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Giving Our Power Away


“In many ways, we are taught from the time we are children to give away our power to others. When we were told to kiss and hug relatives or friends of the family when we didn’t want to, for example, we were learning to override our inner sense of knowing and our right to determine for ourselves what we want to do. This repression continued, most likely, in many experiences at school and in situations at work. At this point, we may not even know how to hold on to our power, because giving it away is so automatic and ingrained.

“To some degree, giving our energy to other people is simply part of the social contract, and we feel that we have to do it in order to survive. It is possible to exchange energy in a way that preserves our inner integrity and stability. This begins in a small way: by listening to the voice that continues to let us know what we want, no matter how many times we override its messages.”  - Madisyn Taylor

I came across this in my inbox today and suddenly I understood more clearly why not being listened to as kids, by being treated as if we’re joking when we’re not, why acting as if we can’t possibly know what we like and why, etc, is so infuriating. It’s obvious but I hadn’t been able to put it into words.

Superhero kid. Girl power concept Royalty Free Stock PhotosWhen these things take place we get angry, not because we’re giving away our power, but because it’s being taken away from us. Maybe not deliberately, or maybe deliberately but unconsciously, but taken all the same. And it may take 50 years or more to unlearn the repression we’ve learned, if we ever do, and then we feel angry and guilty, maybe, and resent those who’ve caused us to feel this way.

As very young children, toddlers, perhaps, it’s often necessary for our “power” to be taken away from us. We can’t be allowed to rush out into heavy traffic, for instance, just because we want to go. Eventually and ideally we should come to grips with how our power can be used and that knowledge should make us a bit freer. We can learn to walk several blocks to school without our parents’ fear we’ll dart out into traffic. We can learn what kinds of foodsBig Power Boss Stepping on Little Employee Stock Photography we like and how we want to dress and adorn ourselves.

Except that very often our power is fragmented by what parents or society think we should do and how we should behave and what we should want. We may be trusted to cross the street but not be trusted to choose our own clothes. Not trusted to know what we want.

Which brings up two experiences I’d like to describe, one of my own, one of a friend’s. When I was a young teen, one of the rare times I actually got new clothes, my mom decided to get me a charcoal gray suit with a boxy jacket. Not exactly teen fare but by this time in my life I’d learned to pretty much go along with what I was supposed to like.

Pink woman shirt Stock PhotographyBut she also wanted me to get a pastel pink blouse to go with it. That was a popular color combination that year. Only I didn’t like pink, especially pastel pink. I mean, who ever heard of a pastel Scorpio? So I protested, maybe not loud or long, but definitely out of character. I expressed my power the best I knew how.

It wasn’t enough. With protestations of, “It looks so good on you,” “It’s such a good color,” “It’s so pretty,” my mother overrode every protest I made until I caved. And cave I did. A picture taken of me in that suit with the pink blouse shows me hunched over, head bowed, trying to disappear. I literally look caved in on myself.

And it wasn’t until earlier this year that I finally realized why pink has made me feel sick to my stomach so often over the years. It wasn’t the pink color, per se, but the battering of my soul that took place when I was made to do and wear something I really didn’t want.

The second event happened to a friend of mine. Another friend of hers had decided Nails manicure Royalty Free Stock Photothat she’d give my friend a manicure as a gift. My friend, however, didn’t want a manicure, didn’t like manicures, would have preferred a gift of a massage. Over the course of several conversations and meetings with other friends where her refusal of a manicure was treated as a joke, my friend’s resentment grew. Why was it so difficult for her friend to see and hear what she said?

It was, to my way of thinking, a power struggle, albeit likely an unconscious one. Because her friend loved manicures (as my mother loved pink) she simply wouldn’t acknowledge her friend’s desires as being legitimate. She probably didn’t even hear her, not really.

Until my friend finally blew up and got angry. And then her friend was amazed to discover that she didn’t like manicures. Well, duh!

Of course, anger is one way, a very potent way, of expressing our power. But it Young female expressing her anger Stock Imageoften leaves us feeling uncomfortable and vaguely guilty. Why should we have to get angry to accomplish our desires? We shouldn’t. Have to, I mean. When we have to, it feels as if we’re being unheard, perhaps belittled, our desires given no shrift. And under certain circumstances we’re overridden and we give in.

My friend expressed her desires often and clearly and yet it took an explosion to get her message across. I wasn’t allowed to get angry, much less explode, and I carried the consequences of that assault on my power for over 50 years.

You’re entitled to your wants and desires and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not. Not that you should ride roughshod over people like you may have been overridden, but I trust you to know right from wrong as well as when you’re right and you have that right.

May your sense of knowing what is right for you be expressible and expressed. Let us hope you can express your desires and wants and that people will hear you.

I wish this for you.

The Beginning


In the beginning, I died.

But you already know about that if you’ve read my previous post about it.

Frankly, I can’t prove I died and maybe I shouldn’t call it the beginning,Shadow play about a monk riding a white horse Royalty Free Stock Images either, but I have to start somewhere and I have to call it something. You’d think anything so momentous would leave a more specific impact on my memory. Be that as it may, I suppose my death actually occurred about the middle of my life; it was also the beginning of my journey to greater awareness, known in mythology as the Hero/ine’s Journey.

The complete Hero/ine’s Journey is not linear, directly from point A to point B, but is actually more or less circular, a journey inward to our center and then a return journey out again. It’s not a straight shot into the middle, though, and, as with a labyrinth, though the path may be true, it doesn’t lead directly to the goal. There’s a lot of ground to be covered before we get back to where we began.

Labyrinth Royalty Free Stock PhotographyThe labyrinthine path follows a specific pattern that time after time takes us tantalizingly near to the center and then away from it, arcing around again and again, approaching the center but never crossing the threshold until the entire interior of the circle, our interior, has been traversed. And then we finally enter the core.

The circle of the labyrinth symbolizes wholeness or entirety and thus in one way represents our fully realized Being. It must be traveled in both directions in order to be complete. A circle is the symbol of pure potentiality, with all things being possible and with nothing being manifested. That’s us, when we’re born. In the dimensionless center of this pure potential dwells our Self-consciousness. This is the goal of our exploration, our search for Soul. It is the Authentic Self we’re meant to birth into our physical consciousness.

On our Journey of search and exploration we will, we must, become aware of allClint Eastwood Stock Photo that is contained within the circle, including “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” As we do this, we will come to know and understand the relationship of our selves to our Selves. The path to the center is the same path we will negotiate in reverse. Getting to the center is only half the Journey. On the way back out we’ll revisit issues that we may have thought and even hoped we’d finished with. These are opportunities for us to once more come face to face with our selves/Selves relationship.

Unlike traveling a two-dimensional labyrinth, however, the Journey actually Spring steel. Royalty Free Stock Phototakes place in a more three-dimensional manner. Each round completed is actually one circle of a spiral, like a coiled spring. As we travel along the coils, each cycle takes us to another level. We go ’round and ’round and thus it often seems we encounter the same issues over and over. One famous quote by Edna St. Vincent Millay says, “Life isn’t one damn thing after another. It’s the same damn thing again and again.” But it’s not quite the same thing again and again. Each time we re-meet an issue we will, or at least we hope we will, have a higher perspective of it.

A labyrinth is not the same as a maze though many confuse the two terms. TheNight City Maze Game Stock Image path of a maze can meander into various dead ends and it often brings us back to the same dead ends over and over again. A maze may also have more than one way to reach the exit, which, unlike in a labyrinth, is not the same place we came in. It might even have more than one exit and we may not come out where we expected to.

A maze, then, is designed to mislead and intended to be confusing, so when we find ourselves repeatedly hitting dead ends or even hitting the same dead end over and over in our lives we know we’ve gotten off the true path. We’re not on our labyrinth path, we’ve wandered into a maze. A maze can be in any shape while a labyrinth is a perfect circle or at least a slightly squared circle or a slightly rounded square. It always has only one path to reach the center, which is also the same way out, no matter how convoluted.

Since I’d already reached an indeterminate point in this labyrinth we call life when I began to become aware of the Journey I was on, perhaps I should more accurately state, “Somewhere in the middle, I died.”

But I see this death as the beginning of my real life so, “in the beginning I died.”

We Are Never Alone


I believe I am (and most likely you are, too) part of a huge but as yet undefined groundswell of a change in humanity’s consciousness as a whole. There are Single wave Stock Photovarious ways to describe this happening in our world today. The metaphor of birth that I use describes one way we can become partners with our Authentic Self. Various widespread myths, collectively often called The Hero/ine’s Journey, also describe what it is we’re setting out upon as we seek our partner/jewel/treasure, although we’re generally unconscious and unaware of what that means at first. This myth of the Journey will be the primary frame for my narrative over the next several posts.

Because of the nebulous nature of this transformation and birth many of us have very little idea about what is occurring or how to respond or even how widespread it is. It’s especially difficult to see and believe in, considering the dire straits most of the world seems to be experiencing now. For the most part we’re aware only of our own, usually confusing and often painful, situations. But there is hope.

All great changes are preceded by chaos. – Deepak Chopra

Our conscious natures and various belief systems color our perception of this Colorful lenses Stock Imagestremendous evolution. We can view it through the lenses of mythology, of psychology, of established religion, of undefined spirituality, of shamanism, perhaps of science fiction and fairy tales, maybe even of some forms of “hard” science like physics and astronomy, as well as other belief systems. Varied as they are, these perspectives often point to a central truth. What that truth might be will be as personal as the experience itself but it will be no less true for all that.

Here’s a metaphor for how I perceive the terms spirit, soul, and ego inLight bulb Royalty Free Stock Photography relationship to each other. Imagine that we are light bulbs. The translucent glass envelope is the physical body and ego that the rest of the world sees when it looks at us. This is what we see in the mirror and who we usually believe we are.

The Soul is the filament inside the bulb. When stimulated by electricity it shines through the glass envelope but because of the frosted glass, it’s not seen clearly although its effects can be apparent.

Electricity is Spirit, the invisible energy that enlivens the soul/Self and makes it glow and shine through the surrounding glass envelope. Like electrical energy, Spirit energy is neutral, neither “good” nor “bad,” it just exists. Our job is to figure out how to get connected or, more explicitly, realize our connection to Spirit. Expression of this energy depends on the shape, size and structure of the soul/filament. The soul is built and refined in lifetime after lifetime of experiences. The glass envelope will have some effect on this expression, too, depending on whether it’s dirty or dusty or hidden by a shade of persona, for example.

Obviously, it’s difficult to describe this process of alteration of consciousness with common vocabulary and knowledge even though it’s happening on an unprecedented scale. We need a new terminology. Until then we have to use myth and metaphor.

Mystic Ascending Royalty Free Stock ImageWhile the scale may be new, however, the experience isn’t. Mystics and sages have tried to depict it in various ways over thousands of years. One way is to try to describe and explain it by myth and metaphor, as with my use of the stool and the light bulb. This brings difficulties because when descriptions are not well understood as metaphor they’re often taken literally and become something either to be rigidly adhered to or mocked as patently ridiculous.

For example, if someone took my metaphor of the light bulb literally and then saw only physical “meaty” people walking around, s/he might conclude that all humanity was filthy and sinful because there was no Soul, no light, to be seen in anyone. It makes no difference whether the metaphors are found in the Bible or in The Brothers Grimm, whether they are referring to ancient gods or UFOs and space aliens.

Both literalism and ridicule mislead us. Our culture greatly lacks conscious use of the symbolism of metaphor and myth so misinterpretation is common.

Myth is another term often misunderstood as something imaginary and fanciful.Icon set of mobile devices , computer and network  Royalty Free Stock Photo Myth is symbol. It is a symbolic way to present a profound truth, not as data or information, but as a pattern or blueprint. To do this it’s necessary to bypass the logical linear and analytical brain we use in understanding language. Symbols do this. Symbols are simply “shortcuts” pointing to some greater truth, like the icons on our computers point to and link us up with much larger programs.

Our souls speak to our egos in symbols. We need to become skilled at looking for and understanding the symbolism in life’s happenings, such as dreams and even common events, like songs, to help us understand what we’re being told.

Mind Body Soul Venn Diagram Total Wellness Balance Stock PhotoMost of us rarely give any thought to the idea that our bodies can be and usually are a reflection of what’s occurring at the deeper levels of our being. Physical issues can have extraordinarily profound symbolic messages for us even if they may at times be difficult for us to acknowledge or decipher. Our bodies are not separate from our minds and thoughts, including and even most especially, our subconscious ones. Many researchers are now using the single term “bodymind” to indicate that.

Some of us medicate every little ache and pain or, at the other extreme, ignore them as insignificant or something we just have to put up with as part of being physical creatures. We might even pride ourselves on our ability to function in spite of how intense they become. I did. Not a good idea. If I’d been more aware of what my body reflected of my thoughts and beliefs I might have experienced fewer or at least not such distressful symptoms.

Less “scientific” cultures have long recognized that we are not only the physicalAuras and chakras Royalty Free Stock Photos beings we all know and love so well but that we are, in fact, complex organisms actually composed of and surrounded by interpenetrating “layers” or fields of energy that affect each other in subtle ways. I believe my rigidity of mind and thought was eventually reflected in the way my muscles, my whole body, became hard and inflexible.

Various researchers in traditional sciences have shown that all organs of our bodies respond to various stimuli, both internal and external, subtle and overt. Consider how our heart rate increases or how we might blush simply in response to our thoughts or even our unconscious beliefs. Lie detectors work on this principle.

Investigators have noted, based on studies of the activity of living brains, thatBrain waves Royalty Free Stock Images merely thinking about or concentrating on a behavior or action, such as shooting a basketball, can cause those areas of the brain that function when we physically perform those activities to “light up.” This kind of “practice” is then reflected in our physical performance later.

Candace Pert, Ph.D., has stated that our bodies are our subconscious minds. If so, then it would behoove us to learn what’s going on in our veiled psyches and make it conscious so we can understand ourselves better and interpret our bodies’ messages with greater clarity. We would be more real, more authentic. Not to mention healthier, too, perhaps. The knowledge that this confounding and yet breathtaking experience is both unique and universal may be comforting.

As lonely as it often feels, we are never alone.


I had a not uncommon thing occur a few days ago and I think iWoman head profile hair music concept Royalty Free Stock Imagest might be interesting to write about.

I woke up with a song running through my head. Maybe you remember it, Terry Jacks’ version of Seasons in the Sun. Not the whole song, just a few phrases. I’ve only heard Jacks’ version of it though I understand there are others that don’t sing it quite so blithely or liltingly. Anyway, it was this:

“We had joy,

“We had fun,

“We had seasons in the sun,

(and then I think there’s a break from the lyrics, then it continues)

“And the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.”

Now, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up with songs in my head but they usually don’t stick with me for any length of time. This, however, kept coming back. I wondered why.

Double meaning Stock PhotoSo, being the meaning-making human that I am, I pondered it and other things going on with me. It occurred to me that it could relate to the stuff around some late blog entries that seem to have so stirred up "the other woman" so I worked with that.

I finally figured it out, to my satisfaction, at least.

It’s a message from "the other side," from my former husband, telling me that what we had was good but that there were difficult hills to be surmounted and they had nothing to do with the good stuff, they were "out of time," i.e., out of sequence, maybe, or out of step. Or maybe decided upon “out of time,” i.e., not of the physical world, before the physical world.

I think that he was telling me that it was time to get over those hills, to let go now. I feel that I’ve done so, or almost, anyway. It’s near.

Then, if you remember the song, you realize that it’s a song about death, about how it’s "hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky" etc. Now, I happen toBirds in the sky Stock Images believe that no one dies before their time, that the time and manner of death are chosen before birth. If that’s true, then he’s also saying that he’d done what he came to do and while it was hard to die, his time was up.

That’s pretty woo-woo for most people to buy into, especially those who’ve lost someone "before their time" or something like that. For instance, I was told my former husband wasn’t supposed to be on that plane that crashed but he was filling in at the last minute for a guy who couldn’t make it. Make of that what you will, whether it wasn’t the other guy’s time or it was my former husband’s time, whatever, but that’s what I was given to understand.

Even so, I had a lot of grief around it all. Knowing and believing and feeling can be so far apart sometimes.

I think I can finally let go of the song now. I can also let go of him, I think. We’ll see. I won’t forget him because he was so much a part of my life in so many ways but he won’t continue to haunt me. So this will probably be the last blog post I make about our marriage, divorce, etc. If I do blog any more about it, it will be with much more distance and in a different context.

As I said, we’ll see. If I interpret this happening correctly, I’ll move on to something else.

In A Hotel Room


I’ve had quite a debate with myself about posting this, it’s so very, very intimately personal. And yet, that debate is clearly insisting in some way that I should post it. I mean, I wouldn’t be debating it if there weren’t some need of my Soul to have it out there. I think. My ego would just withdraw from something so raw.

But when it comes to debates between my ego and my Soul, it’s almost always my Soul that insists that discomfort is necessary or at least inconsequential. My ego feels that this is personal, none of your business, nothing you need to know. So the debate continues. But I’m pretty sure how it will end.

I wrote this several years ago. It occurred at a time when my husband was having an affair though he hadn’t yet been “outed.” For decades after our divorce I gave him the benefit of the doubt and blamed the affair and subsequent divorce on “the other woman.” She has to share complicity, of course, due to becoming involved with a married man but then, he probably came across as “sincere” when he complained about his marriage. I mean, isn’t that how most cheaters start their affairs? I can’t help but recall what so many had said about him when I was still a naïve college girl: “He’s the most sincere guy I’ve ever met,” iterated so many of my dorm mates.

I guess sincerity doesn’t preclude perfidy.

He was incapable of being sexually faithful, either to me or to her. If I’d paid attention I might have seen that much earlier, figured things out sooner.

First, there was the failed temptation of the “working girl” in Korea, failed only for lack of money, though. Who knows after that? Then there was his affair with the other woman, when he cheated, big time, on me. And there was this event when he was in the midst of the affair and he “cheated” on her with me, his wife.

I wonder why I ever gave him that benefit of the doubt.

 

I’m in a hotel room somewhere around Pecos, Texas. It’s a long time ago but not so far away.

I had hoped this trip through the west Texas desert and down to Big BeA man in the swimming pool Royalty Free Stock Photographynd would be a second honeymoon. My husband is outside in the swimming pool. I’m elated that he’s home but I’m also uneasy. He’s already been home for almost two of the three weeks’ leave he has coming, and we have yet to make love.

We’ve been married for over five years but even old married couples should have found occasion by now. Besides, with his various assignments we’ve only actually lived together about half that time so it’s not as if it’s old hat.

He spends his days at the stable with the Major and the horses. Our evenings and nights at home feel strained and quiet as we sit in separate chairs to watch TV. I often turn to look at him but I never see him looking at me. Something is obviously amiss but I don’t know what or how to address it.

I was young then, passive. And naïve.

Be thaLuxury infinity swimming pool caribbean sunset Stock Imaget as it may, I’m in that hotel room now. My husband opens the sliding glass door and for a second all I can see is his rangy silhouette against the late brilliance of the Texas desert light and the still blue water of the pool, his wet footprints already drying on the hot concrete. I want to think his hesitation is because he glimpsed me in my white gown and negligee, but it could as well have been that he was simply blinded by coming from the outside glare into the dim room.

He turns toward the bathroom without a word. I don’t know what I expected after carefully donning my nightwear and perfume, but it wasn’t dismissal, rejection. My heart drops into the hollow shell I immediately become. My eyes are suddenly hot and dry. I can’t swallow the lump in my throat or all the fiery anguish will come pouring out.Pretty woman in her negligee Stock Photography

I sit on the edge of the bed forever, a pale statue in flowing sheer robes. I’m not thinking, just lost, drowning in confusion and pain. If I were thinking, I’d be wondering what I did to cause him to become so remote. I mean, it must be something I did, right? What else could it be?

He’s been gone for nearly a year and it’s been some time since his letters held the longing and suggestive phrases of his earlier ones. My phone calls never seem to find him in his barracks room. I do find all sorts of excuses, though. I can’t call them reasons. I might have to face what I don’t want to know, don’t even want to vaguely consider. So I don’t.

Finally  Beard and Mustache Royalty Free Stock Imagehe comes out of the bathroom, dark hair damp and glistening, beard stubble already soft and thick enough to nearly conceal his lower face. He always grows a beard when he’s on leave.

He still hasn’t spoken but he’s coming toward me and my heart lifts as I look up into his dear but oddly expressionless face. He presses me back onto the bed, not harshly, but not gently, either, not like someone being careful not to hurt something precious.

He deliberately separates the edges of my negligee and pulls up my gown, helping me lift my hips to ensure that it goes all the way to my waist. Still not a word has he spoken. It’s finally going to happen. We’re going to make love!

My hands roam over his slim body as he positions himself above me and slowly lowers his weight after very little foreplay. He doesn’t look at me. He doesn’t kiss me, either. I wonder about that. And then his breath comes fast and so does mine, as I rise to meet him. It’s done.Broken heart Royalty Free Stock Image

My heart breaks, though I don’t quite realize it yet. That will come. All I know is something I never wanted to learn, the difference between making love and having sex.

He rolls off me, pulls the sheets down on the other side of the bed, slides between them, and is soon snoring, his back toward me. I haven’t yet moved, trying to process what just happened, unable or unwilling to. I finally sit up, remove the filmy robes that I’d hoped would entice him to love me, slip between the sheets on my side.

Crying 2 Royalty Free Stock PhotosAs I stiffly lie there, arms clamped to my sides, I watch the desert sunset quickly turn to night. The lump is back in my throat. I’m numb, but I feel a hot tear course down my cheek, becoming icy in the chill air-conditioned false atmosphere of an impersonal hotel room.


Early in this experience (my Search for Soul, though I didn’t know what it was at the time), I felt unutterably betrayed and abandoned, only I wasn’t sure by whom. I was totally lost, without even myself as I had been and without my self, who was I? Remember my dream of being lost in the woods with all forms of identity stripped from me? It was more prophetic than I could have imagined.

I was alone and I didn’t know who I was alone with. I walked, I Sketch doodles: stress and confusion Stock Imagestalked, I called myself by name, I even answered to that name. I functioned in the “real world,” but my ego-sense was gravely disrupted. If external things and situations could no longer tell me who I was, then who was I? What was happening to me? Why wasn’t my life working any more? Why had everything become so difficult?

Fear, perplexity, and uncertainty roiled in profusion. No matter how hard I struggled I continued to be sucked down in a frightening spiraling free-fall that seemed to have no end.

Falling/Flying Teen Royalty Free Stock PhotoIn her book, Emotional Alchemy, Tara Bennett-Goleman says of this condition that we “have no ground to stand on.” She continues, “The intensity of the experience overwhelms and breaks up our usual habits and patterns of perceiving and reacting.” For sure, nothing was “usual.” I also knew that I had no ground to stand on, that I was “up in the air;” what I didn’t know was, was I falling or was I flying?

“[L]ife,” Bennett-Goleman says, “offers this opportunity of disorienting shock, rapid transition and loss as a way to shake us loose from the weightiness of the identities we cling to.” No stretch of the Business identity Royalty Free Stock Photographyimagination could persuade my ego-identity to see this as any kind of opportunity and it definitely didn’t want to be shaken loose from its idea of who it was.

It struggled valiantly but fruitlessly. It’s not easy for the ego to learn, much less understand, that while it’s done a great job, there comes a time when it must step aside. It’s done a lot of difficult work becoming a “someone” and it is rarely willing to quietly resign what it sees as its hard-earned position.

I disagree with those who say that to become spiritually awake and mature our ego has to be killed, though. What must occur is a transformation. A way of life must die, that’s true, but killing suggests aggression leading to erasing, removing, eradicating. No wonder the ego resists.

TransformatMetamorphosis Royalty Free Stock Imageion indicates a growth in knowledge and understanding that allows something to still exist but in a changed form or relationship. While we’re living in this physical world we need a strong and mature ego.

We daren’t kill it.

Spirit, no matter how powerful, cannot function in the physical world without the consciousness of the ego as intermediary.

This is not simple quibbling over vocabulary. Never forget the power of words. The terms we apply to things and processes affect how we respond to events and how we develop through our experiences. Certain terms actually define our reality for us. Words and thoughts of violence and aggression can cause our egos to be fearful of being erased. Fear causes them to resist any change that suggests this might happen.

The ego must be transcended without destroying it. Transcendence andContemporary painting of meditation Royalty Free Stock Images ego transformation and the birth of our Authentic Self calls for a spirit of cooperation, not a contest of elimination between ego and the Soul/Higher Self. Ideally they should make a good team. The ego should be considered and even honored for its labors to become an individual, a “someone.”

I don’t believe ego is necessarily at odds with the Authentic Self, anyway, but is a more or less accurate reflection or aspect of that Self. Ego is just usually unaware of that relationship. I had another dream, the only truly recurring dream I’ve ever had, that explained that perfectly and yet, I didn’t “get” it. I’ll post it at a later date.

Midwife and newborn Royalty Free Stock PhotoSo, as with physical births, this process is more difficult and painful for some than for others, but by understanding what’s happening, I (ego) can learn to cooperate rather than resist. I can be both mother and midwife to my Authentic Self, to my Soul’s physical expression.

I will become who I was meant to be from the beginning.


Blue chaos Royalty Free Stock ImageYou must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
Friedrich Nietzsche

 

What do we give up to bring forth something new, to birth an Authentic Self, a Soul or God-spark, into our lives? I gave up my job, my career, my very identity, not by choice but in spite of my self. At first, all I could see was what I’d lost. It was a long time before I began to understand what I was gaining. What happened to and for me doesn’t happen the same way with everyone but sometimes something traumatic is the only way we’ll listen to our souls.

This tale of birthing is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It’s just a rFine art woman in light of spiritual awakening Royalty Free Stock Photographyecounting of my attempt to find meaning in what felt like the destruction of my life. I tell of some of my experiences along the path of spiritual awakening, my growing awareness, over several years. It describes various insights I’ve had and some conclusions I’ve reached. I don’t claim that these are original or unique, only that they’re personal.

While this birthing doesn’t require distressing events and conditions, they’re fairly common in our culture but they generally go unrecognized for what they can indicate. At the least they get our attention. I don’t want to over-dramatize or romanticize suffering in this process, but the fact is that suffering is quite often what opens the door to awakening.

Dark misery Royalty Free Stock PhotoBut no one is more spiritual just because they suffer. Someone once said, “Misery doesn’t make you better [or more spiritual] than anyone else, it just makes you miserable.” Misery or suffering is useful only for the meaning we give to it, how we use it. Spiritual growth is not a door we can unlock by deliberately causing ourselves pain. Still, if we’re comfortable where we are, we’re not likely to move away from there. Sometimes it takes something earthshaking to budge us.

Imagine our lives are like a milk stool with three leCartoon wooden stool Stock Photogs, one of doing, one of thinking, and one of feeling/intuition (the well known triumvirate of body, mind, and spirit). Too much or too little of any one of these functions causes imbalance. With adequate attention to each aspect/leg, we won’t need anything extreme to warn us we’re becoming unstable. But if we ignore any subtle warnings of imbalance (and they’re easy to overlook or misinterpret) the more likely it is we’ll experience something less restrained, maybe even traumatic, as a wakeup call.

Our culture places an especially high premium on the active legs of thinking and doing. By default we give less value to the deceptively more passive leg of feeling/intuition. So, despite my thinking “properly” and doing the culturally prescribed “all the right things,” over a period of a few years my life seemed to fall apart.

My intuition/feeling leg was much too short due to being ignored, overlooked, and repressed, and my stool finally tipped. I needed to birth a more balanced “me” whether or not I was ready or consciously wanted to.

Newborn baby moments after birth Royalty Free Stock PhotosAs with a physical baby this entity, this “me,” appeared on its own timetable and without concern for the convenience of its “mother.” My ignorance and resistance merely added to my difficulty. Even worse, I wasn’t aware that I was “pregnant.” No wonder I was confused and distressed.

Standard medical treatments and psychotherapy aimed at “fixing” me. That’s what we humans do, we fix things. We’re innate problem solvers. I didn’t need fixing, though. All I needed was support as the confusing process unfolded.

While far from fully effective, conventional methods weren’t entirely useless. Some helped to crack open psychological and spiritual doors I needed to pass through during this process. Despite outward appearances of disarray, little by little I came to understand that everything was going along just as it should.

That doesn’t mean that things were or are easy.

Sometimes during a physical birth, exhaustion and pain become overwhelmingAaaagh the  pain Stock Photo and the mother exclaims something like, “I can’t do this any more!”

Well, she must, as did I. Just as the process of labor isn’t under our conscious control, neither is this process. Just as a woman must relinquish her illusions of control over her body and the birth process, I had to give up the illusion of security and control I’d tried to build by doing all those right things. I had to learn to relax and “go with the flow.” Resistance is futile.

As with all births, this process requires letting go of an old way of life so New life Royalty Free Stock Imagessomething unique can enter the new way of life that’s beginning. My error was in trying to hang onto the old.

Well, what did I know? I still thought all the right things were supposed to pay off. Instead, the part of me that I thought was me was, and still is, being replaced by Who I Really Am.

The birth of an Authentic Self, or even just the awareness of an Authentic Self, shows us how mistaken we are about who we think we are.

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