When pain finds a home within your soul

painful emotions

In psychological circles this is referred to as pain addiction. This is real, lived experience for many. It is a state of being where separating pain from anything that we encounter in life becomes impossible. It merges with our being in a way that becomes familiar, safe, even sweet and impossible to imagine not feeling it. It becomes one of the personal signature of an individual, which brings all sorts of distortions with it. The process of unravelling is needed, deep diving into dark places, but mostly reintroduction of the light into a personal experience, as the light often goes into a personal shadow.

This is what it looks like when I tap into that part of myself still present although it no longer affects my life in ways it used to. It is now fully in my awareness and I know this character well, hence able to communicate with it and meet its needs if and when.

Ugly, dripping poison from its finger tips, so wrapped in its own pain it is second nature. This creature outgrown the most excruciating suffering that it feels at home with it, it’s learnt not just to be with it, it is inseparable from her being. It is very old, with bent and crooked limbs, long nails and grey hair or is it fur – both. It is animal-like with human eyes and deep intelligence. There is kindness somewhere there, but it is not apparent. It wants to be bad, it thinks it is a good thing, as it will fill up the cup of pain even more. It seeks the ritual and any opportunity to refill it. Like an addict it is constantly in search of the next fix.

Grown into my flesh it wears deer-skins and smells of wet mud and berries. Like an animal it claws into me holding on with a scowl scary and disturbing. 

I know it well and these days all that is needed of me is the acknowledgement it is there when I begin to feel its warm breath on the back of my neck. It is often present around my shoulder/neck area. It is very warm, sometimes feeling like a burn, but it also shows me some compassion these days and often sweeps away mud and moss pieces when it feels it made a mess. It is a child and an old creature all at the same time. It is deeply broken, but not unlovable and it likes to spread itself on rocks (I love rocks) and roll off them into a wet grass.

I often work with clients in ways of looking at different parts of them. I would ask when they begin to describe an energy that takes over them and affects their life. I seek to bring it to life with my client in a way of seeing what it looks like, what it sounds like and what is its behaviour before moving to what that part of us need. Many find this very useful and become curious about what else is within them that affects their everyday behaviour. When we make those characters real it is easier to relate whether we choose an object representing it, or we do a drawing or find a drawing that most reminds us of them or we relate to them through colours, sounds. However we connect with parts of ourselves it is about becoming conscious/aware of what takes place within our psyches and why.

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Stay present with what you DO have

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When focusing on what we don’t have rather than what we do have it can be pretty hard to differentiate between our wants and needs. Time to evaluate!
Is that something that you want is really what you need? If you think you really want something ask yourself why? How specifically it will make your life better? What is it in your current life that can’t make your
life better? Does what you want have a foundation that stems from a real need and contains a potential beneficial change or is it an illusion?

These questions are super useful to consider when stuck in a ‘I really want to do or have this right now’. Why, why, why is the key. Sit down and really break it down, answer those questions and pretty soon you will know whether what you want is really what you need.

I have an example, which relates to a locality of where I am and my belief that somehow if only I was somewhere else geographically my spiritual needs would be met and I would somehow grow into something that will transform my life. The question is why can’t I do it where I am right now and what’s wrong with the place I am currently at? The answer is nothing is wrong with my place (what I do have already) and yes I can do it here and now without having to be somewhere else. There are levels to this, the first being ‘running away from something’, avoiding certain feelings or situations or not tapping into resources available to me here and now in the place that I am in.

The universe always drives us in a direction most beneficial for us, it wants the best for us all. It is up to us to decode messages that come into our realities daily. It is up to us to notice and hear those messages. Sometimes it comes in and slaps you in the face literary and pretty quick you realise that what you thought you were struggling with was wasted energy and nothing else. We realise illusions got created out of fear.
All that we need to do is tap into here and now and look at our life as it currently is.

I am seeking to move, escape, run away, detach, separate and all of those things and I had one place associated with it all and that place was the answer to all my struggles. Well, question really is what it is that I am running away from? Through reflection and therapy sessions we can work out motivations behind our behaviours and feelings that come up in our lives. Invaluable.
I remember my therapist asking me a clear question once ‘ok, you want to move to this country?’ Notice she didn’t ask me why or what for. She said ‘which area would you move to, which county attracts you the most’. I had NO answer, none and it got me thinking. There is something in that not knowing, so if I don’t know that, what else don’t I know. I couldn’t back anything up. It felt empty, pointless and had no foundation. Sometimes demystifying something really helps by drilling down into what we think we want and seek. Often it is all in our heads and when bringing stuff into our bodies it answers questions judging by feelings it brings up or shows a clear lack of feeling. We take it from there. Often our ideas and thoughts are popped like balloons and we are able to move with our lives just as they are. Not only that we begin to enjoy and appreciate what we do have more.

Take my example. Looking at where I am right now. I love where I live. I am connected to the land and the signature of the place. I created a few sacred spots for myself and all elements are around me. I have space, fresh air, freedom to grow my vegetables and a lovely house. It is no more or less beautiful than the place I think I want to escape to. I am pretty sure if I was to test my ‘want’ theory without answering all the questions above once I have done it then it would be the case of ‘now what?’ I previously did this with a job and that was exactly the outcome. I recently recognised I am doing it again with another thing. I am doing two things. Not drilling into my motivation behind the desire and not taking what I do have already into account.

Through every experience involving dreams and desires I can summarise it in one sentence.

With every dream we must have a clear answer as to ‘why’

We must feel it with every fibre of our being. It simply must feel like ‘home’ deep in the soul. A lack of feeling should be an indication of another process in operation whether it is an illusion, an escape from something, resistance to staying where you are or any other historical pattern of behaviour.

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The journey of psychotherapy

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I would describe the process of psychotherapy as a process of unfolding and becoming. It is a journey back ‘home to ourselves’. Therapist is a witness to that process, who is let into a world of a client to journey with and who serves a purpose of ‘being with’ another human being and reflecting empathy, acceptance and unconditional love. If that witnessing is successful a client slowly learns to be with themselves, get to know themselves and hence allowing the process of unfolding from unconscious to conscious begin.

When therapy ends one would hope that a seed of self-love, acceptance, compassion and understanding is planted so a person can go out into the world more confident in being with themselves, knowing their inner potential and being able to relate to the world and others in a more effective and beneficial way. They become their own witness. With awareness of themselves they go on to live in a more mindful and compassionate manner towards themselves and others. They would have discovered their qualities, strengths and weakness, darkness and light, become more emotionally intelligent and able to navigate the ups and downs of life with wisdom and acceptance.

The end of my own therapy after many years even though planned and conscious will take some adjustment. It’s been a routine and a weekly visit to my therapist provided me with witnessing and holding I found nourishing and supportive. An environment in which to process my feelings and experiences and grow. I now have a free slot on a Tuesday afternoon and what I am inspired to do is to create a process of my own where for that hour I will be with myself to witness what unfolds within and manifests without and reflect of my responses and ways to grow from experiences.

From that I will begin writing a ‘weekly insight’ blog posts as I continue on my journey of self-discovery.

Is fear always bad?

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Does fear need to be bad, always?

Yes, it is tarrying, yes it is a terrible vibration to hold and hard to shake off. I know it well. But it is also a messenger, it is a pointer towards something that is asking for help, or it can also serve a purpose of a propeller into action just like fire qualities.

Presence of fear can point towards a past trauma – yes. In that it is linked with an association of what had once been scary and threatening to us. We attach to that vibration, which gets activated when we are reminded of similar scenarios or have similar interactions. This is one part of what occurred for me, which I later became aware of, but what it also made me think of is another way of reaction to it. It is about relating to this particular emotion in a different way. I don’t feel like it would be serving its purpose if I always react to it in the same way. If one continues to do the same thing, results will always be the same. Something new needs to come through here to facilitate change and growth in me. There is a decision and a choice involved here again just like in my previous post, one can choose to continue aligning with something indefinitely or we can switch our perception of what it can be rather than what it had always been.

So, I asked myself a question ‘Is fear always bad? Does it have to be’? No

What came to me, as I walked through the forest touching my trusted trees, was the feeling of caring about something, caring a lot, too much one might say. When fear grips you it is an indication that you care about something or someone. We are all familiar with that. However, instead of working against it what if we worked with it? What we chose to channel it into something productive, beneficial and full of love? I am seeing it as an opportunity to do something different, to change something or take a different attitude or a route in order to express that care and love that we feel with the help of our fear as a guiding force.

It is a switch in perception or rather an extension of what fear means. It is allowing for fear to tell us more, to show us more, to align with its voice, because often fear comes in the moment and not always connected to anything in the past. It can simply be a vibration seeking its expression to point us towards a certain action or behaviour. The key here is to listen to the emotion, which is manifesting within you, not running away and rejecting your own voice, but quietly listen.

Someone pointed out fear within me earlier this week and yes, they are correct and on reflection I know where it came from and what it means, but rather than focusing on where it came from I am choosing to focus what I can do with it and what it really feels like when I sit with it. When we sit with an emotion giving it full acceptance and love it begins to tell a story, its vibration changes and something new gets introduced into the mix. I find emotions are not solid or static or one-dimensional. They flow, they are present one minute and gone the next, they are fleeting and if caught can be valuable to us.

My fear represents my determination and drive. The reason I scared is because my dream is big and meaningful. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t be scared. Have you ever experienced wanting something or someone so much you feel terrified it would slip through your fingers or something would take it away from you? Yes. Me too. That’s the indication, firstly, of how much you care. Secondly, it is an opportunity to do something with that in way of expressing your care whether it is manifesting love or achieving a goal with absolute certainty. Then, at least you are not surrendered to fear alone, you are journeying with what the fear means and acts as a catalyst towards. Direct it in the direction of positive intention, meaningful relationship, success through hard work or caretaking someone with the most open heart you have. Fear then turns to love and love conquers all. The choice is yours, fear can stop us, but fear can also propel us and transform into love ultimately.

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Existential…

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We are born, we bloom and we die. What of those in-between spaces? That is day-to-day living, those are the moments, of which life consists.

Today, it feels like the past is gone and the future is doubtful and uncertain. There is death anxiety present and struggles with staying in the present moment. ‘What if, if only, can I, when this and that’, how will I, what if I don’t, I suppose I will have to’, etc. – these phrases run through the mind over and over.

Yesterday I had a vision of my life going forward. I have seen what is there potentially on offer in the next 20 years and it felt good, comforting, grounding and certain, as opposed to feeling very unsettled and doubtful in the last week. It looked contained, structured with challenges and transitional points clearly outlined, but what it didn’t outline was the way one would deal with it and what the actual outcome would be. That is life and no one knows for certain. There weren’t that many things out there, to be honest, it felt clean, clear and peaceful and would present a good life path for anyone, in my opinion. I like that existential language, which often sounds harsh and direct, which goes ‘this is your lot, this is what you’ve got at your disposal, what are you going to do with it or about it?’. I used this with my own clients a few times and it has that vibration of ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. It is startling, but refreshing if allowed to be present with. It is calling to look at life and present circumstances in a very real way (reality check) and see what can be done and how and be aware of the feelings. It is very ‘present moment’, life here and now and what can we do now in order to feel alive and really living. It is calling us to define in a way what we are about and what we want from however many years we might have. I like the idea of knowing what your purpose is and living it out, so to speak, similar to making a decision and sticking to it. I like that vibration of decisiveness and clarity of route.

I haven’t been in this place before, I don’t think, and if I have been it didn’t come through in the same way. This is really existential. Having gone through a spiritual journey and revival of my soul nature (transpersonal approach), which continues every day, and having looked at childhood set-up and my past (psychodynamic psychotherapy) and worked on self-growth and potential (humanistic approach) what is coming up now is the look at life as it is currently with all there is there, facing cross-roads and defining meaning (humanistic) going forward. It offers options and when one can see a potential path of how things could play out. It gives you certainty to a degree providing one is happy with the vision of their future. I am happy with it for now, as who knows what tomorrow will bring. There is safety in knowing, for sure, and fear in not knowing, absolutely. Both are very valuable. Security and certainty provides a good feeling and so does a vibe of adventure, freedom in a sense of not knowing anything at all. Providing I make it through the years and those around me make it there is a strong chance we make the vision a reality and what a lovely picture that is. In the meantime we live every day as if it is the last doing our best and feeling present and meaningful in our interactions and activities we partake in and feeling ok on the inside. Notice how ‘I’ became ‘we’ in the last few sentences, as I write completely intuitively. There is some meaning in there somewhere pointing towards a collective, community purpose with myself playing a role.

This phase can be scary and they don’t call it an existential crisis for nothing, as one of the most common descriptions. This, however, really resonates with my personality in terms of questioning, finding meaning and certainty within and following a natural course of life with a few challenges and hardships, but also bagging joyful and precious moments of any day like a beautiful sunrise and a good night sleep, a good meal and a smile of a child. It is all in that in-between space of life, in between we are born, we bloom and we die.

The beauty of saying nothing

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Too often we engage in exchanges with someone being completely unaware how what is running through our heads is a response to what the other person is sharing. We are focused on our own response ready and waiting and not listening to the other. What about if we stopped and just listened and not only that… With awareness of our inner commentary in that moment not only we decide not to pay attention to that ‘noise’ but also make a decision to say nothing when the other person is finished. This is particularly useful in emotionally charged situations. Instead of jumping in with what’s in our heads we decide to pause and hold that space in silence, allowing the other person to breathe into what they just expressed and shared. I heard some calling this a practice of ‘sacred pause’. It is a truly transformative experience and such a learning in awareness not just of what we do unconsciously on a regular bases, but what effect it might have on our conversations and relationships in a wider context. This can be changed in a way that is beneficial to all and, yes, it requires practice like anything else that is worth doing. However, you never know, you might just like it, just like I find myself liking it more and more.

When we empty our mind of all the clutter in any given moment and allow ourselves not to speak, not to respond and just hold that space, it feels expansive. I find myself I am able to breathe evenly and deeper when I am aware I am in my ‘say nothing’ space. It also feels wonderfully liberating and peaceful. In terms of conversations that allowing of space in return becomes an even flow of exchange, the other person relaxes just as much as you do and there is an understanding that you are truly listening and there with them, which allows them to share more honestly and more openly rather than rushing through sentences trying to cramp as many words as possible into a conversation, because unconsciously we all feel it when the person opposite is about to jump in with a response. When that energy is diminished or switched off to a different vibration all together, it is felt by the other in return.

In relationships it creates trust, it makes us feel held, felt, seen and understood and isn’t it what we all want deep down? We are often caught into projecting on to one another and it creates misunderstandings, which then builds into conflicts and all sorts of distorted defensive positions where nothing gets resolved yet a lot of energy is spent on it. When we tell ourselves to ‘shut up’ no matter what comes our way, it is not that we invite it all in, no, we simply hold it in-between the two. In that in-between pause it becomes a choice of whether to take that projection in, react, throw it back or allow for time to pass in ‘silence’ for the other and yourself to process what had happened and wait for a natural resolution whether it is deciding to turn around and walk away or embrace one another.

I give you an example. My husband came home the other night in a bad mood and began making comments and moaning, i.e. projecting his frustration on to me. I felt myself preparing for a battle in my head, ready to throw some stuff right back at him. Taking projections is very hard, by the way, and requires practice and most of all self-awareness. Because I was aware of what was happening within him and within myself I was able to ‘pause’ and make that wonderful decision to be silent and say nothing. Once I took that stance I felt my chest filling up with space, I felt more relaxed and allowing for whatever my husband needed to let go off come out. It is important not to take it personally, as if you do, you have taken on their projection and would inevitably be triggered into your own inner drama, which would then produce proejctions back. I embraced his rigid body and with my holding him in my arms I allowed that space and he continued to let things out with no judgement on my part. When he was done he felt better and appreciated that space to be with what he needed to be with. It avoided a potential argument and we both benefitted from that experience. We were able to get on with our night in peace and harmony.

Silence is very soothing. It has that vibration of allowing spaciousness. Often it is better to say nothing than say something inauthentic, not nice or simply unnecessary. There is so much unneccesary noise that goes on around us and within us. Silence speaks in its own way and we don’t practice that enough. It takes away from real listening to one another, from being intimate with one another, feeling, seeing and understanding one another. Next time something similar comes up, try ‘saying nothing’ and just being in the space. It might just turn out to be a game-changer.

Conflict and lessons of Samhain 2016

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What is happening this year around Samhain for me is interesting and I aim to delve into reflecting on what this means for me at this time.

I feel angry with my ancestors, on one hand, and, on the other, I feel grateful. I find myself in conflict with two clans, it would seem, between family ancestors, my blood relatives and those going back centuries, more unfamiliar, unknown, ancestors of the land and spirit. I feel excited about learning about my connection with the group that goes back centuries and comes from Celtic culture and a faraway land from where I was born. Blood line ancestors, however, feel distant and I clearly recognise anger within and want to abandon any connection with them at this point. I feel sad, but I can’t pretend I am not feeling this.

First association is with my father, who I have become disillusioned with particularly during this year. My long journey of untangling and separating from him took a culminate point this year when he literally ‘fell off’ his pedestal. I held an illusion of him for so long. He represented what I wanted to believe to be true. Ouch. It has been very painful and as a result of that deep psychological work I was left with a void, an empty space, completely and utterly bereft. However, that piece of healing has been needed and I gained a sense of freedom, clearing, opening towards myself and filling the space with what I wanted, not something that had been put upon me. Let’s just say I am glad, but sadness of a loss is there. Perhaps, by default of association I also decided to abandon my direct ancestors from my father’s side? I do feel saddened and almost believing that whatever the relationship was between us all, what I believed was true wasn’t true and this extends towards them all on his side, so confused… perhaps, psychologically this is not so uncommon. 

On the other hand, there is this new line of ancestors that stand very strong in my awareness and I have been touched by them in recent years. They feel like teachers and guides from whom I can obtain wisdom of the world and the best way to live compared to being tangled up in often toxic family dynamics. Perhaps, this is it, perhaps, it is a reaction of my ‘imprisonment’ within ancestral lines, which had kept me in a certain position where I felt a prisoner I am now seeking to reject and abandon. Perhaps, it is not a bad thing…

Ultimately I have always sought freedom and independence and just being left alone to feel my way through life. I was never allowed to feel, speak, express or have a way of being chosen by me and I feel rebellious against my ancestral line that kept me submissive to their rules and dynamics. I merely refer to my personal perception here. Doubt any of them would agree. This would explain resentment and not wanting to honour or celebrate that side. Is it bad? I don’t know. Is it good? Possibly. It is confusing, but I am sure things will become clear as I go through the season of reflection and going within.

It tells me just how important psychological and therapeutic work is to the whole growth and development of spirit. Everything is interconnected and if we are to grow further and become conscious we must take care of all aspects of our lives – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

read my other post on Samhain 2016 HERE 

Blessings!