Have you ever been followed around by something? Numbers, words, songs, films… people in strange disguises? ‘Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’. Those words have stuck inside my mind like a pick axe for over a decade now, violently cracking open my mind, ‘so the light can pour in’, as they … Read more Calling time on what?
I’m a thirty-something single Mum from South Wales, UK, writing nowhere near as much as I’d like to (and working on improving that)! My daughter recently turned one and is delightfully mad as a box of frogs. I have spent many years trying to better understand myself and the world around me, so that I … Read more Who I am
Its Yule, or winter solstice, here in the Northern Hemisphere. The shortest hours of daylight in the year and tomorrow marks the return of the light. I am welcoming that with big massive bells on!! There is also a full moon, a meteor shower and I just finished my second period in two years. LET IT ALLLLLLLL GO!!!!!!
I have been seeing a chiropractor to help with both historic and pregnancy related pain. There is physical, mental and emotional shite trapped in my bones, joints, muscles, tendons – all over the bloody shop – and I’ve decided to get some help for the stuff I can’t reach myself. Its like stirring up the murky bit at the bottom of a pond – it looked clear, but give it a stir and all hell breaks loose and you can’t see clearly. Throughout last night I experienced what I can only describe as a swarm of bees and electricity jolting through the tissue in my body. It needed to be wiggled and stretched out. The sensation is horrid, but the release and the freedom, the sense of greater clarity and better movement – both physically and spiritually – are worth the shit bits.
I waffle on about that, because that’s what has kept me from writing for a while. On my phone, since the last post, I have had notes about ‘cycles’. That is what I wanted to write about next. Cycles are the problem though, because this cycle of saying I want to write, but not writing is doing my swede in. I am doing my own swede in with my excuses! I tell myself I need the inspiration to write, and I do write better when I have it, but food also tastes better when I want it most and that doesn’t lead to me not eating any other time. Thats just stupid. Excuses are stupid. Self deceit about the reasons we aren’t getting things done… Get real wit’ yo’ self! What are the deep, dirty, dark, hidden or obvious reasons behind your self sabotage?
Beyond that is our ‘truth’, our worthiness, and that is probably where we actually want to be. There are so many things that can get in the way of us getting where we intend to go. Sometimes we have to check in with ourselves, perhaps frequently we should check in with ourselves, to determine if we feel like we are being true to ‘us’. Perhaps we should regularly problem solve any obstacles or resistance we are facing internally or externally and figure out what that shit is all about.
I’m still reading the series of books called Conversations with God. In them it is often said that we are given the experience of what we are not, of what we don’t want, of where we don’t want to be, simply so that we can experience who we truly are. And to experience creating that, of course… As ‘the creator’. That is to say, who we are, and what everything else is, is in constant motion – it is an active, continuous, participatory creative process. Driven by us, either consciously or not. We actively choose, in every single moment, who we are. Are we choosing mindlessly or mindfully? Are we happening to the world or is the world happening to us? Are we making our mark or are we being marked? Are we aware of what we are creating or should we beware of what we have created?
It can be hard to get your head around how we aren’t permanent, but are constantly shaping who we are. Example. One day we are not a pianist, we are not even interested in becoming one. In future we become interested and then we become a student. We keep practicing if we like it. We choose how long for and the level we reach. Perhaps we become a master pianist or we just play well for fun. Maybe we never got that great… but that is a small example of a changing identity. One facet of self. It is easy to see how we chose to add in this new part of ‘us’ though. Because we desired it actively.
Another facet, or many, come from our struggles and suffering. When we are in a terrible or sad situation, we might feel we aren’t coping, then once we pass through it we might feel shell shocked. Perhaps after time we feel strong for overcoming it. Maybe we resent it or maybe we feel like a warrior, but all through that process we were shifting ideas about who we are in relation to the experience. When you add lots of those experiences that shapes us even more. The ‘who’ we feel in any given moment also affects the ‘how’ of our behaviour. It changes our ‘why’ too – how we do things and why we do them. What we believe, desire, feel, think and do… they’re all shaped and shifted constantly by the ‘who’ we feel that we are as we navigate our way through our life experiences. Anything that comes to us from this creative process might feel less like a choice. This kind of stuff feels more like the world happening to ‘us’ and us adapting to ‘it’. We can participate more fully and have more control over how we experience who we are.
Our sense of a continuous self comes from choosing what to keep in the story we tell about, well, our self… our life. Our past, present and future can change completely and utterly, solely based on who we believe we are. We can tell the story of our life as a victim one day, and a survivor the next. Farther down the path we might not include either role in our story. We might not include that part of the story at all! Facts may not alter, but perspective can totally shift our reality and instantaneously alter the direction of our lives. For better or worse. It can keep us stuck or set us free.
The difference between a master and a student is that the master can purposely create what they desire without fail. They are constantly creating themselves as the best they can be, endlessly choosing to see past any obstacle to their mastery. The God Conversation is basically about how we are creators with massive power to dictate how we experience ourselves and everything else, and that there is only one thing to do in life…experience who we truly are. And that if we are creators, we can create ourselves within only the confines of our mind. If we can master our mind… we can choose anything.
If you could experience yourself as your grandest idea, who would you be? What, if anything, is in your way?
Last night I was talking to a friend, about how we both felt a bit disconnected from our ‘creative flow’. We both like to write. Talking about it again today made me remember a few things I had planned to include in my last post, but that had escaped me. Pre baby, words would bubble up inside me and I’d rush to a pen or some device. There would be no thinking or planning, it would just flow
Post baby, sometimes I can’t even run the tap without being interrupted by my daughter, and her needs trump my need to write about 80% of the time. Maybe all %s of the time, or maybe less. Who knows. My point is that I can’t write freely like I used to. Not always at least. That had left me feeling quite stifled and it’s taken me until now to even attempt to break out of the writing rut. Even my new phone is against me, because I can’t type as fast as I used to without spilling gobbledegook onto the screen. It’s like some force is trying to slow me down and make me think more carefully, plan better and create more space and pace for self-expression. Based on the last post, that force will be me if I want to be liberated into sole responsibility for my life experience!
When I was pregnant, I had this overwhelming feeling that, as she was born, my body was going to ‘release’ all this shit I didn’t need anymore. That my birthing her was going to birth the end of carrying all this suffering around in my body. I’m not entirely sure why I thought that, but apparently that’s written into our ancestral heritage and belief structure, I recently found out. Perhaps I had thought it because I had come to understand the female menstrual cycle to be a beneficial cyclic build up and let down of potent and powerful energy like life force, creativity, emotional power, or hormones if you just want to be boring. I figured pregnancy and birth would be a massive version, and after 9 months without menses I was longing for such a release. Especially after my crap experiences.
I didn’t get my release, but I did get my beautiful daughter and I haven’t felt creative much at all for a little over a year. Perhaps because I’ve been busy looking after a wee one, or perhaps because I’ve missed the flow of womanly cycling. Breastfeeding and pregnancy left me without a menstrual cycle for just shy of two years and once it retuned, I felt alive again. Before I’d felt so disconnected, like I was floating out at sea, tethered to a bouy and unable to rise, fall or drift wherever the current took me. The return felt as if a dam had burst and everything trapped was swept away. Free flowing.
It is by no means exclusive to women, but I associate creative energy with ‘the feminine’, because of the uterus and breasts being designed to create and sustain life. We all know how babies are made, so I don’t need to explain the role of the masculine in co-creation. We all come from that place, so we are all ‘coded’, if you like, with the same ability to create and to be created just because we are alive. Not solely through creating a life, like a baby, but through art, cookery, science, building or by ‘simply’ creating our life in the way we want it to exist. That goes for animals and nature too. All of co-creation.
The reproductive organs are governed by the sacral chakra, which is an energy centre in the body and part of an extensive energy system that powers our physical existence (If you so choose to believe, as I do, but each to their own). The sacral chakra also governs relationships, and the last two (or thirty) years of my life have been teeming with deep, difficult life lessons associated with being in or out of an array of familial, platonic and romantic relationships. Its been a bloody hard slog – trying to heal myself enough to return to seeing in a more loving and harmonious way like I used to. It would have been easier to keep fighting, resenting, blaming and wallowing, but I felt exhausted of living behind so many barriers. I wanted to feel peaceful again.
When my life had felt like it was flowing the least, the most important work I may ever do has been undertaken day by day. I had thought ‘the shit’ would leave with our birth, but was wrong. From prior to her creation, right through to my body signaling it is ready to create again (no babies yet please), everything was flowing exactly as I was commanding it to, unconsciously, by steering with my past, pain, suffering, fears, shame, angers and so on. My life had not stopped flowing, I was just feeling that way because I was resisting the natural flow of growth and change. Some part of me, my heart most likely, had known exactly what I needed to do to get to the places I want to go. Another part of me, my ego, didn’t want to do the work and just wanted to get on with surviving.
Ego and I made an unspoken deal, unbeknownst to me, that it was allowed all the time it needed to make itself heard, to play out all the trapped trauma and to finally wear itself out. Like a small child that needed help to figure itself out. I have felt things that are decades old and full of shame and self loathing simply because I’m sick of it being supressed and repressed deep inside of me. All of the barriers to peace, happiness and well-being are the things I’ve been relentlessly picking away at. They are the dam that burst, the sludge that clogged my awareness and that blocked my heart from being open. They weren’t keeping me safe, they were keeping me stuck.
The only way I could have come to understand the weight of that burden is to have felt it, heavy, as I worked to set it down. If it popped out easily at birth I wouldn’t now appreciate its looming absence. Only as suffering ceases do we appreciate being free. When we’ve gotten used carrying so much shit for so long, we don’t realise whats in there, but we do know we’re exhausted. If we feel like things aren’t flowing, we need to look to where the obstacles are. What is impeding our flow, if anything? What if we are standing in our own way so that we cannot see a solution?
We cannot stop the flow of life. Like raging rivers it will rush on, changing anything lying in its path if you fail to work with it. Even the most stubborn object will eventually be weathered by a river’s force. The ocean will welcome all bits and pieces the rivers collect, and all oceans are inseparably connected to eachother. The air draws up the ocean and rains it back into the rivers. They ready themselves to have another go at the most stubborn obstacles, washing the earth clean and smoothing all its jagged edges. This repeats. Forever. Perhaps until there’s nothing, or all of the pieces in the ocean create a new cycle.
Our healing is this same journey. There is no point in resisting the flow of change – there is no obstacle great enough to beat the time and space river. We can choose to be the river or the rock in its way, the ocean or the air, or we can observe that we are made up of all things.
A few years ago I saw this idea written in an article. It as about abandoning new year’s resolutions and in their place you would pick a word for the year. I’ve done health, adventure, commitment, create and liberate. Last year was the create year and I ended up with another little human to look after, but I picked it because I wanted to be creative with writing and art. During adventure I got to the bottom of why I’d ever had mental health problems, after PTSD flashbacks shed light, but what I meant when I picked the word was to travel the world. I picked committment to focus on an open university degree but I found myself having to get really commited to becoming more self loving. Health was a bit more of that, as well as getting really politically active, but what I meant was eat salad and exercise more….
Be careful what you wish for, eh?
In create, which was 2017, there was also cataclysmic mess made, by way of the biggest circumstantial upheavals I’ve ever experienced. That gave way to the full force of the state and prominent people trying to tear me down from the inside out**. Perhaps I’ll talk more about that eventually, but for now let’s stick to a simple statement about what that created in my life…
Great big mother fucking walls, EVERYWHERE in my life, because I existed only in a fear driven reality of my unconscious choosing. I called them boundaries and I built them to fiercely protect the self worth I worked hard for in the other years. A lot of them I convinced myself were to protect my daughter too.
In the defense of my self, the bar was set extremely high for potential further loss, and survival mode was adopted to get through the days. When we experience traumatic things, often we cope by using the Fs… Fight, flight, freeze or fawn. They’re primal autopilot tapes that our monkey mammal brains play when we sense danger and need to survive it; we attack; try to escape; we play dead; or we pander to pacify the threat. I think the only one I hadn’t adopted for the last year was fawn, and that’s because it got me into trouble in the first place. Yet another blog for another day!
So 2017 made a life and a mess, and I felt like I haven’t created anything since! I suppose many people would be pretty chuffed at the level of creativity achieved in human building… Lots of biology stickle brick XP and all that. Lots of people would also be happy to remain blissfully ignorant to their role in creating their own shitstorms, too. *Raises hand!* Spent the past two years in that camp *ahem* and a few decades before. As you’ve read, I’ve been using the need to prepare for a talk and blogs to force myself to face the suffering created in my life, wherever it’s come from.
What I didn’t actually realise, or want to accept, or fail to admit I was daft enough not to realise…. Is creation is born from destruction. You cannot make something new without destroying something old: ‘Every action has an equal opposite reaction’. Was that Isaac Newton?
Just think about that… You can only create by destroying.
Creation sounds like a positive and destruction, a negative, when in reality they are the exact same cycle. They need eachother in order to survive. They are a duality that come as a pair, like all other things that exist in relativity to something else. Light can only be perceived in contrast to dark, up to down, empty to full, on to off, Yin to Yang and so on. Everything has its opposite, but they’re not separate like we perceive them to be. They’re on a scale, or a continuum. Imagine the tail of a snake and then the mouth of a snake in a loop or circle.. the beginning and the end are all the same snake. Good and evil? Happy and sad? Love and fear? Same snake!
When I was hoping to create my best life and a fresh start, I was not expecting intense destruction. Not at all! But it sure as shit came. It’s only now that i’m filling the huge crater where my old life was back up, that I can see more clearly. If we want to be our best selves, live our best lives and be the happiest and most successful we can, we have to let go of the way things are and our beliefs about the way things should be. If we want to create we have to destroy, and vice versa. Perhaps only our resistance makes that seem violent?
Before I understood this cycle fully, I decided that this year’s word should be ‘liberation’. **What a prick! That was a stupid-ass idea too, because you cannot be free from anything without realising where you give away your power. In other words, you can never be free without becoming aware of your own self-sabotage, self-destruction and self-ignorance.
You can never be free without being responsible, which by it’s very nature sounds restrictive!
This year has really fucking sucked because liberation is all about perceived power and who or what has it. I spent half of the year being angry and the other half ashamed, depending on who was most powerful – me or ‘them’. Anger was them destroying as much as shame was me creating. It was two sides of the same coin of my experience. The shittest part has been in trying to get my head around how perhaps it’s actually always, always, always me playing creator and destroyer of all things!
How fucked off would you be if I said you were responsible for how much you have suffered in your life? Pretty fucked off once you’d really thought about it, right? If you could ever get to a point of believing it, you might feel ashamed too, or just absolutely gutted at what could have been created instead. That would suck even harder to imagine and so it’d be so much easier to blame anything or anyone else. That’s what I did most of the year, whilst simultaneously knowing I had such a gigantic responsibility to change my experience.
There’s a good Will Smith video somewhere on the internet about the difference between fault and responsibility… Fault belongs to those who wrong us, responsibility belongs to us for how we experience, heal, overcome, react or respond to that. When we don’t take responsibility for our healing, we remain powerless.
Liberation is realising we are responsible for our experience of everything ever, but that not being a massive burden of anger, blame, fear, resentment, shame and guilt…
…it is realising we are responsible for our experience of everything ever and that being the key to creating the most badass fucking life we ever could dream of.
Maybe that is us created ‘in God’s image’.
I highly recommend a book called Conversations with God. I was meant to read it two years ago but I knew I needed to hold of… My understanding gleened through creating my recent experiences were well explained by this book that I’m just finishing!
Here is how my creation has destroyed my wall paper today… Fortunately I had planned to destroy it myself in the new year to make way for better… And that’s a good analogy for life.
It’s bloody hard work to commit to yourself when you hang out with a one year old for twenty four hours a day! Starting this blog was meant to be a step in the direction of being more productive, but it’s actually been more a step towards chastising myself for not being productive enough. Perhaps I should cut myself some slack, because these impish little children are hard graft when you’re on your tod. I don’t think it is a fair representation to say that I don’t have time for myself to write or meditate or better look after myself. Granted I don’t have much time, though I definitely have enough to at least get started.
Why then, if I have some time, am I not using it wisely? Because I am in procrasti-waste mode! When all your time and energy goes into looking after someone or everyone else, you put off looking after yourself to catch up on things, like chores. Or if you’re me, you put off doing that to catch up on soul sucking social media or Netflix or social media again. And again. And again. And againnnn!!
Fuck you Facebook.
And fuck me for shirking my responsibility to myself for my own well being.
The real reason I shirk that responsibility, if I dig deep, is to resist change by way of remaining distracted and disengaged from life in as many ways as possible. By keeping busy or by staying still, by always thinking or doing or by avoiding tasks and changes that would actually improve things if I made the effort. We all do it, I expect. Or maybe we don’t. Maybe some folk are just super efficient at self growth and always own their shit immediately and never ever dawdle on improving their experience of things in any way they can. Maybe some can give themselves a break. Maybe some folk wash, dry, fold and put away ALL their laundry in ONE DAY! I think it’s pretty common to avoid things we know we should be doing because change is uncomfortable.
Being present with our experiences, feelings, traumas, failings, hopes and dreams can be uncomfortable, because it throws a big massive spotlight on this idea that we aren’t good enough exactly as we are. Our egos tell us we need change to be enough, and on most days nobody really wants to face that shit. So we zone out and disassociate from our not-enoughness by being mind-full. Lacking presence in the ‘now’. This moment, here, just this one. In this breath. The in breath through the nose, the out breath through the mouth… Sounding like the ocean.
This moment now.
We zone out on ourselves because we don’t know how to be present with our worthiness – we are too busy focusing on avoiding or submerging ourselves into our unworthiness. And if there are things we want to do and achieve and change in our life circumstances, how are we going to do that when we tell ourselves we’re crap?
The silence of self awareness can be deafeningly painful on some days, but allowing that space is like defragmenting your harddrive. I’m going to acknowledge my procrasti-wasting is occuring – I’m shirking my responsibility to be loving to myself no matter what, because I am failing to be present with myself and also because I am telling myself that staring gormlessly at Facebook every night in my free time is all the self care I need….
I deserve more self nurturing. So rather than chastising myself for not being productive, I am going to invite myself, and all others, to make different choices… Not because we aren’t good enough….but because we are so completely and utterly enough as we are that we deserve to enjoy that more. I’m going to see making better choices for myself as a way to remember my inherent worth instead of trying to tell myself I’m not enough.
Short term goals just for me… Daily meditation, twice weekly writing, a walk a day, more music, more mindful presence, some yoga (even if it’s just ten minutes for the first time in 15 months!!!). What are yours?
“Stop spending yourself so unwisely“
“I want to talk to you about energy. I don’t mean the energy that powers your home, though that is the same thing. I don’t want to talk to you about the energy that powers your body either, though that is the same thing too. I want to talk to you about the energy that you use the most unconsciously yet the most frequently: the energy of your mind and the energy of your heart.
You invest so much of your energy in rushing around to finish everything, to get everything done, to complete your work, your chores and your tasks. You spend so much energy on doing. Whilst you’re doing all that doing you’re investing the rest of your energy on feeling and thinking, but never about what you are doing. You will think of the next thing you must do whilst feeling you haven’t enough time or feeling resentful of having to do what you’re doing simply because you’d rather be doing something else. You are using all of your energy at cross-purposes. Your thoughts send energy one way, your feelings send it another and your actions send the rest somewhere different still.
The result of this is feeling hollow. The result is feeling too stretched, too dispersed or too thinly spread. This inconsiderate use of your own energy, the currency of life, is tearing you at the seams. You are dragging and pulling yourself in opposing directions at all moments, mindlessly spending all of yourself in your search for enough completion to establish happiness. I want to tell you to stop. I want to tell you that when you stop sending all parts of yourself in different directions simultaneously you will feel whole. You will feel present and you will feel peaceful and you will find all of the answers you seek.
I feel you will misunderstand me and think this too simple a concept. It is too simple a concept, I will grant you that. I am a simple being. I promise you one thing; one day you will come to learn that nothing ever need be as complicated as you make it. These vast pressures you put upon your heart and mind are wholly unnecessary.
I know you are busy and I know you have lots to do but I can tell you a secret: the more time and attention you give to everything you do, the more time and freedom you will find for yourself. Spend more time focusing only on what you are doing in any given moment (that is heart, body and mind) without allowing any aspect of yourself to become distracted. Try this for one day. I don’t mean try it once on one day, I mean try it for one whole day.
When you wake up tomorrow pay attention to what you think and what you feel physically and emotionally. Notice sounds, smells and sensations. Soak it all up. When you brush your teeth think only about brushing your teeth. Notice how you feel before, during and after. When you wash, dress or cook think only about what you are doing and feeling as you are washing, dressing or cooking. Whether you go to work, college or some other place, think only of your journey as you travel. When you interact with people throughout the day pay full attention to them. Really listen. Don’t think only about your reply or how to lengthen or shorten the conversation. You can think about that after you’ve listened. Really invest your energy in listening and being present. Notice your feelings and notice their feelings. Connect!
In everything you do tomorrow, connect. Totally immerse yourself in whatever you do. Ensure your heart, mind and body are all engaged at once and focused solely on that one act of doing at a time. Try this for one whole day. If you notice nothing other than how unconsciously you live every moment of your life I will be happy. You need more presence. You are spending all of your energy so unwisely that you tear holes in yourself and wonder why you are stressed and unhappy.
If you are present in everything you do, if you really practice this, I promise you life will change. I promise you that you will find every last thing you are looking for. If you start living in every moment and sending all of your three focus’ in the same direction, you will eventually find a bliss that you never dreamed possible.
Try it. Just for one whole day.” – channelled writing from Blue, a wonderful energy that hangs out with me from time to time
Well I went and disappeared, didn’t I? I started back on starting up again and then I stopped and flapped around like a fish out of water. Stop, start, stop, start. Three steps forward, two steps back!
I did my talk and suddenly nose dived into a bit of a despairing couple of weeks! First I had to contend with remembering all of the stupid things I said in my talk. I freaked out to my friend when my memory told me I basically said people need to just get over the Holocaust. That is totally NOT what I said, as she rightly pointed out, but my brain decided to shame me because it was feeling insecure. I actually said that people experience different levels of trauma and suffering across their life and across time and space, and the Holocaust would have to be on the extreme end. The talk on the whole was about how to start letting go of suffering.
Multiple things happened in the days that followed my talk that made me remember that you can’t let go of your suffering until your suffering is done being suffered. I tried to stress that in my talk, but it’s really rather hard to get it across. Its really hard to articulate that you can and will move past suffering when someone is in the midst of it, because during that dark place, it’s really fucking invalidating. When you’re the one in that hole, it feels like someone saying your anger or resentment or pain or shame or blame is not important, what happened to you wasn’t bad or was too long ago now, or aren’t you over that already? “Something is wrong with you for feeling this”, it feels like. Like saying your new reality, your reality that keeps you safe, is wrong, and you’re bad or negative for not being more well rounded or recovered or ascended and nun-like.
When you tell someone to let go of their suffering, it feels like they’re being told to let go of the strategies, mechanisms and safety nets they have used to survive. It’s like starving people of the wellness they have clawed back at. It can feel insulting and degrading. Dehumanising. It’s alienating and infuriating and it makes people think that we don’t have a fucking clue what they are going through. And we probably don’t.
We probably don’t have a clue, because we are not in their suffering with them. We are in our need to fix their suffering. We are in our shame about our historical struggles to just snap out of our pain, or we are in our self-appointed elevated perspective where we think we know what they should do or feel or think better than they do. Or maybe we do understand, because maybe we have been there before ourselves in a similar experience. Whichever of the above it is,or even if it’s something else, it doesn’t work to just try and end suffering before the energy has done it’s thing. Nobody is helped by being told to hurry the fuck up. It doesn’t just stop abruptly with jazz hands and drum rolls and celebratory fireworks.
It’s a hard old fucking slog to let go. I wish I’d stressed that more in the talk. Maybe the talk was some kind of foundation for this blog. Day one…talk…day seventy million and twelvety three…’and that, my friends, that’s how I let go of my suffering’.
I should have anticipated that standing in front of a room full of people, playing the greatest showman and basically saying ‘FUCK IT, LET GO OF YOUR SHIT!’ was going to bring up alllll of my shit, but I didn’t. I’d had this idea that after my shit year I’d do the talk and then my year would get all easy peasy, but nope. I had some of the deepest and most painful feelings buried deep in the bowels of my being show up for some perusal. For some space, fresh air, a cuddle and some cake. I even had a panic attack! That was completely random. There was such a violent surge of past swelling up inside me that I found it really overwhelming and I was trying to fight it away and bat it off for a while. Who knew a birthday could raise the dead feelings?
In the end I just dived into it and looked it in the eye… All my ugly feelings of isolation, shame and unworthiness… And I just waited. Then I cried a bit. Watched some movies cuddled up with baby, and then it was gone. Like it had never been there at all. Only I know too well that it will be back at some other random time when my ego recognises a series of emotions or events that made me vulnerable before. And I’ll work, again, to reassure myself that I don’t need the wall to protect what’s already worthy and loveable by default. I’ll be a bit more whole and a bit less bitter, twisted, wizened witch.
Past pain rises, crescendos and then falls away. It happens over and over so that we think it’s the same pain, that we’re not letting anything go, that we aren’t getting anywhere. Our pain is as impermanent as the seconds passing on our watches, changing bit by bit by bit. We are constantly shedding and shrinking it. We must incoporate it into our well-being, by learning how to love ourselves enough, not to deny huge portions of who and what we are. Our suffering is valid until we don’t need it anymore.
It’s ok to not be ok yet, or to not be ok for all of the time… We aren’t failing or fucking it up. We’re pausing for breath. Letting go of pain is very simple. It’s just not easy, not even slightly!
I might be harping on about this but if there are other angles maybe it will better resonate.
An analogy. Kinda…
I was born pure and pain free into a world that hasn’t been free from pain for a long, long, long time. Everyone I met from day one had pain. Some more than others, but everyone had endured suffering. Some wore it gracefully, others wore it honestly, some wore it with anger and vengeance, but mostly people wore it blindly.
I stored up pain. I stored up other people’s pain as my own – they instructed me on my worth, on my value, on my level of safety based on the level of comfort they had in their own pain endurance. I created a bank where I could make deposits and withdrawals of suffering as and when required. This bank had an endless supply because I could refill it as fast as I could empty it. I was using it to repay debts, I was spending it positively, I was saving it up for a rainy day… pain became a currency to me.
Pain is a currency for all of us, perhaps. Or a costume, an accessory or tool for navigating through life disastrously.
First of all pain – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – was this surprising, shocking, debilitating thing that happened to me in my innocence. In the absence of healed people, I wasn’t taught how to process and overcome it. I wasn’t shown how to let it go. Pain, at first, was an attack on my purity. My childhood was affected by the pain I was born into.
Pain became a jacket then. I could take it on and off. It could lay on the floor, disregarded, when I knew I was safe in my innocence, but if there was any hint of anything remotely uncomfortable or hurtful, the coat would go back on and I’d store all the new bits in the endless pockets and compartments of this jacket. As I grew out of the jacket I needed more items to carry around all the experiences I needed protecting from, like our clothes shield us from the weather and hide our naked vulnerabilities from the world. I had a whole wardrobe, for any occasion, and I loved shopping so I just acquired more and more and more outfits.
There would be particularly bad winters sometimes and I’d layer up. Layer upon layer upon layer of pain to protect myself. And if it rained I would be so laden. It got really hard to cart it all around on my body. I was exhausted and I eventually came to realise that if a awesome summer ever came I would probably die under the weight and the heat… if I even made it that far.
I started taking all the layers off. There were so, so, so many that it took me many seasons. I struggled through all of them but I was making progress. I never discarded all the layers, in case there was a particularly bad winter and I needed them. I just started carrying them around in suitcases, dragging them behind me. It was all organised and tidy, ready if I needed it. Some people thought it brilliant to be able to take off all those layers and carry them so neatly. Others tried their best to help me let go of some of the unnecessary items I needed. Some laughed at me carrying all that pain in cases before noticing how many layers they were living under themselves. We are experiencing global warming… there is not enough need for all these extra layers of pain in the world. We have to start getting rid of some of the things because we couldn’t have such terribly cold winters anymore – we have to get more prepared to brace entirely different storms and we can’t adapt under all that mess.
I thought I was doing the right thing giving all these things I didn’t need to a boot sale or charity shop. I was giving away my pain unknowingly. I’d unpack it and give it to other people and walk away feeling lighter, not noticing how much more laden they’d become. For years I just gave this pain away. Over and over and over. I had nearly emptied my cases before I realised that in giving away my pain I was inviting all the hand me downs from other people. It was just a pain exchange that I couldn’t see I was complicit in. I thought I was right and they were selfish.
I got pissed off then.
I started using my pain as a sword to fight people off with, no matter how close I wanted them. And when I realised I did want them close and I couldn’t keep swiping with a sword, I used it as a shield. I couldn’t hurt people so much but they couldn’t get near me with their pain. Nor their love. And I couldn’t love properly from behind a shield.
I realised, eventually, that the antidote to pain was love.
I tried to love everyone’s pain away but I was just giving them more, because I wasn’t really loving. I was trying to fix them. And by trying to fix them, I was trying to fix me. I realised I needed my love more than anything. So I just loved me. Over and over and over until I realised how necessary all that pain was to understand how to learn to love. I got better at loving others. I started teaching people how to love themselves!! This kind of love was blind and conditional… it made me blind to all the pain I hadn’t overcome because…. Well… pride is very blinding and I had let go of more pain than most!
I wore my pain like a badge then. And I gave people trophies for their pain. Little award ceremonies for our well done’s… well done we suffered greatly… we made it. We are warriors, fighters… survivors!!!!! Look how badass we are at suffering!
And we did… we each made it and if we hadn’t yet we would. And we will always do it, and we are bad ass and we WILL survive.
And that will always be amazing.
We were stronger and more whole and healthier and life would be hard but we’d survive, because that’s what we were… we were survivors.
But now I realise.
Now I understand.
A survivor is NOT who I am. I was never, ever meant to be a survivor. A survivor is who I had to become to overcome all of the pain in the world. The pain that belonged to my parents and their parents and their parents. The pain that belonged to everyone I met and the world around me. The pain of friends, partners, their partners, their friends. My pain, all my pain. A survivor is who I had to become to overcome all the things that were never, ever meant to belong to me. We had to become survivors to overcome all of the things that never belonged to any of us at all.
I was never broken to begin with so I never needed fixing. I never needed saving or rebuilding or curing.
I was always there underneath. Waiting.
I don’t want the badge anymore.
I was born pure and pain free into a world that hasn’t been free from pain for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, longggggggggg time.
I want to be pure and pain free again.
If I keep wearing the badge… If I keep carrying the pain I survived then I am never who I was meant to be.
If I carry my suffering, in any form, I am not me. I am the sum of a world that was broken from my first breath. And the only way, perhaps, we will ever, ever make it pure and pain free is if we stop carrying our suffering and return to our truest form.
We have a lot of journeying to do to get there… but the more we let go of, the easier the route will be.
I don’t want to tell my daughter the story of my pain, or of my surviving. I want to tell her how she can live a different story and help make a better world.
When I got up I felt the stress of failing to prepare for today getting louder. I had a major grump on some rice crispies and then my friend kindly entertained bambino whilst I showered and got myself ready. Breathwork never fails to connect me back to a better mind state. Actually that’s bollocks. It often fails, but nevermind. Let’s pretend for now, because that is another blog. I used the water of the shower to imagine a better mood pouring into my crown and filling me with insight and awareness about what the fuck I was going to say today. I sang too. Not words but just sounds. Trying to find and clear my voice so I could hear my heart not my chattery brain. Eventually it all clicked and I wasn’t nervous again until I felt jelly legged when queuing outside the room before starting.
I played This Is Me from the Greatest Showman and asked people to close their eyes and connect with the song, paying attention to how it made them feel. People said empowered, strong, fierce like a warrior and emotional. This is the gist of the talk. Kinda. I can’t remember a lot of what came out!
When we are born, we are pure, emotionally unhindered and we fully embody unconditional love. We grow up to play, create, laugh, dance and forcefully lunge ourselves from our bellies to our feet with determination. We are always moving forward, but only as a byproduct of wanting to enjoy more, reach more and to evolve more. We are never trying to be better, we are just trying to participate in life more fully. Our eyes are bright, our hearts are open and our bellies shake with laughter, because we are completely free and authentic.
Ego forms when we become shocked, scared, hurt, or any other thing that makes us feel unsafe and vulnerable. It happens whether the experience is small and simple or huge and deeply traumatic. Ego becomes a small warrior that stands in front of us to protect us. As we grow older and go through life, ego collects feelings and experiences, cataloguing them and learning behaviours to action should we ever experience vulnerability again. Ego can respond healthily or unhealthily, but its primary function is to protect us. It is our sense of self, it does everything in its power to protect us and is a beautiful servant when mastered, but can be a destructive leader when left to run riot. Behind this ego, we remain pure and child like. Our sense of wonder, our unconditionally loving source, our freedom and creativity… our truth… it is always there underneath. We don’t actually need protection for this element of our self. It is infinite and limitless.
Life gives us painful experiences of disconnection and separation nonetheless. We start to fall apart. We crack and we feel broken. Sometimes we attribute this to allowing love in, or hope, happiness and excitement. We attribute the painfulness to allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, for letting the wall down, for letting ego rest. The pain actually comes from the sudden slamming shut we experience when ego gets scared.
We also unconsciously recognise the feeling of home in the freedom we experienced whilst our walls were down. Every time we crack, we feel more of our infinite worth subconsciously. In this way, over years, every painful experience brings us closer to our truth and we fight harder to protect ourselves. Ego later obliges us by changing tact and working with us to start defending our worth, allowing us to speak our truth, fight for our value, work hard to defend our rights, our well being and our place in the world. We acknowledge we are valid and strong and powerful and worthy. Our warrior self is the strongest its ever been, because it recognises the hard work we have endured, the struggle and the suffering we have overcome to finally…. finally…. believe that we matter.
That is what that song above represents to so many. Look out, here we come. We are worthy, we are glorious. We are bruised and broken, like we are meant to be. It is fierce and powerful and liberating. I love the song. I love it so very much, and I chose to play it at the beginning for two reasons. Firstly, i’d have to talk for five less minutes! Secondly, because I knew it would help me connect to my centre and speak more freely. The song is fighting talk. And that’s what warriors do. They fight.
But aren’t we all done fighting? Haven’t we had enough?
We are in an age where personal responsibility is needed if change is to come. We have to start owning our worth, but we also have to start owning our shit, too. When we bound through life saying THIS IS ME, I am worthy, I have suffered, and I am not taking any more shit… when we identify as warriors… we are only going to create more suffering. Our ego stands in front of us, tooled up to the max. Swords, nun chucks, daggers, axes, maybe some bombs and fire and fuck knows what else. And don’t anyone DARE try and tell us we are not worthy, or treat us in any way less than we desire to be treated.
Thats ok…its a really important and necessary stage, but we’re only meant to stay there for a while. For however long it takes to realise that it’s not self-worth. Its fear. It is so far from self worth that it causes more and more suffering. Like anger and resentment at people who don’t behave perfectly around us. I referred to Brené Brown in my talk and her TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. She talks about how we cannot protect ourselves from one feeling without cutting off others. We cannot selectively numb emotion, she says. If we want to keep out sad and angry, we are going to numb happy and joyful too. What if our fighting to maintain our worth keeps it away? This is the path of the unhealed warrior. It is ego fighting to survive and it keeps us from our truth. It keeps us suffering, it keeps us in our painful pasts. It forces us to seek out external validation to confirm what we believe about ourselves. We are unable to maintain calm, peace, happiness and consistent well being unless people behave exactly as we want them to. Of course there are behaviours and actions we should never, ever accept and that rightly we should fight against, but self worth, enoughness and well-being are more about an internal equilibrium that we must try to maintain regardless of external forces.
And it’s bloody hard!!!
I asked the group near the beginning what ego was. Some people thought it was negative, others more motivating, but one lady said it causes separation. I told her she’d finished my talk for me, because that’s where I was heading. The more we fight for our worth and well being, the less important we make that of others. It separates us further, and the more we are disconnected, the more all of us suffer. The more we prioritise overcoming our suffering, the greater the suffering of those around us increases.
So, Ego is our catalogue of suffering and it protects us from our truth because its scared. It is absolutely terrified of pain and vulnerability and it protects us by keeping us closed off from the beauty it wants to protect. It is full of shame and sadness and unworthiness, even when it is defending our enoughness, because it was born when we first ever realised we were separate from all other things, and we never wanted to feel that disconnected again. It is almost comical that ego is the disconnector. But what a loyal warrior! Imagine if we could empower it to act in our best interests instead of for preserving and maintaining our smallest sense of self. Imagine if we could programme it to motivate and inspire us, instead of to shrink or react explosively to criticism. To retrain ego, we first have to heal our warriors.
When considering the above, it also isn’t our responsibility to heal and fix all other beings. What we are personally accountable for is our healing and the damage we do to others with our suffering. We are not living our truth if we beat others up with our worthiness. It is our responsibility to remove barriers to recognising our inseparableness. If there are injustices we must fight, they should be fought for change and not for recovery. When we are healed warriors, we move mountains instead of carry them and try and throw them onto the shoulders of others. The more healed we are the more capable we feel of effecting change around us in the wider world. That quote from my home page comes to mind!
It is painful to imagine ego as a terrified child, desperate for the connection it cuts us off from. And whenever we argue with someone, or see someone behaving badly, angrily, someone shitting on our worth… imagine if we could see them as a terrified three year old absolutely shaking and quivering and crying, pleading for our love. Imagine zooming out and viewing all beings on this planet just crying out, whatever way they are behaving, begging for love and acceptance. For connection, for help, for peace and for inclusion. So few of us could look at a deeply unhappy child and refuse to love it. Our job is not to save the child or protect it from pain and struggle, but it is to hold space for them to retain their sense of freedom to become themselves. Change is really hard when you don’t feel nurtured!
I told the room that our work here on earth is not done until everyone’s suffering has ceased. In a bigger picture kind of way. I told them that when we are carrying our suffering around, as a badge of survival or unconsciously because we are yet to heal, that we will never live our happiest truth. If we can let go of our suffering, we can’t skip blissfully into the sunset and think we are done, because what of our loved ones? What of the other people? How can we be happy when there is suffering all around, when we’re disconnected from eachother?
I hope I don’t need to point out that an important part of healing is knowing that out suffering is valid, that it matters, that we matter. I’ll write much more about the actual processes of healing I’ve encountered to get to this mindset and how I’d have stabbed my future self in the throat if she had said all this shit to my past self. (Sometimes present me kicks present self’s ass too). Depending on how much we are hurting and how deep our wounds are, this work feels like toxic poison. It sucks. It really fucking sucks and I totally get it. So if you want to punch me, I’m right there with you!
Ego creates a battle of Us and Them. This mentality of victim and perpetrator, it is prevalent in all issues everywhere, whether internally or externally, locally or internationally. If we can perceive two or more sides of war and disconnection outside, it exists inside of us too. In reality there are no winners and losers. When there is any fighting anywhere, everyone is suffering somehow. Hurt people hurt people, as they say.
Our sole job here on this earth, I believe, is to heal that war inside of ourselves, to allow the space where we are truest, purest and inseparably connected to each other and all things, to shine through.
Our deepest suffering is our disconnection. It is in seeing others as more or less than us. It is in seeing our suffering as separate to the suffering of others, or more or less worthy. It is in not recognising that we come from and return to the same vastness, or emptiness, or timelessness. Our suffering is duality and our healing is in oneness. Being at one with our self means to integrate our egos into our truth, and that is one hell of a fucking task, I tell you!! Ego doesn’t integrate without a fight, because fighting is all it knows. But we can retrain it to lay down its weapons for all of us to know less suffering.
If self worth is not fighting for our worth to be recognised, then what is it? It is a strong connection to that self that stands behind the ego. The playful, free spirited, kind, warm, creative, excited, joyful, liberated and loving being that we were all born as. That is our aim… for all beings. When we can listen to that song above and have the same sense of passion and empowerment for the worth and value of ALL beings, including non human and including the earth and all our natural resources, then we are getting somewhere.
There’s so much more to say about all of this some other time, including how wrong it can feel sometimes! What I’m not sure I got across was that this work is hard and that there is no ‘wrong’ way to heal… There is only oneness and however long it takes. We are our only judge.
We’ve been living for eons trying to get there and we will live for many more. It takes a lot of soul searching and healing and labour and time and patience and tantrums to start seeing how laden we are by carrying our suffering around to protect us. When we’re done… when we let it go.. when we are unaffected…
…take a deep breath and imagine there is absolutely NOTHING in the way of infinite love, happiness and well-being… For all…
Breathe that in…
What could we build? It would be amazing.
We are all worthy. We all matter. Equally. When we are ‘bad’, when others are ‘bad’, its our acting from our deepest pain with our most engrained patterns and what is really needed is love. And if we can’t love, we step away so we don’t cause more hurt and then we heal and start again. There are many, many, MANY stages to this work and we all come at it on different levels. There is no hierarchy of worthiness or ability or success… anyone who thinks so is in an ego trap! We are all just living how we live and if it resonates, stick with it, and if it doesn’t, you will find your way to healing and happiness, because all routes lead back to our source.
As a final add on- on the way home from the talk I saw a huge flock of Geese fly over head. I decided to look it up and it seemed very apt.