Story Time Is Over

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An emotional trigger can only trigger a story.

A trigger is an object or event that recalls a memory which causes pain or grief. (This blog will not be about sexual abuse triggers.) So, if you’ve been let go from a job, you might avoid driving by the place because seeing it triggers you. Or when we end a relationship, we remove all the things our former lover gave us because the items trigger memories or thoughts about him. It’s why we change cities when things go wrong and we want a fresh start.

What I know is that triggers can only activate a story. We assign meaning to our experience in our minds, and the story becomes more real than the direct experience. But triggers are another version of mind, or of ego. They are grooves, energized by repeated patterns. And thoughts can be dissolved. You can ask if the thought is true, or you can move your energy back to your experience right now. It is not the trigger that causes suffering. It is the story.

So, on this path of awakening, and of experiencing No Self, story time is over. I practice not assigning meaning to my experience and I recognize the non-reality of my thoughts, particularly my triggers. There is a fear from time to time, as my world becomes more quiet. But the liberation as less of my mind sticks to me is a powerful experience.

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Sadness Meditation

“Sadness has a song — a very deep phenomenon is sadness. Accept it. Enjoy it. Taste it without any rejection, and you will see that it brings many gifts to you which no happiness can ever bring.” Osho

I was inspired to do my psychology degree by Dr Beverley Fehr.  She was a brand new professor in the psychology department, and I took Social Psychology with her. Her research focus was love and relationships. By the end of the term, I was hooked.  I did almost all my undergraduate research with her. Ten years later I had my PhD in Applied Social Psychology.

child sadnessIn social psychology, there are six primary facial expressions of emotion: anger, disgust, surprise, fear, happiness and sadness. Babies display and recognize these early in their development. And babies naturally display these emotions as they experience them. I learn a lot about the natural expression of emotion by watching my child.  (As I have said in prior blogs, my Guru is 5 Years Old). And I have learned about my blockages to expressing sadness by watching how she does it.

The Magus has offered to do a Sadness Meditation with me for a few months now.  I have resisted it, rationalized why I was not ready, why he was not a good person to do it with, why it was unnecessary…typical defense mechanisms.  I have seen the connection between anxiety and sadness for me: I will do anything to avoid the feeling of sadness.  When I start to feel sad, I revert to anger or anxiety.

Osho says “If you can like your sadness also, then the sadness is no longer sad. The sadness is sad because you dislike it. The sadness is sad because you would not like to be in it. The sadness is sad because you reject it. Even sadness becomes a flowering of tremendous beauty, of silence, of depth, if you like it.” (The Magus has said something similar to me, which of course I scoffed at – what does he know?).

I went to counseling today, and started the session by saying “I don’t know how to be sad.  What do I do?” She pointed out that I didn’t have to DO anything.  Just experience it. Let the energy move through me.  Did I DO anything if I was happy? Of course not.  My child expresses her sadness, cries, talks about it, looks for comforting, and then it is done.  My counselor had me talk about some of my sadness from the week.  I am sad and happy about how things are unfolding with Bhikku – incredible support, and a sense of loss and sorrow over things that have not even happened yet. (I will blog about being in the Now another time.)  After crying and talking and relating how some of today’s sadness relates to past sadness, she asked me how I was feeling.  I felt pretty good!  And that really surprised me.

A member of my spiritual support group called me yesterday, and asked how I was doing, how she could support me.  I jokingly told her I was crying about 1o times a day, and that sadness_by_zaanaapparently that was progress.  About three years ago, I repressed tears; I probably cried a few times a year.  I literally swallowed my tears.  The Magus worked with me one night with his body wisdom, refusing to let me swallow my emotion.  And since then, I have progressively cried more openly.  When we have deep conversations, they often happen at a restaurant, and I often end up crying.  I have asked him if it is possible for us to go somewhere and have an evening where I do not cry! I think he takes pride in the fact that he opens that emotional channel.

There is a gratitude practice that became popular many years ago from a book called Simple Abundance.  In a journal, each night write down five things for which you are grateful.  You can read them over now and then when you need to feel their gifts.  And of course, the expression of gratitude is very powerful for manifesting.  So, my new practice for the next month is a corollary to the Gratitude Journal: I am going to write down 5 things that make me sad each day, and experience them.  I am not going to do this in such a way that it creates more sadness, but for me, and anyone else who struggles to allow themselves to feel sadness, this exercise is a way of reprogramming my pattern of cutting off sadness.

DeepInnerPeace2And then…I am not going to DO anything about it.  So there!

When Your Love is Broken

I spent most of today crying.  It is ok – I have been carrying too much from my life, and it is time to release it.  Tears are healing.  And I am committed to healing.

“Mommy, I think your love is broken,” said my 5 year old daughter/guru.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Because you are crying alot even when daddy isn’t here. I think your parents must have broken your love,” she answered.  Of course, she is right, in that my roots of codependency started there.  And yesterday in counseling I uncovered my defense pattern for when I feel like I am not important enough or not good enough to receive something.

“You are right,” I said. “What do you think I should do?”

“Just keep trying Mommy.  You will get your love back.” And with that, my 5 year old guru turned her attention back to the Tinkerbell movie we were watching.

chakra artSo what do you do when your love is broken? I am not talking about love for another.  While I am working through the impacts of codependency with Bhikku, and I am fully aware that I have similar patterns emerging and healing with Bhikku, I am not talking about a broken heart.  I have a history with all men, including bosses actually, of triggering a feeling in them of not being good enough for me.  On the surface, it was easy for me to write off as circumstance, not psychology.  I am highly educated, and the men in my life have no post secondary education.  I am very efficient and practical – I am known as a person who gets things done.  Bhikku calls me a Master Manifestor.  And so it is…even the bad things.

I am talking about what you do when the love you should have for yourself is not there.  This Psychology Today article is a good starting point:

  • Honoring yourself and who you really are. Love is your birthright. As Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
  •  Telling the highest truth, which is that we are powerful beings capable of creating joy and success or pain and suffering in our lives. We are not destined to be victims. We have the power to choose, and this power is both the greatest responsibility we have and the greatest opportunity.
  •  Honoring who you are becoming. Self-love involves recognizing that you are constantly evolving and growing to become a more powerful and more loving being.
  • Honoring your feelings and responding to those feelings. Remember, feelings are important signals, and even the so-called negative feelings of anger and fear serve the important purpose of alerting us to the obstacles in our life.
  •  Recognizing that the universe is literally made of love. “If we will just open ourselves to receive, like flowers opening to the sun, then everything is possible,” says Ti Caine, hypnotherapist and life coach based in Sherman Oaks, California.

These are not new truths to me.  I literally will need to go back to getting to know myself.  I willingly entered into a codependent relationship with Bhikku.  I cannot blame him, as it served me as well, until I changed.  I am still using the same pattern with the Magus.  I feel like I am not important to him, so I pull back or put out conditions that he must meet in order to have the relationship continue.  And, he responds by pulling back and being willing to be without the relationship.  It is my own pattern being used on me! The universe may be love, but I think it may be a bit ironic and humourous too.  Just saying…

I think what I like about Tantra is it starts with the idea of self-love, of total wholeness.  Osho says:TransparentTantra_8

“Tantra trusts in your body. Tantra trusts in your senses. Tantra trusts in your energy. Tantra trusts in you – in toto. Tantra does not deny anything but transforms everything.  How to attain to this Tantra vision? This is the map to turn you on, and to turn you in, and to turn you beyond. The first thing is the body. The body is your base, it is your ground, it is where you are grounded. To make you antagonistic towards the body is to destroy you, is to make you schizophrenic, is to make you miserable, is to create hell. You are the body. Of course you are more than the body, but that ‘more’ will follow later on. First, you are the body. The body is your basic truth, so never be against the body. Whenever you are against the body, you are going against God. Whenever you are disrespectful to your body you are losing contact with reality, because your body is your contact, your body is your bridge. Your body is your temple. Tantra teaches reverence for the body, love, respect for the body, gratitude for the body. The body is marvelous, it is the greatest of mysteries.”

The first thing my counselor says when I tell her about something is “where is that in your body? what does it feel like?” I have been so disconnected from my body and my emotions that I sometimes cannot answer that simple question.  I cannot identify what I am feeling.  My starting point in healing that love is to spend time feeling love for me.  The reason Kundalini Dance worked so well is it allowed me to feel wholeness and love and divine energy through my body, and my mind, and my emotions.  So, while dance class may be over, the lessons are not.  What I did in Kundalini Dance is not much different from self-healing in Reiki, but with a focus on love and connection to me as well as the Divine.

I am going to keep trying, until I get my love back. energy-dancer-1-eric-sosnowski

Sitting in the Fire

Many years ago, I was teaching Conflict in Groups at the University of Winnipeg.  It was a course I inherited from another instructor, and I felt the need to make my own mark on it.  I decided to redo the curriculum and the reading list.  The existing text-book was called “Sitting in the Fire“.  At the time, I dismissed the book as not practical enough for what I thought was necessary to convey the skills for working in groups.  Now, over a decade later, I find myself drawn back to the title of this book.

Sitting in the fire is a metaphor for being uncomfortable, transforming, changing, and emerging in a new way, and in a more honest way.  It is like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.  This phrase captures my current internal growth, and my vision of emerging as more ME.

For the purposes of healing and increasing my awareness, I have been allowing myself to feel small.  I don’t like it.  I like to hide behind my persona of power.  I like being the Senior Leader who gets things done. The mom who keeps all the balls in the air.  The Priestess, who wisely advises on all things.  And yet for years I have been saying that I just want to be taken care of, and that I value most the people who see me behind those personas.  It is those people I love.  The ones who see the small me, and still want to be in relationship with me.

I am reminding myself it is ok to Sit in the Fire on this one.  My heart hurts,  my chest is caving, my stomach has been giving me trouble all week.  I want to hide, to go sit in a corner, or stay in bed all weekend.  I want the emotional equivalent of a snow day!

A lot of times, I use blogging to get to a solution.  I like solutions.  They meet the needs of my head.  occasionally they meet the needs of my heart.  But on this one, I know there is no easy solution.  I must sit, feel the discomfort, observe it, be witness to what arises and is burned away.  I must let the part of me that is doing the observing and being the witness tell me what I need to know.

In the mean while, I think I will need some hugs, and maybe some hot chocolate or wine. Not to numb, but to celebrate that this is a natural process.  The Magus reminded me that I have not been allowed to be small, or to feel supported while I do it. I know that I am able to do this, that this is the process of the Phoenix, and that what will come of this is beautiful.

And so it is.