Sweet Surrender

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How would it be

If we could enter our innocent heart

And feel the power

Of deep true feelings

Blossoming forth

Like flowers

And set them free

Without care or concern

For the opinions and responses of others

Freed from old imprints of

Shame

Disapproval

Disregard

How sweet that would be

I remember

That funeral

When old unfelt grief poured forth

And I cried like a child

The look of contempt

You gave

I was reaching out with the arms of love

To his grieving grandchildren

Who returned my embrace

And we melted in

They didn’t stiffen and pull away

And I remember too

The tender hugs

Of the other dancers

As we fell spent to the floor

After we danced the element water

On the evening of that painful day

When you came to me in the garden

By the Chalice Well

And told me that you

Who I had loved for eleven years

Now loved another

The child in me cried

For there were layers and layers of loss

But the child in me also danced

With that great abandon

That is the soul’s true release

Revealing how sweet it would feel

To enter my innocent heart

To look upon all of this suffering

With the eyes of a child

Eyes of love

Eyes of hope

Eyes of forgiveness

Holding nothing back 

No pretending

To feel this

To allow this expression

To live deeply centred

In a child’s pure soul

Would be surely be for me

The sweetest

Of sweet surrenders

The Powerful Pull of Isolation

winter drive

I am aware that a lot of the time I withdraw.  I long for the peace and quiet of solitude in which I can be unimpinged upon by forces in the world and breathe a deep breath, touch base with the eternal and inner worlds.  I guess I have a powerful drive towards introversion.  But at times I am aware that this pattern comes out of past pain in relationships too.  And then my heart aches and I feel a longing for the sweetness of true intimacy and connection where two hearts meet, its just I have many experiences of not meeting or being met truely and having felt the pain of hurt, misunderstanding and disconnection.

And it can be hard to be an introvert in a world of extroverts who view any impulse to the inner life or time spent alone as illness or dysfunction. This was the case in my last relationship.  But I also feel there was a caring aspect to a partner who saw me in deep pain and spending significant time alone and thought I would be happier to be more engaged.  It was just a shame he had to disparage my inner world and impulse towards depth and solitude at times.

Over the past few weeks following the end of my radiation treatment I have felt the pull back deep inside but on some level perhaps, too I’ ve been missing the daily connection with other souls as well as the support shown.  I think I haven’t realised either that my body and soul are at present so tired following the huge ordeal of surgery and daily bombardment by radiation.  The burning is subsiding but my body still holds the charge of stored energy on top of all the other trauma I work to contain and process.  I need to really nurture and find ways to comfort myself at the moment. I sense that yesterday’s powerful Cancer moon opposing Pluto gave me a deep glimpse into a deep personal, familial and collective wound yesterday.  I spoke to my Mum and so much pain and anger came out.  She was so loving to me and I had the deepest sense of the wound I’ve carried from the maternal side.  I seemed to touch base with some deep, deep pain yesterday that felt much, much bigger than me. I cried lots over the past few days.

Today I cancelled an appointment. I find it hard not to honour commitments I make but today I did the right thing and cancelled, yet when I did lots of tears fell as I felt sad to be spending another day alone (but while writing this I feel happy too that I made the best choice for me).  I have not seen anyone much for four or more days now and today i will be alone again by choice.

Blogging is my one powerful outlet though which I can be connected while deeply alone.  While blogging everything I’ m thinking and feeling has an outlet and with my new tablet I can write with Jasper on my lap keeping his sights and instincts focused on movements outside the window.  Its cosy and warm and outside dark clouds are gathering, though we have rays of sunlight too.

I’ m comforted by recent comments and words of love from special people who have connected with me through here, they bring me such warm feelings..❤  I have a sense of others who understand that its okay to be introverted, those who have suffered similar wounds and challenges which probably drove them into isolation too and I am aware that being alone doesn’t always mean being isolated, sometimes solitude is a healthy choice that can feel nurturing and bring gifts.

I am becoming aware that often I judge myself in a harsh way having internalised over years the harsh judgement of others who did not understand.  I know I connect deeply in a culture that at times seems committed to superficiality and a lack of depth.  From a young age I fet different, seperate or apart.  I became a watcher, rather than a participant.

At the moment transiting retrograde Mars is squaring my first house Uranus, for the astrologically unaware this represents both a powerful pull towards going aginst the crowd and standing apart as an individual.  It can also show very early experiences of shock and separation which lead someone to detatch or disconnect.  This is the outsider who sees a lot but can feel disconnected.  In the rooms of AA I met alot of people who felt like this.

Addiction often speaks of pain or difficulty with attachment and intimacy.  Healing from it means addressing these wounds in a society that is more than ready to judge you, rather than understand the deeper causes.  To commit to that journey sets us apart but also gives us glimpses into experiences others fear or misunderstand.  Isolation can dog us until we find others who understand. And without that understanding its hard to reconnect and heal. I’m grateful for the times at meetings I could honestly share my own despair and feelings of not belonging that drove me to find comfort in substances.

Well its time for some food…These are just some of my reflections today on isolaion and solitude.  Would love to hear from you about your own experiences.  For in sharing we learn and connect or get new glimpses we may not have seen before.

 

Drink from the Beauty

I have decided that each day I will drink from the beauty all around me, and allow it to rejuvenate my entire Being. All we need to do is pause, for just one minute, and really take it in, remembering to thank Mother Nature for her beauty. This is one of the real blessings of life…

Ashtara.

These are not my thoughts or words but I am posting them up as they are a powerful medicine for me and for my soul.

I am sure I am not alone in putting my focus at times on the difficult things in life. the things that have hurt me or caused me pain.  I know that in loving at times I will lose and there will be pain in the losing and the letting go.  It may be a process I have to work through in order to feel through to my heart, but I can also in the midst of pain look to the things that will bring beauty, peace, love and healing into my life.

When I had separated from my husband a profound period of loss and grief came upon me.  I had a bike accident and a major head injury as a result of a cranio sacral session to deal with a major trauma at 17.  It can happen when we go deeply into the body unconscious that something is triggered and I was not properly grounded by the therapist following the treatment.  The end result was that I crashed and hit my head on an iron foundry.  I date my difficult PTSD symptoms including broken sleep from that time.  When I awake every day I try to check the position of my limbs which seem all out of kilter and then adjust when really I just need to realise I need to get up slowly and orient to my day.

Anyway following the crash I went on retreat to Glastonbury in the UK and while there someone gave me a card with the following words on it:

Rather than focus on all the misery, I would rather remind myself of the beauty that still remains.

I do know that at times this is really, really hard and there is no easy way through grief, but I also know while going through this process we can focus on taking care of ourselves, being loving and surrounding ourselves with beauty and nurture.  This is most essential for our soul thrives on these things. So for today this is my go to thought which I am sharing hoping it touches others too.

 

Facing Fear

I wrote this post just over a week ago.  It turns out that the diagnosis my sister was awaiting was a positive test for breast cancer.  I am posting this today as I walked through the fear of going with her to receive the results on Tuesday.   I am learning that when I feel fear I must reach for a place to love myself through it and take the steps to move forward, rather than letting it paralyse me or hold me back :

I am reaching a point where I want to embrace my fear and take action and still feel hope and love for myself and everyone even in the midst of this fear so that I don’t spin out totally and loose touch with my safe ground.  I also do not want to allow my fear to paralyse me like it does at times.  I think the further I go on this journey the more insight into myself I obtain.

Today I felt a lot of fear as my sister had to go for a biopsy following a routine mammogram.  The results will not be known until Tuesday but I felt immediately scared and began to spin out a little. I used self talk to calm myself and contain the negativity and fear that was arising.  The other thing was the sadness that came up when I spoke to my sister and the realisation, after I got off the phone,  that all of this is occurring at exactly the same time of year as my father was diagnosed with cancer in 1984.

Those memories are pertinent at this time of year, even though it was so many years ago.  I am powerless really over the outcome of the test for my sister.  I can only be there to love and support.  My sister sounded so strong and positive on the phone.  As we spoke she said she had been in melt down earlier, especially after she had spoken to her sons.  I am reminded of the day my mother called to ask me to come and visit her and Dad and Dad had to give me the news of his own cancer.  How hard that must be for a parent.  How painful it was for both of us but the love that was felt too as I crossed the room to hug my Dad and he dissolved in tears.

Until the outcome of the biopsy is known I can do nothing and worry will rob my day from me and keep me paralysed.  At times like this I always think of the serenity prayer

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference

The first step is to figure out if it is something I have any power over to change.  If it is not I can pray for acceptance and serenity and take active steps to put those in my day by engaging in something that brings joy and good energy for me.  If it is something I can change and need to find courage for I can take a deep breath and go forward holding my fear by the hand and acting anyway.

Even if it is a negative result I know I have the resilience to cope.  I was able to be by my other sister’s side in the last days of her life and accept it was time to turn off the life support and let her go.  I could cry and tell her all the things I didn’t get to say to my Dad, as his death was sudden under an emergency procedure and I had been unable to visit him the night before.

Many years ago I could not work through these feelings.  It took until 15 years later for them to come out of the deep freeze and numbing of my addiction.  These days though I miss him, I know I have grieved.  Some days I am still grieving for my sister who has died.  Some days I am grieving for myself and other days for my Mum too.  Grief will not destroy me.  I do not need to fear it.  I need only feel it and know it as part of what it means to love and face the final earthly separation.

My spiritual connection

Where do you feel your spiritual connection?  Do you have a sense of yourself as a soul going on a journey in this life and a sense too of your deeper essence which lives and breathes and beats within you outside of all the myriad distractions and connections of this life?

I am asking this question at present because I am going through a time of realising where and when I feel most deeply connected, the thoughts that I can have that cloud that connection for me and the distractions too.  I am also trying to get a deeper sense of a longing and loneliness I can feel at times and how often I feel that feeling when around certain people in the outer world.  There is a sense of a part of me that is untouched by their concerns on the superficial level and then there is a sense that when I sense someone is suffering something under the front I am deeply connected to that.

I find my spiritual connection in peace and silence, when I am free to just be.  When I get too caught up in doing I can loose my connection.  I can get distracted by temporary things that seem to glitter in the world when I am not more deeply connected.   At the same time some of the things I get attracted too, themselves feel full of spirit for me, a special book, a plant or a flower, a landscape, a dog, even a person at times.  I am beginning to feel that I feel best when I have the time just to ‘be’ to float freely and not become too caught up in cares, worries and concerns of which there have been a lot in my family.

I guess I am realising that what I am now seeking a freedom from in my life is an enmeshment in the troubles of others.  Several years ago my sister’s attempted suicide rocked me to the core.  I was aware that she was in deep pain, that her erratic highs and numbing lows spoke of a wound in her that lay deep beneath the persona that began to grow around her as a young teenager.   When I look at photos of her I see how her face changed and the darkness that had descended.  As a younger sister I was much aware of that.

I was in 12 step recovery programme at the time for families of alcoholics.  I would not say that my sister was alcoholic but we do have the history of alcoholism in our family and also a tendency towards busyness and a tendency to go to extremes.  In this condition there can be an externalisation of a spiritual desire onto a concrete object which does not allow the true spirit or emotion to flow but blocks or diverts it.  Does this make sense?  Its coming from writing from deep within a flow within me at present.

My 12 step programmes focuses on the need we have in recovery to connect to our Higher Power.  To me that power isn’t higher or lower, I see these words of coming out of our modernist split.  The power is within but not at an ego level or level of appearances.  In early recovery I connected to my depth in nature, under the arbour of just such a tree as is the headline image on this blog.

It seems to me lately that is becoming more important for me on any day to connect to nature and then to connect to the stillness of just being with myself and letting my breath flow.  I can get caught up in many memories and pains and fears about the past.  These then capture me.  Also I have the growing need to keep my life simple.

I look around my house in amazement at the things I have accumulated in four years.  I moved into a house then after 7 years of being homeless, everything I owned was in storage for this period.  Actually it is interesting to me at the time Saturn entered my second house I began to bring things out of storage and accumulate things, to build a home, a cocoon and a sanctuary.   Now that Saturn is passing into the fourth house I see what I have accumulated and the way in which I need to cut back from this overextension.

I am also more and more aware of family themes to do with Sagittarius on the cusp of my fourth house.  The history of migration, of my father’s quest to build and then the knocks that occurred as this building process ran away from itself, my eldest sister had stroke and things began to collapse.

As a teenager I was caught up in all the drama that was unfolding around me, but I was also a witness to some very painful things, while struggling myself in less than loving relationships.  With the benefit of hindsight I can look back and see how the oceanic events dragged me in with a deep collective, tidal pull.  Neptune in Scorpio in my 3rd house squares all my personal planets as well as my ascendant and North Node in Leo.

Many years later, in sobriety, in coming to consciousness I was pulled back almost into a frozen state. Several attempts I made to pull away ended in traumatic injury which left powerful Imprints on my body.  Sobriety showed me life was a spiritual journey more than just a material thing, that something was being asked of me in terms of coming to awareness and yet I was not impervious to the questions of those around me.  What are you doing with your life?  Why all of this introspection?  What are you going to build?  How are you going to move forward?  Why are you affected so much?  Why are you so emotional?  (this later one not always a question from them but a shown in a strange expression when I was deeply feeling something.)

I now know that I felt everything very deeply but there was little place to go to sort the tangle out and understand my emotions.  I would have to learn by acting them out and making many mistakes in order to grow in understanding.  Like a confused small child, I also looked towards others.  I had a deficit in mothering and fathering that made me vulnerable in this way.  I did not learn to trust myself and my body as I was not shown that by people around me.  Recovery and sobriety has been all about his journey for me.

It seems to me that this journey to be in touch with who I am as a spirit in matter has been a long one and is one  in which I must learn to trust myself and sort out what I need from the tangle of mixed messages and confusion that surrounds me at times.  I need to look deep inside to find what connects me on any day.   Even if that means living a centred and solitary life, it will not mean a life in which I am out of touch, but in which I am deeply in touch.  For only through being deeply in touch with me, what fills and feeds me spiritually do I feel deeply connected and a part of life.

Being present to the truth

We need to count by touching

Not by adding and subtracting

Mark Nepo

There are thoughts about life and then there is just life, pure and simple as it appears before you in all of its wondrous and at times terrible beauty, as you touch it and taste it, rather than analyse it. What is the story we make of life?  This is a question I am asking myself at present.

Recently when I started my Body Harmony therapy I got a bit offended when the therapist made mention of my being caught up in a story. I guess I thought on some level she was trying to imply that my pain was not real. This week when I just let out the feelings of deep sadness and grief I had trapped inside with very little of the story around it and she placed her hand on me knee and looked into my eyes with true deep empathy and compassion, I got it and I realised my fears that she was yet another person who was going to deny, invalidate and shut me down were unfounded?

My ideas of who people are, are not always right, (sometimes, yes, but not always). I have had two experiences this week with projecting onto two men around me in the park things that were not true when we finally began to talk. These two experiences have left me questioning my view of the world. How much of the story I make up around life and other people is actually real? How much also do I hold back after having decided something upon supposition or past fear will be detrimental to me or difficult or painful

I am not meaning to imply here that the impulse to be protected and safe while we seek healing is wrong, especially if we have been traumatised in the past.  Such damage can create so much fear of reaching out and may block us permanently.

One of the other impacts of trauma is that it captures your attention and takes it to another place where it is no longer so fully present to the sensations of today, instead we are caught up in past sensation or triggered by new ones which echo old and leave us no longer truly and fully present to the external and real in an open, feeling way.

I have tried to express this in an earlier blog about being caught between two worlds. What came up for me this week was how much the illness of my older sister took from me, how much separation came about as a consequence and how much fear of being present to life and love as a result. For some time I have been wanting to go and visit her surviving children, but I have been feeling held back. I know seeing them will bring up pain for me, but also deep joy and a part of me longs to connect while the other fears and holds back.

Another aspect of my past I relived in session this weekwas  the trauma of undergoing my first termination of pregnancy in 1983. It comes as a memory of being laid flat on my back with legs spread wide and pain going up deep inside me and spreading all through my abdomen, a terrible dragging pain which I seem to fight off every morning now when I awaken. When I am feeling all of these painful sensations and then feeling myself so powerfully pulled back to the room I sat in following the procedure with tears falling down my face, the present has faded out of consciousness.

I am being reminded by my therapist to be in present time to bring myself and my focus back to the room while still being aware of the sensation. then rather than thoughts there are deeper body sensations flowing like waves and often tears erupt which evokes a relief of the painful holding on and in. The sense of my heart faltering as tears break through to the surface of consciousness …. I am reminded of how last week when I went to the dentist and they tilted the chair back and then placed a heavy lead coat on me before taking an x-ray I was triggered back to other situations of being laid flat out on my back.

With so many of these deep body memories is it any wonder I struggle each morning to get out of bed? Its interesting to me that the more fully I feel the pain of these experiences, deeply feel it, allow it to move through me and release it, the more joyful desire I now feel to be present and engage deeply with life. My retreat into isolation all those years ago was driven by so much fear. There came a point in my sobriety where I had to begin to feel and engage in the deep pain I had buried. There was a desire to go back somewhere safe, to be in the old environment but also a resistance towards that too. It took me further 10 years to make it back to my home town and it has taken another four to begin to fully engage with the process through a number of stops, starts and replays of separation trauma where intense anger and fear came up for me.

you-cant-expect-to-have-a-deep-relationship-with-a-shallow-person

There is a joy I feel today in feeling real, in having places to go where I am truly seen below the surface by others being real who can see deeply.  Many people don’t touch that depth and they may fear it deeply, I am aware shallow may be a value judgement that doesn’t sit well with me, but I am also aware that in order to heal I need to find places of validation where I am truly seen and can be real in order to touch deeply and engage fully with what lives inside me.

For so many years all of this felt like a deep ocean that would threaten to drown me.  I needed help to navigate and deep sea dive it, it was just too much alone.  What came up too when I shed those tears about my sister and then my Dad’s sudden death was the deep understanding that all those years ago I had no place to express the pain, it got driven deep in my body, I used booze to cope, then there were the painful explosions as others drew close to someone who had a mine field of grief trapped inside her.  I felt true compassion for myself and for everyone else who wanders lost, looking and yet not truly knowing what for until that truth emerges in a difficult to find place which offers support, understanding and recognition.

It can be a long and difficult journey to find the right kind of help.  Having had so many negative experiences I can only say you know when you are in the right place with those who will help you.  it may take some time to trust if you have tried and been hurt before, but don’t stop searching until you find the place where you can be real and present to the deep truth that lives inside you,

The loving gaze

I wrote this post earlier in the week.

As a child we need the loving eyes of the mother to connect with, to mirror us. I had a powerful experience in today’s body work session as my therapist was working with my spine.  I was standing upright and she was touching me gently around the heart, one hand on the front and the other behind.

As usually happens, she was reminding me to breathe. At that moment I had trouble breathing and then I was pulled deeply into a past traumatic time/memory  :  I am in the car with my lungs crushed by the steering wheel and my teeth broken, legs cut with car pieces inside them, searing pain although me, struggling to breathe as my lung is pierced by a rip and fluid flows inward, paramedics behind me with a mask trying to put it over my face which I wanted to fight and twist to push off.

My therapist kept her gaze on mine and I felt anxious at connecting to her gaze being so powerfully drawn in by the trauma and in the session, her gaze became for me an anchor to connect me with present time. My tendency is to dissociate back into the trauma which obviously still lives for me on a body level.

As she was looking into my eyes with love and telling me I was safe a huge well of emotion rose up. Trauma takes you into a lonely place where it seems no one else can accompany you. It is about a split or a removal from a place of connectedness and love where you are flooded with pain and no one can help you or reach you. You feel yourself to be so alone.

On the day of my accident all those years ago I was conscious enough to be able to give the paramedics my mother and father’s telephone number. Mum came to the site of the accident and rode with me in the ambulance. I was lucky to be found. At the time I was so caught up in my own experience I had not consciousness of its impact on others.

I have relived this event in another cranio-sacral session many years ago after which I had a bike accident and the pattern was repeated, except this time I was on the other side of the world with no support, only my ex husband and his mother who didn’t want to have to really be bothered with me. It was a dark and lonely time.

Glimpses of light came. The beautiful girl from my Dad’s home down in Holland who came to help me with my shopping and be a companion when I needed it. I don’t know how I would have survived without her.

And yet then again the family I was with were unable to cope and I made the decision to take myself to Glastonbury and an ashram away from the support of my friend.  This is a pattern for me.  Uranus and Pluto in the first house.

There are imprints and echoes for me at this time of year which represents the time I was in hospital in 1979 in the final term of school unable to attend my graduation and of that journey to the underworld over in England later in 2005.

It takes time to integrate the overwhelming nature of trauma. I am still deep in process. I seem to be making progress.

Last week was hard. I had four days where the trauma pulled me in, what pulls me out each time is talking to someone, my best friend, my Mum or the Lifeline counsellor on the days no one else is answering the phone call.

Without love and connection there is nothing to form  a link into the traumatised reality and the fact it scares others, since we are undergoing enormous fear means we can be abandoned again. As a trauma sufferer who has often lashed out I am grateful for those who understand and don’t abandon me. I think of the times I was alone as a child and there was no set of eyes to see me. To hold me in a loving gaze.

It is something my recently deceased sister used to give me, in the absence of my Mum’s care she was there, until she married and went overseas. In later life in the care home she would often gaze on me with love. She too was traumatised, she was stuck, it’s a family pattern.

I am not entirely sure where this blog has gone. I just came home from the dog park where I have not been able to connect with the group I usually connect to. They are caught up in an easy banter and joking that on some days I just cannot participate in.

I need to just play with my dog and have some simple time together where we are not frozen in place by conversation but are free to move about the park. I am aware today how important movement is for me.

The longing for the loving gaze from the wrong quartes is not as strong now I have the therapeutic support. Being seen, held and understood makes it easier to do this for myself.

For now I want to write about the experience as it so important that those living within a traumatised reality are understood and attempts made to connect with them.

You do not know what even a kindly smile can do for a person who may not have seen or been able to connect with anyone else all day. In the end its love that heals, its non judgemental awareness and presence which makes trauma bearable for us.  Even if you cannot understand, even it scares you, please try.  And if you cannot, please try to be kind.  Do not devastate us more with your misunderstanding, fear and judgement.

Permission to grieve

Can you allow yourself to feel your feelings? Most especially do you feel permission within to go deeply into the grief you feel?

I am writing this post is in response to thoughts and feelings triggered after reading a fantastic blog : The Mourner’s Bill of Rights. (I am sorry I cannot provide the link right now, I am having trouble accessing it.)

When my own grief hit following my father’s death in 1985 I was encouraged to go far away from my family alone to the other side of the world. I was already indulging a lot in addiction as there was so much earlier grief over my accident in 1979 and my oldest sister’s cerebral haemoraghe, psychotic break, subsequent abandonment and loss of her family, as well as her suicide attempt.

In the absence of knowing how to grieve, finding a place and permission to grieve I now know I turned to substances such as alcohol and the lighter drugs. What occurred for me was that my grief got buried and transformed into a frantic search for connection, most especially to men. I would open my body and my heart only to have it broken because my behaviour at times could be very much a push pull dynamic of fear, grief, longing and confusion all tied with a lot of mixed up complex feelings of which grief was one.

As result I had by the age of 31, six terminations of pregnancy over which I felt such shame.  At the same time on some level I was conscious that I did not want to bring a child in the world that I knew I was so ill equipped to nurture and support.

At the age of 31 I got into recovery and my drinking and drug taking stopped, but the emergence of my grieving process took a lot longer. Following my first AA meeting a dam burst inside me as I recognised a place I could let go of an old dysfunctional pattern of seeking relief and reach for healing,  a place where I could be honest about my life.  I heard the words “many of us do recover if we develop the capacity to be honest.”

At many meetings in the early days I would just sit and cry my eyes out, listening to other’s stories, empathising with their pain, connected to my own deeply buried pain.

In time I moved away from meetings and got into therapy after my husband and I moved overseas. In 1999 my grief broke open in therapy, I suffered a very deep depression and I needed the support of 3 days a week therapy. My husband got really angry about this.

I remember one day I was in bed at 10 am as I had been urged to take some time off work (something I NEVER did) for depression by my therapist. My husband came in to the room and shouted at me to get out of bed.  He made scathing comments about how my therapist was only after my money and was constantly asking what we were talking about.  I feel so sad about this now.  He had his own grief too, he just didn’t want to explore or feel it too much.  One day he said to me “I want back the happy girl I married.”

In time I started to feel I could not really go through this process of feeling in my relationship. Rather than move away I clung on and made the decision to move back to Australia to my family which was the very last place I was going to get any recognition of my grief process, and admittedly this ended in much more unhappiness for me.

At one level my Mum was trying to offer support but at the other she was telling me I had to move on and get over it. This now I know has to do with my Mum’s difficulty feeling and sharing her own feelings of grief.

At one point my sister asked my mother to choose who she would rather spend time with following the first Christmas in the four months after my separation Mum decided to spend with me. My mother chose my sister as she told me “she isn’t sad all the time like you”.   I was so angry and hurt but rather than express it I began to get headaches.

Following this I made the decision to move back overseas where I moved in with a family to lodge who sadly treated me in the same way. As I have shared before here I went over the handlebars of my bike one day while living with them and hit my head open and was in hospital for a week. They made it clear I needed to make other arrangements for a place to live as they didn’t want anyone sad in the house.  Their daughter had just lost her best friend and my sadness was an all too painful reminder.

I moved to Glastonbury and attempted more therapy, in time it was so difficult financially I made the decision move home again. I then went into almost total isolation at the coast house my Dad had built in the years just before my accident.

There I just wrote and grieved when I could. I had little support. I see that now. In time I attracted another relationship in which when my grief arose I was met with anger and rage. I clung on, sadly for four years to this relationship.

Four years later I moved back to my family and home town again. Was I mad? What was I hoping for after everything? Validation, understanding, support are the answers. Instead I saw my sister’s descent into more acute bi polar disorder as she struggled herself and met with similar invalidation. I struggled to support my Mum following a painful knee reconstruction that ended up in serious clotting and over the next two years through several hospitalisations.  I also struggled to support my sister as she underwent shock therapy, unending medication and four hospitalisations.

Over the past four years I have been learning a lot about invalidation and how people who try to express true grief can be sidelined or exiled or their process numbed out with excessive medication.  I saw my older sister end up bloated from all the drugs she was given the moment a true feeling tried to burst our of her.  It was a sad story of abandonment and emotional invalidation playing out I have had to feel and witness.  I feel  little scared of being judged, but I wanted to stand by and love my family, or was it too painful to move away.

Going through all of this has taught me truths.  One of these truths is that the injuries we go through leave deep scars. The losses we go through which can be many when we come from an emotionally non nurturant or distant, preoccupied family like mine can be subtle and deep. There is also the deeper multigenerational sadness that we may unconsciously carry if we are attuned in this way. The legacy we have been handed to address and heal can be a painful one. I do believe that one person in the family may be the designated carrier for the more deeply painful emotions.

We can see this on an astrological level when there is a connection between our personal planets, Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury and Mars and the planets Saturn, Neptune and Pluto. Strong Pluto aspects most especially show that it is our fate to undergo a descent into loss at some stage in our life, a loss which has a deeply transformative effect on our soul.

But in terms of the Pluto connection we may also encounter deep resistance within ourself or others from going there or even of letting go of the wounding and injuring patterns.

The truth is that we need to give ourself permission to feel and grieve, most especially in a society that may be defended against suffering grief and may exile those who are grieving or present them too much with shadow stuff others do not want to face.

In my own case I am still on the journey to accept and feel my own grief. I am finding more support now in this process after many challenges, stops and starts along the way.

When my oldest sister died last year I was able to grieve a small amount with her sons. There was an attempt at one point by her oldest son to shut the process down and turn the whole event into a “celebration”.  This son in particular struggles so much to accept his own painful feelings of grief and powerlessness over how his father abandoned my sister following her illness all those years ago.

In another case I was told by the second son’s wife that I needed to live my life for Jude now, rather than be pulled down by grief. A few years ago I could not have stood up to this in a kind way and spoke for my need to feel and grieve but this year I was able to.

My purpose in writing this blog is to encourage those out there who are undergoing grief to feel it deeply, to seek out those people who will help you to express it and to avoid those people who try to invalidate you and shut you down.

I do believe that so much of aborted mourning goes into addictions and war. Just look at what happened after 9/11 with the “war on terror”. That was during the last Saturn Pluto opposition in the signs Gemini and Sagittarius 14 years ago. At the moment Saturn has entered Sagittarius and will soon aspect Pluto again. Have we learned anything since then about the powerful reactions to and defences we can mount against fully feeling our grief and the powerlessness we feel when tragedy strikes?

For me I know I have gone a long way along in my grieving process and found ways to tap in, I also know at times my blocked grief and need to assert and express has led to painful body symptoms.  Our minds can lie but our bodies know the truth.

Grieving is not easy, it makes us tired and takes a lot of energy but it is also deeply enriching for in our grief is the love we felt for what we lost and what had value. Grieving allows us to let go eventually into the depths where we can feel most deeply the voice of our own soul.

Grieving itself may be our own dark night.  It is a process and we dont have a lot of control over it, but we can surrender to it, allow it a voice and a channel.  We can also expect to meet misunderstanding and misjudgement from some people.  Never the less trust your grief, give it a voice, don’t let anyone take that precious if painful gift away from you.

The importance of validation

Do you have a really good friend who sets your world back to rights when you get a little mixed up, uncertain, filled with confusion?

I am blessed to say that I do. This friend is a lot like me, he never judges me, he shows me understanding, when I am confused and stuck in self judgement as a result of my invalidating past, he sets me straight in the nicest way by valuing, validating and putting out a sane and balanced point of view.

This happened to me today. I was feeling like there was something wrong with me. In a body work session some deeply buried anger and grief at not being supported or loved when I was grieving by a few rigidly defended members in my support group 7 or so years ago came up. I had an outburst about it in the therapy as I was tapping into the feelings in my body work session.

At the time, all those years ago I had stuffed the distress and upset in my body. When I came home I put on loud music and danced around the room in a frenzy and as a result I ended up falling backwards and hitting my shoulder very painfully against a lounge chair arm with a steel casing. This is quite funny as I read it back and it not sound like a very traumatic injury but it really hurt me and it came one year following a major head trauma I suffered overseas, on the first anniversary of my husband making the decision to end my marriage.

I now see how stuck I was at the time, still very bonded to a family with lots of unresolved trauma in both my family and myself. When the second injury occurred I was isolated and living alone in a coastal town without any support or daily contact with anyone but my support group on one day a week. I didn’t have a therapist which I now know is essential to healing and I could not move forward to make a new start. I was too traumatised. The bridge of trust to the outside world and others was broken due to past invalidation and lack of emotional support.

My family suffered from a difficulty in showing empathy, unconditional love and I now see it was a mistake to look to them. I needed to build a sense of support within myself from knowing who I truly was, what I had suffered and the extent to which my grief over past difficulties including the loss of my father had impacted on me. I only realise all of this now though, with the gift of hindsight.

It is only lately that I am able to feel the true pain of the things I carried and struggled with, without self judgement. I didn’t really have a place to go to fully express my aching soul.

I am so grateful to have come across a wonderful blog online here : The Invisible Scar through following a post, reblogged on yet another site by Robert Goldstein yesterday. This blog is related to informing people about the impact of emotional abuse in childhood, abuse which is not as obvious as overt physical abuse but never the less leaves deep scars on the psyche and soul which are invisible.

This invisible wound or scar aches, throbs and burns. In my own case I have felt this wound to self like a piece of schrapnel which is lodged deep within me, which moves around, is sometimes soothed and receeds into the back ground from a time, and then comes to consciousness in pain especially at night when the unconscious makes itself more conscious on a somatic level. I am working with a body work therapist now to understand and help with the total immobilisation I suffer on some days.

I am not sure if in today’s bodywork session my anger was fully validated by the therapist. She looked a little taken a back. My anger wasn’t directed at her it was at the old situation. She said to me “you know it is okay to be angry”. Part of me doesn’t truly believe this to be so. She questioned me as to whether I was in the present or past when I was feeling it. I have always been able to keep a check on my anger in that I won’t lash out at others and am very much aware it is of the past. At times I have projected and transferred it but it doesn’t take me long to get a handle on it. It first began to emerge over seven years ago after Chiron passed over my natal Mars Saturn Moon, I would allow myself to scream and shout or hit something after removing myself to a safe space.  I would also express it in my journal often tearing up the page through about seven layers with the pen after laying down an angry scrawl. Then after many years the grief under the anger began to make itself felt.

I know at times I have scared others and even when I have not hurt them they have tried to make me feel my anger has hurt them and I am bad or wrong for feeling it.  Today I know that feelings just are, emotional invalidation is to judge someone’s feeling as wrong if it challenges you and the to try and manipulate them to change.  I have suffered this at the hands of my family many times.

This kind of invalidation has had to happen several times for me to see it wasn’t my problem, but theirs especially if they tried to demonise me for it.   At the time these reaction made me feel that it was NOT okay to be angry. But I beginning to trust that when I feel angry some kind of boundary has been violated or I have been abused subtly. I now have a good therapist who can help me in this.  As my  awareness has grown, I don’t have to vocalise as much and can take steps to deal with it. When I do I can ask myself how I have been triggered.

My catholic education led me to believe anger was wrong and yet justified anger is what is needed most to protect our spirits from violation. In the temple Jesus showed real anger with the sanctity of the space was violated by the money lenders.

My being, soul and body is my own temple. It’s a temple that has often been invaded, in childhood by having procedures forced on me like painful orthodontic treatment to improve my bucked teeth, a haircut of long hair off I didn’t want or need, through to injuries from parental neglect or lack of care and attention. Once I  got third degree burns to my foot after my Mum placed a boiling hot bucket of water on a step near to where I was drawing which I stepped into. My arm was pulled out of socket by her pulling me back. Once I cut open my wrist and nearly severed the tendons after being locked outside the house. The key to the house had not been put back on the hook and when I came home I was locked out and ended up breaking a window which cut my wrist open. I ran down to the neighbours and they took me to hospital but when the cut happened I felt so scared and alone.

In addition as a child I learned to orient myself around my mother’s needs, it was the only way to get her attention which was focused almost solely on her business and keeping the house and us perfectly clean, tidy and controlled. She was never there after school to care, cherish, nourish and support. I found myself in tears yesterday after seeing the support being offered to someone who was being mentored for singing.

Reading about similar issues on the blog of The Invisible Scar has made me realise where the emptiness, loneliness and sadness of my late childhood and early adolescence came from. I sought relief from it through addictions from my late teens on and caused myself even more damage through picking people who could not support or validate me.

I feel a certain anxiety even writing all of this, a fear of judgement, inner voices telling me I am being narcissistic and self obsessed. Whose voices are these?. That is part of not feeling very strong in my own sense of self.

Those of us recovering from this kind of history know how long it takes, how painful the road and how necessary it is to have those who can validate us along the way. My friend that I mentioned earlier does that for me. There was a period a few years ago when I had to let go of some friends who seemed determined to blame me and shame me. It was a painful lesson but in the end I was better off alone, hard as that was. They had no idea of how trauma had trapped me, how jangled my nervous systems was.

Now I am lucky enough to have my best friend as well as others online and a very good therapist who support the part of me that is truly me and trying to emerge, that unconsciously carries all the body memory of violation and is working hard to integrate these into awareness.

Without them I don’t know if I could have made sense of my twisted world or of the body symptoms I have suffered from repressed feelings. I am beginning to attain clarity into my past by listening to what has been buried in my body. In releasing it, in acknowledging it, I heal.

For this to happen I need first external validation and help in understanding how I can be confused when those threatened or unaware or unconsciously triggered in their own defences seek to invalidate me.

Blogging gives me a voice, a place to share, and reading others blogs helps me to recognise we are all in this together and have much to teach and learn from each other along the journey of healing. Through hearing your story I can heal and I hope by hearing mine you can too. xo