Monday, November 1, 2010

The Right Medicine

I have come to an end of a chapter…so this will be my final post…for now.

November 1, two years ago was the day I got up close and personal to my inner wounds. Catalyzed by a break up.

It turned out, I was being given medicine from the Universe. It tasted like poison, but it was MY medicine, the medicine that would heal wounds I didn’t even know I had.

He was a Medicine Man of sorts. Giving me a dose of homeopathic medicine: drawing out the poison with the same poison.

I realized through an honest and raw probing of my feelings and reactions after the break up that these feelings were really hidden fragments of ME, and have very little to do with him.

A painful, emotional rollercoaster ride that had me feeling lost, confused, sad, angry, resentful, self-pitying, worthless, doubtful, insecure…and did I mention, confused.

I didn’t get it. What was going on? An 8 month relationship…that I chose (although didn’t want to) end, and this is what I am left with: a mess of dark, crazy feelings to sift through?!

And I kept the story alive; I couldn’t let go. I was trying to find an answer, trying to find a reason, trying to make it make sense…whatever that would have been. I was just trying to quiet the noise, soothe the pain and feel okay again. I want to end my suffering. I wanted a way out of my painful feelings.

“A whole person is one who has both walked with God and wrestled with the Devil.” ~ Carl Jung

It’s funny how we hold on to things, replay them in our head over and over, trying to figure it out, wishing we would have said this, done that, analyzing it to death, believing we can find some sort of answer or something that will make us feel better. Whatever that really could possibly be, who knows, but we try in vain to find it… yet we never do because it doesn’t exist.

We hold on to the anger, pain, resentment thinking that this will in some way correct something, make us right, punish them, change things. We don’t let go until we find something that will give us some peace, make us feel better again, make us feel like we are okay.
It’s crazy and it’s distorted thinking, but it’s what we do.

But the craziest thing about it is that it is this very need to have it be different, that keeps us stuck in the place we are trying to get out of. It is what is causing the suffering…the clinging to how we think things should be.

The pain isn’t the pain; the hiding, running away from, the ignoring of, and the hating of it is the pain.

“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” ~ Ram Das

It is funny how we always want things to be different when they are challenging or cause us uncomfortable feelings that we don’t want to deal with. We, then, choose our default coping mechanism, which actually just keep us in the abyss of our suffering or a million miles away from our true selves, rather than taking a closer look at ourselves.

“What lies before us and what lies behind us is but a small matter compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I learned that nothing needs to be different; that is NOT what will end my painful emotions. I needed to change to make me feel better, not him.

And by change, I don’t mean I needed to change my thoughts and perceptions I had about him and the choices he made (I did ENOUGH self-doubting), rather I needed to change my thoughts and perceptions about myself…the ones that created the ego wounds, the self sabotaging beliefs and patterns. The very ones that lead me to have this relationship with this person.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Victor Frankl

Our wounds are wise; perhaps the wisest part of us.

We don’t come by our wounds by accident. They are meant to be ours. They are part of a larger purpose.

Our wounds carry within them the answers we look out there for.

Our wounds embrace our true gifts.

So as I close this chapter of my life, I will carry forth a very precious gift: the chance to get intimate with me/my deep, dark hidden wounds. Giving me the opportunity to understand them, accept them, love them, and heal them. Transform them. So that they can serve the beautiful purpose they were meant to in this life.

“Go on a journey from self to SELF, my friend…such a journey transforms the earth into a mine of Gold.” ~ Rumi

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What Mask are you wearing this Halloween

Halloween is known as the day of the dead. Halloween, or Samhain, marks the Celtic New Year, a mysterious point in time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and people are said to be able to communicate with the dead - ancestors and departed loved ones.  Samhain is literally a world between the worlds. It was believed that on this day, the dead would be able to intermingle with the living. The living, to protect themselves from being possessed by lost souls, would dress up in ghoulish masks to frighten off the evil spirits OR to fit in with them and go undetected in order not to be possessed by them.
But it’s not just Halloween that people wear masks, maybe in a more literal and visible way we do, yet everyday we wear a mask, only these ones are invisible…even to ourselves. And we do it for the same reason: “to frighten off the evil spirits OR to fit in with them and go undetected in order not to be possessed by them.” The only difference is that now we are possessed by an invisible ‘evil’ spirit, in which we created.
We begin to construct our masks at a young age as we tried to fit into our family roles and figure which way of being would make us feel the most safe and loved. These masks were constructed to cover up deep feelings of shame, unworthiness and powerlessless.
And we don’t just wear one mask, the wounded ego can take on a variety of different masks to camouflage its perceived inadequacies. The nature of the facade that we choose varies from person to person, and most of us have more than one social mask that we wear, depending on who we are with and what stage of life we are in.  
Many of us created personas based on how others perceived our true selves and adjusted our personas accordingly to fit in, to be accepted and to feel like we are okay…creating false selves. Our false selves, then serves as a way for our wounded ego to distance itself from our deep painful feelings, in an effort to protect us. But instead, the masks that we construct to hide and protect what others (and we ourselves) have made wrong, bad, and unacceptable become an invisible fortress around our true selves.
Day by day as we continue to wear our masks of “protection”, we lose contact with our true selves. We obscure our true essence, hiding who we really are and even our ability to know and see the truth about ourselves because we have come to believe in the false self. Once our facade is firmly in place, we begin to be used by the nature of the mask we have chosen. We attract to us the very people who will help us ensure that we can continue playing the same character over and over again-even when it has become so painful that we can no longer take it. We stay glued to our false self because we believe we are the mask we are wearing.
Yet, the ‘evil’ spirits we are hiding from or fighting against is really lost fragments of our true selves. As Samhain is literally a world between the worlds, so is our everyday lives as we continue to wear our masks and live through our false selves. That is the real day of the dead.
It’s not the masks that scare us; it is what is underneath them that frightens us the most.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Mystery of it All

You may not want someone to leave your life, you feel you are deeply connected and that you have something great to offer them, they even make you feel that way. But then they do leave (or you may do the leaving because of their actions) and you feel despondent – having you believe that you do not have something great to offer…why else would they leave, or move on?

Perhaps, and most likely, they do not have something great to offer YOU, and that they do NOT add value to YOUR life. And perhaps they were unable to accept the great things you do have to offer because they are filled with too much insecurities of their own. They block good and healthy things from their life because it threatens their security, their deep-seated beliefs, and arouses uncomfortable feelings. Feelings that are buried, unresolved and they are likely in denial of.

They seem so confident in themselves, that you will believe that what they think and believe must be right, because you are not as confident in your thoughts and feelings. And you begin to doubt your own. That confidence is more than likely a survival mask, an amour, ego pride, arrogance and a selfish resolve of their beliefs being right. You threaten this very fragile sense of self…so they leave.

They move on quickly to appease this insecure sense of self, to feel “whole” again, to feel right, to bandage up a wound before it gets to breath. A new companion that, in their mind, proves they are okay, yet in reality it is one that doesn’t threaten their comfortable sense of self, or the status quo. Someone that doesn’t ask them to LOOK at the wounds that are buried within, doesn’t ask them to step up, to become stronger and to heal. Someone who is likely codependent and has the same level of insecurities…someone that is a better match to their level of evolution at this time.

NO, them leaving is NOT proof that you don’t have anything good to offer them, or that you were not good enough, or that you are not worth fighting for. Them finding a new companion so soon does NOT mean you are easily forgotten, that your thoughts and feelings were wrong, that you made a mistake, rather it is proof that they are too weak and too insecure and too in denial to be with you.

Them leaving is a gift from the Universe. Yes, you do have something to offer them, in which they are not ready to receive, but more importantly they do NOT have something great to offer you. So if you won’t leave, if your shadows have taken a hold of you and your fears set it, the Universe will make sure that they leave you…because you are ready to come into your own greatness.

You have healed on so many levels (you just don't know it) and this time the Universe will not let you slip back. So often we wonder ‘why is this bad thing happening to me?’ ‘Why doesn’t the world give me a break?’ This is your break! Taking that person away from you IS because of the grace of the Universe. Allowing you to grow, to find your inner power and move further down your path and toward your destiny.

Our answers don’t come in the way we expect them; if they did then we wouldn’t learn anything because we wouldn’t have anything to learn – we’d already know it if it came the way we thought it would. When the Universe is helping you in this way, making damn sure that you cannot fall back into your self-defeating patterns and staying small, then you are beginning to align your soul with all that is true for you.

The Universe works in mysterious ways, we are not supposed to know it all, or our life would not unravel as it should and the lessons that teach us who we are and what or destiny is would not be learned. I think if we could stop analyzing it all, stop trying to figure it all out, and stop forcing our will (ego wounds), not only would we lessen our suffering, we would also get out of our own way so that we can see the blessing the Universe has bestowed upon us. And really, wouldn’t it be boring if we knew it all?

Everyone loves a mystery. Life is the great circle of mystery. 

Love the mystery of your life.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let the leaves fall where they may

Until we can claim our true worth, we are always unconsciously proving our false beliefs correct.

No matter the circumstances or the person, the story is always the same: “I am not good enough” “I can’t trust myself” “I was betrayed” “I am a victim” “I am not talented/skilled enough” “I will be rejected” and so on. Your mind will always spin this story as soon as something or someone triggers the corresponding emotion. Analyzing, blaming, resenting, sulking, feeling like a victim is not going “fix” how you feel. 

One needs to go deeper. Go inside themselves, rather than look out…out at the “circumstances” or the other people. If you keep running into the same story, there is a block within. It’s not that there is something “wrong” with you, but there is something that is in need of healing or needs to be acknowledged, or something that needs to be challenged by your adult mind.  

Until you tend to the roots, the tree will never stand tall and grow, and the branches will break with the slightest breeze.  And in keeping with that analogy, Autumn is the time that nature hibernates, let’s go of the old as it prepares for new growth. This is the perfect time, as well, to tune into our natural rhythms and turn inward. A time to go within and reflect. Find out what’s really going on within yourself that keeps creating these circumstances that strips you of true self worth, a sense of self that is unshakeable from experiences out there.   

When we realize we control our thoughts and emotions, when we become masters of our thoughts and emotions, then we will no longer feel like victims of outside circumstances or of other people. When we feel like we are victims of circumstances, or that other people are causing us to feel distressing or uncomfortable emotions, that is where we are giving our power away.

A true sense of self worth and power will never be found outside of us, no matter how much money we make, how big of a house we live in, what job title we have, who we are married to, etc.

I don’t claim to know how one can own their power and feel a sense of true self worth, but I do know what keeps one from it. Not believing in ourselves. Not trusting our own voice inside. Needing others to change to make us feel better. Allowing others behaviours, words and actions define how we feel about ourselves. 

I do know unconscious patterns are hard to break. I do know it’s difficult to really believe in ourselves when we have learned not to. I do know that it is scary to speak up for ourselves. I do know it is scary to take risks and try something new. I do know that it is heartbreaking to let go. I do know that it is a long and arduous journey to our true selves. I do know that transformation and breaking out of our comfortable cocoon is painful.

But if we could just take a cue from nature and use the Autumn season as a time to quiet ourselves, to rest and just ALLOW things to decay and fall away. Like a tree shedding its leaves. If we could tune into our own true nature, just as a tree does and trust in this natural process knowing that it is preparing us for new growth, we would be much closer to finding our true power and self worth.  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What are you hooked on?

When we are not aware of or have healed our own wounds, we end up chasing them out there and become hooked on to other people's wounds and issues. Instead of listening to our own inner wisdom and being guided by our own feelings, we dismiss them. We tolerate behaviour that is unhealthy, or makes us feel uncomfortable, or is hurtful to us. We try to get them to change, behave differently, think differently, so they’ll treat us better – the way we want to be treated. And when the other doesn’t change, we start pushing down our own feelings, justifying their behaviours, making excuses for them or for ourselves, fooling ourselves, and doubting our own thoughts.

What we are really trying to do, I believe, is have the other validate us and the more they don’t, the more we try to prove our worth to them. BUT, what we are really trying to do is prove our worth to ourselves. It is us who do not believe we are worthy or special enough.

And there is my hook.

That’s why I kept sticking around, even though my head and heart were saying, “this seems unhealthy”, “he has unresolved emotional issues around relationships”. When I felt his actions (not his words, so much) were not honouring me, respecting me or valuing me…I stayed. Hoping he’d see my worth and change. Yes there is many “wrongs” in that statement.

But what really awoke those painful, almost hidden beliefs was what happened after the relationship. After the break up. Sure my insecurities and lack of belief in myself had me be and stay in the relationship, but I am not a wimp or a pushover in a relationship. It was the break up that woke up the beast! The wounds broken wide open! He didn’t fight for me, he didn’t change, he didn’t fall apart (that I saw), he didn’t validate me, rather he disconnected from me AND he found a new girlfriend soon after…one that is still with him almost 2 years later (how invalidating to my thoughts and feelings). Not fighting for me, not falling apart without me, seeming ‘okay’ to let me go and getting a new gf fairly quickly had me hearing my old wounds and beliefs LOUD & CLEAR: “YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH”.

And I realize it was this feeling “I am not good enough” that had me clinging, obsessing over him, holding on to the pain, doubting myself, and a plethora of other self-defeating behaviours, not the break up…not him. I was just chasing my own wound and trying to get it healed by him!?

The more I tried to get him to validate me and prove to me that I am worthy and special enough to fight for, change for, stay with, the more I was invalidated and ‘proved’ otherwise…and then the more I clung and obsessed and held on to the story and the pain of the ‘break up’. Ironically, it is these actions, that not only reinforce those feelings within ourselves, but also adds yet another layer of pain onto that self-defeating belief.

All the clinging and obsessing is not really because I want him (or I wouldn’t have broke it off in the first place), nor is it a measure of my love for that person, it is because I am now looking for proof that I AM GOOD ENOUGH, so I don't have to believe my own demons. And who I am ultimately trying to prove it to, is not him, it’s myself. And I am looking out there for proof of it, driving me to behave in codependent, obsessive, and unhealthy ways which are self-defeating and get me further and further away from “I am good enough!”

The fact is no matter what he did or does, no matter how much I obsess, cling, beat myself up, doubt myself, analyze it all or get the 'proof' that I am looking for to validate my thoughts and feelings regarding him and that relationship,  it is not ultimately going to make me feel like I am good enough because the truth is, deep down it is me that does not believe I am good enough.

My wound just hooked on to him. I'm hooked on to my wound.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

All I See is Me

It is so difficult to see ourselves. That is why we have relationships, whether friendships, siblings, coworkers, or intimate relationships, through them we really get to see and learn about ourselves. It’s really not so much about them, it’s really about us. The world – our relationships and our circumstances – are a mirror for us. They mirror back to us how we really feel about ourselves deep down.

But it is so difficult to see ourselves. Difficult situations will come along and maybe help us, and we get glimpses and may decide to alter a behavior or perspective. But we still so often just see the other person. It’s them. We can see their faults, their issues, their unhealthy behaviours…their baggage. It’s easy to see. It may be projection, but it may not be. Either way we see it over there – in them, and we focus our attention outside of us. Nothing really changes much. More of the same people and circumstances keep coming along. Until that ONE!

Sometime we even say it: “he/she is the one”. And they probably are, but in a way quite different than we expected. They are the ONE that has exposed all our wounds, all our hidden fears, trauma and pain. They are the ONE that exposed it to the light of day. And we may try to shove it back down in our own special way, or ignore it, or try to outrun it, but this time we cannot. Our “Soulmate” has exposed our truth. And a true soulmate really is the ONE that will teach you the most about yourself. And often it is the most painful.

Yet this is the chance to really SEE ourselves. If it is our time to grow, time for our soul to evolve to the next level, all our distractions, band-aids, defenses, saviours, and safety nets will be taken from us. The drugs, the sulking, the clinging, the pleading, the next ‘one’ won’t make it feel better this time, so that we can stay the same.

Everything will be stripped away, and you can stay stuck, fighting what is, and screaming “it’s not fair” and nothing this time will save you. You are now face-to-face with YOU! Introduce yourself. There is no longer anything or anyone else to look at, but you. You are alone with yourself. That anger, that resentment, that pain, that sadness…it’s all yours.

This is the struggle we come up against when we come to this point, where there is nothing or no one else…nothing to blame, no one to save us. If you really think about it, it is our own souls (ourselves) that have brought us to this place. We have, at a deeper level, created this for ourselves. Why?

Because our souls are asking us to grow. Our souls want us to save ourselves. Our souls want us to know our own strength. Our souls want us to know our own worth. Our souls want us to find our own power.

Our souls are asking us to look at ourselves. Our souls are asking us to become who we are…or, rather remember who we really are. Our souls are asking us to stop looking outward to find ourselves because that is not where we are. Our soul is saying “look here…inside”. That is why we are stripped bare. That is why we are left alone. That is why our own defenses and band-aids no longer work, so we have nowhere else to look, nowhere else to go…but inside. It’s like tough love.

This ‘painful’ process is an opportunity to get to know you…the real and amazing and complex and worthwhile you. An opportunity to grow…grow into you. And really, what a great opportunity. You have been awoken. You now have the chance to get to really know YOU!

Your fears, your hopes, your wounds, your dreams, your strengths, your joys, your sadness…and accepting it all. Get curious and excited about getting to know you and be close with you as you would with another. How lucky, because what a beautiful person you get to know – you!

These seemingly painful experiences are likely really one of the most special experiences of our life. We are being given a gift— a gift to really know ourselves, know our truth and move closer to our destiny.

I believe when one surrenders to this process and gets to the other side of it, they will have found a strength, a power, and a love they have never known…because they will have found themselves.

Thanks to the pain.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Self is in here somewhere

This weekend I came across a new blog, a woman who dealt with her husband’s addiction. I won’t get into her story much, because it is her story, but so many of the things that she was going through during her letting go of him resonated so much with me. To put it briefly, her story validated my feelings.

And during my process of working through my emotions (that were very confusing to me), I thought it was not all that healthy for me to need someone else to validate my feelings. After all, that is part of my “issue”, not believing in my own thoughts, feelings and instincts. Looking outward for validation and proof of value is exactly what got me into that situation in the first place. Which, granted is true enough; however I have learned through this women’s blog that it is okay to want and have your feelings validated … especially when you can’t yet do it for yourself. I think she learned this as part of a Trauma Response Therapy.

And maybe it is okay that I want someone to validate me, and that it’s not because I am just weak and have low self-esteem. If we didn’t get the validation we needed in childhood, then how the hell can we know how to validate ourselves?

Looking back on my childhood, although not tragic at all (and I thought pretty damn good, until I was faced with some of my dormant emotions in the past few years that came from relationships with two dysfunctional people, one with a past addiction problem and the other...just a loser, drinking problems and perhaps a mental illness. I haven’t talked about him here because I wasn’t in love with him, but his fucked up behaviours and meanness to me AFTER I broke it off is what woke up these dormant wounds and hidden beliefs of low self-worth in the first place.I was still working through these feelings when I met my last ex, so it is no wonder I found someone dysfunctional).

Anyway, as I was saying, my thoughts and feelings were never validated when I was young. If I was crying (which I seemed to have done a lot of, including classic temper tantrums), I was told to stop it or don’t be silly. No one tried to understand why I may have been feeling this way…I was just a suck and a cry baby. Oh I heard those ones a lot. I did have three older sisters after all – whom I love and adore! So I believed this about myself.

I looked to my older sisters to tell me what I should be thinking because apparently my thinking was wrong, definitely confused I’m sure from living with a hot-tempered alcoholic father. If my thinking differed from theirs, then I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about because I am younger than them, or my thoughts were just weird. I believed this about myself.

The way I behaved was wrong or inappropriate, was the message I got from my parents. My Mom, from her own upbringing I guess, was always concerned about what other people thought so I always had to act a certain way. If my behaviours brought attention, then I was told I was wrong. I learned to always please others, to change the way I am to fit others sensibilities. I also learned from this, that other people are better than me. I believed this about myself.

From my Father, oh the things I have learned from him that I never knew I learned from him until I went through this dark journey. I learned how to behave from his moods. His drunken outbursts at any time taught me that whatever I did was wrong, therefore something was wrong with me. It taught me that whatever I did was not good enough and I was bad, therefore I was not good enough. I felt ashamed of who I was. Or at the other spectrum, he could be in a jovial, fun mood and would engage me in play. I just didn’t know how to act. My actions would be the same but his responses would change. Although not much of this is clear in conscious memory, but I can surmise that I learned how to be and what I believe about myself  from him just by knowing the way he was and how I became.

I became a people-pleaser and would change who I was so not to be criticized or humiliated for who I really was. I  became afraid of any confrontation. I became untrusting of my own thoughts and feelings because, well, I was taught by both actions and words, not to believe them. I learned that other people were more important than me and definitely better than me. I internalized it all and came to conclusions about who I was. I became a victim, powerless, weak, timid and self doubting.

My self-expression was lost. I was afraid to show and be who I really was. The little girl who was so funny, self-expressive, affectionate, a ham, an attention-getter as I was told I was ….and I remember that as well, and I am still that way when someone gets to know me well and I feel safe enough to be me, was gone. By the time this happy-go-lucky little girl went to school, she was shy, nervous, withdrawn and stuttered (so stated in my report card that I found in recent years)…and I was still peeing the bed.

So where did this expressive, charming, happy girl go to?

I have been uncovering the answer to this - a question that I hadn’t even thought of asking myself - since I fell into this dark emotional abyss after my break up. And that is probably why I have held on to the story for so long. I am finding me through this.