I love how google search images links you to articles which express something strongly associated to what you were writing about and seeking an image to portray. I just came across the following article from the Huffington Post. It seems in modern times we are determined to exile aspects of the soul such as spiritual and romantic longing to the psychological bin of so called ‘neurosis’. I love this article as it speaks to the desire of the soul to long for an object of love and connection to the sacred or numinous, surely its not all just about projection but something far deeper and more important to our soul.
All the beautiful responses to my recent post/poem Trust in Silence have really got me thinking today of how important silence is to being able to be with and connected to depths of our soul. When we are struggling or suffering often we can be abused by being told we need to ‘get out of our own heads’, “get off our pity pot!’, (yes readers I have heard this one many times in 12 step meetings) or that we are ‘isolating’ and at times there can be some truth to that, sometimes when we need the loving touch or support of others or look for the gifts or message in a painful experience, but in world that find it hard to stomach or fathom certain truths, is it any wonder we learn to turn more and more towards the silence if we can, deep in that silence, find an inner source of soothing, calm and healing?
I know for myself the healing to be found in the warm of the sun, in sitting in a shady spot with doors open, Jasper at my feet just feeling the sense of connection with the moment that is awesome, magical, healing and mysterious and beyond words to fully describe (though I make stumbling attempts in poems). Then there are the times when the silence is more like a deep dark indigo ocean that almost squashes me, I feel myself subsumed or I feel the cresting of a wave of anger or grief or sorrow that wants to rise up and sweep through me, possibly even sweep away some debris from inside, memories or feelings I buried long ago, and if I just allow myself to surrender than I can expand rather than contract in response to that and feel the beauty of having touched base with my soul.
And lets face it, for many of us who have endured depths of loss and trauma others do not, have not and could never know the depths of we are not going to find that recognition or acceptance and allowing of our process from most people and my personal feeling is that therapists also don’t always know the territory themselves. I was told by astrologer Melanie Reinhardt 13 years ago after my last major accident which was a repeat of my near death one at age 17 that most therapists would not be able to fully understand the deeper spiritual dimensions of the wound of nearly losing my life as well as all the deeply Plutonian experiences that followed over the next 30 or so years for me. She directed me towards the work of Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron and said a soulful meditative practice would be the best therapy for me. Sadly I got into another relationship two years later with someone who saw my need for solitude as pathological. According to him I had agrophobia!!!! Anyway don’t really want to go back into the relationship today, it was a learning curve for me and I got some good things out of it and deeper understanding due to all the pain we both acted out on each other.
Lately I am learning to accept and validate more my need for soulful solitude. It is where I create from. It is where my deepest healing happens. I don’t feel that level of connection in may relationships in the world, in some I do. I feel it here because I feel here other trauma survivors and people in recovery are on the same page. Just connecting with you brings me SO MUCH HEALING. I was blown away yesterday by the love shown to me on a really tough day, coming out of a painful and challenging week.
I wanted actually to post another Thank You blog too as I was so grateful yesterday and today to open my page and see all the comments and love on here. As well as responses to other comments of mine where I am trying to support others going through trauma and meeting misunderstanding and woefully inadequate response to their Complex Trauma. I really see my life purpose to be as a Wounded Healer and it is what Melanie Reinhardt teaches about in her work on Chiron. Its really only us who have navigated the depths of trauma that fully understand and since all traumas are also different in some ways we wont understand everything as we all have our own unique journeys, but in time I want to set up some kind of site to offer help. If my journey and suffering and losses and gains can be used to help others that is what really makes me happy, it gives me a peace and feeling of wholeness that really lays so far beyond words.
But as I read this back I am mindful too that the healing for all of us lies both in connections with others, but more paramountly through the healing that comes from connection to our deepest soul. I feel collectively we are trying too, to heal a deep split from nature and instinct and the divine feminine. It is hard to articulate this in a post but there is a source of power that to me is Goddess like, I don’t find the concept of a male God as personally healing in my own journey unless I think of the Frank Lloyd Wright quote in which he says he believes in God but his God is nature. We are part of this mystery and so is our deepest soul and many of us are on a journey now to connect more to that source both within and without in order to find peace and love after years of separation, fear or trauma. And to recognise more deeply our essential kinship with all living beings as well as the deep silence.
The beauty that shone
Like wildfire in your eyes
Could never be permanently extinguished
Though in time a film grew over them
As it became harder to find you way
Amidst a wild universe that led you astray
But still the fire that shone in you
Was able to keep you set apart
From the mainstream that pretended it knew the way
And if you did not follow would be led astray
For there were other souls like yours
Who knew enough to keep the fire burning
Who decided to trust their deeper heart and soul yearning
Those who had the courage to open their wings and fly
Even when everything conspired to keep them bound
So trust your inner flame and never let it dull
Use it to guide you and never give up
For the fire in you comes from a beauty so deep
It should never ever be extinguished
Or put to sleep
To be human and to be alive is probably to be vulnerable. Its a thought that I had today after re reading a prayer I wrote earlier asking for help to overcome fear. I wondered after reading it if I had been asking for something that is only possible for moments rather than as an ongoing state of being a world so often fraught with insecurity and peril. My question Isn’t a bit too much of an ask for us to have it together all the time and not struggle with the inherent insecurities in our lives?
That said a lot of what we expect to experience is based on past experience, so if in the past things didn’t go well or we were hurt this becomes our point of view or expectation and we do need boundaries and self care and some protection, just not so much that we limit our ability to live and love and forward move and grow in this life.
I became a fan of Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron a few months after my last serious accident in 2005. I was recommended to read her book When Things Fall Apart by a friend who had also nearly lost her life and the central message of her teaching involves not erecting defences against what she calls ‘the soft tender sore spot’ in one’s heart. Pema claims that it is part of our human nature to always be struggling to get some solid ground under our feet but paradoxically the more we strive for this the more we can become attached to things being a certain way and then we just end up suffering more. The more defences we erect against pain too, the less we become connected to our pain as it is a central tenant of Buddhism that we look to our mutuality and inter dependence with other human’s and all living things and all living beings are vulnerable and suffer. The Buddhists recognise a seamless web of interconnection between every living thing that we only split and divide and pay a price for so doing in neurosis. Its only in embracing this inherent insecurity that we have a chance of finding some inner security and happiness. The Buddhists also recognise that it is through opening to our pain and suffering instead of defending against it that we experience our interconnection with others, so opening our hearts is actually a powerful practice not only to heal but also to reconnect to our essential oneness not only with humans but also with nature and cycles of birth, growth, loss, death, change and transformation that are involve in all of creation.
With these thoughts in mind I am sharing tonight an excerpt from The Pocket Pema Chodron.
No Happy Ending
In one of the first teachings I ever heard, the teacher said, “I don’t know why you came here, but I want to tell you right now that the basis of this whole teaching is that you’re never going to get it all together.” I felt a little like he had just slapped me in the face or thrown cold water over my head, but I’ve always remembered it. There isn’t going to be some precious future time when all the loose ends will be tied up. Even thought it was shocking to me, it rang true. One of the things that keeps us unhappy is this continual searching for pleasure or security, searching for a little more comfortable situation, either at the domestic level or at the level of mental peace.
Learning to bear the storm, to find a centre in the middle of the storm or change, that is what an opening up practice is about. Its not always easy to stop defending our selves or reacting from primitive parts of our brain to find less reactivity in the middle of chaos or change, but its definitely worth a try, as is, in our moments of darkness and pain the recognition that despite the aloneness we may feel so many other suffers and struggle just like us and experience loss and feelings of insecurity in failing to get it all together too.
Emotional turmoil begins with an initial perception – a sight, sound, thought – which gives rise to a feeling of comfort or discomfort. This is the subtlest level of shenpa, the subtlest stage of getting hooked. Energetically there is a perceptible pull; its like wanting to scratch an itch. We don’t have to be advanced meditators to catch this.
The initial tug of “for” or “against” is the first place we can remain steady as a log. Just experience the tug and relax into the restlessness of the energy, without fanning this ember with thoughts. If we can stay present with the rawness of our direct experience, emotional energy can move through us without getting stuck. Of course, this isn’t easy and takes practice.
Please help me to quell the fears and anxieties in my heart
Please help me not to be paralysed by a negative view or perception
Or allow past loss to colour every new interaction
Painting it black
Let me remember
That the present is not always like the past
That the past comes into awareness
Only for me to see it
And bless it on its way
Taking the lesson at the heart
And leaving any fear behind
Help me to realise
That an acknowledged past
Has only the power over me
That I choose to give it
Help me every day
To choose love over fear
And belief over doubt
Courage over insecurity
You thought love was the wave
That came crashing around you
In which you might find oblivion or drown
But, no Love what remained
After that wave finally washed you
Up upon the shore of broken dreams
Within whose wrecking and breaking
You discovered a force far deeper than desire
Yes Love is the seed that
Is then planted
Growing with a power
That can never be obliterated
Once it has taken root
And begun to sprout and bloom
Within your soul
In the silence
I hear you call my name
From so far away
So how can it be
That you are still here with me
In the lacunae spaces that open
After long wind swept walks
Lead me home to silence
Queen of my domain
There is here
Only music, breath of wind and these voices
Carried on the breeze
And my heart beating still
After so much tragedy
Lingering with a haunting refrain
Reminding me of
So many mistaken choices that seemed so right
When I was held ransom by pain
But now I see
All the lost opportunities
(When one door closes?)
But if youth is wasted on the young
Then maybe I can dare to reach again
Using all the wisdom
Opening my lungs
Breathing a new breath
Aware of second chances
Left within the wide open spaces
Of so many goodbyes
Of so much unlived life
That seemed to pass me by
Now revealed to be a lie
For isn’t it true
I am still alive?
For them (the great masters of Buddhism) death was not this evil, existential ending. For them, death was not the end of everything. For them, death was going back. It was returning home to the Supreme Source. I know many people may be wondering what this Supreme Source is. It is jut another way of naming the universe. You are going back into the universe. You are the universe, but you are also the play of the universe. The universe is manifesting, manifesting as you, and when you die, you dissolve back into the universe. The universe is always dancing, manifesting itself in myriad expressions. Then all of the expressions dissolve into the universe and manifest again. It is an eternal play. You are part of the eternal play. So you are the universe in the end. You are everything from that point of view. You are the stars in the sky. You are the trees in the forest. You are the Milky Way. You are also all the things in landfill. Of course, you are all the beautiful, exotic flowers in the garden as well.
Embracing Each Moment : A Guide to the Awakened Life
A grief deeper than I can express or name is bursting out of me lately. After years of working through my anger and frustration and disappointment with my parents I am seeing and feeling a much deeper reality that lay beyond my own needs, wishes, hopes and dreams. I am fully experiencing the truth that my parents did the best they could with what they knew and I am feeling even more deeper grief for the lost children in them that had to go on in such harsh conditions. I am even feeling the same for my much older brother and followers of this blog for some time will know of the conflicts I had with him just prior to my Mum’s death in December last year.
He is America for six weeks at the moment at the house he owns over there. My cousin asked me on Friday, why don’t you go over. Simple answer. Never been invited but then my brother would not. When I asked him how he is spending his time now his wife went back home he told me he goes for three hour long walks and about the deer that come into his garden then and leave their pooh. I had a dream the other night I was in a cave and there was deer pooh everywhere and I had bare feet but where ever I trod I could not escape the pooh which was then ankle deep. I understand that this is actually a dream about grief and about the messy uncontrollable world of emotions that my family found so problematic and me too with my descent into addiction from a very young age.
My brother was 39 when my father died and they worked together for years. Mum would tear up when she told me of how she went into their office one day in the year after Dad died and my brother was sitting there wearing his cardigan. This is a man whose own wife never once told him she loves him and told my mother after Dad died she needed to toughen up and ‘stand on her own two feet!’ What the fuck else did my Mum do for most of her childhood? Anyway leaving aside my sister in law who is incredibly severe and scary I feel for my brother so much and realise what is hidden under the words he does not say.
I’m feeling for my Mum and Dad too and I feel them over in the land of the passed with so much love in their hearts for me. I feel them as they guided me to Scott who also lost his Dad a year before me at 21. Don’t ask me how I know this, I just do.
I just came home from the veggie markets crying listening to one of my most favourite songs If You Wait by London Grammar. This song is so evocative and it blows my emotions wide open. At times the grief I feel feels too large for my body and I wonder if what I carry is not only personal but ancestral for I feel the connection to my maternal great great grandfather so deeply at times. He entered an institution for alcoholism later in life, never having been able to grieve for the mother he lost at 12 years old (the same age my father lost his father!). I think of how each of my sisters and were also left by men and of how now I have been trying to help someone get out of a life and death situation overseas where war is just about to be declared so we can come together and start a new life. And how terrified I am that he will be killed before we can finally meet.
I am also aware we are deep in the final shedding time prior to the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Leo on 11th August. It falls smack bang on my North Node In Leo. So much is coming to light from deep within my own shadow and unconscious as well as that of the family. I know I can bear whatever happens but lately I feel so many echoes around me. Echoes within echoes within echoes resounding along a long corridor of time. I am in the antechamber awaiting a new birth, what ever comes to pass.
“Everything that comes into life has two sides, a masculine and feminine quality, even love. The masculine side of love is “I love you.”
Longing is the feminine side of love: “I am waiting for you. I am longing for you.” Longing is the cup waiting to be filled. And sadly, because our culture has devalued the feminine, we have repressed so much of her nature, so many of her qualities. Instead we live primarily masculine values; we are goal-oriented, competitive, driven.
Masculine values even dominate our spiritual quest; we seek to be better, to improve ourself, to get somewhere. We have forgotten the feminine qualities of waiting, listening, being empty. We have dismissed the deep need of the soul, our longing, the feminine side of love.”
Love is a Fire: The Sufi’s Mystical Journey Home