Archive for March, 2012


My deconstruction

Tonight I finished reading Abbot Christopher Jamison’s book Finding Happiness.  I feel as though my entire being has been ripped out to my core.  I have never known this stark of a feeling before.  I have known emotional agony but never this kind of feeling.

I am now able to put a name to so many of the feelings and outcomes in my life that I couldn’t acknowledge before.  Naming them makes them real.  And in naming them and understanding them in the gentle and loving way that Abbot Christopher writes of them has made me realize that I am normal, I am human.  Just like everyone else, just like those people who pursue a life-long spiritual quest via their chosen religion.  We all make the same mistakes and we all get up and try again.  And when people in my life have cast stones at me for my failings they have failed to see that we are both human, we both make mistakes and we both can become better people if we only decide to make that choice.

Although I am experiencing a starkness I’ve never known before I am not cold or empty or hopeless.  I am able to see with better clarity.  I’m experiencing a lot of emotional turmoil today as I go through this process, dealing with deep and fundamental feelings.  It has put my energy out of balance and made me angry and frustrated at the wrong people sometimes.  And it’s uncomfortable and I don’t like it.  But I am not dead inside, I am not empty — more “cleared out”, like a room that has been emptied of the old furniture in readiness for the installation of the new.  I am far from finished my clearing out process but the room is getting bare, ready to be swept clean and filled again with bright, new furnishings for the future.

I can do this.

Spiritual awakening

Tonight I have had an amazing experience of spiritual awakening and enlightenment.   I went to the library to collect a book on hold and was drawn to the section on religion after having watched the documentary on the observation of silence.  I picked a couple of books on Christian meditation and was making my way out when I went down the large print aisle and by happenstance found a book by Abbots Christopher Jamison, the monk who presented the documentary I had just watched!  The book is Finding Happiness: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life.  I’ve been reading the introductory chapters while laying on the sofa this evening and began to truly understand the path to inner happiness and fulfillment in life.  I’ve often thought that this much wisdom should be found in Eastern philosophies and religions and sometimes struggled with connecting fully with these concepts as presented in these books.  But today reading this book on a Western philosophy and tradition I finally made those connections, much to my great joy.  I found myself filled with gratitude to the point of tears and then was filled with gut-busting laughter at the realization that I am just like everyone else and everyone else is just like me.  I finally found a sense of belonging, that I am not an outsider or outcast as I have felt myself to be my entire life.  I discovered that I am normal, I have normal, human thoughts and feelings and understanding when I read of the struggles of Abbot Christopher with adjusting to his life’s path as a Benedictine monk.  I understood that the path to wisdom is individualistic and common amongst all humans.  We all have the capability to get there, it’s merely our level of desire and committment to the cause that determines if we ever will.

My eyes and mind have been opened in surprising yet reassuring ways today.  I feel more clarity and understanding.  I’ve been told that I spend too much time analyzing things, however I do not have the kind of mind that can blindly accept on faith; I need to understand before I can put my belief into something.  I analyze in order to understand.  And through analysis I often have to experience a number of conflicting emotions, however this is a crucial part to understanding and my growth.

I find in the evenings and on the weekends when I have no plans that I spend a lot of my time in reflection and pursuit of knowledge anyway, so it is natural that I have devoted such energies to this part of my life.  I feel as though a number of large walls have come down for me over the past few months and I feel this is due in large part to my decision to pursue the hypnotherapy.  I am much more open to new ideas and am much more resolved to finally address my issues and make a lasting cure for them.  I’ve been criticized for breaking off that dear friendship of mine and for “avoiding” enlightenment, however I believe that it is rather a case where I had to remove a distraction in order to FIND my enlightenment.  That friendship was standing in the way of my growth in the direction I needed to go so I had to make a decision for my personal good.  I’ve been criticized as well for suggesting that perhaps the Bible can be seen as a book of life wisdom, a book of advice from the ages, words of experience and have been told that it is outdated and has no place in today’s world.  I’ve yet to read the book, however I prefer to look at is as still relevant for good advice stands the test of time.

Someone told me recently that I have quite quickly achieved a higher spiritual plane than I had previously had which is a testament that I must be doing something right after all.  Yay me!

I have been watching a fascinating and deeply enlightening documentary called The Big Silence (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/big-silence/).  A Benedictine abbot takes five ordinary individuals and introduces them to an eight-day spiritual retreat under the “vow” of silence.  During that time they have the opportunity to meditate and reflect and get into touch with the deepest part of themselves which they have been burying with the daily busy-ness of life.  They learn new things about themselves, question some of their long-held beliefs and discover a more spiritual self.

I admit that I find such a retreat very alluring right now.  I have been working these past months to discover a deeper meaning to my life, to find my true purpose and to repair what is broken.  I even wish I could have the opportunity to go on such a retreat with someone like-minded and with whom I had a deep, personal connection to share that experience.  I think it would be a great opportunity to heal a broken relationship.

I have spent a significant portion of my life in solitude, quietness and contemplation as it is.  I had a solitary upbringing being an only child with few friends.  My life now consists of quiet time after work reading or watching educational programs on the computer which working on my needlework.  I sometimes chat or text people or keep in touch via email but rarely talk on the phone, listen to the radio at home and I do not have cable or even a TV.  I value this “me time” when I can enjoy the quiet, be alone with my own thoughts and simply be still and be in control of my own actions.  Granted there are times when it is enjoyable and even very desirable to be out with friends and doing activities but I am also someone who needs stillness in my life.  I am often very content to be alone together with someone else.  I find that often very fulfilling and  a time when I feel truly loved.

Even though I knew of these concepts already within my life, as with many things I am discovering (or actually RE-discovering) on this path, it is often not truly in the consciousness until someone else tells it to you in a new way.  I appreciate every chance to relearn something in a new way and encourage me to continue on with my efforts.

I shall continue to practice stillness, quiet and reflection in my life and enjoy the many benefits of such mindful activities.  I hope you will too.

Another dream

Last night I had another dream, and indeed it was a dream this time.

I dreamt that I was standing at the foot of my bed and a large, hairy brown tarantula was under it.  It leaped up at my face trying to bite me and I swatted it away.  It ran under my headboard and footboard of my bed which are leaning against the opposite wall.  It tried attacking me again and again and I could see its black, shining eyes and pincers ready to bite me but I slapped it away again and again.  I even got a fly swatter to protect myself.  I knew if I hit it hard enough I should kill it but it didn’t die.  I did break one of its legs.  Finally it scurried away and I remember no more.

I did a little research and found out that dreaming of spiders often means a feeling of being trapped and unable to escape a situation and relationship (http://www.unclesirbobby.org.uk/dreamdictionaryspider.php)  or that some situation is sucking the life out of you (http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/s4.htm).  To dream of a tarantula means you may be moving away from a difficult situation in the past and have power to change or you may feel unfulfilled. (http://www.auntyflo.com/dream-dictionary/tarantula)

I do feel unfulfilled and unable to escape an uncomfortable period in my life, a time that has been sucking the life out of me.  I have so much to offer but seem unable to find the right outlet for those gifts.  I often give to the wrong people in life and get taken advantage of frequently.  I’m ever the misguided optimist who tries to see the good in people, gives them my love and am used in the process.  I feel this in my personal life and in my work.

It’s evident that I’m still experiencing a variety of emotions that crop up within me.  I had hoped that I had put them to rest but I guess it takes me longer to do that than others can.  As disappointing as it is to have these feelings and thoughts return and distress me and disrupt my path to happiness, I have to hope and believe that they are working their way out of me and that one day I will be free.  Every step away from bad is a step towards good.

This morning I chose to lie in bed after awaking, thinking and dozing beyond my usual early morning arising. As I laid there I had an image go through my mind of a straight path ahead of me. I saw it from my perspective but I was not visible, just a white light was. On either side was grass and landscape and lining the path on either side were steel and stone walls. I saw my life as a glowing line coming down the middle of the path and people I knew were intersecting black dots where our lives joined. Their colored lines ran parallel to mine or veered off reflecting our interrelationships in life. From the left came a gold and black line that intersected with mine but which veered off. I pulled down a large steel door and pushed the glowing light on the other side and closed the door tightly. It stayed closed for a moment and it started to open as I tried moving away. The light peeked back and started to come back so I closed the door again. And again and again, each time with more force but it wouldn’t stay closed. Under the door was the golden thread still connected to mine so I tried cutting it, tearing it, yanking it but it wouldn’t give way. I asked the Universe why this person has veered away from me yet keeps trying to get back through the heavy steel door and the Power replied that they were learning an important lesson and that this had to happen for them. I asked why couldn’t the Power put the knowledge of the right path in the person’s mind and it replied that this was a lesson that had to be learned through experience.

I knew whose light this represented, that of my former friend. And it brought me distress as I felt annoyed and powerless to stop what I didn’t want in my life.

I don’t call this a dream as I was awake at the time. I don’t call this a prophetic vision. I don’t know if I was imagining it or what really went on. All I know is I’m unsettled by it and unhappy today. It has brought up strong emotions within me. If only I could completely forget the past and move on.

There comes a time in every relationship where you reach the tipping point and have to decide if it’s worth saving or if you have to let it go.  It’s not always an easy decision although sometimes it is very necessary.

I finally came to the decision that I had to end an intimate friendship that had grown to become dysfunctional between us.  I had tried to end it a couple of times before but the other person wouldn’t allow me to.  The first time they responded with anger and made me feel shamed so that I begged for them to take me back.  Later when I tried passively withdrawing and becoming more distant, they drew me back in with words of their need and value of our relationship.  I obliged even though it was becoming more painful and dysfunctional for me, partly because I hoped it was true and partly because I feel so much loving compassion that I wanted to heal the hurt this person had known.  At last I finally decided that it was too uncomfortable and too dysfunctional for me to continue to make myself suffer at their expense so I was direct and honest and said the relationship was over.  I decided to do it in what I hoped was a compassionate and honorable way: I did it when I knew their new partner would be nearby for support and I made no blame, called no names, wished them happiness and kept it brief.  I felt a sense of relief and goodness for finally having done it afterwards and thought I was free to move on.  I was wrong.

For some reason it took several days for me to receive a message they had sent me the next day.  The message was full of hurt and anger, designed to make me feel shamed and to hurt me.  On the phone this person had appeared to take the news well enough and offered to be there for me whenever I needed them in the future.  But the message was exactly the opposite.  I was told all of my problems and that I was basically sick, that they had done so much for me  and couldn’t help me anymore, said that our brief romantic relationship was a meaningless affair, that they were basically doing me a favor by being friends with me afterwards and that I’m jealous because I can’t have them and if it hurts then too bad for me as they have found someone else.   It’s clear this person did not handle my rejection of them very well, even though I was repeatedly rejected by them throughout our relationship/friendship.

My pain over this has been deep and to my core.  What is the most painful is how they mocked and belittled my love for them.  We had met as they were getting out of a long-term relationship and they used me to feel better.  Later I felt used in being around them and someone who turns out to be their partner which was a secret so it feels like I was there to legitimize their relationship, a sort of chaperone for them.  And I truly loved this person.  I may have been foolish enough to hope they would change their mind and return that love for me but that doesn’t change the fact I loved this person with all my heart and it meant nothing, less than nothing because they so cruelly killed that love within me.  And they have not recognized that I have done the kinder thing by stepping aside so that they are free to pursue their life without the vestiges of a wasted affair hanging around on the outskirts of life, sadly looking in at what can never be.

This person seems to think that I’m doing this because I’m in a deep depression again but this is far from the case.  I know that my depression has been the worst it has been in years over the past year we have known each other and I feel it is related to that relationship.  I have been working hard the past few months to change myself, improve myself and fix my problems so that I can move beyond the patterns that keep me where I have been stuck all my life.  This person has given me no credit that I can and have changed.  They have fancied themselves to be a kind of personal guru to me and now that I no longer need that, now that I’ve taken them off the worshipful pedestal, the dynamic has changed.  I’m a stronger person thanks to my work, thanks to my supports from true and loving friends who return my love, see my value, cherish my gifts.  I am so very thankful for these, the true loves in my life.

My former friend’s new love will not be without challenges, their new partner is coming out of a long-term marriage with children involved.  My former friend may now get the chance to be in my position when they got out of their long-term relationship; they are ready for a serious relationship and their partner might not be.  It is uncharitable to wish the same pain I have felt upon them, although I hope they learn a lesson from this, I hope they learn not to play with the loving feelings someone carried for them.  I feel compassion for them but my love is dead and can never return even if one day in the future our paths cross again.  I have taken steps to ensure that will not happen.  My heart is empty towards them and can never be filled with anything but compassion.  If one day they change their minds and truly see my value and how precious I am then they will have to carry the hope throughout their life that maybe in the next life we will have another chance, as in this one the chance is lost.

As for me, I am free.

Art

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/cosm-the-movie/

Some amazing art and commentary on a higher consciousness.