A big barometer of self-love is how well we are able to parent ourselves through difficult times, mistakes, disappointments, grief and other challenging emotions.
All too often, this is where our wounds are triggered and we enact ways of being that perpetuate the cycle of wounding within our psyches. If we keep treating ourselves and our inner worlds the way we internalized, the way we learned to treat ourselves, then we continue the cycles of pain in our lives without realizing it.
This is the realm of the death mother and one I see most common in clients and my own soul life.
Grief is a very common reaction not only to loss but heartbreak or rejection or disappointment. We make mistakes. We are human. Life has its ups and downs. Things happen. We feel things in response to it.
Living in a world that values what image we project over who we really are, what we can produce over what we express, how we look over how we feel is a culture that is emotionally and spiritually neglectful. It is a culture that values the external to such a degree that we have become codependent this culture, a death mother, in an attempt to receive the nourishment our psyche is so deeply craving and getting ourselves lost in the process.
We have been split in two...our inner nature and our rational nature. Animal and divine has become animal OR divine. The splitting creates a deep chasm in the in-between, a place that rests in our hearts...where we are actually meant to embody the in-between...to be both instinctual and divine, logical and filled with the creative loving energy of eros; to hold a safe container, respect knowledge and wisdom equally and to navigate through the world fully alive in our cells with feeling, wisdom and grace. We should feel safe to be whole. Yet most of us do not.
This is the essence of the soul wound, the split between our two sides; logos and eros, masculine and feminine, animal or spirit, spiritual or science, dark or light, love or hate, good or bad...and on and on.
No matter how weird, awkward or flawed you feel, love loves you.
No matter the depths of the suffering you are managing, love loves you.
No matter if you speak when you want to be quiet, love loves you.
No matter if you listen to your intuition or not, love loves you.
No matter your frequency or human level of consciousness, love loves you.
No matter how free you feel, love loves you.
No matter how much "work" you do on yourself to gain your own love, love loves you.
No matter your sensitivity or foolishness, love loves you.
No matter your ability to feel connected to love, love loves you.
No matter how embodied or not you are, love loves you.
No matter how much you judge or fear or mistrust others/life, love loves you.
No matter your wounds, love loves you.
No matter how afraid you are or where you misstep, love loves you.
No matter your mistakes and the amends you make, love loves you.
No matter whether good things are happening or bad, love loves you.
No matter how much joy or grief you feel, love loves you.
No matter your level of awakening, love loves you.
No matter your unmetabolized shadow, love loves you.
No matter the height of your light and genius, love loves you.
In a trauma culture it’s incredibly important to become aware of ways that we make the aftermath of symptoms of trauma wrong. It is not true that the universe only gives us what we can handle. If that were true, trauma woudn’t even be a thing since the very definition of trauma is an experience that is too much for the system to handle, metabolize or make sense of whether it is physical, sexual, emotional or spiritual. (Note that most physical and sexual trauma also involves emotional and spiritual dimensions).
Indifference to the truth creates complacency and shaming of trauma survivors, people suffering with symptoms of trauma like addictions, anxiety, eating disorders or depression. Isolation. We are wired with needs that need to be met by others. If we start to program this out of us, it is supporting trauma at its core. We aren’t supposed to get used to not needing anything from others.
People are not addicted to their trauma. Nervous systems wired via fear because environments were not safe run on adrenaline, which creates a deep feedback loop. There is a deep disconnect to one’s own vital life force energy. It’s not just physical. It’s also emotional, spiritual and impacts the quality of consciousness through which life is perceived.
Awakening out this trauma trance can be quite intense as our whole inner (and outer) world must shift. We must learn that safety and joy are okay, that our own energy is safe because trauma at its most basic level impacts the very way we experience life. That it’s safe to be here in a real way, rather than the mind yelling at the inner one trying to convince it is safe when it doesn’t even know what safe feels like.
Fear based thoughts aren't really a thing. Thoughts aren't "real". But, the fear is. Energy is real. It lives in your body. Your mind responds to energy a particular quality of thoughts. This New Age patriarchal way of valuing rationality and "mind over matter" has us using our minds as weapons against ourselves, even training us to be afraid of our own fear which drives us further into never really understanding or connecting with our innate intelligence, which lives in the body. As long as we live afraid of ourselves, we are trapped in a game that ultimately we all want to be free of. Our culture counts on this being the case.
Our nervous systems are in a perpetual state of fight or flight or freeze. It is our nervous system that informs the quality of our thinking. This is the neural network that links our bodies up as tuning forks to the divine.
If we want to learn how to become free of fear, we need to discover how to live in harmony with our body, which is also living in harmony with nature, our own nature.
Your body, your nervous system, is what is here living, breathing and having this lived experience of life. Not your mind. Part of our recovery as humans is to bring the mind back on board with the body, to bring the masculine principles of energy back into harmony with those of the feminine, of the earth and the body. We have to heal the patriarchal way we relate to ourselves and our inner life.
Your body has stories to tell and energy to release. Anxiety, one expression of fear, is simply projecting all of the unresolved experiences into the future because there is nothing else the body knows. Shame is a complex collection of relational wounds that trigger fear in vulnerable relating that matches the nervous systems blueprints for relationship.
Part of the work I do is to help support clients in learning how to bring their energy back down into their bodies with gentleness and curiosity. Where is the energy getting blocked? What is the story there that wants to be shared? What wants to be felt expressed or known? We enter the sacred chambers of inner wisdom and healing, holding space for the beautiful alchemical process of creating safety for you to come home again. Your mind will automatically follow suit. Life, joy and "positive" thinking will be sustainable, because you will know the lived truth that there are no "low vibrational" emotions, just parts of you that haven't been heard or loved. You are beautiful.
We give our own power away to what we resist the most in our lives...whether it is opening the flood gates of grief, living into our magic, befriending shame, healing the soul wound, creating something that is an authentic expression of soul, expressing our truth, asking vulnerable questions to maintain in energetic integrity, revealing our hearts, opening to the unknown, taking leaps, creating something new, trying something new, being a beginner again....all of it.
What I notice is how it is resistance itself that creates a backlog of self-doubt and fear, building the fire of shame and feeding the inner frenzy of emotional guests that are not welcome, yet have nowhere else to go.
Restistance makes us sick. It creates tension in the body, division in the heart, obsessive thoughts in the mind.
Resistance is a strange form of fear with a dash of grief and sometimes righteousness.
I have struggled with self-love on a daily basis for a lot of my life. I use the word struggle here specifically because it seems to be a word that is "bad," and associated with "blocks" and negative mindsets. Yet the inner conflict, the inner struggle, is quite real on an energetic, emotional level. For all of us.
I think we are allergic to talking about pain and inner struggle, relegating it somewhere behind closed doors, dirty little secrets or a thing we make bad or wrong. Like it is bad to be in pain; I am yet to meet a single person who is not in some kind of inner pain.
The only way out is to talk about it, metabolize it and work it through. With love.
We make pain wrong though. It's not wrong, we just don't like to be in pain. We fear if we go into it, we will drown in it forever,. But the ignoring of it actually keeps us oppressed by our own pain more than anyone or anything else.
Patriarchy doesn't like pain because healing pain awakens awareness, empathy, love and compassion which is the opposite of that gnawing emptiness inside that we search to fill with something while trying to paint perfect pictures of ourselves for each other.
We are taught that pain is a “selling point.” If we are in pain we will continue to need to buy stuff.
We long for connection. We long to be loved. We long to be free of pain.
Yes, we cannot see or recognize things that are outside of our awareness. It's a funny thing, so many teachings about how we create our reality when half of the equation doesn't take into consideration our incapacity to see or imagine or recognize or live outside of our level of consciousness. Trauma, in this way, is like a trance that we are living in...relationally, in the world and then in our own inner world. So, as much as we long for and desire love, we equate love with things that are NOT love and must unlearn that in order to begin to resonate with something different in our life.
We learn in the trauma bonds with our parents the their pathology, so love is wrapped up in either trying to seek and fix and get love, or trying to control. One person is the clinger and one the runner, or whatever. We develop labels - narcissist and empath/borderline, twin flame love, ascended partnership....we have an innate desire for intense bonding with another human and it plays out through the relational patterns of trauma bonding wired in our nervous system. Our mind cannot over ride this. It is energetic. It is emotional. It is the body.
It is in healing, that we start to come into deeper contact with the true energy of love as we unravel it from pain. This is the equation, to unravel the love from the pain and then heal the pain. There is nothing wrong with being in pain other than not knowing how to love it because no one taught us or love us in pain.
Trauma always has gifts in it's folds. The trauma itself is NOT a gift and it didn't happen FOR you but you have the ability to come through the trauma and receive more wisdom and strength and abilities to understand and know this kind of darkness, which is always, always an asset on the path. And, as you continue this healing work, you deepen your relationship with Source and your spiritual gifts start to reveal themselves to you. One of the side effects of trauma no one likes to talk about because our society profits off of it, is a disconnection from source and spirit. So, the more medicated you are the more you will consume and look outside rather than mend that bond. When you mend that bond, your spiritual gifts reveal themselves and strengthen like the gold poured into the cracks and holes in the caverns of broken places.
Step away from the inner blame game. Life is happening around us and through us. There is far more of a cosmic orchestration moving to the rhythm of it's own symphony that we will ever get to understand. In fact, that is part of the song, not getting to understand why or how or what is behind things happening. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes things happen that make no sense. Sometimes things happen that stop us in our tracks and look at life differently. None of these things happen because there is something wrong with you. We've been conditioned by a co-dependent, competitive culture that has placed conditions on success and wealth and love and adoration and belonging. We receive mixed messages about fitting in yet being individual. To feel feelings but affirm away anything "negative." We have created so many blocks to feeling our own hearts.
Take risks. Leap into the unknown. Do your inner work. Surrender and trust and have faith. Faith in something higher than yourself, faith in the power that connects us all together. Faith in the cosmic orchestration and intelligence that keeps the universe together, even after all this time.
Sometimes bad things will happen. Sometimes things don't happen the way you want. Sometimes good things happen. Sometimes nothing will happen. Whatever arises, its always a call to move with the tide of life, to respond to life from rather than react to life. If you don't do anything, nothing will happen and you won't really be living.
Fear is aliveness. Grief is aliveness. Rage is aliveness. Sadness is aliveness. Love is aliveness. Joy is aliveness. We must leap into the entire spectrum to get to experience it all. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with being human. Stop using spirituality and emotional tools to commit violence towards yourself because this perpetuates the exact thing you are trying to free yourself from. Use your spiritual and emotional tools to support your own sanity, serenity and well-being, not to beat yourself up by measuring yourself up on the outside. Love is love. Love is here to free you and heal you back to wholeness. From wholeness, anything is possible.
When there is no love present (or available), the truth of the heart is not welcome. Where there is love, the truth of the heart is always welcome. When we use affirmations to convince ourselves of things we do not actually feel or believe, this is not an act of love because it is not allowing for the truth of the heart. It’s the mind attacking the heart with mindsets that are lies to the body. (Patriarchy, anyone?)
When we use the mind to try to override the truth of our hearts, this is not love even if it looks like it might be. When we look at others who deny the reality of someone else or even try to convince them of some other reality that is not real, we would call that gaslighting or emotional abuse. Right? We do this to ourselves (and each other) in the name of personal growth but it’s oppressing our hearts when we try to paste affirmations on our foreheads and chant that we love ourselves when there is some part of our souls that know that this isn't true.
Isn't this causing us more pain? More tension? More stress? More pressure in the guise of inner or outer perfectionism to disguise the fear? I know we all want to feel better. I know this so well. I have managed to hit several rock bottoms in my life. There were so many dark nights of the soul. It wasn't even clear if I'd ever escape from a bottomless pit of wine bottles and chainsmoking cigarettes.
But, I did. And, at the end of the day, when I picked my tear smeared, snotty, self-loathing self up off the ground of rock bottom, positive affirmations did not make me feel better. Positive statements and focusing on the light, trying to shift my vibration did not make me feel better. What made me feel better was the truth. The truth of my situation, the truth of my sad relationship with myself, the truth of my disconnected relationship with source, the truth of my pain and the truth that I didn't know how to really love myself.
That may have been the first time I actually felt love, true love flow into my heart....when I made space for the truth of my heart to whisper to me.
This...cultivating space to nourish and listen and honor the truth of our hearts, this is the ground of self-love. A ground where we can allow for all parts to arise and have a voice, to give ourselves the most precious gift of unconditional presence and attention. And, if we do not know what to do with what we find, we ask for help. We sometimes need people to help us learn how to love ourselves, people who have picked themselves up and learned how to feed their demons love. Someone who can sit with you and send love to your soul wound until you can do the same. This is healing, this is what is created when there is space for the truth of the heart. Burn your affirmations. Burn your memes. Pull down the flags of positive statements and witty statements that gloss over truth. Put a stake in the ground of your heart, claim the space for your heart's truth. Sing your song. It's okay if it sounds a little broken at first. We are all a little broken at first.