the hook in the shed

And on one of the days it wasn’t there

I broke the window

And cut my wrist

Thirty stiches

Neighbours took me to casualty

Do you know how much it hurt Mum

To know that dresses and other people

Were more important than me?

It wasn’t that you worked

It was that you left me alone

Why not get help?

But how could you know how it was

When you just repeated your own silent history?

Now I see

What I could not see then

I understand why panic attacks visit me at that time of day

When

One of the six horseman of the psychic apocalypse

Comes calling

Panic

Hidden deep inside panic are so many other emotions

That could neither be expressed nor contained

As well as a hungering heart

That needed to be held

And tended in love

Now I know why ravenous hunger visits me then

I eat and eat

But the hunger is for something else

My inner child

Help adult me

To remember and to understand

It all makes sense

That body will never lie

Show me how to be there for you

So that panic can end

And love attention and self care

Can fill up the empty spaces

Of a wound

Far larger than me

The force that fights love

I just reblogged a post by Monica Cassani which spoke about that sub part of our selves ‘the inner bully’ or ‘inner critic’ who can give us such a hard time as we go about trying to heal ourselves and become stronger on the path of recovery, and when I say stronger I am meaning it in the sense that a strong soul can embrace weakness, deficiencies and other flaws in themselves and set about finding a loving way to deal with those aspects of their being rather than just put on a mask or become filled with bluff or bravado, or get defensive when vulnerability is triggered.

As I read this post and considered my own struggle with my inner bully I thought of the part that fear of love and fear of being loved, embraced, open or vulnerable may play in our lives when we finally do begin to change old ways of being with both ourselves and others from a negative to a more positive slant.  And at the basis of all positive change I think that a healthy attitude of self care and self nurturing as well as self compassion are so very important.   Until we can embrace our weak spots, our past pain, wounds and injuries in self acceptance and love we don’t seem to get very far on the path of healing and we may actually even self sabotage when offered the chance to embrace something good.  Until we can honestly acknowledge our gifts, sensitivities and strengths and our unique spirit in ways even others cannot we also don’t ever get to experience the freedom of a full life.

I notice a lot of things in reading other WordPress posts.  I notice how staying trapped in feelings of self righteous anger at abusers often keeps people stuck and as I read those posts (as well as some of my older posts) I see how such feelings actually hide deep within them a (often unconscious) lack of acceptance, a refusal to be able to let the pain go on some level. T his is understandable as pain can and does run very, very deep if we have suffered abuse and it is a very long and painful process to work this through, acknowledging and embracing all our feelings without being eaten alive by them.

And yet I also feel that as we come to realise that we in fact did not deserve such abuse and as a result now sadly treat ourselves in the very same way that is when we have at our disposal the greatest gift and resource that can be used to help us overcome the negative down spiral that follows a painful history of emotional abandonment and abuse.  We may always stay angry at our abusers and that is fair enough but if our anger implies that in some way we are resisting the pain that we need to feel in order to move through to healing that held in anger can be not only counterproductive but toxic and may block forward movement.

Healing to my mind involves opening the locked door of our heart that wants to stay shut to pain.   We fear inviting that pain in as our deepest fear is that on some level it may destroy us, that we might not survive.   But my experience is that when I open the door of my heart to the full impact of past pain or grief that pain or grief is able to move and to transform on some level.  At that precious instant I fall into a place of deep inward surrender and peace in which I know without any doubt the full impact of my entire emotional pain history and see so clearly its consequences.  As I do a part of me wants to rise up and say ‘NO!”,  This is the cry of my spirit that knew it was deserving of so much more and could have shone so much more brightly and suffered far fewer years in the most painful and lonely isolation, an isolation that kept me imprisoned for well over 14 years.  And this awful truth is a  deeply difficult one to embrace and acknowledge.

And yet, another part of my spirit in some way actually needs to say an unconditional ‘Yes!’ at that moment.  To embrace the pain I didn’t choose in order that I can now let the pain go, knowing that to allow it to define the rest of my life would be to continue to pay too difficult a price which will keep me locked in prison, locked in death, locked in resistance, locked in unbecoming.  And that is now not what my spirit wants anymore!

When I know my spirit to be free, when I look to the positive things in my day, when I count the gifts of this path, compassion, wisdom, insight, deeper psychological knowledge then I find gratitude and that gratitude tends to bring the sunshine out in my soul.  When I look to how I can use my own suffering to help others, when I realise it is a gift to be able to say that I hurt and have suffered, when I no longer need to hide, when I use that suffering to make me reach for the light and love and joy in any day, when I find avenues of self expression and ways to let the energy of love flow out from me and to anchor in those energies of beauty and love all around me, wherever I find them, say in sunshine, nature, good company, music, art, poetry, films, dance then my spirit shines and is no longer as bowed down as it was before by the terrible burden of a lonely painful past full of trauma.

And when I realise that all along the inner bully is just fear and thrives not on life but on attack well then I have a choice to answer that fear with love, compassion, wisdom and insight, and I no longer need to turn my inner bully out on others in the world, criticising them, even if they, due to unconsciousness or nastiness are continuing to try to cause me suffering.  Instead I can just turn to my inner child essence and spirit, take her by the hand and chose to walk away or answer with love, no longer hooked by my own deeply buried anguish into reacting, lashing out or trying to change what is and was never in my power to change and what I am so much better off, walking away from.

A post I never got to post : on trauma, grief, emotional expression and healing

I wrote this post a few months back and it has sat in my drafts folder unposted, but as I read it I see how I was on the brink of a major transition in wanting to step out into the world with more of my past pain and defences surrendered, so I am posting it today to let it out.  I close off so much inside myself at times.  As recent posts reveal I struggle with inner voices that shame and attack. The best way to answer is just to expose and release what I am thinking and feeling at the time so it can see the light.

I  think I am finally done with personal posts about my trauma history.  I have shared extensively on here about it and what I am beginning to recognise is that there is a deep wound in my heart that will never fully go away, that often defies words and just needs to be tended with love.  My life due to trauma has been forced onto a deeply inward trajectory.  Try as I might to fit into a non trauma world, I am beginning to see it cannot be done.  Dark experiences which I will never be able to share with most people have taken me to a place where I went through things many others never will.  Because of this I will naturally relate more to other trauma survivors and may carry silent memories which at times complicate things and set me apart.  (Reading this back I see although it was how I obviously felt at the time, trauma does not mean I am totally set apart, only that I have been through different experiences to the mainstream!)

Lately I have become tired with trying to fit in and also with trying to express my distress by blogging.   I am exhausted by it.  I need to find a way to be at peace with my past and my trauma history, seeing it as perhaps necessary in some way to get me to here.  So I want to spend more of my time putting the focus on my heart and being and the breath than writing about things from a ‘head’ level from now on in and concentrating on past pain.  I want my blog from now on to focus on ways of calming and self soothing, for it to be a forum for living centred in being, wisdom and acceptance.  As I find more and more peace by being with myself, keeping a meditative focus and putting the emphasis on softness and love that is what I feel I now most need to share about and express.

Reading back a recent post to my therapist I saw how much self judgement there still was in it,  how much what I was writing implied that on some level I had to be someone or something better to be worthwhile.  I also saw that in trying to focus on pushing myself forward I was not resting my consciousness in the deeper understanding that progress naturally happens for me when I stop over intellectualising and open myself to healing.  When I follow the path of surrender healing occurs on its own trajectory.  If I front up and am willing to be open, vulnerable and honest I naturally win.

I had an example of this today.  I was not fully focused coming out of the car park at my local shops.  I accidently backed into someone. At first they were so upset but as I just said I was sorry, that I had made a mistake and lost focus the entire situation calmed.  “It’s my fault”, I said.  “I lost concentration.”  I gave the girl my number.  She was so kind.  This is what she said to me  “It wasn’t your fault it was an accident.”  By that stage I was quiet emotional as I had just met my sister for coffee and it had been a really loving meeting but had triggered some old pain.  I owned my part, anyway and told them my insurance will take care of it.

This gentle encounter showed me how little others really want to blame and how compassionate they can be when I am open and vulnerable.  Meeting with a very close friend this week she affirmed me so much.  She told me she sees me as a very old soul who has come here and gone through a lot of experiences and also as a teacher for others.  She said how much she values me and my sensitivity and goodness.   I was so touched spending time with her.  She told me how with her large family of grown children and now four grandchildren she still needs time apart to be in touch with herself.

I think one of the gifts of trauma or being separated from the crowd is that you do go to a deeply lonely spiritual place in your life, expecting others to understand when they have not walked that journey is not always realistic and yet still there are very kind people out there in the world.

At the deepest level I feel as trauma survivors we have to be witnesses for ourselves.  We have to be able to touch base with our own pain and love ourselves from this place.  We have to give up illusions that we could fix or control difficult things that went down.  We have to see that we are forced on a deep journey to reclaim our inner child for an evolutionary purpose and to ultimately be a voice for self love, for it is only out of self love that we can find our hearts open to love that may want to come to us from others.

As I look around I see wounded inner children everywhere running the world.  Where they cannot get love they go for power, they seek power over others and to find the control they never had when young, they then wreak destruction on others.   Those of us who have really experienced how painful it is to live in a state of deep inner schism in which the soulful, joyful, naturally gregarious, expressive, deeply sensitive and intelligent inner child essence of us with deep wisdom was not honoured or could not find a place, know what a hard journey it is to reclaim our natural soulful and spiritual connection that is so often denied in a materially centred culture.

When we speak up about trauma we are on a quest to educate a world which so sorely needs to see where a state of inner division from which place we do not honour the deeply feminine values of love for the earth and all people and its creatures and heart centred feeling values causes such strife.  Perhaps our struggles with so called ‘mental illness’ are not really that.  Maybe we are spiritually being called upon to transform and bring a greater awakening to the heart and to emotions collectively as well as deeper spiritual wounds that we are still carrying from generations past.

When I read an article this week in the Australian newspaper on Prince Harry  I was led to think about how grief is actually not an illness at all, and how when it is labelled as such we are shown how much mainstream diagnosis has strayed from soul and heart.  To have lost a parent at a young age is a trauma, it is a wound of separation, it is a descent into a loss that may have no avenue of expression out into the world, most especially the kind of world which the youngest royal inhabited in the mid 1990’s.  Unresolved and unexpressed grief actually leads to all kinds of ‘acting out’ behaviour.

The true illness or disorder comes about as the result of having no space or place to express that pain outwards in healthy ways.  Prince Harry said that he kept his own grief for the loss of his mother under wraps for about 20 years.  I was older than Harry when I lost my Dad but I also kept my grief over the loss of my Dad under wraps for at least 20 years and that particular loss came on the back of so many other losses that I could never express or even fully know or acknowledge the deeper impact of until fairly recently.  Doing so had required finding those who understand and allow my grief a place and haven’t shamed me when I may have acted out grief in anger or resistance.

When you think of what Princess Diana actually suffered over her lifetime in terms or her own emotional abandonment, how that then translated to emotional abandonment and betrayal in her marriage and of the pain that caused which indirectly led to her demise at such a young age, is it any wonder that Prince Harry and his brother would have carried deep pain?  The oldest child in such a situation may appear stronger or cope better, they may take on the ‘hero’ mantle while the younger becomes the scapegoat.  The scapegoat only remains the scapegoat until his true feelings are no longer demonised.  When he gets help from others and recognises his behaviour as an expression of a call to get something deeply hidden or disallowed by the collective out.  Also when he recognises how his own defences are preventing him from acknowledging the full onslaught or affect of an earlier wound or loss.  Harry has done that.

What is liberating now is to realise that finally people who have suffered like Prince Harry can start to speak about it. For it is those who have suffered loss, betrayal, abuse or abandonment who will be the ones to speak up about it.  They will be the ones who can shine a light into the darkness, they will be the ones that in opening up will help others who have suffered to open their hearts too and finally be brought in from the wilderness.

I know in my own life I lived in a wilderness for so many years.  My addiction was my wilderness and recovery also led me into a wilderness where everything had to be taken before I could surrender to my grief.  My hope is that others who suffer don’t have to live in that wilderness for too long, that they may get the message earlier to seek help, to know it is no shame or sign of being defective or damaged if you have suffered grief, abuse, betrayal, abandonment, emotional overwhelm or other traumas that lead to panic attacks or difficulty living and facing the day.

Its not your fault if you have struggled with your emotions in a world in which it is challenging to express them, have them understood or validated.  And more so it is a sign of strength to be able to open up and talk about your feelings and experiences, so that others who do not understand can be educated and an awakening can take place.  That seems to be happening more and more lately especially in the United Kingdom at present.  It would be so good to see the media in other countries also stop shaming and blaming those who in acting out old grief or pain are actually crying out for healing, empathy, understanding and recognition so that we can move through these natural feelings and expressison to embrace new life and growth, rather than lock it away in mental illness and defences.

On Intimacy : our most important work

Until we can be truly intimate with the depths of ourselves I do not believe true intimacy with others is really a possibility.  Instead our drive towards togetherness or connection is always fraught with lack and most especially with the hunger for love, approval or acceptance that was not available to us in childhood from those others who were not capable of true emotional intimacy themselves.  As a result of this emotional dissociation and disconnection,  we become people who hunger and fear, seeking always that source of love and connection outside of ourselves that will make up for what was missed and exists now as a deep emptiness inside.  All our most important work lies in understanding the depth of that emptiness or wound so that we can answer with love and with coming into relationship with our emotional reality which has so much to teach us about inner intimacy and connection. Only when we develop this capacity within can we extend it outward.

Until we can know what our wounds were and feel and grieve them, until we can recognise our fear, shame and struggle as burdens from a difficult past and show love for ourselves and others in the midst of them we are not capable of a truly deep intimacy and love.

I have heard the term intimacy broken down to read as follows : Into me I see.  We need this depth of clear seeing to get in touch with our wounds and our longings and to find ways in which we can reach out to speak about and share them with others, not in a way that demands connection and love but in a way that removes the blocks that we carry as well as the defences against such love.  In opening up our hearts and minds with each other in this way we find connection, but also hopefully the support to reach further down and heal within through love what was hurt, exiled, damaged, lost or hungering before.

I am so grateful that in my own therapy I found a loving source of connection with a person who in having intimacy with herself and all human traits has been able to receive me and help me with mine.  She has  stood strongly by while I have struggled with a strong inner critic who is really full of fear and shame burdens passed down to me in my family.

However there are still times when I find myself alone and besieged by negativity and these are the times I have had to reach even deeper for a truly loving relationship with myself.  The critic often beats me up for all I haven’t achieved in the world but today I read these words and they made me realise that for the past 10 years I have been engaged with the deepest emotional recovery and discovery work on myself, that of learning to love and care for me.  I don’t see such work as selfish but as essential, for when I don’t care for and love myself I haven’t anything to give others and what I give is followed by resentment or sense of being emptied out or depleted.

So for all of you out there who may also struggle or beat yourself up with inner voices of ‘not good enoughness’ or other critical thoughts because you struggle with what society has labelled a mental illness when you are valiantly working so very hard to heal and find love within, I hope these words bring you some comfort and open up a light of truth which reminds you that learning to love yourself and extend that love outwards towards others are some of the most important things we can do to bring light to ourselves and the planet.  And that its okay also to struggle with the darkness because we all have it somewhere.

I sometimes worry that I’m not doing something more important with my life.  Caught up in day to day trivialities, it doesn’t seem I accomplish much.  Yet I forget that through all my daily routine, I am engaged in recovery.

As I grow in love, I worry less about doing something important.  Instead I stretch my abilities as far as they can take me.  My action now is a spontaneous expression of a loving heart.  I have done more in the past years as the result of undertaking emotional recovery than in the previous years without it.  To me there is nothing more important I can do with my life than becoming more loving.

Hope for Today

March 5

Birthing through struggle

ARI

Baby

Our struggle is, in many ways what births us.  I think this is the deeper reason behind why we can feel pissed or ripped off when people tell us platitudes like “it was all for a reason” which is something that formed a large chunk of a post I posted earlier with a quote from Debbie Ford on the shadow.  Even as I was posted it I thought how being told that suffering was all part of the divine plan may anger or be intensely triggering for some reason as the last thing we really all want is to suffer and coming to see the wisdom in awful pain and suffering or abuse is something we have to arrive at in our own time and through our own process.

A central tenant of Buddhist wisdom, though is the fact that suffering is intrinsic to life and we only have power over how we choose to respond.  Do we curse it or bless it?  Do we put our focus on the lack or the gain?  And as I write this it occurs to me that struggle  even attends our first moments on earth depending on how easy or difficult our birth was.

Birthing as a physical being is also not the same as birthing ourselves on a psychological or spiritual level.  For that birth is something that can be stymied or thwarted depending on the environment we were born into and how well it matched out intrinsic soul need.  And then we have the thorny aspect of family karma.  If we come from a family where in past generations traumas, loss and separation from love manifesting in alcoholism or addiction were strong themes.  Add to this the fact of the collective traumas that our families of the past were subject to, to greater or lesser degrees and that is a lot of historic struggle to unravel and unpack.

Understanding my own family karma and patterns has made it a little easier for me to reach for forgiveness lately.   I see how much my own two families, of mother and father were impinged upon by collective events of war and depression.  I see how a battle to survive meant my family was full of struggle and so the issue of nurture was a difficult one.  At times I have felt a bit selfish to be honestly lately when I realise how my own mother struggled in the absence of a dead father and mother who was constantly absent due to providing for her daughter.  At the age of 13 my grandmother also wanted my Mum to go live with a family and become a domestic servant.  I think by then she had a new man on the horizon or maybe she just thought this would give her daughter a better chance at survival.  My Mum rebelled and found herself a job as a tailor’s apprentice.

At age 13 I went into the family business, a clothing store, part time and on weekends.  It was on one of the weekends 4 years later that I had my major motor vehicle smash which aborted my entire last semester of school.  I never formally graduated.  Times of transition or cyclic new birth times are therefore difficult and full of fear for me.  I fear at these kind of times I will literally die.  I had the whole thing retriggered when my marriage ended taking myself far away and smashing up.  I see that this is what I chose to do even though a large part of my soul hungered to stay close to my own Mum at that time.   Separation, transitions and new steps forward are especially fraught for me and that isn’t my fault.  I undergo a lot of separation anxiety.  The best I can do lately is work to become more conscious of the pattern and love myself through it.

Yesterday the beat up voice was back telling me how little I have amounted to my life, casting its distainful gaze on my home and telling me I should end my life.  I was lucky enough to cry from the inner child and then the loving adult showed up and told the critic to back off.  I know the critic is trying to protect me from something but the cost of his criticism on my tender soul is too brutal.  Would the world really be better off if I were dead, as the critic said yesterday?  I don’t think so.  Am I really such a fuck up? And is my life over yet?  NO!

I know in my life I have struggled in all sorts of ways.  I don’t carry deep within me an implicit feeling of trust, security and safety in this life.  I tend to see the negative side and anticipate disaster.  I know more now and that it is a protective mechanism but it isn’t one that always serves me well.  I struggle with believing all the harsh things that happened to me were all part of a plan but in another way I do believe it.  And I was so blessed to get sober at 31.

I may have struggled in later years but my sober life is a big achievement and all the emotional work I have done since.  I don’t check out for the most part,  I front up and try to live and engage to the best of my ability.  And my struggle on many levels is both what births me as well as keeping me realistic and grounded.  Much of my own shadow is not full of darkness but full of repressed light and love.  Its only lately  I am feeling that it is finally putting in an appearance after years and years and years of living in the closet. As someone who almost drowned in her own shadow I am so grateful now that I don’t have to identify myself as permanent scapegoat or victim.  At one time I was powerless over all kinds of things and they did victimise me.  But I also now choose to say, that these things were things I survived and chose to face, not that there is any sin in not doing so, for some darkness weighs too heavy upon more gentle souls and can drown them, especially if there is no one there help with the grand archetypal battle with the inner critic/shame based/shadow.

That is a profound truth that I most implicitly understand.   Yesterday when my inner battle was going on a voice inside my head asked me this.  “Deborah, which voice are you going to give power to, the voice of love or the voice of fear and hate?”  Yesterday I chose love and as I consider the entire thing this afternoon for the rest of my life I want love to be the final word, most of all love for myself, love for the struggle and love for my fellow humans.

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.