Being a me no longer lost in you

I have been reflecting on my role in relationships as it has developed in my life, and its fitting due to the fact that the Sun is now transiting the sign associated with relationship, Libra.  I have a loaded seventh house in mychart, My Sun Venus Mercury Jupiter and South Node are there, that indicates a strong pull for self expression in and through relationships.

Where the Sun is placed in our personal birth chart is where our focus of self is positioned most fundamentally for self expression and meaning and with the Seventh House strong (which is naturally a Libra ruled house, although in my case the sign Aquarius rules the cusp or domain of the seventh house) I am pulled towards relationships a lot.  My natural tendency has been to seek outside of myself, within relationship to find myself.  As a consequence I have spent a lot of my life thinking about others and their impact on me and at times this has led to pain as my Sun is square to Neptune which can indicate a tendency to get lost or blurred in my boundaries and to have a hard time finding a separate sense of self in relationships with strong individuals who tend to be quiet overpowering.

As a child growing up in a much older family my focus was pulled away from myself a lot and there was a slowly growing sense of differentness and separation that grew as the worlds of those around me increasingly did not really reflect my own inner world.   I began to spend a lot of time alone as I was left alone a lot and then a lot of trauma hit and I was literally overloaded physically and emotionally, from my late teens onward I really struggled.

This contrary balance is shown by a strong archetypal influence of two of the most potent astrological planets representing individuality (Uranus) and transformation through deep experiences (Pluto) in my first house of identity and Self along with the North Node in Leo which represents a quest to become centred more deeply within my own heart, individual identity and spontaneous self expression.  But these two influences placed here also show that shock, trauma and loss will play a huge part in the unfolding of this identity into the world, so it was with me.  In truth the shocks and traumas of the ages 17 to 23 had such a huge impact on me, a deeply underground impact (Pluto) which has reverberated throughout the following 31 years of my life.

It is only really in the past few years that I feel I have begun to centre myself more deeply in the first house and begin to understand the impact of the big outer three Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.  I have also had to work through a lot of pain that relationships have caused me in my life due to the planet of wounding and healing Chiron also being placed in my seventh house in opposition to Pluto in the first.  I got sober and put down my addiction when transiting Chiron opposed itself and transited my Pluto.  This showed me that dealing with and healing from my addiction would be the spiritual work of my life, the embarkation on a night sea journey of depth prefigured by a powerful dream that I had a year or so before I got sober in 1993.

At my Chiron return (which is a critical transit that occurs for all of us around the age of 50 we often find ourselves meeting up with the deep wound that has dogged us in our lives) I hit a very important critical point.  Often at the Chiron Return we are called upon a healing quest, often through some dramatic crisis or loss which can force us inward to our soul.

I have shared another blog that Chiron is both wounded and healer.  He is the archetype of wounded healer.   The wound Chiron suffers never truly heals but is the place of birthing wisdom, and the pain encountered here is the way into a deeper connection with our humanity, for it is through embracing and encountering our own personal pain (which has collective resonances) that we develop compassion and empathy for others.  For many of this can mean that the chance to understand and feel and embrace the pain that can lead us onto a new pathway, it may even lead us to our soul quest or calling.

Often the roadblocks we hit up to our Chiron return maybe showing us we need to change our direction or at least call the energy of our soul back from pathways which don’t feed us, but at the same time we need to understand if there is repetitive theme that is playing out that has lessons for us about our past relationships and our sense of self.  When I witness other people’s journeys I see these themes playing out too.

I am now beginning to see my own pattern for getting lost in relationships.  I tend to open quickly to people but often the people I open to are very self focused in their lives.  In the past I have been pulled in and what can then happen is that I feel myself getting a restless, irritated energy inside,  this I now see is the call not to lose my boundary, to hold onto me and my own life focus.  This does not mean that I cannot relate or spend time in relationships, only that the focus of my attention and love needs to remain centred in self care in these relationships so that I do not over-extend my own boundaries or get so sucked in due to my empathic nature (shown by the strong Neptune influence).  That empathy can soon become counterproductive with Chiron in Pisces in the seventh house, if I fail to put boundaries around it.

I have read an interpretation of the North Node in the first house with the South Node in the seventh that says people born with it have lifetimes of having lost themselves in relationships. I am not entirely sure that this interpretation is whole accurate.  What if instead we who are born with this were raised by others who had to put their own needs aside to be self sacrificing and taught us to do the same?  What if we were inculcated with conditioning messages that it is selfish to care for and love ourselves?

In the end I guess it doesn’t fully matter why we inherit this pattern,  what is important (at least for me to remember) is that I don’t gain much when self sacrifice and the power of other’s needs, want and will is allowed to eclipse or dominate my own needs, concerns and interests.  I need to listen to my body for the signs of when I am getting too drawn into others dramas and be strong in making a break or cutting a retreat back to my own life and world which is where the focus of my care love and concern now needs to reside.  I got critical lessons about this in my last serious relationship which ended on my Chiron return five years ago and I have been revisiting it a lot with my family and others over the past few years.

I am seeing this clearly today.  It is as though a bright light has come on for me.  I see all the times I got lost and the deep wound of longing that pulled me towards others in hopes of healing a wound in me it was never their responsibility to heal.  My wounds were and are real but they are also the places where wisdom is birthed and through feeling them and entering them I have found poetry, healing, tears, joy, pain, ecstasy (at times) and deep love.  In tending them and covering them over in a gentle way, only lifting the bandaid when I am in the right place to dress the wound myself or with healing others I provide for myself the service of healing.  This is better than exposing a wound to others who cannot and will not care for it or whose own wounds my own wound may aggravate.  Having this kind of discriminative sensitivity may be making the very best of all that Neptune and Pisces energy in my chart.

By keeping the focus on me and my own life I also do not contribute to the wound that I feel when others ignore my needs consistently (a wound left from childhood and past relationships).  It is up to me to set the boundary and recognise when my own soul is calling me home to my centre, to the deep heart in me, the place where I feel least alone and most deeply connected.

 

 

 

How can I take care of myself?

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In this moment when I am feeling sad what can I do to help myself more through that sadness to a place of peace?  Is there something I could do that would bring me comfort? Are there some kind things I could say?   Could I recognise when I might be beating myself  up with unkind thoughts or see where I am not accepting what I need to feel and recognise to find peace?

I find once I touch base with what I am feeling in the moment, then I have awareness, if I can then accept and make room for the feeling it can rise and fall and often as I stay with it insight comes into where in my life the feeling traces back to.  I can learn to look within the feeling to see what I can attribute it to.  Often that feeling is one I know very well and have had a lot of experience with and I can learn about the part is has played in my life. When the tears of compassion and feeling for myself and my long struggle comes with the feeling, then I am in the healing phase.

Then I have work to do to decide what action to take with the feeling.  I could write about it in my journal.  I could express it to a trusted friend.  Or if I have really no one there to turn to I can be there for myself.

Once I have unpacked the feeling I can then turn my attention back to this present moment and ask, what do I need right now? What would make me feel loved?  What would help me touch base with the present moment?

I DO feel there is always some little thing we could do to take care of ourselves and I have just been reading that it has been shown in studies that people who are not trapped in thinking are happier than those endlessly pulled away from the present moment in thoughts. If we can focus on pleasant sensation in the present moment for example we can pull away from painful thoughts that may make the pain worse.  For example :

Walking barefoot on soft grass.

Giving yourself a foot soak and massage with essential oils and lotion.

Watching a movie you love.

Listening to a beautiful piece of music.

Listening inwardly to your own breath or heart beat (if this is not too triggering for you).

Going for a walk with a friend or alone.

Being in nature.

I am sure you could come up with a lot more things.

This for me is the path of self care I can take in learning to care for me in the midst of my emotions.

 

On overwhelm and traumatic anniversaries

I just spoke to my sister and on the weekend she was involved in a minor accident with turned into a huge bleed, my mother tore her skin on an open cupboard, because she is on certain blood thinning drugs she bled and bled.  My sister convinced her she needed to go to hospital, due to a huge accident occurring at the same time with people being flown in from the country to our town they had to wait all night in casualty.  My sister had no sleep which is always triggering for her due to her own psychological issues, I was also aware that this time of year is the time of year our sister had her cerebral bleed and last year, on this anniversary my sister who was on medication for bi polar had two falls, and cut her head open, she ended up in hospital and then my mother had another fall in trying to carry a suitcase with her clothes down a long flight of stairs alone. Not asking for help.

What made matters worse was that just prior to this last year we had had a huge disagreement.  I had confronted my Mum on some of her boundary violations and my mother had got extremely upset, accused me of judging her and my sister had sided with my mother.  Both decided they would not talk to me for a while and then the “accidents” happened,  all on the anniversary of my dead sister’s stroke.

I received a call from my Mum yesterday telling me of their traumatic experience in emergency.  She was asking me to go to the market to get her a piece of fruit she wanted.  I had to say no.  I was struggling myself and feeling very tired.  I offered to buy her anything she needed from the shop where I was at the time of the call, but that wasn’t good enough, so I had to stand firm on my boundary.

After the call I experienced a lot of anxiety and guilt.  I knew I had acted to take care of myself for once.  Mum understood, she wasn’t upset with me, but still I felt bad.  Aware of the anxiety I went into a spin for some hours.

Last night I was thinking of a comment my therapist had made recently.  “It is important to take care of yourself on the anniversary of traumas”, she said  “you can be particularly vulnerable to accidents this time.”  I have certainly experienced this in my own life.  On the first two anniversaries of my husband telling me he had decided to leave our marriage I had two accidents, one a major bike crash where I split my head open and in the second a fall where I hit my back really badly on a piece of metal.   I was contemplating all of this last night as I became aware of the resonances of emergency visits all around the anniversary of my eldest sister’s trauma.

When I spoke to my sister this morning she said to me “I am feeling so overwhelmed, it feels like everything is coming in on me”.  I am aware that lack of sleep, lack of food and extreme loneliness can all be triggers which awaken the traumatic imprints buried deep in the subconscious.  At these times it is so important that we take steps of self care and look after ourselves.

I also wonder about our interconnectedness to those people with whom we share emotional history and DNA connections.  On the day my mother fell down the stairs last year (early March when the sun was activating my transit her Mars in Pisces) I had a major meltdown at the park.  I just started to experience extreme psychological distress.  It was so bad I walked off and left my dog in the small dog enclosure that the park, when I came back a young man was taking care of Jasper. “Are you okay?”, he asked at which point I burst into floods of tears.  I could not quiet express what was wrong as I didn’t know but much later that evening a family friend arrived on the doorstep to tell me my Mum had fallen and was in casualty.

Can you imagine the guilt?  I had had a disagreement with her a few weeks before.  We had spoken since.  I know her fall wasn’t in any way my fault (rather the outcome of her own actions) but I still felt some guilt for bringing up painful wounds from the past and expressing anger (admittedly in an assertive rather than aggressive way) that may have triggered anxiety for her.

I am very aware that in my family I act as a container and a conductor of energy.  I had a very strange sleep on Saturday night when all of this was happening.  It was as though I didn’t sleep and was on hyper-alert even though I know I did sleep.

Prior to logging on to write this blog I was experiencing much anxiety.  What helped was calling my sister, checking in and then getting online to write about what was happening.  This morning I felt all churned up and very spun around.  I also felt tired.  It was only when I spoke to a good friend that I could achieve some kind of clarity around the weekend’s events.

I am facing my own surgery in just over a week.  The timing of the finding of my breast cancer is not lost on me.  I went for the mammogram just before the anniversary of my father’s death and now I will have the surgery very close to my sister’s stroke.  Maybe there is no interconnection.  Perhaps all of these connections are a vast convoluted tapestry I have woven with my own mind.  Or is there a chance that my own wound relates to earlier traumas never fully mourned or resolved asking now to be noted and honoured?

I do not know the answer.  I can only use my intuition.  I can watch the astrological connections and see how the wheel of the year and the zodiac carry me across familial ground with themes that repeat and replay over time.  Most especially I can work to be aware of both my personal and familial triggers in order to live more consciously and to become more aware of how I am interconnected and how living in touch with a deeper level of things brings me a sense of wholeness and leads me away from overwhelm and anxiety.

 

 

Patient and kind

Its been a sunny morning of deep reflection and feeling for me this New Year’s Day.  I have a sense of hope that wasn’t there before at this time last year, a sense of very dark times passed through over many years, but most especially the past five which saw separations all around, illness and death as well as the rising up of past traumas for healing.  I guess this is all par for the course for Chiron return time but I also feel there is a collective awakening and healing that is working out on this planet and involves all of us who are working to heal and become more conscious.  I feel we are being asked to connect with our deepest self and nature so that we learn not to exploit or abuse nature within or without, at least that is my take on it after 20 or so years in addiction recovery.

Today I had a difficult call to make to a family member. I had been invited to a wedding which is taking place overseas, in my heart I wanted to go but I also had mixed feelings as there as been so much trauma associated with this part of the family for the past 10 years and my health has not been wonderful, in short this year I see I need to practice a huge dose of self care.  Today I made the call.  I could only leave a message and it was a long one.  I’m never entirely sure of the right way to communicate, how it will be received, I felt a lot of emotion at the end of the message as I know in my heart I want to be there but the trip just seems a bit too big for me at the moment.

It was a relief to feel the tears fall as I got off the phone.  To recognise I had been naked and vulnerable with the call but self protected too and I gave out in love from what I feel without putting on a front.  After I got off the phone I received an inner message from myself to my Self.  It said this

At the moment you just need to be patient and kind to yourself.  Treat yourself as you would a small child who is trying to learn and grow.  Be the loving parent to that child, hold her, care for her, nurture her, tell her she can do it, (what ever “it” is), if she feels that is truly what she wants to do.

There is a softness around me as I sit here on the couch typing this.  I can feel the great rage and sadness I have felt in not really getting my needs met or understood in the way I needed them to be, abating.  I am beginning to realise that in accepting and understanding this there is a chance both to grieve and to reach for a new beginning.

My usual therapist took a months leave on the 18th of December.  It felt painful (unconsciously) to be abandoned at this time of year. Two years ago I underwent a sinus operation and no one of the family chose to stay with me, but rather to go away, then last year I was alone again (my choice) and I had four days of ongoing nose bleeds and clotting.  This year my therapist offered me the support of another person to stand in.  At first it felt too much to have to tell yet another person (this is about my six attempt at therapy) my story.  But despite the fear I pushed through and we connected in a good way, its just we haven’t been able to have the two weekly sessions, only one over the past week.  One of the things she said to me on boxing day when I was deep in grief after Christmas and all it brings up for me was that in time she felt, as I allowed myself to grieve I would find the way forward to a new beginning.

I have managed to hold through it all.  In the time alone I am learning new ways to be my own best parent.  My sense of self and boundaries has never been strong.  I am beginning to see the mixed messages I get from my Mum which tell me to over ride my inner truth in subtle ways, this is one of the reasons I have needed a better mirror, a person who is not so deeply in flight from and scared of her own emotions.

Anyway today it feels good to just go gently with myself.  I thought of the best way to start this year. It was to write a list of self care things I am going to do this year to get help with things I need and to engage in soothing, nurturing activities which are good for me.

I just came across a lovely posting on Facebook’s Emotional Sobriety page.  It was about self rejection.  In time I will post it here, suffice to say for this year I no longer want to self reject in the ways I see I have done in the past year.  Each year brings me closer to myself on this path of recovery.  Each misstep taken shows me the right path to take.  A lot of its trial and error but I know if I can just be patient and kind with myself along the journey things will be okay. Just knowing this gives me a sense of hope and peace.

What might it mean to truely love myself

Immediately after posting my latest tangled up blog about recent inward struggles the following message came into my inbox.

I consider “if only” to be two very dangerous words.  They dangerous because they distract us from the real cause of our unhappiness.  “If only” has us looking outside ourselves forever trying to change how others behave in order to feel better about our own lives.  It turns us away from the one thing we can change how we feel about our own lives.  And that is looking within to know how we really feel about ourselves.  Because in order to feel peace and truly content about our lives we must first and foremost learn to love ourselves.

Timely advice Christian Carter and what I really needed to hear at the moment.

Over the past four years and even much longer I have constantly felt myself to be pulled off my inner centre by the trials, tribulations and illnesses of others.  This has occurred to such an extent that it seems I have been in a state of psychic blindness to the understanding that actually my life is well and healthy much more when I keep the focus on myself and stay at the centre of my own life, instead of being pulled into the dramas of others.

What stops me doing this is the feeling that I am being selfish.  A few months back my mother fell down some stairs after lugging a suitcase of clothes down them (alone at 90) while engaged on a mercy mission for a sister who had fallen down due to toxic drugs in her system.

What did my inner self want to do.  NOT GET INVOLVED.  STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE ENTIRE DYSFUNCTIONAL MESS.  What did my compliant false approval seeking self do?  It wrestled around, swallowed down its truth and fronted up by making visits to hospital, cooking soup, curries, devising outings to distract said sister from her pain which she deeply needs to engage with in order to heal and grow.  I exhausted myself, ran myself ragged.  Lapped up all the kind words while secretly swallowing down my true rage and resentment at my own self abandonment.  I was being a “nice” person as I was conditioned to do, empathetic, caring, sensitive, attentive to others, blind, deaf, dumb to my own needs and feelings.

Over the past two weeks as Mercury has moved backwards I have slowly woken up to the pull of the deep self that needs to rest, to stay centred in my own life, to pull back and nurture me.  I couldn’t fully act on it until this Saturday.  I sent my sister the following text :  I am sorry not to call but am feeling very tired and need to rest quietly at home today.  I give as much support as I can but I get tired of being the one that has to support endlessly, I hope you understand.

Did I receive a reply.  No.  How long did I hold off on the caretaking.  Just 24 hours.  By midday yesterday I was back on the phone offering to get things for my Mum, then told in an agonisingly sad voice by Mum that Sue sadly would have to get a taxi back to her unit as no one could pick her up, implication I should jump to offer which I did while secretly resenting, feeling guilty, mixed up, tangled about.  Within less than an hour huge fight with my Mum over non recognition of my own needs.  Tearful call to my sister who told me not to come.  Entire mixed up mess over and done.

Could I let go with grace, even at that point?  No.  Needed several calls to therapist to sort it out.  Then found a moment of peace before jumping online to write huge blog.  All part of the process I guess.

The best solution today is to follow Christian Carter’s advice.  I read a beautiful blog on An Upturned Soul – What is my inner centre – She Asked which on some level spoke to this need and the tangled up conundrum I have with resting quietly within and living from that centre.

The truth is, and I do know this on some level.  I have at my disposal all that is needed to love myself and be at peace in this life.  I just need to be aware that I can be my own worst enemy and trip myself up with I try to be so selfless and caring of others, at the expense of myself.

The question I asked in the title of this blog seems to be one I need to make a central source of reflection, meditation and reflection at present.  What it might mean to myself to act in a loving way to myself is something to explore and to put into practice at the moment.

Like everyone else I can loose touch with my inner centre so easily.  I can allow myself to be drawn to things that don’t nourish me or put me on the circumference of my own or other people’s lives.  Is this really the way I want to live for the rest of my life?  Is it going to make me happy?  I don’t think so.  If it is true that happiness rests in knowing myself, accepting myself, even all the dark confused messy parts then I have some of the answers I need for how to love myself at my fingertips and through engaging with others who are living from their centres too, can learn about new ways to be loving.

It seems for me at present, the need I have is to turn some of the love I have focused outward back within.  To learn it isn’t selfish to care for and love myself.  For if I don’t I will suffer and everything I give will be tainted and untrue on some level.  This it seems is my necessary lesson for today.