The moon is full as I share this. The following link goes to a post on the Full Moon by Aquarian Spirals and includes a beautiful poem for those who do not yet follow her blog.
Let gratitude live with in me
For the blessing of you
And even when we are apart
Let me feel the beating of your heart
And know that there is never a moment
We are truly apart
As long as you love me
And the ocean of me feels the power
Of this connection between us
Help me to keep believing
In the blessing of us
And to know that even in those times
That skies are grey
And there seems no way to keep believing
We will ever be together
That life is change
And nothing that is born
Ever fails to pass away
There will come a day
For dancing and for hugs
And for a life time full of love
Before change breaks us
And the scattered remains
Fall as reminders
Of the multitude
Of blessings and sorrows
Lying in shattered pieces
All around our feet
Of all the many things in life you may doubt, never doubt that Truth is a relentless force. It is the breath of the Divine pulsating inside your psyche, your soul, your conscience. Truth does set us free, and it sets our souls on fire, and it heals our mind and our body from the suffering of heavy secrets. If someone asked me about the nature of God, all I would suggest to that person, just as I am suggesting to you, is to select but one Truth – Change is Constant, for example – and step into that Truth. Live in and with the wisdom of that Truth. Live in and with the Truth: “Change is Constant, and thus, I will no longer make my decisions in such a way as to fight change . . . I will cooperate with change . . . the Truth is I cannot stop Change . . . I will suffer if I try . . . even if I do not want the Changes . . . the Truth is, I cannot stop the inevitable.”
Live in a Truth – any higher, mystical Truth – and you discover the breath of God pulsating in your soul.
This is one of my more popular posts on the experience of abandonment depression. Feelings of deep abandonment can live on in Complex PTSD dogging us for many years I often think a failed attempt to manage such depression can lead us to addictions too. Masterton outlines here other feelings that are evoked by the complex abandonment depression such as rage, anxiety and panic.
Abandonment depression appears as a subject in a few of my posts. I made a leap forward in my own recovery when I first began to become aware of the term just over a year ago following reading Pete Walker’s book on Complex PTSD where he deals with the subject in depth. Abandonment depression is different to basic depression which can be a feeling of depletion or lowered energy following a loss of massive change of some kind in a person’s life. When dealing with this kind of depression easy solutions of distraction for a time or a taking of pain relief to help when people find them selves in the critical stages will help. In the case of abandonment depression we are dealing with something that will not be helped by these kind of solutions since it involves a core wound that must be understood, felt, mined and addressed…
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I would like to be
Close to you
Can you listen silently
To the unspoken longing in my heart
And if you feel the brunt of my frustration
Can you understand the love
That seeks its way forward
But so often hits instead
A brick wall of negation?
It seems to me now
There are so many things
My mind will not let me say
I know how it hurt you
When I took myself away
And wondered why you would said
I don’t want to think about
Missing you too much
In many ways I was probably
Deaf dumb and blind
I am sorry for being
Unaware or unkind
And for my lack of empathy
But past is past
God knows we did our very best
And so I would rather
See all of this
Through the eyes of tenderness
Rather than just drown in emptiness
Using all the pain of lessons learned
To find forgiveness
And keep opening my heart
To closeness, longing, connection
And the desire to love
And be loved
Sometimes when I read a post back in therapy (and a lot of my posts take the form of reflections that I bring to therapy to explore) I get completely overcome with emotion. Today it was the overwhelm of feelings I felt when my father died that completely overtook me. It was impossible to keep breathing and I was very deeply internalised to the point I felt my father’s spirit drawing close to me with words of love. We had been exploring the emptiness of the huge cold house under construction that Mum and Dad and I moved to when I was about 7 or 8. In the middle of winter I was sleeping on a little stretcher bed at the foot of Mum and Dad’s bed in a house in the middle of winter with no floor covering only concrete, my sister went to stay at my Nana’s cosier house so she was removed. We moved from a cosier small house where I used to play with the next door neighbours so it was a lonely move for me and a few years ago when Mum and I spoke about this time she told me how stressful it was, the builder went bankrupt in the process of building our house and my father and brother had to take over some of the construction.
It occurred to me that later in life I sought my warmth and comfort through alcohol but food also plays a part, I didn’t get a lot of that close, cuddly comfort time with my parents, they were more likely to punish us than touch us or comfort us and I was left alone a lot, so its probably not a mistake that I can still tend to shy away from relationships at time. I see couples arm in arm talking comfortably or just watch people in small family groups and it seems strange to me and then I feel sad for the way I struggle in connecting to living members of my family (more so my living siblings and their children as my older sister who died was the warmer one and her children are the same).
As my therapist pointed out today I did take the risk to contact someone when I was feeling low and confused yesterday and I do keep trying to reach out but I know in friendships others are far more likely to reach out to and invite me than I am and it makes me sad and I feel scared I can be narcissistic myself at times in fearing my own feelings of vulnerability in relationship. My default setting is most probably to take myself off alone.
Anyway I was rather surprised by the overflow of feelings today in regard to my Dad. Kat doesn’t think it an accident that I have chosen a partner who is very far away and gone a lot of the time as that is what I experienced in childhood. Part of the upset I went through on Saturday is that I told Scott a year of waiting is feeling too much and I want to reach out for other connections, but then I feel sad about that as Scott and I have already made a bond.
As anyone else who has lost their Dad knows the feelings of sadness probably never go away fully, I feel sadder at times for the struggle we had to connect too while he was alive in my early 20s and even as a child. Sometimes I wonder if dredging all of this up in therapy is actually any good for me, my friend suggested yesterday it may be good if I found a good massage therapist because living alone I never get touched most days. I do cuddle Jasper but because he is a dog I don’t want to overwhelm him with human needs, he isn’t my cuddle toy, sometimes I get a little ‘grrr’ from him if I hold him too close at other times it can be me trying to get my own space. Anyway I am going to pick up the phone and call another friend right now, I don’t allow myself to listen to all the times my heart wants to connect, I often shut these impulses down, something we discussed in therapy today has to do with feelings of not always feeling safe reaching out. That is a pattern that I would very much like to change.
I rang my sis a little while ago but the call ended up with me so emotionally overcome I began to realise I am absolutely no help at all to my sister. I then called an old family friend who knows all of her history with the guilt because today I am choosing to go have a happy time seeing a movie with a friend rather than sit around in helplessness with my sister. I know its a healthy choice and our friend helped me to see I am doing what is best for me, I can almost breathe a huge sigh of relief after this conversation. She had several children who suffer mental illness and she said her children both struggle when their sibling is not well because they feel a lot of fear which was interesting as I only realised just lately how much my sister’s depression scares me.
That is also the reason why I make the active choice to keep living. I pushed Jasper and I out into the 8 degree temperature today for a wild walk around the lake and to the Peace Park. He ran off on me merrily chasing birds and just when I thought he was lost magically appeared out of left field. I then took myself to the markets for a coffee and got some zuchinni balls and roasted veggies to add to a salad I made back at home.
Today will be a good day because I made the healthy choice to go against this need to be there for my sister and choose for my own life.. I was reading such a lovely portion of Marianne Williamson’s book that I want to share later. But I am off to see the movie Red Joan with a dear friend this afternoon and I am really looking forward to it.
It was probably a good thing to surrender to my tears and sense of powerlessness around my sister today. I know that she is shutting down right now and my friend seems to think if anything is to bring her back it will be the drugs that do it. I don’t take psychiatric meds so I don’t understand that but maybe it is right. This is my sister’s life not mine and neither way is right or wrong, just different approaches.
I understand these daily updates may get repetitive and boring to read but posting this stuff and recording my inner process outwardly seems to help me. I realise I am going over and over the same ground but changing this pattern and recognising the limits of my boundaries to help is necessary. And in the end I deserve my own life, I gave so much away to stay close to my older sister before she died, there is so much life and happiness I have not allowed myself to have that it makes me cry I don’t want to live as a powerless victim martyr in my life sacrificing to be there for others while putting all my needs to one side. If I don’t at least try to make the choice for happiness who else will do it?
Having to sacrifice our reality to be loved leaves a damaged self which suffers from what Ross Rossenberg calls self love deficit disorder (SLD). He clearly explains the process in this video and provides information about the trauma child that lives inside us which is so essential to understand the deeply hidden roots of in the unconscious (body) in order to heal.
Love Les Carter, he wrote a brilliant book on Anger I read a while back called The Anger Trap. This is a very interesting take on what lies behind the narcissist drive to control everything.
Well one good thing about the dark painful days, especially when they are full of self realisation is that a brighter day eventually follows. This is how I believe it truly is when we have the courage to face ourselves and our fear and pain and darkness, the light then comes in and it is often so amazing to me how nature mirrors the inner psyche because as I started to type this paragraph the sun just appeared from behind clouds glowing in brightly through my living room window.
The longer we live the more painful experiences we often get to go through. The loneliness and struggle of my sister’s present life was strongly on my mind this morning as I did my morning stretches and yoga. I felt so much for her, I still haven’t visited though everything in my heart wants to be sitting right beside her holding her hand letting her know she is not alone. Yet I also know there come times when WE REALLY TRULY ARE ALONE (and yet for those of us who are graced enough to believe in force of God or love or higher power we also know we are not). The truth is that humans will desert us at times, they will abandon us in our darkest hour and betray our expectation or their own promises and yet despite all of this, there is a place we do have to go with this pain, at least that is what I truly believe. And as Marianne Williamson writes its what we do with our most painful experiences, the meaning we make of suffering, challenges or loss and the gifts we get to give from that place or wound that may show us best how our experience or struggle can help others, it is something that is said a lot in the rooms of AA we get to keep our recovery when we live it and pass it forward.
I watched the portion of This Is Us last night where the character Kevin goes into his addiction meltdown, the episode really cuts deep with me, he sustains an injury that makes it impossible for him to play football and though it was not as devastating as the car crash I went through on another level it meant the loss of a dream for him, his father’s death would follow a short time later (as did my own Dad’s death) so those scenes where he finally touches base finally with the pain and frustrations that have dogged him and with his other episodes of self sabotage really made me cry, then he loses his father’s good luck medal, the one his Dad gave to him when he is in the hospital on one night stand, he collapses to the ground and just prays to God, meeting his own personal rock bottom.
It strikes me that when we are at our lowest, weakest or most powerless, when all has been stripped away and we face our own darkness and demons that God or redemption or a higher power is most closely at hand but we have to reach out and ask and it is then that some force seems to step in to assist us, even though it is we who must do the work; grace attends this decision by making us willing to surrender and embrace and take action for change.
Marianne shares in her book From Tears To Triumph how during her own breakdown she felt a presence around her sitting on the bed in her darkest moments. Later this presence turned up at a cocktail party she called the presence Jesus and told him she was fine now and could manage alone. I guess what she faced was the realisation she had to go and teach and become a healer who helped others to realise there is a new life on the other side of breakdown. This is mostly what I am praying for for my sister. None of us know when that unique personal breakthrough will come for us, no on knows the month or week or day things will turn around inside of us and we will make the decision to go on living life carrying all the knowledge of the pain of things we endured with us, using it as a reminder of how precious life really is and using the power or grace we gained to live for light while carrying a deeper recognition of the healing power of the dark.
For some of us it doesn’t come, for some of us the lure of death with the promise of extinction of our suffering seems better and we make that choice and no one gets to say who will make it. Really in the end it is up to us, but many of us may have luckier breaks, we may meet just the right person or helper or even an enemy who teaches us about a critical lesson or awakens our darker side so that in seeing it we get a chance to grow towards and choose for the light.
For me the recognition of the perfection in life’s trials, pain and disappointments is so important. Can I learn to love the life I have been given fully? Do I have the courage to take the steps to make it better? To choose for love not fear? To reach for connection, expose vulnerability, be real? To find the lesson in the pain? Or just trust the process of leaning into pain or experiences in order that I can incorporate them with as least resistance as possible? To be reshaped by active surrender to life’s troughs and surges?
I have come to believe more in the power of time and prayer and that sometimes we need to ask for help and allow ourselves enough receptivity and patience to wait for it. In time then the sun does break through the clouds, a bright clean clear sunshiny day follows days and days and days of rainy deluge. And then I realise something that my Dad said to us just before he died. “Just remember, life is for the living and life goes on.” For some of us it takes a long time to move through loss, failures, disappointments but the victory comes on the day we finally wake and remember what a gift this day and life is and realise its all up to us to decide how we are going to use it and what meaning we will extract from our life challenges.