Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zen and the Art of the Fine Whine

Zen and the Art of the Fine Whine: It is in the incessant noise of critical complaining and whining where we learned to bond with people.

We, as co-dependents, use our problems, our ailments, our spectating into other people’s lives, world events or neighbourhood situations as a bonding formula. It is a negative recipe about what is wrong with me, or with you or with the world or how things are or should be that unites us in the moment. We Hope!

Classically, we either were or are subject of harsh criticism and dissection by others and today we analysis everything into a place where we turn into the harsh critics that haunted us in our childhood.

We know what is wrong with us and what’s wrong with others and we use that knowingness to cling to people, so that we can become the one who knows ... to become “special” finally ... to, at long last, be the one who is noticed because, when our history clearly demonstrates that we were ignored to the point of deep abandonment and abuse.

This is a learned defence strategy that has run amuck. One of the nasty facts that go with this format of needs fulfilment is that we actually drive those people out of our lives in our very efforts to bond with them. Why? Because our posture is highly manipulative, complaining and controlling ... the very thing we cherish, the very thing we desire, our sense of self, sense of belonging, sense of being special, is lost in the very efforts we put forth in our vain attempt(s) to resolve the problem that is really lodged deeply in our past and not in our present moment.

If we can know what we are really up against

Then we can do something about it.

Into The Light - CoDependency A Spiritual Journey ... to be Released in August 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Way Of Things in Healing from Trauma

• ... When the trauma in life has been hidden from the conscious mind, the integration of new information about one's own past can be deeply disorganizing and disorienting. It can also disrupt one’s sense of self and worth.

• ... Nature "knows" when to shut people down because of PTSD. It also often knows when it is time to open people up again. The reintegration process needs to reintegrate the pain, the shame and the memories of the past. One needs to come to understand that compartmentalized pain and shame can only be held in at great cost to the beholder.

• ... Conversely, it is important to understand that the reopening process is also a costly/painful experience.

• ... It was disturbing for some to realize that to recover their own feelings and their lost humanity, they had to both realize and grieve just how inhumane their pasts had been.

• ... The path of recovery often takes people to a place of greater unhappiness while enroute. It is the Way of Things, and the Way of Things will eventually release the pain of the past in the present and give us back our future. So we can have the life we were intended to have.

Adapted from Ed Schmookler
observations on the healing process
from Post Trauma Stress Disorder

Maybe This Is Not For Me? Thoughts on Step Five and Six

If this thought has not scampered across your mind yet, it just might shortly … all this thinking and all this writing … some of this stuff might just seem surrealistic or even scary.

Maybe it’s not for me?

That’s just your mind rationalizing and attempting to set up blocks to pain it anticipates … it knows it is right up there just waiting to jump out at you and hurt you all over again.

The truth of the matter is that this pain that we are attempting to rationalize our way around is really right out there in front of us … forming all our fears ... actually … it acts like a traffic cop, trying to organize how you think and how you should act and where we could go, who we could do it with and what to do when things become too much for us to handle, or so we sometimes think.

Sort of like, here … think me, I’m your worse fear … think me … I’m real …now do this … it doesn’t matter … this is all that will work … think me … I’m real… do this now or die.

The fear simply just sits there … waiting for us to make a move, but in this step our job is just to sit there and stare back … and notice, that’s all … notice and admit … but mainly notice … notice what it is that has held you prisoner all these years.

There will be many times during this process when you will feel anxious and afraid … and you may end up wondering what to do next.

Well … what to do next is simple … just follow the directions given in the step … with another person … that you trust … in the presence of what you have come to believe is your Higher Power … just examine and reveal … that’s all … just examine and reveal … Uncover … Discover … Discard

Know the feeling?

Action is the Key Word here.

Simply get on with it and do it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Second Awakening

The Second Awakening comes when the Ego emerges from its long sleep of Knowingness and dependency on itself solely for guidance. 

This is a much deeper and a more profound spiritual event. 

For this event to happen in any significant fashion the spiritual travelers must be willing to let go of what they think they know¾ego function, dependency needs etc¾and begin to trust in what they cannot see or for that matter what they probably do not readily relate to.

·       Having faith in

Faith has strange mystical qualities to it that aren’t readily noticeable at first. 


·       cannot think for itself:

·       does not have a consciousness.

·       will do what it does and where it is directed to do it, by it’s beholder. 

·       will do whatever it is directed to do faithfully; after all, that is its job. 

·       is blind.

So this business of having faith is as much a matter of where you place it, as it is a matter of having some.

If you have faith in something unreal or something unhealthy, then you will feed the unreality or the lack of health and your faith will actually turn into a vehicle that works against your process of awakening while you appear to be making every effort to awaken. 

·       Faith in something must be examined with great regularity.  Just what the frequency of regularity is, will determine your future more so then having faith in the first place. 

·       Note: as you examine this newfound faith you may notice your own self-centered motives at play under the thinly veiled guise of faith and spirituality. Creative selfishness.

·       The knack to the whole thing is to have some faith and then take direction from the experience of risking having that faith in the first place.  Then applying the wisdom and understanding gleaned from the risk taking and applying that into your next moment.

·       Then be prepared to either make change happen, or accept change as it happens to you.

This is difficult, because the factors that the Ego used to make judgment calls about life and change are now absent. 

·       Faith doesn’t have fear, hate, distrust, like, or dislike.  In fact those feelings hinder the process of faith. 

Opening the second eye is a more profound event.  It requires something pro-active to happen.  It requires an exchange between the seeker and the universe.  The exchange happens on the path (and only on the path) as the seeker surrenders into the greater unknown. This always equates to surrender into the fear.  It probably isn’t but that is what it equates too.

Fear is defined in the Course in Miracles as the absence of Love¾with capital L¾ and it is a given in this business that it is far easier to hang on to what I know then it is to face the demons that hold me fast and frozen in my place. 

For those who decide to face their demons, the decision to surrender is for life.  This decision will affect everything you do, touch, say and think. 

Again it is a given that the vast majority of people who say they want to change are simply too terrified of change to make change happen. 

Decisions have to be made. 

·       Do I stay? 

·       Do I go on ahead? 

·       What is it that I must do?

Know This

You came to this world singularly and unclothed. That is your path. The others that you encounter are here on the path with you and are on the same journey but they can only serve as guideposts for you, and they can only provide you the opportunity to find your own blind spots, that's all. 

There is a vast world of difference between solitude and loneliness and that is your discovery to make.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am alone and my world is a dangerous place

“I am alone and my world is a dangerous place”. There are times when I feel I am so desperate, lost and alone.

There were times when life was so heavy I could not imagine going forward at all. Moving through these heavy circumstances taught me things. What I did was I learned to cope with “lonely” and I learned to deal with “abandoned and empty.” There were times when my normal was defined by Hopelessness...

I developed little tricks of the trade along the way just to get by on, especially when life was cloudy, grey and moving toward black. I found that I could depend on these tricks of the trade. Sort of the Artful Dodger of the 20th Century. All these tricks of the trade had one thing in common, they hailed from outside of me. I never really noticed this for the longest time. They were things I had been taught by others who were experiencing their lives in about the same fashion I was. These tricks of the trade had odd qualities and I firmly believed I needed them. In fact as I look back on it now, they were "magical” almost. And the key word in that statement is almost. They were things like activities, substances, rituals that I could rely on ... just to get through to the end of the day. They were there for me when nothing else was.

They worked beautifully or so I thought ... after all I did get through. I was also noticing that some of those people I was associating with were not making it. Their little tricks of the trade took them off the face of the planet ... figuratively and in some cases literally.

It was back there someplace a decade or two ago when I heard that I could look inward for solutions. I didn’t find any instant fixes but oddly enough I began to notice things.

One of the things I noticed was that I in fact had faith; this surprised me because in my opinion I had been forsaken by all that is and I was totally and completely on my own. I was the only person or thing I could have faith in. Why? Simple, because what I did, worked for me when nothing else was there ... but ... what I did was only ... Temporary ... But what I discovered that this faith thing was far broader then I had imagined.

As I looked within I found myself acknowledging that the old faith and belief system was not all it was cracked up to be ... “Temporarily” was becoming a four letter word as far as I was concerned. Those tricks of the trade really did not work all that well. It was about then in time that I bumped into The Door. It was about then that I penned There Is A Door ... It was about then that I began the journey into places and parts in me and unknown to me ... This Door was just there waiting for me to give over my fear and to place my faith in a new direction ... Within ... rather than Without.

I began to notice the insanity of my old beliefs, of how and where I had placed my faith. I also noticed something else that was very important. I, like everyone else had faith ... it was there from the get go. It was as if we are all issued X amount of faith each day and it was up to us to do something with it. It was now a choice ... Go Exploring into the Unknown or Hang On For Dear Life and Hope that I was not going to be destroyed by the process I was born into. I had done the latter for years. I was about to begin the former ... into the adventure of Exploring. I had a choice now, a choice I never really knew I had. A choice of how I wanted to use my faith ... Within or Without ... I began to lean on That Door to see if it would open for me.

Experience Has Taught Me

That I am out of control


I know I am not happy.

I know that my beliefs have not and cannot make me happy.

I know I must find “different” to be happy.

Where will I look?

What will I see?

And who will help me?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

12 Basic Instructions for Step 4/5 and 6

1. Choose any one of the four umbrella topics, resentment, anger, fear or me and my sexuality: take for example resentment, but anyone will do.

2. Then simply begin a sentence with “I resent so and so” and don’t take the pen off the page until the thread is complete. Now the subject may seem to change often as the thread unwinds. It may not seem to be connected. Simply write on and on until the proverbial spool is empty, until you are empty. What I discovered as I did this purging on paper was that it often went on for 26 to 30 pages. Then it often took days before I was ready to write again. Not that it was traumatic . . . oddly enough it was not - I was just empty. Of course there were those times when the tears came, and when that happens, just let it happen.

3. In rotation, choosing one of the umbrella topics, and write about you and what happened to you or about those who influenced you from each of the four perspectives, and know that you will probably do so many times before the well is dry. You may have to visit each one many times.

4. It is imperative that you ask for assistance with Step Five.

5. Step Five requires the outside help of another living, breathing human being by its very nature. It is suggested that you find someone whom you can trust, possibly someone who will not be going through the rest of your life with you, like a priest or member of the clergy or your therapist as your helper or listener.

6. It is also suggested that you have someone else, a sponsor, someone who can be there just to bounce things off and to ask questions of when there is a need as you go through the process of developing your Step Four. Both are important.

7. Often as not, there will be things in Step Five that you will feel should never see the light of day, but to cleanse them, it is an absolute must that they be exposed to the light of day. Sometimes it is too difficult to reveal things with a sponsor or therapist. Choose a neutral third party who is well aware of the necessities of Step Five. Someone who, when you have completed your Step Five work, you can walk away from and leave it all behind.

8. The symbolic gestures are just as important as the work of the step. You may find that your Step Five individual may have a ritual or two that he or she suggests to you as follow through for completion of the step. Do them, it is important. There are many who are trained for precisely this function and if need be your therapist or counselor can assist you in setting yourself up with someone appropriate.

9. Take the time to research and come to an understanding of how different aspects of the recovery movement handle a fourth and fifth step. Attend some open AA meetings or some Al-Anon and NA meetings. All conduct what they call open meetings. Phone numbers are available in the yellow pages.

10. As a suggestion, after you have completed the day’s writing or even after you have allowed several days to pass following a session of writing, go back through the writing and pull out who/what happened and look for the patterns and how those patterns affected you both then and now.

11. Look for the legacy that Susan Forward suggests in her book Toxic Parenting, should be there, the ghost monsters and demons of Xmas past.

12. Ask yourself regularly, “What is the legacy?” Look for patterns! Always be looking for, “How am I complicit in my own pain?” and “What patterns have been established that contribute to my pain, my loneliness, etc.”

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Someone's Story

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The jungles of Nam caused it in some, the jungles of my childhood caused it in me.

I was a child, born unloved and sold, again and again, to men for money. Not just sold for sex, but for sadistic rituals as well, some in which my mother participated. To the point that my body was damaged (broken bones, etc.) not just my mind, my heart, my psyche. Given birth by a mother who didn't love me (she told me more than once how she tried to abort me before I was born). She was, in fact, my creator. A child's creator is the first source any child looks to for validation and love. Instead of validation, I was treated like I wasn't worth loving, was only good to be used and abused by others, not protected from torture, not taken to the hospital when wounded or broken, constantly told by men who were strangers, and my mother, that if I didn't submit, I would be killed. This went on for many years.

One creates any coping skills that will work if one is to heed the primal instinct to survive. Until one is no longer helpless, we remain passive, quiet, and ... endure. We escape to a world within our own minds - or latch onto other families that seem much healthier and fantasize that they are our true family. Or that we were kidnapped and are not truly part of the family that is abusing us. Denial works as well. "Don't remember". And we develop selective memory. Make up a different identity for ourselves. One that isn't "damaged goods". One that others can love. Deep down, suppressing the rising panic in our bones that keeps telling us that at any time, people are going to find out ... find out that we were never good enough to love from the beginning.

How, once we're grown, is this suppressed PTSD expressed? Some express rage outwardly. Violent outbursts. Terrible anger. Acting out. Others, like me, who were helpless to protect themselves from the beginning, learned to be very quiet and passive in order to literally stay alive, and directed the rage that had to go somewhere, inward. Once away from the abuse, those of us who were passive were now free. And as for me, no longer overpowered and raped regularly over 11 years by mother's customers, or locked in the basement, or hung by my heels and tortured, or forced to take drugs in order to be compliant - I was free. And with that freedom I ran. I ran with exhilaration. I ran with abandon. I ran from fear and pain. And ran ... and ran ... and ran.

And looked for places to hide. I saw all men as monsters and stayed as far away from them as possible. I rarely allowed myself to be touched. Or, as in the case of marriage, I did my duty in the bedroom, but my mind was carefully placed somewhere else ... anywhere else, so I could control the scream that would always start to rise from my belly, choking to get out my mouth. Somewhere deep inside, I sensed that if I ever started to scream, I would never be able to stop. And then I would be put away. Trapped again, but this time in some psych ward somewhere. Never free again. So I had to stay quiet. But this time, it was to protect my hard won freedom.

Once an adult, and on my own, I would protect what small space I might allow myself to claim with all that I had (I was simply on the road for years, never staying in one place for more than 3 months at a time). I stayed behind closed doors. Walled myself in where it was safe. Safety is paramount. Safety matters. Nothing else. Run, hide, find a place to be safe. But this seclusion intensified to the point of, as an adult, not being able to relate socially to most anyone in any normal kind of fashion. But that didn't even matter. I was safe. That's all that mattered.

How do some of us ever initially get into any relationships? And how do we think we will be able to make them work? Well, most of us don't reason it out on a conscious level. But we want to "fit in". We want to live a normal life, so ... we observe. Copy others who seem normal, and who other people seem to like, and we try to act that way. We look around and realize that it is a man's world, and try to find a strong man to protect us from all the "bad men" out there. Most often, though, we've walked into a relationship where the strong man is the very type of abusive person we most wanted to be protected from.

How? ... we don't know. How many of us can afford counseling to begin to tell us what we're doing wrong? That we're repeating patterns from our childhood and being subconsciously drawn to the "known" (an abuser) because that is less frightening then the "unknown". Who has time to figure that out when you're always running and looking for protection and trying to find love, be lovable, pretend to be like everyone else, and on and on and on. And God knows how many bad relationships we're in before we finally begin "to get" that, even in choosing a man to be with us, we can't even trust our own choices anymore. So now, besides not being able to trust the people around us, we must deal with the total shock of not being able to trust our own judgment to keep us safe, either.

So, even though the abusers are no longer with us - they are. They've become a part of us. Chase us inside ourselves, and keep us running, looking for ever more safe places to hide. And the rage? It yells at us that we are unworthy to be loved. Not important enough to be noticed. Or to receive kindness. Or to even seriously aspire to a life of happiness like others have. Like "the normals" do.

So, this inner directed rage becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-sabotage. Without being consciously aware - something good comes along and all the deeply ingrained tapes say "You don't deserve this - you're not worthy" and somehow ... somehow we shut down, stop the process of love and kindness coming our way because, deep down, we know we can't sustain whatever it is that these people think they see in us as "good". It must be a lie. We must have fooled them somehow and they'll find out that it's a lie and be repulsed by us. We run, so we don't have to face their rejection once they see that we are really not worth their effort.

We reject ourselves before they have a chance too.

Now, there are many kind souls, who with not a clue of what they're triggering in us, say to us "OK. That was your past. Don't live in the past. Just forget it. Live in the present moment. Make the best of your life now." A reasonable thing to say. But only if you've led a reasonable life and have had only a few minor bumps along the road. To those of us who have endured serious abuse, that statement is heard by us as "You are overloading me with too many facts I can't relate too. You're not important enough for me to listen to you anymore or try to understand. Get back to "acting" like a lovable person or you're just not worth the effort of knowing anymore." OK. Now we know. If we don't keep up the act of "pretending to be normal" rejection is sure to come. Be quiet. Compliant. Lovable. And never, NEVER tell anybody again who you really are.

The sad thing about this conclusion is evident. Because we can't suppress who we are indefinitely, so in order to maintain others good opinions of us, we must leave before they find out, once we've seen the indicators that they are acting as if there might be something they don't like about us. That's all it takes. Just one trigger. And we're off. Gone. Running. The cycle starts over again and again from one new town to the next. One new relationship to the next. Never staying long enough to get anything accomplished in our lives. Never making friendships that last. And if there are any children involved, most probably losing them somewhere along the way, in the blur of the fear that rules our lives.

Now, should one have the opportunity of eventually getting into counseling, the rudiments of why one is acting like this as an adult, are learned. Some tools are picked up, from various and sundry counselors to help us handle certain triggers when they arise. We are assured by the counselors that there is no cure for us. Just learning techniques that can be taught to us so we can "manage" our "illness". Those of us with PTSD who have had good counselors are the lucky ones. Many never get that far. They've either successfully committed suicide, become permanent recluses, or continue the rest of their lives "on the run."

As one who has lived, or attempted to various degrees, all of the above, I have arrived at a point in my life where I've finally landed. I've lived in the same apartment for almost 5 years now. I've made several friends that actually have remained my friends for over 12 years now. And I continue, cautiously, to make more friends. I've overcome many of my repulsions to men and actually find some of them attractive, interesting, intelligent, humorous and kind. And yes, have even allowed myself to receive love, and give love, to them. I never thought I'd make it this far. But if I can make it this far, I begin to indulge in the hope that maybe I can make it all the way. All the way to happiness and the never before experienced feeling of "completeness". A life of balance and beauty. Love and the ability to handle conflict in a reasonable, harmonious and respectful manner.

Now, it's time to work on self-sabotage. And ... to learn that the right men can be trusted. I need friends and family who believe in me. Encourage and support me in the inner work that I must do if I am ever going to exist in a truly loving relationship with them, and those I am destined to meet.

I wrote this down because I just needed someone to hear me. Hear what I've worked out so far. Where I've come from and where I'm trying to go. And know that with my last breath, I will never stop trying to be ... someone.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
"How does it taste?" the master asked?
"Bitter," spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt
in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake."
As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"
"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.
"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.
"No," said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less … the amount of pain in life remains the exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things . . . Stop being a glass. Become a lake."


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#5 Process Of Recovery

Taking Back Your Projections.

When you attempt to become separate from what seems to give you pain, and please notice that I said ‘from what seems to give you pain’, and you do this by making “others” or “it” the wrong thing to do ... or ... being the bad one, or by knowing what is right and proper for everyone else ... always by being the peace keeper, or the hero, or the scapegoat, or by medicating your feelings with drugs and alcohol or distractions, you usually develop a life style based upon projection. You may twist reality to suit your need to be right etc. and justify your behaviour by making others wrong to justify your position, thought or activity.

Taking back these projections often requires the loving confrontation and support of group and/or family members, friends and business partners, your spouse or a therapist.

The projections tend to fall away slowly, often as not very slowly until finally enough of the denial is removed and the truth of who you and who others really are, is revealed to you.

Projection Make Perception

Projection occurs when you see split-off parts of yourself in other people ... You may not recognize them in yourself; they are hard to see. When you are protecting yourself from seeing those spilt-off parts of yourself, you may have trouble distinguishing between your internal world (fantasy) and the external world (reality). Things often as not, get very confusing and certain desperation seems to set up that drives compulsive behaviours.

Projection is complicated by the fusion of co-dependency and inability to feel and act separate from other people ... By seeing in others the very qualities that you refuse to acknowledge in yourself, this can allow you to continue on in your denial and delusion while at the same time avoiding taking responsibility for your own actions and feelings and for taking charge of your life.

Another important characteristic of the split-off parts is that the more they are ignored or denied, the more strength they gain as demonstrated by:

1. You may act out the part unexpectedly. For example, if your anger is split off, you may erupt in a fit of anger. It "happens to you" without you having much awareness.

2. Someone may act out the part for you.

Split-off parts are always outside your awareness.

Thought for the week

I am not separate.

I am one with

All that Is,

All that Was


All that Ever Will Be.

I can trust.

I can know.

I am responsible.

I am single-minded.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Mythical Full-Length Mirror Of Self

Each of us, in turn, must go to a place and stand in front of The Mythical Full-Length Mirror of Self, if we are in fact to heal. It is a place where we come to know and see probably for the first time just how much “stuff” we really carry and how it drags us down and holds us from our future. The one we were intended to have.

To Heal we must own it! And become ready to consider casting it off.

The Process of Recovery is described as Uncover, Discover and Discard.

People have to know what they are up against. Where and how we carried it, and how our sense of evil spiritedness, of not being good enough, sometimes called incubus (from the Latin: evil spirited, devil or demon.  Things, metaphorically mostly, that most of us believe are locked down inside us and run our lives...).

It locks us into our guilt, hurt, pain and shame. How this burden of guilt, hurt, pain and shame serves as the drive engine for the behaviours that we hate about ourselves.

Those behaviours we can’t seem to stop doing and the ones that are killing us, the ones, oddly enough that we are trying to give up.

Ashamed and isolated and in the middle of a world,

That is full of people who are ashamed and isolated too,

Just like me and too terrified to admit it.

So now the opportunity sits here before me,

An opportunity both figuratively and literally,

To do something for the first time,

That is constructive,

About the state of my being.