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Posts Tagged ‘Therapy’

 

The rage-unaware therapist

Concluded I must have

Control and independence issues

Because of my distrust of God

I wanted to leap on her desk,

Claw and scratch the annoying,

Mahogany-mirrored surface,

And rip the tedious, artsy prints off the wall.

I wanted to hurl her smiling, family pictures

And priggish, velvet-upholstered furniture

Through the over-large, antique windows,

Listening for the satiating crash below.

But most of all

I wanted to erupt my belly-full of emotions

And dragon-breath the whole room,

Hell

Blaze down the whole world

While I’m at it,

Down to embers and coals,

Letting my lack of trust in God

Bleed out through my pores

And rot gratefully in the earth.

Still sitting in the room,

Outwardly composed and reflective

I’m left with a humming inside

From my illusory deluge,

A buzzing, electrical charge

Vibrating in my ears and in my bones,

Like the call of a courting bird

Moving through layers of dense wood,

Reaching across foggy ravins

And bands of forest chirps and chitter,

Inexplicably received

By its intended

As a shivery echo of throat-song,

A summoning pulse of hope.

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My father’s secret life, the suit and tie accountant by day

On his tractor at night, the light pacing back and forth across the field.

The good father, doing his duty, dedicated to family,

My mom pushing his hands away from her hips, cooking dinner,

“Bob, stop…”

Sometimes he’d load us kids on the frame of the plow blade,

Clots of red clay, bubbling up potatoes.

His car accident,

Me, the five year old,

While he lay in a coma,

Deciding whether to live or die.

He lived and something in me died.

Forty years later, I remember.

Wondering on the mystery of

Believing you’re abandoned

Resulting in two failed marriages.

“Your husband is cheating on you”

My rebellion of religion

Yet crying when hymns are sung,

My resistance of tradition,

Hating the celebration of days

Because it’s the day

Preferring to celebrate for no reason,

Yet homemade biscuit-bottomed,strawberry shortcake

Will always mean Valentine’s Day

And German chocolate cake with oozy coconut-ladened icing

Will always mean dad’s birthday.

My dad cut trees and I would dance across the fallen trunks

Like a fancy gymnast.

He’d come home from hunting with rabbits stuffed in the front of his jacket.

He never cranked his tractor for the season

Until the yearly wren nest had finished its duty

Of chick hatching.

My dad in the box of pictures I found in the attic

Lovely pinups taped inside his locker,

He stands proudly in front of the girly display

In uniform, smiling at the camera.

His smile, a secret, unknown smile to me,

The same smile I see sometimes

On my 16 year old

Standing in front of the mirror,

Examining his arm muscle-swelling efforts

The raw splendor,

The unashamed smile of a 16 year old

Growing his body.

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I’m fascinated with understanding the “why” of the choices we make as human beings.  I remember having a sense of the “background” of people, even as a small child, although at the time I didn’t have the context to fully comprehend what I was observing.  I could feel when people were “saying one thing but doing another.”  This was very confusing to me and gave me reason for a lot of disappointment and disillusionment growing up.  Now I realize that to be disappointed in a person’s or one’s own “shadow” or “unaware” self is a recipe for constant dissatisfaction.  We all have a very active unaware self and most of our lives have been created from this unconsciousness.  

The obvious motivator of this “other self” is fear.  Anytime we are in fear, we rely on the reality of our unconsciousness instead of listening to our wisdom.  We act out by using control, isolation, withdrawal, abuse, phoniness, anger, resistance, guilt, pain, and so on.  We have a myriad of behaviors that allow us to express our fear and unworthiness.  What I’ve learned by working with clients as a spiritual therapist, teacher, helper of people as they are dying, mother, wife, friend, and pharmacist is that there are some key character qualities that can help us recognize this aspect of ourselves and because of these attributes we are able to use our will and make the “higher” choice of listening to our spiritual nature. 

Self esteem is a word we hear frequently and much of the time it is culturally misunderstood.  And to a certain extent, the idea of self esteem that is cultivated in our society is a necessary first step in our growth.  Learning to be self-sustaining, finding our purpose in life, revealing our gifts in life, being the best we can be all sound very noble and enriching of our self esteem.  The problem is that our ego (the survival part of us) takes hold of what gains we might make with self esteem and mixes fear in the pot.  The result is that no matter what benefit we may see in self esteem growth as we move through life, our unconsciousness “taints” our perception of ourself and our life so that we can’t hold any really sense of worth.  We are left with only a fake, flimsy mask of self esteem that is subject to whatever whims our perceptions and experiences might bring to us at any given time.  

The attributes that can effectively move us out of this cycle depend on self-awareness.  We must be able to catch ourselves as we move into patterns of unworthiness.  As soon as I sense I am withholding my love, feeling sorry for myself or feeling angry, I need to notice that I’m doing that.  Every single time I am able to observe this, I build spiritual strength.  Every time I make the choice to move into care or understanding or forgiveness, I am enhancing my self esteem.  

The fruits of this kind of self awareness are spiritual integrity and accountability.  These two principles are the foundations of true self esteem, not society’s version of which we are accustomed.  Each time we make a choice to move out of unawareness by noticing when we are acting out of fear, then we add to our integrity and accountability “bank accounts.”  When we can take our actions a step further and not only stop ourselves from acting out of fear but can even switch to behaving through love, then we reap “compound interest” in our self esteem accounts.  

Why do we care about self esteem?  Because without self esteem we lose hope and purpose as human beings.  We develop illness, become depressed and cause pain in the lives of others and ourselves.  Often as I drive through the beautiful mountains where I currently live, I pass houses of occupants who throw piles of trash and junk in their yards.  Sometimes the debris is mounded up to the roof on their front porches, blocking their windows and doors.  With miles of amazing mountain range views available, these people choose to clutter and obstruct the natural wonders with their own accumulated refuse.  Why?  Why would a person choose pain, ugliness, depression instead of receiving the unlimited, free gifts of beauty all around them?  Because their self esteem feels so depleted, they live in such vile unworthiness, they are completely unable to perceive what is right in front of them.  

Choosing to foster self integrity and accountability often doesn’t occur to us because we minimize the huge significance of being honest (always) with ourselves and others.  We don’t realize how this builds congruency within us, which is the fabric of spiritual growth.  We find it tiresome and discouraging to notice when we are behaving in ways that are hurtful to others or ourselves so we prefer to see our masks.  Promoting our ego is a grooved pattern so we behave from the security of our habits instead of expressing our care.  But I know this as the truth… every single instance that we make the aware choice is a thousand times more powerful than any unconscious decision.  This is our David and Goliath certainty.  The weight of a loving action is far more potent than any action that comes from fear.  This is our spiritual evolution “leg-up;” we can undo much of our shadow with a fraction of the effort because love and kindness is exponentially commanding.  The blessing is the eternal hope and grace of which religions speak. We don’t have to climb a huge mountain to be redeemed.  We just have to make a different choice now, not burn and bury the whole negative baggage of our lives.  One choice at a time.  One objective observation of one’s self at a time.  One caring impulse in this moment.  

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There isn’t anything

That creates a gap

As sure as the ax cut

Of a wildman’s fury,

It doesn’t believe in spring rain

And soft winds,

It only believes in surety

And definites,

The belief that the world

Is not important,

Only the way we peer at it

Is so prevalent

That we don’t hear the mother weeping,

Deep in her jeweled cave,

She weeps for the lost family

And the ungracious guests.

There was never time

To help her see

That it is our own unemotion,

This monologue

Of straight arrows

And pierced hearts.

She only weeps for the

Lost children, the innocent,

The inability for those who stray

To smell the home baking

From their perches

With animal blood dripping

From their teeth.

“They are not going back,”

You want to tell her

But somehow she hears

Music unknown to you,

Music of hope that

Holds hands and carefully winds their

Puffy legs and cluttered minds

Around the precipices.

She understands that weeping

Fills the lakes and streams and oceans

And the water calls their spirits home

As sure as a star

Brightly sings its light

In the dark.

“There is hope”, she says,

In her weeping,

And I know she’s right

Because I feel the wave

Of her surety in my bones.

Sing them home,

Sweet tears,

Sing them home.

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She asks “Why?”

And nothing answers back.

She wonders in the night

Wide-eyed and tearless,

Her pillow wadded up hard

And unmotherly.

She survives

But something within her

Shrivels without her knowing,

A secret cache

Of puppies and pink fuzzy hearts

And words that sound like

Her big sister’s soothing voice.

She isn’t a little girl anymore

But her heart feels wanting

Like someone forgot to feed it

And put it to bed without a kiss,

As if the watering didn’t happen

And the sweet flowers

Were left dying…

Scentless buds.

She tries to awaken her purpose

But she finds it face down and dusty,

A lifeless puppet

Behind a makeshift, box stage.

She keeps whispering “Why?”

And the stars, unblinking,

Refuse to prove their aliveness

In the full moon sky,

Too bright,

Glaring,

Holding her in the spotlight

With no where to run.

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There is a moment

Between breathing and not

When the world shifts views,

And the promise of snow

With roses in bloom.

It’s all the old man knows,

His bliss is the air that squeezes

Through the cavern

And whips the weeds into golden glory.

He listens to the footsteps of monsters

And allows only whispers to penetrate,

Wispy and waspy,

He selects the lightness

To fill his nostrils and caress his skin.

There is no other time

Except now,

And the clock hasn’t moved

For centuries,

Only when you waver in devotion

Does the sundial do its thing.

The birds will tell you

The sun isn’t there at all,

But you wouldn’t care

Because concrete and shifting

Are your pleasures and pride,

Solid and safe,

They comfort you like a devil’s smile.

Nothing can hold you home

Like a big, brown memory

Of forgetting your care,

You will wander the woods forever

Trying to find the cure,

But you know the last straw

Is the first step,

So believe in your wholeness

And behold your brilliance,

It isn’t going to die,

It isn’t going to fade,

It’s here all the time,

Like your breath

Or not.

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PART I

I died the other night in my dreams.  I don’t think I’ve actually gone all the way through my death in a dream before.  I’ve come close, I’ve been scared and I’ve believed I was going to die, but this time it was different.  I actually died.  In the dream, I was in some sort of multi-storied building and the upper floors were collapsing on me.  I knew I was going to die as the ceiling above me came crashing down.  As soon as I felt myself being crushed, I was floating, arms extended in the air.  I unhesitantly made a conscious decision to surrender, let go, don’t fight what is happening.  This was okay, this dying thing.  It felt pretty serene.  But then it happened.  I had the sensation that my right breast snagged on something that was piercing deep but at the same time was pulling out, like the inside of my breast was being suctioned out through the stabbing.  It HURT!!  If I could just push away from the painful source, I would no longer be “hitting’ the pointy object that was hurting me.  But for some reason, the pointy source was not obvious to me, invisible yet very clearly THERE.  And in this helpless, painful state I woke up.  Confused.  Unnerved.  But awake and pain-free. 

I’m struggling with this dream.  My spiritual understandings lead me to the idea that I am “letting go” of some of my “survival-based” ideas, beliefs and ways of behaving.  Thus the “me” getting crushed on the lowest floor.  The breast piercing-pulling out is a little more confusing to me.  Since energetically my female nature is more on the left side of my body and my male nature more on the right, the fact that my “heart” pain is located on the male side is interesting.  As my survival, more physical-in-the-world self is dying (the lower floor crushing), am I resisting letting go of male-type heart issues, issues involving the action of love, the giving of love?  Do I not want to let go of the ability to withhold my love when things aren’t to my liking?  Do I not want to take the next obvious step and actually love my life, my work, my journey?  Am I holding onto the  judgment that life is hard and that it’s not fair and you have to protect yourself to survive?  That it’s up to me to look out for numero uno??      

 PART II

My next night’s dream was set in a middle-upper class suburbia neighborhood, early morning.  I’m going from one house to another in the misty predawn fog.  I vaguely see others getting their newspapers, standing outside sipping coffee in their bathrobes.  I see a guy in an older model, rusty brown BMW sedan riding through my yard.  Nothing penetrates my morning brain…. yet.  Then I notice that he’s circling the house with the inner wheels rubbing the foundation of the house, running it with 2 wheels on the brick walls and 2 wheels in my shrubbery.  And he’s going FAST, manic-like, maybe even mad, yes definitely mad, now I’m getting scared.  Now it penetrates.  What is wrong with this picture?  He’s going to run over someone, something, he’s hurting things.  I rush inside to call 911 but as I do the sirens are already outside and I see rescue personnel running with people in their pajamas and bathrobes on stretchers; lots of people, he’s hurt lots of people.  Why didn’t I notice it before?  Why did it take awhile for me to notice something was amiss? 

Thinking about this dream and it’s relation to the dream the night before, it started clicking.  The man driving the car was distinctly pissed off because “LIFE”S NOT FAIR.  IF I CAN’T HAVE IT, THEN NO ONE SHOULD.”   He clearly resented the casual, “we’re all comfy and cozy, sipping our morning coffee, got-life-figured-out, it’s working for us, sorry your life’s not as good but our air breathes pretty nice over here” kind of neighborhood.  Uh-oh… I’m pegged.  There’s that deep wish of PLEASE LET IT BE TRUE.  IT MUST BE TRUE, MY WHOLE LIFE HAS BEEN PLANNED AROUND IT, this is how life works, you work hard, you keep your nose clean, you do the right things, you help other people and don’t think about yourself.  This is HOW IT WORKS and your reward is that you have comfortable life, nice people in your life, everyone stays healthy or is healed miraculously, things flow for you and even better the ones who DON’T do the right things, pay their dues, care about other people… those people shouldn’t HAVE WHAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE THEY DON’T DESERVE IT!!  Of course, we all know wonderful people who’ve had horrendous things happen to them and we’ve known plenty of people who’ve had fortune and miracles who don’t deserve it.  And now, here we go, I’m going to say IT.  WHAT GOD WOULD ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN?  HOW CAN HE NOT BE FAIR?  DOESN’T HE SEE HOW GOOD I’VE BEEN AND HOW HARD I’VE WORKED?  Here’s the heart piercing pain.  My ANGER at GOD and the raw pain of that perceived betrayal!!  My pulling away from HIM in protection mode.  Yes, I said it.  I know this angry part is not really my wisdom, but there it IS!!  FRONT AND CENTER.  Up until now, it’s worked smoothly, unconsciously, arranging my life so I could work under the premise that you’re definitely going to get hurt, you’ve got to protect yourself, you have to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF because in the end, life’s not fair and God plays favorites.  Ouch…big, ugly, nasty, betrayed-by-God kind of pain. 

 PART III

I’m hoping that since these things are coming out in my dreams, I am healing.  I’m ready to be finished with the childlike idea that the “be good, work hard” attitude wins me special favors and worrying about who hasn’t paid their dues and who doesn’t deserve the life they seem to have.  It’s exhausting keeping score.  It makes me not want to play anymore because the game is obviously flawed and I don’t want to play a game with unfair rules.  Wow!  What will I be like now without this burden of being the scorekeeper?? 

 Hey, I have an idea!  Let’s start a new game?  Anybody want to play?

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