The words you speak become the house you live in. Hafiz
Words have power. They can encourage and heal. Words can be a bridge between us and another that lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness in our life experiences. Words can also hurt, they can become darts that target each other’s weakest spots, they can wound and paralyse us.
The words we hear as a child form our sense of ourselves, they are our reference points to our perception of reality. As we get older, this house of words tends to influence what we hear in what other’s say and how we perceive the world.
This week my friend, a psychologist training in a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) took me through the technique on an incident from my childhood. I was about 10 or 11 years old. I had a very naughty friend without whom I probably would never dreamed of acting so wild. In fact she was such trouble that when she turned up unannounced at my house, I didn’t want to go with her but my dad shooed me along, to get me out of the house.
After being busted for our childish lark of throwing lemons on the road to watch cars run over them, I was severely reprimanded by my parents, and left alone in my darkened bedroom for the night, to stew in my father’s final words “I have never been so ashamed of you in my whole life.” Given that my dad rarely got upset, or even paid much attention to me, these words held power.
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being. Hafiz
I have always known I carried a deep sense of shame around this, even after I was old enough to understand what I had done was not so very bad after all, and even once I learned, as a parent myself, that sometimes you overreact and say things that are way overblown, out of frustration or fear.
It was one of those pivotal family vignettes that seemed to capture some deeper truth and always came out in therapy.
What my friend helped me tap into is that this incident, probably amongst many others, had left me with a deep-seated shame and belief that ‘I am unlovable.’
Probably not coincidentally, the very next night my current lover vehemently expressed his mixed feelings about our relationship, given that in his words, his mind was saying of me, “she’s not the one.”
The words themselves were not a shock, we have been pretty clear about what we are and are not to each other, but the vehemence hurt. Not any less by the fact it mirrored my own feelings of loneliness as I prepared to go see him, a generally lovely, loving man, but not the one for me either.
Still reeling from letting go, yet again, of the man I have always hoped was ‘the one’ I find myself again wondering if it is just not my dharma this lifetime to experience that kind of love. Or am I just telling myself that and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy by choosing men who are not going to provide that kind of relationship?
I am never quite sure of myself with this love and intimacy stuff. I spent way too many formative years locked away in my bedroom with books and music that quite frankly warped my mind into some pretty fantastical ideas about life and love.
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music? Nick Hornby
When Darcy and Heathcliff are your romantic idols, doesn’t it make sense that the only men you would lust after are the unreachable and unavailable ones? Waiting for that magic moment – after years of neglect and rejection – when they realise that yes! they truly do love you.
I must say rereading Wuthering Heights as an adult woman with some actual relationship experience under my belt, I was horrified that my teenage self thought Heathcliff’s and Kathy’s torturous love romantic.
Explains a lot, really.
Like many, I have had a tumultuous relationship with romantic love. I have far too active an imagination to ever really see another person as they are.
As such I fall for the most beautiful and unavailable man I can find, and try to heal his wounds with my love. (As a side note to those who haven’t tried this yet, it doesn’t work.)
The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person. Chuck Palahniuk
In the past I have been severely burned by this weakness in myself. My last love broke my heart, not even by any misdemeanour of his – his faults were well advertised and I chose to overlook them all – but simply because he could not live up to the Mr Darcy fantasy I held in my mind.
I kept waiting for the revelation to hit him that he had it all wrong, and could I ever forgive him enough to allow him to marry me and worship me forever. (I blame Jane Austen and the Brontes entirely for this blind spot of deluded thinking…)
In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Jane Austen
Aw! Jelly legs… Right, where was I?
Is it possible in a society completely consumed with sex and romance, we have forgotten how to love?
Last week I attended an assembly of Druids, over five days we communed with nature, talked about creativity and natural cycles, sang, danced and played music. It was a gathering of like-minded people. I am sure once I have a chance to process and integrate the experience, I will have more to say, but for now what really touched me were the relationships, in particular, the marriages I saw.
They were gentle and loving and strong, each partner was their own person and yet supported and held by the other. These were true partnerships, and again it stirred a deep desire in me. I want that! Why can’t I have that? What’s wrong with me?
I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing. Neil Gaiman
Supposedly we learn from our mistakes. So as to not repeat them. As such I entertain the extremely optimistic position that I haven’t been making the same mistake repeatedly with my love the last seven years. Surely, at least, it’s a new mistake every time.
Oh I jest, they are not mistakes.
Relationships are like all things in life, impermanent. And while it is hard to let go of great love and passion, it is possible. Well, at least I hope it is. I write these words sometimes and then think, really? Who wrote that?
And because in each incarnation of our relationship I have learned some very valuable, albeit painful, lessons.
From the outside it would seem that we just get together and break up. Over and over and over again. It seems the same. Over and over and over again.
However I’m convinced that each incarnation of our relationship has brought different, and perhaps deeper, lessons.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master. Elizabeth Gilbert
I believe we are soul mates. In the sense that we both felt a sense of recognition and homecoming when we met, a feeling of knowing, an instant connection, deep intimacy, and attraction, followed by an ever increasing mirroring of our shadow sides as the relationship goes deeper.
(Although he would insist this kind of thinking is due to my frequent viewings of Highlander turning my brain to highland porridge.)
Our relationship seems to follow no regular trajectory, nor serve any purpose aside from triggering major upheaval and growth in each of us.
No one has ever hurt me deeper. No one has even taught me more.
And while I will admit to feeling foolish after publicly declaring our relationship (again) a few blog posts ago, only to find that my hopes for us have not manifested (again), I so want to understand.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. Elizabeth Gilbert
While I know there are many, many people in my life who see this as a ridiculous dynamic, as one friend said when I told her that I thought we were really over this time, “Oh I have heard all this before!” I don’t agree.
You see I know that this man has triggered changes in me, profound, deep and necessary changes that may have not happened otherwise.
It was he that challenged me to write. During one break up he told me that I would never write because I was governed by a chronic fear of taking risks. Harsh? Maybe, but with a basic attitude of “I’ll show you.” I took a writing course, read my work aloud for the first time and then published this blog.
He got me started in yoga, introduced me to my Druid grove. Gave me a sounding board, an intelligent, honest and extremely well educated sounding board, to hash out my spiritual beliefs and my ideas for Raw Mojo.
It sounds like a list of the things he enabled me to do but it was so much more than that.
As Miley (yes Cyrus, c’mon that girl’s got pipes) sings, surrending to great love is like a wrecking ball crashing through your life, and this was the first time I really bared myself, body and soul to a man, was vulnerable, took risks emotionally.
I came in like a wrecking ball, I never hit so hard in love. Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung, left me crashing in a blazing fall, all I wanted was to break your walls. Miley Cyrus
A few times I nearly went down with it, but it showed me what I am capable of, when I am willing to take risks. That I was capable of great passion, great surrender, true authenticity and deep connection. Nothing less than that will be satisfactory now.
The last time we broke up I was so devastated that I planned my trip to India to get me through. Having taken great emotional risks in love, it seemed I was opened up to taking other risks in my life, to following my passions in spite of fear.
I hope I have given in comparable ways to him. I always tried to honour and support his many gifts and talents. Sometimes I also resorted to a variety of tactics to get him to see his own value. Many times I missed the mark. I think for him, our relationship possibly tested him in similar ways to me. But maybe that’s my vanity.
Elizabeth Gilbert – who he despises with a passion – says that soul mates are not necessarily suited as life partners, soul mates are our toughest teachers, they mirror our most repressed shadow aspects in order to face ourselves in a way that a more gentle love could not.
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. Elizabeth Gilbert
This last incarnation has had me questioning love. I know I love him and yet my reaction when he turns away from me is angry and vengeful. So where’s the love in that? I am trying to stay present with the maelstrom of thoughts and impulses and emotions that are arising.
For many months now, well since we ended, I have had a daily yoga practice. Yoga is twofold for me, it releases held emotions from my bodily tissues and it also forces me to be in the moment with myself, with whatever arises. Recently savassana for me is a state of constant emotional weeping.
But this release is healthy. At least once a day I must touch upon my sadness. Then I tend to be able to get on with the demands of my day.
Everybody has an unmet need, something that they want just out of reach, It’s what makes the best movies, the kind of leading roles played by Meryl Streep. Jen Cloher
So I made the resolution that this time I will get the message. Instead of the wailing and indefinite grieving of the past, I will feel the pain, but also hold myself in the understanding that there is a great lesson here. A lesson that once learned might actually break this cycle.
So what is that? I’m not entirely sure, but I think something along the lines of self-love and self sufficiency. I think that although I am coming to see that I am actually lovable, that I keep experiencing the world as if I am unloved. It makes me seek instant ways to fill myself up on love. It makes me a little desperate, needy and codependent.
Love wants to reach out and manhandle us, break all our teacup talk of God. If you had the courage and could give the Beloved His choice, some nights, he would just drag you around the room by your hair, ripping from your grip all those toys in the world that bring you no joy. Hafiz
What has become apparent is that until I feel loveable and good enough in myself, I will always create this dynamic which painfully acts out my sense of deficiency. This is not about the relationship or this man. These deficiencies go much deeper.
Abraham Maslow believed that a self actualised person is self sufficient. Not in the sense that they isolate themselves from others, not with false pride. Rather this kind of evolved person doesn’t come to relationships with needs to fulfil that they should be fulfilling themselves.
What is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life? Stevie Nicks
So while having needs for intimacy, for giving and receiving love and compassion are completely appropriate, needing someone else to fill up our self worth, self esteem are not.
First, it doesn’t work. Second, it puts relationships at a transactional level of need fulfilment rather than an unconditional level of true loving.
It doesn’t work because ultimately these needs must be satiated within. Otherwise we become a vortex that drains the other person, all their love is squandered and ultimately the relationship is doomed.
Everything is impermanent. This moment passes. That person walks away. Happiness is still possible. Thich Nhat Hanh
So finding myself in this dynamic, I now must face the alternatives of either a lifetime of these soul destroying relationship dynamics or the courage to really do the inner work on myself.
My yoga teacher often reprimands the class. He says. “I ask you to be with yourself, in your own energy for two minutes and you can’t do it. Yet you expect someone to want to be with you, pay attention to you for a lifetime. When you can’t even be with yourself for two minutes.”
After years of meditation I can be with myself for two minutes, but his point is well taken. How can I ask another for love when I can’t give it to myself?
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings. Anaïs Nin
So begins my next challenge. How do I love myself and others unconditionally?
I saw a picture of my love and I felt compassionate love. Not anger, not scorn or bitterness. I do love you. I thought. I do want you to be okay. Even without me.
I thought this was progress. But then it grew into longing. And I felt that tight black mass in my chest. Who are you? I asked the tight black mass? I really wanted to understand. As it’s black slimy clawed arms reached out it said “I am your need.”
Oh. It wasn’t nice. I wouldn’t want to be clutched in those arms.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly and wants to rip to shreds all your erroneous notions of truth that make you fight within yourself, dear one, and with others, causing the world to weep on too many fine days. Hafiz
So awareness is a great thing. And yet I’m not entirely sure what to do next. I’ve seen this rampant need. I think I’ve identified it’s origins in my life, and I see what it wants.
I am trying to be patient with myself. I’ve seen this cycle. I’m in the holding bay, waiting for him to make contact. Not really wanting him to on the one hand, because I’m pretty sure we are done and it will just be a sad conversation. Can we be friends? History, of which we have plenty, suggests not. But I find myself still wanting a sign that I meant something, that I still mean something. It’s a lose-lose scenario.
I swing between absolute certainly that we will never, ever, ever get back together (and yes listening to Taylor Swift and getting pulled up by teenage boys at the traffics lights wanting to know what I’m singing alone so emphatically to) And then finding myself off on ridiculous romantic fantasies. Well, not so ridiculous. I mean last time couple of times we got back together it was in Bali, once on a balcony with a paradasical view, after he drew me a flower to make me smile…
There is nothing at all that can be talked about adequately, and the whole art of poetry is to say what can’t be said. Alan W. Watts
But never. Ever. Again. Like ever.
But my mind fixates. It wants a solution. But there’s nothing that I haven’t tried over the last seven years, it’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel where I’ve selected every possible variable and the outcome has still been the same.
All that’s left is to accept and to not delude myself into the false hope of trying again, the battle cry of the addict “this time will be different.”
Because at the beginning it is intoxicating. There’s so much promise and hope. It’s so intimate and connected I always wonder how we could have stuffed things up. Then when things go off the rails, and I see the utter inevitability of our characters playing out the scenario they do, I wonder how I was ever insane enough to expect anything different.
This moment, this love, comes to rest in me many beings in one being. In one wheat grain a thousand sheep stacks. Inside the needle’s eye a turning night of stars. There is a light seed grain inside, you fill it with yourself or it dies. I am caught in this curling energy, your hair, who ever is calm and sensible is insane! Rumi
So I make the vow not to seek love but to be love. To embody love. What the heck does that actually mean? I don’t know. It sounded good when I wrote it.
I think maybe acting loving despite all the hurt. Keeping my heart open. Not losing hope in love, and its many forms.
I do get weary of always having to be strong on my own. For some time now my son’s father has not been well, emotionally or physically. And for as long as I can remember the bulk of the parenting responsibilities have been on my shoulders. Not just financially or physically, but I feel it emotionally, in all those times where you have important decisions to make, where your child need guidance and support.
I think how I would love a partner that I could share this with, to say, “hey, what do you think we should do?” To share the load as well as the joys.
The Beloved sometimes wants to do us a great favour: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out. Hafiz
At times I feel like I am completely running on empty, I give and provide support and love, but how do I fill up my own cup?
At the Winter Solstice, I began my year of holding space as the Mabon, the sacred child. My druid friend said she related this energy to the vestal virgins who held the spark of divine consciousness through their purity.
Can I trust right now? Can I be as a child? Open, curious?
It feels strange because at the same time I have so many regrets. I feel jaded, and that I have squandered the “best years” or my life, or “wasted my pretty” as the modern parlance goes.
But the child teaches of the infinite possibilities of rebirth. Of a rebirth in consciousness. Can I be grateful for the love and lessons, and let go of the attachments to pain and regrets?
My emotional pendulum is swinging wildly. Where’s the equilibrium. Where’s the peace?
Please come home. Please come home into your own body, Your own vessel, your own earth. Please come home into each and every cell, And fully into the space that surrounds you. Jane Hooper
The early Christian and gnostic mystics known as the desert fathers and mothers, wrote about these intense feelings rising out of personal issues as ‘passions,’ they were trained to spot these ‘land mines’ and be free of them before they did serious psychic damage.
The heart at the service of the personal, psychological self is not a heart at all, according to the Wisdom tradition. Finding the way to where our true heart lies is the great journey of spiritual life, and it crosses the vast, uncharted waters of our being. But making this passage has everything to do with the discovery of Wisdom. Cynthia Bourgeault
Meditation, prayer and sacred chanting were the tools they used – these are the time-tested practices for nurturing the heart and quietening the mind.
When this practice goes well emotion maintains it’s depth and power while losing that sticky sentimental and confused quality so characteristic of the ego self.
Rather than emotional storms wreaking destruction on our inner peace, Christian mystic Cynthia Bourgeault believes it is the emotional centre that carries the reconciling force. It is the bridge between mind and body. Earth, sea and sky.
As we wander in perpetual spiritual adolescence, attempting to fill the hunger in our hearts with our needs rather than the divine need, creation itself (all of life on this planet) pays the price. Cynthia Bourgeault
I realise I come across as self-indulgent. However I speak with absolute sincerity when I say I believe that part of the path to wisdom is self-examination. I see the messes I make in my life, I acknowledge the harm done to others in my quest to meet my own needs. If the only outcome of my life is develop into a human being who can walk this earth peacefully without blindly harming those in her path, I will be happy.
And I really believe that through understanding the mechanisms at work in myself, by transcending them to the best of my ability, I join with those who endeavour to leave a light and gentle footprint on this earth.
Now is the time for you to know that everything you do is sacred. Rumi
While we are blind to our own destructive natures, what hope do we have of turning around the destruction to each other or on Mother Nature?
My motive is to clear out all the sticky, entangled emotional behavioural patterns that are engrained in my neural pathways. In the modern vernacular “don’t go there.” Don’t go with the reactive response, stay present. Stay here. Observe the storm but don’t become the storm.
By staying present with my own shadow, my own darkness, by holding myself with compassion, holding that part of me that is still a 10 year old girl who thinks she has been abandoned by her father, that she is unloved and unlovable. By not allowing those ideas, those words to create her reality, there is the crack through which the light gets in and shows me another possibility.
You may be asking, what this has to do with seven intentions? Well, everything really. As I become more and more convinced of the interconnectness of absolutely everything, I realise I can’t turn away from this stuff, as much as I wish to. It affects my sense of the world.
How can I manifest my glorious intentions in a world where we can’t even stop people from hurting one another?
Peace and compassion are things I desire far more than a home or more money. I always said I never wanted to be bitter, no matter how battle worn or weary my heart might be, that it would remain loving.
Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold. Zelda Fitzgerald
And above all, I want to be free of this. I have so much I want to write about, the spirits of nature, my druidry and shamanism, so many new budding things in my life. But I know from experience I have to deal with what is in front of me before I can move on. As excruciating as I find it, right now, this is it.
On balance, there is always more love than evil happening in the world. I think. I know this is not what the mass media tells us, but it’s true. Even in a war zone there are people helping their neighbours, loving their children, creating beautiful art and music, and making love. I wonder what would happen if we could all hold this thought together. That the world and its people are more loving than hating, more loving than fearful, more loving than hurtful.
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always. Mahatma Gandhi
I try not to lose faith in love because without it the world seems impossibly bleak.
I try to be grateful for all the love I do have in my life, my son, my friends, my spiritual communities. These fill me up, and provide me with support and sustenance.
I also try to remember than I have a degree of freedom that is enviable to many. I can save up all my pennies and go to India or Bali.
I remember when I was unhappily married, with three (beloved) young sons, and a friend – who was then about the age I am now – was lamenting her lonely single life. I envied her. I vividly remember saying to her “Just enjoy it, one day you’ll be in a committed relationship and you’ll miss the freedom, the simplicity of single life.”
Ha. Karma is a bitch, eh?
So you may say I’m naive and impossibly romantic, but I am making an intention to stay open to love and to believe that I am lovable, that we all are, each and every moment, no matter what.
And as I believe we are all connected, at some level you will all feel this too, even if it’s just the lightest flap of butterfly wings along your cheek, that for one small moment makes you ever-so-imperceptibly smile.
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart). e. e. cummings
Hari Om Tat Sat. Namaste. Blessings.
Art by Viktor Nizovtsev www.facebook.com/victor.nizovtsev