cedar_grove: (Storm)
I have spent several weeks in contemplation of when, for me, the new year should begin, or perhaps has already begun. I tell myself this, and not that it is procrastination against the beginning of an undertaking, or perhaps the opposite, a wish for a precipitous beginning of said undertaking. The fact remains, I have questioned, and still question when a new year begins for an individual. When does it begin for me?

As a Wiccan, should my new year have begun in November, as Samhain passed us into the gathering season of winter, or did my new year begin almost a month later with the start of a journey that has led me to the threshold upon which I now stand – or may even have unknowingly passed beyond already? Did my personal new year begin as a new year of my life began with my birthday on December 11th or with the new solar year, and returning light at Yule? Or should I simply do as most folk seem to do and say my new undertaking will begin with the new calendar year as 2016 gives way to 2017?

There are so many conventions that we follow, cultural and religious, and some that fall into both categories. The notion of the ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ have never appealed to me, and not just because many (if not most of the people I personally know) give up on those resolutions soon after making them – myself included in the past. Perhaps that’s why, through this soul searching, I have shied away from that option, and why I questioned in the first place.

Through my introspection, not just of recent days, but of many months, perhaps even years – and extrospection (though Google tells me that even though technically this is the anonym of introspection, it is rarely used), I have discovered a thing or two. This is the point at which I feel I must type the disclaimer that, if you think this part of my journal entry is about you, well… that’s your prerogative, I suppose, but this is my journal, and these are my observations. However, as the saying goes, if the cap fits… or the shoe fits, then… be Cinderella if you must.

There are too many people out there who can’t, or perhaps worse, refuse to see past the end of their own garden path. Such people trap themselves in their own misery, and as prisoners lash out at those around them, transferring their misery and negativity to people who are merely trying to help them realize their own state of being. I’ve been an enabler of such behaviors for the sake of a quiet life, because the gods know that when I’ve tried to do otherwise, all holy hell has broken loose.

Loyalty, like charity, must begin at home. Blind loyalty to other people or beliefs or any other thing that one can be loyal to is often self-destructive. Loyalty to someone or something that reinforces or promotes self-deprecation or a negative self-image, no matter who or what that someone or something is; what part that person or something else plays in your life, is an act of cowardice, not loyalty, and ultimately damaging for you and for others in your life.  As with love, if you cannot love yourself, you cannot properly love others – if you cannot be loyal to yourself, then your loyalty to others is misguided at best.

Ignoring the wise words of good friends and loved ones is just plain stupid and can only lead to trouble and pain. You might think your reasons for arguing the point (inwardly or outwardly) are good and valid reasons, but experience and hindsight will always come around like a two-headed dog to bite you on the ass. When that happens, you know the people that had your best interests at heart when they spoke the advice because, while they might remind you of what they said, they’ll never say, “I told you so,” and will just be there in quiet support while you find your feet after being knocked on your smarting backside.

There’s great sadness in the realization that sometimes, people will – by their own thoughts and actions – disqualify themselves from certain parts they have played in your life, and you can fight and flail all you like to keep them there because you want them there, but if that want isn’t truly and unconditionally matched, there’s little you can do but create a negative and toxic situation for the both of you that is ultimately damaging. Conversely, people can sometimes surprise you. When you least expect it, with a single word, or a short message, people you might have once been close to, that you didn’t even realize you missed, can give you a boost when you’re at your lowest ebb, and remind you that they’re still there.

In all of the above, I’m drawn to, and feel the need to also share a story that was given to me as a ‘lesson’ by one of those wise friends many, many years ago - a wonderful man by the name of Alawn Tickhill - who told me the Story of the Sparrow – and you can find it here.

So… anyway, the conclusion I came to, is that really and ultimately, when and why I start the undertaking is entirely up to me. Also, it’s no big secret what the undertaking is.  It’s just that I’ve been wanting to do more journal writing for a very long time now, and I thought, well, with a new year, it might be time to start this journaling journey.  I’d like to say I’ll write every day. Even though that might be my intent, I know that sometimes life is going to get in the way. I also know that’s perfectly fine.

What I write, how often I write, and why I write – well, those things are my prerogative and my responsibility too.
cedar_grove: (Default)

The goddess draped reself in clouds adn flew
across her many islands to the great mountain
where the Muses lived, renowned Parnassus,
and spoke to them directly: "I have heard," she said,
"that water rises here, a new spring kicked to life
by that strange offspring of Medusa, the horse
with wings and lightning hooves." Urania nodded.
"We rejoice you found a reason for this visit," she said,
"for you are ever present with us, in our hearts."
And then she took the goddess to a dark wood
filled with caverns and dappled with meadows
where spring blossoms flourished. And the goddess
stayed awhile there, happy in the company
of memory's sweet daughters, marvelling
at sweet water rising from hard rock like
inspiration that comes after a long drought, like
the heart that loves again after brutal loss.

-Ovid, Metamorphoses

There she sees the miraculous spring called Castalia, the source of all genius, which the great winged horse Pegausu opened in the rock with one strike of his flinty hooves.

And is this not the miracle we each perform every time we create something new and original...?

The reality of creativity, at least for me, is that it is very linked with the element of water... so it is very tied in with the emotional side of me. This isn't necessarily very good for a writer in some respects.

As an amateur, I suppose it's not so problematic that 'not being in the mood' to write, or being 'too upset' to write well, or of course the reverse, (though few writers seem to complain about being too happy to write), sometimes gets in the way of the process of writing, but if I'm to do so in any professional, or even semi-professional way, I need to push past that and write because that's what I want to do.

The current reality has been though that I have allowed my emotions to come between me and the writing that I want to do. (And you can tell when you're missing Stargate: Atlantis when... *no prizes for thinking of the quote that came floating into my head when I was typing the above confession*). So now I need to act like Pegasus and strike with my fliny hoof to crack the shell that's hardened around my creativity and allow the waters of the wellspring to bubble through.

It's a beautiful image for meditating upon... to feel myself transformed, even momentarily, into the magnificent winged horse, free from earthly constraints, taking flight only to return to ground and strike with a hoof, to crack the dark shell that shrouds the waters of my creativity, to feel the cool waters of it to bubble through and bathe the burning of my desires to write, to slake my thirst for words upon the page; upon the screen - within my heart.

But the analytical side of my brain also demands the question why? Why is it that I cannot write when agitated, upset, lonely, depressed... that I cannot write when overly excited, too happy to settle to it - surely these would be the best times to harness the energies of the water rushing just beneath the surface of my worlds.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

I will always have fears, but I need not be my
Fears, for I have other places within myself
from which to speak and act.

--Parker J Palmer

No feeling takes over our lives more suddenly or more completely than fear.

I act and speak (or don't speak) out of fear far too often... and don't even get me started on my 'fear' of authority. I'm 43 years old, and put an authority figure in front of me, and I become a gibbering three year old. What bugs me is that I can't figure where that fear came from. The others, yeah... but that one..?

My dad was often forceful, but... I wouldn't say that he was overly so. I was never slapped or spanked as a child, except for one single time – and I can remember that vividly – and that was my mother that slapped me around the face.

There was one short period in time where my mother and father had a wobble in the marriage. Dad left for not very long... (I can't clearly recall for how long, but I don't think it was more than a week)... but during that time, being the daddy's girl that I am, I missed him terribly. I was having a 'grown up child's' tantrum in front of mum, saying that I wanted daddy – I suppose, in hindsight, it could have seemed like I was blaming her for his not being there. We were in the kitchen and she slapped my face to shut me up. It's the only time I can recall that either of my parents ever slapped me... and for that reason it was very effective... but it is certainly not cause enough for me to be as afraid of authority figures as I am.

My fear of authority even goes so deep as to have hampered my own exerting of authority at one time or another... certainly in my adult life anyway. Sure I can be 'bossy' from time to time – but that's different to having, and exercising authority over others. I'm uncomfortable doing it – though I have in both my personal and professional lives, been in positions of authority – so I try to temper it with a mandate of 'shared responsibility.' Works to a degree, but sometimes you just have to put your foot down.

I remember very clearly, when I was running my first Wiccan Circle, having some problems with discipline among the members, and I remember writing Alawn (my mentor/initiator) at the time, only to receive a letter back that was as much a slap on the wrist as it was encouragement. He simply asked, "Are you the High Priestess of this Circle or not?" I knew by the question that it was time to take up the rod of authority and use it.

My other big fear is a fear of failure – which let's face it, is a fear that most of us have at some point or another, to varying degrees. It's a fear that stops a lot of us from trying to do something... or makes us feel like our efforts are inadequate even before we have begun... I think I sometimes flicker between both. Couple that with my bloody minded independence and inability to ask for help and it's a wonder I'm not a useless mess all the time. Afraid to fail, too independent to ask for help that might help me succeed... LOL... but somehow I manage... not always gracefully, to deal with my fears or at least find a way around them.

Other fears... bugs, ticks, (yeah I know ticks are bugs, but they get their own category), and spiders... I deal because I have to. It's a different kind of dealing – a different kind of courage, (mostly based on common sense – some of those things could hurt me if I'm not careful, and I don't always know which ones).

One fear I don't deal with at all well... and that's my fear of hurting the ones I love, (my guy, my friends, family), of pushing them away, of them leaving me alone... this is the most self destructive of the fears, because in trying to avoid the hurting – I often do or say things that hurt more. In trying to protect them from 'imagined' hurts, I'm clumsy and end up conjuring hurts that were not there in the first place. This is the fear that I need to address the most... that I need to banish the most... and honestly the answer is in the trust I have for these people and their love for me. In trusting them to understand me when I am honest and straightforward, to know where I'm coming from with what I say and do, I'm sure we could, together, eliminate that fear from me and from them.
cedar_grove: (Harmony)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Please remember, it is what you are
that heals, not what you know.

--Carl Jung

...someone I love comes along in pain and I start dumping my pockets, looking for the one thing I know that will help them.

This is almost exactly what I do. Someone comes to me with a problem, and besides being sympathetic, which I am even when I don't express it, the first thing I will do is start looking for a solution. It doesn't occur to my overactive mind that actually what might be more appropriate is that they might just want a hug. It's something I have to stop myself from doing on a conscious level.

By the opposite token though, sometimes that kind of response, when given, has been rebuffed, dismissed or unwanted, and often in a less than pleasant way. I'm putting this out here in public right now. If I make a display of sympathy, give a sympathetic gesture or express solidarity because of a problem or hurt a friend or anyone else is suffering, it's because the feelings I am expressing are genuine, as is the support. I don't do fake sympathy. It's demeaning both to the person giving it, and the person meant to be on the receiving end in both a practical and a spiritual way.
cedar_grove: (Get me outa here)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Maybe that's why I want to touch people
so often-it's only another way of talking.

--Georgia O'Keeffe

For those who have suffered, tolerance is not a political position of even a principle. For those of us who have suffered, who have hauled ourselves into the sun, anything exhausted beside us is family.

I struggle with depression... and I'd like to remind people at this point in the 'proceedings' that depression is an illness, it's not just about 'feeling blue' or 'being down.' It is an illness, a complicated illness born of many things and experiences.

Mine first began during my struggle with infertility... I know that now, I didn't at the time. It was exacerbated by the stresses and pressures of everyday life, but that was at the root of it. The question of 'what kind of woman am I if I can't even do the most fundamentally female thing and bear young?

So I sank into depression, was really quite ill... took anti-depressants for a time, but stopped because I didn't like the out of control way they made me feel, and I was out of work with it for a long time. I mention this because one of my greatest 'destressing' pastimes, one of the things I enjoy that has become a passion for me, came out of that time –by a rather roundabout route which I will discuss some other time than here.

After that first, most serious bout of depression I have suffered a couple of 'relapses' and still struggle off and on with it. I know the warning signs, and know some methods for getting through the rough patches, thanks to the doctor I saw the most recent time I buckled under it all... who suggested CBT as a means to help.

I'm not cured, nope... but I'm a survivor. I survive through being positive, and sometimes that's hard when people around me aren't always, but I stick to it as much as I can... and my 'family' is many and varied... those who lie exhausted beside me. One more step... we'll get there.
cedar_grove: (Resting Safe)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

We are born with this need
to cry our naked cry
inside each other.

In this daring and fragile moment, the heart rehearses all its gifts: being who we really are, holding nothing back, trusting another, being complete, and witnessing the completeness of another.

I couldn't quote the whole of this post so I chose that part, since it is the most pertinent part of the whole thing and the part that I latched onto. The entry is about intimacy... and while I wouldn't say I was afraid of intimacy, not in the slightest, not in a physical sense, I have been holding back way too much in ways that aren't physical, and I think that's why the post has touched me so much.

I need to just put my action in line with my intent and live in the moments of complete honest and open, naked vulnerability that I share easily on the physical, but not so much on the emotional. So this isn't an explanation, just an affirmation or a promise – to myself, as much as to anyone else. For the time that I still have here, and then afterwards (though of course differently) while I am away, I will embrace that nakedness and vulnerability, and just trust the people to whom it's shown – and that's going to be mostly Mir – to accept everything good, bad and ugly... loving and everything else.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Every crack is also an opening.

Yet once everything it has relied on falls away, the chick is born. It doesn’t die, but falls into the world.

I could do with 'falling into the world' right now. How long have I been chipping away at the shell surrounding me to get out into it? How many stretches and adjustments have I made to try and accommodate everything? Has anything I've ever tried to do, any change I've tried to effect been recognised and appreciated?

I'll leave those as rhetorical questions, because what I don't want to end up doing is using these awakening things as a vehicle for endless 'airing out of dirty laundry.' My feelings, sure... how do I feel right now...? Tired, down and not good enough, but... see... a while ago I was posting in this thing and said stuff that made the guy I love feel terrible, and that's not what this is about, is it?

Or is that just another way of running away to avoid conflict? Should I... as in life, just bite the bullet and just spit it all out and take the conflicts that are bound to arise at some point from something that is said or not said, understood or not understood.

I'm so tired. I'm afraid of conflict. I just want all the things that I evidently can't do. How good that makes me feel. Not.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

When the dark is at rest,
The light begins to move.

--The Secret of the Golden Flower

How do we make our way through the tangle of being confused or sad or blocked in understanding a way to tomorrow?

In thinking about things; in thinking about the whole 'turtling' thing I was talking about yesterday, and the blame I place on one particular relationship for teaching me that 'to have my own feelings and express them' is a wrong thing to do – is like emotional blackmail (and I'm not even going to examine that one right now) – I realise that there were also events before that. One specific comes to mind.

I used to keep a journal – writing down the way I felt because it was the only way I had to do that, no really close friends to confide in. The paper was my 'friend.' One time, however, this document was taken from me, and quite obviously shown to the guy in school that I had feelings for... was obviously written while I was upset, and he got pissed... had a go at me.

To my credit I had a go back – told him that no, he wasn't supposed to see it, that I was in my journal which was supposedly private to me so no one but me should have seen it. Ironically after our little heart to heart we became good friends, the crush faded, because the friendship was better for us than anything else would have been and, I suppose, all was good.

But it stopped me from writing a journal any more (for a very long time), and in essence cut off that connection with myself that I had. And then Alec came along and convinced me that it was wrong to express hurt, and upset etc, only acceptance was appropriate, and just... talk about being stifled.

Now I'm left struggling with all of that, struggling to express verbally the way I feel without making it seem like any kind of accusations. I obviously don't know how to do that. All I can say is that I'm going to try, but that just never seems good enough to me.

Guess this is just another in a long line of anti-Midas days that I seem to be having lately.
cedar_grove: (Bites)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

If somebody were to cut me into a thousand
pieces, every piece of me would say
that it loves...

-Chris Lubbe

Ultimately, no matter the burden we are given-apartheid, cancer, abuse, depression, addiction-once whittled to the bone, we are faced with a never-ending choice: to become the wound or to heal.

On the whole I am, or like to think I am a particularly patient and loving person. Yell at me, hurl abuse at me… treat me badly, and I will still treat you kindly. I don't hold grudges – what's the point?

That's not to say that it doesn't hurt me when someone speaks to me badly, or treats me badly, or gods forbid abuses me – I'm human after all and it does hurt, of course it does. But I try to let go of the pain and heal, I try not to carry bitterness or anger. I don't always succeed.

When I get angry though, the anger is pointed at myself and not at anyone else. It's my fault that I got sick, so I had to keep on going, pushing myself instead of giving in and resting, because damn it there were things to do, and I was the one wanted to be doing them. Yes, I always get sick right after I come, there it is in plain English. What else did I expect?

I know self directed anger is self destructive, but I can't help it, it's a learned response, and a defensive one. You try growing up in a household with two people of alike temperament where each one is always right, and see if you survive. It was a case of I had to change, or my father and I were going to come to blows, so I changed, because he wasn't going to. I very clearly remember a yelling match we got into one time, where I yelled at him, 'you've always got to be better than me!' and him getting very offended. By apparently being better than me it was an encouragement for me to do better and try harder. Hmmm. From that point on I let my own anger drive me to do better, because I hated those yelling matches… and we got into them often. We are just too alike.

Now though, whenever I don't get something right, I get angry with myself, in a very self destructive way. Oh I don't mean self harm or anything like that, except perhaps of a psychological nature. Just that really, I harm my sense of self worth, my emotional and mental well being. And now I worry that it is too late to do anything about it.
cedar_grove: (Get me outa here)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Discernment is a process of letting go
of what we are not.

--Father Thomas Keating

No matter how we feel in any one moment, we are not just our feelings, our roles, our traumas… It is a very human way, to be consumed by what moves through us.

By Tuesday of this past week I felt like I had fallen into a deep void. I wasn't sleeping because I was worrying the whole time. Running possibilities through my head, working out the what and the where and the how…

Except for those times when I we sharing time with Mir, I don't think I smiled very much at all this week. And the exhaustion has been hard to deal with. Falling asleep on the bus on the way from work has been the pattern, and it's actually been quite an uncomfortable feeling.

Rather frustrating too, sometimes, when all I could do was come home and if I sat down for even more than a few minutes in the quiet I would fall asleep, getting nothing done, and then of course I ended up feeling kind of useless and worthless. I know I'm not, and I know none of what happened, strictly speaking, is my fault, but in all of the worry of it all, it has been all too easy to 'become' the feelings I was feeling.
cedar_grove: (Rain)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul.
It is a daily admission of one's weakness...
And so, it is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.


By admitting our weakness, we lay down all the masks we show the world...

Beautiful bright sunny day, and I felt like a big black cloud this morning. I love my mum, I really do, but sometimes she can be so abrupt, so caustic that it's painful – demoralising… and that's exactly how I felt this morning. It's this knack she has – or a weakness of mine or something, being intimidated by Mum, (and Dad too).

She knows what's going on at the bank, of course she does, and genuinely interested she asked how long it was going to take for the investigation and stuff, and when I told her – just as I was going out of the door, this is, when she asked, - she came out with a comment about how and who I'd have to ask for help. It made me feel about three years old, and/or incredibly stupid… well no, that's not technically true, not stupid more… as if it were my fault – as if I asked for this to happen to me.

It's been a long time since I've walked around feeling like I could just stand and cry, but that's been the way I've been feeling. Life throws curves, I get that, and I also know that it's not the end of the world, and that those that love me will take care of me until it all gets sorted out, but today, I was having a bit of a case of the 'why me?' Today, my heartfelt prayer was for something to actually go right for once.
cedar_grove: (Rain)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Live for the air after pain
and there will be no reason to run.

I understood that what was most terrifying about my pain was the prospect that it would never end, that life would somehow freeze in whatever moment of discomfort I came upon.

Monday was my day to work with year 6 on RE today, and it was a very interesting lesson this week. Far from the one last week, that prompted my diatribe about the PCness or otherwise of having an apple in the Garden of Eden, this lesson was about Man's responsibility to the Earth… it covered, such things as thinking about nuclear weapons, nuclear power, overusing fossil fuels, bio-warfare, GM food and all kind of things – try explaining some of those things to ten year olds!

The reading itself was powerful, from an unknowns source, (apparently), called And Man Said but I can't find a link to it to save my life, even though it came from the internet somewhere. Still, the point is it was powerful – it moved me. I had to take a breath.

That happens a lot. I though about that then, and since then; I make a joke of it all the time, you know the whole I cry at anything routine… but it's started to bother me, a little bit, to worry me… why? Why am I so sensitive to all of that? What pain am I running from? I don't know the answer.

Today, my worries, my pains are for my babies and my hubby, who is carrying the worry about Samantha. By the time I'm writing this, she's out of surgery and is okay – as far as it goes – though it was tough and she had a difficult night, and my guy a sleepless deprived one to get her to keep from bleeding; chewing her stitches, that kind of thing… so I continue to worry, though I'm hopeful she'll get better quickly.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure
and sorrow come and go like the wind.
To be happy, rest like a great tree
in the midst of them all.

-Buddha's Little Instruction Book

The storm by its nature wants to move on, and the tree's grace is that it has no hands. Our blessing and curse is to learn and relearn when to reach and hold, and when to put our hands in our pockets.

On my way to school today, I got off the bus as I always do – this is a school I have been to a lot, you could say I was a regular supply teacher there – and walked up to the intersection where I usually cross the road and waited on the lights to change. While I was waiting I was overcome by a sudden and intense wave of loneliness and sorrow. I don't know what triggered it – it wasn't because I suddenly started thinking about Mir because I think about her all the time – just whoosh, and there it was. It was so fierce and so intense that it actually made me cry for a minute or two. Instead of trying to push it away, I just let it all flow over me… experienced it for as long as it was so intense, and once it had passed moved on. It was a strangely freeing experience, to just… let the emotion come, and then move on. Usually such things, if they come, will linger – upset the whole rhythm of my day, but this was just a part of it, it came, we shared, it left… like the wind moving the branches of a tree.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Too many prints in the same place,
because the heart's a narrow path
and our arms its only gate.

--Thich Nhat Hanh

When I focus on the rake of experience and how its fingers dug into me and the many feet that have walked over me, there is no end to the life of my pain. But when I focus on the soil of heart and how it has been turned over, there is no end to the mix of feelings that defy my want to name them.

Isn't that the point though? That as humans we are truly a mix of all of our experiences that have guided our lives, helped us to grow, even if we didn't realise it at the time? When I try to think of all of the things that have happened in my life, all of the things that have shaped me, the list of things… becomes all muddled in my head, the bad with the good, that hard with the easy.

Oh sure, I can remember situations, could probably write about them, talk about them, but… do I feel them any more – can I… or has that emotion melded into me, become a part of me – a part of the 'fertilizer' that has helped my heart and soul to grow?

The thing that underlines that probability for me more than any other is a long car ride, back from Cornwall to the Midlands… at the time I was beside myself… my friends actually had to stop the car because I was so upset that they thought I was making myself ill. I probably was, I don't recall the extent of it now – not in any emotional way anyway… and that's the point. I remember the event, I remember the emotion, and I remember the way I changed and grew from all of that. I can recall with some clarity the event the times and everything… but the emotion and the pain… though I know I felt it, though can recall it – I no longer relive it. Not that I have any desire to, but… my point is this is the kind of thing that a lot of people would normally carry around with them, and I'm not.

One of those, 'that which does not kill me makes me stronger' kind of moments I guess, (and if this doesn't all make sense, I apologise. I was distracted.)
cedar_grove: (Eirian in silver 3)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

No amount of thinking can stop thinking.

Overthinking is an annoying reflex of being human. Often in overanalyzing a problem or replaying what to say or what to do…

I do this all the time and I know I do. Thinking things to death is one of my biggest problems that leads to my biggest insecurities, because I over think things, then end up managing to pick the wrong thing to say or do and then before you know it, the whole of whatever it is has blown up out of all proportion, or I've made something far worse than it really is, by adding to someone's frustrations or doing exactly what someone expected I would.

The times that I have the least problems, are when I just stop myself from thinking about something altogether and just do, or be – but I find that hard. I find it hard because a lot of the time it makes me feel like I'm not giving the proper reactions and all.

I know where it all comes from – bad advice that I can't seem to shake, where I was told that before I reacted to something I should stop, take a breath and think things through for a little while, before giving any kind of reaction, verbal or otherwise. Problem is, with me, that's led to this 'disappearing down the rabbit-hole of thought' or second guessing myself all the time; ending up believing things that aren't true.

Maybe today's exercise might help to break the habit – stop tempering my reactions by what is expected or acceptable, and just be… whoosh – honest, up front, open about them. That's not to say that my reactions are not honest or true or real… just that they're over thought to the point where what might have been a brief 'ouch' to begin with, if someone said or did something that hurt or upset me, has suddenly snowballed into something where I end up feeling completely pushed aside, or unvalued, or criticised, or blamed, or whatever the trouble happens to be, and I've really and truly gone and made whatever the problem is all about me, when it never was to begin with. Little things become big things, when they really don't need to be, and I'm suddenly carrying round this big, growling monster. This is just another one of those pieces of baggage that I'm carrying that I need to get rid of… but this one seems to be attached like a bungee cord. No matter how often I let go of the handle, it comes back to bite me in the ankle.

I'm trying to think of any kind of concrete example of what I mean, especially one from Friday – the day of this awakening entry – but since I spent most of Friday worrying in a different way … about Sha're, our little rattie that we don't know what on earth to do with, because she's not eating, and it seems to be some kind of rattie psychological problem rather than something physical, (at least as far as we can tell), that thoughts of myself were actually the furthest from my mind.


Mar. 27th, 2011 06:03 pm
cedar_grove: (Rain)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

The fastest way to freedom is to
feel your feelings.

-Gita Bellin

This sounds pretty simple, but though it's easy to know you have feelings, easy to know their weight and agitation and suddenness of mood, it is another, more subtle matter to feel them-that is, let them penetrate your being the way wind snaps through a flag...

...Though we fear it, feeling our feelings is the only clear and direct way to free our hearts of pain.

I trickle.

I have been told this by a counsellor that I had to see as a mandatory part of treatment I was receiving for infertility, (pardon if that's too much information, please excersise the right to navigate away). Once a week I would go to the clinic at the hospital, sit in the little room and meet with this woman, and talk about the emotional burden on me, as a woman, (and doubly heavily personally as a priestess of a religion where nature and fertility feature heavily), being unable to conceive a child. On one occasion, she turned around to me and told me that.

"You trickle," she said. "you never just let go... it's like you have a valve on it that you turn just enough to let the pressure out; to let the water trickle through, but you still have all those feelings trapped inside. Why can't you let them out? Feel them and let them go?"

To use the flag analoge above, it'd be like starching all but the very edge of the flag and letting that edge be the only part that fluttered in the wind.

Perhaps it's that I don't trust the universe to hold me up if I let go... don't trust the banks of the river to guide my flow and feel I'll drown if I just undo the crank completely and let out all the water. Perhaps it's that I'm so often told that it's not about me that I truly have come to believe that it's inappropriate for me to feel the feelings, because in feeling them would I not also be demonstrative.

Perhaps it's that I don't want to make other people feel uncomfortable. It's a sad fact of modern society that there's little room for expressions of emotion. If we become emotional in public, people around us can't cope with it. Does it remind them that they too must feel? So instead we reserve our emotions for consumption in private, like some forbidden drug or fetish of which we should be ashamed.

Whatever the reason, I feel... 'infected' by the inability to be human, and feel those emotions, display those emotions, live those emotions, even if only for the time necessary to feel release.

I trickle - yet I should flow.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Once a man was about to cross the sea. A wise man tried a leaf in a corner of his robe and said to him: "Don't be afraid. Have faith and walk on the water. But look here-the moment you lose faith you will drown."
-Sri Ramakarishna

We can learn from the leaves that ducks swim around. In life as in water, when we curl up or flail we sink. When we spread and go still, we are carried by the largest sea of all: the sea of grace that flows steadily beneath the turmoil of events. And just as fish can't see the ocean they live in, we can't quite see the spirit that sustains us.

Again and again, the onset of pain makes us clutch and sink. But life has taught me that how we first open after doubling over is crucial to whether we will heal at all.

It isn't just the how though, it's the when as well, that makes the difference, and I've come to the conclusion that it's my sense of timing that sucks.

People say things, or things happen that cause me pain... and I clench, and I flail... (and I sink deeper into the prison of my own making). Lately I've been trying to open up... and by lately I mean that it's been going on a lot longer than I and many other people realise or acknowledge - the problem is that my timing, (the choice of when I will open up to the pain and share it, allow it to be seen and heard and everything else), is just terrible. Trouble is, I don't know a way around that, so I guess people are just going to have to acccept that as the way it is.

So, friends and loved ones, you either want to hear the way I feel or you don't, and if my timing doesn't suit, I'm sorry for that, there is little I can do. I can try and wait until the moment when you are not hurting, or when you have time to listen, but then the moment has passed, the feeling is cold, and isn't relevant any more.
cedar_grove: (spaghetti)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

If I had experienced different things,
I would have different things to say.

What is most healing about bearing witness to things exactly as they are, including my own part in my pain, is that when the voice of the pain fits the pain, there is no room for distortion or illusion. In this way, truth becomes a clean bandage that heals, keeping dirt out of the wound.

It would be nice, wouldn't it. I started out my day worrying because I couldn't find something - yet another things actually. It hurts a lot when that happens because whether it's my fault or not I feel like it is. I spent ten minutes or so walking around talking to the air, knowing I had not touched the thing that was lost. I was not in a good frame of mind.

Talking to the air is something I do a little more than I should. I should actually say what's on my mind when it's on my mind, but this whole, 'avoiding conflict' thing prevents that, anyway, the rest of the day was much better, right until the end of the evening.

This time I said what was on my mind at a point where I was feeling hurt, and there was no difference, there was conflict when I tried to voice my feelings, speak my mind and explain my intentions. There comes a point where I need to be heard, or at least listened to as I have tried very hard to listen to others in return... very very hard as a matter of fact, putting everything else aside.

But right now, I need that clean bandage...


cedar_grove: (Default)

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