The humility of forgiveness 

 

In my heart space within meditation,
all I could see was her face
suddenly appearing just in front of mine
without warning; a surprise.

My loving & innocent inner child was the first to respond
hugging her and loving her maternal energy.
Soon the wounded side of me woke up,
attempted to buck, but the innocent lamb had already won.

In just a few moments, memories flashed through my mind’s drive.
The steamy hot shower after she found me
his sins upon my skin. She tried to wash away the shame
it was me who wanted to go down the drain.

The adult me felt the pain of her suffering:
the uncertainty, the fears, her tears.
Through my own suffering of such things
I could now understand her pain.

This did not change who was chosen as
the sacrificial lamb in this scenario.
The blood of my innocence still shed to this
day in the tears rolling down my cheeks in many ways.

She feared then many of the things I fear today.
In that moment of recognition I was able to forgive her.
I then brought him in, his face less clear as if
through a blurry lens. I forgave him too.

On a roll, I brought in others who have in similar
situations tried to take of my blood. My innocence. My trust,
a pound of my flesh for their lust.
The names too long to list…

After each in line was given some time
in the warmth of my forgiveness.
I asked the void, “Now who else?”
The last to be forgiven?

Myself.

Namaste & Metta. Please, let’s make this world a better place! Learn to forgive others & yourself

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Dream Analysis Part I: Making Associations & Intro to Kali

This is Part I of a 4-5 part series on Dream Analysis based on  Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.

The purpose of a dream is to “wake us up to something” according to Johnson. 

The focus of this series is to share his method of dream interpretation that leads us to a greater understanding of ourselves; our own awakening.  Here, I will do my best to “boil down” his method without shaving the process too thin. There are four basic steps to dream interpretation they are: Making associations, Connecting dreams to inner dynamics, Interpreting & Making the Dream Concrete. This post will focus on the process of making associations.
To illustrate Johnson’t process, I will use a dream I had the night I wrote “From Judgment to Compassion,” that lead to writing “Kali Under Fire.”
I was outside of my maternal grandmother’s (Grandma B) home and the woods behind her home were being engulfed by a wildfire. There were concerns about evacuating, but my grandmother wanted to stay (confusion, indecision). Her face, set in determination, was seen in the flames that licked the sky. Smoke banks were surrounding the home, making visibility difficult. Yet the air around me was clear for at least 20 feet in all directions as if I were in a bubble. While there was a sense of urgency to the dream, there was also a calmness like “this is how it is to be.” My grandmother was a reflection of this as she was usually an anxious & “hyper” woman in real life, she seemed relatively calm and ready for whatever was to come within the dream. In a way all elements of the dream were exaggerated or “larger than life” and hyper-reality. 
Making Associations:
After writing down the dream itself, the next step is to list out the different elements of the dream (maternal grandmother, her home, wildfire, smoke, bubble, etc). Next you take each element separately and write out what you personally associate to that one element, individually. Johnson warns to be sure to stay with the original element and avoid stream of consciousness where one association leads to further associations. To avoid stream of consciousness, go back to the original element after each association. For example, after writing down the association “scapegoat” (see below) for my grandmother, if I had then written “patsy,” I would have then thought of Lee Harvey Oswald because of the many times he’s referred to as a patsy in one of the movies about JFK’s assassination. That could have then lead me to think of sniper and before I know it my Grandma’s being a scapegoat leads me to Chris Kyle in American Sniper. So be sure each association relates back to the original element. 

Johnson discourages the use of Dream symbol searches as the purpose of this process is to unlock our own meaning and association with each element within a dream. Yet, at the same time, cultural references such as colloquialisms and Archetypes can be helpful resources to use. 

Colloquialisms can also help to unlock the meaning of an element. For example, “courage under fire” may rise to the surface. Colloquialisms can offer a deeper meaning to the dream analysis as they are common threads of awareness, similar to archetypes. Speaking of archetypes, you know that your dream involves the presence of an archetype when there are exaggerated or “Epic” elements within in the dream. After seeing some of the associations of my dream I did a search for “creative and destructive” Goddess, which is when Kali rose to the forefront of my awareness.
Making associations to the dream’s elements can be both fun and frustrating. Sometimes we need to step back from the dream itself to be able to understand the association to the element. The deeper that we can travel within to understand what an element is showing us, the greater our potential gain in personal growth. Remember, the dream’s purpose is to “wake us up to something.” Is it not ironic that we dream to be woken up?

In the list of associations below, you will see that I’ve italicized associations that were repeated while I bolded others as they “clicked.” Basically, if the association “clicks” there is a deeper emotional response and you have found the association that is most meaningful to you for that particular element. The stronger the emotional response to the association, the more likely it is that you are on the right track.
  • Grandma B: maternal grandmother; crazy: bipolar; unpredictable, scapegoat; town’s shadow; grudges; judgment; shame; guilt, suicide; death; cover up; vulnerable; destructive; Goddess Kali; Family; Roots; Connections; stubborn; tenacious; Proud; Independent; Wise; Faith; Grace; protective; maternal; nurturing; contradictory edges
  • Grandmother’s home: Farm (fertility), Poor, Simple, Loving, Mixed emotions; Confusion; Betrayal; Loyalty; Humble; Cold; Hot; Red Clay; Grapes on the vine; Garden; Free Roaming Chickens; Outhouse; Hoarding; Gossip; Home of the Divine Mother*
  • Woods – Fuel; Trees; Oxygen; Wildlife; Darkness; Hidden; protective/safety; Secrets “What happens in the woods stays in the woods.”  Cycles
  • Wildfires – A force of Mother Nature; beautiful destruction; cycle; a force to be reckoned with; burning down of the old, get rid of obstructions, clearing, setting up for something new (rebirth), passion, heat, change, uncontrolled, part of natural process, old guard (trees) dying, fuel to fire, unpredictable, Fire of transformation, Playing with Fire, Courage under Fire; Judgment; Separation; Fire & brimstone, Discernment, Urgency “The Time is Now,” attention-getter, Burning Desires; Passion – out of control; Kali
  • Smoke like fog all around – unclear; confusion; suffocating; stifling; blind/ignorant: decreased visibility; blockage; Ego; Smoke & Mirrors: Illusion; when there’s smoke there’s fire 
  • Bubble – safety, clarity; protection; discernment; separation; invisible yet present protection; womb; clearly defined boundaries; not living in reality; living in my own reality

*According to Johnson, a dream involving your maternal grandmother’s home (mother’s mother) is a sign that you are in the “house of the Mother;” an archetypal mother. Additional clues that this dream involved an Archetype are the exaggerated or “Epic” proportions within the dream.

In the next part I will discuss how to connect the bolded and repeated associations to inner dynamics. I will continue to use this wildfire dream as an example. In the meantime, I hope that you find a dream that you can begin to go through this process with. If you can, I highly encourage you to read Johnson’s book and particularly the chapters on dream interpretation, as he gives many examples and clues that I found helpful. After all, what have you to lose when you have a better understanding of yourself to gain.

Namaste & Happy Dreaming!

image: latimes
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Why I didn’t run, though I wanted to…

Trigger warning for sexual abuse and assault survivors. 

A few weeks ago, I started back to online dating. It was the third “date” with one man and I was still feeling ambivalent about where I saw things with him. So  prior to said date I messaged him that I was “not ready for more than kissing and cuddling.” He said he understood. I believed him. 

On said date, there was so much more that occurred. In some ways my body responded and in other ways I shutdown. My mind screamed from within to get out. To leave to run. No, I don’t want this and not with him. Yet parts of me also enjoyed the attention. This seems counterintuitive to many, yes, I understand. It did to me at first as well. 

In my state of cognitive dissonance, I was internally frozen. I chose to stay and play along rather than run and risk being completely overwhelmed by him. At least in going along I was able to feel at least a little bit in control. To run I risked being overwhelmed, which I knew from experience would lead me to being frozen and unable to move. 

Yes, in the beginning things were enjoyable and I allowed things to go too far. One boundary after another fell and before I knew it I was in my own living hell. 

You’d think at my age I’d have this down. You’d think at my level in life I’d not be so naive and trusting. Or maybe these are the things I think. In the end, another layer of my childhood came up this week to be healed. I used this heart meditation to see and love the little girl who was harmed when she tried to fight back, when she tried to run. 

The next day, he wrote and wished me a good day. Several hours later I was able to respond and this is what I said:

My day had a rough start, but ended better. I had a tough time with last night… I had hoped we would talk about sex before trying to have it. There was a lot of conflict for me as part of me wanted to stay and part of me didn’t. I wasn’t ready to go as far as we did. I realize this may be hard to understand but sometimes sexual abuse survivors can respond in contradictory ways. For me, it means that I go along with some things I don’t necessarily want to because I’m more afraid of fighting and being hurt than if I just went along. So while part of me was aroused, part of me was also afraid. 

He apologized for putting me in that situation. I saw where he might also be suffering on that day, for at least from what he had said beforehand, he saw women in his life suffer at the hands of other men. 


Metta to those who have suffered and also to those who caused that suffering.  Until survivors and perpetrators of harm can heal their inner conflicts, these things will continue to happen. 

Namaste 

See also obligatory sex.

Love Your Inner Freak

We have been taught all of our lives to hide our greatest and “unwanted” aspects. Maybe even as adults we discover new aspects of ourselves that we then feel we must hide, even from ourselves. Love is accepting ourselves, our eccentricities and our messiness even in the face of seeming rejection. 

Blocking love to our inner freak keeps us stuck in a civil war of constant pain and suffering. In Civil War, no one wins.  When we reject ourselves there is nowhere to flee. It is then that we seek external stimuli and addictions to distract ourselves; sometimes we seek validation from others, another form of addiction

The willingness to keep practicing love, faith and self-care tools, even when it’s tough, can be the difference between folding or flying. Healing is about removing the obstacles to our love and loving ourselves in spite of our seeming freakiness. 

Agape to you

Namaste 

Love is …

~the warm sunshine after the cold
~the crocuses pushing up through the snow
~the curtains blowing with ease in the summer breeze
~the grace that fills the holes left by the pain

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~the force that pushes us to greater heights
~the pain that encourages us to shed our old ways
~the voice that shows us a new way
~ubiquitous: it’s everything & it’s everywhere

 

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Pain is …

~ An unheard voice longing to be told, “It’s okay, come out of the cold.”

~ A part of you that you’ve pushed away, not wanting to deal with it until another day

~ A constriction that needs to be unwound 

~ A cry for hope in the darkness 

~ The unloved begging for mercy

~ Shame begging to be released 

~ The secrets we wish we could keep 

Freedom is found in the surrender that each pain has its own needs.

Listen to the pain and you will find the answers to its release 

Namaste 

Hero Projection: Be Your Own Hero


As we grow up, we often look to others for behaviors we would like to emulate. This can be helpful in our development when we then adopt these positive traits as our own. However, hero projection can stall our growth when we refuse to see these golden characteristics in ourselves and, instead, only see them in others as this keeps us from shining our own lights. Thus we disempower ourselves when we don’t accept our own greatness and instead project it onto our heroes.

Martin Luther King, Jr was instrumental in changing the tide for race relations in America. We can look to his peaceful actions and speeches while thinking to ourselves that we would not be able to be a fraction of the human that he was. On the other hand, if we were to use the peaceful activism work as an example, we could find ways in each of our days to be more kind and compassionate to people in our lives – irregardless of race – just because we want to be the change we wish to see. 


Yet so many of us hide behind our heroes. We choose to remain small while we pile our greatness onto others. This helps no one. Instead, the hero is placed on a pedestal and set up for a fall. After all,  heroes (and even superheroes) have shadows. Furthermore, we give away our power when we fail to accept our own greatness. 

I encourage you to look at your heroes today. What traits do they have that you most admire? How can you begin to share those traits (which are within you) with others and the world today? Think baby steps. Then take them, we each need ourselves – and the entire world needs us – to be our own heroes! 

Namaste