Did I go through all this suffering to awaken?

When the Storm Is Over

Going through a serious illness and operation makes you so much more aware of life.  You question the life you have been living until now, the intuitive feelings you may have had but ignored.  You regret the times you ran around just being busy for the sake of it and because you found it too hard to just sit still in peace.  You also see the times an inner voice told you to reach out but fear or some other negative message stopped you.

And then the love that is shown to you makes you question all that you thought others thought about you.  In my own case I see where my own thinking has strayed towards the negative so often, how I have limited myself by past pain.

The thing about pain and hurt is that it makes you withdraw.  It makes you contract into yourself.  You contract into yourself in order to protect yourself and you don’t even realise this at the time, its just a very natural response.  And by all means we need to be able to be with ourselves in pain especially after an operation where in our skin has been cut through or after other painful experiences when our body, heart or mind is wounded in some way and yet the way we think about these things also plays a huge part in generating more pain.

It is interesting to me how this whole process of surgery has mirrored for me the pain of things being put into me and done to me that I did not want put into me or done to me when I was much younger and how that pain has replayed and repeated in an unconscious way.  I have seen how in response to that unconscious pain that had no place to process I had sought relief in alcohol and drugs.

Certainly there is a need to sit still with ourselves in pain, to feel the pain, to understand the pain, to learn lessons from the pain but hopefully the result of all of this pain borne with is that we learn how precious a gift life is and we don’t continue to retreat and withdraw into a place from which we can give no longer.

Still in the paradoxical way my mind is working at present a part of me is also saying as I write that life today is moving too fast on an outward trajectory and there is a need I feel to withdraw into the space where I can be in touch with my inner world and be still, to find a place of peace that does not become torturous by overthinking.

This inward turning is not about contracting but about expanding inwardly so that we can touch life. It is not about disconnection at all because we all have an entire universe inside of us and through this place we deeply connect to others on an energetic plane too.

So much of life lately seems to be about compulsive busyness and outward turning and there can be a kind of contraction in this in that in a state of busyness we are focused only on doing something or getting somewhere more than on being awake and alive and touching the present moment with all of its blessings, and most especially touching nature which has a soothing refreshing balm that could heal our jangled nervous systems.

I was never more conscious of the contrast between the contracted human world and the expansive natural world than after four days in hospital.  My body was going through all kinds of pushes and pulls due to the needles being stuck into me, vital signs being taken, pain from the surgery, comings and goings of staff and visitors as well as the swelling of all kind of feelings deep within me of trauma and old feelings being catalysed by the surgery and contacts with people I had not heard from for some time.

On Sunday night the pain from the twisting and turning was so bad I felt like I would explode. I had to walk the corridors of the hospital in order to contain it, and then at the break of dawn when the outside doors opened I went into the garden amongst the roses there and walked on the grass with bare feet.  The entire surrounding was full of vibration, energy and hum.  It felt like a benediction.  I could feel nature was expansive.  I had left the contracting and contractive world of the man made hospital and felt like I was literally in heaven.  There was a soft breeze that blew against my skin and much of my pain left me.

I then had to return to the ward in preparation to leave.  As I did something once said to me at an Al Anon meeting came to mind.  He said that at an AA meeting that week he heard GOD referred to as the Great Out Doors.  God in nature that is what I had felt.  I had felt the healing power of nature.

Two days later I am back at home.  There has been times of contraction, more spins, pain then the expansion of love shown to me and the deep relaxation that has been able to happen as others have responded to my need for care.  It occurs to me that responding and compassion are expansive expressions.

There have been the attempts at reaching out and expressing, the sweet experience of friends arriving to share food and then being called away by work dramas.  I have been able to sit still and be for a time, just to rest and feel the breath.  I have contemplated so much of my past pain.  I have realised that even though it is past at times it still flares up.  I guess this is what Eckhart Tolle calls The Pain Body.

Sometimes my pain body is very active.  I have a find radar for pain in any case.  Last night a friend brought around a documentary about a musician who had a very hard life, was extremely talented and only found true recognition much later in life.  He never identified himself as a Super Star, though others were trying to fix him with this label.  He sweetly and calmly laughed it off.  The documentary touched me in the deepest way, his humility touched me in the deepest way.  It made me question all the times I have felt the need to share about my pain and in sharing about it have released it, but on other occasions kept it alive and made something huge of it.  How much have I held onto the pain too much by remembering.  But I do know this remembering is necessary and just being able to feel others pain as well as my own is a gift, shows me that I am connected and not numb anymore.

And it occurs to me that sometimes it is more expansive to be with the pain without words and feel the pain than to identify with the pain, it is a fine line distinction, difficult to articulate.   And probably as humans our entire relationship with pain is problematic.

As I am writing this blog some words of the Buddhist monk Thich Knat Hahn have come to me:

Take care not to water the seeds of suffering within you

Water the seeds of peace

Perhaps there is a way to be with pain that does not hurt us but heals us, that does not convert pain into suffering.  And/or maybe there is a way to hold our pain tenderly within and birth from it the seeds of wisdom, love and compassion.

Some words that astrologer Liz Greene has written about the Saturn Pluto experience (which colours my emotional moon) come to me now.

Saturn Pluto is about wisdom born through the purification of suffering

and the ordeal by fire (Pluto)

At the conclusion of pain held tenderly and in full consciousness comes wisdom and forgiveness and peace.    The burning ground is what we walk through to get there.  In time the flames have done their work with us and find ourselves transformed in some way.

My prayer :

God help me be willing to surrender to these transformations

to shed the past so I can live free

awake and alive to the present moment

using all that I have experienced to help others

keep my ears and inward listening open

to the heart beat of love

 

 

Reflections on Connection and Love

Another blog I wrote in October last year, being set free from drafts. 

I do feel the astro energy shift throughout the year, and when we move from a time of air (Libra) to a time of water (Scorpio) and deep dark water at that, my soul feels it and resonates at some level, today I have been feeling deeply emotional.

Both signs are about relationships but I’ve been thinking about Scorpio today, of the slow, quiet intensity of longing for connection and love, of the earliest attachments which give us or don’t give us a sense of this love and connection or alternatively leave us with  a sense of being lost and longing for a place to be, to rest, to find comfort and connection.

Today I connected with my lovely nephew. He is the third son of my oldest sister who died last year and who I miss so much, as we shared that kind of deep connection where it is enough just to be in each company and no words are necessary to be spoken because there is an understanding and love that reaches beyond what words can convey.  I must say I don’t really have this feeling with any other member of my family and I do feel a deep connection to this particular son of my sister.  He has a wide open heart.  In his company it is possible to be and to feel.

I was sharing in a blog last week about the fear I have at times around connecting, knowing that when I do connect the essence of my sister who lives in her sons will be touched and bring me to tears, but the tears remind me of how precious love was, how important my sister was to me and how hard it was to watch her suffer.  That love will never die.  What she gave to me lives inside of my heart like a gift.  I can draw on it in my sad moments.

I needed this calm, kind presence and acceptance today which I found with my nephew.  I was really struggling and I spoke to the Body Harmony therapist when overwhelmed and the outcome was a huge discussion about the repetitive nature of trauma which she witnesses occurring as a story is told over and over.  I’ve shared about it in another blog and I don’t quite get it, I must say, though my mind is open to her views, but I wasn’t really up for an intellectual discussion about the semantics of trauma.

My nephew and I weren’t sharing any ‘stories’ as such but we did share some feelings about my sister which was more of a comfort and  felt so healing for me as part of what the therapist had asked me was what I might like to say to my other family about the grief I struggle with, what I might need from them.

At first it was hard to articulate but then it came to me I would like us to be able to sit together and share our feelings. The truth is that with some members of my family this is difficult, they would rather keep them private.  So I am lucky to have this relationship with my nephew.

I guess its enough to say that just acknowledging this need at the time was enough for me.  Presently the Body Harmony therapist is trying to get me to shift my focus onto what comes next outside and beyond my trauma, my other therapist (who takes a different view) has pointed out the Body therapist’s anxiousness to move me forward.  She hasn’t said if it is wrong or right because she is a different person altogether, one who is more comfortable with depth.  I understand the wisdom of what the Body therapist is saying, I just wonder how realistic it is.  I have lots of good days which she doesn’t witness.  I came away from the conversation feeling a bit of a failure.

In short I’ve had a bit of a negative reaction to the BH therapist today.  I was trying to share with her something and she cut me off in the middle with a misplaced observation, when I gently confronted her she thanked me and I think she felt surprised.  I’m beginning to wonder if I don’t feel better in my own skin when I am not working on my trauma too much, just finding myself in a place of calm acceptance and surrender.

What also helped me was opening up an anthology of poems, one of which I have also posted today.  This poem put me in touch with my heart.  It was a poem about meeting and greeting yourself with love.

Lately I have been playing myself love songs too.  One of my favourites is The Way You Look Tonight. One of my favourite lines in the song is.   “You’re lovely, never, never change.”  This is the exact opposite of what other people who have not truly loved me have told me over the years.  I was sharing about it with my nephew today who has found a warm, true, deep love of his own.   He told me how he is loved in and through, even his most challenging issues and traumas he developed from loosing his Mum for a nine year period when he was small.

I am so very glad he has found this love but it does bring home what is missing in my own life and what has wounded me too.  And yet, as I consider it, I have to ask myself the question.  “Isn’t it enough for me to find and express self love in this life?”, for without it I am truly lost.  It would be lovely to share my life with someone who could just love me for me, but in the absence of this can I love myself enough?   The thwarted longing for connection can throw me back on myself and there will be times when the longing like an accurate arrow will find and lodge in its target.  But I will always be returned to me, to the gift of my own company.  The deeper question is this, Can I love and accept what I find there? Can it be enough?

I’m beginning to see how much I push myself forward on some days.  When my father died I was pushed to go overseas alone, it wasn’t a good time to be travelling alone.  That pattern has repeated resulting in me moving away when what I most needed was a cocoon, comfort, acceptance, tenderness and safety.

After the last painful relationship in which I sacrificed my needs to follow his, I finally found and began to build my own refuge.  Maybe its time to realise that all I really need to heal is here.  That what went down though so painful had a core lesson embedded deeply within it.

There seem to be so many voices around us in society telling us we need more than we have.  The truth is there is abundance we can find when we find ourselves present and awaken in a precious moment where we experience that we are and have enough.

Getting in touch with my inner child

As I am going deeper and deeper in my therapy I am becoming much more aware of the pain of my inner child and her struggle to bond and connect. A little while ago I was lucky to come across a book called Addiction as An Attachment Disorder,  by the psychotherapist Philip J. Flores.

In this book he explains how when we have difficulty attaching as a child to a parent, difficulty in being mirrored, affirmed and understood, we have difficulty connecting later both in our relationship to ourselves and our emotions and as a result in our relationship to other human beings.

In the vacuum that forms we learn to attach to substances, which seem to fill the void left but don’t actually do so, with the result we are left even more hungry and filled with despair on an emotional level. It is easy to see how overconsumption and addictions result when we are this out of tune and don’t know what the hunger and pain is really about.

When we seek sobriety and remove the addiction we are left with the deep hole that emotional neglect has left.  We also, at first, find it difficult to make sense of and understand complex needs and feelings we never learned to understand and regulate  growing up.

It seems to me that then if we are in 12 step programmes we may come to believe the wrongly that the fault is in us, in a sense it is in that we are reaching for the wrong thing to fill us up now, but on another level we were not responsible for the fact that in being unable to bond with a caregiver, receive validation, comfort, nurturing love and understanding we naturally reached for substances, things and relationships to fill the void that was left and failed to mature.

However we are responsible in sobriety to learn what the wound of emotional neglect, failure to bond and lack of connection to our feelings and to needs and to others is really about.  The true nature of our childhood wound needs to be understood and grieved on a real level, rather than medicated with the wrong things.

Healing involves acknowledging what happened, mourning what we missed, longed for and never really received so that that pain becomes the fuel to recover and make healthier choices.   It also involves a long journey to become aware of ourselves and our feelings and needs as well as those of others.  One legacy of a wounded or damaged inner child is that our capacity to see others as separate may not have developed adequately.

One way we may try to heal  a wound of emotional neglect is that we become the parent or the caring one for our emotionally absent parent in an attempt to bond. When we were young if we were emotionally sensitive we probably felt their deep wound any way. I know this was true for me.

Later in life we may try to heal both wounds through caretaking. The truth is our caretaking cannot heal the original wound in either of us. It is a huge wake up call to realise a long way down the track what we may have sacrificed in our own life in order to do this while not being fully conscious.

This is where I find myself today. I found myself mourning so deeply today after a telephone call to my Mum. I was left with the deepest sadness and pain of my inner child over her insensitivity to my own needs that went so far back and I was also full of sadness for her insensitivity to her own feelings. Despite the fact of the anger and pain she has caused me for my own neglect, I still feel sad for my Mum who seems to have no way of expressing the deep grief she holds and has been carrying for years, to the extent now that her legs are all swollen with fluid and she is on all kinds of medications.

It is being pointed out to me in therapy that her sadness is not mine to carry, but still at times I feel powerless in the redeemer role I set for myself.

Today I really sat with my inner child after this conversation with my Mum. I felt anger and hatred towards her at the same time I felt the deep, deep longing for her love. While sitting with myself and allowing all of this pain to rise up I said to my inner child.

“Little Debs, please tell me about your pain growing up, I really want to hear you and be there for you and to know how it was for you. I want to give you comfort.”

Lots of tears came and my child took me back to the times I was in a world of adults wandering around feeling invisible and longing to have my feelings and true needs noticed instead of ignored. It felt like I wandered so very long and was so very lost and confused for so, so long looking for the path home to me, making connections watching them break when my rage came out then understanding the pain underneath.  Trying to give love to both sisters in their damage, pursuing finally my own addiction recovery only to discover I was deeply co-dependent myself and had so much work to do to grow.

I was also made aware of the many times I ignored my own true needs and feelings.

“Why won’t you listen to me when I tell you what I need?” my inner child cried.

“I have been in so much pain, I need for you to feel the pain, to hold it in order to gain understanding.”

In contemplating this dialogue and through some of the investigation I have been doing into anger and pain lately I am beginning to realise the difference between acting out pain and holding it consciously in love, working through and processing it, without stuffing it.

Often I have acted out my pain and fear in rage. At the time I did not realise that was what I was doing. I did it in my last relationship where I was hurt deeply by similar behaviours of ignoring and neglect and downright insensitivity that mirrored my child hood. But acting out my rage never served any purpose but to show me where my needs were not being met and it often led to me feeling deeply ashamed.  There had been no conscious adult there to hold my child’s rage.  For me the healing only came after the acting out when I could realise this, grieve it and act in a healthier way on what I needed to do for me.

I am conscious lately that there is no where to go in my family to get my true feelings acknowledged. The truth is that only I can do that for myself and the curious thing is that often when I stand firm and true in this way and acknowledge my own feelings they sometimes get validation from my family. I do get my feelings acknowledged in therapy and often on and through blogging, reading blogs and sharing. I thank God for those sweet victories.

Coming to know what my true feelings are is so important, understanding that they were not met in childhood and how suppression of that truth led me to addictions has been a long journey in sobriety for me (It has taken over 20 years).

It seems to me that any encounter I have with my family of two (sister and mother) ends up in hurt for me. It has taken me over four years of different hurts occurring to see this. I am the one who sets myself up for it by hoping it will be better next time. At the same time I am realising that asking for intimate connection with people who are not intimately connected to themselves is not realistic. However, the hurt that comes when I see them doing things together taps the old wound that I am on the outside.

As a child I felt on the outside my sister and mother worked together. At one point this sister was a boss to me, a very tough boss. I am on the outside but it doesn’t need to be a lonely place if I am there for me. Even now they are forming an alliance of two, but today when I shared about all of this with my therapist she said “that must feel really painful seeing them do things together but the point is they aren’t really connecting, they are just doing things together.”   The truth is I feel most deeply connected when I am in touch with my true needs and feelings with or without them.

After being with my inner child to day it seems to be that for so long my inner child had nowhere to go to get her true feelings heard. In my last relationship silencing of my true feelings was essential to being accepted.

It is now so important that I be there for me. That I listen to my inner child’s pain, that I hold her hand and tell her that her feelings matter. It seems clear to me that the only healing that can come for me now is in being my own parent. Understanding how emotional neglect led to here means also being diligent in taking steps to ensure that such emotional neglect no longer continues from within me.

I also need to find a place for this child in me to grow and to connect with others in a healthy way, that does not involve caretaking. I long to connect to others and don’t always know how for today that is all I can express.

The wound in my child throbbed today, I felt the scars both on the inside and being coughed out too.

For today I just have these realisations, new realisations on a path of recovery that goes on. I am feeling so young today. I am aware that I have not fully matured because for years I seem to have been stuck in pattern of looking outside for mothering and fathering. There is pain in that (and some shame too) and awareness of much more work that need to be done to allow myself to grow in new and healthier directions.  And yet I am growing.

Sometimes it is tough work to allow myself to feel this vulnerable but I do know that in allowing the vulnerability to be and to be seen I grow in strength and authenticity.

Growing Inside

Wisdom comes with the ability to be still.

Just look and just listen,

No more is needed.

Being still, looking, and listening

activates the non conceptual wisdom

within you.

Let stillness direct

your thoughts and actions.

Eckhart Tolle

Sometimes when I am growing inside, life doesn’t feel very comfortable.  New knowledge and insights may be coming to me about my life, places of darkness or feelings that in the past I have buried and not been fully able to recognise.  There is a part of me that can tend to resist change when this happening.  There is a part of me that wants things to always be in balance, that wants things to stay the same but life is not like that.  It keeps throwing me curve balls and showing me things I didn’t see or know before.  This is part of what recovery is for me.  There is a part of me that can judge things as bad that push me out of my comfort zone.  It is only lately that I am beginning to see that this part of me holds me back from life and growth or has in the past.

Today after a long walk with Jasper I came back to the house and went into the garden.   Over the past months things have been bursting into life, Plants that were previously dormant now are fully in bloom and starting to go over.  There is a lot of work today and I quickly become overwhelmed.

When I purchased this house just under four years ago I was pushed into it at the auction.  I made the mistake of taking my mother along and she egged me on when the price went over my budget, offering to lend me the money.  I tried to stand firm on my boundary but at the last moment I collapsed it and was pushed forward. It is a beautiful house but I now feel it was a bit insane to have committed to a house this size for just one person.  At times I can almost feel that the house is eating me alive in that there is so much to do and due to my isolation and PTSD I have brought too many things at times in the absence of finding other ways of connecting and expressing my energies.  I am seeing this about me at the moment and a little while ago I had to sit still with myself and just let myself cry.

I would have preferred to have been given my parent’s support than to have been given money or pushed forward in ways that I didn’t feel were right for me, in terms of my values and overextension.  These realisations fill me with sadness, but within that I have to accept it and see it before I can make a change.  I am seeing my own tendency to overextend, to need to be overly busy and stressed instead of just being able to rest in the moment with peace.

I’ve had my moment of meltdown now.  It passed rather quickly.  I know these outer circumstances of my life are just window dressing, in my soul I am not really imprisoned by these things, for at any moment things could change, I could make the decision to let it all go, life is not static, though sometimes I wish that it was.  Perhaps it is a reaction to having a lot of change forced on you, going through loss, learning the impermanence of life that makes the wish to hold on more pervasive.  I see at times how I have struggled with things and how I may have looked for someone or something to blame.

Sometimes people were doing their best and it hurt me, it probably wasn’t their intention but for what ever reason they could not always see my need, at other times they could and perhaps tried to force changes on me that I was not quiet ready for. In many ways I feel this happened four years ago when I bought this house.  Was it right or was it wrong?  Perhaps it was neither and perhaps it was both.  Perhaps things are not always simple, but complex too.

With a lot of planets in my seventh house ruled by Aquarius on a personal level but on an archetypal level by Libra, I tend to look at situations from at least two different perspectives. I am always open to the idea that there may be a different way of seeing things, my perspective is only mine and no one else’s though certain others may share it.  And just sometimes the perspective of others that I resist has lessons for me  Lately as hard as I try I just cannot see things from a black and white perspective.

As I sat with myself today and just experienced feeling overwhelmed and helpless, curiously things shifted for me.  I am only just beginning to see the power of my own mind to project and colour things with filters.  I am learning to remind myself to stay open to new ways of seeing and to open too to the possibility that what I think of others may not always be true.

When I am growing inside like this it isn’t always comfortable for me or easy, and nevertheless I am beginning to feel grateful even for all the difficult experiences of my life, times when not getting what I thought I needed led me along a different path of growth and times when getting what I didn’t really want forced me forward in other new ways and helped me to see tendencies of myself I had not seen before.

It seems to be that as long as I can be still at these moments when I am feeling the discomfort of the inner and outer impinging upon me and within me I will find a way through.  I wont freak out as much or whip myself into more distress than is necessary.  There is a growing witness inside me that can listen to all the different voices and perspectives and sort out the ones that relax me rather than stress me.  This witness supports me and holds my hand at the times I would have previously freaked out, it helps me to self soothe and to calm and for that change and growth, I am enormously grateful.

When Love meets Fear

How comfortable is it for you when someone looks deeply into your eyes? This blog which I wrote a few days ago was prompted by a comment received on a recent blog The Loving Gaze from myblackspotblog. I have often felt uncomfortable when being looked at deeply. I can at times feel the shutters of my soul wanting to close, and a similar feeling was expressed in myblackspot’s comment. This got me to thinking and wondering if, when being looked at, old fear, pain or experiences of being seen into and misunderstood are evoked when we are being looked at, and whether also there is a fear of being invaded or invalidated due to that having happened to us in the past.

Or is it something deeper, something to do with a deeply private interior part of us that is not always so comfortable with being seen and needs to keep a place of separation or sanctity where we can just feel free to be, safe from scrutiny?

I am aware of something within me, that I experience a great fear of being shamed, of not getting something right and perhaps then of being rejected. In my last relationship as we began to connect more deeply, or try to, a lot of painful feelings arose for me, feelings that were not that comfortable for my partner and which he could not validate. This echoed old experiences of difficulties with mirroring.

What occurs for the child who is not mirrored or is told to feel differently or that what they feel is wrong is that we begin to adopt a false self or a mask as we begin to hide who we really are, how we truly feel. For the narcissist, as I understand it, the vulnerable self having been in childhood so rejected and exposed to punishment, invalidation and shame goes so deeply into hiding and his or her pain then becomes inaccessible or buried, often it will be projected on others.

The projected self that had to be discarded and judged as too bad, vulnerable, wrong or painful to face then becomes rejected in the other.  The fully blown narcissist is not aware of any painful or difficult aspects of the self, these all belong to others. It’s a very difficult situation to be on the receiving end of and it is one we need to be very aware of as we begin to heal early childhood trauma and experiences of being shamed, abandoned, punished or humiliated in unloving ways for just being a very human self with very human emotions parents may not have been able to deal with.

I am currently reading a book which deals with experiences in childhood that lead to borderline personality disorder. It speaks of the difficulty certain children face at the time they go through the beginning of the separation/ individuation process with mother. The psychological health of the child is dependent very much upon the mother’s ability to deal with frustration, anger, sadness and other responses which are evoked in the child as a response to steps toward connection and separation, dependency and independence.  A healthy mother can tolerate these powerful emotions without humiliating the child.

This process is very difficult for the mother if she never received containment of painful emotions herself as a child and as a result learned to distance and distrust her own painful emotions. The borderline personality disorder that can develop out of such painful interactions with Mum leads to a difficulty with accepting painful emotions in the self.

With such experiences of early wounding we seek to find ways to numb, suppress, cover over or project the painful feelings we are feeling. Since we have never learned how to be with the difficult feelings and found healthy ways to regulate and self soothe we seek this through less effective ways and often learn to keep our painful emotions under wraps, tending then to explode when the pressure builds too much.

In addition if we were looked on harshly when we were suffering or angry, or scared or sad, or even excited or extremely happy we may begin to feel an internalised shame for feeling such feelings which then become bound in shame. Later in life when we encounter these difficult states and even if we ae being looked on with love, this may feel very threatening to our soul.  We may unconsciously feel deep shame and fear or even terror.

I well remember the first time I had to stand up in front of a crowd at an AA meeting and expose my own true self who lived behind the mask of the false self.  I was both frightened  and ashamed.  Luckily I found the strength to be real. I remember how free I felt after enduring this fear and unmasking.

After posting my recent blog I received a comment from telllingheavysecrets saying how important she has found it to her recovery to look upon herself with the love she sought from others. THS expressed how she realised that for most of her life she had been looking everywhere for that loving gaze.

The truth is we cannot fully heal in isolation, especially if we have developed shame and frozen emotions due to an invalidating and traumatising past.  It is going to take some help from healthy individuals who can gaze on us in love, even when we are in painful and difficult states of mind and emotion if we have learned to despise or distrust these ourselves.

I remember a little way along in my relationship with my last partner who had narcissistic injuries expressing empathy for his kindness in some matter and he hit the roof. I had the audacity to imply that he was human and vulnerable in some way. How dare I? At the time the power of his rage scared me. He took himself off into the backyard and started hammering something ferociously. At that point I had really seen into him, and he did not like it. I got an angry roar. It has taken me some healing myself to understand why.

Today I am glad that for me my ability to take in the loving gaze from someone is increasing. What is even more important for me to learn to look on myself with the eyes of compassion when I am in a trauma invoked state. I take on board very deeply the advice of the Buddhist monk Thich Knat Hahn who advises to treat oneself and one’s pain as tenderly as one would a little child.

The loving parent we needed to look on us with love may have been very absent or non existent for us growing up, but that does not mean we cannot find that force of love within our hearts and minds now. It takes courage too, to open up to the love that may want to come our way from others, when past experiences of being rejected or shamed have led us to feel terrified of being truly seen.

In the case of the borderline a torrent of fear may come our way when we try to truly love, as it did with my ex partner but it may not be so obvious that it is fear that we are truly dealing with.   For myself I know that when I am in a fearful state I most need to understand and accept that feeling. I don’t have to like it, but if I can own it there is just a chance that I may be able to no longer be held as deeply captive by that fear. For a second I can choose love for myself and I have found along the way to be true these very important words from the bible. Perfect love casts out fear.

The loving gaze that meets and finds our fear may help the fear to dissolve if we can in tolerating and accepting the fear develop a relationship with what may have in the past been pushed away.  In looking upon ourselves and others in this way just maybe we can allow the love in that at times our fear and shame tries to keep us separate from.

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

Another tough day

My inner censor is prompting me to keep the following blog under wraps.  I am not going to listen to the censor too much today:

Tough day of really painful symptoms of grief today.  Before I manage to tap into it I am not even sure that this is what I am undergoing.  Feelings occur first for me on body level as sensation, before I can even recognise the feelings I am having are feelings of sadness.  I feel like I am being dragged sideways, or pulled down a plug hole,  I feel though there is a huge stone on my chest holding me down and it is hard to breathe.  Then a portal breaks open somewhere and the sadness just rises up and floods the landscape of my being with tears.

I just had a terrible reaction after trying to eat my breakfast and that followed a long struggle to wake up, feeling like last night I had been weighted down my magnets.  Was it that or was it that my body was responding to the relaxation prompted by the tissue salts I have been encouraged to take to help with my PTSD symptoms?  Going to sleep and waking up for me triggers the old trauma of coming to and finding out my body has been smashed up.  Its a weird feeling of being suspended between two worlds, rendered powerless, feeling incapable of moving my body, feeling I have been taken over or invaded, that my limbs wont work or carry me along.

Anyway after an hour of trying to stretch out of it, as is my way, the flood of grief flowed out.  I had been free from these post breakfast attacks for quite a while but over the last three days they have returned with a vengeance. I am not sure why but I know I get affected by things and lately I have been watching a mini series on the Kennedy family which is full of very painful dynamics between the characters.  It is also filled with loss, trauma and grief, Joe senior’s stroke (which evokes powerful memories of my own sister’s stroke) and of course the loss suffered by the family and Jackie Kennedy in particular after JFK and then Robert Kennedy were gunned down in 1963 and 1968 after Jack’s administration, under the direction of Bobbie Kennedy, attempt to go after the American Mafia.

I was prompted to look into the astrology of it all last night and I found a website devoted to the Kennedy curse, where an astrological chart was featured of the marriage of John F Kennedy’s parents Joe and Rose.  Prominent in this chart is a Saturn Pluto conjunction at 2 degrees in the sign of Cancer which has to do with clans, family, close ties of psychic enmeshment and suffocating parental holds on children.  it was noted on this particular blog that this conjunction was activated when critical events occurred for their children.

The astrological synchronicity in all of this for me is that currently I am undergoing the Saturn square to my own natal Pluto in the first house.  Bobby Kennedy in particular had a very strong Plutonian signature in his own chart with three planets including Mars in Scorpio and trine to Pluto. Our own family went through some very powerful Pluto transits and Pluto squared my own natal Mars Saturn Moon when my father died, in addition my oldest sister suffered a cerebral haemorraghe on a Pluto transit to her own Saturn.  The dynamic of an attorney general (Bobby Kennedy) going after the American Mafia bosses is a very Saturn Pluto signature.  And Saturn Pluto speaks of defences erected against powerful feelings of fear in reaction to dark issues of power, control and other deeply transformative elements in life and nature.

I am aware this blog is skipping between some seemingly unrelated subjects but I have been wondering today if the issue of family grief of the Kennedy family has triggered for me this week, powerful imprints around my own family trauma.

I spoke to my sister yesterday and often when I speak to her I find myself encountering feelings of great sadness.  She has been on medication for bi polar for many years and at the moment they have changed her meds and she is feeling very low and nauseated.  My Mum rings me in tears about it and I feel the full weight of it all.  We have our own fairly heavy family legacy which comes from a similar theme to the Kennedy’s.  My Dad was also a migrant trying to escape the poverty and powerlessness of his past and his own daughter came unstuck by overstepping the boundaries to try and achieve within this family dream. My older sister who had the stroke, ended up permanently incapacitated and died last year had bi polar as well with strong Jupiter Saturn, Saturn cut down the Jupiterian impulse to endless outward expansion and flight.

All of these associations are on my mind today, and I am interested to remember that last night I dreamt that I was visiting a close friend in hospital.  She told me that she had to go no contact with her family and since she had she was feeling so much better, “its what you need to do too”, she said to me.

My pathway began to diverge from the family when I got sober in 1993, but with my strong Saturn Moon there has been a gravitational pull back, due to the fact there are so many hidden feelings over the buried trauma that dogged our family from 1979 to 1985 when my father died.  Its been a burden to work to bring consciousness too the entire thing, something I been working through over the past 20 years in different recovery programs and therapies.  There are some days when I become overwhelmed with feelings of sadness over the dark years of our family and my own personal trauma, as well as the sometimes very lonely path that has resulted.  Its not that I am consciously even thinking about these things, but I do feel that since I started to watch this Kennedy mini series last Tuesday I have been feeling the weight of things quiet a bit and maybe my dream has messages for me.  My mother actually gave me this mini series to watch and I think it had powerful synchronicities for her own grief.  Maybe I need some distance from it, or maybe I just have needed to feel all of this through in order to connect the dots.

Just a short time ago my mother called.  I was very sad today and she was distressed by it, which also saddened me, but then again feelings are better off shared.  While I was having my attack earlier I had the impulse to call someone and inside my head I heard a voice say “don’t you go bothering anyone with this burden of yours, you will just ruin their day”.  I am aware that the adult thing to do is to acknowledge my feelings and hold my hand in the midst of them but its also so important to be able to share our feelings with someone empathic, I think this was an old message.  I let my Mum know I didn’t feel it was her responsibility to fix my feelings, I would be happier for her if she could enjoy the outing with her best friend she had planned.  She didn’t feel good about it, and I felt sad for causing her distress, especially as I know she is very worried about my older sister at present and I am sure she is aware of the burden we both carry which is ancestral too, really.

After I got of the phone, I just sat and wept.  I felt the huge heavy weight of it.  I then checked my phone and saw an email notifying me that someone had liked a recent post of mine :

https://emergingfromthedarknight.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/coping-with-the-really-tough-days/

which prompted me to re-read it and doing so actually helped me to move through the sadness of today and the heavy weight dispersed after I decided to write this post.  It seems all blogging is really for ourselves?  Hopefully it helps someone else too.

Its clear to me what helps me move through the pain.  It is so important to try to recognise what my body is carrying so I can find love for myself in the midst of the pain.  This is what helps me, this is what soothes me, this is what turns a tough day of pain into a meaningful day for me, being able to write and share, to make some small sense of what at times feels very overpowering and burdensome.

Lessons in regret and self forgiveness

Ever noticed how many different perspectives there are to take on certain feelings, issues and events?  This morning I was listening to a radio programme which was dealing with the subject of regret:  those things we do and say that we wish, with the perspective of hindsight we never said or did, but are left with the at times all so painful truth that we can never undo or redo.  We often struggle with the knowledge that they had certain consequences which at the time we could never know (although we may be in denial about this if we are being too hard on ourselves).

At the time we did what we needed to, or at the time we may have had an intuition that the said thing would hurt ourselves or others, but we went ahead never the less.  In this case the regret can be even more powerful, because somewhere we sensed that it wasn’t the right thing to do and we struggle with that knowledge.

The talk back programme today involved psychologists, an interviewer who had recently spoken to two people on her radio programme The Spirit of Things who had lived lives, made choices or done things which caused heartbreak for themselves and others. One of the people was the radio interviewer who made a prank call to the hospital in London where Princess Kate was being cared for following the birth of baby George. The outcome of this call was that one of the nurses ended up committing suicide. The person being interviewed on Sunday night struggled for a long time with feelings of guilt and depression over her actions which had unintended consequences which she had to work really hard to overcome. The second interviewee was a woman who through her addiction to heroin became a prostitute to support her habit.  This path took her down a very dark road which eventually led to sobriety and recovery and a complete transformation.   (On an astrological note its interesting to note that the planet of transformation though such dark experiences is currently slowing to station forward after five month retrograde).

Both people ended up being able to use the pain of the regretful experience to turn their lives around and the key to transformation in both cases led through introspection and pain to self compassion and self forgiveness at the end of a long road.

How often do we beat ourselves up for that thing we did which ended in painful consequences for ourselves or others that we could have in no way foretold? Or we may have been committing actions we were not fully conscious of due to certain beliefs which were false. In both cases the committing of the regretful action was necessary to growth and growth could never have been achieved without the insight of self awareness and forgiveness, also compassion for the self, who at that time was not fully aware of so many things.

I took great comfort from the programme today and the lesson I took away was that it was the perceptual filter through which we are able to view these experiences was what made all the difference in whether regret became a destructive inward implosion into self abuse and castigation, or a transformative experience which led to deeper understanding of and compassion for self and others.  In the end it is all a matter of perspective and a journey along the road of coming to peace with the very human condition of imperfection, vulnerability, ignorance and mistakes.

Early into my own recovery from addiction I was lucky enough to come across the writing of Jungian analyst, Marion Woodman who has written a wonderful book called Addiction to Perfection. In it she explores the lives of her analysands who were raised by an ethos of unrealistic perfection, many of them learned to bury and deny their own humanity and imperfections in a quest for control of the uncontrollable.   One of the loveliest questions in this book that stays with me so many years later is inspired by a poem by W H Auden : “Can I learn to love my crooked neighbour with my own crooked heart.” (and perhaps more importantly can I learn to love my own crooked heart and accept it as it is?)

Not all of us get the opportunity to grow straight, tall and true. We may have learned to bend ourselves out of shame (that was a typo but I will leave it here, I meant to write shape… mmm)..to get the love which in the end we need to find within in. In the face of much external criticism we learn to criticise ourselves with the same perfectionistic, unreal standards.   No one has struggled with this more than me.

For a long time I struggled with the inner accuser who I internalised from school and home and this voice could lay me to waste. I attracted it in many of my relationships and absorbed its painful judgements wholesale. It is only in the last six months or so that I have been able to challenge this voice with a voice of compassion and love.

Many listeners of the programme on Radio National this morning expressed gratitude for the opportunity to hear the perspectives of others on the programme. One person spoke about the painful consequences that follow when we keep our regrets buried or hidden inside and struggle with them silently.

In my twelve step programme there is a way to make peace with these kind of regrets, through sharing with someone else and through making amends if that is necessary, either to ourselves or others. What a lovely awareness that we don’t need to struggle alone, that we can open up and reveal our very human vulnerability and be loved anyway.   A very precious gift.

I took a great sense of peace into my day today after listening to so many callers on this programme sharing their experience, insight and hope.  It inspired me to share it here too.  So I hope it touches someone’s heart.

Little Lion come out to play

My astro reading for today:

It may seem like neither side of the bed is the right side to wake up on today, Aquarius. The only solution may be is just to go back to dreamland if you can. If you can’t, focus on your heart, because it is trying to tell you something. Emotions may be running high, so be careful how you treat yourself and others.

Prior to reading this I sat down to write, but I am pulled at the same time by another tug (which side of the bed should I be on active or passive or).

I awoke late and after a long conversation with a friend where I was pulled away by hunger pangs I ate and then, the desire to write but another pull from my body. I need to go to the toilet and wash my face. In the toilet I see specks of dirt, debris and fluff on the floor, I go to clean them up. Then I feel the pull back to writing.

I am conscious of a past time when I sat down to write or draw and there was a frenzy of cleaning going on around me. I grew to fear the vacuum cleaner, just as my dog Jasper does. The moment I whip it out I watch the look on his face. I warn him of what is about to happen. He has been drawing close for a cosy moment but his Mum is needing to clean the place.

If I listened to my heart I may not want to put him through it and just let us both rest and be cosy. But there is a need to clean, to make sure my room is ordered, that there is not too much mess lying around. It is not really part of me, this ordering, it’s a conditioned reflex and it becomes part of an inner dialogue that tears me this way and that. That said, sometimes taking action brings new energy to my day and blows out the cobwebs and ordering things on the physical level is like the ordering and sorting process going on inside.  And sometimes chaotic, disordered things erupt in order to be revealed..

I am writing this in an attempt to come to terms with the twin pulls, before reading the advice to listen to my heart. Over the past few years I have become ever more conscious of the inward voice of self judgement. I am conscious too that as a Neptunian I often let things slide into mess and chaos because I have been drawn down, so deeply down by the inner world of my subconscious and body that it has become hard to operate and to my mind things have been let go.

An outsider would probably come into my house and find it tidy, my conditioning says otherwise. I battle with this and with the inner voices that would disparage something that brings me joy, disparage a creative chaos thay may have gifts.  The heart, if it was in the right space would not always care about the mess or see it as a mess. I am not a mess, I am just human but that said, sometimes I am messy and that is part of being a vital alive human being.

These days I feel myself pulled between sadness, tiredness, heaviness and happiness, lightness, joy : a need for active energy, relationship, expression. I wrote yesterday of how currently I feel I am in the process of learning to walk a tightrope, to get the balance right. I need to be deeply centred in my world at present (and yes, Deborah, that means listening to your heart).

Most of the inner planets are presently in either the 12th or 1st houses of my chart. But in my natal chart the balance of my personal planets are on the other side in the opposing houses 6th and 7th. Is it any wonder that I am feeling tugged back and forth at present?

Lately I have been hearing a voice that is telling me I need to listen to my body. I can’t stay too centred in thoughts alone, if they lead me astray. Listening both to my head and my heart is necessary as feeling can sometimes trip me up when its not the sensible thing to do reach out to the hurting person who has some lessons to learn from sitting in that hurt. But my heart says otherwise.  They hurt me but I can still feel for them even though angry and I question my own point of view, how ego centric is it, but I must remember to take care of me.  More aware of hurtful places to my heart energy I can steer clear. But my heart tells me, we are all still learning and growing.  At least those of us who choose to open our hearts and our minds.

As usual writing is helpimg me to contain my own feelings, and understand them, but sometimes it is easier to hear my heart when I am not writing. Still, for me, writing is like the prism I construct by turning things this way and that in the light in order to appreciate and understand them. It helps to centre me. While I am typing I can let things flow out from within that I might not even have known were there had I not set fingers to keyboard.

But I also need to leave self imposed solitude in order to interact because often, only then do my emotions make themselves known. My heart interacting with other hearts that are either open or closed (I will know by being with the person).

Lately I have been becoming even more aware that due to my particular energy and life experience there is a lot of myself that I repress. This repression was part of not being allowed to express, part a result of being left alone without validation, mirroring.  It was sometimes so hard to understand what was going on. My turning deeply inward was a result of there often being no one to turn to but myself. Harsh things happening had to be kept inside. There could be a fury or a storm brewing in my mother, most especially, injuries could be a result. It was busy, busy not a lot of time to rest and be contained so emotions got turned inwards and festered.   I turned them over and over and did not know where to go with them and they became a jumble which I am only in the past few years sorting out.

I am conscious too of a particular bruising inside that is making me feel the need for self protection while I sort all this out. Without a deeper relationship to my instinctual and emotional depths and with the hunger I was a ravenous person looking in all the wrong places for love. Maturity could only come through making lots of mistakes. Mistakes were what showed me the path I was on was damaging and it took a lot of years to figure that one out.

It is hard sometimes to reach out and sometimes it is just cosier being wrapped up in myself, able to focus on my own life. But over the past few years I am reaching out to others who help me to nurture my heart. I think that is what is being asked of me at present. I feel happiest when living this way. I am a bit of a loner, really, due to the traumas I have been through and my particular childhood. I think there are rich gifts around this but I absorbed invalidations of it by my mother and others who did not really see what I was going through and how I was trying to grow.  I took those in and swallowed them but the got stuck in my gut on the way down and I have been trying to spit them out ever since.

How many times was I told that there was something wrong with “isolating” when really I was just retreating to listen to a heart whose messages were being confused or drowned out by all the introjected voices in my head.  I was desiring to express and grow through developing a relationship with my inner life.

I am learning now to spit out those false interpretations. I am conscious that at present I need gentleness around me, around the self that sometimes suffers, because the gentleness provides the healing balm to that suffering, to a nervous system that was dysregulated through much stress and many shocks, some of them the result of struggling to find support while seeking self protection.   I must seek out gentleness as that is most what helps my inner nature to flourish.

There is a time to be strong and assertive too, which does not always come easily. There is also a growing need to learn how to articulate distressing or hurtful things and address them in a healthier way than screaming.

I am a bit of a screamer. I scream because I am often not really heard. I watched a similar thing with my last narcissistic partner’s youngest son. The frustration that built from being used, not being treated gently or mirrored, from struggling to be recognised and heard. When I recognise what the scream is about it is easier to make decisions that don’t expose me to frustrations and hurts that trigger me.

I must also be aware that sometimes people will interpret a scream when I am trying to communicate something with a passionate intensity. The passion contains real juicy life blood and energy. I have been mocked and disparaged for my passion. But I am glad that now I can own that I am a passionate person with deep feelings..

I mentioned passion and the Sun has moved into fire over the past few days. I hear the rumblings of the Lion as he awakens from his sleep buried deep within the 12th house of my chart. I am looking forward to his meeting with Venus in mid August.

The Lion/Leo is associated with courage in French this relates to the word for heart. The Leo might get a bad rap for narcissism by those who feel a bit threatened by it, but we all need some heathy narcissism to survive and take action to nurture our heart. In our particular family it multi-generationally it was this energy that got repressed (thus it is in my 12th house).

There are huge themes of self sacrifice which I associate with Neptune and my mother’s generation had Leo in Neptune they had to sacrifice the inner child to be quiet, keep deep emotions and feelings wrapped up tightly. And they gave birth to a generation with Pluto in Leo, dark events transpired in the collective at that time. The Pluto in Leo generation, of which three of my siblings were born had work to do to overcome that conditioning.  I’m a Uranus in Leo baby no wonder my mother found that energy too intense to cope with.

Well a blog about something else has turned into something else. Little Lion would you like to go out and play? Little child would you like to hold my hand and dance in the flames of passion, joy and happiness?. What happened to you over years little one? Please come out of hiding. Take my hand and let us play, and dance in the sunshine.  Adult is here to guide you.  We can grow up and still stay young at heart and the heart can still be deep and true.  Wonder child, not only wounded child.  Wounded child learning how to heal and tend those wounds with good grace to grow and flourish a soul that knows the full spectrum of it all and can feel joy.  These energies now I think are calling for air time, that is what my heart is telling me.   Feel the wind in your hair, dance along the windswept lakeside pathway and then come home to rest and warm yourself by the fire.

Tending the Inner Garden

Getting all bent out of shape… I was reflecting on this expression this morning after reading a wonderful blog about the impact of growing up with narcissistic parents I was reflecting on the idea of not being accepted as I am and therefore having had a difficult time accepting and loving myself.

At times there is a running commentary in my head which is comprised of a number of voices, what psychologists might call “introjects” voices of those around us in our life which did not support, accept and nurture us, but rather berated us with our inadequacies, highlighted our defects and made us feel that who we are is somehow wrong.

I have been aware of these voices for some time. In fact over 10 years ago when I chose to go into isolation as a result of a lifetime of traumatic experiences and the breakdown of my marriage I did a piece of inner dialogue writing which I called “Destruction 11/11”. It was around this time I would look at the clock at certain time to find that often the digital display showed 11:11…

A weird piece of synchronicity : later I read a piece of writing that claimed that when we on a path of inner emotional growth and spiritual development (Not a lofty spiritual aim but the quest to uncover, live and express our true spirit) we will see these numbers.

Back to my earlier train of thought. In this long piece of consciousness writing a strong voice came through that was full of hatred for me and wanted me dead. The voice told me how it had come into my life around the age of 6 to protect me but also to cut me off from peace, joy, love, connection and acceptance.

It is interesting to me that shortly after writing this piece I met a person who would personify the critical voice. In a dream I had when I met him there were a number of women around me trying to warn me that this person would betray and confuse me. Dreams are often warnings.

There was an element of mistrust anyway for me due to many difficult experiences with people who lacked understanding and empathy but also I think my experience in life with these kind of relationships was testing ground for me in which I could learn more about myself and about others what was healthy and what was not.

The relationship which I just mentioned and which brought me so much angst due to this lack of acceptance was actually a projection of my own inner sense of not being good enough. Rather than stand up to criticism and stay true to who I was in this relationship I tried to change, to twist and bend myself out of shape.

Despite major lessons around this I can still do this. Part of me wants to be the nice person, to be accepted, to do the right and loving thing (whatever that is… its all subject to interpretations, expectations and often projection, I have learned).

As an empath I feel the pain of others and want to ease it.  Having had so much of my own pain makes me ultra sensitive, most especially to ostracism and exclusion. I have had major lessons to learn about my limits to do this for others. At times it is hard enough loving and caring for myself.

Lately I have been in a very supportive therapeutic relationship with a person who understands me deeply, sees into to me in a way I have found it even difficult to do for myself.  Witnessing my ongoing struggle with narcissists she has been pointing out to me my tendency to let those who hurt me off the hook and to keep getting retraumatised as a result which is not really loving to myself.

Why do I do this? Because I don’t care enough for and love myself enough. I also have a running commentary going on in the mornings about how I am a failure in that I have not got a job or a relationship, and that from the outside it looks like I don’t even have a life. Part of me is traumatised by this and then another partner knows it is BS, these voices are not mine.

It was pointed out to me yesterday by my therapist I have in fact been through so much that the rest of my life should really be devoted to caring for and loving myself, the work I engaged with, have been engaged with for some years is inner work, from the outside it looks like nothing much is going on, but inwardly I am digging deep in this dark night of the soul.

The tendency to beat myself up inwardly, to see myself as less than and elevate others is well entrenched. That attitude is also an internalisation of a number of programmes from my family and catholic education.

Last week I came across a beautiful book at the library called Garden of Bliss : Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self Discovery.  In this book the author speaks of a secret garden which we all have inside, a place where we can find peace and enter into a relationship with our deep soul, she also speaks of the Inner Gardener, that part of ourselves which is a witness to all the voices, that is connected to intuition and dreams and has an inner wisdom that does not rely on collective judgements.

As someone who has always found a connection in nature and loves gardening the idea of an Inner Garden appeals to me greatly. My happiest times lately seem to be pottering about in my garden with my lovely dog Jasper close by and connecting deeply to my inner garden through writing, listening to music, working with dreams, reading, cleaning, sorting, pottering quietly and resting peacefully within my own space. When engaged in this way I feel less alone that I do when out engaged in the busy world.

And yet I am increasingly feeling that I DO belong in this world. When I am deeply connected to myself, even when I take time to listen to the inner voices, critical as they may be, I am in touch with myself and my humanity. Through this sense of introversion and connection I feel extraversion is possible as I connect to the world. When I tend the inner garden, messy as it may be with all the challenging voices I am at home within myself and in relationship with myself and through that relationship I am connected to humanity.  For now my work seems to be in tending this garden and in seeing the deep value that comes from having a relationship with myself and in not bending myself out of shape by giving power to voices that do not speak the truth.